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The throne room was hot. Smooth stone and bare metal burning courtiers foolish enough to brush against them. All eyes were focused on the figure sitting in the roughly hewn rocky throne. Sovereign Summer looked back, their body draped in garish robes of yellow and purple.

Amongst their rotating cast of monarchs, the courtiers disliked Summer most fervently, though they would never admit it. They fawned to the throne, no matter who sat upon it.

Summer though, was hard to endure. As vengeful as Lord Spring, dispassionate as Lady Autumn, harsh as Winter. However, in many ways Summer was the most beautiful of the four, tanned chest and limbs well proportioned, evenly toned. Even their androgynous voice was melodic, like birdsong.

Beauty, however, is not to be mistaken for comfort. There was one flaw in the human façade that betrays the abject lack of humanity beneath. The mask. The ornate golden mask, the mouth curled into a cruel smile, rays spiking off from the edge. It is a harsh visage, but worst of all are the eyes, holes into the darkness behind the gold. It is only blackness that lies at the true heart of Summer, a cloying, suffocating, burning inky darkness.

The court had grown almost numb to the whole ordeal. The ostentatious trappings, the vicious mood swings, the nigh unbearable heat. But not the eyes. Accidentally catching the Sovereign's gaze would still send a chill down the spine, even during Summer’s fieriest outbursts.

Those eyes are the seeds of dissent. Those twin black pits in the middle of a golden disk. Advisers and noblemen whisper out of sight of those eyes. They inspire plots and coups against their Golden God.

But then, as always, eventually Lady Autumn struck them down, ending the long summer, and ushering in a new reign of fall. She did not pretend to humanity. Her long, bone-white arms rest listlessly on the arms of the throne, her elegantly crafted brown gown draped over a long, gaunt torso. Her red mask sticks out past a curtain of auburn hair. Like them all, her eyes belie a darkness underneath, but it is a different darkness, uncaring and unkind, but not cruel. It is a darkness her people are content to toil under.

But Summer is not one to cede easily. The last time Autumn took the crown it was only after days of violence, after which the Sun Sovereign devoted theirself to maintaining power, calling on powers and beings that have long been forbidden.

There are murmurs among the court that Summer has discovered a way to do away with Autumn. We philosophers worry that the next time Sovereign Summer dethrones King Spring, they will have no intention of ever stepping down. Only time will tell what an unending summer brings with it.

-Excerpt from Mónos’s 'Life Of The Seasons'.

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