War ended that fateful day, a dozen years ago, when the king of the Ammonites was dragged before me on his knees. Once I set his magnificent crown upon my head, news spread to the neighboring nations, and they were struck with awe. All of a sudden they managed to recover something that had gone missing before: an urge to suspend all hostilities.
In the spirit of peace, their leaders came around to congratulate me on my victorious exploits. To this day they keep sending me humble greetings, written with profuse flattery, on scrolls attached to expensive gifts. Why? Perhaps to sate my appetite, so I would not find it in my heart to conquer their territories and empty their cities to fill my coffers with loot.
I often reflect on how the destruction of one place feeds the renewal of another and dread to think that a day will come—perhaps beyond my lifetime—when the City of David will stand in ruins, mourning the lives of its defenders and the exile of its few remaining men, women, and children.
I wish I could stop projecting my mind into the future or dwelling on the past. Before the change of seasons overtakes us, let me enjoy every minute of the present.
With the constant flow of goods into the land, a new era has begun. In every square, you see markets bustling with shoppers who fill their bags with imported merchandise. On every street corner, you spot buildings being erected, roofs being pitched to the happy sound of saws and hammers.
My empire stretches out all the way west to the sea, and all the way east to the wreckage, where the city of Rabbah used to stand before my conquest. That place, where the earth was drenched with blood, is now marked with an unusually vibrant burst of blossoms.
It is spring.
Seeds and potted plants arrive on special convoys to my royal gardens, and soil too, because without it they cannot take root here. With tender care, they will bloom every year from now on, opening their petals as if to let out a blood-red flame.
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