Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown

The Tsar paced back and forth in his bedroom, the morning sun streaming in through the windows of the “palace” he resided in. Though it was more of a mansion than a palace, Vladimir wondered, privately, if his namesake would frown upon him for thinking his residence already too lavish.

It was odd, he thought, that he had spent his entire life learning how to be a carbon-copy of the man he was a clone of, and that those around him treated him as though he was the Russian President Vladimir Putin reincarnated, as though the previous incarnation wasn’t still alive, in retirement, and the future incarnation was being raised and prepared should the worst occur.

Another concern: his predecessor seemed everything everyone ever said the original was like, yet Vladimir felt himself a poorer imitation. He had, indeed, been taught how to lead and rule well-enough, he supposed, but wasn’t all that theory? His trial period of co-rulership with his predecessor had gone well-enough, too, so it wasn’t as if he was totally unqualified to lead. And yet…

Instinctively, he knew these doubts were feelings that those around him expected him not to have, and wondered just what that meant for him. Was he imperfect? Perhaps, somehow, he was an inferior clone, a pale shadow of a great man?

If nothing else, he knew how to play the part. He had spent about thirty years being kept constantly near power, constantly learning from power, and constantly prepared to assume power. Though he had his self-doubts, he had learned quickly how to mask his feelings, how to mask his weaknesses. Too many men had tried to play his predecessor for a fool, or a weaker man than he, in fact, was.

He had little choice, in any regard. Now that he was Tsar, he could see the chains binding him loosening. Now empowered, he could finally begin living a bit more for himself than as the third incarnation of Vladimir Putin. Perhaps, in time, he could outshine the man whose influence was so great it inspired others to clone him and have him lead again.

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