Finding Waldo and the Great Kings

8 Feb

Have you ever met a katydid?

Okay, so now that you’ve found Waldo, you can keep reading my blog. Oh, you were hoping for the usual? Okay, let me think of something to write about. Oh, I know, I’ll write about the War in Afghanistan, or condoms. I think the latter’s a deeper subject. You can really get into condoms, you know? They always seem to be hiding some dark secrets. It’s hard for them to slip away. You just keep coming back for—okay, okay, I’ll stop with the condom jokes.

Now, let’s get real here. I’m clearly trying to get somewhere, but probably not a place you’re interested in going. So I’ll get there by way of a story.

EDIT: I personally feel that this one’s a bit anti-climactic. Having said that, if you feel like it’s anti-climactic, #%@& you.

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So, long ago there were these three great kings: Pax, Leon and Adam. Pax was a great schemer who acquired his kingdom through guile, bribery, and a slow, gradual overthrow of the old ruler, whom his father had served under as an adviser. Leon was a great warrior who, after serving as the old king’s Right Hand, organized a swift and vicious coup, taking his seat on the throne with his wife advising him at all times (she being the one who whispered words of “coup” into Leon’s mind in the first place). Adam, the handsomest of the three, ended a potential civil war in his kingdom, but grew jealous when his brother, a fat, lazy pig who raped more women than he’d saved, was named heir to the throne. The day before his coronation, Adam pushed him out the window of a tower, skull fragments scattering across stone. The next day, he was named the new heir, and took his place as ruler of his own kingdom.

These three men all obtained their titles through bloodshed, whether it was done with careful planning, murderous overthrow, or just a simple little push, none of them gained their thrones by peaceful means. Good men or not, there was a certain calculation that all three possessed which allowed them to take the lives of their foes in the manner in which they did, whatever that manner was.

And so came the visit.

On a night in the cold, dark winter, a young woman in a beautiful red and gold dress came to visit each of the three kings. The first to be visited was Pax. When the woman arrived with her large caravan of golden clothed men, she and her fellows were welcomed with open arms. A grand feast was held, and King Pax asked the woman of her homeland. She told him, and the rest seated around the great dinner table, that she was the Queen of Pyrquin, a kingdom far to the south where the rivers ran with clean, clear water like no other land, and where merchants and traders bartered so often that the economy was constantly booming. The amount of riches the kingdom posses were beyond count or measure. The fields were sweeping and lush, and the farmlands were fertile and undying. The walls of Castle Pyrquin had never been breached and never would be.

And now here was Pax, plotting how he would take Pyrquin and add it to his empire. He would do it exactly as he had before. First he would sway the lower level guards and soldiers with his charismatic aura and intriguing political ideals. Then he would slowly allow officers to join in the discussions concerning possible reforms for Pyrquin. This would occur over the course of many months, allowing him to eventually gain access to the royal guard. The possibility of a total overthrow would be alluded to, and then, finally, some would say they were ready to begin the takeover. He would bribe those who disagreed with money, women, positions of power, whatever he had to use. Finally, when the Queen of Pyrquin was in chains, he would make her into his concubine, for she was much too beautiful to be executed, but would be far too great an enemy at this point to be taken on as a wife.

So, Pax did all those things, and then when he did have the lady in chains before him in her throne room, he smiled, believing he had won. Then, next thing he knew, the very men he had persuaded to join his cause turned on him and locked him away in Pyrquin’s dungeon while his kingdom was invaded and made a part of the Pyrquin Empire.

And so Pax fell.

Next, the woman and her caravan went to visit Leon on a night in the cold, dark winter. Leon welcomed her with open arms, and a great feast was prepared for the arrival of the golden caravan. When asked about her kingdom, the woman replied in just the same way as before. Leon’s wife grinned at the opportunity.

“My love,” she whispered to the king, “your armies are the greatest and most powerful in all the world. This lady claims her castle’s walls are impenetrable. You must show her how wrong she is. You must take her land, and make it into a new part of our empire.”

Leon, being quite trusting of his wife, had the Queen of Pyrquin, as she had introduced herself, locked away with her caravan. They didn’t fight back all that hard. Leon suspected nothing, and so he led an army to the walls of the castle. What he did not know was that a layer of earth surrounding the castle had been dug out underground, and thousands of pots carrying explosive concoctions created by Pyrquin’s alchemists had been left there for just such an occasion. They were lit ablaze, and in the blink of an eye Leon’s army fell into a massive grave. Though he himself did not die on that day, he was locked in Pyrquin’s dungeon, in the same cell as Pax. They hardly ever spoke to each other, ashamed of their mighty failures. When Leon’s kingdom was conquered by the Pyrquin Empire, his wife was beheaded, for it was her words that led to this grand defeat (or, in the Queen’s case, a grand victory).

And so Leon fell.

Finally, the woman and her caravan arrived before the court of King Adam. Now, Adam had taken note of the sudden overthrow of the two other kingdoms. He had his military prepared for a potential invasion, had his personal guard swear fealty to him in the case of a coup, and kept his eyes peeled for any assassination attempts. Adam had taken a wife and son in the time since he murdered his brother, and so he certainly had something to defend at this point other than his own skin.

On a night in the cold, dark winter, a golden caravan arrived at Adam’s kingdom. Before allowing them entry, he had them examined and questioned fiercely. Any who carried weapons were forced to hand over what they carried. They did so without resentment. A dinner was held, guards on all sides of the main hall. The Queen of Pyrquin was impressed by the extensive amount of security and preparation. She asked if her people could stay the night within the safety of Adam’s walls, for they had run into some trouble on the road. Adam decided to have the Queen’s caravan remain in the hall while he discussed the terms of her stay privately. He reassured his wife, letting her know he would be prepared for any tricks.

Adam and the Queen arrived in his bedroom, and they began discussing the lady’s recent victories. She claimed that they were not invasions of any kind, simply mergers. Confluence had come about by way of diplomacy, and that was all there was to it. Adam thinned his eyes and inquired, “What are you really doing here?”

A smile curled up on the Queen’s face as she answered, “Finishing my game so I can move on to another.”

“Game?”

“I’ve come this far haven’t I? Clearly I’m a persuasive diplomat.”

“Or a ruthless killer.”

Adam stared at her back as she ran her hand along his bed’s quilt.

“If your kingdom were mine,” she began, “and I gained it through diplomacy, no harm would be done to any of your people.”

“My kingdom,” he retorted, “is not a something to be bartered with.”

“Isn’t it? What do you think would happen to this place if I was forced to bring my army to its walls? What do you think would happen if my soldiers stormed the halls of this castle and found your wife and child alone with you already dead on the battlefield?”

There was silence. Adam looked to the floor. He felt the Queen drawing nearer, placing a hand on his chest.

“Do you think they would survive?” she whispered. Her eyes were cruel and piercing. He thought of killing her right then, but her armies would indeed strike with such furious vengeance that no army he could muster would be able to hold them back. Killing her was a horrid idea, and he knew there was only one solution that would keep his people safe, his family alive. The Queen’s hand reached his cheek.

And so Adam fell.

He was thrown in the same cell as Leon and Pax, left to rot with them while the Pyrquin Empire grew and grew. Eventually the three men were strapped to the mast of a ship without a crew and pushed out into the sea, never to be seen again.

Pax schemed with corruption, and so his schemes were corrupted. Leon assaulted blindly, and so his lack of perception was exploited. Adam betrayed his old family, putting his new one at risk. These three kings were all traitors, and so the blood they spilled caught up with them.

The Pyrquin Empire continued collecting kingdoms for a decade. The three kings eventually arrived on an island across the sea, far from their home. What became of them when they arrived their is unknown.

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Okay, so that’s all I’ve got for tonight. I just figured I’d pull that one out of my butt. Goodnight!

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