July 22, 2003
A Fable (Continued)
After the Emperor issued his proclamation, he went to the World Council of Emperors to tell the leaders of the other kingdoms that they also were in grave danger from the Evil One. The other rulers did not believe him, and even many of his friends said he was wrong. But the Emperor said he did not need their approval because his Kingdom was mightier in arms and richer than all of theirs put together. In the end, only a close relative of the Emperor, who shared a common ancestor with him, sent soldiers to help. Some other small nations who feared the wrath of the Emperor (or who owed him much treasure) agreed to help him, but sent no soldiers. The Emperor said this was of no concern because his forces were all-powerful, and because God had spoken to him and told him he must do this thing. In the Great Hall some of the Nobility challenged the Emperor's wisdom, but the Emperor's Courtiers said they were Traitors, and that the people would soon spurn them and cast them out. They became frightened and their voices were stilled.
So the Armies and Navies of the Kingdom were made ready, and they sallied forth across the Great Ocean on mighty ships, and some flew as if on the wings of eagles. Ahead of them the Emperor sent his Personal Messengers to the Evil One and told him he must leave the throne and go out from his land into exile, or he would be captured and killed. The Evil One turned his ear away from the Emperor, and surely continued to defy and vex him. Soon the Emperor's hosts came to the borders of the Evil Empire, where they paused to gather themselves into a great horde, and then rushed in. As all knew they would, they won a swift and terrible victory. The forces of the Evil One were no match for the Emperor's hosts, who were better disciplined, swifter, held superior weapons, and were possessed of stronger armor. Many of the Evil One's soldiers were slain, and many more threw down their arms, cast off military garb, and ran from the field. Many commoners were also slain, but the Emperor said that this was expected, their number (est. 4,000 - 10,000) was not excessive, and it always happens thus when he makes war.
Soon the forces of the Empire paraded in the streets of the Capitol, and, with the help of some commoners, they tore down many of the great statues of the Evil One that he had caused to be erected in his honor. There was great rejoicing in the streets at the downfall of the Tyrant, but this soon turned to widespread lawlessness. Many of the deposed Tyrant's Palaces were looted, as were numerous public buildings and even some private residences, while the Conquering Army stood by awaiting orders from the Emperor. As time passed, some asked the Emperor and his Courtiers where the pots of oil, locusts, and giant catapults that he had told them of were to be found. The Emperor said that they must be patient as the Evil One had many clever tricks for concealing his secret weapons, and that he was a master of disguise and deception.
In the land of the conquered, many grew restless because they lacked safe passage, had little food and water, and were without shelter and the means to live. Some there were who became so angry that they began to kill the soldiers of the Emperor by lying in ambush and running away after smiting them. The Emperor was greatly exercised that his soldiers should be so ill used by the conquered people, and asked his Courtiers why it was so. They told him that the killings had been foretold, and the losses were not many, and they were indeed less than the sages had feared. One Advisor suggested that no man likes to live under the heel of a foreign conquering power that seeks to impose its own rules upon him. He reminded the Emperor that his own Kingdom had been started by a small band of dissidents, who so chafed under the yoke of a Foreign Monarch who tried to rule them from across the Great Ocean and to impose his laws, his form of government and his religious beliefs upon them that they rose up against him. The Emperor would not hear him and sent him away.
There began to be whispers in the Kingdom that the Emperor's Proclamation had been untrue. It was said that the reports of the purchase of weapons materials from Darkest Africa by agents of the Evil One were false, and some in the Court knew that it were so. The Emperor sent forth his Heralds to announce that a mistake had been made in his Proclamation, and he himself told the people it was not his fault because his Chief Spy had shirked his duties and had failed to inform him and protect him from the lie. Some commoners wondered why the Chief Spy was not punished for his sloppy ways, as they surely would have been.
Then the Emperor's Wizards came forth and spun their spells, and the Magicians worked their feats of legerdemain. They told how the Emperor had not really meant to tell the Kingdom that he must make war on the Evil One on account of the secret weapons he was thought to have. It was all the Courtiers who had agreed among themselves that the commoners should be told thus because the people were thought to be too simple of mind to understand more than this. The real reason that war must have been had at once, they said, was because the Evil One was so vile and corrupt in his ways in that he had done many monstrous acts, such as:
He had seized the throne with the help of his tribe against the will of the majority.
In all these grave particulars the Evil One was said to be exceedingly depraved and dangerous, and capable of great mischief. So great were his abuses that he must be removed from power at once. Everyone agreed, and Criers were sent forth from the Ministry of Truth, and the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Homeland Security to repeat the list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors so that the commoners should come to know them.
Then, in a small village where there was a College of Learning, a young student sat and listened to the charges and accusations that were read out against the Evil One. After solemn reflection the student spoke up and thus addressed the Crier. "Good Sir," said he, "Why speak'st thou thus against the Evil One when verily the Emperor himself had also done the very same?" A hush came over the crowd, whereupon the Sheriff came forward. Upon discovering that the student was foreign born, the Sheriff clapped him in irons and took him away to the dungeon, where he was held without any charge, and where it is said he languishes to this day. The Emperor's Secret Court forbade even the Jailor to speak his name; neither was he allowed to speak with lawyers, nor was his family told. See, wrote the Wizards and Magicians, how great is the Emperor's Justice when compared with that of the Evil One! No one dared speak out against them, lest they suffer the same fate. Everyone stood and cheered, for it was said that they lived in a free Kingdom.
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