Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Fallen King

As he slowly opened his eyes, they were hit with a barrage of visuals his brain couldn't process. He was wearing his Gold Armor, the one he always wore to the Battlefield. His forehead felt crusty, must be  the dried sandalwood paste. His head felt heavy, not so much from his Gold Crown as much from the excruciating headache. Where was he? This was not his Court, not even his Kingdom. He closed his eyes to block the light and try to make sense of things. He tried moving his arms and realized they were restrained. Both of them. He was crucified. There he stood in all his regalia but shackled to a giant cross. Furious rage welled up in him and as he opened his mouth to bellow an earth-shattering scream, he realized he was not alone. To his either side, stood two other men. Shackled, crucified just like him. The King stood crucified not between two thieves but his own kin. To his right, stood his Brother, a Giant among Men, the Scourge of his Enemies. To his left stood his Valiant Son, the Conqueror of Gods. Both stood with their heads hung low, their spirits crushed, reduced to vacant shells of their former selves. In that instant, the king realized where he was.

He remembered the fateful battle. The most magnificent display of martial skill, brutality, might and honor the world had ever seen. God himself had descended upon Earth to take on the King. The Rapture was upon us. Armies of men, demons, animals and halflings crashed onto each other like waves, and the ground shook as if it would split apart any second and the seas churned with blood and bodies. And as the dust began to settle,  the King realized, the Final Hour was here. His mighty army had fallen, his brother, his prince defeated, his Kingdom burnt to ashes and before him stood his would-be vanquisher. The blue skinned God-King of the North. They lunged upon each other with the promise that only one would be left standing. Their rage emanating from them in thunderous guttural roars and metallic clashes of broken weapons.Those who watched grimaced in terror and awe. The King fought with the strength of ten but the God-King was a God after all and a God only dies if he wishes to. He did not today. For today would be a parable of the Just prevailing over Evil. The God-King asked if he had any last wish? The King said that was between him and his maker. The God-King half-smiled at the irony and then the God-King let lose his most potent and divine weapon. As it whizzed through the air, the King realized this was the end. History would say he was on the wrong, the path of Evil. But all he could remember was a dishonored sister, avenged. Was that evil? The weapon thrust itself deep into his chest and the darkness of death engulfed him.

The King opened his eyes. He was still shackled to the cross, but he knew why. Death was not punishment enough. Evil had to die year after year, for millennia upon millennia. And he symbolized Evil.

The sky had turned dark. A crowd had gathered. They dressed differently but their faces were the same. they could have been his subjects. Suddenly loud drums began to beat, he could sense restlessness in the air, the crowd slowly parted and the God-King appeared accompanied by his brother and his Halfling devotee. The crowd cheered for their heroes. But wait, this was no God-King. This was an imposter. A painted up clown. The King sighed and accepted that in this day and age, there would be no worthier adversary than this clown. They went for his brother first. The first arrow from the False God-King, hit his brother right in the head and his body erupted in flames and then fireworks. The crowd cheered and hailed the God-King. The King felt the same pain in his heart as he did when he first saw his brother die. Then the False God-King's brother hurled an arrow at his son. The crowd cheered louder as the heir to his throne, the blood of his blood and the beat of his heart burned to a crisp. His eyes welled up first in agony, then in anger. He surveyed the crowd. What was the meaning of this farce if they learned nothing. These half humans who feared and detested anyone, a hair different from them. How different were they from him? Were they not making the same mistakes he did? Did they know that there was respect even among adversaries, as there was between the God-King and him. These mortals who would rather see blood than reason. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! The final arrow caught him in the chest and he burst into flames of different hues. The crowd had not seen such a fine display of fireworks till then and could not stop whistling, cheering and clapping. The King knew he would be back again the next year. The same farce would play out. As the last of him burnt away, he looked towards the heavens and asked the God-King, grant your people the wisdom to choose love over hate, that is my last wish. 

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