Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Kingdom of Wordland (Chapter Four)

A Mass Exodus...

The King and his son were away in a distant land to the north when the announcement was made about the Great Banquet. The King’s daughter made a special request that all of the loyal subjects bring a gift for the King far and above anything that had ever been done before. This was in addition to the special tax that was imposed on all who desired to attend the banquet. The Princess even shed tears that day. Most all of the Wordlanders present were shocked by this appeal.

On the same day as this appeal, the Minister of Benevolence tried to restore the spirit of the Wordlanders by telling of a recent visit to a land far to the south. He had just returned from taking food to a neighboring nation that had recently suffered a national calamity. He spoke of the need for the Wordlanders to get involved in efforts like these to reach out to the needy. He also mentioned that the King had commissioned him to this position, and that the King had asked him to present this to the people. But this helped very little. The Wordlanders began to see a different picture of the King and his family. Many had questions about some of the King’s ambitions and motives, but none dared to voice them because they greatly feared him.

That was about to change. When the Prince returned later that week he called together the royal staff. Prince Devoid went on a royal fulmination. He spoke as one with great anger and arrogance. He questioned the staff and asked them as to their disposition regarding the announced gala and the new tax. No one felt the liberty to respond to the Prince until the Minister of Benevolence stood up. Having just returned from a land of great need, he could see the great avarice which motivated the banquet. He spoke of how beneficial a tax like this would be if it were given to the poor instead of for the King’s benefit. He mentioned that many in Wordland could not afford this tax and would feel slighted because they could not attend the banquet. There was much unrest that day, but among the royal staff the abundance of silence spoke many volumes.

The King returned the following week amongst many rumors. The Benevolence Minister was shown very little regard, and after nearly a quarter century of service, was dismissed on the spot by Prince Devoid. The King never had the courage to face the Minister of Benevolence. It was later reported that he was not in the royal palace during the minister's dismissal, but he was actually seen passing by in the corridor several times.

Because of the many rumors which surrounded him, Prince Devoid was sent westward with his family to serve the Duke of Falsehoods. This duke's title was bestowed upon him as a favor. He did not go through any of the needed requirements to earn it, like most of the dukes did.

Over the weeks and months that followed, the King became very angry and indignant. He began to make many strange statements, one of which was likening the former Minister of Benevolence to a court jester. He also likened unpaid taxes to a flaming arrow that would sear the flesh and hair of his loyal subjects. He began to be suspicious of many of his other ministers and squires. One in particular, Randolf the Brave, was one of the King's loyal helpers for many years. Randolf, because of his close association with the King, was privy to much information. Because he was a man of proven character, many Wordlanders went to him for counsel. Although the King labeled him as a man of insignificance, Randolph was able to help many. Randolph and others were later banished from the Kingdom.

During these days in Wordland, many rumors of malfeasance began to circulate. People seemed to be willing to ask the questions that before had seemed unspeakable. It were as if a great spell that had controlled the people had been broken. Scores of subjects began to venture out from Wordland. They now were free to follow their own hearts and personal interests. In spite of many curses that were continually being pronounced on these people, they were now walking in a new found joy and freedom. There were old friendships that were restored, and great peace now ruled these people. It was learned that many of the Wordlanders that had left many years earlier were living a much better life than before. They were quick to help those who were now leaving.

To this day, Wordland still exists, although not to the level of its former glory. There are still loyal subjects that have stayed to help the King. However, the joy and peace that was once there does not seem to remain.

If you ever meet a former Wordlander, they will tell you that they are now better than before and have learned many valuable lessons. They will also tell you that their hope has been restored and that they will continue to live happily ever after.

May you be one who lives happily ever after as well.