Returning to the town, there was a great garden at the centre where pious people used to go and pray. However, a witch had crafted several statues and placed them all about the garden. These statues were enchanted and whispered to everyone who entered the garden things they did not wish to hear. The garden that had once been the spring rejuvenating the spirits of the people was now no longer visited, even by the gardeners. The garden had become over grown and full of weeds.
Shaylen took his party into the gardens and he ordered them to help him to pull the statues down and removed them from the garden. But soon the statues started whispering to him and his companions saying spiteful sounding words they did not want to hear.
“You are unworthy of your rank!”
“Your father has always been disappointed in you; he will never be pleased with you!”
“You are hideously ugly, and although you say you do not care, you actually do!”
“You are a party to the queen’s cruelty, an accomplice to all her crimes!”
“You’re a filthy whore with no standards! You are so pathetic that you have slept with a homeless man for but a crust of bread!”
“Your husband has been cheating on you for years; he does not love you anymore!”
“You are an idiot and don’t know what’s good for you!”
“You are weak and lack the will to be a better person and so you drink too much because you are too lazy to sort out your real problems!”
“You are only fat because you won’t control how much you eat!”
On and on the statues whispered into the ears of his companions until they could not stand it any longer. Distressed and demoralised they started deserting the prince one by one. Eventually only Shaylen was left behind to endure the whispering off all the statues.
Continue reading “Shaylen and Bellandria – Part Two”
Lady Envira was ambitious and longed to rule the kingdom so she courted the young king and successfully seduced him. Once queen, she thought she could rule but her husband proved more difficult to control as time went on. She was clever and popular with the nobles and sought a way to depose her husband. The nobles were supportive but only on the condition that she had a male heir. The queen feigned her love for the king until she became with child.
Queen Envira gave birth to a healthy boy, thus securing the succession. Realising her good fortune, she seized the opportunity to depose her husband, the king. Once divorced, disgraced, and cast out into the wilderness beyond the kingdom, the king could no longer thwart the queen’s ambitions. Envira ruled as Queen Regent until her son, Shaylen came of age and demanded his father’s crown.
Fearing that she might lose her power through a conspiracy, she curtailed the freedoms of all in the land and was both hasty and cruel in her punishments. She lived every day on the throne fearing it would be snatched out from underneath her and although she held the reins of power through her son, no one posed more threat to her than her son.
The queen loved her son, but she loved power even more. She never wanted her son to come of age and usurp her position on the throne. She gave directions that her son must be raised entirely by women of the softest and most agreeable nature. Furthermore, he was never to struggle for anything that he wanted. Everything was to be made simple and effortless for him.
“Smother my dear boy with the softest down of motherly charity. Let him never know want, heartache, or despair. Never criticise his ideas nor discomfort his temper,” the queen ordered. Continue reading “Shaylen and Bellandria – Part One”
When Roman Laneg turned fifty four years of age both his parents had died: First his mother went, then his father followed her to the grave four weeks later. Although he had once been married and had two sons, he had not seen his ex-wife and children since his youngest son had turned eighteen three years earlier. Laneg was alone in the world without any family or meaningful connections. While he was a surgeon, and had accumulated much money, his life felt empty and joyless. Bored with watching television alone every night he set to visit his local church in the hopes of finding a meaning to his existence outside his job. Not finding it there he tried other churches, a new age group, and even a community of atheists. Yet after a year of looking for a purpose and place to belong he felt no better than how he had when he first started. His life while comfortable lacked any meaning, and he found the various ideologies of these different groups entirely insufficient to answer his need.
One night at the hospital he had just finished his shift when he saw something that he hadn’t seen before: a medical doctor and a nurse having an argument about the diagnosis of a patient. The nurse was young, she looked to be least than twenty years old yet she was the calmer one in the argument trying to make her case rationally for why the doctor should order a specific blood test. While the doctor twice her age was gesticulating and talking over her with a raised voice and flushed cheeks. Normally no nurse that young would dare contradict a doctor, much less do so with such an insistent rational manner. Seeing that this nurse was in serious danger of being disciplined Laneg decided as the most senior physician present to intervene and restore peace. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 30”
Oriana proceeded directly from Kelly’s house to the community library. Her father had been in a better mood this morning and when Paul came around to pick her up in the morning he seemed relieved that she was with him. Paul was well liked by parents across the neighbourhood, Oriana mused that this was because while most boys were of the rough and tumble variety, Paul was a reserved and generous boy who had a reputation unblemished by teenage scandals. Oriana had speculated that her father secretly wished that she would date him instead of merely friend him, yet for all of Paul’s positive traits, there was something plain about him. It was splendid of him to care so much about the poor, yet a man who cares too much for the poor runs the risk of being poor himself, or so Oriana had reasoned, and while she agreed with her reasoning, she felt agonisingly aggrieved with herself to judge him so harshly. Indeed, sometimes in her low times she speculated if perhaps she was not unwittingly making the same mistakes her mother made.
However, there was now a new man in her life; Kent, and this man was in some ways similar to Paul. He was reserved, gentle, and exuded no malice at all in his manners, just like Paul. However, while Paul had a naïve confidence in the good nature of his fellow man, Kent was a troubled man who seemed suspicious and wary of everyone he encountered. Justifiably so since these Tyranni have appeared on the scene, but nonetheless, whereas Paul was naturally inclined to believe whatever someone might tell him, Kent was the opposite. Kent had in some ways the character of a bad dinner guest: constantly questioning and cross-examining others. He might even come across as arrogant to the eyes of someone who doesn’t know him well enough, but Oriana had by this time concluded that he was not in fact arrogant, but precocious and confident in his intellectual abilities. Perhaps too confident in them, although she didn’t feel ready as yet to make that judgement of Kent. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 29”
(this is a direct continuation from the conversation started at the end of part 15)
“The fox in the field will run, the fox in the forest will hide, but the fox in a cage will fight,” said Suvarin repeating the Aeshiric idiom.
Kent was confused, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, for now the Tyranni see an option to beat us that is non-violent, so they will most likely take it – just as a fox will run or hide if it has those options. So long as they think they are getting somewhere in their attempts to turn the three growkons* against us they will not carry out any acts of violence. However, if those three growkons succeed in protecting themselves against the Tyranni’s rhetoric, they will escalate to violence because they can’t risk them becoming spiritual or joining the Aeshir; despite the harm that video recording might do to them.”
“I see what you’re getting at now,” Kent sighed deeply, “Since the Tyranni have been humiliated by me, and are intolerant of being humiliated even though they will happily dish it out to other people, they are unlikely to just let this go, so violence might be needed by us to get them to leave.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 16”
Suvarin returned with a stretcher with two harnesses that looked remarkably like vests. She was out of her uniform and now dressed in jeans, thick boots, and warm hooded jacket. She looked remarkably unremarkable now; just like a typical young woman one might see on a cold night outside on main street. Oriana shivered for reasons she could not identify, there was something disturbing about how differently Suvarin looked now that she was wearing different clothes. Kent and Suvarin demonstrated the stretcher by putting it on Kent and Kelly first. Paul climbed onto it and was quickly blind folded by Suvarin. Kelly and Oriana were when blind folded. Suvarin and Kent gave the three blind youths the instructions they needed to start walking down one of the tunnels. Kent was in the lead, while Suvarin positioned herself behind Kelly with Oriana at the rear holding onto her backpack. Slowly at first, they moved down into the tunnels, gradually the walkers got used to being blind folded and the pace picked up. Oriana tried to keep track of which direction and how far they had gone but within minutes she gave up as it was obvious they were inside some colossal labyrinth. They just had to put their trust in Kent and Suvarin to keep them safe on their subterranean journey.
Kelly grew tired and Oriana took over helping to carry Paul for a while. Suvarin appeared to know Kent somewhat and was asking him about his writing.
“Writing?” asked Kelly, “What does Kent write?”
“Druids as part of their study need to write a series of parables that highlight key values of our faith in a way that is accessible to other people,” explained Suvarin.
Kelly chuckled, “Oh, so that’s why he told us that strange story about the boy being eaten by dogs on the way here!” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 14”
The man’s face betrayed no emotion, “I see. Well, then I suppose you did the right thing in bringing them here where they would be safe. However, we will have to make special arrangements for their passage out of here. Do you know who the Tyranni are?”
“Nix and Peterson,” Kent answered. Oriana thought she noticed a particular stress on Peterson’s name.
“Ahh, I see. They must have travelled from interstate to be here in this city then.”
“That’s true,” cut in Paul, “I have a photo of their number plate. They came from interstate.”
“I am sorry, my name is Laneg. How do you do, young man?”
“Well, I’m Paul and my knee is badly hurt.”
Instantly Laneg’s expression changed from neutrality to deep concern. “Oh dear, did the Tyranni injure you?”
Paul nodded affirmatively.
“Well then,” Laneg turned to the young women next to him, “Suvarin, could you please take a look at Paul’s leg? See if he is well enough to walk on it.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 12”
“Are they up to anything illegal?” asked Oriana.
“Illegal yes, immoral no,” said Kent plainly.
“Ahh, yes, you live a life straddled uncomfortably between those two things.”
“Between chaos and order, yes, I suppose I do. But who says that I am uncomfortable? It’s actually kind of fun when looked at from the right perspective.”
Kelly nodded enthusiastically with this statement, “I get it, I wouldn’t do anything that hurt anyone else, but I don’t really care about the law either.”
“Kelly!” gasped Oriana, “You don’t really mean that!”
“Yes I do, why should I follow the law?”
“Because, well, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” replied Oriana sounding far less confident than she thought she ought to be.
“Well, I suppose I should in case I get caught by the police or something, but I wouldn’t hurt anyone or their things. Really, when you think about it, a law is simply the opinion of a group of old men.”
“With guns,” added Paul. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 11”
Oriana and Kelly looked at Paul with a mixture of surprise and sadness, neither of them had known this about Paul. Kent reached out and put a comforting hand on Paul’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry Paul, you clearly care about her a great deal. It sounds like she doesn’t think she’s worth praying for herself to get better though.”
Paul shook his head, “Nope. She doesn’t think it matters if she dies of cancer.”
“Wow,” said Oriana, “I hadn’t thought of it like that, I thought that prayers had to be directed to god or something. I didn’t think you could just pray for yourself.”
“Oh, having some gods to pray about certainly helps with prayer too,” remarked Kent.
Kelly sniggered, “What, do you believe in gods?”
“Of course I do,” answered Kent calmly.
Kelly laughed at this, “But gods aren’t real, they’re just myth.”
“I agree with that too,” answered Kent with a trace of a smile. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 10”
“So joining this cult, the Aeshir? Well, did that give your life meaning?” asked Kelly.
Kent shook his head, “No. Well, not at first. By the time I completed my seasoning I was actually miserable and quite depressed about my life and the state of the world. I was ready to quit then, give up on my inheritance and just try to go back to being ignorant about my life again.”
“What does seasoning mean?” asked Paul.
“Seasoning? That’s the term we use for the initiation period. You need to pass a test to join, then spend one season in a monastery, swear an oath, and presto you’re part of the Aeshir. You can choose to stay more than one season if you like, but if you want to get your inheritance then you have to join one of the religious orders. There are five to choose from. I chose to join the druids as the membership challenges appeared the least odious to me.”
“Oh, so did becoming a druid give you a sense of meaning to your life?” interjected Kelly.
Continue reading “The Monk – Part 9”