The King sipped from a golden goblet encrusted with rubies.
The Chief of Spies entered the audience chamber, bowing low.
“The people are murmuring. We have increased the border fortifications and the guards, but daily more people seek to leave. Stories of the Other Kingdom are spreading like wildfire”.
The Spy hesitated.
“That in the Other Kingdom no-one is a slave. Everyone is allowed to own their own wealth. Everyone is happy”.
The King snorted casting a swift glance at the Spy who shrugged slightly. Then he glowered into his wine and had another sip. He put the cup down.
“Then the Other Kingdom needs to become less free, impoverished and unhappy”.
“The mystic with the magical prayers?”
“She would never harm another. We offered her a mansion, gold and servants. She refused.”
She has relatives?”
“All dead. There is no-one close to her”.
“Her independence insults our authority. Find a way to use her. “Dismissed”.
The King left the audience chamber, crossed the ballroom, ascended to his private chambers and to the locked room beyond. He sat upon a comfortable chair and surveyed his wealth with satisfaction. A golden cloak draped on a mannequin. Chests of gold and silver. Delicately carved boxes of jewellery. Priceless ornaments. The wealth of his people extracted by taxes, and charges, fines, and secret thefts and extortion. Amazing what family heirlooms people would willingly part with when their children were threatened. Then he thought of the wealth of the neighbouring Kingdom and his thoughts turned sour. There people were free to amass their own wealth. His people were envious and critical of his government. He had all the wealth of his own people. He wanted the wealth of the neighbouring people and to reduce their King to penury and shame. Stupid way to run a kingdom, for the benefit of the people!
How could he turn the neighbour’s worth, to worthlessness?
The King sat in his audience room listening to the Spy’s suggestions. Finally he waved a hand for silence and suggested his own idea. The Spy’s eyes narrowed and he nodded with appreciation.
That night, the mystic with the magical prayers was knocked unconscious on the street and carried to the King’s treasure room. Still unconscious, the cloak of cold was draped around her and skilled beauticians painted all her visible flesh with gold leaf. Finally a wig of spun gold was placed on her head. Then she was placed, still unconscious, on a golden chair in the middle of the treasury, surrounded by chests of gold and silver and jewels.
The Spy ushered in three witches who took their positions in front of the mystic and started to chant softly. The King looked on fascinated, but the Spy suggested the witches worked better on their own. Only the Golden Slave should be seen.
In the neighbouring Kingdom the King slept. Since the old King’s death, the young man had lived with constant worry about the fate of his Kingdom. His Kingdom was the creation of the wisdom of his forefathers, but the custodianship weighed heavy. He feared he would fail his people and their trust.
He dreamed. He saw a golden woman surrounded by wealth. A voice behind him, a voice of an Angel said, “She will destroy your people and kill you. But if you kill her, all this wealth will be yours”. And he awoke, his heart racing, his temples throbbing, with visions of his people dying and his Kingdom falling in ruin around him. Fear flamed into anger . Now he had seen who would bring the downfall of his people, he could plan a way to save them and himself.
The witches completed their work and informed the Spy. He then called the Head Torturer and gave his instructions. Then he reported to the King.
“The mystic will be reduced to idiocy. She will be kept drugged until it is needed for her to regain consciousness”.
The King nodded, sipping his wine.
The procession passed through the Customs gate, the golden woman sitting in a jewelled carriage, drawn by gold-liveried horses. A few soldiers accompanied her for show.
When they reached the hills that separated both Kingdoms, a witch induced the woman to drink a potion to revive her, then rode back to the city.
An hour later the carriage was intercepted by the neighbouring King and his men. They fell upon the carriage and its retainers like bandits, killing the guards and bound the woman hand and foot and dragged her to their young King. She struggled in terror.
The King raged at her.
“So, you would attack me and my Kingdom? He raged. “I will have you burnt over a slow fire and recover the gold you are made of!”
The woman shrieked in fear, her idiot eyes wild. She started to mutter.
“What’s that, what’s that you’re saying?”
The men holding her blanched and spoke up.
“She is cursing you, and your Kingdom. We will all die”.
The King paled, an icy hand squeezing his heart.
“she is a witch?”
Overhead the storm clouds gathered. Lightning flashed between the clouds. The earth trembled underfoot. Birds rose from the land, with cries into the air.
The men looked in mounting terror down at the valley where their Kingdom lay. A bolt of lightning split the tallest tower on the King’s palace. Burning debris started fires wherever it fell.
“kill her,” the King yelled. But it was too late. As her blood fell on the ground the earth split beneath their city and half the city sank into the yawning earth.
“what have I done?” The King thought in despair. People below ran like ants falling into the pits that suddenly yawned at their feet. As the King stared aghast, cold terror seizing his heart, he did not see nor hear the lightning that split the heavens and turned his robes aflame.
As the carnage below spread, the Spy received his orders from the King. Soon several battalions left the city for the neighbouring lands, taking with them many wagons, to collect any wealth they could find and take any survivors as slaves.
The King smiled.
“When the people see how the new slaves are treated, they will be content.”
Then he thought of the mystic.
“Good people are as useful as evil ones. It is all a matter of how you use them”.
Copyright Prayerwarriorpsychicnot 2014
The King met with the heads of the various authorities in his private room. Behind him an elaborate screen decorated with the great myths of a proud people. Heroes who self-sacrificed in battle; saints who suffered for the true religion; mothers with babies at their breasts radiating love and gentleness. Behind the screen in dark and silence, sat the Head of spies.
The first to enter the room was the Head of Police. He bowed then stood silent waiting for permission to speak.
The Despot barely glanced at him, seeming preoccupied with papers on his desk.
“Crime has increased in the last half year. We have altered the accounting method to show a decrease in the serious crimes. We have the resources, but since the new procedures have been implemented, the men spend more time with the procedures than catching criminals”.
“Is that all?” The Despot looked up for the first time and fixed his man with an unwavering gaze. “The truth now”.
The chief shifted slightly, “Well, we have been getting a lot of complaints. Nothing we can’t handle.” He added hastily.
“And you have listed the complainants?”
“Yes. We are following the new procedures, as given”.
The Despot put down his papers and smiled. “Good” he said. “Keep up the good work”. And he gave a wave of dismissal. The Chief of Police bowed again, and backed from the room.
On his own with the Chief of Spies the Despot spoke again. “You have received the List of complainers from the Police?”
“And what action has been taken?”
“We are gathering intelligence on the individuals and designing protocols according to their different characters. Low level complainers, mainly women, we are spreading the lies that they are prostitutes and child kidnappers. We are arranging conflict situations for the men. If they fail to defend themselves they will be physically disabled or die. If they succeed in defending themselves, we will recruit them to the military”.
“Good. Who is next?”
“Chief of Magic. I think he has something special to report”.
When the Black Magician entered the room the Despot cringed inwardly, though nothing showed on his face. The man was generally feared, with reason. He was the wealthiest man in the Kingdom, after the King. And worth all the silver the King lavished on him.
“I believe you have something special to tell me” the King opened.
The Wizard gave a cursory bow and came straight to the point. “The woman, the complainer. We placed a group of witches in her tenement and gave them permission to do their worst”. The man paused.
“And?” The King prompted.
“She countered their attacks with ease”.
Only the King heard the intake of breath from the Spy behind the screen.
For several moments there was silence in the room.
“I have none. She is not a witch, but somehow she can counter magic”.
To the King’s satisfaction the Wizard looked embarrassed. The strongest Black Magician in the country, possibly the world and he was back footed by a servant woman with no magical ability. The King felt laughter welling but retained a cold expression.
“You are dismissed. But stay in the ante room”.
Alone with the Spy, the Spy emerged from behind the screen. The King and Spy looked at each other in mutual bafflement.
“Opinion” the King demanded.
The Spy spread his hands. “To our knowledge she is completely ordinary. No special attributes. Does her work. Cares for her sick husband. Is a member of the Charity Temple. That makes her religious I suppose”.
“Yet she countered witchcraft? Take a look at that Temple. There might be something we have overlooked. Shall we let the Wizard unleash his worst on her?”
The Spy nodded assent.
A week later the Spy returned to give his report.
“The Temple. We were really surprised. It seems their prayers are more than formula. Many people go to the Temple to pray for sick relatives. It is starting to look as if their prayers actually ameliorate serious conditions”.
The King paused. “This will require careful handling. You have identified all members of this group?”
The Spy nodded. “And their families. Our archivist is working on family trees now. We will identify all the relatives”.
“I want this Temple to be brought into the fold, so to speak”. The King smashed his fist onto the table. “I cannot believe the temerity of these peasants. Under our noses they are giving themselves special advantages without offering their services to us first”.
The King glowered.
” You want them punished?”
“Yes. But not immediately. I want them brought under control first. And stop them praying for the useless eaters. Their resources belong to us. What of the woman?”
“The Wizard arranged for a full attack. Every magical person at our disposal was involved. They invaded her mind with instructions to discover all her knowledge, uncover her secret”.
“They found nothing. No innate ability. But she seems to be a channel to some mystical boundless power. All she has to do is ask.”
“A priestess? That is ludicrous. Only aristocratic women become priestesses. She is an upstart from the gutter. She is an insult”.
The Spy waited.
“There is more?”
The Spy nodded. “She nearly killed them all. The point of invading her so completely was to ensure she would try to defend herself, so we could determine her capability. It seems she “prayed” that those who entered her could not leave. It was a near thing that we managed to recover them all”.
“You have recruited her?” The King demanded.
“No. She thought she had failed as we escaped. In the last week a magical talent that we had not identified invaded her mind. She was unaware of his presence and he died. It seems people who pray do not know the results of their prayers, whether they are effective or not”.
“So now she is a death trap. Magicians unknown to us who go to her will die. We alone have the prayer people now and the magic people to show what is happening. Leave her alone. She is much more useful to us as she is, taking out the competition for us”.
“She is worthless now anyway” the Spy remarked.
“Why is that?”
“Fearing conscription she abandoned her gift. Even if she knew about the situation of trapping people, she couldn’t change the situation even if she wanted too.”
“What a shame, to lose a potential like that”.
The Spy shrugged. “But she takes our enemies out for us, without knowing it. And nobody else can use her. So it is not a complete loss”.
“And we have the Temple” the King mused.
Copyright 2014 Prayerwarriorpsychicnot