This prelude is perhaps most valuable, enlightened reader, in reminding you that the painful relations between the conquerors and the conquered not only dissolve toward peace with tragic gravity over bloody, bitter epochs, and, more so, are stoked anew in every generation by men of some power, who glory to gobble up men of little power, and so become something closer than before to all powerful, as if such endeavors could hope to end well.
Beneath them, men of no power but their own will must suffer in every age under the classes above them, who war at games of battle with little skin in the game regarding their own breadbaskets, but filled with dire ramifications to the food supplies of a majority of tables.
What we have been, for great and ill, and what we are hoping to be, with equal perilous juxtaposition, is not so different from what we will likely be next.
The pattern may not rhyme, but the echo of history has both melody and harmony built for humming in chorus.
Your fathers' errors are not likely, but guaranteed to be your own. Such is life without a good king. Each man does as he sees fit: he tries to build himself a kingdom better than the neighboring one, and upon the ashes of his fathers’.
Bad kings make the same problem much worse.
It’s the good kings that can help. If you can find one.
A good king is worth his weight in extra lives, or lives sacrificed in his service, and while the question of chicken and egg might be applied as well, the better path remains to pray that long would such men reign, even in exchange it means their sons be all cursed fools.
In all this blatheringly, unmodern prolegomena, the matter of the matter that you really must know is that in the heightened tale upon which we embark, we begin in the realm of one of those most exquisitely rare and bounteous very good kings.
But. . .
The good king has also been long away on behalf of the kingdom and his brother reigns Lord Regent in his stead.
It is, unfortunately, as a direct result, by and large, exclusively the worst of times.
For ever since the second decade ebbed by without the king’s return, every baron, duke, lessor magistrate, margrave and mayor has been compelled to acknowledge via the hard school of carnage, betrayal and survival, that carpe diem is no byword of mere dead white men, but the wisdom of Prometheus, which only a simpleton would scoff to covet a greater will to possess.
Are there good men any among them? To be sure. But it is now the mid-fourth decade since the king’s ship made port for the 12th Diet of the Galactic Imperium, a high honor for an upstart colony planet with only a millennium of development to its claim for planetary house ranking. But not one to do much good to an embittered people. Yet what is one man against a mob? And what else is a kingdom without a king?
So it was that Jon of New Damascus, Lord Regent of the continent of Goshen, and reigning Planetary Executor on behalf of his brother, Richard the Judahite, second of his name, Alpha and Omega of the Flock Everlasting, Bearer of the Bloodline Scepter of the Ancient Tarshish Solarigm, right-born, star-christened King of Israel 14, class M planet of the system Manchu-Khanium 20.4, found himself the inconvenient ruler of very little but his own mounting debt and, in the everlasting wisdom that is bestowed on the indigenous human heart, realized that the obvious answer was to compel those good citizens, who were looking to him in such aspirational times of crisis to provide leadership and aid, to look to those sheriffs once sent round the way for protection, and find in their stead yet another open palm, hot in need of greasing, not once, but three times over.
Though all such derogatory talk may seem but an unfairly painted fairy-dream or forced overblown analogy, I assure you that the jeopardy to your own enlightenment is for real.
For beneath the names and dates you were taught to forget, a more subtle story has unfolded, as it were, beneath your very mind. So do not expect to tread lightly on my novel frolic, without finding in the vision the darkness you’ve brought with you.
For the story that are told is soon the man you hope to be. If the sons of Noah shall learn anything from the generations X’d out of history by the brittle collapse of the future we thought to build, it is that the line between the fantasies and our reality is exquisitely thin.
And rainbow colored.
And on fire.
So we descend as beleaguered listeners in need of a song, and find ourselves in a place we thought we knew, filled with people we’ve already dismissed, in a conflict more like our own than tales of foxes and hounds might tell, in order to listen again to those stories retold again because they are so worth the telling, even if you sing with a different accent than those greats who have worked the tune before.