THE MAGICAL KINGDOM OF FAR FAR AWAY (A FABLE OF OUR TIMES)
There was once a magical kingdom in a faraway land that many believed was only a place of legend rather than reality, the stuff of fairy tales or those stories told by old men round campfires to goggle-eyed children who believed every word. Yet this fabled place did once upon a time exist. Its people were fair and good of heart, their lives ran as others did in less magical places and in general people were poor but content.
Sad to say however that a darkness crept unseen among the people living in the magical kingdom. Dark forces began to plot with ambitious eyes, seeking to move the ethos of the people to a lower and more base location that could more easily be manipulated. These forces sought to capture the king and queen put in place by the will of the people. They were helped in these plots by the richest of the inhabitants who saw how they could use these forces to gain power for themselves.
And so it was that the poorer but more violent of those within the dark powers were taken alongside the rich merchants who found them useful as an army with which to undermine the courtiers and army of the king of that time. They worked with stealth using all their vast riches to manipulate every aspect of life in the kingdom as they had previously bought the services of every town crier across the land.
Slowly but surely the darkness in the land grew. Violence against others and threats against them became commonplace. The population of the magical kingdom grew fearful and wondered what was happening in their peaceful land looking back into their common past to see if they could glean some insight into what was taking place in their country that disturbed them so terribly.
Some of their scholars indeed did locate a time of even greater darkness when black knights emerged from lands far to the west and invaded the magical kingdom bringing death and destruction with them as they pursued their own enemy for purposes of their own. At that time brethren and sisters had joined the black nights in this quest with a view to bringing more strength to the magical land and more clearly defining her borders.
Much wickedness occurred in this time long before. Many died, many homes were burned or destroyed, fields were set ablaze, livestock stolen and great wrongs done across vast swathes of the country and the country of the black knight’s enemy to the east. In that time many souls were darkened and an evil allowed to rest in many hearts. Though this change in hearts was clearly seen, those who were infected refused to acknowledge it, but instead boasted of their valour and celebrated the deaths of their friend’s enemy.
The scholar reported back to the peasantry gathered round his door one further disturbing fact. The signs and symbols of the black knights were the very same that had appeared on walls and on notices in recent times and, according to his investigations among the community around and about there was a great linkage between those events of long ago and the outrages being seen in his and their day. He knew of one family where, pretending ignorance he discovered that one who had been in league with the knights had passed his inner demons down to his father who had in turn passed them down to his own son who had spoken in the harshest terms possible to the scholar.
What he had told the scholar was this:
They were the reborn of the sign of the skull. They would further the cause of those who had fought and died at the side of the black knights in those long ago days, that they were now gathering to take back the control that was their birthright from the king, his courtiers and army. This gathering was to take place in the following months as winter’s bite was in the air and they would remain in the capital fighting their good fight against the evils of the dominators who resided in the palace until every one of them was brought low and they alone would reign.
The peasants gathered around the professor’s door were shocked. There was a great intake of breath as they heard these unwelcome tidings. Some of them looked pensive and the scholar enquired of them why. The answer he received was disturbing. They told him their own grandfathers and fathers had told them something of the war that had taken place in the time he spoke of. They had explained how the people of the east of the kingdom had resisted the black knights and also those from the kingdom who helped them and that they had even welcomed the red knights of the eastern land into their homes when they defeated the black knights and cherished their memory.
The scholar recognised the portent of these facts and recognised also that it was the eastern folk of the kingdom who were the most loyal supporters and believers of the king and his worth. He wondered what might happen to these eastwarders if those aligned with the boy he had interviewed won their war against the king and he was filled with foreboding.
And so it came to pass that the scholar’s fears were justified. The dark forces, including the boy he had spoken to had brought fire and destruction down on the capital city over many months and that they had had support from far countries to the west that many knew little of till that moment. The fighting had been fierce and many on both sides had died. But it was when the greatest number died on the side of the dark ones by mysterious means that the final victory was achieved with the abdication of the king and a new governing authority partly arranged by the far western outsiders began to rule.
It was then that the scholar’s further fears were also realised. The focus of the triumphant winners of the war against the king turned to the old foe in the east who had opposed their forefathers and aligned themselves with the hated red knights of the east. The determination then was to march on them and make them repent, even giving up the language of the red knights which they had long taken unto themselves.
Meanwhile, in the east nothing had escaped the notice of the people there. They had seen their king deposed along with his courtiers and army and knew they could never again hope to see their favourites once again returned to power. They knew too that they were hated and despised by the dark forces of the west of their land. They had not lost the memory of the great war and what their forebears had suffered under the yoke of the black knights. They prepared a bid for freedom, deposing the regulators who collected their taxes and sent them west.
This move enraged the dark forces of the west and made their determination to deal once and for all with the easterners using the might of the army now under their control. Alongside the army they sent their most violent warriors who most hated the easterners and all their ways. They made no differentiation between old and young, male or female, all were ‘Redbreaths’ to them and all, in their minds, deserved to die.
Eight years of siege then befell the easterners but they were determined to maintain themselves, their cultural allegiances to the legendary red knights, to their language given as legacy from much intermarriage down many centuries and they survived though fourteen thousand of their number did perish.
It was then, long after they had been beseeched to come, that the red knights returned to overpower those who had threatened and killed their brethren, the easterners. In a long hard fight they began to master the dark forces of the west.
It was due to this intervention after long years of wrangling for a peaceful way out of the impasse between west and east that a strange and wonderful thing began to occur in favour of the dark forces of the west, a magical thing, something that no one had considered might be possible and which seemed destined to ensure that the western dark forces won out in this final war against the east.
It was as if a magical shield of force appeared along the borders of the land and that this magical shield also sprang up in the minds of the populations of nations bordering the magical land. These fields of magical force limited all minds to seeing only the present and blocked out all access to the past. It was as if all the people of these many lands had an instant curse of amnesia inflicted upon them. Through this magical field the dark forces of the land next to them appeared garbed in saintly white and those who had been attacked by them were all black as night. And in addition to this those who had come to rescue them, the red knights, were seen as devils with sharp, shining white teeth dripping with blood and issuing blood-curdling cries of evil intent.
This magical ‘fluence filled almost every mind in the bordering lands and filled every heart with hatred toward the easterners and the red knights most of all. Massive campaigns donated money to assist the dark western forces and all kinds of offers of help were suggested across their territories seeking to do everything possible to defeat the devils from the east as they were perceived to be.
This magical field was strong and permeated all levels of the countries bordering the kingdom. Its ‘fluence was felt from top to bottom with all kings, queens, courtiers and populations of every bordering land affected and even it was heard, across lands far far away. This condition meant that no word of any kind was heard in favour of those of the east, not one. And no news of any positive kind was considered. They were painted coal black and evil by the magical ‘fluence that emanated, it was later found, from the western capital of the western half of the kingdom and magnified ten times over by the far western land that had helped initiate the downfall of the previous king. This magical ‘fluence was then enhanced and spread, gaining in strength as it did so across all lands bordering where the war, as it was now a full-fledged war, was taking place.
All the lands mentioned above believed all was going well for their chosen dark forces. Every town crier rang the praises of them and gave tidings of success against the devils of the east and their invading red beasts.
Meanwhile, within the magical kingdom things were remarkably different from the news being spread outside the magical walls the western kingship had erected. Instead of the dark force of westerners winning the war it was instead those of the east backed in force by the welcome intervention at long last of the red knights. Battles were being won by them and the dark forces were rapidly being surrounded, defeated or trapped in what the easterners called cauldrons where they were contained until they surrendered, melted away or chose to die.
None of this managed to penetrate the magical wall into the minds of the inhabitants of the surrounding lands most of whom had a parallel wall within their very minds which controlled their thoughts to the last.
However, the last battle came soon enough. After one month of war a great shock was felt across all bordering lands as the magical wall on the borders of their neighbour collapsed as did the wall in their minds as the dreadful truth emerged. They had been swept up in a mesmerising swirl of lies, non-facts that had portrayed a completely deceiving picture of events in their neighbour’s land. Town criers and governing officials and even kings and queens were questioned as to how this could be… though few answers were forthcoming. All the various elites continued to insist they had been telling the truth.
Over in the magical kingdom many changes were made when the easterners won and began their quest to return normality to it. Things were arranged so that nothing like the events of the past or far history could ever occur again. The mythologies of the black knights and their adherents in modern times were banned, alliances with western far lands were also banned and those who had fought as with the black knights in days of old were either jailed or made to make amends to those they had maligned, murdered and kept in siege for the eight years just passed.
A new king was crowned with new courtiers and a ceremonial army which replaced the old now disbanded army which had fought so cruelly against its own citizens. The red knights withdrew gradually to their kingdom though leaving a fair few in the eastern province which now gained its statehood as protection against the possibility, though now remote, of further attacks upon it.
And so it was that the world continued to spin, the stars, planets and moon were still in their places, the sun rose every morning on a renewed and happy land and the population of the magical kingdom was content that the positive magic they had known before the dark times appeared was now with them once more, and what is more… was here to stay.