Friday, December 17, 2010

The Spheres of Galia Part 9

When the King, after almost nine long years, had decided to send more troops to a remote region north of Vitnu in the Second Sphere, feeding the flames of an already unpopular war, one powerful Councilman had had enough.

Willem the Bright spoke up in the new council room where the King occupied his seat in the north, as was tradition, and the dark wooden benches of the councilmen flanked the east and west walls. The new council room was nothing compared to the architectural gem of the lost Chamber of Windows, possessing none of the old room’s history or centuries-long energetic charge. They were now gathered in a stone building once used by the Thusmec monks for storing grain and though it was large, it boasted no windows or aesthetic. Lumina globes were used to keep the chamber lit and now, due to the King’s edict, there was no space by the south wall for the common folk to occupy, the council meetings were to be a private affair.

Willem stood to hold the floor, commanding the attention of his peers. In the dim glow, his red gown was alive with shadows as the ample fabric cascaded over his slight paunch. He was of medium height and let his salt and pepper hair make an unruly wreath around his face. His face was wrinkled from a lifetime of free-flowing expression and his eyes were twinkly even in dismay behind his clean, clear spectacles.

"The Royal Guard can not create stability in a region where there is chaos,” Willem said looking over his peers and even sparing a glance at the King, “royal submission where there is no tradition of it, and honest government where corruption is almost a way of life."

A slight murmur erupted as it had become the custom since the destruction of the capital to agree unconditionally with the decisions of the King. The surviving councilmen of the ordeal had been few and terrified enough to be cowed into agreement again and again. Willem himself had been absent for a good 15 months mending a broken leg and several cracked ribs and a mysterious infection that had spread from the wounds made by his assailants. He had only recently and most insistently returned to his station. He knew things had changed. Once brave and intellectual men, councilmen who had always been up for debate and discussion, now were hiding behind eyes of fear. They had seen death, torture, he knew that terrors still lurked in their dreams, as they did in his, but the very essence of their council was crumbling from complacency and blind agreement. Their traditions were fading in this new style of governance.

"It's unnatural and unhealthy for the Kingdom to be engaged in astral crusades for some principle or idea, however grand these may be, while neglecting the needs of its own people," he said. “Our capital remains in ruins, her people remain in temporary shelters without heat, light or the running water they were once accustomed to. The schools are gone, the libraries have sustained massive damage- and we are doing nothing about it. It is as if we were allowing ourselves to be swallowed up by a dark age.” Willem removed his spectacles with a flourish.

“We are approaching the ninth anniversary of the Vitnu war. I myself mainly slept through the last year of it due to my injuries. But now I am awake, and I ask you: when does it end? The scribes are asking the same. The priests are also asking, as are the people. They say that the King and his warlords have put the Kingdom on an unsustainable path towards eternal war, something we have only heard about from ancient books. Dare we continue on this path? Soon we will be a region where there is chaos, where corruption is a way of life. We will make a desert of the Old Kingdom so that we have no need of the desert of Vitnu. We will be able to fight our own people here, if we continue on this path to destruction. The nature of our goals on Vitnu is no longer important. What we once wanted is no longer attainable, something here must change. I urge you to look past the terrible things we have recently seen and find a will to change our course.”

Willem wiped his brow and took his seat upon the bench, leaving the chamber in a silence most befitting a tomb.

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