The Annals of Eutoria: The Ascension of the Angels
Tales of Invasions, wars, conquests and revolutions have been told many a time. This is one such tale, differing by not much, from such other tales and from reality itself, from history itself. Long before the world was one connected by telephone lines, air transport and the internet and yet divided over race, religion and gods, there were lands connected only by water and divided by a lot more than just gods and religion, divided by men trying to wield their power and control over the masses. Yes, people always see the past as a time of a more simple, peaceful and blissful living, unlike the present they live in and the potential future, that they prophesise, based on their present. But they fail to see that the past was no less brutal, if not more, as the present and the unknown future. We live in a period of great torment, with people giving less importance to love and more importance to wealth, explosions killing people in hundreds and unknown diseases eradicating mankind in millions and our own actions or should we say, our inactions and ignorance towards the dangers, our dear mother earth is facing, waiting to kill us in billions in the future. People, facing so many dangers and distresses in their lifetime, wish to go back, to an imagined peaceful period of the past. But the past has been full of bloodshed, killing men in the name of holy crusades, not different from the jihads of the modern terrorists, burning women in the name of witchcraft, invading new lands and making the natives, slaves in the name of colonisation and much, much more. People say that terrorism is relatively a modern age problem, but it has been existent for centuries. People against whom, the acts of violence have been done, call the ones, causing them as terrorists or rebels, whereas the ones, who do such acts, for their own people, call themselves martyrs. The branding of a group of people, as martyrs or terrorists, depends on where you stand, with them or against them. This tale deals with such views of the people, about a group of youngsters, who call themselves as rebels and think themselves as martyrs, but are seen by others, as terrorists and the protagonist, lingers between the two views and realises, which is the right description, as he grows from one of the martyrs/terrorist, into a mature ruler.
Eutoria, a massive island continent, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far away and secluded, from the other parts of the world, had its own share of a bloody history. The continent comprised of five countries, Helectoria , Synthia, Grittenburn, Pentora and Brigantine. Brigantine was separated from the other parts of the continent and was connected to Pentora, only by a small chain of smaller islands. The waters to the east of mainland Eutoria and to the west of Brigantine, on which, the small chain of islands existed, was called by the Eutorians as the Euru Sea. But it was not just the Euru sea, that separated Brigantine from the rest of the Eutoria, but it were the Brigantines themselves, who chose to cut links with the outside world.
The Brigantines were a warrior race and due to their non interaction, with the other parts of Eutoria, people saw them as a mysterious lot. It was natural for humans to make up rumours and conspiracies, about the things they did not know or fully understand and Brigantine was one such place that was shrouded in mystery and to add to that, the Brigantines were hostile to the ones, who attempted to step into their lands. Synthians and Grits had many of their renowned explorers and tradesmen killed by them. Their only interaction was with the Helectorians, who held trade with them, but even they were not allowed, to set their foot in mainland Brigantine. They held their trade in one of the islands, that connected Brigantine and Pentora and this island was the closest anyone could get to Brigantine.
While Brigantine was a country, about which people knew very little, Pentora was a country of a different kind. It had no king or government, it had no cities or towns, just a large number of villages. There was a council that was seen as the administrative powerhouse of Pentora, which consisted of the heads of various villages. This council of heads were no good, in providing the people of their country, what they wanted. Whenever there was some complaint from the people regarding some problem, the council did very little to help them and the politics among the heads were given much more importance than the problem itself and the people were really disappointed with them. This was the state of Pentora and the grits used this to their advantage.
Grittenburn was one of the most advanced and prosperous nation in Eutoria. Their demographic size might have been very small but their advancements were far ahead, compared with their neighbours. The literacy rates were very high and the standard of living was the best in all of Eutoria. But not everything was in their favour, as Grittenburn was known for its disasters. The entire country lay close to a major fault line in the north and the seismic activity in the region was quiet high, leading to massive earthquakes and tidal attacks. Destruction was consistent and a large number of people lost their lives every year. This was used as reason for its king, to step into the neighbouring Synthia.
Synthia was a massive country with abundant resources and had a rich culture, tradition and history. But like all nations, which had deep roots, advancements were a little slow. The population was one of the largest in Eutoria. Despite their large population and abundant resources, there was not much development and the reason being their kings.”Kings” for a single Eutorian nation, was not something that one would hear every day, but that had been the trend, for several years, in Synthia. The country was divided into seven kingdoms, each not favourable towards the other. Skirmishes were frequent and casualties were much more, than from the earthquakes in Grittenburn. The most bizarre thing about Synthia was that, it was an ever changing country, with no proper internal political boundaries. Each king constantly tried to invade the other and sometimes one king managed to gain more territory and sometimes lost parts of his own kingdom and the people living in the borders, were constantly changing, from being under the rule of one king to another. The kings were keener on fighting with each other that very little was done to improve the lives of their people. This lack of unity made them an easy target for other powerful countries like Grittenburn and Helectoria, to try and make Synthia their own.
Helectoria was a large country to the west of Synthia and one of the countries, which was relatively neutral with every other country, except Synthia. Border disputes with the various Synthian kingdoms were something that was frequent, for several decades. It was the only country, to hold trade with Grittenburn and not seen as trouble by anyone, as each country saw themselves superior to the Helectorians. Though everyone saw Synthia as the most backward country, the Synthians themselves saw Helectorians as their equals and rivals in economy, trade, military and in every other field. The Synthians did not consider themselves backward, as they did not really understand the extent of Grittenburn’s development and nobody really knew how Brigantine was. So it was all about Synthia and Helectoria all the time and for the Synthians, it was all about one kingdom to another. Their world was Synthia and the Helectorians were just outsiders who wanted to be better than them.
The seven Synthian kingdoms included Raeburn, Thenilia, Merethos, Esther, Tresmond, Drumlet and Canola and the kings of each of these kingdoms, became allies with one another at one particular time, to fight the other kings of Synthia and these allies changed into enemies another time, as the enemies became allies. These alliances and declaration of wars were so frequent that the people of one kingdom, no longer trusted people of other kingdoms. All kingdoms were foes all the time, and the time their kings become allies, was just a time of ceasefire, a temporary period of peace, with that particular kingdom. But things had to change over time and change was what happened, when the grit king turned his attention towards Synthia. As a consequence of this change, the seven kings of Synthia, gathered together in the Raeburn capital Caser, under the invitation of its wise king, a rarity among the Synthian kings of that generation, Lord John Pastus.
“Welcome everyone, an honour it is for me to have you great men in my palace. King Lionel of Thenilia, King Julian of Merethos, King Niall of Tresmond, King Richmond of Drumlet, King Darius of Esther and King Clovis of Canola, I am pleased to see, that my invitation, has been considered by every single one of you and in spite of all our differences, you have all come here and I believe you have done so having fully understood, the extent of this great threat, we are facing right now.”
“John, don’t tell me you are considering these grits, a threat...”
“Annoying pests perhaps, but definitely not a threat, eh Lionel?”
“Rightly said Darius...”
“I would not take them so lightly,” Julian was not really comfortable, with the two men underestimating the grits, especially after having personally seen, what they were capable of.
“Why do you say so Julian? And what is with your face? You don’t look so good. Is it perhaps you are discomforted by our presence? It is not every day, you see the seven kings of Synthia, in the same room, trying to have a conversation,” asked Clovis, who was not comfortable with the grits as well, though he was not afraid of them, on seeing the other kings not showing so much concern. He did feel a little insecure, but he was known for being insecure, all the time.
“Clovis, a lot has happened in the recent days, and the situation does not look so good.”
“John, your words does not make us feel better. What is it? Tell us what had happened?” Richmond, the other sensible one after John, was really curious at Julian’s reaction and John’s words.
“Last night, a large army of grit soldiers attacked the Merethian capital, Morue...”
“Oh so you sent them back home yourself, Julian?” asked Niall, to his latest ally.
“Niall, please... Be patient, things did not go well. Morue was lost... along with a large number of its inhabitants.”
“The grits defeated your men? How could that happen? You have a very good...uh, a pretty decent force.”
“They were powerful Niall, too powerful...”
“Accept the fact, that your men were not competent enough, to defend their lands, Julian”
“Darius please, let us not add to his torment,” John came to his defence,” Julian, tell us what exactly happened.”
“Last night, I was resting in my palace, when my commander informed me, of his scouts, having seen a small contingent of grit soldiers, a few miles from my capital. I did not take them to be a problem and I gave him orders, to deal with them himself. An hour later, he returned informing that there were hundreds of grits soldiers, invading the capital. I straight away deployed every man I had in the capital and I went to the scene of the battle myself. My men had managed to push them a little distance away, from the main city and that made me confident, that we were going to get rid of them easily but I...I was wrong.”
Julian closed his eyes, lowering his head and fell silent. The other kings were watching him, waiting for him to complete his sentence, but they understood from his reaction, that he had seen something really horrifying.
“Julian!” John placed his hand on his shoulder, gesturing him to continue.
“They...they were brutal, they used some sort of device or sorcery, I don’t know what it was. Their men fled back from us, even though they were winning. We thought we had succeeded and we started celebrating and then came the horror. We heard a horn blow and down came huge balls of fire. Each were a size of a small house and five to six such fireballs, came down in a matter of few seconds, crushing my men in dozens together. So many men died right in front of my eyes and I could do nothing. I had to flee from the capital, to save myself and now my capital is gone.”
“You lost your entire territory to the grits?”
“No, just my capital”
“But if they have your capital, then they have control over your entire kingdom, right?”Asked Clovis, who was now, beginning to actually fear the grits.
“No, I and the remaining men, fled from Morue to Luan and now, I have declared Luan, to be the new Merethian capital. But I am not sure, how long it would be, before the grits invaded Luan as well.”
“So what steps have you taken to defend, from their further attacks?” Clovis hoped that Julian would do something, to stop them, before the grits captured Merethos completely. He was afraid that once Merethos was captured, his own kingdom might be at risk, even though his kingdom was in the far south of Synthia.
“My entire army has been put on alert and preparations are being made, even as we speak, to launch an attack on the grits, to recapture Morue, but I had to be here, to warn the rest of you.”
“Yes Richmond, Julian has some valuable information, which needs to be given the importance, it deserves,” John wanted to make sure, the rest of them took the message that Julian was about to say, very seriously. ”Especially you and Niall.”
“Yes, I sent a few spies into the grit camps, stationed in Morue, this morning and they found out, that the grits were looking to invade and capture a large part of Synthia and their eyes are not only on Merethos, but on the whole of Synthia. They are planning to attack us, in all directions and my scouts heard that large armies are being brought in from Grittenburn, to the Tresmond and Drumlet borders. They might attack you, in the next couple days. You have to be prepared with your men, to counter their attack.”
“Those grits trying to step into my territory? How dare they? I’ll show them what happens, if they mess with the Tresmond people.”
“Niall calm down, you should plan your actions here. From what we hear from Julian, they seem to have some sort of a powerful siege weapon or something similar. They have always been a powerful army. Though I have not personally faced him, I have heard from tradesmen and senators, who have gone to Grittenburn, a lot. I think this is a serious problem and it is better if we fight them together, than fight them individually.”
“John, we Thenilians do not need any assistance. We can fight our own battles and so when the grits show up on our doors, we will handle them ourselves” said the proud Thenilian king, who had all along remained silent, observing the others, trying to find out, if they had plotted, to jointly fight him. He was surprised to see the Raeburn king, sending him an invitation, for a conversation. The Thenilians were the most powerful warriors among the Synthians and they have been a formidable opponent to the other Synthian kings. They have had their own share of defeats, but it was much less, than the other kings had against them. The mention of the Thenilians, always caused unease among the soldiers, who were to fight them. Lionel had always felt that the other kings would know that they have less chance of beating his forces, on their own and someday would join to fight against him and he suspected this conversation, to be a plot against him.
“I think we should do as John says. If the Merethians were unable to fight them, then the rest of us would have little chance.”
“Clovis, you should first let go of your fears and show some courage. Secondly, you should keep your opinions to yourself. Nobody asked you to speak for us. You might be afraid to fight them, but that does not mean, that we cannot handle ourselves. And as for Julian, I’ve never seen him as a good strategist or a warrior or a king for that matter. No wonder his forces failed. No matter how many men you have at your disposal, you need a good leader to lead them and the Merethians have not been blessed on that front. So I, Darius, can fight them myself and I don’t want to be part of anything that involves you lot.”
“Mind your tongue, Darius! You have no right to say what sort of a leader, Julian or any of us are. If you want to fight alone, do so. The rest of us will work things out. That goes for you too Lionel,” said the king of Drumlet.
“Richmond please, I am happy to see, that you’ve agreed to fight with us, but I want everyone to stay together and fight for this one nation, Synthia. We need to put our difference aside, Synthia needs us to be together. The grits are not to be taken lightly. Please we need your cooperation, Lionel and Darius.”
“Just them? You don’t need the armies of Tresmond, in your fight?”
“Niall, I thought you were already with us?”
“What made you think so Clovis? I never agreed to fight with you,” said Niall
“Don’t do this, you are my ally and you need to be with us, when we need you,” said the Merethian King
“Julian, I feel sorry for your defeat and I would be happy to provide you, with money or men, but that would be only for you. I don’t want to join with the rest of them. And I am fully capable of fighting the grits myself and that is what I am going to do. So do not try to convince me and if you do so, I am afraid I would have to break our alliance. If you join with my enemy, you become my enemy as well.”
“Our enemy is the grit king. We need to stop seeing each other as enemies and fight together. I have been saying this for years now and nobody seem to be listening to me,” said Pastus, seemingly frustrated.
“Oh is it John? If you want to be allies, then why did you fight the Esther army last year?” asked the Thenilian king.
“Lionel, I did not initiate that battle. Darius tried to take over the land, that belonged to the Raeburn people and I had to defend my territory and my people and that is what I did.”
“MY people, MY territory? If you really want Synthia, to belong to everyone, you should have let my people, move in there as well.”
“Darius, I do not mind giving the kingdom that belongs to me, for the cause of this great nation, which was not split as it is today, several years ago. I want a single Synthian kingdom, under a single king and I want a noble king, to lead my men.”
“So you say I am not noble? How rude of you? You invite us and then insult us?”
“Darius, this is not the reason for this gathering. We have to see how to face the grit threat.”
“No threat at all, I will show you that, by defeating them, when they attack my territory, in the coming days.”
“John, leave them, if they want to fight alone, let them. The others are willing to fight alongside you. Even if the grits are not a threat and if one of these kings, do manage to send them back, we would have at least made attempts, to bring the relationship, between the other kingdoms, closer and better. This might indeed, be a step towards a united Synthia. You have my full cooperation,” assured Richmond.
“You have my cooperation as well, John. I presume we don’t have any other choice. I can’t afford to lose any more men or any more territory and I have to regain Morue back.”
“I agree to join you, but it is not out of fear or insecurity. But to improve the relationship between the kingdoms, as Richmond said,” Clovis tried to hide his true fears.
“Good, I am pleased by your promise of assistance. But I still want the rest of you, to join us as well.”
“Not going to happen, John, I think we have talked enough, I am taking my leave. Thank you for your hospitality,” Lionel stood up and began to walk out, he was clearly not happy with them, uniting. His suspicion was increasing, though he still thought, he and his men could fight the other Synthians or the grits, if the need arises.
“I have to go, and thanks for having me here and for insulting me” Darius was swift to go out, without even seeing, the reaction of the rest of them.
“Now that you have agreed to fight with them, our alliance is off Julian. You don’t need my assistance anymore and neither do I. The grits shall be defeated, by my forces and you will regret changing sides,” Niall left the room, not realising that it was him, who was going to regret.
In the capital of Grittenburn, there was another meeting, this, by the members of the grit senate, under the invitation of the grit king, Lord Thesen. The twenty nine year old, young king of Grittenburn, was a man known by many, as the greatest king to rule the country and the bravest, kindest and noblest. And there were a few, who knew the real face of the deceiving king. And these few were either his inner circle, or the ones in the prison or the ones who were going to be killed or already dead. There were a few more, who did not approve Thesen’s actions, but they were not brave enough, to cite them or oppose, except for a few men, who had the liberty, to only ask his justification, but not disapprove him completely, as if done so, will lead them to the prison. He was crowned the king at a very young age, by his father, King Jacob, who was getting sick, after losing favour among his people. His wife felt that he needed some rest and recommended Thesen, to be crowned and even though, he felt that Thesen was not ready yet, he reluctantly made him the king. He regretted it, not for making him, the king before he was ready, but for thinking, he was not ready to be the king and for making him the king, not knowing his true self. A lot had happened since then and there he was, as the most favoured king in the Grittenburn history.
“Welcome, senators, I have some very good news to share with you,” the handsome grit king said, his face gleaming with joy and pride.” Our forces have defeated the Synthian army, belonging to the Merethian Kingdom and we have captured their capital Morue. It might be a small step towards our goal, but certainly an important and impressive step.”
There was a loud cheer in the large senate. Everyone was happy at the accomplishment of their king, except for a handful of senators, who belonged to his father’s era and were not favourable towards his actions, but always remained low, to save themselves. There was one senator however, who was really not afraid of Thesen, Senator Philip.
“May I interrupt my lord?”
“Ah Senator Philip, good to see you here, yes, you are welcome to speak. There can be no other place, to express your thoughts freely and openly, as in this senate.”
“Thank you my lord, I just have a few questions. How many of our men died?”
“We’ve had a small loss...”
“A small loss for a great gain...”
Thesen was annoyed by the senator’s interruption and the questioning, ruining his moment of glory. But he did not want to openly insult him, as that would affect his reputation in the senate, even though many of the senators were his lapdogs.
“My men have estimated around... one sixty soldiers.”
“A small loss?”
“Compared to the great gain for the country”
“A great gain for you, a great loss for the country.”
“Pardon me senator! Are you accusing me for this loss? Everything I do is for the country and nothing for my own. Were you not aware, as to why this invasion was actually initiated? The earthquake last year and the subsequent tidal attacks had killed several thousand of our people and destroyed a large portion of our country. Many coastal towns and villages are still under water. Our men of science have predicted that these quakes and tidal attacks would continue for years to come and our land would slowly sink beneath the ocean, in a few decades. Our landmass is already a small one and we need more space for our people. We have to move inward further, towards the central parts of Eutoria, that is, into Synthia. Only then would we even have a chance, to survive. Don’t you know that, this was the reason we had to go into Synthia? ”
“This loss of lives could have been avoided, if we had chosen a more diplomatic path. You could have asked the Synthians, some land in exchange for other resources.”
“Ask whom? The king? Which King? Their country is divided into numerous kingdoms and the kings are not unified and they are at war with each other, all the time. Even if we ask anyone of them, do you think they are going to just give? Each king is trying to show himself superior over the other and superiority depends on how many people you rule, how much territory you have and how much money the region generates. Do you think they would give us their land, if we just asked them? No one would.”
“Did you try talking to anyone of them? Or are you assuming yourself that they would not accept? This is a very serious issue and we can’t make decisions based on assumptions.”
“I did speak to one, the Tresmond king, Niall. I did not speak to him myself, but sent a small party as representatives, to talk to him. He was not interested in talking to them, but they somehow managed to meet him and when he listened to our request, he thoroughly insulted them and told us to do what we can to get the lands. I would not blame him, no one would be willing to give up vast lands, for a neighbouring country, irrespective of the resources we send in exchange. Especially in a place like Synthia, where there are plenty of skirmishes, between their own people, for the land. Diplomacy did not work there and I am sure that I am going to get the same reply from the other kings as well. I do not want to get insulted and I do not want to embarrass my people. War is the only way, we can get their land. Have I not already discussed all this, when I got the approval from the senate, for initiating the attack?”
In Grittenburn, even though the King was the supreme leader, the decisions regarding the country, were not taken by himself. He had to speak to the senate, which comprised of men specialising in all fields, including politics. The senators were predominantly, elderly men with vast amounts of experience and knowledge, but there were also younger ones, with bright minds and great levels of shrewdness. All major issues had to be discussed with the senators and if they approved of carrying out a decision, the king could implement it. Thesen, though during his initial years, as the king, was completely bound by them and his father, in decision making, he was able to break through them and cleverly place men, who were loyal to him, in the top levels of the senate, with more than a quarter of the senate, in his favour. The rest of the men were not generally with or against him, but Thesen was able to manipulate them, with the help of his loyal senators, to do what he wanted. But there were a few, who were completely against him and were very clever, in seeing through him, but Thesen always managed, to hold them off in some way. Senator Philip was one such man and he was the one, causing him most trouble, for a long time.
Senator Philip was a highly respected man and had been in the senate, since his father’s period and so everyone had great respect for him and he had quite an influence among the other senators, as well as the people. Thesen, even though, annoyed by him, did not try to do anything against him thus far, as he did not want unnecessary trouble and decided to remain tolerant with him. But his patience was running out and he was planning to get rid of him, somehow, if he continued to be a pest.
“We did speak of this earlier and I was against this war then as well, but the majority were with you and you were able to do what you wanted. I just want to make everyone here realise that waging this war against the Synthians, is not a good idea. They might not be as advanced as us, but they do have a large number of soldiers and our numbers are nothing, compared to them. The losses would be heavy on both sides and this loss of lives could be avoided, if we talk to them again. We have already proven our point, by fighting them and capturing this city of theirs. I am against that, but still this action, has managed to gain their attention and I am sure this attack would have made them soften their stance against us. They too would prefer a peaceful solution for this issue and this would be a right time to once again hold talks with them.”
“This would not work Senator” Thesen knew, that Philip was right and a peaceful talk with the Synthians, might help them achieve more land for their people, but Thesen’s real plan, was not just a few hundred acres of land. He wanted to rule the entire country of Synthia. He wanted to be the supreme ruler in all of Eutoria and he needed the rich resources and the large population that Synthia had. With the Synthians under his rule, his military might would increase drastically and along with his advanced weaponry, he would be able to go on with his ambitions of conquering other countries, like Helectoria and Brigantine. Pentora was already within his control. Three years after he had become the king of Grittenburn, he turned his attention towards Pentora. He realised that the people there were not really pleased with their administrative power, the council of village heads. Though the Pents were rich in culture and the people were relatively wealthy, unlike the Synthians and much more civilized than many grits themselves, they were not able to get what they wanted, because of the lack of a proper ruler. The council was highly unreliable and they wanted someone to step up and hold responsibility. They needed someone, who could look after their queries and fulfil their needs and they needed someone to answer them. Unlike other parts of the world, the people of Pentora developed on their own, without the help of a government, king or in this case, their council. Many individuals tried to come up, to lead the nation, but the village heads united, only against such men and made sure, they did not go further in their mission. The village heads, did not do their job themselves, neither did they allow anyone else to do it.
Thesen used the situation well to his advantage. He observed them for a while, after he came to know of the unrest among the pents. He found the right opportunity to interact and to try to bring the village heads to his side. Every man, who tried to lead Pentora, made a mistake of opposing the village heads straight away, but Thesen did not make that mistake. He started with providing money and resources in the form of good will to the council for the country of Pentora. The people and the village heads welcomed his good gesture. He continued to provide them, whatever they wanted, regularly and he gained a reputation among the pents and the village heads too appreciated him and did their bit to praise him in front of the people, trying to please him for his generosity. They did not see him as a competitor or opponent or as someone, who was going to steal the power they had from them. But that was what he did. He used his men to invoke anger, among the already frustrated pents, about the uselessness of the council. His men spoke to them about various issues and they manipulated the pent people to question the incompetence of their council. A small uprising was created and this grew over the days and became nationwide, as people from many villages decided to take on the council. Riots broke out and protests were held everywhere against the council and chaos engulfed the nation. The council was really surprised, by the sudden revolt by the people and decided to stop the ones causing them, to control the situation. The village heads had their own share of followers, who they used to fight the ones protesting. The whole country was split into two factions, the people with the village heads and the ones against them. Thesen watched everything that was happening and when the tensions between the two factions reached a peak, he stepped in and tried to act as the peacemaker and he earned a good name, in both the factions.
The people, with the village heads, did not want the individuals, who were trying step up for the people, to actually lead them, as they did not trust them and they preferred the village heads, who had led them for so many years, while the rest of the pents, were frustrated with the village heads and wanted things to change. They hoped for a new individual, to lead them, rather than a council and they wanted any one of the several men, who stepped forward, to lead the country. Thesen, having earned a good name with the two factions, used his men among the pents, to manipulate the people once again, to choose him as their leader, as doing that would satisfy the needs of both the groups. The people with the village heads, can trust Thesen, as he had been leading a nation already and that too, a prosperous one, and they can confide in him, rather than on an unknown new individual, whereas the people against the village heads, wanted someone else to lead them, other than the council and Thesen was a change, they could welcome. Everyone was happy and Thesen became the new king. The individuals, who wanted to lead the people, wanted to do so, just for the betterment of the people and they were happy, with Thesen becoming their leader and they had no problems with him. But the real losers were the village heads, who were really shocked by the sudden change of events and they wanted to get back at Thesen, but they were no real match for Thesen’s cleverness. Thesen always had the habit of suppressing anyone, who wished to act against him, in their earlier stages, before they became a serious problem and he managed to capture the village heads and held them in prisons, for not doing their duties, when they were in power, for their people. By doing so, his favour among the pents increased several folds and at the same time, his potential problem makers, were in the prison. But a few of the council members, did manage to escape, but Thesen was not really worried about them, as he knew they could do nothing against his might. So that was how he captured Pentora, with no war, no diplomacy, but pure manipulation.
But he did not want to do the same in Synthia, as he knew that manipulation alone, can’t get him what he wanted. He needed everything at his disposal, wealth, influence, military, manipulation, deception and everything else he was famous for, to actually get a country, as diverse as Synthia, under his control. And he began his campaign, by using his assets, against his own senators and people. He used the major natural disaster that occurred the previous year, as a reason to go into Synthia. He prepared a false report using his men, that Grittenburn was in danger and they had just a few years, to save themselves before their homeland was completely engulfed in water. Grittenburn though modern, still had people who were superstitious and he wanted to convince these people too and he used false prophets, to spread the news of impending doom for Grittenburn. All these reports and prophesies, greatly affected the state of mind of the people and everybody were made to believe, that they needed to move to a more secure location. Thesen pointed towards Synthia for the movement and he convinced the senate, that the Synthians were not willing to let them in and only through force, can they get what they want. He had managed to get their approval and also the allocation of the money, necessary for the campaign. His men have had their first success by capturing Morue and everything was going the way he wanted, but now the old senator, was threatening to ruin everything.
“Each Synthian kingdom is against the other and the differences between the various kings, would give us the chance, to easily defeat them. There is no point in holding dialogues with each king, as we can be quite sure, that nobody is going to accept us and be willing to give up land for us, as I have already stated, the Synthians kings need their land to show their might and power over the others and they have been fighting for years, to capture each other’s lands. Do you think they are going to give us, some of those lands they’ve fought for, just like that? It is better if we strike them when they are not expecting us. Our success in Morue, would make the other kings think, that we are fighting just the Merethians and they won’t have a problem with us. But we are going to strike multiple kingdoms at the same time, as doing so would make it easy for us, to succeed in this campaign. We have to attack them before they make preparations and we will have more chances of winning, if we fight before those kings band together, seeing that they can’t fight us individually, anymore. I am sure they will band together, once they see our real power and we have to destroy as many of their troops, before they get together, as fighting the entire army of Synthia, would make it difficult... not impossible, but definitely difficult to defeat them, than fighting the armies of individual kingdoms.”
“Lord Thesen, pardon me, but your statements don’t make any sense. We can’t fight an entire nation for the sake of a few hundred acres of land. Even considering the reasons you’ve put forward for this invasion, don’t you think we need to have control over only a small portion of one of the kingdoms? Why do you intend to fight several kingdoms? Fighting one of them would be enough, though I don’t support even that and I do believe diplomacy is the only way to get what we want. If they do not agree, we have to go look for other lands. It is best to search for lands to the north. We can send explorers and troops there, to sail and find new lands. It is quiet disappointing to see, a country such as ours, which has made so much progress in several major fields, has done very little in exploration. We call the Brigantines, as people not living with the outside world, but we ourselves have been hesitant to go beyond Eutoria. Our men in the past have stepped into new lands and we can find old maps, leading to these lands, if we do some searching. We should focus our time and money at such tasks, rather than trying to kill a large number of people. I do not think you are doing this for your people. You are doing this for your own sake, for your lust for power, you have to accept that Thesen.”
All the men within the senate hall were really surprised, to see senator Philip, openly accusing their king. Many of them were loyal followers of Thesen and they were quick to display their disappointment and disapproval of the senator’s behaviour.
“Senator Philip, it is not wise to accuse our king. You might have to answer to a lot of people.”
“You need to apologise to him right away senator.”
“Yes he should apologise”
One by one Thesen’s senators, kept adding pressure on Philip, to apologise.
“Senators please calm down... No use trying to justify your actions, against someone who is not willing to see what is right and is only focused on accusing you. Senator Philip here has long been having hatred towards me for some reason and has always been trying to bring down my reputation and the influence that I have among the people. I do not know why he is doing this, but let me tell everybody something. My father gave me the responsibility of leading this great country at a very young age with no real experience. My only guide was my father, but he himself did not have good name amongst his people and his ways of handling things were very different and I began to understand why his subjects were not really favourable towards him. I realised that many of the things that he was doing, was in fact against the subjects and he was just trying to enjoy the power, he had over the people. I did not at first understand his ways, but once I found about it I knew that I had to put an end to it and you know everything else. I came outside his influence and began to see everything in my own way and I’ve continued to see everything in my way but not for me, but for you. You would all agree that every decision I’ve made, have always been correct and it has, all the time, only done good for the people. I’ve sacrificed so much for this country. I even arrested my own father for his actions against the people of Grittenburn, remember? You know how much that hurt me? I still feel horrible for being a terrible son for my father, but I had to be a good ruler for my people and I could not be both and so I sacrificed the love that I had for my father, for the people. What else do you expect from me? How much more do I have to do, to make you people trust me. Or would you continue to torment me and blame me and stop me from doing good for my people,” Thesen was showing his acting skills and it was working well as the neutral senators were convinced by his false tears and the support of his loyal senators, made it even more difficult, for Philip to prove his point.
“Lord Thesen, You still did not answer why you are trying to fight them, instead of finding a peaceful alternative...”
“Senator Philip, with due respect, I think it is time we put an end to these suspicions and the accusations,” one of the other senior senators, interrupted Philip and came to Thesen’s rescue.
“I do not have any hatred towards King Thesen, I just speak for the people, for the same betterment that the king speaks of. This war is going to do no good. It is only going to lead to the deaths of thousands of people...”
“Senator, the decision has been made and we have already had our first level of success, this campaign will go on. We trust the king and if he wants to fight all the Synthian kings, then we are with him.”
“Yes we are with him, we completely trust him and he would do nothing that would harm the people. People like you, are only present in the senate, to stop good things from happening.”
“Senator Philip is a highly respected man and it is not wise to speak to him in such a manner,” Philip’s own supporters came to his cause.
Soon there were a spat of arguments, exchanged between the various senators and the whole senate became chaotic. Thesen watched the several senators going at Philip and his few men, with great joy, even though his face seemed, as if he was just beaten up by a group of thugs and his expression was such that, he would make an outsider, who did not know anything that was happening, think that he was the innocent one and everyman acting against him, was Satan himself.
“Silence, silence gentlemen” one of the senators, tried to calm everyone, to continue with the meeting. But no one seemed to listen to him and everyone was keen on using the situation, to display their anger against the senators, on whom they had long had grudge upon, for different reasons. The different senators were not speaking for Thesen or for Philip, but the two groups of senators were just talking against each other and the neutral senators tried their best to bring calmness, but nothing worked. Finally they approached Thesen and requested him to do something.
“My lord, this is getting out of hand. Only you have the authority to stop them, please do something.”
“But I do not think the ones speaking for Philip are going to listen to me. If I order them now, it is only going to make them angrier.”
“But we can’t just sit and watch the senators arguing with each other like this. Who knows when one of them will lose their patience and go violent at the others. You have to do something to stop them.”
“We can sort this problem, if only the majority of the senators were with me, so that the opposing senators will know that they can’t do anything, if most of the senate was against them.”
“We will do as you say, we will speak for you.”
“But I can’t and I won’t force anyone to speak for me. I want the people to support me, only if they find what I do to be right. I want their true opinion and I would never blackmail them into doing anything.”
“Sire, we are in favour of you and we accept your decision, with all our heart.”
“Yes Sire, we are with you and we will support the cause and our votes are with you on this issue.”
The neutral senators put forth their assurances and Thesen had succeeded, once again.
“Senators please, this is not the way we should act. We will have to stay together and make decisions and not spend the time here, accusing each other. This senate is too sacred a place for such talks,” cried Thesen, to catch the attention of the quarrelling senators.
“Thesen, this is all because of you. We are with Senator Philip and we want you to end this campaign and make our soldiers come back home.”
“Then what do you propose we do? This is the right way and we will do as per our Lord’s decision,” Alistair, Thesen’s most loyal man and the prime minister, displayed his support.
“Wait we will sort this out in some other way. We will have a short poll here, whoever is in favour of this campaign, put forth your approval” said Thesen and his loyal senators and the neutral ones, except for a few neutral senators and the senators favouring Philip, stood up from their seats and raised their hands.
“Ah more than half of the senate is in favour of the campaign, I think that settles the matter, we are going forth with the campaign” announced Thesen and his senators cheered for him.
Senator Philip was disappointed by the other senators’ behaviour, but he had to salvage the situation and he stepped in.
“My lord, please forgive me, I did not mean to insult you or oppose you and I do not have any hatred on you as you think. I’ve been loyal to your father my whole life and everybody called him a tyrant. If I can show my loyalty to him, do you not think that I would show the same loyalty to you, his son, the great Lord Thesen.”
Thesen was pleased to see the senator softening his stand, but he knew that the senator did not really mean what he was saying and he was just trying to save himself from humiliation, in the senate. He was able to understand, the true meaning of each of Philip’s words. Philip was very loyal to his father and Thesen was well aware that he could not be loyal to both him and his father, as both of them were against each other and many of King Jacob’s loyalists believed that Thesen was behind his death. Thesen was quite sure, that his father’s men would never support him and that was enough to convince him that Philip can never speak for him.
“My concern is the unwanted deaths, that this war could cause and I am very much convinced that these losses can be avoided...”
“Senator, don’t start over again...”
“Fine I will stop, but nobody should mistake the care I have for my country, to that of hatred for my king. Lord Thesen is right... He has not done anything for his own personal cause. He has contributed so much for this country and as he said, he even imprisoned his own father and that did lead to his death, how can we all forget that? I am sure that all those blames, that was put on Lord Jacob, was not true and I believe his imprisonment, was an unwanted one and proper investigations should have been made, before sentencing him to prison, but that did not happen then and he died in the prison. How would an elderly man, suffering from so much illness, be able to withstand the harshness of the prison? People blamed him and Lord Thesen imprisoned him and he died.”
Thesen was fuming on the inside. It was obvious that Philip was pin pointing his mistakes and openly blaming his father’s death on him. He himself had initially said that, he was the reason, for his father’s death, but he said that to make the people realise, that he was feeling guilty of that action, as he loved his father very much, but he had done that, for the sake of the people, as everyone wanted him to be imprisoned, for his tyranny. But people like Senator Philip, who were still loyal to his father, did not forgive him and Senator Philip was reminding the other senators of that incident.
“I don’t want to speak of that now, but why I reminded everyone of that was, to show that I too understand Thesen’s feelings towards that decision of his. He did not do that because he wanted to get rid of his father and seal his place as the king...” he paused and looked at Thesen, increasing his anger even more,”...but to punish him for what he was alleged for. He did that to prove that he was the king first and a son later. That might sound wrong when you read over that line, but I meant to say, that he put the people in front as king, than his family as a son. And he has done a lot more to this country and he does not ask anything for himself. He does deserve all the money, jewelleries, courtesans, the forty acre palace in the capital and numerous other resorts and mansions and palaces and everything else he owns, he does deserve all that,” he smiled at Thesen.
Thesen’s face showed no anger or guilt, but that of innocence. Acting as they say was not just about showing an emotion that you don’t have, but also in turn hiding your true emotions, with that of something else. He was very good at that and the senator felt more uneasy, seeing no change in his reaction, but he was sure Thesen understood what he truly meant. He expected some sort of change in Thesen’s face and that change would have given Philip, the satisfaction he was craving for, but that was not to happen.
“Well anyway, I want to say that I apologise if you feel I had hurt you, my words were just misunderstood and as I said, my motives were just to make things easier for you, costing lesser lives. If things can be achieved by just talking then there is no need for war, making things easier. Very well, if the senate does choose the harder way, then nothing can be done. Let us just pray to the lord, that the war does not cost a lot of lives and just hope that people have a change of mind, before they realise that, what they are praying, for cannot be achieved.”
Once the senator was done, Thesen’s minister, Alistair stood up, “The campaign will go on and victory will be ours and Synthia will be a part of Grittenburn. All hail Lord Thesen, the King of Grittenburn, Pentora and... Synthia”, the other senators stood up and hailed his name, except Philip and his few men.
Thesen had made his mind. He was not willing to tolerate Philip anymore and that senate session proved to him, that an uprising was possible in the future and he had to prevent it by destroying the source.
Next day, the soldiers found an old man dead in his modest home. Senator Philip was declared dead, causes being natural.