Free Day #3…

HM15 286(Illustration Eric Winter)

FREE DAY

The King of Morphlance was a moderate man.
By this I mean that he was a man who preached moderation in all things and that, rather surprisingly, he also acted in accordance with this doctrine himself. As one might expect of such a man he ruled his kingdom with a natural caution endeavouring at all times to serve his subjects’ best interests without resorting to extremes. He considered himself to be a fair and just King and was, it is true, as fair and as just as any King could moderately hope to be. But with the passing years this moderation came to be a great source of dissatisfaction to him for, as is perhaps natural in a man of declining years, he harboured a secret yearning to be remembered after his death. But his was a kingly desire and he yearned to be remembered not as a moderate King but as a truly great King for he knew what it was in the minds of men that made them remember. So it was that in times of contemplation the moderate monarch of Morph-Lance reviewed his reign and realised with disappointment and regret that nothing very outstanding at all had happened during the thirty years in which he had occupied the throne. There had been no wars: hardly so much as a minor disagreement with any of the neighbouring kingdoms. There had not even been any natural disasters of note. No plagues, famines, earth-quakes. No, all in all his reign had been, upon reflection, a rather dull affair. Indeed, under his rule the people of Morph-Lance went about their business much as they had done before he ascended the throne, much as he imagined they would do after he had vacated it with no one to notice or remember his passing. If his name appeared at all in the history books, next to it would be an enormous blank.
Thus did the moderate monarch’s thoughts run, so that, as he stood by his window on a good day, looking out far and wide across all his lands, an idea came to him that was at once both pleasant and surprising: the more the King thought, the more he became convinced that it was nothing less than a splendid idea and so all that morning the King wandered about his castle, a secret smile upon his face, a special light in his eye, muttering:
‘Splendid!’
‘Splendid…’ to himself and chuckling merrily, it was to be sure, a very immoderate thought.
Towards midday the King wearied of gathering strange looks and questioning stares from his courtiers and friends and so he retired to his chambers, there to set about putting his splendid, immoderate idea down on paper. All the rest of that day and long into the night he laboured, refusing food and drink, shunning all company, until finally the work was complete.
The King stood back admiring his craftsmanship. His idea looked all the more impressive now that it had been expressed upon paper.
“A genuine work of art.” the King declared whilst rolling it up into a scroll and slipping it under his bed where it was safe…

The Aetheling Thing

HM15 287(Illustration Eric Winter)

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