V

Lines Drawn in The Sand

 

‘What word from my trusted and able protector?’

The Peaceful King asked his advisors; men cowed by the spectre

of a plot unfolding under their very noses.

The time for sycophancy and guarded poses

was whipped away as His Majesty hoped

for deliverance, in the form of a traitor on a rope.

 

‘No word have we received from thy Bodyguard.

The last word of the matter he was galloping hard

towards a town in the lands belonging to the traitor.

He declared that the danger he faced was no greater

than finding this band of treasonous toads.

In the guise of a bandit, he troubled the roads.’

 

‘Then it seemeth me that the roads trouble him.

What is the name of this town born of sin?’

 

‘Baronstown, Sire, a place of noble stock.’

 

‘Then it is time that these nobles were afraid of the block.

Send riders, but lest they expose all this truth,

invent ye some tale of something uncouth.’

 

The men gathered ‘round him exchanged eyes of shock.

Had The Peaceful King spoken of using the block?

 

‘Worry ye not,’ His Majesty purred,

‘for the fear of the block is sufficient in word.

It shall not fall to me to become which I hate,

lest I fail thee all to keep the kingdom great.’

 

Exhaling as one, their relief evident,

the order was given and the soldiers were sent.

And His Majesty mustered thoughts of vague recompense,

before he lied to his subjects with false confidence.

 

Emerged to the court with his garb brightly luring,

he addressed them – his people – with tones of assuring.

And just as his words were soothing their minds,

a tail of black cloth flickered out from behind

the statue of his father at the end of the Chamber.

 

The Peaceful King continued, unaware of the danger.

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