Once upon a time there was a little empire called Aasman. Make no mistakes, it was indeed a little empire, but a rather comfortable one. The king took good care of the people, and most, if not all of them lived in relative comfort. These were the days when swords, bows, arrows, shields, and horses were still prevalent in human lives.
My story starts on a particular calendar day that they had called their own New Year. Of course not according to the Roman Calendar. Every other empire had their own dates and ways of counting dates and years in this era. Aasman had theirs. This was their New Year.
The King was a riff-tiff of a person, he built his small empire from scraps after going through a rather eventful youth. It wasn’t until he married The Queen that he finally managed to find his footing. Having been unable to decide on where he would build his livelihood, The King once found Aasman when it was a tiny little village occupied by people who lived in the oblivion. Aasman was a land that provided enough resources to provide healthily for a small community, but the people there were never too eager to divert any attention to their town.
There should be a battle in the story of every King. There is one here too. Let me tell you how it all happened.
The King came from a modest background- that of a cluster of warrior families. His mother and father have both come in from a different land, a land believed to be much bigger than this land, but they were stripped off their warrior priviledges when an enormous army called The White Army attacked their land many, many years ago. The White Army once were conquering an entirety of land. Aasman was in their grasps too, hardly any area escaped their sight.
Under their rule, everyone was the same. People were transported from one place to another as they attempted to feast in on the vast resources that all the countries had. The King’s parents, and in fact, The Queen’s parents, were both transported from that homeland to come to outlying areas around Aasman.
The King has two brothers. Just like the one biologically sandwiched between the other two, he was always somewhere in the middle his entire life. His brothers surpassed him in every way possible. His younger brother is an advisor at a major foreign empire that is spreading its wings across the sea, beyond the unknown lands. His elder brother does live across the sea, where he had built formidable regime based on a dictatorial rule.
The King was hopping from one place to another, and even had an unpleasant stint working under his elder brother before he married The Queen. The Queen had seven siblings. All of them come from modest backgrounds. Now The King needed to provide a stable livelihood as he has a family to support. So he wandered around and stumbled into Aasman, where the people are friendly enough to take in two more neighbors.
Aasman had its own principles. The people did not believe in moving forward too much, they preferred to let things stay as they are. The village leader was a wily old man named Rutnam, who implemented laws to punish those who attempt to expose Aasman and its resources to greedy kingdoms. The White Army was destroyed and disappeared some years ago, and since then no other kingdom had come nowhere near Aasman.
There is a new rule across the seas now. Kingdoms had agreed that legitimate, announced war would be the only way to conquer new kingdoms- and that even upon conquering, no people should be treated like slaves. They called it something like ‘human rights’. Though at large, the people of Aasman know that greed supersedes everything and those in power can still run people down into the ground and have no questions asked of them.
And one fine day, The King had told Rutnam that life has to progress. Rutnam had gotten angry. The people grumbled. But that was when The King, who had been a hot tempered man his whole life, became articulate.
He told the people that it is possible to progress without compromising their values. Rutnam was a stubborn old man. He had an army.
The King was insistent, and thus Rutnam challenged him to a war. A war that involved only 13 soldiers. 10 on Rutnam’s side and only three of the villagers, all young men, on The King’s side.
They had bows made of wood, sharpened with hand, and rusty weapons to be used as their instruments. They all gathered around in tandem and marched against each other. Both sides were allowed, as urged by the residents, to have an arrow flung into air to start the war.
A young man on The King’s side let go of his arrow at the same time a wily old aide of Rutnam did. Everyone had their eyes fixed on the sky as they wanted to be aware the arrow doesn’t hit on any one of them as they prepared to begin the war.
The arrows disappeared into the sky, and both side let their eyes drop to their enemies, as they drew their scantily-made swords. They too, were made of wood. All of a sudden, Rutnam, seated on a slightly higher chair than the rest to reiterate his position as leader, fell on the ground with a thud. All of them saw the arrow pierced through his chest.
He had not flinched his eyes to see where the arrows were heading to. And he lost the war, and died.