Lamar IV, High King of the Ullwish people, sat on his throne and listened gloomily to his advisors.
“The Fenkish barbarians press close on the city,” they said. “Famine threatens the land because the harvest has failed. The harvest did not fail in the northern hills, because the rains there were good. But we cannot bring the grain from those regions here, because the roads are in too poor a shape. The roads are in too poor a shape because of there are no funds to repair them. And there are no funds to repair them because most of that money went into building up the navy for the invasion of the Islands of the Mist. The rest went to the reconstruction of the Holy Temple of the Hooded Saviour.
“The people are in unrest,” they said. “Daily, they gather on the streets and mutter against the Crown. Daily they say there is no grain to be had for their coin and they look at the price of cloth and meat, and they gather and mutter. And all the while the Fenkish barbarians press on from the south. All lands south of the Great River are already gone.
”Something must be done,” they said.
So Lamar IV, High Ullwish King, using the navy he had created for the purpose, invaded the Islands of the Mist and after a short battle annexed them to the Empire. Great was the booty anticipated in guano and slaves, and great the celebrations indeed.
“The Hooded Saviour himself guided me,” said Lamar IV.
But there were no slaves because the survivors of the Islands of the Mist ran away into their honeycomb of limestone caverns, there to take up arms against the invader. There was no guano because the cliffs proved far too dangerous in the winter storms.
And the Fenkish barbarians, made bold by the sending away of the army to invade the Islands of the Mist, pressed even closer to the city, and the coffers of state grew emptier and emptier, and once the aftereffects of the celebration wore off the people murmured more and more.
The country was ripe for revolution.
So Lamar IV, High King, sent his remaining armies east to attack the Mountains of the Dawn, where gold could be found in the rivers, or so the whispers said; and the Fenks grew closer and closer.
Lamar IV was on a hunting expedition when the people finally rose and burned his palace and drove his ministers out. And he was still out when the Fenkish barbarians threw themselves on the city in ferment, sacking and looting and burning. Lamar IV watched, and he knew why this had all come to pass."They were not worthy of my genius,” he said, and rode away.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2008