Hello! I apologize for being away for so long, I was on vacation. But I’m back, and noodling on a work that I am developing when I need a break from my other projects. Enjoy!
The logic seemed obvious.
Han was younger then, but he’d seen the truth of it even so. The prophecy, uttered by a blind old fool, was a wagonload of horse shit. A psychological tactic, the last act of a man who understood that words were weapons. The prophecy sparked hope that ripped through the common people like wildfire through dry grass.
Han was a squire for Master Kindoshi when the prophecy was made. He kept his thoughts to himself. He knew better than to speak out of turn. Instead, he waited. He watched the lesser people fight back, watched them try to overthrow his masters, watched them fail and be pushed back into complacency.
Thirteen years later, Han was a grown man, a Master in his own right. He’d been asked to speak in front of Masters Masuki, Jentai, and Lin, discussing the trade routes from outside Taredo Yama. As he spoke, a young boy slipped into the room, silently. He made his way to Master Masuki. Han continued as though nothing happened, and was unsurprised when two other young pages slipped over to their masters. The three masters said nothing, but each looked like they’d bitten an unripe persimmon.
Han guessed what had them all so shaken. He concluded the meeting quickly and let the preoccupied masters disperse. His appetites would take him elsewhere.
Kenoi was not available, but Han would not be shaken off so easily. After three days he was admitted into Kenoi’s office.
“The baby is born,” Han began without preamble, “and the Masters want it killed.”
“And you have the solution?” Kenoi sighed. “I expected more from you, Han. There are a thousand ways to kill an infant.”
“More. However, if you kill the child, you’ll martyr him, and enrage the people. There is no safe way to kill an infant – no matter how accidental it appears, the hearts and minds of the people will imagine assassins behind the death. In fact, even if the child should die accidentally, it will now be laid at our feet.”
“I’m listening.” Kenoi’s voice was resonant and powerful, as well as deeply impatient.
“The family of the child is terrified. They’re imagining us around every corner. We already know from the prophecy that they are not people of means. We go to their door, and offer a solution. To keep the Chosen One safe until he comes of age, we offer them a place with us, in Laterre. We can give them a small boon, paper titles, even a plot of land for the child to play on. He grows up under our watch, under our care, and in no way interested in overthrowing us when he comes of age.”
“Taking the serpent to our bosom, so to speak?” Kenoi sounded unconvinced.
“Not a serpent, a child. A child that will be raised under our care and guidance. We have an opportunity to make him loyal from the start, and all without shedding a drop of blood.”