Emperor Rage: A Short Story: Part Two: Death Verses
My brothers turned me out of the house of our fathers
They did this when I but loved them all
I flew as the wind on their appointed behalf
Exploring and trading and plundering and conquering
In this way I put knowledge in their books and gold in their vaults
I went where only the strong could go at first
Blazing the trail for the weak to follow next
I opened commerce and traffic with new and strange and wonderful beings
Who, through me, conferred many blessings upon my brothers
But I grew weary and sought to lay down my burden
I said to them: "Brothers, I have come back to be with you and claim
My share of the birthright and inheritance."
They said to me: "Take off your shoes in the house of our fathers, you foreign dog!"
I said to them: "Brothers, beloved of me, do you not know me? It is I, kin to you."
They said to me: "Your clothes are smutty with the stardust of the vagabond wanderer."
I said to them: "I have been laboring for our people and seek rest and reunion."
They said to me: "You are no kin to us. You are wild and uncouth. You are barbarous and uncivilized. You are savage and unfamiliar with the ways of proper society. Take your shoes and leave the house of our fathers. We no longer have any use for your kind."
I said to them: "Very well, my brothers. But I renounce you doubly so. I will go but I will return, I swear by the Second Resurrection. Beware, my brothers. You will all perish in fear and trembling. For when I am done with you, you will be a haunting even unto ghosts."
The true story of a man called Jacob, his brothers, and a land called AEgyptos.
Sometime before the Second Resurrection....
Emperor Rage had provided that they be entertained with a poetry reading. A collection of some of his favorite death verses, sometimes called 'Revenge Meter.' Collected from across the galaxies and across the ages.
Everybody was made comfortable and served refreshments. Emperor Rage had reserved something special for himself: a very potent, thick, spicy-sweet ale with the aroma of cedar and wild grass, mixed with accentuating drops of shark blood.
A platform was drawn into the forefront of the space. A long, lean figure stepped up. The spotlight revealed a youth, perhaps just entering the first flush of manhood. Armed to the teeth: two long swords on his back; various throwing knives; a battle hammer; and a blaster on each hip. Dressed menacingly but functionally in leather. The right side of his head shaved. A thick, black 'X' mark across his clean-shaven face. He took a dramatic pose and recited the following poem.....
Vengeance is My Sweet Nectar
Vengeance is My Sweet Nectar
Vengeance is my sweet nectar
To you, my brothers, go the pit
I swear by the Second Resurrection,
Your time will come
When I put you face down into the ground
I will yet chop off your heads
And make them wind-chimes in a garden of corpses
Lord Volcanus, upon being censured by the Senate of New Neptune, for alleged corruption
circa 3300 S.C.C. (Sex Change of Christ)
In the Wilderness
The next to take the stage was a man of middle years, lean and scraggly of appearance. He had a large wine-serving gourd strapped to his back. He grabbed the straps, fell to his knees, and with his eyes held aloft, recited the following poem.....
Ninety-Nine Men turning a wheel
Ninety-Nine Men no longer feel
Three and eleven are blind
Three and eleven are deaf
Three and eleven are mute
The Hundredth Man is dead
He got the better of the deal
A boy playing with a toy
Before the First Resurrection.... A time when the species was in its infancy...
The next to take the stage was a lad, a still high-voiced young man. Earnest and sincere, and accompanied by a warrior, who rhythmically banged the hilt of his sword against his shield, the boy recited the following poem...
My Rage keeps me warm at night
My Rage hugs and holds me tight
My Rage is my alpha and omega
My Rage is my vindication
My Rage is my summit and depth
My Rage is my confirmation
My Rage is the air that I breathe
My Rage is the sunlight I drink
My Rage is the nourishment I take
My Rage is all that I live for
Know this, my brothers, when I come for you
As the Harvester of Souls
You dared to turn me out of the house of our fathers
I shall bury you under it, brick-by-brick
And make you curse your lives as folly
His constant state of mind....
The next to take the stage was a goddess, if there ever was one. Powerfully but gracefully built. Long and lean and taut. Very tall, a towering presence. All endless arms and legs and swan-like neck.
She wore an animal skin of some kind and carried a shield and spear. She recited the following poem.....
It went on and on like that. For the next morning, the next afternoon, and the next evening. And the next. And the next. And the next.
An almost four-day lyrical blood orgy.
However, Emperor Rage is not a wholly beastly host. There was jesters, juggling, acrobatics, orchestral music. There were other diversions and sumptuous delicacies. But still, through it all, one costumed performer after another took to the stage to recite the fury of Emperor Rage.
But His Majesty had not been sullen and downcast in front of his guests. He felt that the poems he had selected, in addition to capturing the fury that had driven him, had the added benefit of possessing genuine literary merit. He mumbled something about how examining the darker side of life, from time to time, made one appreciate life's joys all the more. Something like that.
When it was tactfully permissible to do so, Emperor Rage retired to his quarters. He gorged himself on shark blood ale, got stinking drunk by himself, threw up quietly in his toilet, flopped on his bed without changing into nightclothes, and cried himself to sleep.
End of Part Two.
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