Never had a man been so pleased that a day had ended, but never had a man woke with such a hangover as Iktus did this morning. His head was pounding and sickness riddled his stomach as he slowly dragged himself from his bed. Wiping the sleep from his eyes he wandered across the room to the toilet, his head pounding even more with each step. He was used to drinking and the effects of wine, but the previous night he had consumed more than his fair share trying to blot out the day’s events with the boy prince. But this day was to be no different and in many ways much worse, as he not only had the boy to contend with, but he also had to seek an audience with the members of the second house of the temple – this was not a day the priest was looking forward to.
Leaving the bathing area he walked back towards his bed and picked up along the way a bottle of wine that was half full, sat on a table. He slowly walked carrying the bottle over to his bed and sat the bottle down on a bedside cabinet that also had a bag upon it. He opened the bag and removed a small vile full of elixir sitting that down beside the bottle. He then filled a glass two thirds full of wine and dropped in two drops of the elixir. Swirling it around and then lifting it towards his mouth, he grimaced and drank the mixture down in one go. Placing the glass back on the table he felt himself retch as the after taste of the elixir filled wine washed around his mouth, but he knew he would soon feel much better, well physically at least.
Sometime later Iktus was dressed and was feeling quite a lot better as the elixir was doing its job, even though he still couldn’t face anything to eat. Leaving his room he walked hesitantly down the narrow hallway that served as access to the sleeping quarters for the priests, making his way to the control area where he could seek communication with the second house of the temple.
He had in fact always hated them, hated the members of both houses in fact, until he temporary became one and the hate was only there because of envy. In honesty he wanted to be where they were again, the very reason he was doing this. He had had a taste and of course it wasn’t simply about having power over others, in reality it was more about the privileges they received – a fact he knew so well.
As he continued to walk he started to think again about the events of the previous day and what the boy had said to him. A great deal of confusion was still very present in him because of this. In many ways he still needed to believe that the members of the second house were in fact wielders of great power, far more than the master’s wielded. But in reality, that day, he realised that the members of such were nothing more than men with grossly enlarged ego’s suffering from the highest delusions of grandeur, as all, limited by position and deliberately kept that way – in essence the ultimate lead role in a cage. A truth he knew and was prepared to be, for those privileges again. But even though this was the case, he still didn’t relish being in front of them, least not today.
Iktus walked with heavy heart as the pangs of morality fought against the mind based position it sought and fought to keep control of. A battle that would create many casualties as his beliefs died. He had changed and he realised that all confidence he once had was now as the embers of a fire that was slowly going out. Now again a wind would blow and a flame would appear from the embers, but not for long.
As he neared the control area he could see the priests – three in all – manning the station and dealing with their daily duties. They were of lower grade than him and as such could not question outside of their pay band, only asking questions equalling the position they held. Knowing this Iktus knew, that even though confusion was very evident within him, they could not question him over it, but they could report it, as nearly everyone seeking a step up is a reporter. Knowing this he needed to pull himself together, well, he needed to try and told himself so, lifting his robe and rolling his shoulders slightly, he re-asserted himself just as he was approaching the control area counter.
“Good morning sir.” Said a priest stood behind the counter bowing his head slightly as he did. Iktus was far from feeling the need to be pleasant and polite needing to say what he needed to – without courtesy or conversing over whether it was a good day or not.
“I need to ask the second house to convene about a matter of great urgency.” He said very abruptly with a nervous tone in his voice, even though he was desperately trying to disguise this and soon enough it would disperse. “I need to request they do this without delay.”
“Very good sir, but it is highly irregular to do this, one moment please I need to speak with my colleague.” Said the priest after which, he turned and walked to his right and spoke to another priest sat behind a desk just out of Iktus’s earshot.
Iktus knew what he was doing was outside of normal channels, but this was no ordinary matter. The two priest’s conversed for a moment and the man sitting at the desk looked up briefly at Iktus, before answering his colleague. The first priest then walked back towards Iktus with the normal corporate arrogant look upon his face.
He spoke to him.
“May I inquire sir what this matter of great urgency is?”
“No you may not.” Iktus answered abruptly. “But you may tell them that I have news for them, they will know what it is about.”
“Very good sir, I will convey your message to my colleague who will contact the house for you. Whilst I do this would you please take a seat over there?” Saying this as he pointed to a seating area to Iktus’s left.
“I have no time for this.” Iktus muttered under his breath, but he knew that the corporate way had its way and it had to be adhered to at all times. There were forms to fill out in triplicate, records to be made and kept, and all of this had to be filed away for future reference, because, everyone of course had to cover their own backs in this dog eat dog corporate world. No one could be quoted and everyone was frightened to be in case that led to some legal measures being employed, because someone wasn’t happy. And someone was going to make a gain from that un-happiness.
He walked over to the seating area and sat down looking back at the priest at the counter who hadn’t even attempted to do as Iktus’s had asked, because he was too busy filling a form out to protect his own arse.
Iktus thought to himself ‘it is a wonder anything actually gets done around here considering all nonsense that has to be gone through first’. Sighing to himself he sat patiently elbows on knees staring at the floor beneath him.
Iktus had been sat there for quite some time now. He sat with his hands resting in his lap with his left foot tapping on the floor out of impatience.
Then the priest at the counter called over.
“Sir, may I speak with you please?” Iktus picked himself up, which was almost an effort to do, and made his way back to the counter.
“Sir, my colleague has been in touch with the house and they are asking for more information as it is highly irregular for the house to convene from a request that is presented this way, and….”
Before the priest could finish Iktus cut in, his temper now quite frayed.
“LOOK! Who is your colleague talking to at the house?”
“I am sorry sir, but you know you cannot speak to me this way, I resent the….”
Before he could utter another word Iktus lunged forward and grabbed the priest by the robe and dragged him halfway across the counter top.
“I don’t give a damn how you think I should speak to you, just tell him over there at that desk to ask for Grand Councillor lord Balbus and tell him that I need the house to convene, and do it now!”
As Iktus said this in a very raised and insistent voice he pushed the priest back over the counter, who now was in total shock.
“You do know who I am do you not?” Iktus said to the stunned priest who just nodded to acknowledge he did.
“WELL!” Iktus shouted at him, which made the priest jump and scuttle off to his colleague who had no need to be told, as everyone had heard Iktus – who was now stood there rapping his fingers against the counter top in impatience.
Then the strangest thing happened to him, he was suddenly filled with remorse, as he realised what he had just done and he started to question himself. Why was this happening over something he deemed as so none important as he was privileged enough to do this? He had led men to their deaths before, even priests, two in fact not so long ago, just because they heard what the boy had to say. So why on earth was he feeling like this – why was he so racked with guilt?
Moving away from the counter he made his way over to the seating area and sat down quite despondently, leaning forward with both elbows resting on his knees. He then entwined his fingers and started to rub his thumbs together from a mixture of inner anxiety, nerviness and stress. His mind couldn’t help but to react to the inner anxiety he felt, as his mind had become nervous being faced with a pang of morality. It felt like his stomach was being twisted, screwed up and turning. This in turn caused stress that manifested in a dull ache in his shoulders that was quite uncomfortable. And what he couldn’t work out was how he knew this – how could he possibly know this and he could not understand why this was happening to him? His mind was in chaos, because his heart had simple spoken in a language he could not ignore and he knew this fact, as it was being spoken very loud and very clear.
All of a sudden Iktus was hit by a very stark realization.
It was the boy, the boy had started this in him and as he said this to himself the boys words came flooding back to him,
‘to know the truth you first must face the truth. As hard as it is too watch, all will go through this, for this is the only way that humanity can heal itself. There is no choice. This is inevitable’.
He knew that this was going to happen, as he could not deny what the boy had said and even though he prayed it wasn’t true, he knew it was. But it was happening so fast, why, was it happening so fast – or was this the way it happened? He didn’t know, he felt so confused, his mind was starting on the process of trying to make sense of something it could not understand, because it could not accept it. Finally his mind gained some control back when he heard the sound of a man’s voice. It was the voice of the priest who had been sitting behind the desk.
“I am to tell you sir, that Grand Councillor lord Balbus will see you shortly in the conference room. I will let you know when the lord is ready for you.”
Iktus just looked up at the man stood beside him and nodded not even attempting to change his posture, which was very unusual, he was showing signs of weakness, something you never did and he knew he was.
“Will that be all sir?
Again Iktus didn’t answer, just nodding as before. The priest left his side and walked back to his station. And Iktus went back to staring at the floor in front of him deep in thought.
About half an hour had passed when the priest came over to Iktus again.
“Sir, Lord Balbus will see you now.”
Without a word Iktus stood up and started to walk in the direction of the conference room. A short time later he arrived outside the conference room doors. Raising a clenched fist he knocked upon one of the doors three times as protocol dictated. A voice from inside said enter and the priest did as he was instructed to do.
Iktus pushed open one of the ornate double doors and stepped inside the room. At the far end of the room stood a man with his back to the priest, and as he walked towards him, he wondered how he would be greeted.
Lord Balbus was an aging man in his late sixties, but looked far older, his body showing signs of suffering the effects of many years of addiction to cocaine, wine and tobacco. He had been a lord and a member of the second house for many years and was known for his slyness, especially when it came to doing the families bidding – as he always made sure he came out on top. He came across very pompous most of the time, and vain to the core. But when he had explained what it was Iktus needed to do, on behalf of the house, it was more like he was explaining it as though he was a partner in the crime and in a lot of respects he was, just not directly.
On the temple bench’s he displayed arrogance, pompousness and complacency that was unsurpassed amongst his peers, but when it came to business he could personally gain from, he spoke as those he was speaking to – manipulating them with their own level of education. If this man fell into a cesspit, he would come out smelling of roses. He was definitely highly polished and proved this, because nothing ever stuck to him, no matter how deep and obvious the corruption was around him. It was though he was untouchable and he was not the only member of the house this applied too.
As Iktus approached the lord, he turned to face the priest and spoke.
“You have news I presume.”
“Yes my lord I have.” Iktus said this bowing his head slightly, but what was he to say?
The incident with the priest and then the strange occurrence after had taken precedent and he had not thought about what he was going to say. He was worried and was sure this showed and he knew that the lord would see this in him. After all that had happened how was he to approach the subjects he needed to talk about without being relieved of his duty? If he told the absolute truth of the matters that had occurred and the after effects, he would surely be relieved.
“Well?” Said Lord Balbus impatiently.
Taking the bull by the horns Iktus decided that it would be best to be honest about some facts and lie about others and just hope and pray the lord accepted what he had to report without question.
“My lord, the boy is without doubt the one you seek and he is already accepting the coercion, the techniques are working well and the stone definitely had a direct effect on him – something I witnessed with my own eye’s. His attitude has changed from when I first bought him here and he is already acting the part as the, would be dictator.”
“This is good news, but what do mean when you say the stone affected him?”
Iktus was thrown by this question and didn’t know how to reply. It confused him. Surely the lord’s knew exactly what the stone could do, as they were the ones that had made the suggestion in the first place that the stone could set the intent that was required. This was all becoming far too confusing and Iktus couldn’t help but show signs of this, because of the length of time between answers.
Before Iktus could reply, lord Balbus spoke again.
“You seem confused Iktus, why do you feel this way?” Lord Balbus Inquired.
“I, I – don’t know what you mean my lord? Said Iktus trying to cover up any signs of weakness he was showing. This man questioning him was like many others in the house and could smell weakness as though it had a scent.
Iktus could feel that breaking point coming on again. He was nervous and was starting to sweat and felt very uncomfortable. His mind was telling him to run and run fast on one hand and on the other it was telling him to pull himself together and just lie to this man – because that was all he was, a self righteous pompous man and nothing more. But this man could deliver what he sought, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The battle raged in him again with fury, as he wanted so much to just lie and be done with this issue, to collect his prize and live it, fully. But his heart was directing him differently and no matter how he tried he could not ignore it.
He wanted to tell the truth. He wanted to tell this man that he knew, he knew the truth regarding the houses and the power they professed to wield, when in fact they were just political puppets brought for a price. He wanted to tell him this. He wanted to tell him that he was wrong about the stone and it could not set intent in anyway, as the boy had told him. There was so much he wanted to say, and even though he knew there would be consequences for doing so, he felt compelled to.
Then something happened to Iktus that he did not expect and all of a sudden calmness came over him and to such an extent he felt safe in it, and more to the point he felt he could now say anything he chose too.
Lord Balbus spoke again.
“Iktus it is obvious that something is very wrong with you as, you certainly do not seem yourself today.” Even though the lord was expressing this with a form of kindness in his words and voice, it could also be detected that the lord was getting quite frustrated with the priest, especially with the delay between answers. He decided that a sign of friendship might help him get to the bottom of what was troubling the priest.
“Iktus, come and sit with me and let us discuss this off the record for a moment.”
The pair walked over to some chairs that were sat around a table in the corner of the room. The lord gestured for Iktus to sit down before he did so himself. The pair now sat opposite each other.
Lord Balbus spoke again.
“What is troubling you Iktus? You do seem very confused.”
Iktus was still calm and just spoke without thought of whom he was speaking to.
“My lord, I witnessed the boy’s power and it has affected me in a way I never thought possible and it is not just when he is in the presence of the stone. This boy has a natural power, the power of knowing. I do not know how such a thing is possible, but he can read you, he read me, as though I was a book and I could not stop it from happening. He told me that what you are trying to achieve is not possible and that the prophecy tell this. Is this true my lord – is this true?”
Lord Balbus sat back in his chair and laid his left arm across his stomach, resting his right elbow on the backside of his left hand, he started to tap his fingertips of his right hand on his lips. Then stroking his chin he spoke.
“It seems much has happened and you do seem very confused, although now you are much calmer than you were. Let me explain something to you that is for your ears only.
The boy is absolutely right on one account, because it is true we cannot set intent, to be absolutely honest no one can, well, not in the way we have suggested. The stone is about ownership and nothing more. It was found many years ago and, yes, it did come with a prophecy. Who possess the stone has the ability to own this planet and every living thing on it, to such an extent, that they can control life and death itself. But there is no magic involved, no gods just simple belief systems, core belief systems based upon words written and spoken as they were law.”
Lord Balbus now sat back in his chair even further and now crossed his hands over his groin and continued to speak.
“This law comes in many different forms, but does exactly the same every time. It just simply controls people. It controls their behaviour, their beliefs, the way they lead their lives it controls everything. This law allows for us to have the positions we have and maintains these positions are always going to be needed. It allows us to do as we do without question, because they dare not question and they accept that they cannot question, just follow blindly and obliviously. We have set it up in such a way, that if they are brave enough to question, we have perfect loopholes to allow us to send them down very blind alleys. But why am I telling you this, you know all this already don’t you?”
“Yes I do and I accept that this is the way things are and that they have always been this way. I also accept why I started on this quest and what it will result in for me, but I cannot dismiss what I experienced at the boy’s hands and I cannot dismiss the fact that you know that you cannot achieve what you have had me do.”
“Iktus your purpose was to bring the boy here and coerce him, which you have done. Yes I admit that we lied to you, but we do this every day of our lives, because this is the only way this system can survive. It is built on lies, and lies maintain it exists, because without them it will crumble. The boy and the stone are very important, even though we lied about why it does not distract from the fact that they belong together, allow me to explain.
We have always controlled the line to the throne and we manipulate that line at will, to serve a greater purpose, or should I say a common purpose. That purpose is to never to allow the king to have control in his own right, but to make every one think he has. So he remains where the finger of blame is always pointed at, this distracts the blame away from ourselves and of course, who we work for. Akhenaten has been chosen as the next king above his brother, who will be removed from the line. Again you know this – do you not?
Iktus nodded in agreement and then answered.
“Yes I do, but why all the elaborate hoax’s – why could you not just tell me the truth?”
“Control, it is simply about control. Let me put it this way. If we just give you something without you having to work for it, you would become complacent and that is a privilege that is far above your pay bracket and also in doing so we would lose an element of control over you. Sometimes we do the complete opposite as circumstances dictate, but in your case, we required you to work for what you are to receive.
Look Iktus to be perfectly honest with you, only very few us know this is a hoax, because they have to believe, it is imperative they believe exactly what we want them to. It is not just the inferiors that are fooled and coerced by beliefs in external entities. I know you still believe and I know you still get on your knees to something you believe is your master! And this is my point; they have to believe they have a master and that they are to do, exactly, as that master’s servant’s dictate.
All that is important is that the boy thinks that control, desire and material gain are what should be sought after and nothing else. Your job is to simply deliver this and allow him to control and desire. Then he will allow for us to do as we have always done and as long as he gets what he desires he will never question the real reason he holds the position he does, and more importantly, for what reason.
You can deliver this can’t you Iktus – you can deliver this boy to us in the way we need him? And you do still want to enter the first house again don’t you?”
Iktus didn’t answer straight away, for as much as he wanted what the lord was offering in his mind, in his heart he was looking for something completely different and had been since that morning. He needed to be out of this and just felt he needed to be left alone to live his life in peace somewhere far from this. He had already started to question his beliefs and was fast realising that he too, had suffered the ultimate coercion. He was only now realising how deep this deception went and actually how many people this was fooling. As much as he wanted to accept the lord’s offer as he did before, he could not get his head round this one element.
He questioned the lord again.
“I have listened to you my lord, I have listened intently and I knew the boy was telling me the truth. I just did not realise that it was already known. And this still does not distract from the fact or explain how this young boy could know such a thing. And another thing that bothers me is why so grand a deception, the buildings the lies about the stone and what it can do? Said Iktus completely ignoring the part about re-entering the first house again, he was not concerned with this anymore, but was only concerned about getting answers for the questions he had asked.
“Iktus in the grand scheme of things these are small deceptions, but if you want the truth I shall tell you.
When you create a lie that you require to be believed, then you create a big one. The reason for this is very simple, as the bigger the lie the easier all that need to accept it will accept it. This is one reason why everyone has been told there are multiple gods instead of just one and again this is why the buildings, like the one you took the boy too, will project into the sky taller and grander. Positioned deliberately to bare false evidence regarding elements that will come into relevance at some future date. Once again to merely deceive the people, to simply fool them, as it has always been done. I cannot bear witness to what you heard as I was not there, but what I can tell you is that no one could possess such a power as to just know, no one. You were in the building at the time were you not?”
“Yes my lord, but it also happened outside the building, we….”
Before Iktus could finish the Balbus cut in abruptly.
“You see that shape, the shape that building is built in has been known for the longest time to effect people quite strangely when they are in there, especially those of us who are susceptible to, how can I say, coercive processes, such as yourself. This can play many tricks on the mind, even to the point of hearing and seeing things that are not really there, just projections created by a very over active imagination. This is probably what you experienced and….”
This time it was Iktus who cut in abruptly.
“My lord you are wrong because this also happened outside the building and even here in this building….”
Balbus cut in loudly, standing this time as he did, to emphasize he was getting very annoyed with the priest.
“IKTUS! I will hear none of this and more to the point we have exhausted this conversation. I have not to tell you that everything we have spoke of must never leave this room and I ask of you again; do you want to enter the first house again?”
Iktus thought for a moment and gave the only answer he could. Not because he wanted to, but because he knew if he didn’t, he would never leave this building alive.
“Yes I do my lord.” Iktus said this bowing his head as he spoke.
“Well you know what is required of you then.”
“Yes my lord, I do.” Iktus said subserviently. This was far from the truth, as to be honest, Iktus never wanted to set eyes on the boy again, let alone spend the next four days with him. And again to be honest there was no point trying to explain more to Balbus, because he did not want to listen and would rather prevent Iktus from talking of such, so he could remain in complete denial.
“You may go Iktus and I shall inform the house of your progress.”
And with that, Lord Balbus turned his back on the priest and started to walk away from him heading for a door at the back of the room.
Iktus got up and started to walk towards the main conference room doors where he had entered from, once again, deep in thought. He realised that what he had presumed before was true and that through complete arrogance, they allowed themselves to live a life of denial and certainly would not allow themselves to except something that was against what they deemed was possible or not.
Iktus knew that what the boy could do was very real and thought to himself ‘well, if they want to find out the hard way, let them’. He was stunned at the lengths these people would go to and the illusions and hoax’s they would conjure up to keep things in order, an order of their design. But all of this had not helped him. In many ways it was even worse now, as now, he understood the depth of the deception and not only the depth, but also how many had been deceived – including not least, himself.
Iktus also felt a fool, but was in some ways thankful to the boy, because in some way the boy had set him free, releasing him from the deception that was his life and the deception that bought him to his knees each night – Balbus had just confirmed this.
In this reflection he also realised that the previous night, when he was suffering his most after the day’s events, he did not get on his knees and nor did enter his head too. In some ways he was still incredibly confused. But on the same hand, he also had a clarity he had never experienced before. But he still had the boy to deal with, something that was becoming an ever-increasing burden to him.
Leaving the room he passed by the control station and the three priests who manned it. Iktus didn’t acknowledge any of the priests and didn’t even see the stern look he was receiving from the priest he had dragged over the counter not an hour before.
He was in his own world and was oblivious to anything that was going on. He realised that come the next few days he had some harsh decisions to make and he knew they wouldn’t be easy. But for now he had to make his way to the boy prince and on his journey to him he had to decide what was the best way to limit the boys ability, without alerting him to what his true purpose was.
To be honest he didn’t even know if he could, ‘but I suppose’, he thought to himself, ‘I am going to find out one way or the other’.
Iktus strolled at a very slow pace, not in any hurry whatsoever. He needed time to think and the longer the journey took, the longer he had to contemplate – not just about dealing with the boy prince, but about his whole future.
Continue reading Chapter Nineteen