Submitted by John Harris on Tue, 23/08/2011 – 17:47
The seconds ticked past and no palace guards had entered the room. The reason was they were oblivious to what was actually occurring in the boardroom, standing sentry outside soundproof doors. Akhen in his rage had forgotten about the doors and the fact that the guards could only be summoned via a panic button mounted on the underside of the table, because they could not hear a thing that was going on. Akhen and Annop now met each other in front of the board room doors both staring at each other without saying a word. The masters sat at the table still quiet, still not knowing what to make of the situation – and although it was very alarming, at the same time a few of them found it very intriguing. Akhen was still calm inside, but his body was still reacting to the rage in his mind. Annop on the other hand was furious and had totally succumbed to the rage, but stood silently waiting to see what the kings next move would be. Annop had not forgotten about the doors and also of the panic button, and even though the pair stood in front of the doors, he was quite prepared to come to blows if need be as long as the guards remained outside – because ultimately he knew they would protect the king before anyone else. Even though in effect he controlled all the armies, the palace guard was another matter all together and in the hastiness of rage, for that moment, he had forgotten that fact. Now realising this was causing a great deal of anxiety and confusion in Annop. His mind was saying one thing and his instincts were telling him something completely different. The dilemma he was in was causing an uneasiness that he did not want the king to realise was present in him. He could not allow this man to see a weakness in him and this is what his mind kept repeating, where as his instincts were saying ‘sit down and shut up, as no good will come from this’. But he was being told by his own mind to do such would be the act of a cowardice, something he could not demonstrate on any level, but what Annop did not realise was that Akhen had a friend in the room as one of the masters was in fact a member of the order – in fact more than one was.
Because of his forgetfulness and the gravity of the situation, Akhen stood there puzzled over the fact that the guards had not entered to room. He opened his mouth to shout again, but before he could Annop stepped forward and grabbed the king’s arm. Many masters around the table who were now watching what was going on in front of the doors let out a small gasp of disbelief as the grand master did this. The grand master was now, in their eyes over stepping the mark and was starting to walk on very dangerous ground. Akhen turned to Annop as he did this with surprise in his eyes as Annop spoke in a hushed voice so the masters could not hear what he was saying – even though his voice was hushed, he could not hide the anger it resonated with.
“Be very aware, that what you do next cannot be returned from. You will start a sequence of events you will wish at a future date, you did not start. You know your position and you know what is demanded of you because of the position you hold. Let us forget this even happened and return to the table, where it would be in your best interests to apologise for this outburst and simply agree to the new proposal.” Annop was already realising that the king had done and said enough already and that the families would remove him for this disobedience. He was realising as well that he had to keep his own ego in check to come out of this situation on top, otherwise he too would be caught up in the tidal wave the families would unleash because of this – and this would lead to his demise if this situation was not handled right.
Akhen reacted by shaking free the grip that the grand master had on his arm and stepped away from him and then moved into the fullness of his face staring this man in the eyes. Akhen was trying with all his might to control the rage that had now increased by a notch because of the grand masters actions and the words he spoke. Now the dilemma was also in the king as he was fast becoming the persona he used to be. He could not let his mind take over this situation as this would end with violence and he could not live with any more violence on his conscience that another human being had been subjected to because of his actions – no matter who they were. But Akhen had something to say and had waited for so long to actually say it. Now the time had arrived he was having doubts, grave miss-giving’s about what he was going to do. Tiy’s words started to resound again. Round and round they would go, battling with what his mind was telling him. He could not ignore them, nor could he abide by them. His heart was saying there is always apeaceful solution, but his mind was baying for the blood of this insolent man that not only stood before him, but had had the ghoul to actually grab his arm. The torrent of confusion could only result in one eventuality as Akhen caved in to what his mind was suggesting – even though the pain he would suffer later for doing so would be unbearable.
“No priest you be very aware. I know, as you know, that you keep certain information from the masters, maybe now it is time they were told this information. Maybe now it is time to talk of different subjects around this table. Maybe now it is time to talk of the immorality of the suggestion you have made. I will have you removed and then I will speak to the masters on subjects they should be aware of and there is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening.” Akhen said this, unlike the grand master, so everyone could hear and already a few eye brows at the table where lifting in interest.
Annop stepped forward again and this time he griped the king’s arms with both his hands and shook them as though his was shaking a child to try and get them to understand. As he spoke again his voice was hushed, but he could not continue with this for much longer and soon he would be shouting through frustration, even though this would be the worst thing he could do.
“Why can you not just do as you are told? I know the things you will say and they cannot be said, if things are to remain as they are, you know this, you are as part of this as any of us. You actually benefit more from this than any of us in this room, why can you not just be satisfied with all the wealth and luxury that is your life? And if you are to destroy your life, why destroy the lives of all those around you? What have you got to gain from this?” Annop said trying to remain as calm as he could, but struggling with every passing second
“You know nothing of what I need to say, you would not understand the intent, let alone the meaning of the words.” Akhen said this at the same time as he threw off the grip that the grand master had upon him. Akhen continued.
“You think you know me Annop. You think you know what resides in my heart when the truth is you have not got a clue. I know you have always wanted my position, you seek the things I have and all that is my life, regardless of what the consequences are to other lives to maintain this. This is why you have no clue about what is in my heart. You are disconnected from your feelings and your emotions, which have been over ridden with your lusts and desires, that we all know leads to the horrific deaths of the people and their children at your hands.”
As the king uttered these words the grand master exploded in rage, but not just vocally, but physically as well. Snarling like an animal he lunged at the king trying to grab him around the throat. Akhen, not expecting this to happen was taken by surprise for a few seconds, before he started to defend himself, trying to prevent the grand master getting a grip. At that moment the board room doors burst open and two palace guards came running into the room with their lances at the ready, startling everyone. As the king and the grand master tussled, the guards tried to get in between them, finally succeeding after sometime when the grand master realised he was no match at all to these men. All the masters had maintained their positions around the table, bar one who had moved to push the panic button. For a short time chaos seemed to reign, until the guards brought the situation under control. The two palace guards now had the grand master against a wall with their lances at his throat, the grand master in turn, was holding his hands up to gesture that he had submitted. The two guards stood speechless as they would not speak until such time the king gave them permission to do so. As the king was trying to gain his breath, Annop spoke out in panic, in a vain attempt to persuade the guards that what they were doing was wrong.
“Put down your lances you have no right to do this to me. You know who I am and I will have you flogged for your insolence for even daring to threaten my person with those lances.”
The guards paid no heed whatsoever to Annop and remained steadfast with their lances raised. And every time the grand master tried to move they lunged ever nearer to his throat. Again he spoke out against what he considered to be a vile act upon him.
“I warn you now, that this that you do on this day will not end without consequences. You will suffer for this insubordination, your defiance of my request will be heard at the highest level, and you will suffer, mark my words.”
Akhen had now regained his breath and to be honest was stunned by the Annop’s actions. Never would have Akhen believed that the grand master would over step the mark to such an extent. Granted he knew that Annop had a vile temper and certainly he had shown by his past actions, that he was quite prepared not to show anyone an ounce of mercy, but to do this to the king himself was proof that this man would stop at nothing to fulfil his desires. And at this time it was not just Akhen who realised this fact; it seemed everyone in the room did, including the two guards.
“Be silent priest and hold your tongue.” Akhen said with force in his voice. Now standing beside the incarcerated grand master “Do you think you can attack me and get away with it? And hear of all places. What possessed you to think such a thing?” Annop cut in before Akhen could finish.
“You will not get away with this Akhen, none of you present will.” The grand master raged, trying a last ditched attempt to bring the guards and the masters on to his side through this threat, but alas it was falling on deaf ears.
“I told you to be silent, do as you are told.” As Akhen spoke the grand master gestured that he was going to cut in again.
“Guards!” Akhen said realising he was not listening and the guards obeyed the request, thrusting forward slightly till one of the lances was touching the grand masters throat. Annop took heed of the warning and did as the king requested and remained silent. Although it enraged him to do so, Annop realised he was on the back foot. No one was listening to him and if he pursued this, he knew that the guards would do exactly what the king demanded, without thought, or hesitation.
For A moment the old Akhen was very present and was enjoying the situation. As much as he did not want this to happen, it was, and this was a very dangerous time for all concerned. The old mask Akhen used to wear would have no problem having this man dispatched before his eyes, then and there on the spot he now stood on. In fact the old character Akhen used to play would in fact enjoy it and revel in the demise of this man. But Akhen was not this character anymore. He had seen through the charade, but that did not stop this persona rearing its ugly head especially when his mind felt threatened, or had levered itself into control once more through circumstance. Akhen knew he would have to protect Annop from this element and decided that the best course of action would be to have the grand master removed so he could concentrate on the masters. Once Annop was out of the way he could say what he needed to say, even though his mind was still trying to get him to do the complete opposite. Looking over, he could see the masters were very restless and to be quite honest who could blame them, these occurrences never happened, so it must have taken them all by shock when it did. Some were still seated talking in hushed voices, whilst others had formed little groups of two and three and were quietly discussing all that was going on. Akhen could see that some of them wanted to bolt through the open door way, but they did not have the courage to do so, and who could blame them. Look what was happening to the grand master. They knew that the king could have more palace guards there in seconds and they could all meet with Annop’s fait if the king so wished, so better to stay put and let things pan out the way that they were going to, with no interference from them. Akhen could sense this and knew the masters would stay put – for after he had dealt with Annop, the king himself had some very interesting subjects to discuss with the masters, subjects that they would have choice but to listen to and without doubt would never forget. Akhen knew that sooner, rather than later, the families would hear about the events that had un-folded and they would come for him. He knew this was imminent. He must deal with Annop, call more guards and secure the room from the outside with himself and the masters inside. He had waited for this moment for so long and he knew time was very scarce, so he must take this opportunity now, because he knew, he would never get another.
Akhen turned to talk to the nearest guard to him and said quite calmly….
“You need to get the grand master out of here, but before you can do this, I need more guards. Leave now and get them.” Turning to the other guard who still had his lance pressed into Annop’sthroat, Akhen said.
“You need to keep the grand master as he is now. When more guards turn up I will ask you to escort the grand master to the palace cells. Incarcerate him there until further notice, do not stop for any reason, whatever that reason might be, even if you run into my wife, ignore her, stop for nothing.”
Annop was not too pleased to hear this, but to be honest what could he do, having a lance pressed into his throat by a very burly guard at that moment in time prevented him from doing anything – but this was not to be the end of this matter, not by a long shot.
The guard had only been gone a matter of minutes before he returned with three more. On their return Akhen beckoned them to another side of the room out of ear shot of the masters and the grand master. The three palace guards stood before the king with their heads bowed slightly in respect. Akhen began to speak.
“Please lift your heads; I need to look into your eyes before I can say what I need to say to you.”Akhen could see the guards were puzzled and worried by what he had said and especially shocked. As the king rarely asked and would never say please to one’s as lowly as them. So he spoke again to reassure them that it was ok to do as he had asked.
“I know what I am asking of you is against all the protocols you have been taught and have obeyed all your lives. But on this day I need you to do as I have asked. I have something to say to you and I need to look you in the eyes to say it. I wish to ask you and not order you.” Akhen’s voice contained a tone of reassurance about it, and the guards did as they were asked even though they were still very concerned about doing so. The one thing they knew was that Akhen’s reputation very much preceded him, but this was a different king in front of them speaking in a way he had never done before.
“Thank you for doing as I asked of you. I need to ask a question of you.” Akhen said thanking the guards for their agreement. Who he could see were becoming more puzzled by the second and to be honest who could blame them. What was happening was unprecedented. Akhen continued….
“I need your help, and in doing so I will be asking you to put yourselves at risk, but there is no other way. As much as it pains me to ask you, I must. But if you decide that you cannot carry out my request, then I will hold no repercussions towards you for doing so. I will understand.” Akhen could see the lads were listening intently, even though they were still very confused by the whole situation. So he continued with his request….
“If you decide that you cannot carry out this request then you may leave and nothing more will ever come of it. My request is simple. I ask you to seal the doors from the outside and stop ‘anyone’ from entering no matter who they might be. I need to be sealed in this room with the ‘masters’ for as long as you can allow. And this happening is solely up to you. I know this is a lot to ask of you, but I must now ask this of you.” As Akhen was saying these words he in turn looked in each guard eyes. He knew the gravity of what he was asking and he knew he would suffer over this in more ways than one, but he was sure this was the right thing to do and he was prepared for whatever the consequences might be. As Akhen uttered the words the guards all answered at the same time with a resounding yes. Akhen was shocked by this, but at the same time he knew they would agree as their eyes told him so.
“May I speak please my king?” Said the guard that stood in the middle bowing his head again as he did. Akhen reacted to this and said….
“Please lift your head and please speak your mind. Please feel free to say whatever you need to. I know you find this awkward and I know you find it hard to do, but please try.” The guard did as he was asked before speaking.
“My king my name is Anelp. I have now served you for over twenty years. I know that I speak, not only for myself, but also for my two brothers stood beside me when I say; it will be an honour to do what you have asked of us. I know as well that I speak for the majority of the palace guard my king, and any I do not speak for, will soon find out they are very much out numbered.”
Whilst Akhen and the three guards were chatting, the grand master was having a little discussion of his own, even though it was very one sided. Annop had decided to take these few moments to try and coerce the guard keeping him confined, desperately trying to persuade him into letting him go. The perspiration was now falling down Annop’s brow as he quietly spoke to his incarcerator, so as not to be heard.
“What is your name?” Annop demanded of the guard. At first the guard refused to answer.
“I am the grand master, answer me!” Annop said sternly, still trying not to be heard by anyone else in the room, but very much wanting to emphasise his point.
“You are a prisoner of the palace guard for attacking the king.” The guard said. “Whatever status you had before you did this will serve you no good now.” He continued. “Be quiet, you will have your say when the time is right.” The guard finished saying.
“All I ask of you is your name, so we may at least be civil to one another.” Annop replied. Again this fell on deaf ears.
“Put down your lance and release me and I promise you it will benefit you more than you could think possible.” Annop said very nervously. He had realised that he was now caught between a rock and a hard place, as this situation had spiralled out of his control, but he knew who would held responsible for this, and in this, there would be harsh consequences to be delivered upon him. His only hope now was dissuading this guard into setting him free. The guard would not even acknowledge what Annop was saying, he would not even give him his name, but this was not going to deter him, he had to get this guard to set him free. Annop continued….
“I promise you that I am good to my word and in releasing me you will be held in high esteem amongst those who can deliver what I promise you. I know you have not seen your family since being here and I know you long for this.” Annop had to presume this and was about to presume a whole lot more, but he had no choice and only he knew the truth, that none of what he was about to promise would materialise, it was nothing more than lies to secure his release. He would promise the earth, but deliver nothing of the sort, for he was an expert in this sales pitch.
“I know you long to see them and I can make this happen. I can have you re-assigned to the army giving you a much higher rank. Better living conditions for yourself and your family. Better food for you all and of course much more money and wealth. All this can be yours if you just put down that lance and release me.” Annop could not hide the desperation in his voice now. The minutes were passing and he knew the longer this went on, the harder it would be for him to escape or at least accomplished the only thing left he had to do. Annop could see that the guard was listening even though he would not respond in any way. But he could feel the lance was not being pressed into his throat quiet as hard now and it was actually lowering slightly as the guard thought over his proposal. Annop continued….
“I promise all this and more, all I ask of you is this. When the king comes over to order you to escort me to the palace cells, lower your weapon, and no matter what I do from that point on, you do not intervene.”
The guard was not staring at the grand master now and had relaxed, then suddenly his demeanourchanged and the lance was once more lifted with the necessary applied pressure as before. Annopgulped as he felt the point of the lance at his throat once more, trying to move back to stop the lances point from breaking his skin. Annop did not expect this reaction and was taken by surprise, which only resulted in the grand master reverting to another method. Annop spoke again.
“I know you fear the king; I know you fear what he will do to you if you do as I have asked.” The grand masters voice had a very nervous urgency about it now and also a sign of anger could be detected. “But let me assure you this, if you do not do what I have asked, I will make sure your family suffer in ways you cannot imagine. And once I have finished with them it will be your turn.”As Annop said this the guard stared straight into the grand master eyes. Annop could see that his eyes were full of rage and he felt the point of the lance break his skin just below his Adams apple. Annop winced slightly as the tip entered, but stood fast with his conviction. Swallowing slightly he continued.
“Whatever happens to me this day, I promise you that you can either leave this situation a rich man, or you will leave knowing that you have committed your family to death. The choice is yours.”
Annop could now see that the guard was in a conundrum. He could feel that the guard wanted to push the lance through his neck, but at the same time he was thinking about the consequences that would arise from doing so. In his panic over the suggestion that had been made, he didn’t even consider the most vital fact. That being, that if he did run the grand master through with his lance and dispatched him, how would the grand master possibly give the orders to have him and his family murdered? And this was something Annop was bargaining on. Annop was a master, an expert in coercion and of course in creating no win situations for whomever he was coercing, so they had no choice, but to do as he demanded. Annop had a common purpose, a purpose that ran through everyone of his ilk, and one element was self-preservation. To make sure someone else would take the fall and not himself. Self preservation was the number one game plan along with obviously the wealth, the riches of life that they deemed so important. Annop was not a one off. There were thousands of people like him who all shared the same mind set. And their commonpurpose was always recruiting new blood to maintain it could stay alive, because without feeding on new blood, it would die, as all concepts based on lies die eventually, even religions. Its motives could not be hidden from those of morality, even though they would attempt on many occasions to change the very meaning of the word to hide their motives. Annop had something to sell and was using techniques of a perfect salesman to sell it, simply to save his own neck.