The Boy Who Became King
The story of the boy who became king is the most popular story in all of Andora. It is a story of children and parents. Of hope and death. Of love and loss. It is the story of Dejal, the divine ruler of all Andora. Long ago there was a boy. He was short and skinny and covered in dust as this boy had come from heaven itself. He came to an old, lonely town of salt miners. The only thing of importance in the village was a temple, as it is said that not even the great guru Pravan journeyed beyond the salt flats to the east on his great pilgrimage. The priest of the temple was never able to leave as every day he would go to the temple doors there would be a long line of villagers who were in need of aid. Seeing this, the boy walked up to the temple, and upon seeing the boy’s forehead, marked with the symbols of the divine, threw himself to the ground and began to weep. “I wish to help you, kind priest. I can see in your community that you are loved and that you know the Eight Humilities and the Seventy-two Insights well.” The priest was ushered to stand, and indeed the older man stood taller than before. “If you wish to help me, then you must first study.” The crowd was astonished and confused. To teach a divine would be like trying to teach Patiq the Thrice-dead God the Ten Syllables of Wisdom. The child nodded and began his studies under the priest’s tutelage as he aided the village’s folk. Ten years passed and now the once small and destitute village was a bustling hub for pilgrims and travelers of all kinds. Many wished to gaze upon the divine as he tended to the sick and gave moving sermons. One day when the priest was very sick, the boy came to see him. From outside they heard, “Boy!” Travelers from Cantakar, their horses weary from the journey, sat outside the temple. “Boy! Our camels are weary but we must take you to Cantakar!” And so did the boy go with the men to Cantakar, pearl of the Ajima Basin, after wishing his master well and blessing the village. The golden city welcomed the boy who was divine and collected the stardust from his hair. They lauded him and asked him to heal a great many sick and wounded people. From the great temple of Shatiq did the priests, minions of the corrupt gurus, scheme. “He seeks to overthrow us!” Said the priests who had grown fat like bloated leeches thriving from stealing from the townsfolk. “Then we must kill him.” Said another. That night the priests had stolen into the dark and tried to slay the boy from the east with knives in his heart. When they entered the tavern the boy was staying at, they each were struck down by a divine pillar of flame. Burnt to ash, all that remained of the priests were their daggers. The boy sung to the song of peace and for a time was head priest of Cantakar’s temple of Shatiq. Eventually a man came from Throne, capital of Andora, and saw the once corrupt and misguided town of Cantakar as a bastion of learning and understanding. “Boy, my camel is weary, but we must travel to Throne.” Nodding, the boy turned to his faithful bastet cat who he transformed into a man. ”Guide my flock in my absence.” He said and then left. And the cat did so until he died 15 years later of old age. Throne had come in sight of their caravan now. Behind the walls was every insight in their divine form looking down at the travelers below. Nervous, the boy turned up and regarded the 72 holy lords. As he approached, all who saw the mark, even the statues themselves of bronze and gold bowed in wake of the divine’s coming. The little divine was not so little anymore. He had the experience of a wizened guru at least two hundred years old, and the hard days of travel chiseled his physique into one that inspired fealty and awe. It took four days on foot to reach the palace of Throne after entering the city’s walls, and in that time the divine had seen much. He had seen the oppression of the gurus, how every bit of fun was sapped from them so as to leave them like locust husks left on stalks of tasteless wheat. The angels of heaven itself gathered here, but even they had no luck in reviving the once-great culture of Andora in the people. The oracle stood proudly surrounded by all the medjay in the palace when the divine arrived. “You have come a long way, my liege.” The oracle said, bowing deeply, his voice creaking like old wood through his ancient lips. “I have not.” The divine said to a confused crowd. “My lord, I do not understand.” The oracle began to grow fearful, and his medjay tightened around him. It was even at this distance, scholars say, that the divine was able to peer through the oracle’s silken curtains of his golden palanquin and see the evil that lurked inside the old oracle’s soul. As the divine ascended the steps, the sultan and his family stepped out to meet the him. They gave no offering of respect or whispered no prayer despite witnessing a divine being. Instead, they gazed fearfully and girded their many rings and golden bangles that covered their corpulent forms. With a single flick of his wrist, the divine cast away the oracle’s false form, revealing him as a terrible creature of withered flesh and jutting horns. “See!” The oracle said, reeling. “He comes to destroy us all!” The divine closed his fist as power streamed from his form, pure emanations of mastery and strength. With a strangled cry, the oracle reached towards the heavens for deliverance as his body was destroyed. “No, deceiver. I have come home.” Single-handed did the divine defeat the horde of slavering medjay, their souls lost to false worship of the corrupt oracle and his gurus. The corrupt nobility sent wave after wave of their pagan, milky-skinned mercenaries, but no matter how much of the people’s gold they threw at the divine, their blood would be upon them. After seven days and seven nights of fighting, and having taken no sleep, the divine cast out the cancerous puppets who asserted control over the people from the vaunted, golden palace. It was on the eighth day that the people of Throne declared their unanimous praise and demanded he rise to lead them, lead them from the corrupt sultanate, from the vile, stagnant worship of the gurus, and deliver them to freedom.