The Tale of Modeñia: Chapter One

Fiction By Arthur // 2/29/2012

There was once a rich and powerful kingdom called Modeñia. The King of Modeñia’s name was Karshë; he was peace loving, and a good ruler. In fact, his passion for peace was so strong, it blinded him to the looming danger. For, when war threatened, he went to the enemy himself to ask for peace, not understanding that the enemy did not want peace, and failing to first prepare a defense...

   This is the sad story of the Kingdom of Modeñia, and of the brave Prince Zobed. This is my story, the faithful friend and servant of Prince Zobed.

 

   I found Prince Zobed sitting in the shade of an apple tree playing his harp, and deep in thought. I knew he was worrying about his father, the king, and I dreaded to tell him the tidings I had just received.  All this time, the prince had been worried sick at the events that unfolded before him.  The Kingdom of Serrat, to the west of Modeñia, had (under the rule of its evil king Judum) in the past year gone on a conquring rampage, quickly taking many neighboring kingdoms, even the proud Kingdom of Uthan, Modeñia’s closest ally (its queen was King Karshë’s sister) until only Othêyn to the south, and the Kingdom of Modeñia still stood. Zobed's father, king Karshë, had gone to sue for peace, forbidding Zobed to prepare any defenses, saying, "That might stir up King Judum’s anger, starting a war that we may still avert." Because of all of this, Neither Zoben nor I were allowed to so much as train soldiers. This is where Zobed strongly disagreed with his father.

   "If only my father could see. King Judum is a tyrannical ruler who is out for his own power and glory, and will not care for peace; even if he did, we should not, for he has destroyed Uthan our sister," Prince Zobed had said. "Oh peace! How I yearn for peace; when kingdoms can become prosperous, and men do not have to go out and die. What does it gain?"

   I could see that even now, Zobed was dwelling on these thoughts as he sat under the tree.  Then he spoke: "It is inevitable. It cannot be stopped. My father is on a failed mission, but oh, how I wish I could protect my land!"  He sighed wearily and bowed his head.  "I must trust in You, my Lord and God, for it is all in Your hands."  He stopped playing, and stared intently at an apple that had fallen upon the ground.

   I cleared my throat and stepped forward.

   “Ah,” Zobed said somewhat startled at my presence, “Forgive my private rantings.  My good Joseth, any news of my father’s return?”

   Seeing a glimmer of hope in his eyes, I was reluctant to tell him the news, but knew that I must. "Zobed, the news is grave."

   I saw the hope leave his face, and he replied, "Has my father failed then?  I knew it.  There will be war.  It could not have happened any different way. I don’t know why I even hoped."  He sighed.  "Well, Jothen, we must be ready; it is time to prepare this land for the coming battle."

   "Zobed," I replied, "The news is worse: your father has been taken by King Judum."

   "What?" he said, surprised and angry. "He wouldn't dare! my father came in peace, Judum wouldn’t take him prisoner! That’s against the honor of any man, even Judum wouldn’t do that. He dare not."

   "Calm down Zobed!" I said, "He didn’t do what you think. I’ll tell you it all. King Judum refused peace; though I am sure that your father did all he could to change Judum’s mind. Your father, seeing it was useless now, set out for the border. He came over the border and got as far as Demkochen. Judum sent an army after him, which caught up with your father at Demkochen. As you know, it is but a small castle, and was easily over-run.” I was silent for a moment, and then I resumed, “Zobed, what I fear the most, though, is that your father was killed in the fight."

   Zobed stood silent for a moment, tears appearing in his eyes. "Who gave you this report?" questioned Zobed. I could see that his heart was in pain, and he was struggling to keep himself under control.

   I stood silent, remembering when I had gotten the report a few minutes ago. It was a painful thing for me to bear, for he had been much like a father in my life. My thoughts strayed further to the fact that my mother died when I was very young, and when my father sailed away and hadn’t come back, and I was left an orphan. The king though ̶ ̶ who was a good friend of my father ̶ ̶  from the kindness of his heart had taken pity on me and took me in.  Zobed and I had grown up together as brothers and it was frustrating to me now that I knew not how I should comfort him.

   I finally spoke up, "There have been several reports, all similar. Only one of the men, though, said that your father had been killed; it could be a mistake.  Perhaps your father still lives." Tears now filled my eyes, though I had already wept when first the report had reached me.

   All was silent; Zobed spoke mournfully, "Oh, if I had only been allowed to fortify the borders, none of this calamity would have befallen us!"

   I spoke more calmly than I felt.  "Zobed, we still have on our hands a terrible problem. The army of Serrot that has taken your father, is at this moment taking all of southern Modeñia, and only momentarily being held up at the castle of Tomend. Captain Hoyek says they’re about 10,000 strong while he has but 800. He has a strong defense, but with so few to defend it and so many against them, they can not hold out forever. They send for relief."

   "Has Lord Donning been told?" asked Zobed, sobering.

   "Messengers were sent to him right away," I replied, "but we have not heard anything from him yet."

   "He has the army, and we need his response soon," Zobed exclaimed, with a little frustration. "I am sorry, how does the verse go, 'Preserve yourself in patience'." He paused for a second, and then continued, "It’s just that…" here he broke off with a choke.

   Seeing tears in his eyes, I tried to encourage him, saying, "Your father, the king, was a great leader, but I think you are called to be a greater one. Rise and be strong for the sake of your people, the people of Modeñia. 'Your strength be in the Lord, let Him guide your decisions'."

   The prince straighten up, and with determination he commanded me saying, "Tell Captain Kolec to gather as many people as he can from the city, and send messengers to the surrounding towns to gather more. Send also messages to Lord Welkins, Lord Gofan, and Sir Thiodn to gather their men. We have only a little time to gather men from the highlands, Hagdon the Brave, the Clan of Cimlan, Gornith the Giant and his mighty men, Jahue of Denvas; we need all the men we can get. We must be prepared to meet the onslaught." Then adding with a whisper, "May God have mercy on us."

   I left his presence and proceeded toward the halls. As I entered through a small side door, I ran right into an older servant; Penten, he was someone I could trust with an important message as this was.

   "I bez un gertly zorry, zir. I ain’t bein’ expect’n no perzon on de other zide of um door," he apologized with his deep burly accent. His accent always intrigued me. He was from the highlands, I knew that much, but it was not an accent of the highlands. His stature was also not a highlander’s, for though he was broad shoulders and was quite strong, he was short rather than tall. His resemblance was in fact much like that of a dwarf, though not quite as short.

   "Ah, Penten, you’re just the person I want," I said, "I need to send an important message to the Captain of the Guard, but first I need paper and ink to write it upon. Do you think that you could fetch me some so that I could write the message and you could take it for me?"

   "I bez un grateful to do de zervize for you, zir," he said, seeming quite pleased. I thought that I might have even detected a smile of pleasure beneath his grizzly beard.

   Penten came back quickly with the paper, ink, and quill, and handed it to me. I quickly wrote out the message for Captain Kolec and gave it to Penten to deliver.

   I left and went back into the orchard, and found Zobed in the same position deep in thought. I was at first reluctant to interrupt him for he had much to think about, but he noticed me before I had decided whether I should or shouldn’t.

   "Joseth, my friend, have you sent the message?" Zobed asked.

   "Yes; I sent it with Penten, who I think is trustworthy," I answered.

   "Yes, I do consider Penten very trustworthy, but come, you have information that you are withholding from me; I can see it in your eyes.”

   I was hezitant to put an additional burden on the prince, so I paused before answering, “Zobed, your brothers Zadok and Makron already know, and in fact the whole household, but not your sister Lañia. The news must be broken to her, and you, I think, are the one to do it.”

    He looked at me, then said, “I will tell her, though it will bring her much sorrow; she should not be kept in the dark. I will go now.”

   After I had left him, I slowly walked toward the main hall. There I met Zadok, who immediately asked me what had happened. I told him all that had occurred, and that Zobed had gone to his sister to break the news to her.”

   “I am glad that he is to do it, for he is the closest to her, and will know how to comfort her, though I think she will brave it well,” said Zadok.

   I nodded in agreement. Zadok continued talking, but I only half listened. My thoughts wandered to what the out come of all this would be. Would we be able to drive the invading army out? Would I come out alive? This thought gave me fear, but then I stayed my thoughts. 'Fear Anarrel only, for He decides your fate; trust in Him alone, for He is a loving Father, and does what is best for His children.' With this remembrance I felt comfort.

   My thoughts were interrupted by the deep, gruff accent of Penten, "I'z un gave him de letter, zir, and he zent me back with thiz."

   He handed me a letter, which I quickly took out, "It’s to Zobed; I better get it to him, though I shall wait for him to come, as not to disturb him."

   I stayed at the hall for awhile waiting for Zobed. When he finally came, I immediately went up to him and handed him the letter.  “How did she take it?”  I asked.   If I was a mere friend to Zobed, I would not have asked this question. I was more than that though; I was at least as a cousin, if not as a brother.

   "She took it better than I expected. She did weep much, and I with her,” he replied, then he was silent, reading the letter.  He furrowed his brow and spoke to me. "Kolec thinks that we should not hurry to Tomend, but rather give the recruits a little training. What do you think of that, Joseth?"

   "I do not think I have had enough experience to advise you with wisdom," I replied, "But it does not seem to me wise to wait."

   "Neither does it to me, for if we meet the enemy at Tomend, we will have the upper hand. But if we wait, Tomend will most likely be taken." He stood silent for a while thinking to himself, "Well I can’t say that I have much experience either. I will wait for council from the Lords, especially Lord Donning."

  Our conversation was suddenly interrupted by a young servant with a message. "Yes Kanzar, who is it from?"

   "It’s from Lord Donning, I’m afraid it’s bad."

    Zobed took the letter and opened it. His countenance changed from sorrow to despair. I desperately wanted to grab the letter and read it myself, but I withheld myself.

   Finally he spoke, "Read it."

   I took it eagerly, not knowing what to expect. It read as follows:

        King Karshë,

I am sorry to inform you of this grave news. I am at this point doing all that I can to keep the enemy out of Western Modeñia. They invaded the third day of this month, crossing the Uthan River at Root Ford. The army of Serrot numbers at least 14,000 footmen and 2,000 horsemen. My forces number only 3,000 plus about 6,000 recruits. I need all the men you can muster. May God give you courage and wisdom to lead Modeñia. 'Though He seems in a distant place, He is at your side.'

   I couldn’t believe what I had read. I felt total despair and all loss of hope. It felt like a boulder had just been dropped on my back. Then I repeated the last word to myself, "Though He seems in a distant place, He is at your side." The words gave me a little reassurance.

   "So," Zobed said, "We are caught in the jaws of the bear; one army rampages in the South, another attacks from the West.  Perhaps," he paused a moment.  "Perhaps, Anarrel does not mean for us to win? I hope Anarrel will smile upon us, and fight for our cause. For how else can we even hope for victory?"

   "We mustn’t give up hope," I encouraged him, "You can do it, Zobed, with the help of God, you can drive."

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   I was kept very busy those next few days while waiting for the troops to arrive. It was the morning of the second day, and I was walking through the growing camp, heading toward the council tent.

   Zadok approached and greeted me, "Hello Joseth, your presence is wanted at the council."

  "Yes, I was just heading there," I said.

   I followed him as he told me the news, "Gorneth the Giant has arrived, so we must now decide our move. We will either break camp and hurry to relieve Tomend, or let Tomend be taken while we train our recruits. For some reason Captain Kolec and Lord Welkins want the latter."

   We arrived at a large tent where a guard motioned us in. We both walked over to Zobed and greeted him. I felt honored to have been asked to the council, for I had no military experience to speak of.

   When all had arrived, Zobed spoke out in a strong commanding voice, "Men, we are gathered here today to decide upon a plan of action. We have two options before us, to go at once to relieve the castle of Tomend, or to give the men who have gathered, some basic training in formation before we engage the enemy. You choose, but choose wisely."

   Lord Welkins spoke up quickly, "Great men, please heed my words, for I speak for the good of Modeñia. The men we have gathered here are mostly inexperienced and have never been in a battle. If we set out and engage the enemy before we have given even a little training to the men, the army would be so disorganized, that it would be broken easily in a battle. Every victorious army has always had a little training. Please men, think upon this with wisdom, for the success of Modeñia depends upon your decision."

   Jahue of Denvas stepped forward, his highland accent sounding with determination, "This is ridiculous talk. If we don’t march to Tomend soon, it will fall, and our greatest defense lost. Also we must hurry before the enemy laying siege to Tomend receives reinforcements -- or even worse, takes it and goes on to defeat Lord Donning in the West. No, we mustn’t wait, for if the two enemy armies were united, all would be lost."

   The tent irrupted with arguing which lasted for hours. When the vote had finally been cast, the decision was made. We would march for Tomend in the morning.

Comments

Congrats!!!

i Felicitaciones !  bro :)

Rosie | Fri, 03/02/2012

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Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.
David Starr Jordan

:)

 I got so excited when I saw you'd posted! :) I love the names you've chosen, and Penten's accent (it makes me think of the moles in Redwall!), and the great storm that's brewing. Well done! :) 

Kyleigh | Sat, 03/03/2012

Thank You

Rosie: Thank you Rosie for congratulating me in spanish.

Kyleigh: Yes, Penten's accent was based off of a mole's accent from Redwall. I wasn't sure what to do at first, wanting some accents, but how would you 'translate' an accent from a different language. I finally chose to use accents from the real world.

Arthur | Sun, 03/04/2012

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

Ha! I knew it.

I don't think I'm going to be able to see Penten as a human now.

Benvenuto a torta di albicocche! (Italian, that.) You've been a member, but now you're writing stuff again! 

I'm not sure what I think of Zobed. If he was smart enough to anticipate his father's failure, why didn't he set up any defenses on his own? Just a thought you could maybe use to develop his character. :) Looking forward to more!

Anna | Tue, 03/06/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Exciting...

Well done, Arthur!  You captured my attention, conveying a sense of despair and  apprehension, but instilling inside the story a deep hope and faith in God.  I can't wait to see the next chapter!

Johanna | Tue, 03/06/2012

"Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of."
- Charles Spurgeon

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