A fatal affliction causes a change in the heart of a king.
King Striver lay on his bed in his royal chamber peering outside of his window to his left. He sighed knowing his time on the Earth was short. He wished he would have done more in his life-that he had done more caring, meaningful things. But alas he had lived his life in his riches and pleasures, not so much as giving to the poor.
Three weeks ago the court physician had told the king he had gotten an illness caused by ingesting a deadly plant juice slipped into his drinking cup. It had been contaminated by an enemy spy. He was told he would die by morning. He had been afflicted with severe stomach and heart pains a months ago from when he drunk the poison.
To his right, his chamber door opened as the physician entered. He walked to the sick bed. King Striver was confused as he looked at the physician named Thaddeus. There was a war smile on his face.
“I am to parish by dawn and you smile. Explain yourself.”
“I have been studying the plant substance and I have a somewhat good news to tell you. I’ve found a way to rid you of your symptoms and prolong your life by a day. It is not anything to be overly jubilant, but it is the best I could do.”
“God has had mercy on me.”
“It is probably so my Lord. The monks in the monastery have been praying ceaselessly for you.”
Striver made a weak smile. “In any case, I have been reflecting on my life.” He paused, looked away then fixed his eyes on Thaddeus again.”
“What have you been contemplating Lord?”
“I will spend my final day in righteousness and good deeds.”
“Very good Lord.” The physician took a small glass vile of red fluid. “Drink this. You will be feel its affects by early morning.”
A tear ran down the king’s face. “Thankyou my friend.” He took the vile and drank it. Thaddeus bowed slightly and left and King Striver went to sleep early.
Morning came and with it, the sliver of the orange-red sun peeled over the distant mountains. And as the king opened his eyes, he suddenly sat up in bed amazed. “It is gone! I am freed from the pain of wretched affliction, albeit for a brief time. Now to get to work!”
The first thing the king did was to make a royal decree to instate a monthly distribution of money to the poor. Although, he would never live to see its affects, it would nonetheless help a great deal to the poor in the future.
His healing also renewed his faith in God. He would spend his riches to build churches and places for the ill.
One day in his royal council, where he had ordained all his charitable acts, he once again addressed his governors, lords and barons. “My dear overseers and rulers, I gather you to make another official order. God has blessed me with life enough to make things right as you know. I wish to serve Him more; let it be known that all young children in my kingdom are to be educated and versed in the Holy Word of God.”
A governor named Auricle spoke up. “My Lord, the treasury is being drained at a fast rate just from today. It will be depleted within six months.”
“Then we will seek donations from Nerith.”
“What!” exclaimed Auricle. “We have not spoken to the kingdom of Nerith in decades. If were to send an envoy, whoever we send would be killed.”
“I think God has given me this day to make things right. Moreover, I think such an act would be blessed if it were done.” The king looked to his right and stretched his hand to a tall stalky man with short black hair and addressed him. “Governor Biegn, send an entourage of forty soldiers with a gift of spices, silks and anything you can think of short of actual gold as that is what we seek.”
Beign bowed. “It will be done.”
Within three rushed hours, all things were prepared and brought and loaded on horse drawn wagons.
Before the deployment was sent, Striver said a prayer that his Lord would make it so Nerith’s king, Throm, would help. Striver prayed that God would soften Throm’s heart, when he learned of all the good things Striver had done all in one day.
A narrow stream separated Striver’s realm from Throm's. It would take a mere three hours to reach.
Striver waited in an exceptional demeanor. He had no lack of faith that his request would be granted. Hours later, the dispatchment returned. A miracle had happened.
The king met the captain of the envoy at the kingdom’s front gate. “My lord! Throm has not only given us gold for your enterprise, but he has said he will emulate your kind actions of kindness in his realm. Moreover, he wants a treaty between our realms.”
All of the royal and military members were in disbelief except the king who only smiled and thanked God for indeed it was nothing short of a miracle!
It was nearing dusk, and King Striver would die soon. His son Prince Crais would succeed him. And the king had no doubt where his allegiances lay and that he would carry out his father’s wishes.
The king’s final hour came and he lay on his bed with his son and Thaddeus by his side.
“Remember my son, keep to carry out justice, charity, bravery and fealty to our God.” Then he breathed his last and Prince Crais closed his father’s eyes.