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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2271454
Greed does not serve a person well, the higher up in society the greater the risks.
It was springtime in the meadow. Fresh flowers and shrubbery could be seen all around and the greenery was vibrant. There was a festival taking place and the current Chamberlain and Royal Treasurer both decried that the Nobility were not paying their fair share in taxes and that they would be dealt with post haste. It was just following these two men that the King arose to address all in attendance. Trumpets blared out and the royal guard stood at the ready.

The King decreed that the Nobility would all be replaced by the springtime whereas the Nobility banded together and shouted in unison that they no longer recognized the person upon the throne as their king. The Jester was prancing around in complete and utter glee, like a mime saying nothing but acting out fighting in various forms with his shadow for all to see.

Not to be outdone by the rabble along with his Jester, the king called to arms his personal troops to protect their King to escort him back within the safe confines of his castle nearby up at the end of the winding stairs surrounded by the bounty of spring before the Nobility had a chance to act.

Plotting and scheming on both sides ensued. On the one side, the King was vexed that the former Nobility had more money and resources than him and was determined to have them all in irons. Whereas the former Nobility were determined to band together and assassinate not only the current King but any and all of his kin so that none of that line would be upon the throne that they could not control. The peasantry were torn between their loyalty to the crown and to their respective Lords.

Unbeknownst to either side, during the festivities at the festival, they nobility didn't realize that the the common folk decided to play their hand carefully stoking the embers of hatred between both sides for collective profit for as long as they could do so, in order to milk the honey from the hive in order to keep all the bees busy.

Ambushes, assassinations and kidnapping ensued on all fronts. No side went unscathed. This process went on for many days. Finally, the King had captured several of the former Nobility making sport of the captives within the safe confines of his castle. Neither side bothered to negotiate with the other, they simply were to full of hate. Their collective ranks dwindled at a terrifying rate.

Seeing that the current King of the neighboring kingdom was occupied, the surrounding kingdom's took it upon themselves to galvanize their treaties with each other and march to capture their rival before the end of springtime. The Nobility and the king were all caught unawares, their greed and hatred blinded them to their collective danger. All were besieged within their respective castles while the entire country was ransacked within a few short weeks.

The old saying "United we stand, divided we fall" comes to mind.

They all were running low of food and supplies and one by one the Nobility surrendered and were summarily executed. Most of the troops were granted mercy and were recruited into the ranks of the respective seven kingdoms that were conducting this highly successful invasion. Finally it was down to the kingdom's Kings castle and fife surrounded and outnumbered without any resources left for the long winter, the King realizing his folly made a request of the troops whose morale was at a low to either fight or to surrender. Seeing that they're days were numbered, the Chamberlain along with treasurer bribed not only the royal guards but they were secretly responsible for the invasion at their doorstep. The secret deal, The Chamberlain would be crowned King and the Treasurer the Chamberlain of a vassal state controlled by the collective.

The Chamberlain knowing that it was time to act, assassinated all the loyal Royal guards and replaced them with his own men the King and his family were thrown into their own dungeon and put on display for the Royal assembly of enemies at their doorstep. The Chamberlain ordered his page to depart with a message inviting the assembly of hosts to join them in their festivities within the castle. One dignitary with an honor guard of 50 men was assembled within the courtyard below for each of the seven nation's besieging the castle.

The Chamberlain, stood at the balcony and shouted his welcome to the three hundred and fifty seven guests of honor assembled within the courtyard below. The Chamberlain took it upon himself to proclaim victory for the hosts and that the entire royal family was soon to be executed were waiting for their death sentences' to be carried out at the hands of their hosts.

The executions of the thirty three members of the former Royal family went off without any issues, none made any attempt to bellow any curses, they simply all went to their deaths in a dignified manor so as to be remembered in a positive light.

The Chamberlain was crowned King and presented the head of the former as a gift from the assembly. But the assembly decided to issue a surprise edict, The King was in name only. No troops would be given unto his care except those three hundred loyal to him from the Royal guard. The existing troops that besieged the castle were to remain indefinitely.

The Treasurer, now Chamberlain was instructed to deliver the castles taxes to the gate every quarter going forward. The current host further declared that no taxes on the peasantry would be collected for the next 25 years. This was done to by their collective loyalty. Without any real way out of their predicament, the Newly minted King and his Chamberlain were effectively puppets on a very short string.

It was obvious to both men that their deal had gone sour and that they didn't really have any choices left unto themselves. They could not lose their heads at least they were alive (sort of).
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