The Middle Son
"You have been causing me great embarrassment!” said the King and immediately started to pace through the hall from end to end in a mixed state of anger and confusion.
He dragged the golden edges of his cloak across the pearly white floor as he strode across back and forth, hands clasped tightly behind his back. He looked down towards the floor with an intense gaze, as if the floor would speak and provide him with an answer to his ordeal.
The cause of his embarrassment stood right before him with head bowed down in deep submission. The submission was to a great entity without doubt - as the silence and concentration indicated, but the entity was certainly not the King.
‘What encourages this insolence?’ thought the King.
The King did not look towards the subject lest his anger would pierce through his heart. And no matter however much tension stretched the King's mind, his gait remained forever graceful. It never indicated the on-goings of his mind as it would for a normal man. Of course, this would be a quality of the divinely chosen master monarch of the Kingdom of the Two Suns - known as 'Harawn the Harsh' in homage to the harsh characteristics of his soul.
The tension was neither evident in the rest of his bodily movements, as centuries of conditioning flowed in his blood; conditioning, of the mannerisms of divine royalty, that allowed him to carry himself with grace at all times.
Why had these qualities not been adopted, rather embraced, by his middle son? Why was he not dressed in the royal robes, made from the silk extracted from the Giant Silkworms of Asteroid Yishawa whose whole colony was subjugated by his Grandfather? Why was he instead dressed in rags that made him look much like a beggar? These queries and a lot more accompanying them spun their way through the King's mind and the resulting web of thoughts squeezed it further causing him agonizing pain.
"A life is to be lived as it is pleased father. It is a right given to us by the Almighty," replied the subject - the Middle Son called 'Hayoob'. He was right in the middle of the King's progeny, the third of six sons; and was the most peculiar of them all. The son was a friend of the mystics -- some touted him as their next leader -- and he followed their ways in full; the rag, was their flagship dress and indicated disconnection from the material wealth and riches of the universe. The Ministers were correct in stating their suggestion of expelling the mystics; they would not prove to be such nuisance if exiled to the asteroid belt, he had ought to have this seen to as soon as he was done reprimanding his son.
The son was not concerned much about his father's disapproval of his methods. Nor, did he care for his resulting displeasure -- the expressions on his face were the same as before his father's diatribe started. The mystics had opened up a new world for the boy, one he was much more accustomed to than the palace he grew up in. It is strange how sometimes; people identify more with places they have never seen, to the point of calling them home, instead of the place they have spent most of their lives in.
"Is it also a right bestowed upon you - To insult your father?" the King retorted, his index finger flailing up and down measuring the height of his son's disobedience.
"Do you know not? That displeasing your father is equivalent to earning the wrath of the Almighty?"
The wrinkles on King Harawn the Harsh's withered visage tightened. They carried the appearance of a map, of a landscape, formed by the angered emotional content of his soul. It is said that when the mighty and hard-hearted king was furious, an earthquake would rip across the surface of an unsuspecting dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. The whole solar system and outer worlds trembled before the wrath of this overlord!
The boy was unfazed. He seldom cared for his father's emotional outbursts of anger and for that matter - he seldom cared for the emotional outbursts of any man in authority.
"You have deviated from the true path my father. The temporal brilliance of this universe's image has deceived you. It has thwarted you from ever witnessing the magnificence of the true reality that lies cloaked in its shadow. The methods of the mystics have taught me much and they have allowed me to control the most powerful force within me -- my imagination. You have not tasted true power yet!” spoke the boy spoke with excitement.
The King responded in a burst of fiery rage, complemented by an increased reddening of the sky, visible through the giant skylight windows of the throne room. The chandelier above swung wildly in terror - such was the King's uncontrollable power, which brimmed from his anger, the dark part of the soul.
The boy stood still, his face calm and expressionless. The King lifted his right hand; palm facing towards son, signaling him to speak no more. His hands trembled as he did so; he was of much age, a hundred and fifty years to be precise. His Advisers had put him on the right track - his son was going insane. He should have disciplined him earlier and expelled the mystics a long time ago. He should not have questioned the loyalty of his Advisers. They were experts in predicting outcomes that were unfavorable to the throne and their snake like appearance and serpentine voices should not have been a reason to dis-consider what they had to say. After all, if this son was to ascend the throne then how would he manage to control the rebellious moons and the distant planets that were left at the mercy of rogue ideals? From time to time, these territories would require being whip-lashed with discipline - the population and its leaders. This boy would not even dare to hurt the tiniest of insignificant insectoid. If twenty moons and ten planets had to be brought under the reign of the Kingdom of the Two suns by the fire-sword then how would a follower of the mystics, a group that has sworn against physical combat maintain order? Asceticism had no place in the royal household.
"Imagination!" said King Harawn aloud. He was locked in a cold stare with his son. The light from the two suns, that served as the celestial lamps for the Kingdom and formed the primary symbolism on the Kingdom's flags, entered the courtyard where both King and son stood, from opposite directions - causing their shadows to intersect. It seemed as if they were locked in pre-combat, Hayoob's shadow much more transparent than his father's which was heavy, dark and oblique to the star that caused it to be.
"You think imagination wins wars? You think imagination is true power?”
“I am afraid my son, at first I was angry but now I feel sorry for what the mystics have done to your mind!" said the King, cutting through the tense silence.
He would now put forth a display of true power; as his own grandfather - Habbass - the conqueror of suns would say: 'Insolence is brought to its knees by a display of the disrespected man's power'. The King tapped the ground with a powerful tap of his diamond tipped staff, the diamonds of which came from Lethora - the diamond planet. A giant hologram of the Kingdom appeared in between the duo: Ten planets, twenty moons and 2 suns, one very small and the other very large, the small one feasting on its larger accomplice. Staring at the hologram a thought crossed the King's mind - he was informed of the dangers from the radiation coming from the two stars was increasing, the bio-domes that encapsulated the various settlements on the different planets were not good enough - so many problems were being mounted onto his head.
"Do you not see the majesty of my Kingdom?" said the King, having opened his arms far and wide indicating the vastness of his control.
"Do you not see how many generations it took us to build it, under the torturous shade of these stars, as they pummeled us with rays that would fry the bones of our ancestors?"
"They found shade under the Mystic Mountain - did they not?" replied Hayoob. The Mystic Mountain was a mountain located on the Chief planet of the Kingdom where the King's palace stood and it was said 'The First Tribe' appeared there. People willing to join the mystics or become inundated with their knowledge undertook the pilgrimage to the Mountain - the home of the mystics. Mysteriously, it was immune to the suns' radiation and in general a symbol of reverence for the common folk.
"And did the Mystic Mountain allow them to conquer all these planets as well? Did it for example provide them with troops, food and weapons?" replied the King, his voice dripping with bitterness.
Hayoob answered with silence.
"Only majesty, grandeur and an army of absolute force - all divine qualities - got us here!"
The King's cries echoed through the majestic throne room, and to add the finishing note to his speech -- his fiery spirit -- caused the entire sky to glow red.
"Look! Look at my Kingdom, my power! Real and not imaginary!" he cried.
The Middle Son was still unnerved.
"Let me show you some more divine qualities," Hayoob whispered, unaffected by his father’s speech. The boy looked towards the red sky that was visible through the giant glass skylights of the throne room. He stood there for a while, as still as a stone, as straight as an iron rod, without blinking.
"Is that silly meditation you’re doing?" mocked the King.
"You can stop now because I am unimpressed."
The King found his son exceptionally silly when he saw him perform the rituals of the mystics of Mystic Mountain. He had seen them meditating in a similar manner during the Water Wars as he flew over their abode in his hover ship. The people said it was the mystics and their heavenly connection which ward off the Invaders; a horrible army of planet annihilators that had enslaved many solar systems forcing its people to work in mines. They had turned on their heels without a fight. People were superstitious thought the King. The Invaders had most surely feared the might of the King's army and weaseled out accordingly!
The boy continued to stare into the heavens. He was now lost in his own deep connections with them. Slowly, the King's anger subsided and he decided to leave Hayoob alone and retreat to his room. Hayoob could stand here for as long as he wanted, he was surely ashamed of himself the King concluded.
As the King started to take the first steps away from the presence of the Middle Son he noticed a peculiar change in the environment. Even though he was looking down towards the pearly white marble flooring as he walked away he was able to notice this change -- You are able to notice the slightest change if a feature of your environment has always been the same all your life suddenly changes the slightest bit -- The fiery glow of the hellishly red sky on the pearly white floor had disappeared. This caught the King by surprise and he stopped dead in his tracks. He turned around towards the huge windows of the hall and what he saw swept him off his feet.
The sky was red no more.
It had changed colors to a dazzling blue from the bloody red.
A cool wind blew from the balcony at the end of the corridor leading out of the throne room where the King stood and brought forth with it puffy white clouds.
Through the windows the King could see that the giant bubble shaped bio-dome in which all the people of the capital city lived opened up!
This could have only one meaning!
The two stars were no longer a threat!
Magnificent displays of aurora engulfed the sky creating a symphony of lights.Through the windows the King could see that the people came out of their homes to witness the enchanting scene.
In the middle of the room, the area which was occupied by the hologram, the globes representing the two suns were now of almost equal sizes and were emanating a radiant and majestic golden glow of equivalent intensities. The smaller globe in the hologram which represented the chief planet that was host to the King's palace was now in a different location - not too close and not very far from the binary stars.
Having witnessed the stupendous scene, feelings of shock and awe engulfed the King causing him to drop his staff to the ground. For the first time in a hundred years, he held a composure that oscillated between displaying confusion and wonder. He had never been witness to such a scene -- the heavens were bathed in Divine lights for this boy! Such a sign, who could deny?