emarkthomas

Trying to live love well through the power of the Everlasting.

The Viceroy

There once was a great Queen who ruled over a small but lovely country in a world very much like ours is today. She fulfilled all of the duties and responsibilities set forth for the government in the constitution, and did so lovingly and well, with the heart of a leader who cherishes her people. Among the populace she was beloved, and they trusted her to use her power continually for good.

But one day the Queen announced that her presence was required abroad. In order to prevent war and certain invasion, the beloved monarch was to join other world leaders in a city thousands of miles away, with the goal of formulating a plan to save the planet’s people from destruction. In her stead, she left her powers with a Viceroy. It would be his duty to perform as the Queen, and rule in her stead, until she was able to return. She warned her people that with such an unstable geopolitical forum, she could not be certain of exactly when her return would be possible.

Months passed, and the Viceroy watched things go rather smoothly. But soon after his one year anniversary of holding power for the Queen, the daily running of the country saw a shift. Instead of weighing options through the Queen’s guidelines and principles, the Viceroy instead began passing laws and making judgements based on his own observations and interpretations. Thus he began passing laws that required people to emulate qualities and circumstances that he believed the Queen admired, rather than looking to govern in a way that fostered the love and well-being that formed the heart of the Queen’s laws. Whenever anyone challenged him on this, he would bully them into submission by reminding them that surely he, as the Queen’s chosen Viceroy, knew her heart and mind much more thoroughly than any other. 

“Surely there could be no one else better qualified to know Her Majesty’s true mind,” he argued, “than me?”

The people’s love for their Queen, and their trust in her, overcame their hesitation to trust the Viceroy, and they submitted to his new rule. After two more years, the average citizen’s memory of the Queen and her true heart had faded entirely, replaced instead with the Viceroy”s propoganda. Even if the people could remember the Queen’s heart behind the government, they had no time to contemplate the gap between the memory and the current reality, for under the Viceroy’s reign the people were divided into two groups: those who became rich with power, stature, influence, and possessions, and those who were oppressed and impoverished.

The rich didn’t want to think too hard on the Queen’s heart, lest they risk upsetting the comfort and stability of their daily lives. The poor had not time or energy to think on the Queen, as heavy burdens were placed on their shoulders, food and shelter were denied them, and false charges of heinous crimes were brought against them at random.

So it was in this sad state that the Queen saw her people when she returned secretly in the night, finally victorious after so many years. From the moment she stepped off the plane and slid into the backseat of her limo, she sensed something was wrong. The elation of brokering a world-wide peace after years of labor vanished, and instead her heart was filled with horror and heartbreak as she witnessed the slums that now filled the streets.

Upon seeing a young man curled up in an alley, the Queen ordered her car to stop. She walked over to the homeless man and knelt at his side. She could see damp spots on his shirt where blood from a severe beating hadn’t yet had time to dry, and it was clear from his face that he was extremely malnourished. When he realized who she was, the young man jerked backwards and his eyes filled with terror.

“Please, Your Majesty! Mercy! Mercy! I’m so sorry for anything – everything! Please leave me in peace tonight! No more!” At his last request, his eyes looked beyond her to her guards, and the terror in them couldn’t keep back the tears that sprang forth.

The Queen’s heart was broken, and she reached her hand out to touch the young man’s face. Once again he jerked away quickly, and cowered against the wall.

“My dear,” the Queen managed to choke out. “Who has done this to you? Which abysmally foolish person assumed they had the authority to treat you like this?”

The man looked incredulously at his monarch, and finally answered her.

“The Viceroy and his men, ma’am. Was it not Your Majesty’s pleasure to have me and those like me just as you see us now?” He held out his hands to indicate the rest of the alley, where faces were peering out of boxes and mounds of trash. “We know that the laws are in place to make the kingdom reflect what you wish it to be.”

The Queen knew in an instant that there was no deceit in the man’s eyes. With one simple hand gesture, she assigned members of her entourage the task of helping the people in alley. With another she summoned the young man to follow her to her car, and with a word she set the driver on a determined course towards the Palace.

By the time she reached the Palace gates, the Queen’s fury had grown red hot. She charged through the doors and into the throne room, where she surveyed the dais before her. A large, dusty throne – her own – was nearly hidden from view by an overstuffed and gaudy chair that was clearly of the Viceroy’s design. The latter she immediately pushed over and left, on its side, toppled to the floor.

When the Viceroy entered, the Queen sat down purposefully and quietly in her long-abandoned post, and simply fixed her gaze on her trembling official.

 Eventually she asked, “What explanation can you give me for the state I find my people in?” With that, she stood and placed her hand gently on the shoulder of the young man from the alley, looking so out of place in the regal room.

The Viceroy stumbled over words and phrases, desperately attempting to explain himself to the Queen.

“Your Majesty – knew that you trusted me, sure that you trusted my interpretation of your laws! The chair – sure that you’d want me to be rewarded and treated with respect and honor as your regent! The people – criminals, my lady! They didn’t love or honor your ways! Not as I did! I – that is – they – er – and the economy! Down, needed forced laborers to survive – and the moral fabric of the nation – shambles! All in all… you know, punish the sinners and reward the faithful! And then -”

The Queen lifted a finger and the Viceroy’s voice vanished as if an invisible hand had been slapped over his mouth.

“Did you forget, or did you ever understand, that the most valuable and treasured thing you were trusted with was care of the people? Of all of the people? That my heart – the purpose of my government and life’s work – is entirely about the human beings in my charge, and their well being?

But your crimes, throne steward, go beyond forgetting my heart. You established a system that lied to my people about everything that matters most. Your government – in my name – taught them that they are not loved. It taught them to fear me as a dictator rather than love me as their Mother. Taught them to expect cruelty and injustice from my hand instead of mercy, love, and provision.”

As she ended her speech, the Queen reached forward and gently drew the young homeless man into an embrace. Her beleaguered subject melted into her arms, won over by the revealing of her heart towards himself and his fellow citizens. With a tear-filled gaze, the Queen fixed her eyes on the Viceroy and ordered he be stripped of his authority and rank.

With a hollow voice the now-rankless man asked what was to become of him.

The Queen stepped slowly forward and said, “Be thankful that you have a monarch that seeks to do well by all of her people. My mercy can be great. Have a care, and search your heart. You may still yet have a future at my side someday.”

Then she nodded to the guards, and the man who had been Viceroy was escorted out.

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3 responses to “The Viceroy

  1. Kerry Miller June 12, 2012 at 5:50 am

    WOW – Ethan. Just wow!

    • emarkthomas June 12, 2012 at 5:53 am

      Hah! I think we’re communicating in almost-real time! So get this: I wrote this, and then not five minutes later read your post about the guest preacher on Sunday. I was like, “Hey…”

      🙂

      • Kerry Miller June 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

        Hehe – yes I noticed that!! Must be the time for blogging… I really love your allegories. The most striking part of this one, for me, is that she doesn’t yell “off with his head” at the Viceroy, but leaves the door open for restoration.

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