• T. Mark Mangum

A Tale of Light and Dark

“Sit, sit now children, and I will tell you the tale of how the Young Refugee Prince, Three Days a Slave, Lord Prince of the Relm, became The Great King of the South and his father, Jeraosh the Mighty, Refugee King, Lord of the Relm, Right Hand of the King, became The Great King of the South before him. Sit, sit,” Androus the old, Bard of Quitress Square, directed the children who gathered this morning to hear his teachings.

Androus opened the great book upon the podium. He would visit the book throughout the tale to ensure he spoke the written history well. The children settled.

“Now youth hear my words, the tales of the history of the Relm,” Androus began.

In the fourth year of the reign of The Great King of the South, Lord of the Sea, Defender of Port Roncanus, many years of peace in the three kingdoms had been enjoyed. The great orchards of the Middle Kingdom were as awe-inspiring as the fishery fleets of the south. There in the Middle Kingdom, Jeraosh the Mighty reigned.

This is that tale of the age of Brucous the terror of the north and his raising of the Middle Kingdom.

The young Prince, eight years of age, the Princes twelve, and the Queen, played and lounged in the garden, unsuspecting of the terror that bore down upon them from the north.

“Mother look, smoke in the mountains, the apple orchards burn, ” the Princess said. Then the sounds of alarm. The Royal guard came to gather them to a safer place.

The young prince could not remove from his mind the torments he witnessed that day. The imposition and killing of his mother the Queen, the harsh treatment of the women servants, and his sister the Princess, the murder of guards and male servants. Now tied to one another, they were forced to walk north in the slaver's column. The scenes repeated in his mind. His sister cried as she walked others cried as well.

“Wait,” the dirty-faced boy belonging to the Lamp Light, said. “So the Royal guard, what happened; did they not even fight?”

“How old are you boy,” Androus asked.


“Well you should know better by now not to interrupt, but since you asked. Of course, the Royal Guard of Jeraosh fought. They fought valiantly. Amongst the dead at the castle Prenale, Jeraosh found two hundred invaders. The Royal Guard numbered just fifty.”

Androus spoke. He looked up thinking, getting back to the place he had left off in his mind. he drew in a deep breath.

“What do you mean harsh treatment,” the little girl about seven asked. Androus thought she belonged to the Chandler.

“What did I say about interrupting,” Androus said in an unhappy voice.

“I thought you were answering questions, you answered his,” the little girl said.

“Shush the lot of you, now. Harshness means just that, no not the scolding your mother gives you when you break an egg, I mean blood, slit throats, dismemberment, decapitation, the imposition of the ladies.” Androus made chopping and slashing motions with a wooden sword he had as a prop leaning against the podium as he said these words.

“What is imposition,” the little girl said.

Androus pointed the sword toward the girl and wagged his unbothered finger back and forth at the crowd, “Shush.”

The captives marched north till in the waning sun, as hopelessness seized and strangled their hearts and minds, a horse reared, and rider fell. Near the young prince, the body of a captor lay, an arrow extending through his neck, blood coloring the ground. All around the captives a great tumult of motion, the noise of battle, and screams. Then as the scene cleared and the young prince was able to make sense of what he was seeing. Jeraosh the Mighty, and the Four Lords of the realm descended upon the slavers that held them captive. The Blood Lord using a tree branch as a club crushed the head of another of the northern warriors. The Lord of the calvary, atop his horse, swinging his polearm, beheaded another. The Lord of Archers, took aim again and again, with each arrow another captor fell, and Lord of healing, short sword in hand freed the captives from their bonds, soon they were all free.

Twelve from that slaver, the five freed, in all they saved one hundred that day, over the course of a week as they fled south they saved five thousand. Thus Jeraosh the Mighty became the Refugee King as he led his nation to beg acceptance in a foreign land and from a foreign king.

“How did five save five thousand,” the dirty-faced boy asked?

“Boy, you’ve been coming here now for several years, how can you be so ignorant, and I said don’t interrupt,” Androus said gruffly.

“The slavers of the north,” Androus began.

Come in many shapes and sizes, some of them are just looking for women and children to sell in the slave markets, others for young women for the brothels of the north, and others for sturdy men for hard labor or to fight in the arenas. Jeraosh the Mighty, and his four lords fell upon several of each type as they fled south. Each time they liberated a slaver’s hold, any man or woman your age or older would take up arms as could be had and joined in the fight upon the next slaver.

“Now Shush, the lot of you.”

The southern kingdom is wide and long and encompasses many colors, creeds, and ethnicity, they welcomed the refugees, helped them to a place where land for farming could be had, and the peoples there called them brothers. Soon the land flourished and Orchards planted, bared fruit, we call that place today Jeraosh. In time the Refugee King won favor with the lords of the south and became a lord himself.

“How do you become a Lord,” a small boy, black hair, and dark eyes asked.

Androus sighed. “You do great deeds boy, you make the Realm a better place for all of the inhabitants, now shush.”

“Whats a deed,” the chandler’s daughter asked.

Androus stared intently at her, she bowed her head.

“A deed dear is an action that is not easy, that takes great strength and the ability to conquer fear. If not done would mean hardship and death for many, but when accomplished those same folks are spared their hardships and premature death. When Jeraosh the Mighty, and the four lords rescued all those people, those were great deeds,” you understand now little one? Androus tone lightened as he remembered he did enjoy teaching the young so very much.

Now as you can imagine, the young prince and his father missed his mother, the other's wife, and often the elder would curse those of the north. For his loss was great to bear. His sister, the King’s only daughter, the suffering Princess, years later, at just eighteen, desiring to dwell in peace, chose the long slumber in the other realm spoken of by the spiritual leaders. She was unable to suffer the memories and imposition experienced those three days and nights a slave.

“What do you mean imposition and how do you choose the long slumber,” This time a young lass, fair of skin and hair about fifteen in age asked.

“Well, young lady, possibly the crowd is a bit young for that discussion, suffice to say we are speaking of things private you should possibly speak to your mother about, Ok,” Androus spoke.

“My ma says the black fruit of the Mansprang Tree is good for helping you sleep. She says if you eat two or three in one sitting it will kill ya. That’s what he means by the long slumber, being dead,” The dirty-faced boy said to the pretty girl.

Androus cleared his throat gaining the attention of the children. He spoke again the story. Before long those refugees of the middle kingdom who had fled south in search of relief became a part of The Great Southern Kingdom. Jeraosh the Mighty, King of Refugees, Lord of the Realm, rose to a great station, to sit upon the right of The Great King of the South. For in the south great station was awarded to those who accomplished great deeds, securing of and making better the realm.

Androus picked up the wooden sword, looked to the youngsters, “Go ahead, ask,” He prompted the children. “What deed did Jeroash do?”

Some of the kids said allowed, others laughed, most just smiled.

Jeroash the Mighty, King of Refugees, Lord of the Realm, planned and directed the Kings highway that leads from the Port of Roncanus to the Orchards of Jeroash to the Seat of the King in Arbac, and then north to the Keep of Prowlee. He fed and protected the workers, directed the excavation of the quarries of lear, and fashioned with his own hand many of the rock that forms the walls of the fifty guard stations along the highway's path.

The young Refugee Prince, Three Days a Slave, after years of service in The Great King of the South’s army and numerous battles in the east, in the fashion of the south, became Lord Prince of the realm, for, in the Great Southern Kingdom, such titles are not given by kinship but for great deeds in battle.

A long peace the south in its glory and splendor enjoyed. Known upon the winds and across the seas as the Golden Kingdom where all were valued and none were slaves. Soon Jeraosh the Mighty, Refugee King, Right Hand of The Great King of the South, became The Great King of the South. For in the eighteenth year of his reign, age defeated The Great King of the South, Lord of the Sea, Defender of Port Roncanus.

“Wait,” the young maid said. “What deeds of battle did The Great King of the South, Lord

Prince of the Realm, Refugee Prince, Three Days a Slave do?”

“Ah, yes,” Androus said. stepping to the book and flipping a couple of pages. “Here we go, For his victories in battle against the foes of The Great Southern Kingdom Justine, Son of Jeroash the Mighty, King of Refugees, builder of the King’s Highway, Shall thus be known as, Lord Prince of the Realm, Refugee Prince, Three Days a slave. His victorious visage dwells upon the field of Nive, in the Valley of Rothan Falls, at the River Bridge of Far Hollow, in the plains of the Eastern Zorates, and against the cannibals of the Grosane Jungles. Yes, Yes, Yes,” Androus said, again picking up the wooden sword and dancing about the stage swinging and jabbing. “The cannibals of the Grosane Jungles, you see would sneak into the logging towns of the King and steal away with the folks cooking them alive in large kettles of soup or on a spit above a great fire. A nasty lot these monsters of the jungle.”

“What’s a Cannibal,” one little fellow asked. “Why would you put a person on a Spit, that's how we cook the goats,” another kid said.

“Cannibals is people, what eat other peoples,” an unusually thick boy said.

“OOOOh,” the younger kids said instinctively as a group.

“Yes young ones, cannibals eat people, and on this occasion, the son of The Great King of the South, Lord of Flowers, had been captured as his company did battle with a raiding party from the Grosane Jungle. The Refugee Prince seeing the jeopardy of The Lord of Flowers did separate himself from the company and alone chased after the band of Gorsane. Reaching the encampment he laid waste upon the group, freeing the Lord of Flowers at such time they both slaughtered the whole of the band that had captured him. Together they took down the skewered bodies and buried them,” Androus continued with the tale.

In the third year of the reign of The Great King of the South, Right Hand of the King, Lord of the Realm, Refugee King, word came from the east speaking of the marauding hoards of the north. The Great King called upon his Lords, Princes, and Nobles, declaring war. The great host of The Southern Kingdom marched north meeting the warrior clans of Brucous the terror. They delt defeat upon the north at every turn. On a day etched in memory, The Refugee King and his son happened upon the land that the boy had enjoyed as home with his mother. In a great battle, the host of the south laid waste the invaders of the north and marched onward to the northern kingship. Soon the land enjoyed by the people of the north lay trodden beneath their feet, and beneath feet of the host, the hoofs of their horse and oxen, and wheel of their carts, the men of the north lay dead.

From the Nobles of the south, bids for land and slave did come. From the living people of the north, reports of imposition at the hands of the invaders from the south did come to the ear of the Lord Prince of the Realm. Thus the Lord Prince mourned the light of the south, that faded.

Father he spoke to The Great King of the South, shall we be seen by the refugee lords of the north in the same eye as we drew upon the invaders of the north long ago? I beg thee not. Send forth your Nobles, Lords, and Princes of the Realm, command them better. Be not the image of Brucous the terror of the north. Bring peace now to those conquered as we have done to the south, east, and west. Make the whole of the land one kingdom in peace, direct the Lords, stretch forth the king’s Highway to the north, till it touches the ice of the Frozen land.

But in that place and in that time did The Great King of the South, the once King of Refugees, Widower, Bereft of his only daughter, Jeraosh the Mighty, dwell upon the memory of his long-suffering.

“I shall burn to the ground all that lives in the north, man, woman, child, animal, and tree. Where rock made dwelling my host shall leave gravel, the north shall bear forth nothing until settled by the children of the children of the light from the south. Then shall it be worthy of peace.”

“But he was king, why was he still sad about that stuff. My daddy says you should let the bad things float away on the river and never think of them again,” the Chandler's daughter said.

“Your father my dear is right,” Said Androus. “But you see the Refugee King had never let his sufferings go, he held them tight to his bosom until they ate his heart.”

“That’s no good,” the stout boy said. “What happened next? My uncle died fighting for The Refugee Prince in the north. I think you are getting to that part.”

“Yes, yes, a sad day for The Great Southern Kingdom I come to yes,” Andros said. Breathing in a deep breath he spoke again.

Then did the Lord Prince of the realm, son of the king, refugee Prince, three days a slave, turn from the darkness that had enslaved his father. He called to him the Nobles of Light, the host of the south, he did call to a great deed.

“We must preserve the light, resist the desires. Great strength is shown through restraint while knowing none can stand before or against thee. Brothers, Sons, Fathers, Daughters, Mothers, all who dwell upon the land are our kin. None shall be slave, death shall be the reward of dark acts, and great station must be earned. This is the way of the South,” the Lord Prince commanded.

Thus the battle of brothers, fathers against sons, neighbor against neighbor began. In time the light prevailed, and the Lord Prince become The Great King of the South, Lord Prince of the Realm, Refugee Prince, Three Days a Slave, and the father, King before him, became a memory.


Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 years working for the government, before realizing he should write.

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