Saturday, October 31, 2009

For Lord Witmore, March 16th, 1494

Dear Lord Witmore,
I Jacob Francis, the world-famous explorer who You hired am writing to inform thee of a most interesting discovery. Your Lordship would be very interested to find out that upon our arrival at this New World we met brutal savages who we could not even understand. They seemed to have no jobs and simply sit around all day doing God knows what. They have obviously not embraced Christianity which is preposterous and right down silly. We must do all in our power to educate these savages who probably do not even have any traditions. We are located in a place north of some islands, a place we now refer to as New England. It is a gorgeous land with many resources and with the exception of the heathen savages I believe it is a wonderful new start for the people who believe the Church is beyond reform. As I am an exceptionally wealthy man and so are You I propose that we put together our enormous capital and rebuild the Old World upon this new continent. Here we can be kings, gods even. We can use these pathetic and disgusting savage people as slaves for labor. As You know we travelled here by ship but encountered several storms during the way so if your Lordship plans to come over to see the land himself I would advise to use caution. We can also ship slaves from Africa as I hear they have some of the best there. We are currently inspecting for any diseases we might not know of but I believe there is nothing to worry about. It has been only two years since Columbus returned from this world and already I can see vast cities stretching over the land. We can burn down the forests and construct an economic spine for a new more prosperous nation. The climate here is a bit drier than jolly old Britain. I miss home very much and hope that You will receive this message with the next ship. I intend to stay a little bit longer and explore the further use of these savage brutes in our new continental empire. And perhaps one day a world empire… consider it!
Sir Jacob Jonathan Francis

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Witness

It was a cold November night, the snow falling in light almost indistinguishable flakes drowning the streets in its magnificent white powder. The whole town was beginning to look like a holiday greeting card and coincidently the holidays were in fact upon the calm populace of Runecaster. Bruce was walking home from work as usual not noticing the beautiful scenery that had begun to form around him. What point was there to stop and admire the lovely background of this stage of nature? It was going to be the same next year, and the year after that. No, Bruce had more important business to attend to than look at the trees in their winter outfits; tonight he was to go out with friends and have a few drinks. As you can see he was definitely not some old grunt who did not know how to enjoy his life or spare time. And his life was not a bad one, Bruce thought as he walked down the empty and unwelcoming street. He had everything he ever wanted: a nice job, friends who liked him, a place he could call home. What more could he want? Well, maybe there was one thing.
As he walked engulfed in his thoughts and dilemmas he almost passed the pub he was supposed to go to. That would have been embarrassing seeing as he was there every Friday night drinking his problems away. He approached the wooden door that was so well known to him. The pub was owned by a friend of his father and he had come here with his parents since he was a little boy. There was something in this old-fashioned inn that had a magnetic attraction on Bruce and he could not free himself of it. It was indeed odd as the tavern-like building was nothing special. It was not small, it was not large, just mediocre. It was not modern, it was not too much out-of-date it was just normal. Its small round windows were chipped on their sides and the small green door with a metal handle was not in the best condition possible but none of this mattered to its customers. They were a bunch of happy “drunks” who found comfort and joy in the company of their friends. And Bruce was the most frequent customer never missing an opportunity to laugh and have a few to many pints. But tonight something was different. Although there was light coming from inside it was cold and quiet as the very night. Bruce walked up to the door and opened it carefully not sure what to expect. He was surprised of what he saw. In fact he did not see anything since it was absolutely dark inside.
“Now that’s strange” Bruce thought, “I could have sworn there was light coming from inside”
He could not move or say anything. He stood there for a minute or two and decided the pub was closed for tonight and they simply forgot to lock up. As he was about to turn around and head inside he heard a calm soft voice behind him.
“Good evening Bruce. Leaving so soon?”
Before him stood a middle-aged man wearing a long black robe and a golden ring on his right hand’s index finger. He was very handsome and his deep blue eyes demonstrated confidence but not arrogance, understanding but not sympathy.
“Who are you? „ asked Bruce in a high-pitched voice.
“That is a very good question my boy but let me be the one who asks the questions tonight.” said the man in a calm and relaxed manner.
“You could at least tell me your name sir.” replied Bruce thinking it to be strange that the man called him “boy” since he was a little older than him.
“True. It wouldn’t hurt to tell you my name for the sake of the conversation. My name is Mort, Bruce. You can call me Morty, if you’d like.”, said the man with a faint smile.
“Right. So how do you know my name? And who are you anyway?”, asked bruce feeling a little more confindent.
I though we agreed I would be the one asking the questions Bruce. Tell me, how’ve you been?”
I’m great. Can’t complain. Nice job, a ton of friends, and a nice apartment. What more could I ask for?”
“What indeed… Bruce, you cannot lie to me. You are not happy with the life you have. It is quite understandable considering what happened to your sister six years ago”, said the man in a blunt and unkind voice.
Bruce was stupefied. He could not believe the man before him knew so much about him and would dare open a painful chapter of his life. Rage began to pulse in his veins as he thought more and more about it. How dare this fool talk about his sister like that? He had no idea what Bruce had to go through, what sacrifices he had to make, what horrors he had to endure for the one person he cared most about.
Oh but I do Bruce, I most certainly do, said the man in a deep and clear voice.
"You… but how do you know what I’m thinking” said Bruce the rage quickly being replaced with excitement and fear. Who was this person? What did he want?
“No, no Bruce, it is not about what I want. It is about what you want. A terrible thing cancer. You know they call it the plague of the decade. I am truly sorry you had to lose your sister that way but it was her time”, said the man in a strange and stern voice.
“What would you know about it? You’ve never lost anybody that way. It was horrible. Every moment was a gift, every breath a victory. But she only won the battles not the war. Anyway, why are you bringing all of this up?”, asked Bruce with uncertainty.
“Because Bruce, you are unhappy. You go home every night and most of the times you cry yourself to sleep. You do have a good job, a ton of friends and a nice place to call home, but none of that matters to you anymore. You are so completely devastated by your loss that you have forgotten how to live. Am I close to the truth?”
Suddenly Bruce’s world began to fall apart. He saw his sister smiling and then crying, laughing and then crying in pain. The pub turned to dust and the snow, the town, the people, everything was gone. The man was absolutely right. Nothing mattered to Bruce. He had the same mundane routine every day, met with the same people every Friday and drowned his grief in alcohol every time. He had been fooling himself, trying to convince his soul that everything was fine.
“Yes alright! You’re right! Why, why are you doing this to me?”, cried Bruce.
The man looked at him and simply answered:
“Because it seems that you dislike a life that many dream of. I am here to give you a choice.”
“A choice?”
“Yes Bruce a choice. You can see your sister again. You will be together forever and will never part again. But you will not see this place again or any of you friends. You will be far away, further than you have ever been and you will not be able to come back.”
“My sister… to see her again… wait, who are you?”, asked Bruce with his voice becoming high-pitched and shaky once more.
“I am Mort. And I give you this choice. Your sister or everything else.”
“To me she was everything…”
“True but she would not want you to waste your life over her. She was strong and she would have wanted you to be too.”
“I know. But how can I make this choice. Can’t we be together here?”, asked Bruce pleadingly.
“It is not up to me Bruce. But even if it were the answer would still be no.”, said the man in a commanding voice.
“I wish we had more time she and I. It’s a shame God gave us only one life.”, said Bruce with tears in his eyes.
Mort smiled and said:
“It’s true that you can only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

It was a cold November night, the snow falling in light almost indistinguishable flakes drowning the streets in its magnificent white powder.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009