One-Minute Epics are new micro tales from John Klobucher’s Lore of the Underlings, a lyrical fantasy-fiction world. Here’s the latest installment…
Edict of Thoom
The High Priests of Merth had heard enough. Word of the unrest and strange goings on in Nord did not sit well with them, so they called for an unheard of Council of Lords to convene on the eve of the new year’s moon in Thoom, their stronghold and holy city crowned by the Temple of Rain and Sun. Prelates flocked from across the land and locked themselves away for days of debate, some of it so contentious that points were made with blades and fists.
But the fur really flew when the priest of the west accused the eastern lord of concocting it all, the tales of things in the sky, of flying girls, martyrs, and thousands possessed. “I know you, Hennok. This smells like one of your tricks, a menace you’ve conjured up over Nord and its weak-minded, inbred folk. It’s no doubt merely a ruse to raise an army and resurrect the throne.”
“I wish I’d thought of that,” Hennok laughed. “I’d order you skinned alive as my first royal act…” Then he gagged on his mug of wine and choked to death, poisoned with half of his faction.
The west lord was strangled that night as she slept.
The blood was still wet on the chamber floor when the council resumed deliberations. “Brothers! Sisters! We must stop these squabbles now,” cried the priest of birds and beasts. “The crisis grows with every sunrise — the crows have told me so. I believe them.”
There was a dangerous silence before the wisest, the Sooth of the South, spoke up. “Be that as it may, what matters is… we must act before the Senate does.”
All agreed and they issued the Edict of Thoom. It was written in crimson, posted, and read…
“Hear ye, folk of the Underland!” yelled the herald, unrolling a lambskin scroll. “Harken — this is official business.” A hush fell over the wide-eyed crowd.
“The Lordly have spoken from holy Thoom and offer this gift of four Commandments; heed them or not, on pain of death:”
– Firstly, don’t gaze at the sky again.
– No flying or dying without permission.
– Speech is allowed, but not aloud.
– Everything else is strictly forbidden.
The messenger tucked away the scroll to leave, “Good luck with that, Underlings. You’ll need it — the High Priests have sent their knight.” And he laughed as he lumbered out of sight.