Desperation and Desolation
….. The King –
Sent forth a decree that all his serfs must pay extra taxes because there was a war on and the crops were bad this year. Any who refused were beaten by his soldiers and their daughters were taken to the castle to wait on the queen. Or if they were pretty, to wait on the king. (wink wink).
If they refused a second time, the king had their cottages burned down after removing anything that could be shared by the cooperative villagers and his soldiers.
When the villagers saw the soldiers coming a third time, some threw themselves over the cliff, some took up arms to try and fight. For what? They had nothing left to take. Except the crops.
It was suicide by soldier though. Who would be so ridiculous to try to fight someone who spent their days sparring? Some young and some experienced war hounds. Their orphaned children were sent to the castle to become it’s servants.
……. The Priest –
When the priest called from the pulpit that the gods were angry, and wanted a tithe of food and wine to soothe their ire at a time when the people were a bit angry themselves, the people refused.
The priest sent out the handmaidens to dance and try to cajole the increase from the supplicants. Probably not the best move by the priests though. The maidens came back in tatters from rotten fruit and in some cases from being used by the village men.
A few of the innocent handmaidens took a dram and passed quietly into their version of the afterlife. A few walked around as if they had taken the dram, but their bodies refused to lay down to be buried.
The priest sent to the castle for soldiers and was happily granted them.
The village was razed. The villagers were beaten (a few to death) and anything of value was given to the temple. The villagers left the area and the temple. With nothing to hold them, they went to find new gods. Except for a few who laid down and cried to the gods for relief that never came. They starved to death praying.
And the priest was left with dwindling supplies to feed his temple people. And no way of getting new food and wine in.
……. The Magician –
He put on shows and had quite a mix of awe and dismay from the audience. They were sincerely impressed with his pageantry and trickery. And sorely afraid of him.
Till they saw how he was doing it… And the villagers, once let in on the secret, saw everything for the sham it was. He was no devil, he was no god. Just a man, after all.
There was a stampede. For the villagers had needed to believe that he was more than human to keep paying his ticket prices. He had charged them more than any other magician had.
The magician threw salt, and threw powder but the crowd kept coming… or should I say mob?
So he threw fire that burned down their cottages. And ran to hide before they could catch him.
….. The Village
The elders gathered the survivors together and made some suggestions of what they should do next.
But the villagers were pretty much done listening. They threw stones at the elders and wandered away.
And there was nothing left.
No king or priest, no magician or elder held them. The villagers had nothing of divinity left to believe in. And no food or shelter to sustain them.