The Mighty and their Impact
by Aiden Wetterhan, Form IV
11 min. read — November 2, 2021
“Hail, Melchizedek, who is the first king to rule according to his people. There is no account throughout the corners of the world of such a man, who rejects the pompous airity of the court and dwells among those whom he has subjugated.”
Never had any call from the crowd drawn King Melchizedek as this one did. Those words coming from the masses did not belong to a serf but from that royal line of Salem.
“Good friend, do me the honor in telling me from whence you came,” Melchizedek asked.
“The hinterland people of Salem nourished me, and when I became old enough to serve myself, my mother abandoned me within the city walls. She feared the four kings more than God,” said the man.
“Cast off those feverish things you say. Salem is a righteous city, as are the people who work her farms.” As Melchizedek finished saying these things, he turned around to leave.
“Chief priest, won’t you indulge one last question of your servant?”
“Go on…,” Melchizedek replied, swinging back.
“There was a man I met on the roads of Salem the other day. He owned an estate far from the city and had begun his journey at daybreak to make it within the walls at midday. He had two fine garments to sell. One he claimed was from the deceased Amraphel king of Babylonia and the other from Tidal king of Goiim. Seeing the value of these items, I directed him to the markets, but he insisted I take the treasures… free of charge.” The man reached into his pocket, “I eventually accepted, and now I wish to pass them onto you.”
The old king expected to see fine garments. Both were bloodstained but from only one point. Neither of the kings were killed out of wrath. As the king straightened out the garments, he found the insides were lined with small daggers. Ten, sharp, golden daggers were allotted to each king. These precious ceremonial weapons must have represented the legitimacy of the two kings. Finally the king pulled out one last dagger from each garment. They were made of rotting wood, and began to break down in the king’s firm grip. Inside each wooden dagger was a small metal rod. The king took these strange daggers and bundled them in the respective garment.
Thanking the strange man, he continued on his way to the palace. Enumerable cheers erupted from the crowd while the king only pondered the strange gift. Soon the king reached the steps on which his palace stood. Above him were seven arches made of extravagant lapis lazuli. A few had deteriorated since Melchizedek never bothered maintaining them. They had been built by his father: Noah. From these arches hung light silk dividers. He walked through the dividers and sat on his purple, ornamental throne. Such was the wealth of Melchizedek that his assistants piled on layer and layer of silk until the very fine fabrics produced an opaque wall.
Whilst the crowd jeered and wondered at the magnificent wall of silk, the king’s two favorite advisors, Deborah and Arneos, prepared the king for his people. The advisors had little work to do. The king had already put on the garments which the people loved. Furthermore, the king had prepared his oration for the crowd. All that was left for the advisors was to strip their king of the weird possessions that he held. With little effort the king eventually gave way. His mind could not be moved from the objects however. Soon the advisors called for the assistants to let down the layers of silk one by one. The image of the king gradually became clear. Mighty and magnificent was the king’s image… surely better than just a few minutes ago.
The people could hardly contain themselves as they called out to their king. Melchizedek waved at his loyal subjects, but not towards any one man. The whole life of Melchizedek could be eclipsed in the time necessary to wave at every man congregated before him. Finally, the last layer of silk was removed, and a mass of people charged up the steps of the palace. Many trampled over each other, but none made it to the final step. No man had the right to take the place of the mighty king.
“Be at peace,” Melchizedek called out to the crowd.
Just as the crowd rushed onto the palace and the last layer of silk had been lifted, so too did the blood burst out from Melchizedek as an arrow flew through his neck. The poor king still rested on his chair while the arrow was discharged, and he fell head first onto the steps of the palace. And his head hung over the top step so that blood trickled down from the king’s forehead all the way to the bottom step. The people began to charge up the final steps but the king’s assistants held them off. Meanwhile, Deborah and Arneos bolted in the direction from which the arrow came. They both acted out of rage against any man who would dare kill the most righteous king.
First, Deborah and Arneos came upon the entrance to the palace. The room was undamaged save for the dirt window from which the arrow flew. The two continued further into the palace: through the dining hall, past the study, and finally to Melchizedek’s art room. The king’s sister shuffled through several vases full of various pigments as the assistants ran through the room. She did not hear the arrow strike but saw the look of dismay on their faces and wept, saying:
“My brother kept our kingdom intact. Only he could impose both peace and love. Now that you have become bitter shades, make way for I will join your lot.”
The woman then smashed the vases vehemently, and with the broken shards she destroyed the wonderful paintings and sculptures in that room. From that day onward the room was devoid of people, for the men of the court believed that the room was cursed. Still Deborah and Arneos kept on until they approached the central garden of the palace. From there the two discovered tracks scattered across the earth. The tracks were in utter disarray, useless since the men could not determine from whence they came. A female servant appeared from inside the palace, shouting, “Take your persons outside the garden at once. The princess wishes to salt the earth of the garden to make it grow. She says that she will do the same to anyone who wishes to stay within this place.”
Seeing a great determination in the men, the servant added, “Perhaps I did see a man scurrying within the palace. Not too long ago I saw him leave. He had a bowstring on his side and ran to the furthest side of the palace which faces the lake.”
The assistants were satisfied with this tip, for they had no other. They charged to the lake side of the palace but found no man who matched the servant’s description. They were about to order the servant’s head cut off when they saw a man dash into the lake within the hull of a massive fig tree. One of the gigantic roots of the tree served as a paddle. Armed with the makeshift raft, the man left the shore before the assistants could stop him. Nevertheless, the assistants jumped into the lake. Immediately, its depth surpassed their height, but they still strived for the raft. Eventually, the raft approached a massive canal, some ten meters wide, which the lake led into. The assistants continued into the canal but soon found the water too putrid to continue. Mud covered their faces and bodies, and the water only got more dirty as the canal proceeded further from the lake. However, the assassin was not deterred by the state of the water.
The two assistants got out of the water and watched on as the assassin expertly navigated the canals. They soon lost track of the assassin as he reached a small plunge in one of the canals. The only path after that led to the city walls. The assistants turned back home, where they found the once brilliant palace in ruins. The princess had actually followed through with her threat and salted the entire garden, in addition to a few servants. Those servants who were salted beat the princess viscously until she fled into her quarters. The crowd that had come to see the king had made it to the steps of the palace, and they began to stab court members throughout the palace. Several court officials made it to the princesses’ quarters to seek refuge. She refused to shelter them and killed the officials herself. The people eventually made their way to the princess and upon seeing the savage princess knew that lawlessness had been adopted. The mob then spilled outside the palace into the city and the surrounding farmland. By night Salem had become more wretched than Sodom and Gomorrah. Discord had come over Salem.
In the evening of the following day, the city’s chaos boiled down. Most of the pillagers forsook their newly acquired hobby and returned to their homes. However, no man returned to his job. There were no jobs left in Salem because there was no king. The king blessed the bread of the granaries, so that it could be sold to the artisan, who made his craft, primarily for the wealthy, who received their instruction from the king to be kind to the peasants. Then the king told the peasants to remember their common goals with the guards who therefore coexisted peacefully. Still Melchizedek's corpse rests on the steps of the palace.
Despite all the beliefs of the citizenry, there was hope on this day. A triumphant band of cavalry rode into the city. They were met by no one attending to their usual duties, but rather smoldering buildings gave them a warm welcome. The band rode past the destruction and at the same pace reached the entrance to the palace. By now all that was left of the lapiz arches was a few scattered shards. The silk was nowhere to be seen. A few bruised and beaten servants approached the newcomers and gave them some grain and wine from the palace storage. Once the newcomers finished their meal, the servants asked, “What brings you to this deserted land, shunned by God and all things living? Unless you are the king, come again, leave at once; there is no prosperity for you to enjoy here.”
The leading knight removed his outer garment made of a light gray fleece. Underneath there were beautiful ruby and golden charms attached to the man’s undervest. He took each charm out and laid them together. Together they produced the insignia of Salem, and at once the servants lept from beside the table.
“Praise he who comes to save us wretched men,” once said.
“Never depart from our party, for we mistook you earlier,” another said.
Still a third said, “Surely Melchizedek watches these things with great joy. That of his which was once utterly destroyed, has been made anew.”
The knight with the insignia then ordered the servants to clean up the palace and tell their fellow servants the good news. The other knights took the arrow from the corpse on the palace steps. Later another returned to remove the body itself. Soon after, the palace was overrun with townspeople, and they shouted joyously at the knight as they did at Melchizedek the other day. The king’s room was prepared for the leading knight, and he brought the insignia with him to the chamber. While the knights and people performed their rightful tasks, the cooks of the palace prepared a fine meal for the knights and even invited the people to dine with them in the palace; after all, the entire aristocracy had been killed in the madness which transpired. When the meal was laid out at each seat of the dining area and rich wine was poured into every glass, the leading knight took his place at the head of the table. He then raised his glass for a toast and said,
“Tomorrow all people should return to their usual duties. All who have razed their own city will suffer until the day the city crumbles, for you are your own enemy and ought to fear yourselves above all else. And to the man who refuses his just tasks, what shall you be the next day except an outcast. You have no king today; therefore, let the people be defined by their shared desires. The greatest desire of these all is the desire to rebuild and prosper. I pity he who does not rebuild; perhaps the masses will have mercy. All who have killed the men who filled my court, will meet the netherworld upon their right day. The man who has risen up against his rightful lord and resorts to chaos shall obtain chaos all his existence. Fear not, that man will get what he desires.
Then, when the magnificent city is rebuilt and the people return to their usual attitudes and practices, we shall honor the corpse of Melchizedek most reverently. Each man should pay his respects to our just king and to he who does not… I have no quarrel with him. Yet the man deals a worse blow to Melchizedek than the assassin. At least the assassin dealt a blow upon Melchizedek with an arrow and not with wrathful fists. Finally, when every man is done paying his respects and Melchizedek is properly laid to rest, the final ritual of the day will commence. At the palace steps I will be called: “King Roszem, who is the son of the great king Melchizedek, who was matched by none”.