I am writing this letter so that you may come to know the truths and salvation that I have come to live. As you know for some time our country has lived in anarchy. The only thing that kept us safe was the amount of land and lack of roads between the bandit camps. Though in recent months they have been moving about more frequently due to rumors of a King from a far off land.
He has come to our ruined nation to offer those that desire it, a government. A hand full of farmers and beggars have already joined him and they have setup a fort at one end of the country. He sent out a declaration saying, ” If a person desires they may come and bow their knee to him. In exchange for making me your king I will offer you protection and a chance at life with purpose. Beware! Though I am gentle I am also mighty. Criminals, war lords, bandits, are welcome but to make me King is to leave behind your former selves in preference to my direction.”
A bold declaration is it not! I considered it for sometime. I would sit for hours looking on my small farm, my beautiful wife, daughter and son. What would the King require of us? Could it be that easy? In the end I made a decision through inaction. I simply let the issue fade into the day to day.
We continued to farm the land and our small farm and cottage was comfortable and prosperous. We had more than enough food and the kids thrived there. This would be our downfall brother. It only took one bandit scout to see our farm from a distance. Within days the throng of blood thirsty scoundrels stood on the ridge of the hill and declared my wife and children theirs and that I should run if I valued my life.
I wish I could say I stayed and fought.
Days past before I had the nerve to even spy on my home. It was as I feared. The cottage was dark and lifeless. The farm was ravaged. My family was no where to be found. I still remember the hopelessness black and thick settling in the pit of my shameful person. How could I have left them! How could I not have fought for my precious ones. I purposed to kill myself and began to wonder. For several days I walked collapsing in the woods. Finally starvation would take me. A reasonable death for a man that allowed such tragedy to fall on innocents. If I could not lift a finger for them. I would not lift a finger for myself.
Soon men found me, men clean and healthy. They lifted me off the damp forest floor and carried me. They murmured to one another about the king and about plans he had. I found myself washed, clothed and force fed. They made me eat brother. I resisted but what is a man to do against even the littlest force when he is close to death. So I ate my eyes brightened only to fill will tears. My shame coursed like poising in the veins and the face of my wife was always before me.
I cursed the men that had brought me here. I was loud and rude but, only a few days before I was brought before the king!
Who was this man! He was nothing, unassuming and gentle eyed. He was strong looking in the way a man that is not afraid of labor is. He wore a plain tunic and sat in a simple wooden chair. Several men clad in bright armor stood around him though they looked at ease instead of on guard.
I was cast before him. He sat looking me over with a easy smile on his face. Then he spoke sharp words.
To my shame this news caused me horrible pain. Alive! Still! In the camp of bandits who may as well be a heard of rapists and murderers. I had sought to die! How wretched can a man get before the infection of his soul bursts his skin and he is reduced to puss and blood! I did not cry out or ask questions I simply weeped bitterly. In my heavy sobbing I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned my eyes to see the face of the King close, tears ran down his own cheeks.
“I have paid a great price for the people of this land. I care for them all. Lets go save them.”
That day I bowed my knee to the King and have not lifted my self form the floor of my heart since. He took his place at his chair and had brought before me wooden armor and a rusty sword. “By your current virtues you will wear this in battle. The longer you serve me the more you will understand. However, know this! You are no longer yours you are mine. I declare that from this day forward the man you see before you is as noble as the mountains and as innocent as the lamb! Rise and take your place as my child!”
I did as he said.
A great army gathered in the fort and we marched to the bandit stronghold. To my surprise the gates opened before us. There in the center of the camp was a cage. In that cage were several women and children. Among them was my family. I turned to the king awaiting his orders.
In a loud voice he declared, “Today we will take back those you have stolen. You have a choice, flee to the hills, stay and die or join me!” Several moments passed and then men began leaving the camp choosing their dark life style but preserving their life. What was left was not human! Among the men had been things much darker than shadow. I do not know how but there were more of them in the camp than there were men that left. They roared with loud voices and waved heavy swords. They gathered around the cage and the largest of them yelled back, “You will not have these! They are ours some by that ones choice. He gave them to us!”
Fresh shame boiled inside of me. I nearly turned and ran. Even if we did save them would she take me back? A hand rested on my shoulder. “Is this true?” The king asked. “Yes,” I answered! He nodded and turned to the dark ones. This one is mine and I have paid the price for his wrongs and crimes. Those in that cage are mine and will be coming with me today. Will you release them or must we take them. “Take them if you can,” the dark one yelled. At this a chair was brought and the king sat. He turned to me,”take them back.” There was a fire in his eye that I have never seen burn in a mere man. I was compelled.
I took my rusty sword and my wooden armor. By myself I left the ranks and charged the enemy. Every mistake I had made, every small word or lazy action weighed me down. As the faces of the dark ones grew closed I felt week. My shame and doubt gurgled like a terrible spring. I took one glance back and the kings eyes were locked on me. He made a simple nod and I renewed my stride. If I was to die today at least it would be at his request and not my selfishness.
Before my rusty sword could crash against the hundreds facing me. I was pushed back and forced to the ground. A white light nearly blinded me. It only took a few seconds and my vision cleared. Only to be filled with the blazing white flashes of the King, full in armor of brightest silver. His sword burned with the suns glory. Every one of his strokes met the enemy with killing force. It was him and him alone yet his force was that of a million armies. The dark ones tried to fight but by the power of his might they were slain with efficiency.
Brother, the King fought this battle alone! I did not lift a hand. I simply lay in the dirt stunned by his majesty. The look on his face was glorious and full of love for all that were there.
One man against hundreds. When you witness such a thing it changes the way you view that man. You can only conclude he is either more than man or he is helped by something greater. The battle lasted till the last dark one was slain. Then our King in shining armor covered in the blood of the enemy. Oh that blood, it called out to me, telling me that my own mistakes caused this. He simply sat down in the dirt with me and said, “the battle is yours.” I could do nothing but bow and weep again. He placed his hand on my back and said. I fought this battle not because I needed to win but because in me you can find love and peace. Go retrieve our family.
Brother, I had forgotten about the cage! I shot up from my spot in the filth ran over and unlocked the cage full of stunned women and children. I threw it open, and from the center of me where there once was a black spring came something new.
“Come! meet the King of Kings,” I shouted.
I walked them over to him, now standing. He did not treat them as we had been treated. He pulled off his upper armor as fast as he could and then with the largest stretch of his arms he gathered the children and embraced them. My own daughters wrapped in the arms of the Kings and then my own wife. He called some of the men from the ranks and they were reunited with their wives. Then he came to my wife. He spoke so softly to her, “your husband has done wrong. He has acted in cowardliness and you paid the price. For this I have pardoned and forgiven him. I only ask two things. You recognizance me as your King and in time you forgive your husband.”
Brother, the days coming were long but expectant. In time she forgave me and we were reunited. I have served in this wooden armor this week vessel happily. I still makes mistakes but the King is quick to forgive and his discipline and direction are healing.
Brother I tell you all this so that you might come and join me in the Kings court.