I’m a horrible tease. When writing my 30 minute race the other day this is what I came up with. Finished it on a second 30 minute race, but the fear of death was real when this is what I ended the story with. Hope you enjoy. Next part up Friday or Saturday. Also, unedited. Sorry guys, I like it rough.
The Elixir of Wisdom
Long ago in Fah Hazeeb, there was a wise Sultan and Wazir. The two men were close friends, growing up as children and going on many adventures together. The Wazir kept the Sultan in good health and good wisdom, and together they expanded the fort-city of Hazeeb.
However, the Sultan went ill soon enough, and on his fiftieth birthday he passed on. The funeral was extravagant, prepared for by his youthful son and the Wazir, and for a month the Wazir wore black garments and wept, buffering his face as he did so to show that the One was unjust in taking the man.
After a month, the Wazir came back to see the young Sultan was already at work, learning about politics and taking barter with their neighbors. His own advisor gave suggestions on this and that, but all suggestions were hedonistic, and in the month the Wazir was gone, Fah Hazeeb suffered.
The Wazir thought to himself, “This child is using a child to guide him, and there is no wisdom in that. I will reproach them both and they will see I speak sense, as the One will open their eyes to it.”
So the Wazir the following morning approached the two young man, one the Sultan and the other the advisor, and he said, “I beseech you to quit your foolishness. You drive your people into the ground and dishonor the One. Your behavior is not what your father would approve of. Let me guide you.”
The young Sultan said, “You were good to my father, and in your old age, I will be good to you. You have seen much, and I have heard the stories, and while I did not get to partake on such adventures because of my youthfulness, I will learn from you and gain the wisdom as if I had. So will my Advisor.”
This pleased the Wazir, and so he went home and told his wife. However, his wife said, “Do not believe the tongues of youth. They lie to appease those who are old, thinking them dolting fools. Go back tomorrow, to see that he will listen to your wisdom. Inform him the contract with Fah Tashekesh is one of childishness and we require better gems for our grain.”
The Wazir, not himself a fool, did look over the treaty and saw that there could be considerable more gain. As the treaty was signed recently, no doubt Fah Tashekesh sought to take advantage of the young Advisor and the young Sultan. But there would be no need for concern, as the Wazir would set things right.
So the Wazir went into the throne room the following day and laid out a plan to gain more from Fah Tashekesh, and the Sultan and his Advisor said it looked good, and how could they be such idiots, but the Wazir assured them that there are bad people in the world, and they will no longer be taken at a disadvantage.
With much joy in his heart, he went back to his wife, and the Wazir said, “My love, they listened. I am their elder, and they respect that.”
“Tomorrow, go to the harbor. See what we ship out and take note of our exchange. Then in a week go to the harbor again, and see what Fah Tashekesh has given us, again keeping in mine our exchange. If it is as you plotted, then the boys listened. If not, it is because they are haughty youths incapable of admitting blunders, and so they kept with the old contract to seem in control.”
This put sorrow on the Wazir’s heart for the evening, but in the morning he went to check the grain, and when he saw how much was being shipped out, six boats filled with bushels, he rejoiced in his heart that Fah Hazeeb would reap such a profit. For the next several days he gave advice on mandates, and the mandates were mostly adhered. There were few laws passed or rescinded which made his heart heavy, and the Wazir believed the young Sultan and his Advisor were indeed learning the ways of kingship.
Then a week passed, and there were only two boats filled with gems, and those gems were not diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, or rubies. They were tiger’s eye and amethyst and quartz. The Wazir made his way quickly to the young Sultan, but on his way he saw his wife. She, seeing how flustered her husband was, quickly went to him.
“My love,” she said, “Do not storm the court, or you will look the idiot. Wait. See the barrels go to the young Sultan and see what is written upon his face. This will tell you the truth. Should they laugh at you when they think you are not looking, then this is their plot, and there is nothing of loyalty or wisdom in their blood.”
“How is it my wife is so wise, and I am of such folly?”
“My husband, it is from you I have learned, for you have been a good teacher. Being younger than you, I know what youth thinks. Knowing the old Sultan, you believed only the best for this boy. But he is not your childhood friend, and the old Sultan did not have time to chastise the boy, as the One would command. For this, I watched as the youth grew up with disobedience in his heart.”
“If the One only gave me sight then that I could have corrected the youth’s course.”
And so the Wazir made his way up the stairs, to the court, and he hid cleverly behind some banners which the youth brought in from a city known for weaving the finest silk. The young Sultan laughed when he saw the riches, “And the Wazir thinks he can get me more? I have created this contract, and my authority is all people respect. The Wazir is old and needs to know his place.”
The Advisor scoffed, “We should teach him his place that he will never bother us with his unwise council ever again.” And so the Wazir listened as the two youths plotted to kill him.
As he listened, he thought to himself, “My wife was correct! Now they look to kill me!” This would not do, so while they plotted, he plotted as well. In his mind he created a devious plan which would give him freedom, and free the people of Fah Hazeeb from this twit and his faulty Advisor.
When the two had laid out their plan to kill the Wazir, the Wazir quietly made his way out of the court, and when he was outside the door, he loudly stepped upon the marble floor, that the two could hear him inside, ceasing their plotting of his demise.
Once in the court, the Wazir, playing at him not overhearing the youths, stated, “Did your father tell you of the Elixir of Wisdom? He drank of it regularly, but I have been so busy mourning the loss of my dear friend, I have not had the time to gather my ingredients.”
The Advisor asked, “Why haven’t I heard of this elixir?”
The Wazir said, “It is because there are few with the knowledge, and fewer still share the knowledge even of its existence, let alone how to concoct it.”
The young Sultan said, “What does it do that I would want it? Clearly I am wise beyond my years and capable of doing what my people require.”
“You are right, young Sultan, that you are wise, but your people suffer below. Not because you do not know what you are doing, but because your senses do not go far enough. This elixir is why your father led so wisely. It allows one to understand his people simply by glimpsing one person. If a peasant comes in and complains his cattle are being attacked by wolves, you will know the men to send. You will know the waters are lower than they ought be, and that damns must be built. From that one man, you will know there are hungry at the foot of the bridge, and you will know which stores to pull from to vanquish their famine.”
“This elixir is truly great and powerful. I will send for you tomorrow to see if it is what I want. Today I will send my Advisor so he can see if there are plights this elixir could cure.”
So the Wazir quickly made his way out of the court and went to his wife. He said, “All you spoke was true, and now they are after my life. Quickly, go to the markets and tell them to pretend they are in need. Inform them the young Sultan’s men are coming and looking to see if more riches and food should be given, and if they are for want, then more will surely be provided.”
The wife replied, “There is no need, my husband, for the people are for want, and they will surely beg for coin when the men go by, so has been the waste of the young Sultan.”
It was as being slapped that the Wazir did not take heed sooner, that he did not look upon the people and realize the poison they had been ingesting at the hands of the young Sultan and his Advisor. Then the Wazir said, “I cannot delay, then. I must make a poison for the two which will work through their systems slowly, but kill quickly when it reaches the heart.”
So the Wazir and his wife looked through their tomes, and eventually found the list required.
The following day, the Wazir went before the young Sultan, and the youth said, “My Advisor hears you true, the people are for want. Then tell me the ingredients, that I might send my couriers to fetch what is needed.”
The Wazir handed him a list and said, “These are what I require to give you the wisdom to aid these people.”
The Advisor took it in hand and looked over the list, much to the Wazir’s concern. If this Advisor had any wits about him, he would recognize the ingredients created poison, but it was a risk the Wazir felt worthwhile. On his own, it would take months to gather, and he was unsure how patient the young Sultan would be before executing the old man.
The Advisor coughed and read diligently, taking in every ingredient.