Note: I realized there are several mistypes. I don't know where all of them are, so just bear with me. Somewhere, I know, I use 'assignation' instead of 'assassination'.
“I am God. Those in my regime cannot deny this. I decree an action and it is done.” The man said, running his right hand against the wood-grain patterns of the table. He sat in silence, looking down as if to stare at his hand. The room was dark, a glow of light in the corner where a stenographer sat, scribbling down notes for his book.
The stenographer looked up. “How do you mean, Sir?” he asked. The man at the table smirked.
“Have you not witnessed what my campaign has done? It has passed, and not a moment too soon. But look at what I commanded, look at the thousands of countless deaths that I have dismissed without opposition. I was a god, back then. I stated what I wanted and I got it. My word was law.” The man paused, his hand still rubbing against the table. He continued to look downward, his eyes a black scarred strip—deep sockets where they had been. He continued, “Every day now, you pass the Forum. I know there is great talk of tearing it down, reducing it to rubble. I know that the common man wishes to salt the land and burn the city. No person wants to live upon the lands I have strengthened. The commoner is disgusted by my actions, by their own peoples’ lack of moral rights. No one denies they have done wrong in letting me live, but they cannot face with what they have let me do. What they do not understand is that I cannot find peace in my life. I have ordered the worst of atrocities and I will have to face to them. In due time, I will have to ask forgiveness to all those I have wronged. I will not be forgiven.” The blind man stopped. His hand stopped. He glanced away and sighed.
“I will not see tomorrow. This is the last we shall speak. If you have any last questions, ask them now.” The blind man said.
“When I met him, he was starved and in a gutter. He was good-natured and young. I had not seen him since. I went to one of his rallies last month and did not recognize him.” – Ludwig Haven, childhood friend of Halcomen
Lights flashed and smoke rose; the media swarmed as a man in an unadorned military suit stood with his hand raised to head level. The reporters screamed out questions and comments came from the masses past them. The man stood silent at his podium as the audience fell still in waiting awe. Halcomen breathed deeply, and then looked up, his eyes piercing and fierce—a deadly sheen of absolute fanaticism.
“People! I swear to you! We shall have our war! We shall have our liberation! If you believe that our freedom is short in weapons, I shall provide in willpower! Believe in Ezan strength; believe in our strength! For our oppression is at an end! Follow my command and I shall bring forth the war and the freedom we so desire. Those of the Valdingraad and Staltsk shall fall to our might. The eastern fronts are no longer safe from our righteous mark. Our bullets and bombs shall find their aim and we shall reign true to our hour! Fellow men, our Homeland shall walk and take command of what we deserve! The
Men and women screamed in ardor and devotion as they listened to him speak—his passionate voice spread over the crowd, the words lost on enslaved minds.
A lone man near the back watched in sadness. He pulled his fedora onto his head and shook his head as he walked away. He thought of the young man he found in a pub, passionate and caring. He thought of how the man aimed for peace and how his words then induced growth and thought. Now the man had grown, binding all who listen with his words and driving them down the path of blood and glory.
“How did you become… well, what you are?” the stenographer asked. The blind man looked up, empty sockets staring towards the voice.
“A general question, but I know what you mean. You want to know how I got into politics? It was a friend of mine. Once, when we were drunk, we preached in a park, talking about what great people we would be compared to the current president and what needed to be done in order to correct our failing country. He shrugged his beliefs off the next day. He was a common man. He went back to his work and his life. He had a fiancée then and was on his way to becoming an architect. He was in his last year of technical school. I… was not. My mother had died a month before and I had yet to pass the exams to enter into any sort of college. I had taken to sleeping in hostels and selling my possessions on the street. But the next day I took to the pub yet again, and not for drink. I argued in a debate with some of the men. Every Thursday, I went. The owners of the pub liked me: my loud tirades brought more costumers, more money. Not only did it attract cash, but it attracted fame.” The blind man stopped. His hand that had absentmindedly stroked the table, feeling what he could not see, stopped.
The room felt darker when the man stopped talking. A mental light shone when he spoke and when he stopped; everything went dark. Every word he projected was in calculating precision; no word left useless. And just as he stopped talking, his hand would stop—the feel and touch of the world around him, the last connection to reality. He was nothing without speech, nothing without the life-driven force in which his words led. Men listened to him and followed blindly; women heard and were enslaved; children took note to the only importance in life. The stenographer felt the power of speech fade as the silence continued.
“Oftentimes he woke in the night from terrors in his sleep. When I asked on them, he said they were his dreams come true.” – Anna Braun, consort of Halcomen
The air was thick and wet, warm and comfortable. A man in a dark felt hat strode across the lawn. He had his hands behind his back. There was a shout and he glanced to his right. A black standard-line coupe was parked shoddily on the road. A young man in military uniform was stepping from it, waving the man in field.
The man stopped as the young ran forward. “Sir! Magnate Halcomen, I was asked to bring you a message.” The man said, reaching Halcomen. The man stopped a yard away.
“What is it, Hershore?” Halcomen asked, facing the captain. His back was straight and his manner formal. An enticing chill drew into the air. These two men were not comrades, only business associates. Halcomen had only three consorts: a woman and the two dogs that were roaming the line between the woods and field in the background. They were both tan and black: ears pointing upward and their coat thick. They traversed through the brush, searching for game. A young woman followed the dogs, stroking their heads if one desired affection.
“The telegraph from
“Send two FlaK units and a panzergrenadier platoon.” Halcomen said.
“Yes, Sir,” Hershore saluted him, and then glanced back at the woman.
“Anna and I shall need an escort. There is a concert performing and they are playing one of her favorite pieces. She has invited you, if you wish to join us.” Halcomen said.
“Ah, no Sir; I’m not very much into the orchestral. I’m more into a night in a pub.” Hershore said, looking away. This answer was expected, and even desired. Anna and Halcomen’s officers did not mingle.
Halcomen called to the woman, Anna, and the two dogs, Chara and Asterion. The dogs perked to their master’s call and bound to him. Anna trailed after them; she and Halcomen watching each other as she progressed towards him.
“Who was Anna?” asked the stenographer, looking up from his notes. The blind man had been motionless, staring at nothing and doing the same. His right hand was resting on the table, waiting for a new question so it may continue its repetitious movement. The blind man remained silent; the stenographer opened his mouth to repeat the question, but was interrupted.
“Little should be known about Anna. Her name should not be associated with me. But she was my consort. Many may believe there was a deeper, more intimate relationship, but no, there was never a thing like that. She was my one true human companion, that is all.
“I tried to keep her away from my officers, from my life as a despot. It was hard, and I did not succeed—there were several attempts on her life. She loved the orchestra, though, and I tried to give her what she loved. Oftentimes she would invite an officer; she liked talking to people. They would decline—more likely afraid of offending me in case she was something more than a friend.
“She was a kind woman and a lover of the natural world. She gave me my purebred Ezan Shepherds, Chara and Asterion. I did not want her to know of the horror I brought to the world, so I hid her. I wanted to protect her from the monstrous potentate that I was. Some were able to inform her of my actions—one such man was Ludwig Haven. He was a friend of mine during my schooling years. I ordered his assignation.” The blind man stopped talking, tapping his right hand on the table. The stenographer was silent.
As if bidden by some silent urging, the blind man spoke again, “I do not know if I can ever repent for the disaster that was the Volkstaag Rebellion.”
“Halcomen was a man to be feared. Any man with his dreams come true should be feared.” – Ulrich Joachim, Minister of Justice
A whistling scream seared through the sky; the ground shook from an exploding shell. The men at the table stood in alarm. There were shouts outside the room and a man burst through to door yelling, “Magnate Halcomen, we need to get to the bunkers. Follow me.” A group of men stood outside the door, rifles ready in their arms. One of the men at the table looked to the head and Halcomen nodded, his eyes ablaze with adrenaline. There was a flurry of paper and cloth as the men followed Halcomen and his entourage to the bunkers below as shells fell upon the Ezan capital, Volkstaag.
“Sir, our radar did not pick up the planes!” said one of the ministers. He was round and balding. Halcomen remained silent, setting his pace quick and fierce as they travelled down the winding stairs. The minister glanced to one of his fellow men.
“If they were not detected, then does this not mean it was sabotage?” asked another minister who was taller than the rest and hawklike in appearance. The balding minister turned quickly to him, worried.
“It is more likely an Assurian trick,” said a thick, stout minister. “Who knows who is a spy nowadays?” He glanced quickly at the balding man who startled at the accusing glance.
One of the escorts burst in a red spray, splattering the ministers and Halcomen. Gunfire rang through the stairwell, and another guard was hit. The firing stopped as a two men fell to the floor dressed in the same uniform as Halcomen and his men. The wounded escort held his arm, blood seeping from his shoulder. Halcomen glanced down, glaring at the fallen soldiers that had fired upon them. He shot them both in the head, twice each, with his pistol. He moved forward into the hall and turned right. His escort and ministers followed.
They stood outside a double door basement. Two of the escort opened it and entered. After a signal that all was clear, Halcomen and the ministers went down. The escort closed the doors and Halcomen was greeted with Asterion and several other men—Anna and Chara were not in the city, but in their northern villa. Halcomen patted the dog on its head.
Halcomen then flicked the cylinder of the pistol open; two shots left. He dug into his belt, pulling out four bullets. He placed them in the cylinder and snapped it shut. He raised the pistol to the stout minister. The minister narrowed his eyes.
“Sir, what do you think you are doing!” shouted the balding minister, backing away from the man. The rest of ministers did the same—none wanted to be splattered by any more blood. Halcomen’s eyes fired in anger.
“You parasitic turncoat! Your wife was promised free passage into my regime! Her papers were destroyed; I did so personally. I offered your wife’s unhindered freedom despite her filthy Assurian blood! She was free to live under the guise of a simple Ezan wife, but your insurgence has cost you and your family their lives,” Halcomen railed. “Minister Ulrich Joachim, you have failed your family and your Homeland.” There was an undistinguishable shout from one of the ministers and a shot rang out. The wall behind Joachim was painted red as five more shots pelted the falling body of the late minister.
“Do you have any last words to convey?” asked the stenographer. The blind leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. The stenographer waited.
After some length, the blind man said, “It is not the right of man to say whatever he pleases.”
He chuckled. “A journalist such as yourself may not understand, but you may, one day.” The stenographer remained motionless, one brow raised, then typed what the blind man said quickly. He stood up and packed his stenotype into his bag and turned out the light. He opened the door and watched as the old man stood facing the wall, unmoving. The stenographer closed the door.
At length, the blind man tugged at a pull-string attached to the hem of his right jacket sleeve. The hem unfurled, exposing a pill laced with cyanide. He picked it up and rolled it in his left hand momentarily, then placed it on his tongue. He swallowed.
“Many [people] present ill will towards him. This does him no justice and discredits them. Halcomen had merely lost himself to his dreams. To the normal person, this is acceptable. They become a drunken wanderer, lost from home or family. But Halcomen was dangerous in this state. He had the capability to form a mirage of dreams. His fantasies became real. In this state, he had no ability to control them; he took no account for other humans. Once these creations of his mind were in the real world, he had no power over them. He was a boy lost in a world of dreams.”
-- Conversations with the Magnate: Recollections of the Last Ezan