TITLE: What's in a Name?
By dee smith
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Once upon a time not so long ago in a land not so far away lived a King Miawesome. This King was very benevolent. He always did what was good and right for the people as he loved them very much. The people loved him as well. He always used his powers for good. He had the power to see the future and used this to bless his people.
There was a tradition in the kingdom which began with the King’s father of renaming each child when they reached the age of accountability. The parents of course would name their children when they were born. When they were teenagers the parents, child and all the friends and rest of the family would gather for the Name Ceremony. This was a special day for the new names had special meanings. They would enter a special hall. The walls were cream colored marble with caramel colored veins. There were trimmed in solid gold. There were chairs for the family and friends and a smaller throne for the king. The guests would all go into the hall together and take their places. Then the King would enter dressed in full regalia—after all he was the king. The splendor of his robe and crown would take away the breath of the people—no matter how often they’d seen it. The king would stand in front of his throne and call the child to stand in front of him. Then the King would look deep into the child’s eyes and gaze at the child’s future. Based on what he saw the King would give the child a name to be called from then on. Sometimes the names were based on the child’s future occupation, sometimes on a character trait or an endearing personality trait. The king always tried to make the new name a blessing for he loved his people. Sometimes the future was full of darkness. Then the king would name a child but not reveal what the name meant. People weren’t quite sure what to make of this so there were all kinds of rumors of special magical names. The king didn‘t stop the rumors for evil was a type of magic—not one he could allow, but magic none the less.
He had a wizard in his court. His name was Blerot. He had lived in the palace with the king since childhood. The King had named him Blerot, but no one knew the meaning of the name. As the king had given Blerot magical powers, the rumors of special magical names abounded. The powers from the King were to be used to bless the people. The wizard studied hard and became very strong in magical powers. Blessing the people made the wizard feel good about himself and Blerot was happy for a long time, but slowly he began to resent being dependent upon the king. He thought he had grown in his skills enough to no longer need the king’s support. He was also jealous of the people’s love for the king. Why should the king get all the credit? After all, he was the one doing all the work! So he began to slack off. He would half-heartedly use his magic for the good of the people. More and more he began to explore the dark side of magic. Why should his powers be limited to just doing good? Why couldn’t he decide who would be blessed and who would be cursed? Every day that passed he grew more and more bitter and angry.
One day he decided he’d had enough he would confront the king and tell him exactly how it would be. Needless to say the king was not happy with the wizard’s decision. He tried to reason with him, but Blerot had made up his mind—he wanted all the power he could get. King Miawesome was sad, but allowed the wizard to remain in the kingdom, hoping to change his mind.
Time went on and nothing changed. Blerot grew more and more miserable. He began to hide from the people so he wouldn’t have to bless them. Instead, he spent his days trying to figure out new curses to cast on the people. He would walk around town in the company of his chief servant, Debonneck. Debonneck acted like Blerot’s bodyguard and prevented people from approaching his master. That was too much for the King, who had loved the wizard as a son. Now it was time for the wizard to be banished from the kingdom. Blerot never saw this coming. He had never seen the king get mad about anything. He had never taken any kind of action against anyone before. He thought he could use his magic and overthrow the king without any resistance. Miawesome’s servants who were loyal to Blerot had told the wizard Miawesome’s plans to banish him. Blerot was furious! How dare the King try to banish him. He would show Miawesome who had the power in this kingdom! So he challenged the King to a duel.
So the wizard and the king met in the town square at dusk as the wizard thought his powers would be stronger at this magical time of night. And the people gathered to see what would happen. The king’s loyal subjects, the Blemaws, cheered as he approached the square. He stood and faced the wizard. There was sadness in his eyes that the people hadn’t previously seen. Was he worried? Who would win in a battle of magic? No one remembered the King performing magic in their lifetime, but traditions said that he could. The stories of his great magical powers abounded throughout the kingdom. The people who supported the wizard did so quietly, just in case the king won. No sense in their being punished as well. The wizard stood up and raised his staff to pronounce a curse on the king. The king just blew at him. The curse fell to the ground and the wizard found himself blown out of the kingdom into Terwick forest. The people cheered—at least the ones who supported the king. The others took off after the wizard, fearing retribution from the king.
But the king didn’t want to harm any of his subjects. He loved them and wanted to protect them. He let the Decurs, who supported the wizard, remain in the kingdom. He hoped his love could win their hearts back from the wizard. But alas that was not to happen. Blerot’s hold was just too powerful. They respected the King, but they feared Blerot.
Terwick was a forest just outside the kingdom where the wizard set up his home. He thought he just needed to keep practicing and one day his powers would be great enough to overthrow the king and have the kingdom. The Decurs would visit him from time to time. Soon they started coming more regularly. He would tell them secret things and made them feel important. Soon he was teaching them how to curse the people. The Decurs enjoyed the feeling of power that cursing the people gave them. The Decurs would wander through the streets pronouncing curses on the people. This went on for some time, but the king didn’t worry. The people knew the truth and that was the best defense against any curses Blerot or the Decurs could come up with. Truth was the most powerful magic in the land.
At first the people did reject the curses. They listened to their hearts and minds and knew the truth. But the curses kept coming. Hearing the same curses over and over wore them down and caused doubt to creep in and soon they began to repeat the curses in their minds and pondered the power of the curses. Eventually, they believed the curses and even cursed themselves by repeating them to each other and themselves. The wizard was delighted. He had won the hearts and mind of the people. Surely now he would be victorious! Blerot decided now was the time. He snuck into the kingdom just to see what would happen.
Miawesome had had enough of the curses and Blerot. Miawesome was not going to stand by and let his people be cursed. He decided to send each person a special gift. He spoke words to break the curses, wrapped them up and had his servants deliver them. They were wrapped so beautifully, some of the people just put the presents on the mantle and stared at them. Some felt unworthy to receive such a beautiful present, so they hid them under their beds. Some opened the presents and heard the truth. Of those some who heard the truth said isn’t that nice, the king is encouraging us. Some just shrugged and went on cursing themselves. But some accepted the truth and were set free from the curses.
The King looked out on his kingdom and sighed to himself. He longed for his people to be free, but it was their choice. They were free to use his gifts as they wanted.
Meanwhile, the wizard was getting bolder. He would walk around the kingdom, cursing people—always careful to avoid the king. Blerot thought Miawesome didn’t have a clue what Blerot was doing. But the King knew exactly what was happening.
One day he started to curse a knight of the kingdom named Merlotru. Merlotru had received the present from the king , opened it and chose to accept the truth. Merlotru’s name meant mercy, loyalty and truth. Blerot approached the knight with full confidence he could blow him away for it was rumored the King was out of the country visiting another King. Merlotru stood his ground. As they faced off a crowd gathered to see what would happen.
However, the rumors of the King being out of the country were false. In the midst of the crowd stood the king wearing the clothes of a common man so as not to be recognized. He was quietly observing his knight. Miawesome knew what the Blerot was up to, but he wanted to show the people how much he loved them and desired to protect them. The wizard drew up to his full height, about 6’8” and threw up his arms. He began to form a curse in the form of a fireball the throw at Merlotru. Blerot was sure he would just destroy the knight and show everyone just how powerful he had become. He didn’t notice Miawesome had slipped through the crowd and was standing by the knight. Blerot threw up his arm and flung the fireball at Merlotru! The knight stood his ground—although he was very frightened. He wasn’t sure if his armor would withstand the fireball. Just before the fireball hit him, King Miawesome reached out and stopped it with his hand. As his fingers closed around it, it turned into ashes. When he opened his hand the ashes fell to the ground. Everyone was impressed by the power of the king—even Blerot. Blerot knew he was in big trouble now. So he decided to get out of there immediately, before the King could get him. Blerot cast a spell on himself and returned to Terwick in a flash.
Merlotru renewed his pledge to serve King Miawesome and Miawesome only. Some of the other knight joined him on their knees before their King Miawesome. The people just watched. Some cheered; some were still trying to understand what had just happened. The Decurs grew a little worried. What would the king do to them? But the king didn’t do anything to them. They were allowed to stay in the king under the king’s protection.
Meanwhile, Blerot grew more and more angry and bitter. He thought up a devious plot to capture the subjects of the kingdom. For the Decurs had told him what happened after he left. They mentioned those who didn’t quite understand what had happened and what it all meant. Those were the one he could curse with blindness and lead them into Terwick. Once they were there he could force them to serve him. He would make the forest an even bigger kingdom than Miawesome’s. He would steal the hearts and minds of the people away from that silly old king. His curses would remain in their hearts and minds until they were willing to accept the King’s truth. As long as he told them lies and they believed them, they were bound to him.
When the Decurs came to see him, he told them he had changed; they could trust him as he only wanted what was best for them . He saw the error of his way after the encounter with the king. Blerot gave them gifts of power. They were thrilled and pledged their hearts to him. Blerot was amazed at how easy it was to fool these silly people. He could lie to them and they would believe it because they wanted to believe it. The people had rejected the love of their King. They reasoned Miawesome owed them. They had lived in his kingdom for all these years and what had it gotten them? Nothing! –Or so they though. They forgot about the years of blessing he had bestowed on them. They forgot about the protection and provision of the king. They forgot their special names and went back to the names their parents had given them. Maybe Blerot would bless them with new names. One could only hope. After all, Blerot had changed—he wasn’t cursing them, he was giving them gifts of power. Blerot wondered if all the people were this gullible.
Blerot sent his followers back to the kingdom armed with his power to bless or curse. Of course he taught them to lie to people by promising a blessing and delivering a curse. “Promise anything, just deliver them to me and I will bless you with more power”, was his final command. Blerot knew the power he’d given the Decurs would make them crave more and more power. They were trapped and didn’t know it. So they left to do Blerot’s bidding.
The Blemaws wanted to believe in their friends and neighbors, who just happened to be part of the Decurs, so they trusted them. At first things did seem better. Their crops were doing better and they were getting richer. But then the curses of doubt began to rise. They thought King Miawesome had stopped loving them, because they had listened to the wizard. They just knew he couldn’t forgive them. They were worthless people doomed to live in poverty just like their parents….and so the lies spread. Because the Blemaws believed the Decurs, the blessings of the king soon disappeared. The land itself dried up and refused to grow anything. The people were starving as a result.
The king was very distressed, but he knew the people had to choose who to believe. Once again he sent out presents containing the truth, but more and more the people felt unworthy to open them, or just decided they didn’t want the truth—it was too painful. The lies were so much easier—which of course was a lie itself.
Merlotru had rescued grew more and more concerned. He loved the king and couldn’t stand seeing the distress of the king. He had used the gift of truth to defeat the curses and he wanted the people to know how to be free. So, he went to the town square and announced his support of the king. He told them how he had embraced the truth and defeated the curses. People paid no attention. After all, Merlotru was the favored knight, so of course the King would forgive him. But who were they? Just poor people whom the King didn’t even care about. If he cared he would break the curses and bless the land.
The wizard was now ready to launch phase 2 of his devious plan. Capture the fools. So he sent his followers into the kingdom to bring back as many people as they could with any promise they wanted. People flocked to Terwick believing the lies that were promised.
The king knew what was happening, but did nothing to stop the people. Part of his love for them was to give them the right to choose whom they would follow. He wept over their decision. Merlotru came to him with a rescue plan. He was sure he could rally his fellow knights and defeat the wizard. The king looked deep into the knight’s eyes. He saw the love the knight had for him and the knight’s reliance on the King’s power and magic so he said okay. Merlotru left to talk to the other knights.
The knight was able to rally his men and they left to pursue the Decurs. When they arrived at the forest they were amazed at the fortress Blerot had built. They were not expecting this, but no matter, they would defeat the wizard and bring him back in chains.
Blerot had watched their approach with delight—King Miawesome didn’t seem to be with them. Now he could kill the knight who had disgraced him in front of the people. So he stood on the catwalk on the castle wall and threw fireball curses at the knights. The knights were soon falling. Merlotru realized they would be defeated if something didn’t change so he sounded retreat.
The wizard was delighted. He rallied the Decurs and promised victory. Meanwhile, Merlotru assessed the situation. Why were they unable to withstand the fireballs? Why did the curses pierce their armor? Then he realized what had happened. They had been so sure of their victory they had forgotten to use the gifts Miawesome had given them. The king had given them protection, truth, life and his power over the wizard. They had just ridden into the forest without opening and using these gifts. As his men lay dying the knight opened the gifts. Life was restored to the knights. Their eyes were opened and they saw Blerot for who he was—a liar. The greatest weapon the king had given them was truth. The lies can never defeat the truth.
Once all the gifts were opened and distributed, the men mounted their horses and rode into battle. This time they were armed with the truth. They could defeat the wizard and set the people free because they came in the name of King Miawesome. They had his authority and power to use against the wizard and his lies.
The knights had retreated out of sight of Blerot’s fortress. Blerot had no idea what had happened. He was still on the wall waiting for their return. His arsenal of lies had been replenished. He was ready. Or so he thought. When he saw them he knew something had changed, he didn’t know exactly what; but somehow the knights seemed different as they approached his fortress. Oh well, it didn’t matter he had plenty of lies and curses for them. Victory would be his. This time there would be no retreat—only defeat for the knights and King Miawesome. Ha ha he laughed evilly to himself. I have won!
The people who had come willingly were bound by the lies and curses and then thrown into prison. From their cells they could see and hear what was happening. They saw the first battle and the knights ride off in defeat. They gave up hope. Only the king could rescue them and he didn’t come with the knights. Had the King stopped caring? Where was King Miawesome’s love and mercy? They waited, but he did not come. They grew more and more despondent with every passing moment. The despair and lies clung to them. This of course was just another of the wizard’s curses, but they didn’t know that.
Merlotru and his men rode right up to the gates of the fortress. The wizard started throwing fireballs at them, but this time they just bounced off and turned to ashes. Blerot realized too late what was happening. The king had sent his power with the knights. Even knights moving in the king’s name and power were too much for him. Miawesome hadn’t needed to come himself. The knights kicked down the gates of the fortress as if they were made of cardboard. They marched right through the Decurs. Blerot by this time had fled the fortress leaving his followers defenseless. The knights brought out the captured people still in the chains of curses. Merlotru stood in front of them and pronounced freedom in the name of King Miawesome. Merlotru raised his hands and clapped a very loud clap. The chains just fell off the Blemaws—who were amazed and grateful. They realized King Miawesome had not abandoned them, he had rescued them with his power. They cheered for the king and pledged their lives to his service.
After freeing them, the knights dismounted and allowed the weakest of the Blemaws to ride back to the kingdom. The Blemaws brought the Decurs back with them. After all, they all had been deceived by Blerot.
The Decurs weren’t too sure about going back. King Miawesome was very powerful and they feared his retribution. But the Blemaws insisted King Miawesome would be merciful toward them. Merlotru agreed and said he would speak on their behalf if necessary.
When they got to the gates of the kingdom, the gates were open. The knights were alarmed until they saw King Miawesome dressed in his splendor standing at the gate. The Blemaws who had not followed Blerot or the Decurs stood behind the King cheering. The Blemaws and the Decurs were all welcomed back. Family and friends were reunited. But King Miawesome did change the Decurs (meaning deceived and cursed) name to Falingra. Which meant they had fallen but had been restored by grace. Everyone cheered at this pronouncement. The King revealed the secret meaning of the names for the wizard and the forest. Blerot meant he was blessed and then turned rotten. Terwick was so named because of the terrible wickedness that happened there. Debonneck’s name meant deceived and bound by his neck. The King changed his name to Forre meaning forgiven and restored. The Blemaws learned their name meant blessed by Miawesome.
The King held a special victory feast and celebration that lasted for a week. The knights were rewarded with special gifts that only they knew. The land was healed and soon produced bountiful crops. Everyone had more than enough. Blessings had returned to the land. The people were once again free and happy and they planned to remain that way the rest of their lives.
As for Blerot, no one ever saw or heard from him again. And that was just fine with everyone.
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