The Name of the Truth
'My name is Richard, pronounced nearly the same as “Dick.” I have had more names than any man has a right to.
My mother used to call me her Special Little Trouper. It made me feel warm inside. My father often referred to me as Mistake. Honestly, I’m not really sure what that one meant. I have been called Richard the Great, Richard the Terrible, Richard the Cruel, Mein Fuhrer, Eater of Cats, and Bringer of Death. I have earned those names.
I have been called many other things. Most of them, however, were slanderous lies. I have rescued a princess from being almost-raped by a Namble, decapitated kings, appropriated an empire, and learned magic without any formal training.
You may have heard of me.
You have to understand, I grew up Enema Rahl. If you’re not familiar, the Enema Rahl are troupes that travel town to town preaching the virtues of objectivism to the simple backwater fools who lack the refinement of the morally enlightened. Charged by out patron, Lord Tori Greatfellow, we roamed the countryside, educating the ignorant. Giving them the knowledge necessary to choose how to live a proper way of life. Our way of life.
My parents were both Enema Rahl. Because of this, the only schooling I had received, was those same teachings that was our mission to spread. All a man needs really. It was an average childhood, and I was an average boy.
I did have other teachers. Those with proper moral clarity often traveled with the troupe, it being safer than on taking to the road alone. Strangely most of them seemed not to like me, and quickly left our company, opting instead to travel with ignorant savages spouting their heretical jibber-jabber.
One summer we had a
Boundary Wardenrogue wanderer named Chase travel with our troupe. To occupy idle hours he would teach me basic woodscraft. The first week of his stay was focused on foraging skills. We would walk through the forest nights after the troupe had set up camp, and he’d point out which plants were safe for consumption and which were not. After having poisoned my self near enough fifty times, we came to the conclusion that foraging just wasn’t my forte. The next week he began to teach me to set snares to catch rabbits instead. Encouraged that I had managed to poison myself only four times in that next week, we made this the primary focus of my study. He taught me other things out in the forests too. Chase was a gentle man, for the most part at least. But his hand were heavily calloused, which sometimes made his touch abbraisive to my pale, tender skin.
By the end of the summer, when Chase left our company, I had decent grasp on snare making. I could set traps with moderate success. To say things like “decent grasp” and “moderate success,” I mean that of every ten traps that I would set, one or two might actually work as intended. What more could any one expect more? But despite my superior skill, I couldn’t help but to think of all those traps that weren’t successful.
I could just imagine all those rabbits… Springing my traps, then easily slipping out of the rope. I could hear their quiet condescending bunny laughter as they sprinted away to safety. It made me angry. Not just your average sort of angry. An intense frothing rage would well up inside of me searching for escape. At first, I would have no release but to cry. I often wept long hours in the woods alone.
Admittedly, not all of it was over the escaped rabbits. I missed Chase fiercly. The remembrance of his rough hands. The soft breeze of his breath brushing against my ear along with the sound of his grunts of pleasure. I’ve never known another man like him. None with his… prowess.
I didn’t take long for me to find a proper outlet for my wrath. If the fugitive rabbits were mocking at me, then I’d have to make the ones that didn’t get away pay that much more for their cousin’s ridicule. I never did anything too elaborate. I wasn’t being cruel or torturing them for the just fun of it. This was justice. My methods were simple and basic. Mostly, I’d burn of a few patches of fur to warm up. Then I’d cut of their hind legs and watch them try futilely to crawl away. All the while I’d be standing over them, the mighty hand of righteousness come to cleanse them of their sins. When I’d tired of it, I’d generally eat them. The feel of their little bodies squirming as the power of my jaws crushed the last traces of life. The warmth of their blood dribbling down my chin… Fond memories all. Of course, there were times when, while in an especially dark mood, I might have been a little more elaborate with their punishments. But that is not really the point.
It wasn’t always rabbits either. Occasionally, I might catch a squirrel or a chipmunk. It didn’t matter. Their being a different breed didn’t make them any less guilty. But, again, this is beside the point.
When the troupe was not on the road, when we were visiting a village, hunting got somewhat sparse. To make up for the lack of rabbits, I found that the town’s resident alley cats served equally well. By and large, they were even much easier prey. All I ever had to do was hold out a hand filled with a little meat, and they come scampering right up to me. They were fools.
Perhaps that’s how I came by the name Eater of Cats. I might have been called Eater of Rabbits, but that there were seldom any other people on the roads to witness my dominion.
I spotted my father, George, who was also the leader of our troupe, in conversation with the town’s mayor. My father was a tall man. He was taller than most men, but not as tall as some. He was taller than the mayor with whom he was speaking. As he spoke with the mayor, the rest of the troupe was busy setting up for the upcoming reprogramming seminars.
He looked down on the mayor and said, “We’re Enema Rahl, and we demand the use of the town hall to preach the ways of objectivism to all of the heathens that live in this town. It is mandatory that ever one attend our seminars.”
The mayor, groveling, agreed to his demands. He was a smart man. He could have refused us. Or course, he knew that doing so would be choosing death. And that his death would be served forthwith.
“We are honored to finally have your divine guidance. This town has been left to its own devices for too long. It’s about time someone came to mend their evil ways. You are most welcome. Anything that you may require is my pleasure to attend” the mayor finished, looking nervously at my father.
My father laughed. I laughed. The mayor laughed. Everybody laughed.
After we had finished laughing, I went to explore the town. Maybe I would chance upon a cat for some fun. It was at point that I hear a commotion in a nearby courtyard. Wandering over to investigate, I hid behind a building to see what the disturbance was all about. There was the mayor again. This time he was talking with a bent, white haired old man wearing long flowing robes.
“… we are god-fearing folks in this town. We don’t need your kind around here meddling with dark forces better left alone.” I heard, coming late to the conversation.
“Bags!” uttered the old man. “I have a right to sell my wares, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” He gave the mayor a stern look. “Bags!” he said again for good measure.
The mayor reached out toward the old man. At that moment, with a small gesture, the lamps on the old man’s wagons started to glow. A simple trick, but the mayor couldn’t have known that. He backed away slowly, properly intimidated. That seemed to be the end of it.
I positioned myself for a better look. I could then make out the writings on the side of his wagon.
Zabbenthy: Magicker Extraordinary
Horoscopes, Prophesies, Fortunes Told
Hexes, Curses, People Turned Into Toads
Love potions, Handcuffs, “Marital Aides”
Just then, a mob of villagers stormed into the courtyard, led by the mayor. Armed only with their immoral hatred for moral clarity, they assailed the old man, Zabbenthy. It was a frightening scene to behold.
“We don’t appreciate your kind around here!” the mayor screamed. The crowd behind him grumbled their assent.
“And what kind is that exactly?” Zabbenthy answered.
The entire company exploded at once into erratic chants. Shouting “Witch!” and “Dark powers better left alone.”
A nervous sweat trickled down my back. The old man was in a seriously volatile situation. I worried for his safety. Not because I had any particular attachment to him, or any sympathy for his position. It seemed to me that I could make some use out of him before the villagers tied him to a steak to burn.
Zabbenthy puffed himself up indignantly. “A witch? Bags!” He paused a moment in thought, then continued. “I don’t understand. Are you trying to get rid of me because I meddle with dark powers better left alone, or do you only want to insult me by calling me a girl?”
“What?” was all the mayor could say. He stared at Zabbenthy with confusion writ on his face.
“Well, bags! Witches are girls. Boys are wizards. So what it is? Am I a girl or am I a wizard?”
A moment of hesitation, then the villagers exploded with a roar of, “Wizard!”
At that, Zabbenthy solemnly raised his hands, and in an almost song-like voice, “For your insolence, I shall steal all of your penises. I will take them, and sell them for pennies in other towns. If they are big enough even for beggars to interested in.”
Zabbenthy muttered one last word under his breath, so low as to be inaudible even to my highly tuned ears. At that, the villagers’ all grasps their crotches in a panic. Whatever Zabbenthy had said, put the truth to his words. Their penises were gone. Suddenly I realized he had spoken the name of the truth.
This was magic. Real magic. It wasn’t the type of magic that some inept writer might use in a fantasy novel. Not the type of magic that ham-fisted authors use as a crutch because they lack the ability to explore important human themes. Such books are used only to entertain children and some intellectually immature adults. This isn’t one of those stories. I was witnessing real, honest magic.
I stood dumbstruck as the villagers dispersed, desperate to flee the mad wizard, the man meddling with dark powers better left alone, who had taken their manhood.
From where I was standing, I could see the
Great SerpentGuilder Ring glistening on his finger that proved him a graduate of the University of Prophets. I briefly considered asking him to teach me magic. Of course, that would have been a foolish request. I didn’t need anybody to teach me magic. If you can perform magic, then you will inherently know how. Real magic doesn’t require instruction, only ability.
Standing there, considering my position, I watched as Zabbenthy walked around to the goats tied to pull his wagon. “Bags!” he complained. Pulling a handful of oats from a sack, he fed the goats. Then proceeded to produce a veritable feast for him self. It was enough food to satisfy my entire troupe. He devoured it all, barely taking the time to chew. The food was gone in the little time it took me to cross the courtyard. “Bags and double bags!” he grumbled again.
Searching for something appropriate to say, I approached his wagon. “Can you sell me something?” I asked lamely.
“Bags! What would you like to buy?” was his response.
“I don’t know… I don’t actually have any money.”
“Hmmm… let me see what I have then…” He rummaged through his wagon for a few minutes. Eventually he returned carrying a long slender wrapped bundle. As he stripped away the blankets that were being used to protect it, slowly I realized what he was holding.
“A sword!” I shouted in wonder.
“Well, aren’t you the clever lad. Yes, a sword.” He said. “Bags! But not just any old sword.” He chose his words carefully. “This is a magic sword. And not some silly storybook magic that you might find in fantasy tales. This is a real magic sword, without a hint of being some cheap contrived plot device.” He, at last, finished.
I could tell that he had spoken in earnest as clearly as I could read the word “TRUTH” that was wound in copper and lead wire across the hilt. Zabbenthy tried to pass it off as gold and silver, but I wasn’t fooled. Even still, it was a generous gift.
“But giving me this would be an act of charity.” I complained. “We are Enema Rahl, and as such, categorically opposed to any unearned considerations.”
“Bags!” he replied. “But you have earned it. This is your due reward for helping me stave off those ignorant bumpkins just now.”
He was right. I had been a great help. Without my assistance he might not have been able to overcome them.
As I took the sword, Zabenthy ominously intoned, “I hereby pronounce you Speaker of Truth.” He then finished off with a right and proper, “Bags!”
I drew the sword. For miles around, everyone could hear the distinctive whine it made leaving the scabbard. My thing rose, and I instantly felt a flood of anger welling up inside of me. It was a fury so powerful that it filled every inch of my body. This was a pure rage, the likes of which I have never before experienced. This newfound power ached for release. I surveyed the area for someone to dispense my fury upon. All of the villagers had fled. There was no one nearby.
Needing to unleash this destructive force somehow, I walked up to the nearest tree. With a powerful swing, my muscles corded with the energy of justice, I clove the tree clean in half. It fell limply to the ground, defeated. Evil murderous trees always infuriated me.
This small act wasn’t enough to satisfy me for long, so I swiftly returned the sword to it sheathe, quenching the pulse of righteousness.
Walking back to the Enema Rahl encampment, I thought to myself: This day marks the beginning of my destiny. It was at that moment that I named myself Bringer of Death.
- Muttering Bill