Author's Notes:

I believe a fair warning is in order. Or a couple. First, if the dear reader expects these to be like my other humorous tales, then they've looked in the wrong place. Second, these stories may perhaps be the only times Lord Wezel broaches truly conflicting topics... as such, expect the presence of strong views.

I also note that my opinions in these stories are given in story-format. And since I sincerely enjoy not saying outright what I intend to say, but rather love to see the reader uncover the mystery through the story... well, needless to say, I don't speak 'plainly,' but I hope it is not a complete mystery.

It is my wish that these stories be enjoyed and perhaps (the latter two) give a little spotlight to the 'experience' of differing views.

Now, as always, please enjoy this humble offering...

My Lordship commands it, peasant.


FRIENDS FOREVER

Once there were two friends so close they were nearly inseparable. No amount of hardship tore them apart. No amount of bickering swayed their mutual love for each other. Almost from birth, this boy and girl struck a friendship strong enough to last through the ages.

But, as with all things, the time came when they feared their friendship must end. And as they wept, laying on their deathbeds side-by-side with no one else in the world but the two who'd stuck together since youth, they made a vow that even in death they'd remain friends forever.

Shortly after came their first test. The elderly woman died beside her best friend, and the one left behind cried until he also moved on.

Yet, as this story goes, a spritely woman was laying down by a shining river, the softest grass used for her bed. And, while attempting to enjoy the peace which only an eternity can offer, she found herself startled awake.

Sitting up, her eyes found those of her life-long friend. And together they walked, hand in hand, through a valley of such wondrous beauty, enjoying the architecture of the One they both so adored in life and now after death. For their friendship was bonded together with a mutual agreement, a faith in the One whose love would last forever and ever.


ON TRIAL TODAY

I was dragged before a council, beaten, gagged, and shackled. And, although my eyes were covered by the black hood, I could hear their anger perfectly fine, reverberating through the stone walls of the dark courtroom. Such sounds I heard, belonging to nearly every creature in the world.

I… I was a human.

And they represented everything I was not… all that was good in the world.

I couldn't blame them for holding me accountable for a life of mistakes and violence. I am human after all. I knew enough to know all my actions would be taken into account in the grander scheme of things.

But I couldn't understand how it came to be that ones such as they found themselves to be more worthy…

Worthy enough to try me for their own crimes.

And to take their own punishments.

For I… I was not brought to judgment for my own life alone… but by the standard of those before me.

When I was younger, I understood there would be someone greater than me. Someone good, which could rightly judge me; in fairness, give me life or death when the time was appropriate; when my time in that place came to an end and I must move on.

But now, as I stand chained before a council of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen, my heart can only break.

For they know not what they do; passing judgment onto a fellow creature such as I, while they believe themselves to be guiltless.

Nor do they recognize the possibility of a greater one which would hold them accountable also.

But as my thoughts drift beyond them, past the stone, and trees, and skies, my heart openly weeps at what I realize.

For I am on trial today, and I will willingly, and unwillingly, receive whatever my actions deem me worthy of.

But as my eyes return to those which are blind before me, I realize…

I am not the only one… on trial today.


LIFE

Once a fish happened upon a little hole. And as he swam into that hole, he saw hooks. So, as he swam toward the hooks, he noticed a tour guide. Curious as he was about the line of fish approaching the hooks, he asked the tour guide why it was so. Thus, was the response:

"These fish you see before you are all equals. They deserve acceptance, love, and guidance at this stage in their lives. They are not adults yet, but soon they will be. However, the best way for them to learn and grow, to become the adults society needs them to be, is to be themselves and learn from their mistakes. Take these hooks, for example. Every adult knows they are dangerous. But these fish you see do not know what they can do. Now, I could stop them, but then how could they learn? I could warn them, but then they lose their independence. So, the best I can do is sit here, allow them to nibble on any hook they choose, and hope that they live happily and learn from their choices."

The fish watched a young one bite a hook and soar up into unseen parts of the ocean-sky. But when he returned, his face was mangled, his body deformed, and his organs were stressed beyond repair.

He saw another young one snag onto a different hook and fly up to the same height. Upon her return, her mind fell apart in agony and she swam into dangerous waters. And even though the smell of death lazily floated to us, coating each fish in its vile bitterness, it did not stop the line of fish from enjoying what each hook had to offer.

He saw a third young one dance with a hook. And it so happened that he accidently came too close to it, a fin becoming one with the sharp metal. In the end, his life was spared, but he was unable to swim again… the remaining days of his life.

He saw a final fish grab onto a hook willingly, urged by her friends in the line. It was her first experience with the wondrous devices. And the fish rocketed higher than any had gone before. And as the bubbles passed, and her friends looked expectantly for her return, the hook came back down. But she was nowhere to be found; a ghost of her choice.

The observing fish turned back toward the tour guide to question why these things were so; to know what could justify such things!

And the tour guide smiled warmly at his companion. "Things are the way they are because there is no better way. The young fish live their lives, have fun, enjoy experiences, and laugh. They learn from their mistakes and grow. We can only sit on the sidelines and hope that they survive and become stronger through this. And to answer your unspoken question; I will not warn them of what will most likely happen to them. I will not give them too much caution. I must be their impartial friend. Because, if I rob them of the absolute freedom to choose which ways and how they enjoy their fun, then I have stolen their individual freedom to live."

The tour guide's face contorted in irritation. "If I teach them of another way to live life other than the one they learn from their friends and experiences…" He gestures to the hooks around them. "…then I might as well kill them where they stand! What kind of monster would do that to innocent children such as these?"

The fish looked on in silence, his mind on the tour guide's last words, absorbing them from a different point of view. Indeed, what kind of monster would do that to innocent children such as these?