This is the first tale of Imperator Rex. The second tale is in the blogpost below this.
There was once a child of the name Imperator Rex. He was in all senses of the word a genius – an artist, a scholar, and a warrior. Pen, sword, flute; all instruments subject to his mastery.
Not to mean that he was all of these at once, of course. Yet there bore potentiality and a future wherever he was headed or whatever he would become. It was the kind of person he was. A swordsman more skilled than his peers, a student and disciple of the sages, and performer loved by the masses. Friends and acquaintances speculated as to the kind of future that he would move towards. Some said the professor and philosopher, some said the performer and singer (Not many, after all, played their voices and instruments as well as he) and some said the commander and knight. Anyone who ever asked him about the future and what he thought of it got a simple reply. “Who knows what the future holds? I believe whatever I do, I’ll do well in anyway.” A true remark in both sense of the word.
It wasn’t that long, however, before it would become obvious as to what would become of his future. The empire had been caught up in a series of unfortunate events, and was now bracing itself for wartime. Rex found himself conscripted for the war alongside many of the youths who were to take part in war defending the nation they were born in. Rex was quickly recognized as a person who was capable of handling a squad of his own, and soon it progressed from squad to phalanx, from phalanx to legion. And finally, in the mere span of 2 years, Rex was deemed to be more capable than anyone when it came to the massive task of taking care of the entire army. And so he was.
In his time in war, he realized that his performances were capable of cheering people up and raising morale – after all, who gets to hear any music in war save the war cries and the rhythmic beat and cling of shield upon sword? At this time he wrote poetry as well, and his writing (any that made it back to the empire) brought understanding and enlightenment to whoever managed to read them. Yet on the battlefield his talent for his sword, his ability to assess any situation on a macroscopic and microscopic level, and his charisma and innate leadership were really what shone through, and as it continued to shine upon him his other talents were slowly neglected. There was no place for the leader of a legion to play a flute or write his mind, merely a place to give a speech to inspire his man to continue onwards.
As leader of the army, though, Rex realized for the first time the true grasp of power he could have had with the talents he bore. Beyond mere consolance and inspiration for a small group of people, he was now working on a gigantic scale that no man could have possibly dreamed of prior. And with the realization that he was capable of truly great things came the expectation that one should be accomplishing such great things if he were capable of it, and finally, the desire to do such truly great things. And so he set out to conquer the lands. Before he set off on his journey and quest, though, he was entrusted with another duty. It came in the form of a book that was given to him by his parents.
In it, the following words were written:
"Let history mark your triumphs,
Let battles mark your trials;
But let this book remember,
Your Own Self - What You Are."
An otherwise empty book. So Imperator Rex set forth on his journey to conquer the lands.
Battles and wars were easily won, and armies of enemy empires found their numbers whittled to an insignificant crowd against the mighty legions of Imperator Rex.
At the eve before each battle he would look at the book and consider writing in his feelings on the war ahead, but advisors and generals always sought his word on upcoming battles, and his thoughts were eternally focused on the future; never on the present.
At the end of each battle came the euphoria, the joy, and the celebrations of a victory won, and Rex found himself drunk on victory – unable to think until the next day where he was sober, and then he would have other affairs to concern himself in.
A day came when imperator Rex had finally conquered the lands.
As he surveyed the lands which he had conquered, many thoughts raced through his mind, but one took precedence.
And the first thought was to begin and complete that book.
And so while the generals and warriors went around making merry, Imperator Rex sat in his room, deep in thought, considering as to the contents of his book, particularly the question of what he was. And after a while he concluded that he was Imperator Rex – The talented man; the scholar, warrior and musician. The man who rose to glory in war and proceeded to conquer the lands.
So Rex began to write. Yet words never found their way through the pen. As if the world of words had completely forsaken him, then pen never even so much as touched the surface of the book. Rex was confused. He was definitely capable of this – he’d done it in the past, he would be able to do it now. But as the hours went by Rex was becoming more and more aware that perhaps he was losing touch. Then a thought occurred in his head.
Immediately, Rex tried to hum one of the many familiar melodies that he had always loved to sing while in the city. Barely audible. He tried to sing, soft as possible to make sure no one outside knew about it. Completely terrible. Rex was flustered. He sang louder. It was not the voice of angels; it was the war cry of an almighty General.
He suddenly realized something was terribly wrong. He pondered and pondered, pacing around the room, and when he saw the book he immediately closed it and stored it amongst the chests of items he had brought.
That day, Rex realized that the path he had chosen had gone beyond the turning point, that the crossroads to the futures was no longer in sight. That in walking straight down the path of the destructor did he forget what it had been like to be a creator.
I would have kept this in writing but it seems that the first part is necessary in order to understand the third. If I manage to write it out.