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That one can go and jump in a river, too! If you think he’s any good then you take him. For all I care, make him your slave. He is not for me. I’ve had my fill of rank amateurs and I haven’t the patience anymore to watch over wasted talent. To be helpless against the festering. To see that grace fall away. No, I cannot.

But you can wield an iron fist. Or steel. I know how much you like steel.

Don’t patronize me, Kubrick. It doesn’t help. <It helps.> I’ve too many things on my mind. Go. Leave me.

Yes, your majesty.

<Kubrick bows low then waddles away.>

I am, to my self then. <His whisper in the room slowly builds through what follows.> And though I have as much desire and passion in me as the horizon has sky, I am nothing without an army. <He goes to the window. The land is dry for as far as even a mighty king can see.> I must find him.

And then, as shocking as sudden witchcraft in April, the traveler came riding.

What is this? But another failure, surely. Come to flaunt his sophomoric abilities. The men will cut him down. Come, traveler. Come and lose the game if you must. Ah, I see you are brave. Or stupid. Whatever you may be, you mayn’t enter. You are unworthy. Ah, here comes you doom now. <The drawbridge is slowly lowered and the king’s greatest three champions ride through. The traveler charges.> You charge, would-be hero?! Ha! Then it truly is a wondrous game!

The traveler rides ferociously. His steed’s trail kicks up behind them. The very ground is demolished under his speed.

Bravo! <He applauds and cheers wildly.> Ha ha! Your unabashed courage precedes you, sir! You have turned me! I now root for you as we are in each others’ courts! It is for pity though, to watch you die.

As the bridge is raised behind them, the king’s greatest three champions meet the traveler on the path. There is hell in their fight. They would protect their liege at any cost, at life or limb. This would be the first (and last) occasion they would ever lose both.

O! O! No! Do not kill them!

A cursed wind is blowing and whether his hollering reaches the traveler is suspect. The king’s greatest three champions are cut down. Their horses flee in three different directions, riderless.

STOP!

The traveler makes his work seem like play. There is no honor in what he now commences to do to those men’s lifeless bodies. The king does not turn away.

I command you in the name of this realm and every other! <The traveler stays his hand. The king’s third greatest (lifeless) champion is spared a scalping.> You have proven yourself, sir. It is you who was meant to lead my massive army.

The king hurries down the tower. In his haste, he can see only his victory-filled future. He storms through his castle, past the ladies-in-waiting (always waiting), past his countless rooms and through his golden halls. Kubrick sees him coming and follows just as hastily. He would follow his king into Oblivion if necessary. But for now, it is only to the gate.

LOWER THE BRIDGE!

Lower the bridge! <Kubrick echoes.> Your majesty, what has happened?  <The drawbridge is lowered once again. Behind them, a larger than comfortable crowd (what Kubrick considered comfortable) was gathering. The king’s army were… where were they?> Sir, your army…

This man shall lead my army, Kubrick! Come!

The bridge is lowered slowly. The mechanism grinds. The king and his serf can now see the traveler, standing at the far edge of the moat. The king roars with pleasure. They now cross.

Welcome, welcome oh mighty champion who slew my very greatest! Tell me, where do you hail from? For I desire to know which town to shower with riches!

I am a man of your people, sir.

They had reached him. Though he wore a heavy cloak of black and the mid-day sun burned down on them, the traveler perspired not at all.

Yes yes. Go on.

The traveler’s face was made of twisted, polished vengeance. He hid it to perfection.

I have heard the news of your challenge. I have heard the news of all the failures you received.

It is true that bad news travels.

I have seen with my own eyes how you do govern.

Your majesty, might we …

Kubrick turns. The villagers are unreadable masks.

Enough! Lead my army, Champion! Together we will make our world great as it once was!

At first, he does not acknowledge the presence of the steel in his belly. Surely, he has fallen victim to some cruel dream. But no. Now he can not not feel it. It is the entire blessed universe.

MY LORD!

Kubrick removes his sad blade from its sheath. He rushes the traveler and can only manage to die bravely next to his king. They traveler lowers them simultaneously, by the power of his two steady arms.

The king gurgles something. He knows himself to be dying and yet he remains, nonetheless, firmly impressed with his murderer, who now speaks.

You have turned your kingdom to dust. Go now to the eternity of your own making.

The traveler drops both his swords and with them, those men. The king’s body crashes and his life pours out of him as he settles beneath the hundreds of plumes of dirt.

At last…

He dies.

On the drawbridge, the people gathered all know—Anarchy is here.

The traveler grins viciously. From the castle’s high walls, the king’s soldiers sigh.

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