A man rose from the ashes of a fallen kingdom with knuckles of brass and passion burning like a fire in his eyes. His promises were tempting, his words polished and smooth on his tongue, and stories of his character reverberated through the people in songs of praise. His aura was of strength and youth, sweat and blood, battle and victory, and legends branded him with the title of a true conqueror.
Late one night, he leaned against a balcony railing, slid his palms across the shimmering golden surface, and swelled his chest with satisfaction at the sight of the city beneath him. It was all beneath him, literally and figuratively. Every inch of land, every building, every bit of wealth, every creature, every soul suppressed and contained within the boundaries of his country belonged to him. He ruled over all of it. He could almost feel the power crackling through his veins, in his bloodstream, in his bones. His own promises echoed in his mind, accompanied by his plans to fulfill every single one of them.
He turned swiftly with a dignified sweep of his robes and strutted through the palace doors. He entered a magnificent room with pillars that stretched so high a person would have to completely tip back his head to view the ceiling and then walk a great distance to comprehend the full extent of it. There was a massive table at the center of the room with gold lining the edges and ancient symbols embroidering the varnished legs and surface. The king lowered himself into the chair at the head of it, and his calloused fingers began to trace over the map spread out before him. With unfeigned zeal, he studied the etched shapes that represented kingdoms beyond the borders of his own. He analyzed the markings he had made of the locations of his armies, considering the extraordinary strength and number at his advantage. He envisioned his battle plans for the future that were complex, intricately formed, having been examined from every angle. He was ensured of success. The future was stretched out before him, and it breathed to him of his glory radiating within every household, every city, every country, from the heart of his palace to the edges of the earth. It whispered that the world was his for the taking, that nations would bend and bow, fold at his will, and shatter at his fingertips. Yes, he would grip the world with his brass knuckles, iron fists, and it would crumble before his eyes. Then he would build it back up again as he pleased, and the lips of those young and old, rich and poor, would proclaim his name and shout it from the rooftops. His name would be buried in the bones of those who dared defy him, and it would mark the beginning and end of every year, every age, every moment of passing time. His legacy would carry on, and people would thrive and break and breathe and die at his command. He would forever lack any need for children, or a queen, or any other. Yes, he had advisors, but his word was always superior. For he was a god, and they were mere mortals. This was how the world appeared through his warped lens.
For years, his reign continued, his riches multiplied, and his kingdom surpassed the wildest dreams of those who had ruled before him. It seemed that he crushed even his most feared rivals with ease. Years turned to decades, and the king relished in his victories, but he was never completely satisfied. He was constantly hungering for more, aching to stretch his kingdom’s boundaries even further, longing for new ways to display his power. Though he owned every secular form of wealth, it was never enough. He spent most nights parading with nobles through the castle halls, caught up in a wild celebration of himself. He swore all the while that the world was his and that he perched on a throne impossible for him to lose, for he was invincible. However, what he had always refused to consider was that there might be a power greater than his own. The king danced and drank and laughed and lived, unaware that his ignorance would lead to his downfall.
Another king rose up in the east, and he too was a conqueror. His territory trickled into the west, and gradually it crept closer and closer. But the self-proclaimed king of the world was not afraid, for he trusted his armies to annihilate any threat. He trusted in himself and the power he believed he had gained on his own.
It was a dreary and fateful night when the king from the east arrived, and his armies were fierce and their precipitous approach unexpected. The walls fell, and battle cries mixed with the clanging of metal against metal and the moans of dying men. The war was over before it had begun. That night, a sword pierced the heart of a king intoxicated with conceit. As his life bled out and stained red his deathbed of riches and grandeur, he realized that the power flourishing in his veins had always been an illusion.
Centuries later, the king was simply another name in a history book that a middle schooler studied only to pass a test, and then to forget. The world had never belonged to him, and the land he conquered had never truly been his. For there was, is, and always will be a King far greater than any human ruler. The worldly kingdoms rise and fall at His hand, while His sovereignty endures forevermore. The earthly conqueror has no true power compared to that of the eternal King, for the world bows at the Creator’s fingertips alone.
Meet the Author
How old are you?
Where do you live?
I’ve lived in Florida my entire life. It’s very humid here, but I love being near the Saint Johns river.
What classes are you taking with TPS?
I’m taking classes in the Belhaven High Scholars program as well as a U.S. Government and Economics class.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is the creative freedom it gives me to express the thoughts, feelings, and stories in my head.