After the events of APEC, it’s sad to note that so few Filipinos even know what it was about in the first place. Indeed, the whole APEChottie hashtag, as shown here by Kate Natividad, seems to be a bigger issue than the other problems that trouble the Philippines such as the threat of terrorist attack, the corruption in NAIA and the fate of our misplaced countrymen like the Yolanda victims and the Lumads. Even the Canadian prime minister himself has called out Filipinos who have missed the point of APEC itself and focused on superficial details instead, such as his good looks as well as that of the Mexican president.
To be more specific: “Positive impressions not grounded in reality.”
What’s sad is that this is all too often the case with majority of the issues that plague the Philippines as pointed out by many of us here in GRP as evidenced with by the typical Pinoy’s addiction to shallow themes and plots in the local media. To be honest though, I’m tired of repeating myself and rephrasing words that many of my fellow Realists have repeated many times throughout this website. So instead, once again, I’m just going to tell you a story. A parable of sorts or allegory, to get my point across to the more hard-headed members of our society out there, just as Jesus and a few other prophets did in the Bible.
Before I begin, I would like to state that this story is more or less an allegory of the “bakya” mindset of the Philippines and how it essentially weakens us as a nation and more or less a prequel to my upcoming epic dark fantasy series Despot which is essentially a mashup of Game of Thrones, The Witcher and Dark Souls…
So sit back children because Uncle Grimwald is going to tell you another story…
Once upon a time, in the small island town of Sennick near the northeastern border between the Kingdom of Yonip and the Despotate of Maharlic, there lived two knights. One was a strapping young man of noble birth who was well known throughout the town as Sir Santino and a middle-aged and world-weary man of commoner stock named Sir Jonas who was rarely remarked upon by the common people.
Since Sennick was a little further from the border, it was a slightly more prosperous and peaceful community compared to other island-towns of the Kingdom in the northeast which suffered periodic attacks from pirates, bandits, marauding magic-wielding witches and the ever-present threat of demonic mutants. Indeed, it was an idyllic place and many found it an excellent place to settle down and or retire. The people of Sennick also thought themselves a happy people and often had garish festivals to prove to themselves and one another that they were indeed happy and without worry even though a lot of the townsfolk could barely afford some of the materials needed for their elaborate feasts such as their fireworks and foreign food.
Sir Santino was quite famous throughout Sennick not just because he often pitched in to buy the materials needed for the town’s celebration but also because of his wealth and good looks. The young scion of one of the wealthiest families in the Kingdom, he was regarded almost as a living god by the townspeople. To match his reputation, he had a suit of armor made from gold and a cape made from the fur of a white tiger and both made him such an imposing figure when he led the parades in some of the town’s celebrations. He also had a massive great sword that needed two hands to be wielded properly and embedded with precious stones. He lived in a large mansion somewhere near the center of the town just beside the town hall and many, especially the womenfolk of Sennick, often passed there just to get a glimpse of Sir Santino’s majestic house and of the god-like knight himself. Sir Santino wasn’t just handsome, he was almost angelic when it came to good looks. He had many servants who toiled to make sure he was powdered and groomed so that his face always looked like that of an angel and his hair like strands of golden thread. He also had a bard and a storyteller who wrote for him pleasant speeches littered with sweet words so that the common people would always like him.
Sir Jonas was the direct opposite of Sir Santino and not just because he spent more on improving some of the utility services of the town such as their fire department and town guard but also when it came to appearance and reputation. He was of common birth and was only awarded the social rank of knight after years of service in the Royal Army and fighting in campaign after bloody campaign in the rebellious south. The people often spoke of him in whispers as they were all too often afraid of him because of his career as a soldier with plenty of scars to show for it. His armor, on the rare occasion he wore it in Sennick (as he saw no real reason to in the rather peaceful setting of the town), it was a simple vest of studded leather. As for his weapons, he preferred his trusty short sword and small, round shield which was the kind of things wielded by common troops of the Kingdom including that of Sennick’s town guard. He lived in a relatively small but well-furnished and comfortable cabin outside the city limits and walls on top of a hill where he had a good view of the sea. Sir Jonas was a man of average appearance but his participation in many battles have scarred him both emotionally and spiritually. He was bald and his face was crisscrossed with many white scars that distorted and twisted his features and largely discouraged him from making too many public appearance. Being a soldier for most of his life, he was often honest to a fault and often avoided lying to make others feel better about themselves.
Sennick, as already mentioned, had always been peaceful and safe but all that came to an end when they were suddenly attacked by mutant barbarians. They were in the middle of their celebration when it happened and many died or were carried off by the brutes before the town guard could drive them off. In fact, it was only when Sir Jonas arrived to lead the town guard did they manage to effectively repel the mutants from their island. As for Sir Santino, he was nowhere to be found when the attack took place and had apparently taken shelter in the cellar of his enormous mansion.
In the morning in the aftermath of the attack, Sir Jonas told the people that the raid was only a vanguard force. Apparently, it wasn’t a raid but a full-scale invasion. More mutants were on their way aboard ships coming in from the north. At best, the people of Sennick had only a day to make a choice between two options: stay and fight and hope help will come or make a hasty retreat, leaving behind any and all non-essential items.
Sir Jonas, after having fought countless battles before becoming a knight and being allowed to spend the rest of his days in the peaceful days of Sennick, saw that defending the town was pointless and would only lead to a massacre. He pointed out that while he had trained the town guard of Sennick himself, they did not have the experience nor the equipment to defend against a large-scale invasion and hope to win as the capital of the Kingdom probably wasn’t even aware of what was happening, being so far to the east. All things considered, if they tried to defend the town, they would have at least three days of attrition before the foul brutes would come barging in through the town gates or come pouring through the break of the town walls. He proposed that they leave while they still could and avoid any more losses as he knew well how terrible the mutants were.
Sir Santino stepped forward and accused Sir Jonas of being a coward despite the fact that he was one of the first people to run and hide when the first of the mutants rampaged into Sennick. How could they simply leave? Sennick was where they had everything. Besides, the walls were strong enough, they would hold until help came. Sir Santino even went on to say that Queen Cora Aqua would even come to rescue them.
Sir Jonas explained the flaws of Sir Santino’s plan. First of all, careers could be rebuilt but lives, alas, could not. Besides they wouldn’t be able to outlast a full-scale invasion as they did not even know the exact number of ships the mutants possessed. At best, any defense they could make would last a week before being completely overwhelmed. As for reinforcements, there was no realistic way for them to arrive in time before they were all wiped out.
Sir Santino then accused Sir Jonas of treachery for doubting the power of the Royal Military (even though Sir Jonas probably knew more about them) and that he had brought on the attack because of his negative thinking. Indeed, Sir Santino implied that it was because of people like Sir Jonas, people who thought of trouble and took the trouble of preparing for them, were the ones who were responsible for their arrival.
Despite the sheer absurdity of his claim, majority of the townspeople sided with Sir Santino. After all, how can a man with godlike features be wrong? Besides, Sir Jonas wasn’t even a real knight, some people said, because he was simply awarded the rank of knighthood and wasn’t of noble birth like Sir Santino. Surely a man like Sir Santino was meant to lead unlike Sir Jonas who was once part of the common rabble.
There was almost a fight then and there, a riot between the people of Sennick who wanted to leave with Sir Jonas and those who wanted to stay and defend the island-town with Sir Santino. Before the situation could escalate however, Sir Jonas simply decided to leave with those who wanted to follow him and let those who wanted to stay with Sir Santino remain in the town. After all, they didn’t need anymore needless bloodshed.
And so, needless to say, Sir Jonas’ group left in the afternoon aboard the ships they had with all the essential belongings they could bring with them. It would be difficult for them, sure, but it was probably better than being slaughtered by mutants. Much to their surprise though, after they had cast off, Sir Jonas didn’t go with them. Instead, he stayed behind on Sennick, insisting that it was where he planned to die anyway as it was where he retired.
The mutants came, as expected early next morning. They were a force to be reckoned with as Sir Jonas observed from the shadows. It was clear that they did not come to dally and what they had in mind would be very unpleasant for the people of Sennick.
Meanwhile, within the town walls, Sir Santino explained his plan to the townspeople. He banked on the idea that it was Sir Jonas and those who went with him who were at fault as their cynicism brought the mutants to Sennick. He proposed that they make a huge celebration as their “positive vibes” will somehow drive away the mutants and bring help.
The mutants quickly began their siege of the city by noon. Sir Jonas, who continued to observe from the shadows, was only glad they hadn’t brought their heavier siege weapons to bear. If so, the defense wouldn’t even last a few hours.
As night fell, the people of Sennick had a huge celebration, bringing out all the food they had (which would’ve probably lasted them days if they properly rationed it) and shooting fireworks (which they could’ve used as weapons or, at least, distractions) as sir Santino proposed. In all their merrymaking, few noticed the mutants who used simple ladders to climb over the town walls and, in less than an hour, began their campaign of slaughter. The merrymakers were the first to die with those who remained being hunted down one by one even as they tried their best to hide in their basements and cellars.
One of the last to die was Sir Santino. Of course, he tried to fight but, alas, it was all in vain. The truth of the matter was that not only were his golden armor and bejeweled sword too cumbersome to wield in actual combat, he was also largely untrained in military matters. When he swung his sword at the mutants, they were able to deftly avoid his attack and Sir Santino instead ended up impaling an innocent townswoman just hoping to escape with her family with his enormous sword. The mutants, with their monstrous strength, were easily able to throw Sir Santino around and they hurled him into a fleeing little boy who was crushed instantly under the weight of his armor.
In the end, Sir Santino begged for his life as he was one of the last ones to be executed in the invasion. He tried to promise them riches and even swore loyalty to them saying that he would betray the Kingdom to them but to no avail. In the end, he was killed alongside every other townsman of Sennick, his body stripped of regalia and thrown into a burial pit with the common people he often looked down on.
Sir Jonas on the other hand had other plans. When the mutants breached the walls, he was able to sneak in and saw what was going on. He vowed to himself that he would at least try to kill the leader of this particular raid if he could.
However, as he wandered about, killing off any mutants he found alone, he found a young boy whose parents had been killed in the attack. Sir Jonas decided to forego killing the leader of the raid and somehow allow the boy to escape the slaughter. So he escorted the boy back to the docks where a single boat was waiting in case he decided to follow those who left.
Unfortunately, the leader of the mutants, an enormous monstrosity that was barely humanoid in shape with the entire side of its face covered in spiraling horns, had been waiting for them. Despite his size though, Sir Jonas managed to at least stand toe-to-toe with the mutant chieftain, thanks to his skill and the mobility his modest armor afforded him. But then the mutant somehow got lucky and managed to fatally wound Sir Jonas but was quickly decapitated by the old knight afterwards.
Sir Jonas at least managed to get the young boy to the boat before dying of his wound. As Sir Jonas had hoped, those who left were somehow still waiting for him and found the boy who told them what happened. They were actually about to leave when they spotted the boat with the boy in it.
And thus ends the tale of The Two Knights and how Sennick became one of the most infamous strongholds of the mutants because of the many atrocities they committed there in the name of their vile gods…
Well, I certainly hope you liked the story and, most of all, I hope you got the message. Of course, I’m sure there will be once again those misinformed types who’ll be wondering what is a work of fantasy doing in GRP and why the heck is it so bleak. For those people, all I can say is that you should probably stick to your bare-breasted mermaids and air-headed fairies on local TV because I can assure you that Despot probably won’t have them.
Also, this is merely considered “lore” or “history” of Despot. Worry not readers, I’ll be using a much more modern and readable format once I get it underway.
Anyway, before I end this piece of short fiction, I hope this story did more than just entertain its readers.
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