“Le Coquin, am doomed! I can’t hear with my left ear again! To be stung by a bee is a headache on its own. but to be deaf in one ear is a death sentence! How can I ever be King?! What can I do?!!” the Prince broke down in tears as he confided in his friend Le Coquin. He had not eaten anything in 2 days living in moribund fear of being discovered that he had run foul of the Oracle hence not qualified to be King.
Le coquin, true to his character was able to proffer a solution to the stricken Prince. He suggested to the Prince that he should keep quiet about it and not say a word and ensure that anyone who wants to talk to him should move to his right side if he, Le Coquin was not
there so he could hear them. That if he was there, he would simply relay to him what was said.
It seem a pleasant idea to the Prince and they readily carried it out. Le Coquin relating to the Prince whatever complain or issues they had and the Prince been able to proffer solutions and a way forward. The Palace officials and stewards were unsure about this new arrangement and wondered what was the cause for it. The Prince stated that, “am simply preparing for my court when i would have ministers relaying information to me after doing their due diligence”. “But there is already an established channel to do such my lord!” exclaimed the stewards. But the Prince could not be persuaded as to this course of action. But Le Coquin warmed himself into the hearts of Palace Officials by ensuring that he did not run foul of established channels but followed it. And since he was a flattering fellow, he was able to charm his way through except through Verstockt, the Court Official in charge of the Palace.
A year later, the King passed away paving the way for the Prince to become King. All the necessary rites were started in earnest as the tradition of Suuru Kingdom was that, a new King must be crowned within 14 days after the death of the reigning King. Verstockt voiced his fears about the King-in-waiting of having running foul of the tradition to the Chief Minister in Council, High Chief Metomofin who requested that he provide the evidence to that effect.
Verstockt was an ambitious man who didn’t get to that position by just idling by. He was shrewd and strong-willed, always getting what he wants no matter the cost. He knew he can’t set up an investigation to probe the King-in-waiting as that would be scandalous and the end of his life and banishment of his family. He had to be discrete and careful and he was especially wary of Le Coquin.
He began to observe the mannerism and how the King-in-waiting seems relaxed around Le Coquin when he was holding court and how he fidgets and sweats when Le Coquin was not around. He noticed that he gets particularly irritated, even though he tries to mask it when you try to communicate with him standing on his left side. And when asked why he does that, he claimed he had a dream in which the Oracle warned him not to allow anybody communicate with him from his left side during the period of preparing for coronation.
Verstockt was flabbergasted when he learnt about this dream of the King-in-waiting and was sure there was more to the dream. He began to deliberately try to make sounds whenever the King-in-waiting was walking by and he noticed that the King hardly hears him or the sound he makes. Le Coquin happened to be around on one of those days and he observed what was going on.
Meanwhile, Verstockt had learnt through one of his men that, on a particular day, the King-in-waiting and Le Coquin had entered the palace late in the night and the King-in-waiting had been seen holding something to his left ear and groaning in pain!
Verstockt was ecstatic about this information and he began to piece together the timeline of events to get a picture of what happened and to plan the next move.
Le Coquin had become suspicious of Verstockt and he began to tail him and observe his movements.
Five days to the coronation, Le Coquin broke into the house of Verstockt and discovered documents that he had put together that would potentially disqualify the King-in-waiting and also have him banished from the Kingdom and he, would be killed! He gathered all the documents together and sneaked out of the house and left for his house to plot his next move.
Meanwhile, while Le Coquin was breaking into Verstockt’s house, Verstockt was with Ariyanjiyan, the Uncle of the King-in-waiting. He would be next in line to the throne should anything happen to the King-in-waiting. He was an unforgiving man with high ambitions to be King as well. he was willing to pay for any dirt to be dug up on his nephew so he can ascend the throne. He and the late King had been half Brothers who did not see eye to eye and were strong rivals while growing up.
Ariyanjiyan received the news that potentially damaging evidence had been collated that would improve his chances of being King with mixed feeling. He wanted to be careful and play smart and not fall into the hands of Verstockt, who had a reputation of blackmailing people to get what he wants, and he was also wary of Le Coquin. His little birds had warned him that he was a major threat to anyone trying to unseat the King-in-waiting.
While they deliberated on what to do and how to marshal the Council Ministers and present the evidence to them, the King’s Guards surrounded his house and placed him and Verstockt under arrest. The charge, treason to the Kingdom by carrying out unlawful investigation into the life of the King-in-waiting, and plotting to assassinate the King-in-waiting as well. And in Suuru Kingdom, once charged with Treason with evidence in tow, it was instant death with no clemency.
The Coronation ceremony took place with a lot of fanfare and the new King ascended the throne and his staff of office and authority handed to him. One of the first thing he did was to make Le Coquin his official spokesperson and right hand man. Le Coquin came to be revered and deferred to in the Kingdom.
And the reason for this is not far-fetched. People began to realize that its better for them to be in the good books of Le Coquin to be able to get audience with the King and to get favorable judgement. Court Ministers were aghast wherever they hold court and the King seems to ignore their suggestions but follow instead whatever Le Coquin told him. This on its own was in breach of established Customs and Traditions of the Kingdom, for Le Coquin was not qualified to be in council meetings.
Le Coquin wanted Power and to exercise power and not be controlled. It had been his childhood dream. He hated and despised been subject to control. He wanted to be able to do as he wanted and when he wants to. He wanted to be the one pulling the strings and calling the shots in all things he’s involved with.
Justice and fairness soon took a back bench in the Kingdom as impunity and lawlessness ran amok in the Kingdom. It was not the lawlessness as you would define it, it was a coordinated lawlessness, under a scheming mind and control.
Le Coquin’s word became the law in the land since he had the backing of the King. It’s what he says that the King would hear and he always ensures that whoever he is not pleased with, was always on the left side of the king pleading his case while whoever he favors, would be on the right side of the King. And for years this continued with the people growing increasingly despondent and wary of running foul of Le Coquin.
The King woke up one day in his chambers, and reflected on his reign so far. He realized that yes he was King, he didn’t feel like he was the King but someone else was the King. His peace of mind was disturbed when he went to the court that day and he realized that he felt all alone in the palace even in the midst of all the palace courtiers. His friends were all gone save Le Coquin and all his Father’s trusted advisers all seem to sneer at him behind his back and smile coquettishly in his presence. He felt he was lied to by all and no one was telling him what was actually going on in his kingdom.
He went to his chambers to review the reports sent to him and discovered they were scanty unlike what his father use to have. And the reports on his table were the ones prepared by Le Coquin which spoke in glowing terms that the Kingdom was flourishing and growing and the people were happy. But somewhere within him, he knew this was not true. “Something is missing and i can’t lay a finger on it” he thought to himself.
High Chief Metomofin had grown old and frail but was still the wise old man he was and full of counsel for people who sought him out. Le Coquin had stylishly ensured all the seasoned Counsellors and Advisers of the King’s Father were relieved of their duties and posted out of the palace. Metomofin, had seen the hand writing on the wall just after the coronation of the King and had reviewed a lot of the information and reports he had at his disposal to see that Le Coquin was the Puppet Master, and the King a mere puppet. He reflected on why he didn’t see it coming to have forestalled it, and realized that he had been blindsided by his adherence to status quo and failed to note the warning signs first from Verstockt and also from the little birds that told him Verstockt’s fears were genuine and the evidence used to kill him were doctored. He also noticed that, certain court officials had either resigned their commission in the palace or sent to jail for voicing out in opposition to Le Coquin or hearing their fears about an anomaly taking place in the palace.
He had quietly taken to retire to his Hampstead and live the remaining of his days in peace and sorrow for what he could have done to obviate the disaster that had befallen the kingdom in form of Le Coquin.
“Who could be knocking on my door in the dead of the night?” wondered High Chief Metomofin. he got up to see a young lad by his door with a sealed message, and once he received it, the young lad jumped on his horse and road away into the night with haste as if pursued by a thousand demons from hell. He was quite taken aback by this and he quietly shut his door and retreated into his chambers to examine the message. It bore an insignia he had seen a long time ago, in the chambers of his friend, the late King. And he wondered, why would the King send him a message through this channel and not through the regular channel as expected.
I write this letter as a last cry for help. I think i have lost my Kingdom and am no more in charge. i think and with absolute certainty, i would be dethroned shortly and would likely lose my life in the process.
I believe i have done wrong and i don’t know where to turn to for help. I believe am surrounded by charlatans who tell me what i want to hear or what they feel i should hear. Am alienated from the people am supposed to govern and i can’t walk the streets with my head held high as their King.
My Father told me once, “if you feel lost and abandoned and don’t know what to do, call Metomofin, he would shine a light to the way you are to follow”.
Sir i need your help, we need to see in private that’s why you got this letter through the way you got it. My apologies for that sir, as i have no one to trust enough to deliver the letter save my Sister’s son.
I would be fishing downriver tomorrow. You know the place. Let’s see there.
The Lost King.