Tag Archives: prophesy

“You Have Appealed to the Red King…” (“And to the Red King You Will Go…”)

I did my best for many nights to control the content of my dreams, but to no avail. Whenever I found myself vaguely cognizant of my surroundings, I would either fly around at random and ignore the shadows surrounding me, or I’d repeat the same phrase again and again to everyone who encountered me:

I must strike the Red Horseman. Then the Black must strike the Pale. Then the Pale must strike the Black. Then I must strike the Pale.

And so it went, for many nights. For their part, the other shadows seemed uninterested in me. They were all discussing something called a Tournament of Fire to be hosted by three kings, not coincidentally called Red, Black, and Pale. But in my dazed state, the similarity of the names meant nothing to me.

Finally, there came a certain morning on which I needed to wake up for a meeting at 8:00. In my anxiety, I roused myself a bit too early, at 5:30, and returned at once to a deep sleep. This proved to be the occasion for the resumption of my nightly agency.

Alone in a meadow, I was preparing to take off into the sky when a hooded figure approached me.

I said: I must strike the Red Horseman. Then the Black must strike the Pale. Then the Pale must strike the Black. Then I must strike the Pale.

I then noticed that the face of the stranger, though hidden in shadows, was clearly not that of a man at all, but a lamb. Suddenly, my memories came pouring back to me, and I said:

“Do you remember that there was a contest once, to the death, in which four horsemen threw stones at each other and at a woman accused of adultery?”

“There is an ancient legend to that effect,” said the Lamb. “But the game of stones was never carried out to its conclusion. They say a clarion voice burst from the sky, unmistakable to everyone present, and scattered the assembly.”

“What did the voice say?”

“That’s been forgotten. It’s nothing but a legend now.”

I tilted my head to the side, confused. Then I intoned again: I must strike the Red Horseman. Then the Black must strike the Pale. Then the Pale must strike the Black. Then I must strike the Pale.

“Who do you think you are, the legendary White Horseman?” laughed the Lamb. “You’re obviously a stranger here.”

I must strike the Red Horseman. Then the Black must strike the Pale. Then the Pale must strike the Black. Then I must strike the Pale.

A crowd began to assemble.

“What’s he talking about?” barked an indistinct form. “Who is this man, and where is he from? Is he here to compete in the Tournament of Fire?”

“Doesn’t he know,” whined another shadow, “that only Nobility can compete?”

“He’s some fool, asleep,” whispered a third form. “Wake him up and be done with it.”

“No, leave me alone!” I cried. “I know my rights. Take me without delay to the one you call the Red King!”

The shadows conferred. Then a figure dressed as a guardsman said,

“You have appealed to the Red King, and to the Red King you will go…” and I was immediately thrown in irons.

8/14/2011

Next entry 8/28/2011