Story time with uncle Steve - Oryen

Apr 9 | Posted by: Fighter #1 | Tags: Story time with Uncle steve

This is a true story that an archaeologist friend of mine once told me.

Once upon a time there was a kingdom called Oryen. It was a mighty and prosperous kingdom with a wise and benevolent king. One year, the king ordered a great celebration to be held, for there was much to celebrate. Some tense negotiations with a neighboring kingdom had just been solved peacefully. The kingdom was celebrating its 500th year of magnificence. And to top it all off, the king's son had just had his own first son!

So the kingdom was at peace, and the people were secure in two more generations of wise and competent leadership. (This was back when people believed that if your father was a good king then you were obviously also qualified.)

On the last day of the celebration, the king made an announcement:

"People of Oryen," he began. "For many years I have ruled this great kingdom. I look back on those years with nothing but fondness and pride. The people of Oryen are an honest and hardworking people. My fathers built this great nation over 500 years, and with the right leadership, I expect that our kingdom shall remain mighty and prosperous for another 1000!

"It is the issue of leadership that I wish to address today. As you well know, I have grown old. I doubt that I have long for this world. So it is with great sadness and pride that I am abdicating my reign to my son. He has proven himself to be a good leader, and I think he is ready for the throne. I will advise him, but from this day fourth, the prince is now the king!"

This made the people sad, but they all realized it probably was for the best. There would be no dispute about who was next to be king after the old one passed, but anything to ease the inevitable transition would be good.

As the old king spent less and less time with the everyday affairs of the kingdom, he began spending more time on his retirement plan. Eventually, he decided to build himself a retirement palace on the edge of the tar pits. He brought the best engineers and architects from throughout the kingdom to construct a magnificent, stable palace and soon he was settled.

One day, he was in his palace writing his memoirs and reflecting on his life.

"I think I have done well for my kingdom, my fine Oryen. We are peaceful and prosperous. The land is verdant. Why even the ancient oak trees seem taller than they ever did when I was young! Hold on..."

He rushed to the window. There he realized that the trees did look taller but only because his castle was shorter! He looked down to realize that his palace was sinking into the tar pits. The king panicked briefly and tried to find a way out but soon he realized he was trapped. Resigned to his fate, he went back to his desk and continued to chronicle his life up until that very moment.

Needless to say, the nation mourned the loss of the old king, but they took comfort in the fact that the new king was doing quite well in his father's shoes. That, and the king's son the infant prince was growing into what all believed would be a wise and competent princeling.
Shortly after his father's demise, the king decided that he too needed to upgrade his palace. And what better place to build a magnificent palace than on the edge of the tar pits?  Not wanting to repeat his father's mistake, the king spent far more time and money on the project.

He brought in all the best architects and engineers from his own and from neighboring kingdoms and spent five years constructing a wonderful castle. Then he and his family moved in.

One day, the queen and the prince were out for a walk through the forest while the king stayed home.

He mused to himself, "I am doing well with my kingdom, my fine Oryen. I miss my father's guidance, but I think we have fared well without him. Why even the ancient oak trees seem taller than they did in his time! Hold on..."

The king rushed to the window. The trees had not gotten taller, his castle had gotten shorter! The palace was sinking into the tar pits! He panicked for a few minutes trying to find a way out but soon realized he was doomed.

He lamented the fact that his son was too young to reign in his place and hoped that a good steward would mind the kingdom until the princeling came of age. Eventually, he began frantically scribbling down his memoirs just in case he was ever retrieved from the tar.

The queen and the prince returned from their walk just in time to see the last spinarretes of the castle sink below the tar. The queen dropped to her knees in shock, but the prince rushed forwards to get to his father. The queen tried to catch him, but was too slow. Soon, the boy was also tragically swallowed up by the treacherous tar.

Without a clear line of succession, bickering soon broke out among the nobles of the kingdom. The bickering escalated into civil war, and soon Oryen was overrun by its neighbors.  The kingdom was completely destroyed and wiped from history. Soon no trace was left. Oryen's conquerers were in turn conquered. It's last buildings were ground into dust, and the kingdom was completely forgotten, never to rise or be recalled again.

After my friend told me this story, I was a little saddened by it, but then a problem occurred to me.

"Hey," I asked him. "If Oryen was completely wiped from history and no one remembers it, how do you know all this stuff that happened to it?"

"Oh that's easy," he replied. "Last month, when we were on a dig, we found these three kings in Oryen tar."

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