Author Topic: Parable of the Truth-Teller  (Read 1433 times)


  • More Future, All Bad.
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 2488
  • Wielder of "Oh No Not Again"
    • View Profile
Parable of the Truth-Teller
« on: July 22, 2020, 06:22:44 pm »
Once upon a time, a young man existed who could not tell a lie. His name is lost to time, but we will call him Cyril. Cyril’s honesty and forthrightness combined with his optimism to make him very popular in his community.

He befriended people easily, which was unusual in this small, bitter border town in a dark kingdom. He was more than willing to help people out whenever he could, and his empathy made him a person who was frequently asked to simply talk to people.

But Cyril had to tell the truth. He couldn’t even simply Shut Up: his tongue moved of its own accord. As kind as he was, it took a long time for the problems to start. But start they did.

It was small at first. He spoke to people who had some problem that was stressing them out, telling them of others who had the same problem. And at first this helped build connections in the community.

Then the magistrate sent an agent to speak to Cyril, learned all about the others they should talk to who had also spoken rudely of the King, and those others were gone the next day.

Before long, Cyril, so kind of heart, was unwanted. He was ejected from the small, bitter border town, and he wandered to the next.

At every village, town and city, things grew worse for him. First it was the local bailiffs and magistrates growing colder and more aggressive in their responses to the groups he told them about. Then it was magistrates welcoming him with wine and meat, while others starved unto the fourth generation just outside. Finally, he was greeted at the gates of a small southern village by a group of angry people.

“We don’t want you here. All you touch is brought to ruin. Don’t enter our walls.”

And Cyril kept walking, destitute and friendless.

One day, poor Cyril arrived at the gates of the grandest city in the land: fabled Ys. The very seat of the King, a powerful sorcerer and a fearsome legislator.

Entering the gates, Cyril marveled at the crowds. “Surely I can make my life here! There are so many people that I will blend right in.” And blend in he did, and for a time it was just like his childhood: full of friends and kindness and finding happiness in a cold and dreary kingdom.

One day, a peddler that Cyril was entertaining with old stories asked if Cyril would like to help him with a quest. They were a member of a cell of revolutionaries, and they were going to free the kingdom from the grip of its King. By any means necessary.

This reminded Cyril of the excitement of his youth, and he accepted eagerly. He was told to meet at such and such a place, at such and such a time, and given a password. There would be an Event. He was told to not tell a soul of this. Cyril understood the difficulty this would cause him, but he agreed.

For ten days leading up to the Event, Cyril did not answer his door. His friends turned away in worry, and his bills grew late. But people were counting on him, he couldn’t afford to screw this up!

The day came, and Cyril dressed plainly, snuck out the kitchen door of his home, and scurried to the meeting place at the meeting time. There were only three others there, and all looked grim. They took up burlap sacks, and stole towards the palace.

Just to the west of the King’s palace, there was an inferno, and a dozen men with swords, right at the main entrance. But the peddler shook his cloaked head and led Cyril to a hidden door under a rock in the palace garden.

“This is where the King will leave.”

And they all threw their sacks in the hole just beyond the door, but the peddler held on to the strings tying each of them. They waited in silence, the sounds of fighting and crackling fire ringing off of the stone buildings around to echo to their ears. And as they heard footsteps from below, the peddler lit the strings on fire — fuses, Cyril realized — and threw them down the hole. They ran, and before long heard a tremendous thump, like a kettle drum the size of an ox-cart.

“Go home, Kind Cyril. You have done a great thing today.”

And Cyril did. And he spoke to all of his friends that he met along the way, telling them why he had not talked to them and what he had been up to.

He told them of the peddler, and the strange men who had been with him, and, he presumed, the death of the king. And Cyril found that all of his friends were surprised and overjoyed, and he cursed himself as a fool for not telling them sooner. He slept easily that night.

I would continue the tale of Cyril, but one of his friends had been a collaborator with the King's Guard, and he had heard the story in every detail. Cyril was murdered in his home while he slept soundly, and the peddler and his two friends were given public executions after being interrogated for every bit of information they knew.

And as for the King?

He was a great and powerful sorcerer. He was unscathed. The executions were his orders.

So as you can see, there is no tale of Cyril left to tell.
“I am that worst of all type of criminal...I cannot bring myself to do what you tell me, because you told me.”

There's over 100 of us in this meat-suit. You'd think it runs like a ship, but it's more like a hundred and ten angry ghosts having an old-school QuakeWorld tournament, three people desperately trying to make sure the gamers don't go hungry or soil themselves, and the Facilities manager weeping in the corner as the garbage piles high.