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Bold Kings

by Rubric

Two bold kings shared a feast in the shadowed garden and debated the nature of justice.

The nature of Justice is the consent of his people, spoke the first. When a king makes his judgments, his people know that they are just because they have consented to the king’s own rule. So long as a King assumes his throne rightly, by succession, his decisions cannot help but be just, for those decisions have been consented to by his subjects.

Nay, responded the second, the nature of Justice is the blessing of the gods. For if a king’s subjects rise in rebellion, they may not have justice in their mind, but a keen envy for his gold and lands. But the gods have an envy for nothing a king holds dear. When a king makes grand conquests and fathers many sons, the blessing of the gods is clearly upon him, and so his rule is Just. If a King’s rule grows unjust, then the gods will grant him no further blessings, and his rule will soon crumble.

Pfaaw, snorted the gardeness, hands gone to rough leather from an age tending her natural domain, as she came across their debate. What do kings know of justice? It is not their currency. What you wager over is the nature of strength. The king that survives the rebellions of his subjects, and overcomes the defenses of his neighbors, such a king is surely strong, but strength is not justice. What matters succession when the king grows to be an addle-minded tyrant? What matters the blessings of the gods when they can be mistaken for a sufficiently procreative harem?

Chastened, the two kings turned to one another.

Tis true, said the first, that a king’s survival in the face of rebellion is not sufficient to name him Just.

Indeed, agreed the second, and that any gutter-rat can father a brood that shares his name. A king must be strong, but strength is not justice. We must raise up men who can consider the blessings of the gods, for that is their consent to the rule of kings.

Having reached mediation, they gathered in their palaces men wise in the knowledge of the gods and took wisdom from them, crafting their rule to draw the gods’ blessings.

And the gardeness returned to her labours, tending the earth that fed their people, and upon which their armies trampled and freely shed the blood of man.

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104 Reviews

Points: 1425
Reviews: 104

Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:54 pm
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Holiday30 wrote a review...

SO as I read this the dialogue it self was of a different world. As you have two kings coming together trying to figure out the true meaning of Justice. In my opinion this is key because one you hardly hear of two kings coming together and two, most kings confuse justice with power, which the Gardner points out to them. I feel like the gardener had to be an angel. She came out of know where and gave the two kings knowledge beyond there time and helped them realize that justice and power are two separate things. I loved this story and hope that wise sisters are just as good.
your friend Kwanza, the holiday

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298 Reviews

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Reviews: 298

Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:26 am
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HolographicLadybug wrote a review...

Hi! Sorry this took so long. Life got in the way again and I'm falling behind on all of my commitments. This one is going to be short again, but I hope that it is at least somewhat useful.

I'm not quite sure if I mentioned something like this in my previous review (or if I'm just noticing this now), but your opening sentence seems a bit sudden. It's a bit like diving into the water without knowing you've jumped. It's one statement that gets us into the story quickly. What I'm wondering is if it hurts your story. It might a little, but it probably depends on who you ask. From where I stand, (as you can see) I can't come up with an answer. But if one of those readers who judges a story by it's first sentence comes along, there may be a problem there. The solution? Try not making this seem so sudden. (Checks other review) (I seem to be contradicting myself a little......) I suggested earlier that maybe you could have more description (like last time).
I think that maybe the reason why I seem to be contradicting myself is that I don't think that "shadowed garden" works as well here. I agree that this one isn't as poetic, (but it is still good) so that description doesn't fit the mood as well, I think. Maybe you could use a different word?
Yet again, only a suggestion. :)

Like mentioned a few words before, this one isn't as poetic, but it's still quite good. The message here is quite literal, but you can sill take some different things from it, if that makes any sort of messed-up sense at all. I have no clue at all why I think this, but I like the gardeness better in this one than he other. Maybe it's that she appears more powerful? I dunno.
The very last paragraph is probably the most poetic of the whole thing (or at least it seems to be). It's a very good part because it seems to send out a few different messages, but also seems to be quite literal. Does that make sense or do I have no clue what I'm saying anymore? The paragraph also has it's fair share of imagery, which concludes the piece really well and reflects the attitude of kings (you know, back in the time when there were wars with swords).

That's it from me! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
~Holographic Ladybug :)

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1220 Reviews

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Reviews: 1220

Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:53 am
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Kale wrote a review...

You post things so rarely, but the things you do are worth the wait.

With that said, I'm so very torn on how you handled the dialogue. On the one hand, the lack of quotation marks gives this such a lovely old tale feel, and quotation marks really aren't necessary to reduce ambiguity because there's no ambiguity to be found. On the other hand, those dialogue tags are straight-up dialogue tags that don't indicate indirect dialogue (quite the opposite).

I think the tags need reworking so that they're more indirect because they really stick out right now, and having dialogue tags stick out is just a bad thing in general.

My only other quibble would be that the vocabulary the gardeness uses seems a bit sophisticated considering her position, particularly the use of "sufficiently procreative". I can buy it being an embellished part of the tale added later on to make the gardeness look even more wise, but it still sticks out a bit.

Other than that, I have nothing else to say. It was nice to have to put in some effort to find some things to mention in a review, and you already know that I'm a huge sucker for these kinds of old-style stories.

Me likey.

Rubric says...

Thanks for the review, it was very helpful! It was a great pick on "sufficiently procreative". I think I'll rework it as "fertile" which speaks back into the gardeness's profession. I'm not sure how I'd rework the dialogue tags without tranferring it all to direct speech, to be honest. This is actually the second of a three piece work if you've the time to take a look at the others, but regardless, thanks for the time you've taken here.


Kale says...

"Fertile" is a lot more fitting.

I'll have to check out the other two later.

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62 Reviews

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Reviews: 62

Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:10 am
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AnarchyWolf wrote a review...

AnarchyWolf here for a short review :)

I love this work. I haven't read anything like it in a while. It's especially refreshing in that you have no direct dialogue.

With two paragraphs, you've given the reader quite a feel for the kings, just through telling us some of what they believe about justice. The first king seems to be the more 'justified' ruler, whereas the second king seems to be to be more about 'divine right' to the throne.

The gardener coming in is a great idea, and her description,

"hands gone to rough leather from an age tending her natural domain,"

Because of which I could imagine her vividly, tending the garden under orders from these kings who openly talk about justice in front of her. Also, the opening question of her opinion,

"What do kings know of justice?"

Which is, perhaps, the 'truest' opinion of them all.

We do have funerals for the living. They're called birthday parties.
— Jill Biden (fictitiously), Hope Never Dies