Notes for The Story of Jasmine Continue:
Bardulf was fascinated by the Tome of Wisdom. The large volume seemed to be written by several hands. Some of the text was indecipherable. Too bad the little people living in the caverns had angered him. If he hadn’t slaughtered them, they might have been able to help him read some of the passages.
With Gryth perched on his shoulder, he inspected each page thoroughly. He was not particularly concerned that he occupied almost all his time in this room in the pursuit of study. It was time well spent.
His accidental discovery of the manuscript represented his best luck in a long time. He knew he wasn’t particularly lucky in life but he learned a lesson early on. You make your own luck. And so he did, by always tipping the odds in his favor, and having a backup plan.
Thus, finding the book was truly fortunate. Because he had no hand in it, in his mind, this serendipity represented a reward from the gods, or whomever. It justified all the atrocities he ordered his enthralled juniors to commit on his behalf. The sacrifices made by the innocent became not only forgivable but necessary. Then he dared to believe that somehow he was very special and meant to be the recipient of the Tome of Wisdom all along.
The magical yoke he placed on UR’s weak-minded in positions of power continued to work beautifully. He changed the balance of power simply by catering to greed, spreading false rumors and encouraging dissent. This structure was surprisingly effective and enduring.
In the places still loyal to their king, where no amount of riches could bribe them, he practiced more devious methods to assure they stayed under his thumb. He would continue to reward obedience—a combination of bribes, privilege and social status. He left it to his compromised ones in power to keep their own people in line.
To break UR’s spirit, greed and continual propaganda were his most effective tools. Bardulf’s social genius was to always keep the money flowing, from the poor and dispossessed, back into the pockets of the rich. Bardulf enlisted the assistance of local town criers whose voices the people were prone to trust. He made them think they were actually helping their village or town by exposing the “truth” about what’s happening in other parts of the kingdom. Those he had manipulated into broadcasting false information with their voices, he jokingly called his “Troupe of Sanctified Liars.”
Before his take-over, he had them spread stories about the Kingdom’s unhappiness and their discontent with the present situation. Even though everyone pretty much prospered under their present king, Bardulf meant to convince the average person otherwise. The seeds Bardulf sowed with his magic grew and spread. His smear campaign became effective because the false news stories were slowly sprinkled in with the village or town’s news in general.
His strategy resulted in more than he’d hoped for. He succeeded in brainwashing the townspeople of each berg to accept and welcome the on-coming assault that was sure to come. Bardulf did not need to build a massive army to overwhelm the situation. When the time came and his armed forces swept in, many villages simply threw down their arms and welcomed them. All Bardulf needed was key people in key places of power to accomplish his wishes. And also, a series of well-hidden spies to keep the top feeders in their place as well.
After his take-over, his town-criers changed their clamor. Bardulf’s propaganda now took up the majority of their announcements. All stories reinforced the idea that Bardulf’s rule was beneficial to all. News of local interest diminished. News of discontent was left unspoken.
Of late, Bardulf wondered — could a demoralized group of people eventually become more like the minions the Fire Queen commanded? Her magic was far stronger than his. What he managed to do with the populace of his conquered lands was nothing compared to her achievement of total domination.
But now, with the Tome of Wisdom at his finger tips, he will have finally have the means to best the witch. In the midst of his reverie, a strange thought entered his mind. Which one among his servants spied for Melantha?
© 2018 DARLENE