Once upon a time in the vast lands of Americus lived a dragon they called Jabberwocky. It was a ferocious beast that showed no mercy to the villagers. Every night the Jabberwocky descended upon the towns across the land breathing fire onto the thatched homes and markets, burning away the villager’s livelihoods and dreams. Each day, terrified shop owners and mothers would wait in front of the castle to beseech King Baroque to send his fiercest knights to fight the dragon, but none was brave enough in all the kingdom.
Fearing that the Jabberwocky would ultimately destroy the entire Commonwealth, King Baroque assembled his Knights around the Great Rectangular Table in the Hall of Victories. On the small left side of the table were assembled the Knights of the Leftist provinces. On the similar sized right side of the table sat the Knights of the Rightist Provinces. In the great length of the center table sat no knights, for the Middle Kingdom had long ago given its defenses over to the knights from the farthest right and left lands.
King Baroque stood in front of his assembled knights and asked who would rise to defeat this menace. As murmurs echoed in the hall, the Provincial Master Knight of the Leftist Realm, Lord Reidrid, rose slowly to address the council. “Brothers, we all know this Jabberwocky is too great and that it will be with us always. It is best that we comfort the villagers with bread and wine and be done with this talk of fighting the dragon!” With that he sat as the knights of the Leftist Realm cheered his wisdom.
The King, having come from the Leftist provinces, thought it a historically sound plan and sent a proclamation throughout the lands that help would soon arrive. As villages smoldered, carts of bread and wine were wheeled throughout the towns. Villagers meandered up to the carts, asking what word was heard about the knights’ attempts to slay the dragon. The Town Crier all but hushed the villagers aside fearing that he might incite a riot against the King. With word of the kingdom’s growing unrest, King Baroque once again called upon his knights to assemble in the Hall of Victories. This time he turned to the Knights of the Rightist Realm and asked for their bravest to defeat the Jabberwocky.
As Knights rumbled their fists on the Great Rectangular Table, the Grand Knight of the Rightists, Sir Boehnerlot, stood his ground firmly in front of the assembly and pronounced with solemn vigor, “This dragon should not have been allowed to grow as powerful as it has. It will now destroy the villages. This is our fate. But the knights of the Right must stand against these appeasements of wine and bread handed out by the Leftists. For when the dragon has had its fill, it will surely fly away to a far off kingdom. When we are finally free of the Jabberwocky’s destruction, we must only then use the gold in our coffers to rebuild our kingdom.”
The hall erupted, first with cheers from the right and jeers from the left. Then as tempers flared, voices reared and knights mounted challenges to each other’s bravery. But there would be no victories coming from this great hall. Word quickly spread throughout the villages that no knight would come forth to slay the Jabberwocky and that the kingdom was preparing for a siege of austerity. Villagers lost hope. In their frustration, bands of youth from across the land descended upon the Jabberwocky’s lair with pitch forks and axes in hand. They encamped in front of its lair singing songs each night to mock the beast.
Yet, night after night, as they beat their drums, the Jabberwocky descended on this brave band of troubadours, picking them off one by one. Its silhouette swooped in front of the full moon to grasp a peasant each night and fly them back into his lair to engorge his belly on the tasty morsels of these brave young souls. Finally, in desperation, realizing that they could not defeat the dragon with mere pitchforks and folklore, the crowd marched onward toward the castle in riotous protest. Amidst the fevered pitch of the terrified villagers outside, the king once again assembled his knights.
With no consensus around the table and in the heat of argument, no one saw a little boy enter the roaring hall and crawl upon a chair to place himself on top the Great Rectangular Table in front of the King. Distracted, the knights one by one turned to look at the curious spectacle until a hush fell in the hall. The little boy, covered in smoldering soot, then quietly spoke, “King Baroque is there no one here who will slay the dragon?”
The King looked sympathetically down at the child and then slowly peered across the room at the knights that had turned their heads away in shame. “Son, do not lose hope, for there will be change in this kingdom.” With knobbily shaking knees, King Baroque summoned his courage to call his draper and squire to the hall. “Fetch me my armor, shield and lance, for I ride tonight to face the Jabberwocky!”
The Marshall brought King Baroque his trusted steed into the Hall. While mounted, King Baroque addressed the assembly, “Is there no one who will ride out with me to face the Jabberwocky?”
Pausing at length, he then announced his royal decree, “If no others will band together to use the powers of knighthood to defeat this beast, then I warn you this day that I will use whatever powers I may have as King to thwart it! I go to fight the Jabberwocky alone. This foe that has consumed our nation’s houses, that has burned our businesses to the ground, and that has devoured the futures of our young people one by one, must not now be allowed to fly even one more night over this kingdom.”
Amid the clamorous cheers of his royal servants, the drawbridge lowered and King Baroque firmly cantered his armored steed out into the night.