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“All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.” — John Milton, Paradise Lost

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The ship was already in dire straits by the time it floundered off the coast. Most of the crew had perished and the ship had taken a heavy pounding by the storms that seemed to follow one after another for months. There were only a handful of men left and these were quickly slaughtered in the surf by the savages that hid along the coast.

Only Cristobol survived the ordeal, and this was purely by luck. He had been left for dead among the other men by the natives and had swooned in and out of consciousness for three days. Finally, another rainstorm passed, and he was able to quench his thirst from lying on his back, his mouth open in a rictus of agony from the arrow wound in his side.

There were days when he thought the wound too infected to heal properly. He managed to satiate his hunger on the crabs and clams that frequented the tidal pools.

At one point, after his strength returned and his wound was nearly healed, he was able to make it to the careening wreck of the ship by floating upon a log. He managed to retrieve what little remaining supplies were not ruined and return to the beach.

Fortune smiled upon him again as the days passed and the savages failed to return to the beach, for if they had, he would have surely perished. But the day came when he felt strong enough to leave his lonely beach and explore inland.

Cristobol traveled through the wilderness for many weeks regaining his vigor and learning the land. He soon discovered a primitive tribe called the Nikaras inhabiting an expanse of open plains. The explorer possessed technological advantages over the tribe’s people such that his steel sword, firearm, armor, strange clothes, and flint made him seem a supernatural being to the people.

The tribal structure was presided over by a council of elders and warriors among whom was a man named Jaqard. He was the prominent member of the council even though there was no one leader among them. Jaqard was keen, perceptive, and always kept justice foremost in his mind.

Cristobol was also an intelligent man and very resourceful. He immediately sought to use the primitives’ awe to elevate his station in life. Cristobol made use of his technological tools to strike fear into the hearts of the natives and they soon began to glorify him as a god. So Cristobol played the part of God, making himself the new god-king of the Nikaras. He bade them to erect a great structure on which he sat atop it on a great stone throne. He bade them to hunt the beasts of the plains and feed him and to offer a portion as sacrifice to him in return for his favor. He bade them to offer jewels and gold in exchange for prosperity. He bade them to prostrate themselves before him in supplication. He bade them to sing his name in prayer and chants. He taught them that the blessings of their lives were due to his pleasure and that the sufferings of their lives were due to his displeasure. And only Jaqard among all the Nikaras questioned the authority of Cristobol.

During a great ritual of feasting, chanting, and prayers presided over by Cristobol atop his great stone throne, Jaqard confronted Cristobol. He stood at the base of the great stone stairs leading up to Cristobol’s throne and challenged Cristobol’s miraculous powers. The Nikaras were shocked and stricken with fear at Jaqard’s audacity and blasphemy. Many whispered that Jaqard was brash and merely wanted to become what Cristobol was – a god-king. But Cristobol would have none of this insolence. He stood up and bellowed his displeasure. Then he raised his musket rifle into the air and fired. The thundering crack struck fear in the Nikaras so that they prostrated themselves on the ground trembling in prayer. Not Jaqard, though. He held his defiant stance with fists clenched, jaw set, and eyes locked on Cristobol’s. Cristobol descended the stairs in great strides and leveled his musket pistol at Jaqard, firing another deafening shot.

The ball struck Jaqard in shoulder sending him reeling in pain. A great gasp erupted from the tribe and Jaqard was forced to flee across the plain and into the woods while behind him loud paeans of exultation for the mighty power of Cristobol were sung.

Jaqard was wounded and banished, but he survived alone in the wilderness.

One day Cristobol learned from his subjects that there was another tribe in the woods beyond the plains called the Hiknaar. These people were primitives like the Nikaras except, rather than hunting the beasts of the plain, they harvested fruits and vegetables from their great gardens and orchards in the wilderness. Cristobol was intrigued and decided he needed to extend his influence over these people as well.

So Cristobol appeared before the Hiknaar much as he did with the Nikaras and awed them with his technological powers. The Hiknaar soon fell under his influence and were commanded to worship Cristobol as their god-king. Cristobol required of them the bounty of their orchards and were commanded to give as offering much of the harvest of their fruits and vegetables. He told them that to break this commandment would be to cast great disfavor upon them and they would be evil forever in his eyes and punished by torture for the remainder of their lives. But Cristobol took great interest in the behavior of the Hiknaar. They were a curious tribe to him. And while he maintained his great stone throne on the plain amongst the Nikaras, he spent many days visiting and observing the Hiknaar.

It wasn’t long before Jaqard, now recovered from his wound, discovered Cristobol’s plans to ensnare yet another tribe under his control. So Jaqard decided to subvert Cristobol’s attempts. Jaqard visited the Hiknaar while Cristobol was not around and convinced them that Cristobol was a charlatan and merely a man like them. His words rung true with many of the Hiknaar and they began to doubt the authority of Cristobol.

Cristobol visited the Hiknaar and found them gorging on the fruit he had proclaimed to be his by divine right. Cristobol’s anger was stoked by their blasphemous acts, and he raged at them with fire and muskets. The Hiknaar were stunned with fear and the Nikaras were commanded to take the Hiknaar captive. Cristobol held true to his word and the torturing of the Hiknaar tribe began immediately. They were called wicked and condemned to pain and suffering.

Many confessed in their pain that it was Jaqard who had come to them and planted his words of discord in their minds. And so it was that many renounced Jaqard and renewed their worshipful allegiance to Cristobol. Cristobol saw fit to release these Hiknaar from their suffering. But many had seen through the façade of Cristobol’s charade, and they endured a lifetime of torture until the end of their days.

The End

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