Stereotypes: a ruthless dictator who enjoys an occasional walk in the forest, bird-watching and fishing.
After commanding the military to execute everyone in a ten mile radius around the palace, to be merciless in pulling the trigger on those who dared stand up against His Majesty, the Invincible Power of a Thousand Years, the Ruler of Five Seasons, the Guardian of the Sun and the Possessor of Supreme Knowledge; to be ruthless in shedding blood of revolutionaries who had once proclaimed his name under the night sky as their true leader, of impregnated women whom he had blessed with a sleight of hand, of fathers who had fought his War of Seven Years, of virgins who had drunk the elixir of vow, of mothers who had sacrificed their sons to his health at the altar; General V, for that was his name and cognomen known to his kingdom, scandalously retreated to the enchanted forest that lay in a vast expanse behind the palatial corridors.
The forest was dense with trees that grew the length of a hundred years, and amidst the wild grass that could cut into skin with its piercing edges and the flowers that expelled a poisonous scent enough to kill a full grown man, did the General find respite. Here he would fashionable settle himself on a large throne made of bones of ancient warriors, and in complete solitude, watch the living, breathing nature around him. The General had forbidden hunting in the wild that he had come to acquire after bewitching the natives and as the natives were fleeing the General had ordered them to be massacred and hurled into the Great Fire that had been burning ever since his blood had become royalty. The General observed the innocence of the chirping birds and often wrote detailed expositions on the winged creatures, which was published by the Royal House in form of a heavily bound book, and placed in the Royal Public Library for the public to witness, dispelling awe among the ignorant and the wary. Once the General had taken a fancy for the trees and had resolved to climb one to shed his fear of heights, and despite his mother’s constant admonitions, he managed to climb one but half-way through he had heard his lovers’ wails and a nation waiting for his fall, waiting for the General to break his neck, he descended the tree and later on, in a private ceremony, named it The Generals Ascension. The silent lake in the forest was the General’s most favoured place to be and the fishes his most trusted advisors as he would find solace in their quiet habitat, picturing swimming with them in soundless waters, away from the disloyalty of his men, and the hatred of a kingdom he had ruled over for so long that history books would have to be rewritten since no one recalled the names of earlier rulers, who were they, what had they done for the kingdom, which battles did they win and how many seasons did they lose? The General was all they had known their entire lives and the lives before them, and the lives before them, and the lives to come.
(Inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Autumn of the Patriarch)