(Based on a song I wrote in 2011 called Circles)
Four brothers, governing an empire built by six generations of Rosemonts, rule their own corners of the kingdom. The eldest, Edward, is the namesake of the father and the natural heir to the highest seat of the household. Henry, the second eldest, competitively attempts to show his brother that he is equally capable of running the family business should anything, God forbid, ever happen to Edward. George, the forgotten third child, is relegated to the furthest reaches of the empire–a sort of exile, if you will, to keep him out of trouble. Finally, Richard, the youngest and most devoted to his eldest brother, acts as the voice of reason for the family.
Now, wicked George has fomented a rebellion against the family. Tired of being consigned to the nether reaches of the House of Rosemont, George first tries to recruit Richard by spreading terrible lies about the family and appealing to Richard’s apparent weakness as the last-born. This was a terrible mistake. George underestimated Richard’s loyalty to Edward, and is forced to find other allies in his attempt to wrest power and exact his revenge on the family.
As the rebellion gains steam, George’s armies make great gains against the Rosemont’s forces. In an unexpected twist, Henry is murdered by George, leaving Edward and Richard to rally their remaining troops against the insurgence. This results in all factions outside of the family, but within the realm vying for power, or at the very least, some gain in wealth and status.
The ensuing chaos leaves no victors, only bandits and vagabonds. The family empire is crumbling. As George’s power once grew, so, too, does it dissipate. His followers are now looting the kingdom, and George has returned to his corner of the realm, which is shrinking daily.
As Edward attempts to salvage the House of Rosemont, Richard consults with his mother about the destruction of the once powerful domain. The dominance of his family name was once assured; a given in an uncertain world. Now, Richard can only ask the same question: “Why? Why, mother, why?”
“Because you, and all the other alpha-males throughout history have done your damnedest to destroy the very world you covet so much.”
“Come now, Mother, is this not the way that this world ought to work?”
“Only because you continue to perpetuate the same lessons of greed and power that you and your brothers learned from your father, and he from his father, as far back as time itself.”
Richard thought very hard about this. His father would have given him a very different answer. His father would have said something about the strong ruling by divine right, and that only the most powerful could rule at all.
“Mother, what other way is there?”
“My dear boy, there is no need for all the greed that makes a man fight for dominance. Can you not see that the same greed that destroys us today has destroyed other ambitious, greedy men before us? There is nothing noble in weakening others for your own gain.”
“But mother, I have only done what my father and brothers have asked of me. I have only acted to serve our family, not to destroy others.”
“But look at their actions, and then look at your blind allegiance. Now, look at where we are today. We are holed up in our palace waiting to be saved before some band of marauders kills us and steals everything we hold dear. Sweet Richard, even if we are victorious in this war, we will still lose unless our actions change. You cannot perpetuate the same motives and exploits that force one brother to start a war on his own family. You cannot continue any policy that makes the masses want to draw arms against you. Sometimes holding your family dear and caring for others around you is more important than your own personal gain.”
Richard thought hard about his mother’s words. He had no idea if Brother Edward was still alive, nor what fate would hold for Wicked George. He now only thought about the safety of his mother, and his own family, which includes a son of his own.
What lessons has he already taught and corrupted young Richard? Can he turn those lessons around and teach him to be more compassionate? Less competitive? Less greedy and selfish? Would young Richard grow to be less than a man because of these new teachings? What does it mean to be a man, anyway? Can the world change with the actions of just one person? Can the world change?
© 6/5/2011, joel c marckx
I am my father’s son
I’m loud and I’m proud, I cast my shadow over any crowd
It runs in the family
By right of my birth I shall control the very Earth
I’ve learned everything that I know
From the actions of men, who rise and fall only to rise again
From yesterday until the end
Such is our way, until the last seconds of our final day
These traditions that brought us to this
To a world full of warfare and ignorance
We learn that a strong man must never cry
Must never show weakness, must only show pride
I am an exile from myself
My kingdom is lost, my brothers try to account for every cost
As I run faceless through the streets
I alone am consoled by the madness at my feet
Oh Mama, I fear for us all
For the son of our father has got his back against the wall
And there’s none so dangerous as the man without a path
Without purpose, without reason, without a target for his wrath
Running circles around the wheel of fate
Determined to survive beyond the human race
I count my sins among my victories
Where the last trace of my ancestry rests in peace
And now my son is the last and the first
The last of this bloodline, but the first to make it work
To start a new day with a fighting chance
To end this war, to take a different stance
(and here is a video of “Circles” so you can put a melody to the lyrics