Sword of Aquarius
a romantic political tragedy novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 7 of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 44
Chapter 9 - Gethsemane.

      "Actually, this is what I had come to Russia for, to discover," I continued. "I didn't know then, what I was looking for. I had experienced great freedoms during my assignment in Leipzig, which were brighter than anything I had ever imagined to be possible. I had been invited to that same mountain top by many people, without knowing it. I had seen vistas there, of a New World. I had lived in that world, briefly. Then I faced the task of telling Sylvia about it. My closest friend had counseled me to ask for Sylvia's forgiveness. But that wasn't right. I knew I had to bring Sylvia with me to that mountaintop where that New World unfolds. This meant that I had first to discover its science."

      "Were you successful?" Olive asked.

      "Successful isn't the word," I replied. "I barely knew that the mountain existed. I asked for Sylvia's hand as I attempted to stumble my way upwards. Sure, I had the help of many people to guide me, especially Helen, who evidently lived on the mountaintop. I don't even know if Sylvia and I ever made it anywhere near to the top that day. The new vistas along the way seemed sufficient to turn the struggle into a celebration. Helen proved to be an excellent guide. I could hear her say in my mind, about my fears and reservation: What have these got to do with anything, do they change the principle involved? That's how I knew I was on the right track. I also felt that when one is on the mountaintop, one doesn't ask those questions anymore. The answer becomes interwoven with one's being, a being filled with joy and peace. Brahms' Number Four was performed on that mountain. I realize that now. Oh, I had hoped to see you there among the audience, because the performance reflected the same mountain air that we had breathed together briefly on the day we met. If I had only opened my mind that day more fully, to this 'mountain air,' I would have looked for you on stage instead of among the audience. I should have known that someone who lives on the very top of that mountain, like you did even then, can never be found cast in a passive role, or be a passive person in the world. I can see this now."

      "The important thing was that we met on the mountain," said Olive, "and that you realized that we did, and also that you have begun to realize that we have always lived there. Because there, we just love."

      We never utilized our hot tub until it was quite dark outside. We had too many other things on the go during the brightness of the day; picnics by the beach; exploring new places; hiking on muddy trails through 'haunted' forests filled with the eerie sounds of scraping branches as the trees moved with the wind. We explored hidden beaches, one with a built in waterfall fed by a creek cascading over a bare rocky cliff.

      The hot tub was a place for relaxing.

      "I was going to tell you a story," said Olive one night in the hot tub. "I was going to tell you that story when I presented you the money that I had been able to raise for your work." She said this while we were waiting for the first stars to appear. The sunset had faded. Only a faint hue of light remained on the horizon where the sun had set earlier, long before we even got into our giant bathtub. The resort people had called it a hot tub, but it really was just a giant bathtub with bubble making jets on all sides, and lots of them.

      "I was going to tell this story, because it reflects where the money came from," said Olive, "which came mainly from a lot of ordinary folks, like you and me. I just forgot how the story ends."

      I told her to relax and not to worry. "Enjoy the beautiful night, and maybe you'll remember the details afterwards," I said to her.

      She told me that I was right, and then immersed herself totally into our tiny sea of swirling bubbles.

      "The story is about a kingdom and a weak king," she said a long while later when the first star became visible. "The king was king by name, but in reality he was merely a puppet in the hands of his advisors. The trouble was that his advisors were more insane than he was. They constantly pushed the king into starting wars with other people, even though the kingdom didn't have the resources to finish those wars, much less to win the peace afterwards. The people were getting increasingly desperate in this worsening situation, especially when more and more people were being killed in those wars, and the economy that was supporting the kingdom was collapsing. Bread became scarce, milk became almost unavailable, and the taxes became evermore outrageous. And still the wars went on.

      "Eventually, as if it were by popular demand, the wars were only fought against weaker people who lacked the means to defend themselves. Their storehouses were looted and the people were enslaved. But soon, those 'resources' dried up, also.

      "Suddenly, an announcement was made in the kingdom about a big war that would solve all problems: A war to end all wars, so they said. Some people, foolishly, liked the idea of a big war to end all wars, a war that would make the king a super-ruler over the entire region in which the kingdom was located. Everybody talked about the big war. They celebrated the war as the beginning of a great empire, even though the war had not even begun. Only a few objected. Among them was a sage.

      "The sage understood that the imposition of force and universal domination does not help a people to develop their human potential; their productivity; their creativity; their ingenuity; and their industry; which he said were the key elements for building an efficient economy and a richer life in a secure world. He told to whoever would listen to him, that society's self-development alone would improve everyone's life in the kingdom, and create the kind of self-realization that is essential for a person's happiness.

      "As it was, over time many people had come to understand what the sage was saying and agreed with him. They even realized that he was offering them quite literally a whole New World, and this not on a platform of war, like the wars that had destroyed the nation, but on the platform of their self-development as a people. Thus, the sage was able to offer the people hope, and this hope was founded on the basis of his intellectual background in the tallest humanist scientific traditions of all times.

      "The trouble was, that the sage wasn't the king. He was but a sage and had no power to influence the policies of the state. In fact, the king soon hated the sage for his powers of perception that he lacked himself. He hated the sage, because he knew, although he was the king, the people could abdicate him and that he would be abdicated for sure if the sage ever gained the universal support of the entire population. Thus, a battle unfolded between the king's stooges and the sage and his supporters. The battle soon became another war, a war of slander and legal actions. Nevertheless the sage was gaining support throughout the realm. Of course, that support was a far cry away from being sufficient to abdicate the king.

      "In order to increase his support among the people, the sage's most loyal supporters started a campaign of fund raising, so that his ideas could be copied by many scribes, to be given to people who could read, who would then be able to teach others. This was done so that everybody could understand the platform of the sage's proposed New World for all people.

      "Now, it was here where the system broke down," said Olive. "Many people said that they couldn't possibly spare any money for such a lofty project. They insisted that they had barely enough for themselves, to buy food with for their family. They came up with all kinds of excuses: Their children needed shoes; their spouses a new coat for the coming winter; and so it went on and on. They made it clear that they couldn't possibly give their scarce resources away for something as exotic as a political campaign. They all said that they liked the sage, and that his ideas are good, but in the same breath they also became indignant and asked why should they put themselves out to the point that it would be hurting their families in order to support a man to become king? So, most of them declined and said that they couldn't do what was asked of them.

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