Troubling news from the Capital. It seems that our allies are in disarray and cannot be relied upon to provide the support we require. It is pleasing, then, that we have so intimidated and overwhelmed out traditional enemies that they dare not move against us at this time.
It is even more pleasing to see the tribute they bring to us, and the blessings they bestow upon us.
I am displeased. The administration of my household is not as I would desire it. On more than one occasion this week I have found the bedside comfort and entertainment required by me to be considerably below the necessary standard. I am not a cruel man, but I have told my chamberlain that if I am not able to give myself over to the physical delights in order to take away the cares of running this domain, I will start removing people’s heads.
The townsfolk sent a delegation to me this afternoon, and it angered me. It was bad enough that they failed to observe basic etiquette. I will not countenance people looking upon me or standing in my presence. When they finally got around to prostrating themselves before me and I commanded them to speak, they let forth a litany of complaints about the lack of building materials and the slow speed of the reconstruction. Well, I grew quite irate and almost choked on a grape. Indeed, I started to shout, telling them how ungrateful they were, that the building materials were all needed for my great pyramid being erected in Cathedral Square, and that they all deserved to die. I am a merciful ruler and decided not to have them killed for their insolence, but they will not stand in my presence again – because I had all their feet cut off.
I have ordered that a spectacle be held, to distract the peasantry from their cares. The event will begin with a chariot race around the city’s main arena, before we fill the ground with lions and other wild beasts. Because I am not entirely insensitive to the difficulties faced by the peasantry, I have decided to commute the death sentences handed down to a number of the townsfolk last week. These men will now have the opportunity to fight the wild beasts for their survival. To give these criminals a sporting chance I have decreed that they be armed with teaspoons, spatulas and other worthy implements.
This is an impressive cathedral, but it casts a shadow over my grand design taking shape in the square outside. Not for much longer, though. The priest continues to speak of a power greater than all of us. I dislike such seditious talk. I fear this may be the priest’s last service, if we discount the one to be held in his memory very shortly.
I am weary! I have been in this blasted chair all day signing documents. Decrees, orders, death warrants. My wrist is sore and my fingers are cramped.
Tomorrow I think I shall get some exercise. I shall organise a hunt.
Sport was excellent, and the trophies from the hunt have exceeded my wildest expectations. Nothing beats the danger and thrill of the chase. If there was one blight on an otherwise excellent day, it would be the number of peasants who kept getting in our way. I fear the animals are worn out from all the trampling, and may not be fit again for some days.
Must I go out today? The weather appears inauspicious and this gout is playing havoc with my temperament. I fear a repeat of last week’s little drama, when I grew tired during a meeting with the local burghers, lost my temper and had half the city’s townsfolk condemned to death. Upon reflection, I might have conducted myself in a more peaceable and agreeable manner, because I must now find a new slave army for my pyramid project.
Tonight’s banquet promises to be perfectly tedious. King John will be in attendance and, while I could kill him at any time, tradition requires me to observe certain formalities and niceties. I only desist from disposing of him because I fear the burden of administering an entire nation would just be too much for me in my delicate state.
Governing a place such as this is a burden. While the opportunities for personal enrichment by means of extortion, rapine and murder are considerable, living in this pestilential place is having a deleterious effect on my peace of mind and equanimity. While I have done my best to root out the filthy and barbaric religious rituals of the local inhabitants, and to bring order and civilisation to a dark part of the world, it seems to be to no avail. Last night thousands of them gathered in the main arena to engage in one of their more unpleasant rituals. They were dressed like savages, and the noises and smells emanating from the arena were noxious. It seems that no amount of forcible encouragement can change the ways of these wild folk. At times like this I am sorely tempted to vest all power in the town’s mayor and return to the Capital.
But after the banquet I have been promised a special treat. A fair-haired Sumnerite with eyes like jewels and a mouth as sweet as ambrosia. I may stay in this town a while longer.