Words woven like silk, designed to burn fires in hearts.
The rain battered against my third floor window as I looked out onto the London streets below and watched as the people walked by.
I could write a speech and make them believe anything I want, I thought.
It wasn’t arrogance it was fact. I had done it so many times before that it had became a part of me, just another skill I possessed.
I remembered winning William his first MP chair. It was a typical red seat that no one believed he could attain. Even his own party didn’t bother giving him a seat they thought he could win. So he was given nothing more than an illusion of respect by placing him in an election no one thought he could win.
I began writing him speeches, like I had done in University; except now it wasn’t for the History Society Presidency, it was for an MP’s chair.
The first speech I write was to gain the minority vote; William promised equality. The second was to gain the votes of those who never usually voted; he got them interested in his campaign. The last, and the vote I’m most proud of, was to secure those, typically, red; he lied through his teeth that nothing would change.
I had written every speech, every public address and every word he spoke around anyone other than his closest confidantes. My eloquence became his foundations, my bold words had become his bold actions, my words had become his power.
Within five years he had become not only the leader of his party, but also the leader of his nation. It wasn’t my home nation but it was where I lay my head every night. The country that kept me safe and had brought me wealth and opportunity, he asked me to lead to war and ruin.
He has no idea what war means.
I had lived through war, I had survived genocide and I had struggled my way up through the ranks, hitching my star with his, and now he wanted to go further than I could justify.
The rain kept hammering on the glass as I rested my dark skin against its cool pane.
I remembered waking as a child, to man standing above my bed. He had a gun in one hand and a knife in the other. I had done nothing but lay there, no more than three, and stared up at his pearly white teeth, glinting in the darkness.
I only remember screaming after that, somehow I had gotten free, somehow I had stumbled up the street and ended up far outside the gated community I had called home. I had reached my wealthy uncle’s home on the cities outskirts and the rest was history..
Could I commit these people, wet and dripping on the street below to the same fate? Was my commitment to my friend greater than that to my adopted homeland?
Was I capable of betraying my God?
I was not able to distinguish between enabling a war and actually leading one. Both were just as terrible. I knew he couldn’t do it without me; even his reputation wouldn’t be able to convince these people that this war would be in any way justified. It would bring terror to their doorstep.
I turned away from the street and looked at my lavish living room. It was a combination of my heritage and the luxury that surrounded me now. Once, long ago, this nation had ruled my own. Its King had been our King; his laws had been our laws. Our freedom had left a vacuum. Our independence had lead to violence.
My living room remembered none of this. It’s decoration celebrated the time of unity. When my land had been prosperous and vital. It had not the decadence, or the wealth, of the Mother Nation but it had flourished.
I looked up to the painting by Umbishmin. It depicted the first ship that had settled on our shores from the Mother Nation. It’s great white sails contrasted against the gorgeous blue of the sky behind. The ocean stretched all the way across the world, a salt-water highway that connected our two peoples. On the beach of the painting were the two colours of men mingling, trading and learning from each other.
Realistically, what other choice did I have?
I had suffered for what I have, should they not? Would it be so terrible for them?
I had a gift, the gift of writing. I could use it anyway I chose. I could have written stories that captivated millions. Penned poems that would withstand the ages. But I had chosen, all those years ago, to change the fate of the world by giving my words to those who could lead, to those who sought power: to William and his cause.
He needed the speech by tomorrow. The world had paused with baited breath for a whole week now. A whole week and I had not written a single word.
I would never be remembered in the history books. I would never be the one looked at, sought out to be blamed, no one would cast my name into the dirt and trample on its reputation if we lost the war. A war that we could lose; this would be no easy victory, the continent loomed dangerous across a short channel. My name had no reputation; I was an immigrant, an asylum seeker, a refugee.
But I had honour. And I had integrity and I had a conscience.
I also had a life, and a life that depended on my speeches to continue.
I could both be selfish and betray my friend, taking away all I had promised him. Or I could be selfish and keep all the things I had earned since my days in the village over the seas.
What use was honour in this world of sin?
But what use was security in the kingdom of innocence?