The Story of Axilles and Astrogarde - Part 1 – The Father Of Axilles
Once, a poor farmer, in the region of Saneka – Vanegra; who had lost his wife to illness and had been left to bring up his son Axilles alone; who could not afford the heavy rent that was being demanded by his ruthless landlord the Duke; whose crops had been blighted and whose cattle had died, kneeled down in the middle of his little dead field and begged, “Why am I being cursed when I have always been so faithful to the great Mother. Why is the whole world like an acid,barren,frozen and blighted field where no good seed ever has a chance. God I am cursed already so why should I worry about my soul? God I reject you only because I feel like one of the rejected. I beg you, oh evil ones,whose name we are forbidden to call upon, if this is the punishment placed upon an honest man, I beg you, let me be dishonest if it will bring good fortune to me and my son”.
Suddenly, out of the barren earth, rose an evil spirit, a little creature with the body of a blue baby but a yellowing mans skull for a head; a demon manifesting itself for human eyes. “I am Ixshisthix, the foetus of death. Although I come from a realm where names and bodies have no use and no meaning; into this form I have poured my evil essence and the name Ixshisthix is the name I have chosen. We demons have a nose that scents out human despair. It is what we hunger for and your soul, Farmer, is a sweet cup of misery. However, we devils are farmers too, and in granting you a wish, I may be able to sow a new crop of human tragedy. Speak now,wretched fool and tell me your desires!”.
The poor farmers head whirled deliriously with greedy dreams, it was like the floodgates that are wisdom had been lowered and now all the farmers foolish desires poured out. “Gold. Gold enough so that me and my son will have the life and possessions of the most wealthy merchants and a title too, the Duke of Saneka – Vanegra and a new wife who is as young and pretty as spring and summer combined”.
“All that you wish, you will have but know that the price is greater than kings can afford,and I know because I have put many a king upon his throne. For every piece of good fortune you have I will give you two pieces of tragedy. If you accept this then seal it with your blood”, said the Demon and, seizing the farmers hand, bit into it with two vicious,sharp copper teeth.
Suddenly the demon was gone and the sky opened and the rain poured down heavily.
Now day put on the night and night revealed the day and, when the poor farmer awoke, he was lying in a fine four poster bed and beside him slept a young pretty wife and when he asked her who she was she yawned and said, “Why,I am the wife of the Duke of Saneka – Vanegra” and when he asked her “Where is your husband now?” she replied, “Why. He is beside me in bed asking odd questions- is it some kind of a game,my love? ”.
The farmer could not believe it. All his wishes had come true. He was rich and held a grand title and lived in a great house with many acres and then his young son came running in and the old farmer wrapped him in his arms and said, “Whatever grief I have coming. It must be worth it for the joy I have now”.
The farmer then gazed out of one of the tall windows of his new mansion and saw workers in his fields below and was shocked to see how ragged their clothes were and how thin and tired they looked. “My god. My workers look starved?”.
“Ofcourse they do?”,said his wife, “You charge them such a high rent that they can barely afford to eat and if anyone protests you send out some of your soldiers to silence them”.
“I do?”,asked the Farmer.
“Ofcourse you do. You are a shrewd and ruthless man,my husband”,she said,smiling.
Then the Farmer remembered that all his new wealth had come out of evil's power.
“Must I inflict the same suffering upon others that was inflicted upon me;feed the
Devil upon the pain of my workers?”, he thought, “but what can I do? If I were to use my new power and wealth to improve their lives then surely the demons would take away all that they have given me and who knows how they might punish me? I can do nothing but be happy with it”.
A small tear travelled from his eye down to his chin and his new wife asked, “Why do you cry?”.
“I am remembering a past life”, he said and then he looked at little Axilles,running about in the clothes of a young lord,galloping on an expensive painted wooden hobby horse and he saw the raw joy in the boys eyes and that was enough to seal a smile upon his face. “I am the duke of Saneka – Vanegra”, he said, and went back to bed to sleep.