So he decided to visit the Lord of the Sun. It took him 3 days to get to the Palace of the Sun, in Sun City, and it was the dustiest, windiest, speediest chariot journey he had ever undertaken. Looking down behind him from the throne of the Lord of the Sun, he could see his whole kingdom, and really it looked very very small.
"What it is, bro," the Lord of the Sun rasped out of his big chocolate colored lips.
"Oh Sun, you know who I am. I have everything I could want, and still something is missing. Please tell me what it is."
"Mmmmm, the Usual Complaint," the Black Sun chuckled, shaking mountains and nearly splitting the sky. "Here...take this Word. It will help you to get by."
And, handing our young king a Word, shimmering and ice blue, the Lord of the Sun disappeared, and the young king found himself back in his high ceilinged chambers, the pulsating blue Word cool and comforting in his hands. He was happy.
. . . Now the tiniest crowsfeet were visible at the corners of the king's eyes, and when he walked, his subjects noticed that the spring was gone from his step. Twelve years had passed since he had received the Word of the Lord of the Sun, and they had been good years. People had food. They had a little money. And they had roofs over their heads, for the most part; (and the nights were cool and breezy anyway if you had to sleep out under a tree.)
The king had found a nude beach five hours horseback ride to the north, shaded by the tallest cedars, where the most beautiful women he had ever seen bathed all day long, stretching their moist golden bodies shamelessly on its shores, and drawing pictures of dragons in the wet sand with their long toes. He had to own it, but it belonged to a great lesbian warrior, kinda like Xena. He dared not make war with her for he feared he would be laughed at, and try as he would, he couldn't seduce this sister of Isis either. The nights that he sang under her window, creating music never before or since heard under the sky, to win her heart, caused local angels to swoon and fall from the heavens, but did not move this ladylover. Finally, he stopped his gentle crooning. He realized that all he could offer her was the cool blue shimmering Word given him by the Lord of the Sun. This was his most valuable possession, and now he was ready to part with it.
As he handed it to the sweetlipped queen, her maidens, even as they dined, scurrying about her legs, he felt some of the color leave the sky, and with a sigh, he rose to bathe on his newd beach. He was pretty happy.
. . . Another eighteen years passed, and now his golden hair had the faintest touch of silver mixed in with it. He smiled less, and everyone in his kingdom still said he was a great and noble king. But he missed his blue Word. So he decided to visit the Princess of the Moon; she might have something for him if he could only persuade her to part with it.
This trip took seven days and seven nights of sailing the turbulent blue green waves at the edge of sea and sky, and when he arrived he was parched. He was given clear blue water by seven mermaids of the moon, and he slept instantly. When he awoke, he was lying in the softest bed he had even been in. Aqua fronds fanned him, and he could faintly hear the tinkle of ocean bells, or was it the far away singing of a young girls' choir?
"How do you feel, my beautiful visitor ?" came the melodious voice of the Princess of the Moon. She floated towards him, concern shading her flawless oval face. "Whatever can I do for you, now that you have made such a perilous journey to be with me?"
"I need something to go on," he began..."some word, or..."
He didn't need to finish. Smiling sadly at him, the Princess of the Moon withdrew a sparkling silver Word from her breast; it floated across to our hero and nested itself between his arms. He sighed contentedly, and immediately plummeted again into the deep sleep from which he had just awoken.
The next thing he knew, he was back in his royal chambers, and feeling the sparkling silver Word safe within his grasp, he relaxed, knowing that for now at least, he hadn't a care in the world that was too big for him to conquer.
. . . Now our king walks a little slower. His hair is but a wispy aura of his former mane, but still people stop to gaze at him, admiring his stateliness, his wisdom, and....his pain? Everyone in the kingdom now feels his unhappiness ; it pervades their ruler and his domain wherever he goes. He has everything, but still....
And that is how it came to pass that, passing an orphanage, he saw and fell deeply in love with the most adorable and vulnerable little child. She was playing alone with a ball, bouncing it against a broken wall. As it hit the cracks, pebbles and cinders would fall to the ground in front of it. She would painstakingly pick up the dust and every pebble, and, putting the debris in a cup she had fashioned out of a discarded piece of a soldier's helmet, she pretended to feed "her baby", a doll which was little more than a tree branch that forked for legs, and swelled, giving the impression of an upturned little head.
"Here, baby, drink," she said, a mother for all of her five years. At that instant, the king's heart was taken. He couldn't imagine a more perfect soul. He secretly stole back to watch her play each day, again and again tricking his mind into daydreams that she was his child, and that finally he would have a center to his life. But making discrete inquiry, he found that she had an incurable disease and only a short time left to live.
In such sorrow that even he had never felt before, he walked the shores of his nude beach alone in the moonlight. All of a sudden, he saw the Princess of the Moon descending at him on a reflected beam from the horizon, across the waters, to the shore.
"Cast the silver Word into the sea, and your child will yet live and breathe! "he heard her unmistakeable voice ring over the waves. Without a second thought, he flung his second Word into the depths, and it seemed the sea grew calm, and the world a little safer. And his child grew healthy.
. . . She was now HIS child, and he saw to it that she lacked nothing. It was almost embarassing, the riches heaped upon that little ex-0rphan. And it began to spoil her, so that by her sixteenth birthday, she was hanging out with all the wrong kids, and, yes getting into trouble.
When she was caught shoplifting at the Bazaar, she was brought before him. She glared back, the golden earings in her eyebrows flashing in defiance. Her tattoos shouted at him "Buck Authority!" "I Belong to Darkness, Wanna Do Somethin' Bout It?" and "Daddy's Little Devil" He was beside himself.
As in other difficult times, he put his things together and embarked on a long and tortuous journey, this time to beg the Duke of the Stars for a word of wisdom. After travelling a month (for he was far slower now than in his youth,) he reached the throne of the Duke of the Stars. It was halfway between Swingo's and a Planetarium, with exotic lighting and very 60's. It was littered with cast-off stellar beings that were careening their way from white-hot to red-dwarf status. Television screens were everywhere, screening the latest gossip about everyone who had ever been anybody. But of course, the sound was turned down.
The Duke of the Stars didn't even wait for our aged king to begin to speak. Instantly producing a blazing red Word of power, he flicked it in an arc, orbiting thrice around them, and then our king felt a burning bulge in his pocket where it had landed. Before he could even thank the Duke of the Stars, he found himself once again staring into his step-daughter's defiant eyes. Yet now, he felt infinite patience. He smiled at her lovingly, and something in his protective gaze seemed to tame the animal inside of her. An iron wall around her heart slowly melted. Gradually her rage subsided, and within a year, she was happily married to a king named David, who ruled a small oil-free country on the East Coast of the Mediterranean Sea. A musician. Her dowry was the red Word that had so compasssionately cooled the raging fires within her soul.
. . . Finally, it was time for the king that we met as a young man of melifluous voice, to pass away from this intense and troubling world. One morning, he just didn't wake up; (he was dead, you see.) Instead, he dreamed that he was standing at the door of a gigantic discotheque. The sweetest and funkiest music was playing inside. There was a separate door marked, "For Incredible Ladies Only," and an endless stream of miracles passed into the club through this WonderPortal. Our king had but one final desire: to enter the club, have a Jack Daniels and Coke, and dance with the prettiest girl in the NightClub.
Unfortunately, the bouncer at the main door was the size of Mount Horeb, (very tall.) "I'm sorry, only those with the proper credentials may enter," he grunted, his deep monotone accenting his simian surliness.
"But I am a king...er...I was a king, and a good one...." the dreaming phantasm that was our hero protested to the hairy roundshouldered chimp. "I possessed three magic Words in my long lifetime, you must believe me! Please let me in..."
"Sorry, but you'll need a passWord. Surely you have a Word ? Many far less distinguished visitors to our club have a Word with which to enter...?
"But I've given my Words away!" the king spoke shrilly, alarm rising in his voice and causing eyebrows behind him in the line to rise askance.
"Ah, but you must KEEP YOUR WORD. Or else nobody will believe you," explained the bouncer. "You don't expect me to believe you if you haven't kept your word, do ya?"
And so the king sat down on a step near the entrance of the NightClub, his chin in his hands, his elbows on his knees. And dreamt of his life.
Finally, the dead king arose and began his long walk. Before he had taken twenty steps, he felt a gigantic explosion behind him. He turned to see the discotheque in shambles, the victim of some terrifying explosion.
"Boy, I'm quite lucky to not have been inside," he thought to himself. And he almost tripped over three items that suddenly appeared on the road in front of his tired feet. They must have been thrown in his path by the explosion. As he gazed down at them, all his life flashed before his eyes, like meteors across the cold dark winter's skies: for they were his three Words, the Words given him by the King of the Sun, the Princess of the Moon, and the Duke of the Stars. And now that they lay together, glowing and pulsating, he finally understood their meaning, for they spelled out his destiny:
KEEP YOUR WORD