Saturday, October 18, 2008
The Father entered the opulent conference room with a firm tread and settled into the vacant chair. He surveyed his military advisors and Brother.
“Brother, report, if you will.”
“The officer has been transferred as directed, Father. What do you expect from this action?” asked the Brother, indignation oozing from his posture and tone. Brother’s physical presence, indeed his every action, appeared to have become more and more shallow over the course of the winter.
The silence following the Brothers words extended itself around the conference table, chill setting in and deepening. No one spoke.
In time, the Father smiled faintly, very faintly. “My dearest Brother, that must be among the first sharp statements you have ever directed towards me. I will assume there is reason for such.”
“There is, Father. I am concerned that moving this officer closer to the heart of the country, closer to here, to you, will lay open more than you surmise. The information flow concerning him dwindles, if you wish stability for the country, which becomes less encouraging. The more so when you have no . . .”
“Heir’s? Married less than two years, and I do have brothers.”
“I beg your indulgence, Father. That was not what I meant. I am referring to the gathering of information about this officer. By granting a field command, you have removed him from trusted sources and precluded rapid discovery of any plans.”
“That is as it might be, Brother. Our enemies have each their strengths and we have dispatched strength of our own. We know that things happen around this officer. We know that he prevails against odds others consider, not over-whelming, but probable against success. Moreover, we know it occurs repeatedly. Either way, we win. If the officer prevails, we commend him and return him to the farm, that being his stated desires. If he is a glory hound, we promote him, give him more troops, if we have such half trained, and send him out against the next enemy with the hope he again prevails. That would serve to keep the good Marshall here on his toes. If the officer fails, which, while hoping otherwise, is possible; then I am sure the officer will make sufficient bother and carnage that the country he faces will hesitate and the other will re-consider any action now contemplated. Possibly binding them closer to ourselves.”
“Do you not fear his turning his forces on yourself?” questioned an Advisor.
“Not as long as he has the farm and his family within my reach,” spoke Father, “the farm is the very essence of his existence.” Pausing, Father looked each of the subordinates directly in the eye. “And should anything happen to the farm, or any of the family, any of them, far more dire events will happen to the perpetrators than their most dreaded dreams. I believe I have made myself clear. I do not like good tools damaged through spite and self service.”
The military inclined heads in acceptance and understanding. The Brother shivered.
The meeting followed normal strategic concerns. The officer was to first join allies, assist in subduing the North over the course of the summer. Following that he was to be transferred to the South, after appropriate consideration by Father. The forces now tied to the Northern border, freed now, by the forces of the officer, were to be moved South and stagnate that conflict pending the arrival of the officer and his forces.
From the reaches,