THE EIGHTH KING: Day 2

“The Deity who Waits, Your Holiness, is the steward of the reviled and helpless. Criminals, beggars, demons of hell, the unborn. This is known.”

Tenshing nodded.

“Are animals not helpless, Your Holiness, and reviled?”

The theology on this matter is, of course, extensive, and its most salient points stood readily at King Tenshing’s command–but he chose not to deploy them, taking the commendable view that hermeneutic tradition is best reserved, like any elite fighting force, for the direst and most momentous contests, and a man ought otherwise apply his own energies and talents. “There are writings in support of your position, plowman,” he said neutrally.

“And is it not, therefore, conceivable that He should use animals for His messengers, as He has been known to do with the other creatures whom he loves?”

“It is nearly inevitable,” said Tenshing, beginning to sense the shape of things to come.

“Then it should shock you not at all that my dzo Mingma has a message for you, Your Holiness. From Him who Waits.”

“It is an improbability that you describe,” said Tenshing, “and yet I find myself entirely innocent of shock. It is a quite astonishing feeling. But where is Mingma?”

“The barony could not spare her,” said Thogmey plowman. “But I have brought it you.” And he began to dig in his pocket.

Total word count: 3381.

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