He was the beast’s. Trained, compliant and complicit. It taught him to steal, so that when it set him free, he would steal for the beast. His job was to betray his own people, in order to feed the beast that had taught him its ways. He was to be an asset, an ally, less than a brother, almost a friend. But he was his own man, with goals and aspirations independent of his suitor’s. He sought power that could quell the beast’s hunger and satiate his own. He was defiant. He sought to make that well, and drew sword to battle with leeches the beast sent. But then the beast sent more. Angered, the freeman fought the leeches again. Through these trying years, his temperament boiled for the beast. He embraced his brothers that the beast sought to rape, and he became a man of the people, united against the beast. Everyone has heroes, and his was a man who spoke to the beast, who attempted to soothe it with words. But such beasts cannot be tamed so, hunger of fire. The beast stole his hero with an appetite unsuppressed. Consumed him for anger, and a fear that the words would spread. Without a hero, he now had to become his own, for the people. Then the beast sent forth his own jewelled and masqued persuaders, those proprietors of prosperity who put out their hands and demanded all wealth. But he would not have it. For as many minions as the beast parted to grow its influence, that same strength grows in him to counter. Gods, kings and generals who would shape the world to their likings. And just as those before him, he would allow himself unseated for the better, tragic as that fate becomes. But he was still the hero of the people, and least in temporary. And others would recognize his feats, some peers that sought allies, and others in praise. Brothers in arms we find in some, and should we unite, only then can the beast be destroyed. But the beast accused him of filth, of treachery, for now it was starting to realize the danger of such a well-trained power. He could defeat the beast, given the chance. But he sought to prove that the people loved him more. Once more, he allowed for opportunities of insubordination and usurpation, but the momentum never gathered, and his elected post was upheld by the people. He was their hero, despite the lies of the beast, there he remained, defiant to the thing that sought to use him. But the beast lacked caring, consideration, and most of all patience. The beast’s hunger raged, wanting to consume the entire world. But at times heroes stand in the way. So the beast attacks them first, for the others remain bystanders in its wake. And once the beast sinks its claws and fangs into the hero’s neck, it is done. The hero gives up. Too often, the beast is too powerful. It overwhelms the most tenacious of fighters with power accumulated and amassed from conquests past. And once the hero is slain, the beast drains power from his people, taking until nothing is left, not even the will to fight. And it takes time, and circumstances, for heroes to develop again. The hero is consumed by the beast. He is alive but changed, imprisoned in chains, inside the beast. He can defy it no longer. Slowly he becomes meek and timid. Such strange helplessness feelings produce. He is no longer one with the masses, but one of a few. Without him, they will carry on, but he not for long. And if the beast shall relieve himself, if the hero is emptied from its bowels, he will not be freed. For the lesser beasts, the ones that deem themselves of a secondary power, will feast on the feces of the beast, and imprison the hero once more. His purpose defeated, the hero is no longer able to fight, has lost his will and his way. The hero rose, and then the hero fell, with the hope his glory and grace came to a head and were not unbalanced in the end. The hero’s battle with the beast awoke his people, and now they are aware. His task is complete, at quite the cost to himself. Now his people know, yet still lack the ability to fight the beast.