Afterwards there were hard years. No one could still the tempests or feed all of the hungry. Greater sensitivity to nature, prompted by inner sources, may have helped mitigate some of the harshness. Greater honesty of administration and patriotic fellow feeling prompting effort and sharing certainly helped. The spirit of Wessex, if not the bodies of its inhabitants was greatly strengthened. In the presence of the King and his sword and the Wyvern standard and fire, all knew themselves to be united and to be of Wessex. No falsehood could pass for truth in the presence of the sword of truth. Wyvern shrines became widespread and it was invoked at the opening of all public business, as well as privately by people who sought guidance and desired some inner contact or some means to serve their Land, King and people.
There were some who, even in the presence of the King, the Sword and the Wyvern, still could not perceive or accept that there was anything beyond material appearances. Most of the scoffers had learned the error of their ways, but the spiritual defectives were sub-human monsters that could not be permitted to pollute and pervert Wessex by their continued existence, so they had had to be slaughtered. Even plants and animals had their own connections to the Otherworld, and did not deny their natures. Humans who fell below that level were an abomination.
Some years passed in arduous activity before the King noticed that something had happened. Wessex, although it continued to experience difficulties, displayed now a strong sense of identity. Its people were loyal to each other, to him and to the Land. This was not the case in their neighbour Mercia. There similarly harsh conditions prevailed but the people had not grown stronger in battling them. They battled each other, worsened their situation and had almost lost their sense of identity and awareness of their Land. Refugees were unwelcome because there was nothing for them and they had no connection to the inner Wessex. Some of the communities and landowners bordering Wessex began to plead for protection and annexation. This worried the King for he had no desire for war with Mercia, nor to annex any of it. Rather than subvert and destroy their identity and absorb the people and territory into Wessex, he thought it would be better to reinforce the identity of Mercia and strengthen the people’s connection with their Land, as he had done for Wessex; and to seek some greater identity within the Land in which both Mercia and Wessex could participate without losing their own identities and inner connections. He remembered what the Wyvern had told him about love and loyalty, and thought it was time to begin the Quest of the Cup, but that is another tale.
Already the tales of True King Richard and his seer-sword are spreading, and will join the legends of Good King Harold. The crops still will not grow to please him, but there will be no more treason in his days, for Wessex is united. ‘What should they know of ‘Wessex’, who only Wessex know?’ ironically misquoted one who had delved into ancient poetry, but now they know. The inner or Otherworld and the outer have grown closer. Stranger chimaeras than the Wyvern have been perceived by the sensitive, and the King’s Horsemen have trodden regular paths between the worlds.
This has been the tale of a sword. Me. My name is Richard Wessex and this is the story of how I made a King and the King made me; for the True King and the Land are One.