December 07, 2016

Horse 2199 - Oddvent: Dec 7 - That Last Sleep Before Christmas

‘twas the eighteenth night before Christmas.

December 7th is the seventh day of the made-up characters calendar and being St Carburettor's Day, the day that St Carburettor bestowed the gift of combustion to the people of London and thus caused the Great Fire of 1666, we shall now tell another story to warm your bed.

Prince Abed III was the ruler of an area roughly equivalent to modern day Catalonia in the seventh century. The administrative structures which had existed at the height of the Roman Empire had long since faded away and what replaced them was a more feudal system where local warlords fought each other for regional power. Of course this also meant that the rule of law was enforced by simple force and the axioms of bigger army diplomacy applied. Whoever could raise and control the biggest militia ruled the most land.
Prince Abed III though, was a particularly nasty piece of work and he often had people who didn't approve of him or his court, destroyed or exiled. As such, the peasantry and even family chiefs, lived in constant fear that they would have their stuff or their lives taken without warning. Under Prince Abed III, the people groaned in terrified submission.
In the spring of 613, a local shepherd boy raised a rag tag bunch of dissenters and erected a wooden spiked wall around their village of Los Burros. The lad was no more than 17 years old and though he was quite small, the skills that he had picked up while fighting wild foxes and wolves were transferable to fighting off militia armed with clubs and stakes.

Spain was suffering through a period of immense unrest and Prince Abed III wanted to consolidate his own power as well as to see what he could carve out in the region and so he tried to press gang people into the service of the army that he was trying to establish but he found that the village of Los Burros was resistant to any imposition of authority that he tried to exert.
Abed's army arrived at Los Burros in May 613 but they could not breach the village's defences and they lost 45 soldiers to Los Burros' nil. They soon laid siege to the village but even after 14 weeks, they achieved nothing and had to give it up. In the meantime, an army captain learned of the 17 year old champion of the village and even learned of his name: Wayne Ñamangér.

The Ñamangér family were not one of honour or fame. They weren't particularly well regarded in the village of Los Burros either. The patriarch of the family, Pietro, had been caught as a their in his youth and even as an old man in his seventies he was still treated with suspicion. His son Carlos had grown up in the shadow of his father's disgrace and had lived a quiet life. Wayne was not viewed with such disdain by the village but he still chose mostly to live apart from them; it was only when he had driven out three of Prince Abed III's men, single-handedly, armed with a machete and a long spear, that he was seen as something special.

In October of 613, Prince Abed III sent an envoy to the village of Los Burros, offering to leave the village in peace if it would hand over Wayne to him. A village meeting was called together and although there was some hesitation over sending Wayne to Barcelona, it was Wayne himself who suggested that if he was to surrender himself on behalf of the village, then if the village was allowed to return to peace, then the needs of the many outweighed the needs of one. By giving himself up and over to the Prince, he hoped that the Prince would leave the village alone. The village agreed and soon Wayne found himself chained and on a cart bound for Barcelona.

Prince Abed III looked over the lad and thought that he would make an excellent personal slave. Naturally Wayne objected as this was not part of the agreement and Prince Abed III had him thrown into a dungeon until he acquiesced. Wayne did not.

Within Prince Abed III's own household, dissent was rising because of the way that Wayne had been treated. The manager of the household estate and larder, Juan Carlos, who was more commonly known as Lord Cheeses on account of him keeping stock of the storehouses and being exceptionally short, hatched a secret plan with Wayne. Wayne would agree to become Prince Abed III's personal slave but only on the condition that he also be the Prince's personal bodyguard. Prince Abed III agreed.
Wayne became an excellent servant to Prince Abed III but all the while, Lord Cheeses was planning his own bid for the crown.

On Christmas Eve of 613, after a wild night of revelry, Prince Abed III was in no fit state to continue partying the night away; so he retired to his chambers. Lord Cheeses ordered that the musicians play even louder so as to provide cover for the plan and as Prince Abed III slept the sleep of a drunkard, Lord Cheeses sliced his head off with an axe and set fire to the bed that he was sleeping in. The rest of the party goers thought nothing of it at all and continued on obliviously.

This small event in minor Spanish history would have gone on mostly unnoticed if it wasn't for the song:
Wayne Ñamangér, no crib for Abed,
The little Lord Cheeses cut off his sweet head.

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