FM Duke: The Legend

A Story by M. Jai Jenkins

Every great story is composed of the same elements. Love, hate, lust, greed, revenge, humor, power, jealousy, ego, pride and triumph. This one will be no exception. This is the story about a wannabe Duke, who lust for power was only rivaled by his ego and emotional thinking. Anyone successful knows that if you can’t control your own emotions, you can’t control anything else; except FM Duke. There is a lesson to be learned in every story and I implore you to equally educate yourself as well as be entertained by the lessons in this one. Armed with the same qualities of all potentially great man in history: only to be defeated by his own insecurities and demons. Here is his story. The story of FM Duke the Legend.

Fritz Manor

Fritz Manor was an old and near deserted village along the chutoea river, twenty miles southeast of the radiant town of Sunatraville. Unlike Sunatraville though, it was andante. Its residents were mostly poverty stricken and uneducated, thus creating a place envious of anyone who appeared successful. The buildings were all outdated, most the schools closed and jobs were all but extinct. Villagers lacked ingenuity and leadership so to generate revenue they would emulate any campaign nearby cities championed.

Few were ever a success and only further indebted the town toward adopting the well-known sinister atmosphere it became known for. These were perfect ingredients to create FM Duke the Legend. After years of trying the same failed tactics, its residents were reduced to scams, manipulation cons and robbery/theft of travelers from nearby cities to compensate for the lack originality in its people.

Born in this caliginous village was an ambitious lad named Daemar. Growing up poor, plus a lack of education caused his intelligence to manifest in the form of street smarts. He learned early the power of manipulation, the benefits of extortion and how good was the “high” he’d feel while making others feel low. Armed with these tools of destruction, he formed a gang.

He was the colonel, sergeant, jury and decision maker. Sycophants were what made up the soldiers. Using their own ignorance against them, he created a partition enabling them from realizing that they would never be respected, let alone able to increase rank. Armed with this nefarious sense of power and a band of misfits, incapable of forming their own opinions, he set his sights on Sunatraville. He knew he could never be a Duke without an empire or city to rule. In his mind he was already FM Duke, it only lacked facilitation.

Sunatraville

Sunatraville was the polar opposite of Fritz Manor. In every regard. All the citizens were amiable. No one appeared in poverty based off the disposition of the people. Everyone from the Duke to the common man shining shoes at the town square would greet foreigners with a smile had you ventured into the city. The women were gorgeous, bread was given out by bakers when shops closed to the children and every able-bodied man held an occupation.

There were no patrolmen, for crime was nearly eradicated. Any trade you wanted to learn was taught by elders thus eliminating a need to beg or borrow. Very few people who came here would leave and those that did would always regret it later. The only disdain for the city lied in Fritz Manor. No one there could comprehend it’s magic and it only fueled their envy.

The Duke of Sunatraville was Jaicinth, named for his reddish-orange complexion; was born in Fritz Manor as well. You would be hard pressed to had ever even guessed it. He bore no remnants of the benighted mentality hovering like a black cloud over the small village twenty miles Northwest of this thriving gemeinschaft and he was well aware of the young man who desired to be FM Duke the Legend.

He escaped early in life, comprehending its detrimental atmosphere prior to reaching puberty and never looking back. Finding a dunkirk in books, he had learned of a town twenty miles away that offered optimism and opportunities. Allured by the fairy tale like stories told by passing travelers, it only accelerated his departure. At eight years old, he decided to live a better life and walked barefoot toward it.

              “Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing one thing all their lives.”

The Catalyst

Tasked with baring the weight of a reputation that twice the size of his already massive stature, Daemar appeared to manage it pretty well. Feared by everyone in Fritz Manor, his ego was constantly fed to validate his arrogant boast and the bully behavior exhibited by him and his goons. Fritz Manor however, had no future in its current state and he knew it. From the moment he realized it, he began plotting how to invade and occupy Sunatraville. He visited the city several times a month for an entire year, methodically plotting his takeover.

On a particular return back home from robbing travelers leaving Sunatraville, he saw the only love he’s ever known; Latifah. She’d left town years ago in search of a better way of life, long before he could ever confess his love. She could barely recognize the face that once reflected innocence and compassion. His dark and hardened face became even more unfamiliar when he learned she was the mistress of The Duke of Sunatraville. In his mind, this was a man who now had everything he ever wanted.

Ignited by jealousy; Latifah was the final component needed to provide Daemar motivation to storm Sunatraville and proclaim himself, FM Duke the Legend. He decided tomorrow night would be the moment and assembled his troops. Strategically laying out plans of attack on all fronts, every miscreant in attendance could visualize the promised riches and leadership positions to gain if carried out successfully. He provided a feast for his followers to entice their hunger into believing that there was plenty more to come by following him.

Swords sharpened and artillery loaded, they ate till capacity yet still starving for what was to come. In his own mind; he would have Latifah, the castle coupled with title of Duke and the endless amenities granted only to men of power. As the crew slept that night to prepare for battle, he paced. When they awoke, he was already in full gear head to toe. No one spoke for hours and when the sun begin to set, they headed east toward Sunatraville.

Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum!

From a distance you could only see a silhouette that more resembled a statue then The Duke of Sunatraville. Deep in thought, yet not a glimpse of worry or trouble: he mastered a multitude of skills and tactics early in life that prepared him for this moment. Being from Fritz Manor, he never abandoned the logic of the locals. He instead, incorporated it into his advanced education and applied it to relate to anyone whom he crossed paths with.

He employed spies in every city nearby, was twice the intentional “victim” of Daemar’s gang robberies to gain insight and had for some time suspected that this night would come. He was only disappointed it took so long but when Latifah described what she encountered the night before, he knew it was only days out. Everyone was long aware of their role and began preparations. Sunatraville went dark ‘cept for the town lanterns. Only the tension spoke on this night, for no words could articulate what the silence was already whispering.

The March

The journey from Fritz Manor to Sunatraville was arduous on most other occasion’s but not tonight. This was a march that promised immense power and substantial riches. This was in addition to beautiful women, spirits and tables every night, plentiful of the finest provisions. The soldiers were all engulfed in their own avidity and barely spoke. It wasn’t needed, the melodic cadence of one hundred feet had its own conversation with the darkness and every being they passed en route could comprehend its dialect. Daemar was in front the entire trek and never looked behind him, nor stopped for a moment. He knew everything he has ever desired was awaiting directly ahead. Once within sight of Sunatraville, he finally paused. Using only hand signals, he directed troops to preplanned positions while never taking his eyes off the candlelight coming from the Castle’s top chambers.

Dispersed throughout the city in strategic locations: everyone anticipated the signal to seize the castle along with several key officials who may alert the Duke or ring the town square’s emergency alarm. One third of the troops alone surrounded the Duke’s castle with weapons drawn and perspiring palms; causing them to periodically readjust their grip. Aware that the city lacked patrolmen, it was nothing suspicious in reaching the chamber doors of the Duke without any resistance. Here now he refused to delay his ascension to power another moment.

Daemar, with the momentum of a Rhino charged the door shoulder first; causing it to instantaneously shatter and leave debris in his path. The couple in bed was undisturbed by the commotion he caused. He lunged, with his sword forward in one hand, while simultaneously using the other to hold the woman still as he impaled the sleeping Duke.

“Don’t depend on the enemy not coming; depend rather on being ready for him”

Making A Duke

When Jaicinth left Fritz Manor thirty years ago, he was acutely poor but this was only financially. He had a wealth of knowledge: By eight, he had years of experience in theft, petty robberies, fighting and dealing with death. His lone sanctuary rested in the same books that convinced him to travel Southeast and escape an entire town who’s pernicious mentality appeared not only congenital but a birthright to be passed down with each generation. So he left, but there was no utopia in Sunatraville when he arrived. No fairy-tale reception or welcoming parade, just hundreds of merchants, prostitutes, travelers, gamblers and fortune tellers. Its geographical landscape was no different than the others regionally yet none matched its magic.

The Duke, Edmund James the Third, created a social atmosphere that was able to flourish due to laxed laws. Being a former General and lifelong serviceman, there was a mutual respect between him and the people. He adamantly protected them by decorating the town with soldiers from his army; dressed plain clothed and holding occupations such as barbers, shoemakers, butchers and such. During a regular patrol, he saw a lost young man walking barefoot; mesmerized by the world before him but conscience enough to satisfy his hunger by stealing fruit from a stand.

By age sixteen, Jaicinth was known throughout the town. The Duke having produced no heir, took him under his wing when he learned of his past and he was considered the son of Sunatraville. He learned every skill set the soldiers could teach him, knew all of their battle stories and read every book he could find. By twenty-one, he was respected and acknowledged everywhere with the same reverence given to the Duke himself. He also, unbeknownst to the Duke, would travel to different regions in disguise to learn of others customs and attitudes towards his new hometown.

In beggar attire, he witnessed Daemar’s ruthless tactics on numerous occasions and realized their fates would intertwine eventually in the most unsavory manner. During a routine patrol, the Duke suffered a massive heart attack; making Jaicinth Duke of Sunatraville in his early thirties. He had discussed this possibility with his adopted father many a day and wasted no time asserting his authority for he knew from studying war that the enemy see’s and seizes opportunity at your most vulnerable moments. The town had always been equipped with soldiers and patrolmen, they just were mistaken for bakers, farmers, glass blowers and other strategically placed workers. Tonight, they were to be the only thing they’ve ever desired to be; soldiers.

“Aptitude for maneuver is the supreme skill in a general; it is the most useful and rarest of gifts by which genius is estimated.”  –Napoleon Bonaparte

Fool’s Gold

The sinister gratification from inside manifested into a grin on Daemar’s face as he slowly withdrew his sword from the lifeless body. In that moment, he became FM Duke the Legend. The woman appeared in shock as she was told to leave and never return. She quickly disappeared before he could turn around and admire the view. Turning back toward the body, his face slowly descended to disbelief as he fought to subside the feeling of embarrassment.

The body was that of a man who appeared dead prior to his arrival. He ordered the girl be retrieved but she was nowhere to be found and never seen by the guards surrounding the castle’s base. They disbursed throughout the city in search of her and Jaicinth. Everywhere he had placed men in waiting upon their arrival here, now hosted only their lifeless bodies. Two-thirds of his gang was gone and the location of the Duke was still eluding him. Tormented and bewildered, he returned to the castle to seek shelter and recalibrate his team moral. Nothing that had happened tonight made sense to Daemar but he saw a Pyrrhic victory in the fact that he now occupied the castle.

Jaicinth had months ago, migrated the elderly in small groups to a solitary village just outside Fritz Manor. No one would pay any mind to elders traveling, so it raised no suspicion. All of his men had positions placed to combat any type of offense that could possibly be launched. He knew long ago that this day was coming. Seeing the lives they built taken for any reason, wasn’t an option in his mind and death was too honorable for Daemar’s Army. He sought advice from his adoptive father’s inner circle before deciding. Property from Fritz Manor was secretly purchased a year ago and continued to this day.

He was no longer the young soldier who saw his men lives as a conduit to his success or legacy. He saw men. He saw fathers, Business Owners and teachers of tradition. They were all willing to fight and die for their Duke but he valued them more than he ever expressed. He had no problem ambushing and killing Daemar’s gang but knew there were repercussions his men would unfairly endure. He too, wanted an heir and to build something to leave behind. When Latifah was seen traveling back by the ruthless leader, she was returning from securing land. They had plans; She was now with child; The potential future Duke. Daemar’s gang only would ruin that.

“My style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.”

                                    -Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon

        Kansas City Shuffle

Nothing was to look out of place. All the elders were gone, the children; due to the hour, slept. No fire was used and in unison, everyone leaving Sunatraville crossed the river and moved without making a sound in the pitch black toward Fritz Manor. Midway through their trip, they all paused in silence as they watched the barbaric soldiers marching toward Sunatraville with weapons and torches on the opposite side of the river. Jaicinth and every single soldier following him, all had a itch that they’d love to cross the river and scratch. The men, all warriors at their core, were stoic in observation. All were praying for a battle but that sentiment was not shared among the women. The moonlight reflected through the trees to illuminate worry on some of their faces and streaks from tears on others. No one knew what lied ahead but everyone had faith in Jaicinth. He was their Duke and he had never given them a reason not to trust him.

Everyone from Sunatraville didn’t go. Some couldn’t comprehend the purpose of fleeing and others stayed for health reasons, all were understood. Not everyone was needed to go either. The had to blindly believe the vague reasoning he delivered. Many respectfully declined. Only his top men knew the actual plan and he questioned if that was too many. “The common man only sees life through a periscope… missing the beauty of a panoramic view.” He could hear his father’s voice, who he knew would approve of his strategy. He smiled, only internally; he had to remain defensive and cognizant of his surroundings. His face displayed poise and confidence: never wavering to worry, as he inaudibly lead dozens of families safely through the night.

The morning after his botched takeover; just as the sun began to rise, Daemar stood atop the castle and declared himself the new Duke. FM Duke he proclaimed and ordered a death sentence on Jaicinth, as the towns people all stared befuddled by the spectacle. His now smaller army, then ransacked the town searching for the Duke. The people of Sunatraville were unharmed. Most never answered the door and the others who were armed in small gangs, were happily left alone. He was never found and there were no riches, women, wine or power granted to a single soldier in Daemar’s cavalry. Very little to scavenge, caused fighting among the men. Growing restless they began to dwindle in number daily as they left to find food or shelter elsewhere. Sunatraville was so self-sufficient that it continued to operate around the antics of the disgruntled FM Duke, who locked himself in the castle due to embarrassment.

His emotional thinking made his reactions predictable. His anger limited his leadership and view of the entire playing field. His jealousy was evident and used against him. Intelligence and determination requires help that mentally, he couldn’t provide. Within weeks he was deduced to a single number of followers and had become the laughingstock of Sunatraville. Survival ensued from selling anything of monetary value from inside the castle to feed to him and his men. He later learned that his several of his men were spies all along. Jaicinth knew his every move over the last few years. His pride dismantled, though not enough to admit defeat nor appear in public. On numerous occasions, he received word that Jaicinth wanted to meet. His ego refused and simultaneously elevated his level of hatred towards the Duke.

“Experience shows that, if one foresees from far away the designs to be undertaken, one can act with speed when the moment comes to execute them.”  

                    ­-               Cardinal Richelieu. 1585-1642

                   Sunatraville and Fritz Manor

Residents of Fritz Manor weren’t accustomed to guest. An occasional straggler would appear every few days but nothing this mastodonic. Nothing this organized, precise and commanding. Everyone could hear them in unison approaching; hooves and concrete clashing, then echoing off the stone walls of this outdated town. The village streets were near bare but every window, doorway and rooftop had a spectator in or on it. All in amazement at the men, women and children, who appeared in comparison to their quality of life: Royalty. The massive parade then divided down the middle, forming a letter V and as it came to the point, appeared Jaicinth; making it clear who was in charge.

He assured the people of Fritz Manor that their lives were in no danger and then proceeded to introduce himself. Canvasing the people as he spoke, he made sure to engage eye contact with everyone he could see. Their village had been deemed unworthy of claiming by Duke’s for centuries, until today. Informing the people that he lay claim as Duke of Fritz Manor and Sunatraville, promising them that the city will no longer retain its poor reputation. Every citizen, he proclaimed proudly, will have adequate housing, food, and jobs.

Prior to when Jaicinth began speaking, a dozen men from his cavalry had already began circulating throughout the streets of Fritz Manor. They dropped packages at every door and laid a rolled carpet extending 20 feet within view of most of the citizens, who were listening with fear, confusion and nervous excitement. All of the properties previous purchased by Jaicinth, were divided among his men and the families; who slowly begin disbursing toward their new homes as he spoke.

The carpet was unrolled, revealing provisions, clothing, tobacco, spices and many other item’s, all had become near extinct to the residents of this crepuscular town. Knowing they may be skeptic, he told them to open their packages left upon their doorsteps. Every single one contained a gold nugget. Slowly as each one began to open a bag, the entire aura of this almost desolate town, begin to shift. People started yelling, some cried shrieks of relief and released smiles that hadn’t been seen in years. They knew of his name, now they seen his face and generosity; the town held an improvised celebration that night to honor their new Duke.

…For a King respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.

                                      Law 34, The 48 Laws of Power

The elderly that Jaicinth migrated prior to the move, were never brought to Fritz Manor. Being the towns were only 20 miles apart, he simply acquired the uninhabited land between the two cities and conjoined them; laying groundwork to create the first major city of this magnitude. All the Businesses his men occupied in Sunatraville, opened second locations on the far side of town and paved the way for what is now known as franchising. Within months of Fritz Manor’s economic boom, it rivaled Sunatraville’s infamous stature.

Neither side of town experienced a problem from Daemar ever again, his wounded spirit wouldn’t allow him to be seen and under special orders, he was to be left alone. He eventually died of starvation, self-pity and hate. With only a small number of casualties and all his men unharmed; Jaicinth finally smiled. He was proud of his choice and more-so of the outcome. A statue were built to honor his late father, new roads were paved to join the towns and his soldiers had streets named after them as a thanks. He ruled as Duke of the new mega city for another thirty years before retiring and abdicating the throne to his heir.

                                        THE END.

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