Aleph 1

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I tell you the truth, in Alephia we only talk of yes or no. A man is a man, a woman is a woman. A tree is alive, a stone is dead. We do not doubt. We do not guess. We do not speak of uncertainty. We live in the light of the supreme truth. Long live King Alfons the Great. Long live Alephia.
I tell you the truth, my name is Paracas the Younger, servant of the King, Supreme Adjudicator in matters of great question. In the first night of the second month of the third year of the war between the King and his banished brother, an unexpected guest interrupted our council. This is the official record of the stranger's visit. Everything I say happened truthfully. May the King strike me down if I give false witness.
The stranger had no weapon, no identifying marks on his body or clothing, and insisted on seeking the audience of the king’s council. His intimate knowledge of the palace alone caused us alarm and suspicion. I tell you the truth, if I had been as stern and as protective of the court as my predecessors, I would have immediately sent the stranger to the executioner. But I was not. Instead, I instructed the guards to escort the stranger into the great hall to let him speak. The stranger had careful grace in his movements and spoke our language, but his manner of speaking was unlike anyone from Alephia.
"I have news, my Lords, I am but a messenger. I come from Aleph 1". The stranger declares.
Our scouts and scribes have never heard of such a place. For someone who has recently traveled, his sandals were clean and seemed unworn. I ask him how many days it took to travel from this place 'Aleph 1'. He says, "No my lord, it is not a place where you can travel to. Not by foot, nor by horse, nor by sail. It is simply unreachable."
"And yet you are here?" I ask.
"Yes, my Lord. I am here. I have come the longest way to deliver a message to you and your wounded king." Everyone in hearing distance stands up. No one except I and a few elders knew that King Alfons was wounded in the previous battle. The hall becomes alive with murmurs. "Is this true? Does he speak ill of the King? Strike him down!".
I raise my voice to quell the growing unease. "Keep calm my Lords! The stranger does not lie. The King is wounded. An arrow to the gut. He is in pain, but alive. Long live King Alfons the Great!".
"Long live Alephia!", the hall replied. I then implored everyone to listen to the stranger's message before passing judgment.
The stranger continued. "My Lords, I know that the King's brother has taken two towns North of the river. I also know that the King has accepted the challenge to meet for another battle at the foot of the old bridge." The stranger’s words were true. The usurping armies have indeed taken two towns beyond the North river and were encamped less than a day's journey from the palace. "I am here to advise you to station your armies at the East gate."
Loud outcries from the councilmen. "And what of the battle at the foot of the old bridge? Are we to brand ourselves cowards by not meeting them in battle? What foolishness?"
"It is not foolishness my lords. The battle at the foot of the bridge will never happen. It is a ruse." The stranger replies.
"A ruse? We do not understand."
"The king's brother intends to deceive you. He wishes for you to concentrate your forces in one place, while he attacks another." Again, the hall erupts in agitation. Deception is a high crime in Alephia. The stranger then says, "I urge you to send your fastest scouts beyond the river tonight, you will find nothing but empty tents and poles."
I am mesmerized by the stranger's knowledge. We have indeed heard reports of movements in the East, but have dismissed them. "How do you know all these things, stranger? Are you a spy?" I ask.
"No, my lord. I am not a spy. I am like you, a wise man. I wish you good fortunes in the battle ahead although I already know the outcome. You will win." The man motions to exit, but I bid him to remain. He says, "I cannot stay longer. Every moment I spend in Alephia makes the future more unclear."
"And what of King Alfons?" I implored. "He is writhing in pain in the royal chambers as we speak. Will he survive?"
The stranger grimaced and sighed. "I am afraid I do not know, Lord Paracas. The wisest most learned men in Aleph 1 have also agonized over the king's fate. We do not know. It is uncertain."
"But is it not a sin to talk of uncertainties?" I ask. "Is it not written that there are only two possibilities: yes or no?"
"Not in Aleph 1 my lord", the stranger says. "We live with some uncertainty. If it helps you, you may plan as if the king is both alive and dead. I surely wish him to be alive."
I was about to ask another question when the world around me disappeared. For a moment I had a glimpse of what could be Aleph 1. There were strange mountain-like structures jutting out of the ground, and lights, so many lights, blindingly bright. The next moment I was back in Alephia, standing in front of the great hall, with the war council beginning to assemble.
And I say "I have news, my Lords, I am but a messenger."

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I am an IT worker in Manila, Philippines. I have a fiancee and a daughter.