“Why and to what end has the exarch voluntarily been assassinated in collusion with the Cuthbert patriarch.”

There once was a damn that held up a large river. This damn was at the top of a large valley filled with numerous towns and cities. On one side of the valley, level with the top of the damn was a small shack. In this shack sat a man whose job is was to open a sluice gate in the damn to drain overflow from the reservoir so that the damn did not burst.

One evening, after a terrible storm had filled the reservoir, the man felt the damn begin the rumble and shake. Realizing that if water was not drained, the damn would burst, sending a deadly wall of water into the valley below. The man dutifully pulled the lever in his shack. The gate did not open.

Looking into the valley below the man saw the lights of the towns and villages. Grasping the danger that untold thousands of people were in, he knew he had to do something.

Now, this damn’s sluice gate had a manual lever that could open the gate, the man left his shack and ran as fast as he could to the top of the damn where the manual lever was. He would have to hold the lever back firmly until enough water had been released to ease the pressure on the damn. By now he could hear the rumble of the damn louder as the water built up behind it. He took hold of the lever, and calling up his gods, he pulled as hard as he could. Forcing the lever with all his might, he was able to move it slightly. The rumble got louder, and the man knew if he did not do something soon, the damn would burst. The man leaned his entire body against the lever, and finally, his weight moved the lever and opened the sluice gate. The man knew that the lever would only stay this way as long as he leaned against it and that he would not have the strength to move it a second time. It would take a long while for enough water to drain, so he settled in.

Then from across the damn, he heard the voice of child calling out. It was his eldest son, come to bring him is supper. The boy saw his father and began running along the top of the damn. However, the path along the top of the damn, with the large body of water sloshing against it, was slick. The man cried out to the boy to be careful, to stop and wait for him, but over the rush of the water, the boy did not hear his cries.

It was with great anguish that the man saw his son slip several hundred feet from him. The boy slid, and with the quickness and luck of a child, was able to grab a hold of the lip of the damn. The man cried out in dismay as he saw his son dangling off the face of the damn, nothing between his feet and the ground but several hundred feet of air.

“Father, I’m slipping! I can’t hold on!”

The father was faced with an awful choice: he could abandon the lever to snatch up his son and carry him to safety, but then the lever would close the gate and the damn would burst before he could open it. The damn shivered and the water drained in a rushing torrent, loud, but not loud enough.

For the man had made his choice. He closed his eyes, but even over the pounding crash of the water, he could still hear his son’s cries for help. As great sobs choked him, he heard his son call out for the last time and slip down into the valley below.

As he turned his tear stained face to the heavens to rail against the gods for such an injustice, he heard a voice.

“Do not worry, for you have other children and your line will continue. Had you saved your son, many others, including the rest of your family, would have perished. Have faith in what the gods have in store for you. For such a sacrifice will not be in vain”.

And with that, the man slumped against the lever, tears still in his eyes. But now, they were tears of joy.