“Are you alright?” the child asked. “Is he alright?” he then asked his Vizier, his anxious movements threatening to dislodge the ridiculous crown upon his head. “Should we get him a chair, can he have a chair?” The Vizier looked embarrassed by his lord then, and Ch’Voga tried to set them at ease.
“I am recovering, my lord. I have just had many new experiences in a very short time. It was my first time riding a boat upon water.”
“Really?” the child emperor seemed amazed. “It is the only way to enter the Citadel. How do you enter your homes?”
“Water does not stand in great pools around my home like it does here around your home. We can only find it by digging very, very deep.” He chose not to add they would never waste so much of it by exposing it to the Sun to evaporate either, much less pump it through the building to create the tremendous waterfalls that made the castle appear to be floating on clouds of mist. It seemed inhospitable to judge a stranger’s ways, no matter how profligate.
The emperor sat bewildered and it was silent in the throne room. Ch’Voga had been coached by Khop the Chief Steward on the journey from the wharf only to speak when spoken to by either the Emperor or Savoy the Eminent, his Vizier so he stood still and waited.
The Vizier broke the silence first. “The Emperor was quite interested when he heard you were a holy man.” Ch’Voga heard no question in this. It seemed like a prompt of some sort but for whom?
The Emperor perked up, “Oh yes! They told me you are a messenger from God! Do you speak with him? What does he sound like? How do you know it’s him and not your own thoughts?”
“Begging your pardon, my lord, I have never actually heard his voice with my ears except when he speaks through his people or when his Word is read aloud.”
“His word? Does he send you letters? Does he issue edicts?” Again, his excitement shook his crown like a tinkling tree in an earthquake.
“In a manner of speaking, one may say he does. We have his book, the Holy Scriptures, which has been passed down and preserved. In them he tells us about himself. What he loves. What he hates. Who he is. What he has done.”
At this, the Emperor looked visibly deflated. “Oh. I see. I had so hoped…”
“You see, my liege,” the Vizier spoke, “it is as I have said to you. You are the Lone Voice of God. The only one in whom he trusts to speak through. You and you alone. It is the single most important charge upon your person.”
The child upon the throne suddenly appeared to feel the weight of his office like the golden crown upon his head and shoulders. He sank into the oversized throne.
“God does speak through His Spirit, my lord. If you pray and listen and study His Scripture, He is faithful and true to those whom He loves!” All eyes turned to Ch’Voga and he realized he had spoken out of turn. “Forgive me, milord, I mean no disrespect, but my heart aches for you and compels me to speak.”
“”Those whom he loves.” Does he love me? I have never heard him.”
“He loves all his children and he stands ready to receive any who come to him in humility and faith, my lord.”
“Will you stay? Will you teach me to hear him? Will you teach me his words? Please! Please stay!” Completely forgetting the dignity of his office, the child nearly tumbled out of his throne.
Ch’Voga, flushed and overwhelmed by the moment as well, abased himself before the Emperor, “I would be delighted to serve you in this way, my lord!”
“Excellent! This is really good! Thank you! Can we start now? Can he have a chair now? Savoy? Please?” Ch’Voga looked up then and something in the eyes of the Eminent Savoy the Vizier told him he had just made the biggest mistake of his young life.