There was a hand sticking out from the wall. Marik the Noble watched as it twisted and flexed as if stretching. Presently, it was joined by another. By placement, its mate. It too flexed and stretched. Then the mouth appeared. No face, just a pair of lips and a tongue. The lips parted and the tongue wiggled. Marik drew his sword. The lips spoke.
“We greet you, Emperor! The Rogauld collective has chosen you! Rejoice! For our wisdom is rarely given!”
Marik walked slowly around the intrusion, looking at it from several angles, sword at the ready.
“What wisdom would that be?”
“We have been experts in governance for a thousand generations. If there is something you want to be done better, we can tell you how!”
“Why would you help me?”
“We seek to help all leaders! It is our joy and our duty to do so.” The hands waved.
“Is this all there is of you? Just a mouth and hands? Will the rest of you be coming through the wall?”
“This is not our actual form. It is simply a method to get your attention and speak with you. Now, tell us of your problems and we will find solutions together!”
Marik said nothing, nor did he sheath his sword. There was no good reason to trust this Rogauld Collective.
“What’s the price for your advice?”
The hands turned palm up and the mouth smiled. “Why none! We only want people to be happy with their leaders! It is our joy and our duty…”
“Yes, you said that already. I’ll need to think about this.”
“Of course! In the meantime tell us your biggest problem and we will prepare an answer.”
Marik thought. “My people are like children. They make poor choices. I want to know how to help them make better decisions.”
“An excellent question! Let us know when you wish us to answer. We will leave you for now. When you have decided to take our assistance, come here and call ‘Rogauld’ and we will return.” The mouth and then the hands withdrew into the wall.
Marik thought about the strange being for days without telling anyone. Finally, stepping back into the room he called out “Rogauld!” And the hands and mouth once again emerged.
“We are excited! You are taking us up on our offer?”
“Yes, tell me your solution.”
The hands and mouth slid down the wall.
“Come sit with us here.”
Marik glared. Kings didn’t sit on floors.
“Come! Come!” The hands waved him to approach.
He sighed and sat.
The hands opened, “take our hands and we will convey the information.”
“How do children learn to make good decisions?”
“I have no idea. I’ve never raised any.”
“Ah! No wonder you are having trouble with this! We will tell you! Children learn to make good decisions by making bad ones.”
Marik shook his head. That was ridiculous. Children had to be taught. Like his people needed to be taught to manage their lives.
“This is stupid.” He tried to withdraw his hands but could not.
“Be calm! We will help you achieve your desire! Your people will become much wiser in their choices when we have finished!”
The hands began to pull him in and the mouth opened. Marik struggled. He was too much a warrior to scream when the mouth engulfed his head. His body went limp and the mouth spat him out. An infant’s head sat on his adult body.
“Now you will not be able to interfere with their learning process! A good father lets his children make mistakes! Now you can make some too! Maybe you’ll learn from them. We’ll check back in 20 years and see!”