"Play my game with me," the wife told the husband when they were fully awake.
"Just one time," he told her.
At this he knew he lied. He would play her game as long as she wanted to play, as often as she wished. He had made his decision.
So, the game began. Their life to that time had been simple, more happy, hunting, gathering, exploring life and one another. Now, their brains were taxed over this game.
The pieces arranged more or less logically for them that first time. Larger sizes tended to bunch together toward the center. What seemed Kings and Queens partnered though they often moved apart. Some queens seemed to love knights more, while some Kings tended to priests, others to oxen, others to steeds or to bandits or to gold. The longer a King faced away from his Queen the more she tended toward the things he admired, but apart from him.
Alliances formed between the pieces. Mutual protection pacts coallesced as though by their wishes. Allies then turned on allies. Foes became friends out of necessity. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes, which meant that each one looked out for his or her own best interests.
The world of the shield-board had shape and form but darkness dominated the air just above the board. At times the husband and wife were forced to bend below the mist over the shield-board just to see the board itself.
"I am winning," the wife shrieked and fell behind.
"This is humiliating," the husband thought, when he lost a place.
At mid-day, seemingly without reason, the shield-board itself suddenly convulsed. Game pieces shot off the board and around the room randomly. The game rejected itself.
Carefully arranged commerical pacts were destroyed. Alliances were shattered. The game, as they knew it, such as they knew it, was ended. All their plans were ruined.
The husband and wife scurried around the room to find their displaced pieces. While they did the shield-board reshaped itself to more of an oval than a circle. The shield-board also changed colors on its borders. The place stations changed from black and white to red and gold. Blood and treasure would dominate this phase of the contest, as right and wrong had dominated the last phase.
In the last phase, the husband and wife, inexperienced, had chosen self-interest for right to protect themselves from personal loss. In so doing, they predestined the second phase. War and riches, with their attendants, death and famine, would be the choices now.
As the husband and wife regained their pieces and returned to the shield-board, they noticed the change in the shield-board and in the pieces they held. All were altered.
The wife’s strong King was now an old man bent over an oaken staff. The husband’s Priest stood strong and all with a sceptre of power in his hands. The oxen was double yoked now. The barley leaf was withered. The Knight was adorned in black. His sword ran red.
"We have to start again," the wife grieved.
"I hate this game," the husband answered.
"I hate you," the husband added, spent.
"I hate you, too," the wife answered.
Exhausted, they slumped together, entwined for what seemed hours.
Toward dark they roused.
"Let’s play again," the husband said.
"Yes, one last time," the wife answered and knew she lied.
Fiction here for now. Over at http://aintsobad.typepad.com/pastorspal, I have some Advent thoughts and some fun(ny) stuff over there just now. After Advent, I am going to move the fiction over to pastorspal and then return to current event type thoughts in aintsobad.