Lorthof | Teen Ink


May 24, 2012
By lorthof BRONZE, Arlington Heights, Illinois
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lorthof BRONZE, Arlington Heights, Illinois
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Author's note: This tone of the piece is mostly influenced by Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four," but I think the story is completely original. I hope this will open peoples' eyes to the danger of propaganda and chauvinism.

It did not matter to Pierre Perille that a new television had been released
It only made him madder, made him wish Wahsilby were deceased.
Wister Wahsilby–President of Lorthof
Intelligent, but a fool, sort of.
And for all his plans to inundate the city with technology
He owed the Lorthofians a sincere apology.
For people like Pierre Perille
In poverty still
Were unable to afford the material
And clinging to dreams ethereal
Waiting in vain for the day
When Wahsilby would get up and say:
“We will stop this wretched assembly line
Where poor men work and their children whine
Of countless drudgeries of unsung toil
And people are killed if they are not loyal
So be gone with this foolishness, we will stop making
New T.V.s, and we’ll stop the old ones from breaking.
This limitless cycle of physical pain
Was all for political gain.”

Now many a year ago at Lorthof’s begin’
A person took power; none recall how or when
And this man thought the world might start spinning his way
If he could make it a law for people to pay
For a new television set twice ever year
If the prices were steep but the T.V.s were dear...
But devilishly, he gave them no choice
And in Lorthof none but the President had any voice.
For a while the citizenry was blissfully apathetic
But now look at them in their city pathetic!
When did they go downhill, one may inquire...
When Rebels lit the Blood Palace on fire;
When the people declared that Wahsilby’s desire
Made him naught but a criminal, a fiend, and a liar?
None recall the truth
But all know that Wahsilby felt no ruth.

In the lowest class there was born a unique boy
Who scoffed at emotion and smashed every toy
His play-things were people, and from the day of his birth
He plotted manipulation of the entire Earth.
But he settled in Lorthof, thinking: “Here’s good enough!”
Then he regulated lives and made them very tough.
The boy’s name (as you guessed, probably)
Was none other than
Grand Supreme Ultimate Executive Highest-of-the-Free-Lands Superior Upper-Echelon Star-of-Worldly-Wonders Godly-Good Better-Than-You-and-He-Knows-It, Lordly Duke, and Commander of His Majesty’s Draft Military: President Justin Remington Trofvinski, The Thirty-First,
Who later changed his name to Wister Wahsilby
At first he didn’t marry (to no one's great surprise)
For what woman would want a man who thinks he sees through God’s eyes?
But one day he met a girl named Michelle
And he married her and for a while they fared well
Until she found out about his nefarious scheme
His world-domination-maniacal-dream.
Not surprisingly, she was not amused
He asked her to join him; she calmly refused
So he bound her to his throne
And left her there to die alone
But with a great will she broke her shackle
And with a glorious cackle
Said Michelle, “Just go to Hell, and leave me here in peace
“You’ve twisted my mind, I think you’ll find that now I want my release!
“I’ve heard enough of your murderous muttering
“Now I’ll speak clearly, and leave you to stuttering!”
So she left Wister in a dingy alley
And began to rally
The beginnings of a Rebel movement
But it still needed improvement.

Now a fight had begun without much contemplation
And Wahsilby killed with the least hesitation.
Tear gas and missiles, brickbats and grenades
Crushing uprisings with glorious parades
Displays of extravagance, valor, and skill
A medal of honor for the Week’s Greatest Kill.
Michelle was now a General, a leader of merit
She made Wister so angry he hardly could bear it.
Though the Rebels were wounded and their humor was hollow
Michelle’s example they wanted to follow.
Meanwhile the tellies were released by the week
And the people were poor and the market looked bleak
So some poor people thought, “What more could we harm?”
And they picked up some rifles and raised the alarm.
The war was now personal for every man
And woman and child in Wahsilby’s plan
They all had a dictator to overthrow.
The trouble was, Wister just wouldn’t go!

A few fortnights later in a slimy side-street
Pierre Perille witnessed two strange people meet
A girl and a grenadier speaking in hushed tone
As none could be sure they were ever alone
They spoke of destruction and the fortunes of war
Deaths, deaths, deaths, deaths, but how many more?
Though Perille was no Rebel, 'twas certainly true
He incontrovertibly hated Wahsilby, too.
He walked home in the filth to go to the loo
Wondering just what to do...

The Rebel hideout was wooden and dim
A ramshackle shack with soldiers grim
Standing guard against danger
Admitting no stranger.
Inside, Michelle was making plans
For a daring, reckless aggressive stance
Against the armies of her former lover
Though it didn’t take her long to recover from guilt
When she thought of all the blood that he'd spilt.

Sergeant Wald was reserved but bold
Not young, at thirty, but not yet old
An idealist, a soldier, but peaceful at heart
He always was ready to do his part.
Now Michelle observed this dedicated man
And figured him prominently into her plan
For though Wald was but a new recruit
He could duck and run and shoot.
Wald, it transpired, would lead a small force
To the capital with no remorse.

The force, ten women and twenty men,
Was headed straight for the lion’s den
Lorthof proper, the city of death.
They all stood near with bated breath.
Wald was there, and Michelle, too,
As if she didn’t have enough to do
But she was a bold leader who led by example
And of her dark missions this was but a sample.
Death was a possibility, they believed,
But this was necessary, or so they perceived.

A half hour later, the Rebels arrived
Footsore and weary but glad they’d survived.
And through a high window in the center of town
Lord Wahsilby was haughtily looking down
Scowling at the Rebel men.
He wondered to himself just then
What the enemy would do
If they could possibly break through
The laser shield of bullet deflection
Designed to secure his own protection.

Wald rallied each comrade
Looking determined but sad
And before the security breach
He gave a thrilling speech:

“Remember what we are here for
We are not here to fight a war
We shall throw no spare grenade
This is not some light escapade
Watch your back and hold position
Waste minimal ammunition
Heads held high, we’ll feel no attrition
Remember what we are here for
We are not here to fight a war
We are here to end one!”

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” with open maw
The Rebels cried, “We won’t withdraw!”
And Wahsilby with clenchéd jaw
Looked out the window and he saw
That Rebels did not heed the law
And worse yet, their plan had no flaw.

Now Michelle said, “Remain not stalled!
“Boldly follow Sergeant Wald.
“Beware the lasers, they will scald.”
So under the lasers they crawled.
Their target was the T.V. array
That fed the broadcast night and day
So that each new T.V. could surpass
The old in propaganda for the lower class.

Now Wahsilby had perceived their aim
And he wanted to preserve his fame
So he sent all forces to the tellie array
Shouting, “Hurry up, soldiers, block their way!”
To the roof of Wister’s Blood Palace
Ran the military with malice
Preparing to intercept the Rebel force
And protect the televisions’ source.

Wald was now scaling the building’s steep wall
With others below him, and so far to fall
With grapples and ropes they ascended to the roof
While the guards lay in ambush, remaining aloof.
As Wald reached the top, a bullet shot past
“Michelle, they are here!” he shouted, aghast.
He drew out a pistol and fired a round
Sending the guard plummeting down to the ground.

Wald made it to safety atop the high gable
With the Rebels following, as well as were able.
They packed up the rope and undid the knot
But the soldiers responded with a rifle shot.
Michelle shot a rocket at the T.V. main power
The blast missed its mark but it shook the whole tower
The guards gained the upper hand, killing with precision
Foiling the generator’s attempted demolition
As the bodies stacked higher, Wald cried, “It’s over!
“We might still survive if we can take cover.
“This mission was suicide, naught but despair!”
So he shouted as he fired a rescue flare.
Michelle fought on, though twelve Rebels were dead
Inspiring Wald and alleviating dread.
A guard said, “It’s over now, hold up your hands.
“You must obey the Lord Wister’s commands.”
Two Rebels fell dead in a fiery blast
And Wald screamed with horror, “How long can this last?”
Then a helicopter descended from the sky
And Michelle was relieved, for they might not all die!
Air support from the Rebel command
Their allies embarked, though it had not gone as planned.

The helicopter sped quickly to the Rebel base
But the soldiers had war planes and they took chase
(Though some stayed behind to protect Wister’s lair)
Blazing gunfire sent smoke through the air
As a rocket impacted upon the Rebel craft
Michelle gritted her teeth but Wald just laughed
“We had to expect this,” he said with disgust
“It’s war: cold, hard, and unjust.”
And just as he mentioned that war was improper
A blast sent him tumbling down from the chopper.
Michelle made no sound, so great was the surprise
But a shiver of cold and tears from her eyes
Mourned the loss of a fighter, a Rebel, and friend
Who had met a tragic, untimely end
Moments ago, Sergeant Wald had been all right,
Why had so great a man died in so small a fight?
But she knew, in her heart, that she would also die
And that glory of war is naught but a lie.

As the chopper landed at the Rebel fort
Michelle demanded a status report
Her ailing army formed its ranks
Sending tanks along its flanks
No spare Rebels in the barracks slumbered
Since it was clear that they were outnumbered.
Michelle said, “We’ve failed in utter ruin
We must find a way to end this war soon
And though I doubt you’ll understand,
I need to make peace with my husband.”

Cries of outrage pierced the silence
Of horrified Rebels bent on violence
Faithful fighters for their cause
But ignorant of compassion's laws.

Michelle retired, sighing deeply
As the death toll went up steeply
Depressed and hopeless, weak and appalled
She sat and grieved for Sergeant Wald.
The next day she woke at the break of dawn
Pacing thoughtfully across the lawn
She conceived a plan of common sense
To seek Lord Wister’s audience.
Suicide it was, perhaps
But the Rebel force could not collapse.
Three she brought on her last quest
Three soldiers who could parlay best.

But in secret she marshaled a force
To ambush Wister without remorse
And as soon as he’d come out to negotiate
They’d take him hostage and use him as bait.

Now Michelle was a skilled tactician
But Wahsilby was a politician,
Greater in power but weaker in thought
Ignorant of the havoc that he wrought.

So as the Rebels arrived at the Blood Palace
Adamant but harshly callous
The guards laughed in a bragging manner
When they saw the Rebel’s snow-white banner
“A sign of surrender!” they guffawed with glee
And ran off to summon Wister Wahsilby.
Meanwhile, the troops assembled in the street
And the Rebels, surrounded, admitted defeat.

Then Wister himself walked out the main door
Smiling malevolently, preparing for
A graceful rapport
And what was more,
He felt sure that this was the end of the war.
He looked at Michelle with a devilish grin
And said, “Hello, dearie, how have you been?”

Michelle slugged him hard in the center of his face
And Wahsilby, bleeding, fell in disgrace
She said, “Justin, I am no longer your wife
You disillusioned me and ruined my life!”

The soldiers aimed their guns at Michelle
But Wahsilby said, “Be at peace, all is well!
For if you destroy their organization,
How shall we proceed with negotiation?”

She hit him again with vengeful distaste
And as Wahsilby grimaced as he rose and faced
The woman whom he had once loved so fully
Who knew now that he was only a bully.
Through tears in his eyes he struggled to speak,
Staring at Michelle with ire so bleak:
“But you started this war, you traitorous whore!”
So he choked as he shuddering rose from the floor.

“I started it?” said Michelle, as she stared around
Looking at her Rebel friends pinned to the ground
At Wahsilby’s Blood Palace rising blood-red
To the heavens, as if mocking the dead.
“If that’s what you think, you’re really quite odd,
“You and your plans to subjugate God.”

A proud soldier raised his rifle
Preparing to end this pitiful trifle
But as Michelle braced herself for death by mortar,
Wahsilby cried, “I give the order!
“You must all forgive my depression disorder
“And since for fourteen long years I have adored her
“And those years were spent over petty regret
“And already-spilt blood that we ought to forget,
“So you must tell your little rebellious friends
“That this is not how it ends.
“By prison or romance you’ll return to me
“And everything shall be as it ought to be.”
A Rebel raised his hand as a token of surrender
But Michelle, who knew Wahsilby was a pretender,
Said, “I must confess myself appalled
“Did you forget who killed Sergeant Wald?
“Our bravest, our truest, our lamented...
“He ought at least to be represented.”

Represented he was, for in that very second
The Rebel ambush planes landed and beckoned
To Wister Wahsilby and proclaimed:
“Sir, if you do not come, you will be solely blamed
“For the outcome of the war
“And unlike before,
“The Rebels will fight to the death,
So be silent and save your breath.”

“This town’s become Gotham, but where’s the Dark Knight?”
Wondered Wahsilby as he pondered the fight.
He was locked in a dark room in the Rebels’ shack,
Wondering when his guard would be back.
His soldiers had prowess, there was no denying
But those of both sides were so needlessly dying.
All he’d wanted was to sell some T.V.s...
Acquiring funds with the greatest of ease.
But he was in trouble, Michelle had been right:
He would not live through this war, not quite.
He’d been a foul fellow, scamming the masses
But he now knew a man who so cruelly harasses
Was not just a villain but something much nastier.
If only he’d renounced his crooked ways last year!
But now it was too late to restore
The city of Lorthof to something much more
Than utter apocalypse, rotting away
Fighting in futility by night and day.

The Rebels had been given a last-ditch order
To liberate the masses and give no quarter
To Wahsilby’s forces or any of their allies
Who would continue to monopolize supplies.
This order, called “O.R.B” would release a sphere
And Wahsilby would panic when he saw it appear
For it was a bomb so gruesome and insidious
That the radius was great and the results were hideous.
Loath were the Rebels to resort to such devilry,
Such was their code of honor and chivalry,
But the war was not going well–
The President’s forces had wounded Michelle
And Wahsilby’s ransom had not yet been paid,
Nor had any more treaties been made.

One night Pierre Perille lay
In his house of cardboard on his bed of hay
Contemplating whether his heart’s desire
Was to die in gunfire.
For if it was, he thought, it seems
I should fight for my life and follow my dreams.
Declaring allegiance to the Rebel force
Would possibly come in due course,
But first he had to see justice restored
And carry out for Lorthof’s great Lord.

It was near midnight when Michelle arrived
At Wahsilby’s cell, saying, “Few have survived.
“You see what’s become of your ultimate battle?
“The people are herded and slaughtered like cattle!”
Wahsilby was glad to see that she had healed
But her face had been sliced and the blood was congealed.
The President looked apathetic and wan
And he said with a croak, “Well, don’t carry on!
“I think you will find that a week in a cell
“Makes you say every day, ‘Oh, what the hell?’
“You see, you have won, for without my inspiration
“My soldiers will cease and mourn my resignation.”

“Pigheaded to the last,” said Michelle with remorse
“For your soldiers have taken the upper hand, of course.
“You think they care that their conceited king is lost
“When they are so close to a new Holocaust?
“By cruel fate, reality has expired
“And your cooperation leaves much to be desired...”

“What do you want?” sighed Wister in disgust
No longer staring at Michelle with lust.
“I would have thought that’s quite simple,” said Michelle.
“Rally every battalion and tell
“Them to spare generations of men
“and tell them that we’d be much better off, then.”

Wister said, “You speak of expired reality
“But you know naught of my soldiers’ mentality.
“It’s too late, Michelle.
“Fare thee well.”
He slumped against the wall, fighting back tears
And it seemed that Michelle stood there for years
‘Til she, too, looked tempted to cry,
At which point she whispered, “Justin, good-bye.
“When all this is over and we both find solace
“I will speak with you in the Blood Palace.”

It was four in the morning when Wister woke and learned
That his guard had apparently still not returned.
This struck him as odd given his own eminence
He’d have thought he would have a legion’s defense.
The night was dark and hot and long
Yet rebels cried in raucous song.
'Twas muggy as a fen in mid-July
And Wahsilby knew he was soon to die.

At four-thirty, Wister noticed that the night
Had grown ethereally, prematurely bright
The singing had stopped and the quiet was sickly
And Wister wanted to be freed quickly.
A small red light appeared in the sky
“I’m going to die...I’m going to die...”
Muttered Wahsilby in despair
As another flare glared in the air.

And indistinct voice carried far through the night
And the murky sky turned a brilliant white.
Wahsilby groaned and just reclined
As the trajectory of the O.R.B. was aligned.

By an unexpected twist of fate
Wister survived the explosion great,
Which obliterated Lorthof and the surrounding plain
Leaving nothing but rubble and grain
Mangled bodies and blood’s cruel stain
And the fumes drove any survivors insane.

By another fortune that none could tell
Wister was blasted free from his cell
Suffering no greater injury
Than a scalded face and a bleeding knee.
He’d been deceived by the Rebels’ guile
Betrayed by Michelle and misled all the while.
With a curse and a groan and a strain on his bone
Wister rose and saw that he was alone.
His cell was in shambles, the hideout was gone
And many dead Rebels lie strewn upon the lawn.
The suspicion confirmed was Wister’s very worst:
The Rebels killed their own men in their great bloodthirst.
But where was Michelle? For her corpse was not found
Lying in fragments on the smoldering ground.
There’s one thing I’m sure of, thought old Wahsilby
Either she’s dead, or she’s going to be.

The streets of Lorthof were cracked and charred
All the few survivors were prostrate and scarred
And Wahsilby to the Blood Palace ran
Nearly tripping over a fiery garbage can
Heedless of the toxic, nuclear waste;
His purpose of murder drove him to great haste.

As Wahsilby had rationally feared,
Michelle had apparently disappeared
But as he cautiously came
To their room all the same
A recording disk on Wahsilby’s desk
Played Michelle’s voice, which now seemed grotesque
To Wahsilby’s ears, which could not bear to hear
The voice of a woman once cherished most dear:

“Betrayal is not my primary objective in life
Though I will admit that our marriage has been wrought with strife.
I’ve gone with great speed to a faraway land
Where maybe someday I’ll ask a man for his hand
In marriage, the one craft that you don’t understand
Despite your ability to control and command.
I’ll tell you right now, as I’m sure you can surmise
That the O.R.B. was designed for your demise:
“Obliteration of the Ruthless Bureaucrat”
But your soldiers usurped it, and you saw what came of that.
Regardless, I feel that Justin ought to know
I’d never command any Rebel to blow
His city to pieces or sound his death knell.
I loved him, I’ll miss him, sincerely, Michelle.”

Wahsilby was lost for words, so he pressed “Repeat”
And this time Michelle’s voice sounded more or less sweet.
He pressed his fingers to his temples and cried in distress
Not at Michelle but at his own success
His life was rife with gluttony and excess
With his corrupt, self-anointed noblesse.
Pierre Perille stood in the doorway with a mask and a knife
Unable to bring himself to take Wister’s life
Making no sound but observing the scene
With wonder, with sadness, and expression serene.
Perille felt a wave of cold come over his heart
This was his role in war, his vital part.
There was no turning back now, without more remorse
So Pierre cleared his throat and said with words hoarse:
“Good-bye, Justin, if that is your name.
“This gives me no joy, but it’s the reason I came.”

Wahsilby spun around in a greater rage than the last
“You dare intrude my palace? And intrude upon my past?”
Speaking no word and looking thoroughly depressed
Pierre lunged and stabbed Wahsilby through the chest.

Wahsilby’s eyes bulged as he fell to the floor
And Justin Remington Trofvinski, The Thirty-First, Esquire was no more.

The author's comments:
I tried to write a sequel, but deemed it inappropriate. This is the end of "Lorthof."

Out in the alley Pierre took off his mask
Shocked by his murderous, merciless task
But it’s that whenever civilization
Feels the need for retaliation,
He thought with tears in his eyes,
There is always someone who dies.

Civilians voice
Their need to rejoice
Because the war is in the past.
But this peace cannot last,
Thought Pierre Perille
For he knew that his kill
Would cause the Government’s humiliation
Causing further escalation
Resulting in another war
Greater, perhaps, than before...

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