It was a shock when things changed, but then it always feels that way. Especially when that change creeps up and takes you completely by surprise. This time, the change had been skulking on the edges for years until, finally, the catalyst came.
Normal life, for most people, consisted of work during the long daylight hours and community interaction in the short dusk hours. Sleep was generally taken quickly, but more was not needed. The people had heard of lands where people worked shorter hours and slept longer, but that seemed outrageous to the people. They had occupied their lives in the same general way for generations. This way of life worked well for the people and none saw reason for change.
Occasionally, one of the people would stray from the normal way of things, but were either drawn back into the group or they were cast out. This community could not survive members who uspet the normal way of things. This community derived it’s success on everyone following the same path. It was a peaceful and sufficient way of life.
But, as with all things, eventually change does creep in. Sometimes, the people were met with sudden change, as with the weather becoming drastic or if one of the people died without warning. But this time, none of the people saw it coming.
In hindsight, it was there all along. In hindsight, they should have seen it coming.
In the beginning, it was small changes in procedure. The basic laws of the community were changed in small enough ways as not to be noticed. Then, certain members of the community were slightly restricted in ways they lived and worked. Then, more of the community members found their basic rights restricted in even more ways-their everyday lives altered slightly. It was all so subtle that the people simply adapted without realizing they were doing so.
Finally, when the people had adapted to a point of no return, the culprit dropped the final bomb.
Bajal Komhinigh had been an assistant in the community for many years. She had assisted in every area and made herself necessary in many ways. She had quietly and systematically changed procedures for many departments without anyone realizing until she was the only one who knew the procedure and she was the only one who knew how to complete many of the necessary details for life in the community to move ahead as needed. This took Bajal several years of careful planning.
Now was the time, she felt, to reach her goal.
On this balmy evening, the community council was to meet and choose a new leader. Bajal was confident of her placement in that position because she had carefully managed the changing of the procedures and requirements until only she would be eligible. Bajal had to laugh at the ease of her work. She had never once been questioned or confronted on any of the things she did.
Confidently, Bajal entered the council chambers early. She carefuly placed all the seating in it’s proper order. She placed the evening’s procedures and schedule before each seat and then prepared the hot, dark drink everyone preferred.
As the people began to arrive, Bajal had completed preperations and was now greeting them all with her usual smile. She was greeted warmly by each of the people as they all saw her as a friend and a vital member of their community.
When the council meeting began, the subject of a new leader was addressed immediately. When the present leader began to ask for volunteers, Bajal knew her time had come. She stood and informed the council that simply asking for volunteers was not possible. She informed them they should check the laws. The secretary to the council glanced over the booklet to see Bajal was right. Only members of the community who had served the community council for a sufficient amount of time and had not previously held one of the governing positions could be considered. There were only two of the people who qualified-Bajal and Pritimer Sojank. Pritimer was of extreme age and never left his dwelling now. So it became a non-issue that Bajal was asked to serve as community leader. She, of course, accepted.
Bajal took her place at the council table and gave thanks for her new position. She then turned to the council and informed them their services were no longer needed because, if they would read the laws, she had the authority to dismiss all of them and run the council herself-alone. She was now doing so. She stood waiting until all 6 council members, stunned and unable to speak, stepped away from the table.
When everyone had settled in the gallery, Bajal faced the crowd of people.
She informed them there would no longer be community donation to those who did not participate in the growing and gathering. She informed them they were no longer allowed to leave the community without her express permission, and, finally, she informed them that anyone who broke rules in any way would be, without warning, detained in a locked area to be built immediately.
Bajal had completed the rewriting of the laws in such a way that anyone who opposed her or spoke against her would be guilty of breaking rules and would be imprisoned.
As the people quietly stumbled from the council room, she smiled. These people had been so easily led to their own defeat.
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