Within the confines of a shadowy tower, secreted far away from common eye or ear, there was a dimly lit room. The flickering of the candles showed an ornate black oak table, immaculately varnished. Upon the edges exquisite gold filigree lined this furniture, fit for any lord within the realm. At this table sat a man, lost in thought, meticulously picking through his vast mind and considering each idea that came through it. He looked to the seat across from him. Upon it lay a mystical scroll. Penned upon the parchment, with a magical quill, there was a tumultuous splotch. It had been the creation of several mystical pigments, which allowed it to move across the scroll like a modern Rorschach test. It could communicate by arranging itself into various symbols, and others to show emotion that would belie common ink. The thinking man considered the scroll, they had been together since he was but a child, always along with him did this scroll go.
The man was of bilious humours, as usual their third member was late.
The door soon opened and through it walked a man cloaked in mystic symbols, his clothes denoting him as a conjuror. He took off his fancily tailored cloak and sat down at the third seat. All were now present.
"You're late" the thinking man stated.
The sorcerer pushed back his hood, revealing a corpulent bronzed face, adorned with short, dark hair. "I apologize, I was just commiserating with the secret cabal in the halls of Ry'Son."
"We must discuss the state of our kingdom. The Southern Region of K'Ryu. Though we had been able to stage lucrative jousts, pocketing much of the coin for ourselves, our vaults are almost empty. In our current state, we could not even afford to bring over the skilled knights of the far east." stated the thinker.
The ensorcelled ink moved into the shape known for annoyance and slight anger.
The kingdom was known around the land as an area for the knights to both learn, and test themselves against one another. There was also the Guild of the Tinkerers. Individuals lauded as being masters of crafting the weapons for the knights. Filling out the population were many individuals who merely lived around the kingdom to talk amongst themselves.
"Yes I agree, generally we take most of the money raised for the jousts, paying a pittance to both the knights and the owner of the pitch. It is not enough though, as my coin has run low" replied the mage.
The man who could oft be lost in thought replied angrily "If you could ever quit the consumption of those blasted sandwiches we would have much more currency!"
The magical man's face curled into a sneer as spittle began to appear upon his dry, cracked lips. "I WILL NOT BE DENIED MY COMFORTS!" he shouted, pounding his hands upon the table.
He then thought of the sandwiches, made of succulent roast pork, and cloaked with an glorious savory sauce, placed between two pieces of hallowed bread. Merely thinking of the sandwiches brought him almost to climax.
The table, being large and sturdy did not shake, nor consider tumbling over. The robed individual slumped back into his seat, exhausted. He was not used to using his engorged form in such rigorous activity. "I assume you have a plan?" the man wheezed.
The other man pondered for a moment, and stated "We need more money from the people. Our realm has lately been full of young knights, who, learning from an inferior school, have been asking such basic questions that it has driven most of the older knights away. And let us not speak of the general population. They are scum that have become as like Hellbeasts across the land. They delight in nothing more than criticizing our every action, and have become aware of our profits upon the jousts. I suggest we begin to tax the populace.'
The ink upon the scroll moved into the shape known to both as one of extreme greed.
"NO." The wizard shouted. "Attempting to tax this rabble shall only make them complain more! They already hurl so many messages of aggression, I fear were we to attempt to have them pay they would raise such a clamor that it would make anyone guard their purse."
The thinker knew that his magical friend was correct. He would have to consider another way to wrest the coin from the people of the kingdom. Suddenly an idea came to mind. "We shall announce that we are closing the kingdom" he said evilly.
The scroll looked quizzical, as did the magician.
"If we close our coffers will be completely bare!"
"No, no, you stupid fat idiot. We won't actually close, we just want the people to think that we are going to. Asking someone to pay for something they already have is difficult. State that you are unable to no longer pay for upkeep and maintenance and they inexplicably will become more generous"
The pudgy face of the wizard slowly, but surely, began to process what the man had said. He then grinned. "We must think of a plan" he said in the most devious of ways.
"We shall upon the town board, post an announcement that the kingdom will be laid waste in but a mere thirty days. It shall be cryptic and without explanation."
"And then we charge them?"
"No, we provide no answers, allowing the townsfolk to become upset and begin offering to help in anyway they can."
"What of Zacharia the scribe, or Perthepolis the enforcer? They are two of our most prized generals, what of them?"
"We tell them nothing, allow them to be just as blindsided as the rest. Then we can laugh at their attempts to quell the populace."
The sorcerer thought for a second. "What of the short man? He could open the gates of Ry'Son to all the common folk. What do we then?"
The thinking man laughed "We shall treat them as we always treat them, with pure contempt. Should anybody attempt to say anything out of line, we shall bar them from the hall of Ry'Son."
"What of the rest of the plan?"
"Patch of ink, is your spy network still intact?"
The scroll moved its pigment to state in the affirmative.
"Good, we shall send an electronic missive where we shall post a bloated sum of what it costs to maintain the kingdom."
The wizard smiled "We shall say it costs twice, NAY THRICE, the actual cost."
"Then, after this missive has been posted, we shall let the populace consider things for a time. Then ink, you shall have one of your spies respond to our missive stating that they can assist with maintaining the kingdom for a mere pittance. Then oh how the people will rejoice, for once again they will be able to have discourse with one another. Then, and ONLY then, do we ask for assistance with this endeavor."
"They will donate in droves! And then, perhaps, we have them pay to even remain in the kingdom!" the mage chortled uncontrollably, his rubenesque frame jiggling as he did so.
It was decided, this would be their plan of action. The ponderer picked up his scroll, and he and the magic man left the room.