Kaspar was all persona. People met with the barrage of his forced identity. But a rich and rewarding essence lived, clasped in his heart.
“Narcissus or Narkissos (Greek: Νάρκισσος), possibly derived from ναρκη (narke) meaning “sleep, numbness,” in Greek mythology was a hero from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty. In the various stories he is exceptionally cruel, in that he disdains those who love him. As divine punishment he falls in love with a reflection in a pool, not realizing it was his own, and perishes there, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection.”
– wikipedia (last viewed Nov24.09)
(originally published Nov25.09) That essence informed the persona with an engaging, rakish quality, hidden in folds of visceral protectant. For the perceptive few who penetrated that tremulous purse, a charming purity and worth emerged. Kaspar was, however, victimized by the tyranny of his voluminous fears. He believed his inner self too fragile for public display. His talents were better directed at fashioning bluster, managed like some beefy marionette, distracting imagined oppressors from striking at his heart.
Kaspar found employment in the court of the King. Part councillor, part envoy, and occasionally jester. He inveigled favour from his benefactors, the courtiers, exercising the dimensions of his bearing. Over time, he was granted property and position and a sense of entitled purpose. The halls of his office were decked in reflective finery, a testament to the mountebank’s circus that was his identity.
Still, Kaspar was not to everyone’s liking. His wit, often acerbic, layed low those whose distance, size or disposition made them unlikely to respond. But response takes many forms, and it was this that he often underestimated. There were pockets of dissent around him. Some courtiers and lesser staffers steered clear, choosing to have their absence speak for them, while others were more retaliatory, carping and whittling away at Kaspar’s supports. In the aggregate, the power of Kaspar’s advocates – those valuing his qualities over his vices – was greater than those opposed to him.
One day, the King died. Sad as this day was, the court was blessed by a natural successor in the dead King’s brother, Cedric. Long a friend and confident of Kaspar’s, Cedric was one whose appreciations ran deeper than his friend’s manufactured figura. To Cedric, Kaspar was a blessed spirit whose marionette show was entertaining, if not fully representative of the man inside. Cedric chose to acknowledge then dismiss the claims against his friend. But with the death of the King came opportunities to extend all that was good about the kingdom.
Cedric brought ideas of change to the court. He had no desire to be rid of Kaspar. On the contrary, the new King had visions of lightening Kaspar’s load by expanding the arena, by appointing associates better able to execute the many tasks Kaspar had taken on.
What Cedric failed to recognize was that Kaspar’s tasks were as integral to his persona as were his bluster, his organza pantaloons, and the empire he had built, unchecked and unhindered within the court. Kaspar now had to throw open his singlet, to dismember the persona, and to share and to thrive on the innermost essence Cedric knew to be so worthy of display. With each wave of initiative from the King, Kaspar railed at the intrusion. He dodged and spun, seeking to avoid the actions asked of him. Like a baited animal, caught in a trap of his own devising, lashing out in cynical efforts to derail any edicts the King issued.
Soon the relationship soured. Kaspar became remote and negligent toward his normal duties. Cedric’s patience waned, increasingly affected by the courtiers who opposed Kaspar’s antics. Kaspar, for his part, sought the sympathies of his supporters, engaging them in diversionary practices that at once undermined the King’s initiatives while emboldening Kaspar’s own. Only the more hapless of them fell in line, the astute ones shying away from implication in Kaspar’s sedition. And so this war of wills was waged with one party deluding himself that his cause was noble, while the other became more entrenched in the face of growing delusion.
The question then hovered: would Kaspar curtail his treason, choosing redemption, embracing his charmed but fearful essence, or would he leave Cedric no choice but to cast him out, a martyr to those who would champion swagger over substance?