The Feeder King often hunched by the shadowed mouth of his cave, listening to the rush of the waterfall as he waited for pilgrims to visit him. He’d see them coming from miles off. They would emerge from the shadow between the mountains before laboring up the twisted pathway, hugging shawls, cloaks and scarves to their necks and shoulders even as they sweated with the effort of the climb. It wasn’t easy to bring new lies to the Feeder. But they brought their lies all the same.
“I gave up my farm to help my sister’s boy.”
“The village watch makes sure nothing befalls us.”
“I love my old woman more than all the gold in heaven.”
“We all worship you, Feeder King.”
Almost a lie.
One of the Feeder’s acolytes once asked him plainly, “Why lies, Feeder King? There must be some more tasteful way to sate you, if you take my meaning.”
“Would you rather that I taxed you on your food instead?” the Feeder asked. “Your gold? Your women? Your handiwork? I could live off those things too, like you scrawny men do.”
The acolyte recoiled ever so slightly. “I’m only curious. I don’t presume to tell you what’s best.”
“Of course you presume. All people do, in their own ways,” the Feeder replied, smirking at the acolyte’s discomfort as he leaned his oily body closer. “I’ve tried feeding off other things before.”
He’d consumed grain and meat when he was young, light, water and fire after that, then music for a time. He’d even tried truth when he was feeling desperate. The thing was, truth didn’t change anything. It simply was. But lies? Lies tipped the balance. They transformed people. Lies made things. Infused new life where there wasn’t anything before.
“I think I’ll stick to lies for now,” the Feeder said and dismissed his acolyte with a wave of a deformed hand.