A land riven by the thing…

Half the people thought one thing, half the people thought the other. They had a vote to settle the matter. The half who thought the one thing beat the half who thought the other but not by much.

The people who thought the winning thing went about the place bragging that the people had spoken – all the people, every single one. The people who thought the other thing said that wasn’t true and withdrew into grumbling clusters.

The people who won the argument about the thing then spent two-and-a-half years bitterly arguing among themselves and found that they had got nowhere at all in trying to do the winning thing.

The thing saga wound on, without any hope of a happy ending, or without any hope of an ending at all. Quite a few of the people who’d voted for the thing wondered if they shouldn’t have chosen the other thing. Some began to worry that the winning thing was the losing thing after all.

Others tore at their hair and said, will no one rid us of this endless noise about the thing, the thing that never goes away and yet never arrives either.

The woman who was trying to get the thing done was either brave and determined, or a stubborn misguided loon who’d blown all her chances by being obsessed about not letting anyone into the land riven by the thing. She’d barricaded the doors and stood at the window, looking like she was haunted by her own ghost already.

Hardly any of her friends liked her any more and she’d not had that many to start with. She’d grabbed the chance to get the thing done when all the others in her party were too busy arguing or seeing how many knives they could stick in each other’s backs.

The woman who was trying to get the thing done was opposed by a man who had his own problems. In his heart he thought the thing was probably a good thing, as he’d never liked the way things were run with those countries across the water. But most of his friends were against the thing, and he didn’t know what to do, so he sat on his hands and hummed to himself instead.

The woman who was trying to swing the thing arranged for everyone to vote about it in the big house. But the inky elves wrote that she didn’t have a snowball in hell’s chance of winning her vote about the settlement of the thing. Ever resolute, she said that she would have her vote anyway. Even on the morning of the vote, she got her friends, those who could find anyway, to say that it was all on for that afternoon. Then she was ambushed by cowardice and changed her mind at the last minute.

She hurried away from the country to see what could be done about her hopeless arrangement. With any luck, the people she pays to stop other people getting into the country will take one look at her and say, oh, you’re not coming in here, no one wants you back, it was bad enough when you were strong and stable, and will you look at yourself now.

Many people who voted for the thing were good ordinary people for the most part, although the thing was taking such an age, some of them had gone and died already.

And the saga of the thing wound on, and it winds still now, turning the country riven by the thing into a land of strange derangement where everyone shouts at each other only to then say, oh will you just give over and shut up already.


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