On the 2nd of day of January 2013, in a field just above Weston-Super-Mare, Mason Knox stood at the side of a long table, under the cover of a large white tent, and looked at the map of England in front of him.
At his side stood the well-clad figure of his chief engineer, and newly appointed General, Mark Richard Dale. Behind them in a large gathering, stood a group of rough looking brutal men, dressed in all black, and armed with copious amounts of weapons. On their chests they wore what to become a symbol of power, and fear, which for the rest of the country spelt doom and the rising of the first Empire of power, since the devastation of the Red Death.
The moment marked the rising of a dragon, on the shirts of the Cutters, it was a red symbol of fear, and on the ring worn of the hand of Mason Knox, it was a family heirloom, that marked the true line of the heir to Cornwall, the most powerful Saxon lord in the time of Uther Pendragon.
It took a brief moment to draw the line across the map from the coast eastward to Stanton Prior, and then down in a southeasterly direction to Fordingbridge, where the line travelled east again to Southampton. In those few moments shared by Mason and his friend Richard Dale, a years worth of work and mysterious magic began, for by the end of the year of 2013, a wall fifty feet high made of a smooth black stone, would mark the inner sanctum, of what was to become the Knox Empire.
No one knows how Mason knew so much about what was to follow the first signs of the Virus known as the Red Death. What was clear was that he had been prepared for it. Within the first months to follow the outbreak an army of violent black dressed soldiers bearing the crest of a red dragon, had sealed the roads and prevented anyone from entering into Cornwall.
Those who lived or had been trapped in the southern tip of the country saw him as a natural leader, and a saviour of everyone. Those who showed the symptoms were captured and transported away to the north and dumped out and left to die. Any who tried to gain access to the new empire were warned to leave, and if they chose to remain, they were brutally killed.
For the next twenty-five years Mason Knox would continue to divide the country up and fill the space he cleared with more tall walls, filled with new factories of industry. For those who struggled to survive on the land with merger means, the arrival of Knox with boats filled with goods and supplies was seen by everyone as their salvation, and for a brief time all thought that recovery and a return to life as it had been know was set to return.
Within months of his arrival, the soldiers began to appear, they arrived in the night and stole the freshly cut crops, they stripped the land of everything made of metal, and as they unloaded the boats with the supplies for the new cities, they filled them with whatever they had stolen. Any who complained met the end of a Cutters sword, and those who made a stand to protect what they had, were slaughtered on mass.
Across the country, wind farms were taken over, and the power was diverted to the new seats of power growing across the land in the name of Mason Knox. London was stripped and the large areas of rubble left from the earthquakes that ravaged the country for a year after the Red Death, were cleared and new huge factories appeared.
Those who had welcomed Mason Knox with open arms and taken his goods eagerly now found that there was a price to pay. Left with nothing to sustain them over the winter, they had little choice but to ask those who had robbed them, for help. Mason was kind and generous, and he offered them the chance of a new life, with a new hope for the future of the country, and he gave them a home with a new job.
Life in the black and grey cities of stone was very different from what they were use to. Gone were the trees and the fields, as then moved to narrow streets with compact housing surrounded with walls and guards. Freedom was the price of the aid brought to them by Mason, as the work and life he provided was nothing short of forced labour.
The Empire he had dreamed about would take 100 years to fully construct, but he had the time, as the son of one of the most powerful sorceressís of her time. Morgan Le Fey, supported her son like a doting mother, and used her powers to create and construct whatever he planned, building walls in a day that would takes weeks to build by ordinary means.
Mason was on track and his dream was coming alive as the year of 2038 approached. His cities were growing, dived up into industrial and agricultural sectors. Supporting the church he encouraged his workers to marry and have children, swelling his new population. Those women who refused his demands were taken away to the large orphanages he had built, where they were raped and forced to provide his new futures army with male children to train as soldiers, the female children returned back to his factories, and his Cutters pressed ever forwards forcing their way into towns and stockades across the country, clearing the land to make way for his new sprawling Empire.
When the young figure of the new lord at Loxley to his place, Mason was better armed; with an army ten times the size of Loxley. He had an iron grip on the country, which had been almost fifty years in the planning, and was working. His hold on the country was ruthless and cold, built with brutality, and at the cost of countless lives of misery. He had hunted down and killed most of the historians and scholars that had survived the Red Death, and wiped away any who could prove his line of decent to the courts of Arthur was founded on a mistake. He was in control and had proclaimed himself the new Governor of England as he paved his way to the crown, and the seat from which he would rule forever, as he spread out across the oceans, and built the new World Empire of Knox.
It was one mans dream, his dream, which he had nurtured since he had been a small boy, and mankind would kneel before him, or be wiped away.
"Look to the coming of a bowman, for he will herald the start of new days."
Mason knew the bowman would come, but he had prepared, his traps were laid in wait, for he was not going to allow anyone to get in his way. There would be new days, but they would not be a bowmanís. The new days belonged to a new empire, his empire, the Empire of Mason Knox.
© Robin John Morgan 2010.
The rise to power of Mason Knox