Not the Parable (Part 4) – The Downfall of the Dragons

The Downfall of the Dragons

The Dragon family used to be an established and respected household in the neighbourhood. Their ancestors were inventors, artists, musicians, philosophers, and merchants. They worked hard in order to give their descendants prestige, wealth and most importantly, land for development, farming, mining and self-sufficiency.

Because of the family riches, they regarded themselves as superior to all the others in their neighbourhood. A few generations had been living off their inheritance and bygone glory. They became egocentric, self-absorbed and refused to recognize that their neighbouring communities and the world had changed in a drastic way.

The ancestors canonized a code of conduct for the family to follow. The family had to be loyal, respect and obey the elders as authority without reservation. The code was supposed to keep harmony with all family members and nature. That was the reason why the parents, especially the mother in this era, ruled the household like a tyrant.

It was extremely rare that women became the head of the household. It happened only once a very long time ago. The father who inherited the family land was called Wāc. His father died when Wāc was young. Since he was the only son of his favorite wife, Wāc took control of the inheritance and became the head of the household. Wāc’s mother died from a mysterious illness shortly after he inherited the household fortune.

Wāc was a weak man, physically and emotionally. He was an asthmatic and often sick. His mother knew she was the most favoured wife. She hired many servants to help her to raise Wāc. She made sure that Wāc had the best food, medical help and education passed down from the ancestors when he was a child. He never had to go to the field and laboured with his hands. He never learned how food came from the farm to the table. He did not even know apples were red and bananas were yellow because fruits were always peeled for him.

Wāc could not make a decision by himself because his life was arranged for him. He grew up indecisive. He was fearful of making mistakes because he would not want to upset his parents if he failed.

Wāc’s uncle Ipo, the brother of Wāc’s father, stepped forward and took over the mentorship of Wāc. Ipo had significant control over how Wāc ran the household. Most of his half-brothers did not agree with this arrangement but they respected their late father’s will because of the code of conduct demanded of them.

Ipo decided he would take total control over of the family assets. He arranged his niece Mercy to marry Wāc. Ipo thought Mercy would further his influence and control Wāc.

Mercy should not be the name given to this young lady. She should be named No-Mercy. Mercy murdered Ipo a week after the wedding and took control of the family business operations. The evening after Ipo was killed, Wāc was suffering from an acute respiratory failure because of his asthma. Wāc eventually recovered but Mercy became the de facto decision maker of all the family affairs. Wāc hardly show up for any family business meetings. Mercy always gave the excuse that Wāc was too sick to come. He would occasionally show up for festivals, cultural events and birthday dinners. He seldom talked to anyone except his overprotective wife. He looked pale and never smiled.

The family business was already stagnated when Wāc’s father was in charge. It deteriorated quickly under the management of Mercy. She never ventured out of the family-owned estate. Her only news source relied on her self-indulgent friends who cared only about fashion, jewelry, and fine dining. Mercy’s parochial attitude did not gain any friends outside the family estate.

Mercy noticed some of her friends were wearing fashions and jewelry which she had never seen before. They told her that those items were exchanged with Kenneth and Norman for the camellia grown on the farms of her friends. She wanted what her friends had and more. She then allowed limited business dealings with the Rice cousins.

Wāc read the Rice advertising of papaver through the family members. He tried it and it seemed to ease his respiratory problems. He also experienced seeing visions and vivid dreams when he was smoking papaver.

Soon most the family members were addicted to papaver. The family exchanged much of the food, produce, and raw material they extracted from the land for papaver to satisfy their addiction. Their riches were gone to the Rice cousins.

Mercy attempted to stop the family members to buy papaver. She sent her servants to burn down a warehouse where the cousins stored papaver. The servants did burn down the warehouse. However, most of them were also papaver addicts and could not fight their way out of the chaos and were captured. The well trained security force beat up the servants sent by Mercy and demanded compensation for her actions.

Mercy signed a debt obligation of four hundred and forty million taels of aurum. Also, they had to give up one of their children, Fragrance.

To be continue…

© Ngok Yeung Lai. All rights reserved.


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