søndag den 1. juni 2014

The Empire of Zun

The Empire of Zun started as a beautiful idea, at least in principle. When Zun rebelled and the people followed him, it was to make a better life for themselves. In some ways, I guess they did. At least no one is starving, everybody, or at least almost everybody, is equal. But do they like this life? I have visited more than one of the trade cities of Zun, and everyone I met seemed fed and in good health, but not one of them seemed happy. Resigned might be a better word for their state of mind. I do not know, but something is definitely off.
Maester Rickaff, Hall of Knowledge, year 5734
About 500 years ago, in the lands now part of the Empire of Zun, was a great many small kingdoms, all led by greedy and self-centered kings. In one of those kingdoms lived a monk named Eric Zun. He belonged to the Temple of the Earth Dragon, a temple built on principles of helping each other and sharing with those who had less.

After 10 years at the temple, Zun took upon himself a pilgrimage around the kingdom, visiting the many remote villages, most of which were struggling with hunger. What he saw broke his heart so much that he travelled straight to the capital and gained audience with the king. Zun passionately told the king about the state of his country. He thought that surely the king, who had so much, had to be unaware of how bad things were out there. But when he had finished his story, the king merely laughed and told him to leave.

Zun left, now determined to do something. On his trip home, he devised an idea on how to help people. He simply applied the principles of the Temple of the Earth Dragon more broadly and to everybody, Zun convinced his village to do so. The concept was simple to understand. Everybody would share everything they owned equally, all decisions would be taken in unison, for the good of all.

Of course, that meant rebelling against the king and refusing to pay taxes. But once implemented, the concept spread like wildfire, from village to village. It worked, mostly because since everybody were suddenly accountable for the collective wealth, everybody worked harder and helped each other more. There was as synergy at work that most had never experienced before.

Civil war followed, and once that was won, the neighbor kingdom soon followed, and then another and yet another. Zun died of old age, many years later, but at that time, there was already an Empire of Zun. Empire might not be the most correct way to describe what they have, but it was the name chosen.

Of course things had already changed somewhat during his lifespan. There were a lot of laws, for the common good, jobs were assigned to a person when he came of age, houses were torn down and rebuilt so that everyone lived in exactly the same way and each area had a committee appointed to make the big decisions. Since then, many more things have changed, for example, the inhabitants of the Empire of Zun no longer worship the gods. In fact, as far as we know, they do not worship anything, except perhaps the common good, the collective. But it is hard to know, as few of them travel outside of Zun and even fewer of them speak of how things work there.

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