With the generations of judges that have passed, a new generation had come: one of
them was Caleb, the judge of instruction, was the nation’s new leader in all things holy,
right and true. The borzoi hound of the rightful age of forty, was frequently found
carrying a copy of the holy writ under his arm (just for show); ready at all times to
expound some great encouragement to anyone who salute him throughout the day. He
was very much liked and dared not to hinder his popularity. The Shavronites, although
aware of their history, were not overly inclined to hear about “ obeying God’s”
commands, repenting (if they knew what it was), or other things dealing with the Holy
One. In fact it was beginning to bother them that the any preacher in Shavron would
waste the time to remind them of the “ old ways”.
Caleb agreed with his fellow Shavronites, and made it an official edict to have only the
“encouraging parts” of the Holy Writ spoken openly, and any violation of this, would be
an instant removal from the pulpit and payment of a heavy fee. Needless to say the
edict was unanimously obeyed.
This judge had one relative that he had legal been given to him due to honoring a will of
his late brother. The arrangement, although an act of honor, was not welcomed by
Caleb himself, but he had given his word to adopt his niece Esta if anything has
happened to her parents.
Her history of her abandonment is far beyond this story and will be left out, but in short
her parents had died in light of their service to God. Esta was very young when this
happened, and could not remember them. She only knew of her Uncle Caleb, who did
his best to care for her from the age of two. Esta never believed he truly loved her. She
was a mixed breed (or mutt) and Caleb, although not outrightly belittling her, he never
praised her for doing good, or read her a bedtime story, nor did he buy any toys for her
to play with. She was extra baggage or an obligation thrown on him by Shavronite
society; and Esta felt it deeply by the way Caleb treated her. However, she was given
food, and nice bed to sleep on, and was sent to school to learn. Caleb would always
remind her to do well because,
Although she had no toys to play with, she did find one thing to do. Whenever her uncle
was out or sleep, she would always read the Holy Writ that he carried under his arm. In
a way it intrigued her, and wanted to know what was in it. At first, she was unable to
even understand the verbiage; it was as she said to herself, a bunch of gobbledygook.
However she wanted to know what was in that big book, and in a childlike way asked
God to help her. One day, she came upon a story of Glory. She read the four accounts
that told of his birth, life, death, coming to life again, and his soon return. For Esta it was an amazing tale, that she believed deeply; and just for fun, she memorized every detail
with such skill that she could tell anyone without even thinking about it.
As the days passed, Caleb thought it would be good to get some fresh spring air at the
park. Usually, Esta was left behind to tend to the chores, but today she was met with a
“Get dressed Esta. Let’s head to the park!”
With in seconds she was standing before Caleb with a big smile on her face.
“I’m ready!” she said clapping her hands.
“Aren’t you bright and cheerful,” her uncle said
“I bet its bright at the park too.” she said grinning. “With games, and rides, and food,
“Let’s get a move on.”
As they traveled to the park, a horse drawn carriage came up beside them. Esta noticed
the elegance of the cart, and the horse pulling it was groomed with such gaudiness that
Esta thought royalty was on the road, and in fact, it was. The door swung open and out
from within the carriage appeared a impressive asiatc black bear, intimating for them to
get on board. Sheepishly, Caleb (with Esta following behind) did so, and after instructing
the horse to proceed they were on their way.
“Good morning Ursus,” said Caleb, “How are you today?”
“I’m doing fine my dear judge,” said the bear in a deep baritone voice, “I’m am glad I
was able to catch up to you. And who is this young one?
“My niece, Esta. Say hello, Esta.”
Esta wave. Ursus lowered his head to acknowledge her.
“So where are you two headed?”
“Esta, please---too much information.”
“The park!” said Ursus smiling, “I was headed there myself. In fact your uncle and I are
going to talk about a lot things at the park.”
Instantly Caleb, glared at the orange and blue crest hanging comfortable around
“Really?” said Esta, “Like what?”
“That’s enough, Esta,” said Caleb nervously breaking into the conversation. “Just be
quiet now. Ursus, a little mercy until we arrive.”
The bear gave a clever smile and taking his hand he made “zip-like” motion across his
Gideon's Gallery, the park named after the famous judge of battle, was the usually
attraction for most of the city. Jugglers, and musicians lined the walkways to entertain to
receive profit from any patron in their sights. There were merchants selling farm goods,
and cooking fine meals. Children ran together with kites or played tag on the wide
grassy plains. A Penny-Farthing (A bicycle with one large wheel and a smaller one)
passed near them, and Esta giggled at the silly sight.
Another attraction was gradually gaining popularity: steam power. With this popularity,
every serious and half witted inventor did their best to take advantage of this new form
of energy. There were steam carts, steam engines, and steam instruments. So it wasn’t
a surprise that Esta insisted that she ride the “steam merry go round”
“Please, please, please, please,” Esta said tugging on her uncle’s arm.
“Esta, it cost ten dollars for one ride, its too expensive.”
“You’re the judge of instruction,” she said rolling her eyes, “I know you have money.”
Caleb gave his niece a stern look, however, the protruding lip, big puppy dog eyes, and
incessant whimpering made him yield.
As he was watching Esta on the ride, Ursus addressed him.
“You’ve done well, Caleb. The council is very proud of you. We were beginning to
“I gave Shavron what it wants.” Caleb said looking around. “What more do they want?”
Ursus put his large heavy hand on Caleb shoulder, the hound seemed to buckle under
“No.” the judge said with little confidence, “The judge of battle and commerce may have
succumbed to that, but I’m not a monster like they are. Just because you have two
crests around your neck, doesn’t mean you get to boss me around.”
“Whoa whoa! Don’t get all high and mighty now,” said Ursus, “You became a monster
the day you stopped preaching truthfully. I may not be a believer, but I’m not ignorant of
what that old book says. Besides,---”
The conversation was interrupted by Esta, whose merry-go-round time had ended.
“Can I go again, Uncle, please, please, please!”
Ursus pulled out a large money note and handed it to Esta.
“As many times as you want.”
“Thank you, sir.” she said running off.
Ursus turned his sights back on Caleb.
“The Shavronites are beginning to be doubt your loyalty. You could lose everything by
the end of the week: your money, your title,......your life.”
Caleb gave Ursus a frightful stare.
“That’s right. You know Shavronites are prone to dispose of its leaders in violent ways.
All it takes is a little nudge. Do you really want to hang from a rope?”
Caleb brought his trembling hand to his neck.
“Alright. I’ll sign any document you want.”
“I don’t need you to sign anything.” said Ursus, “We’ll have an official ceremony and I
need you to sell something.”
“Sell something? Sell what?”
Ursus’s eyes darted over to the merry-go-round. Caleb eyes followed.
“You said many a time in the council meetings that she was a thorn in your side.” said
Ursus, “You resent her because she’s a half breed and you know it. Giving her up to the
Child Trade will show the Shavronites that you’re serious. Once you do, Shavron will
become the richest nation in the world, the money that will pour in will be beyond belief--
and you’ll be praised for it. I will make all the arrangements. Remember Caleb, you can’t
fight the world. It’s either you or her. Make a decision.”
It was time for recess. The students were let out into the open yard to play games and
to enjoy some relief from the ardent studies placed upon them. Tag, jump rope, and
hide and go seek, were just a few of the games that gave the children some means of
relief from the drudgery of learning new subjects. Esta quickly joined her usual group of
friends to play her favorite game of hide and go seek. No one was able to beat her and
the youngster relished in fact that she was undefeated. The game went on as usual, but
unaware to the children, were higher stakes at hand than just bragging rights.
Watching from a distance were two kidnappers watching closely at the children,
positioning themselves far away from the open yard, but still in sight of their target. The
first was a male cheetah( of whom you’ve meet before), who carried himself in such a
charismatic mood that his nickname was "Slick" although he preferred not to called
anything at all expect by his true name: King.
King's sleazy demeanor stayed with him like a bad rash. He had a sleazy smile, a
sleazy look, and if sleaze needed a representative, King would win the vote. With his
name, the cheetah considered himself a patriarch within his repulsive occupation. King
was a trapper (slang for kidnapper) who stole and sold children to work in factories,
fields, and other places to deplorable to even mention.
The cheetah sat patiently as any predator would, watching the children playing, and
taking note of their movements. He finally spotted and knowing his orders, he turned to
his partner in crime with a slight smile.
“That one right there," he said pointing at Esta, “Ursus wants this done quickly. I’ll make about two grand on her. She do well for a house slave or saloon waitress.”
His helper was a veteran to this type of work as well, although quite young in age. Since
she was a year old, Pogisa moved from house to house, factory to factory, and
sometimes country to country as she was bided out as a worker to the highest buyer.
She was a child slave and had faired much better than some of her peers by learning
how to survive and thrive in the vile industry she was sold into. She was a beautiful,
smart young elephant with an addled soul. The lying, cheating, and treachery gradually
corrupted her, and she was just as sleazy as King.
Now at the tender age of three, she was smart as any adult, if not smarter (for elephants
are quiet intelligent) and had gained some notoriety at her trade, although cautious as
not to overstep her bounds in front of her superiors; and when she did, a few lashes
reminded her of her place. Those marks were covered by a dingy ,decorative drape she
wore over her back to hid her punishments. She held in her trunk a yellow ballon.
"You know what to do," said King to Pogisa. "Make friendly with her, use the balloon, and get her near me. I'll handle the rest. Now, move!"
With the nod of her head, Pogisa went in pursuit.
Esta turned in freight, but her fear quickly disappeared whey she saw the young
elephant with the balloon in her trunk.
"Who are you?" asked Esta.
"Sorry for scaring you. I'm Pogisa--I'm new here--its my first day of school." Pogisa started prance in place excitedly, "Ooh! Hide and Seek, its my favorite!"
"Shhhh!" went Esta as quietly as she could, "You'll give my position away. I'm the champion and I'm not about to lose today."
Pogisa moved closer to her.
"Good spot to hide, they'll never find you here." she said softly.
"Its the best hiding spot in school."
"Wow, I'll remember that, what your name?"
"Esta," she said and then took note of the balloon, "Nice, where did you get it from."
"There's a cat giving them away. He has a bunch of them!" Pogisa said spinning in a
circle, "Red, blue, pink, and green! He has ones that have pictures on them too! You
want one its not that far--oh, wait-- what about your game?"
Now Esta knew better as not to leave the school grounds, and better yet, she knew
better not to trust strangers, but Pogisa had quickly earned her trust and besides, Esta
was tempted to get one of those pretty balloons.
"Half the time I'm bored anyway," said Esta, "We'll be back before the schoolmaster calls us."
"Perfect, come on! I'll show you the way."
So off they went talking and laughing as if they known each other for years. The young
elephant frequently looked behind to ensure that no one one would hear or see them.
When the open yard was out of sight, Pogisa suddenly stopped.
"What's wrong?" said Esta
"Oh, I forgot," said Pogisa sighing, "There weren't many balloons left when the cat gave me this one. They are probably all gone by now. Hey, you can have mine if you want?"
Posiga present Esta with the balloon.
"I insist." said the elephant extending her trunk further , "You're my new friend. Besides, every champion deserves a trophy."
Esta winced in pain as she pulled to break the elephant's hold.
"OUCH!" she screamed, "STOP IT!"
"I'm your friend," said Pogisa coldly, "Don't you trust me?"
Pogisa's eyes drew upward to a figure behind Esta. The elephant's grip loosened. Esta
pulled back, bumping into King.
"Hello, little missy!" said the cheetah.
Instantly, a cloth of chloroform came over Esta's face. She swooned and passed out
into the arms of the cheetah. King tucked her under his shoulder and disappeared into
the neighboring brush with Pogisa trotting right behind him. With the new cargo in hand,
King quickly made his way through the back woods.
“Wait up,” Pogisa said running as fast as she could. “You know I’m not as fast as you
King continued to run through the wood until he arrived at a horse drawn wagon. Esta
was placed inside and covered with a tarp. Pogisa final caught up, and was nearly out
of breath when she arrived.
“Let’s go, slowpoke!” said King growling at her, “I told you we needed to be fast.”
“Ok. ok,” said the young elephant getting into the cart.
King gave a few orders to the horse and the wagon traveled briskly down the beaten
“King, why did you grab her anyway?” said Pogisa lifting up the tarp, “She’s not much to
King gave Pogisa askance, the young elephant quickly turned her gaze away.
“Don’t worry about why I took her.”
“It’s pretty bad when you uncle turns on you.””
“So!” said King irately. “What do you care?”
“I don’t, just saying that’s all.”
“Well stop saying anything,” was the cheetah’s sharp reply. “Be quiet and keep any eye
on the new merchandise.”
standing nervously in the place of Esta. Caleb’s first thought was that she had gotten
into trouble. The judge was already formulating a plan of punishment as he addressed
“What did she do? Talking during class. Running in the halls.”
“I wish she did do something.” said the headmaster barely able to form his words, “Esta
is.......She has been.....We believe her to be.......”
“What,” replied Caleb beginning to worry, “What’s happened to her!?”
“We can’t find her,” said the first teacher, “She’s not in the school or around the school
grounds. She may be lost or......”
In the back of Caleb’s mind he knew that Ursus was behind it all. The bear has followed
through with the plan. As not to divulge the arrangement he made with the bear, Caleb
told the faculty not be alarmed and that a public announcement would be made. The
following day Ursus with the council held a an open meeting in the public square. Caleb
explained his support for the Child Trade, and also relinquished his position as judge of
instruction. The green crest was given to Ursus, thereby making him, the first High
Judge in Shavron. There was round of applause and then Ursus took center stage.
It would take pages to explain every lie that came from the bear’s mouth, but by the end
of the speech he had the entire crowd believing that Esta had been a heavy burden to
Caleb and that the Child Trade would help youngster to be productive.Strangely the
sunny day, quickly became cloudy and a drench of rain sent the crowd away. Caleb
decided to do the same, but the new High Judge called him.
“Hold on,” Ursus said, waving him back, “I have something for you.”
Caleb came over and was handed a check for five hundred dollars.
“Its for your niece. You won’t have to worry about her any longer. Use the money as you
Sheepishly, the hound placed the check in his jacket pocket; and without another word,
he proceed home through the downpour.