The details of our plan were discussed, debated and then decided upon. The biggest detail we needed to work out was what were we going to do with all the people; there would be a few hundred people at the banquet. We had plenty of rope to tie them, there was more rope at the palace, and there were also some linen bags at the palace that we could put over some heads, but where to put everyone? Thankfully, there would be many more of us than of them.
Paco talked to another guard that he trusted and this guard suggested that while the people were asleep, we unarm them and move them into various rooms in the palace with guards at each door. We would have plenty of men to guard everyone, especially since they would be unarmed and tied up.
My father suggested that we hold trials immediately, starting with Shim and his closest associates, with execution by hanging for those who would not repent and swear with an oath that they would support the previous laws. My mother gasped at this proposal and tears flooded her eyes. Even though Shim committed many atrocities, he was still her son. My father held her close as tears also flooded his eyes. My mother pulled back, looked at my father in his eyes and told him to do whatever he needed to do, even if it was putting her son to death. She had to give him to God and let God take care of him.
Everyone, especially the men, in our village knew exactly what needed to be done. As many details and scenarios as possible were well thought out. The men were organized into groups of ten to twenty men and each group had a specific assignment, a specific place to go in the palace, a specific room to guard. Those groups were organized into larger groups of about 100 men. There were leaders for each group, all ultimately reporting to me, Paco, and my father.
During this time of planning our escape, Paco and I redeveloped the bond we once had when we were small children. I finally could completely forgive him for what he did to me and my family. I knew his repentance was sincere and complete. I knew he was right with God and that God had forgiven him. Paco was doing all he could to make amends to me, my family, and our people. His transformation was miraculous.
The day finally came for Shim’s banquet. Shim wanted his guards and taskmasters to have one of the best banquets of their lives. The decorations were elaborate. The food was exquisite; much of the food coming from our people. The scantily dressed women were beautiful. The wine was a bit stronger in its potency–just enough to be strong, but not noticeable to those who drank it. The winemaker had the juice that Esther prepared and put it in all the jars of wine.
We were given a strict curfew and were told that if any of us left our huts and tents after sunset, we would be taken prisoner. I was concerned about the curfew and the guards that would be guarding us, but Paco assured me that all the guards were defectors. And besides, there would not be as many guards as there should have been. Paco talked Shim into having fewer guards, but some of his best and strongest guards, so more could attend the banquet. Besides, we had the strict curfew.
The banquet time arrived. The soldiers and guards, dressed in their finest apparel, headed to the palace. We were able to see a few before the sun set. As the sun set, we went into our huts, awaiting the word from the guard Paco had in the palace. This guard was to come and tell us when everyone had fallen asleep.
Paco recounted to us what happened. The feast was amazing. There were many different types of meats, breads, cheeses, and fruits. However, before the guests began eating the food, Paco made sure that everyone had wine. He offered a tribute to King Shim! He offered tributes to the guards. Others began to offer tributes! Some tributes were even for the women who were there for entertainment. Many of the guards quickly became quite infatuated with the women and began to drink more wine. They gave the women more wine, as many had high hopes to appease their infatuations later that night.
About 30 minutes after the first tribute, all in the banquet room become drunk and very sleepy. They enjoyed the festive atmosphere, but one-by-one dignitaries, guards, and entertainers fell asleep. All fell asleep except those who knew about the wine; those whom Paco trusted.
Paco quickly sent the messenger to us. Those who were on guard helped us to retrieve our weapons and ropes. Most all the men, some of the older boys, and a few women headed to the palace in anticipation. My father led the way, walking side-by-side with his wife and sons, me, and Paco.
We walked directly into the banquet room as Paco assured all guards at the palace also received wine. Everyone went straight to their assignments. We tied everyone up and put the linen bags over Shim, his associates, and as many of the high ranking guards as we had bags for. They were so well tied that we knew there would be no way to escape. Our people moved many of the prisoners to their various rooms while Paco and I led our father and mother back to his throne where they both wept. They knelt down and prayed aloud, prayed mightily in thanksgiving to God for their deliverance. We all knelt down and prayed, thanking our God for delivering us out of the captivity of Shim. We then sat down and enjoyed the feast! We let all who came with us enjoy the amazing food that Shim had prepared. The winemaker brought us weak wine that had not be tainted with the juice for us to drink.
Because of the strength of the wine, Shim and those who drank the wine took longer to wake up than it did for me and the other volunteers. But, we were ready for them! Knowing how I felt when I woke up, feeling exhilarated, we wanted to be sure that Shim and his people, if they woke up feeling the same way, would not be able to over take us.
After close to 24 hours from the time they took the first sip of wine, some began to wake up. As they awoke, they were disoriented, feeling like they had a hangover. We figured that the disoriented feeling was due to the strength of the wine. We were grateful for this as most did not have the desire to fight. While the banquet attendees were waking up in the various rooms, our people told them what happened and how my father was back on his throne. Many, even in their weakened state, shouted for joy! We did not realize there were so many who opposed Shim! Unfortunately there were some who cursed us, but those were not as many as we expected.
We gave Shim and his associates and all those who attended the banquet time to become more coherent so they would comprehend the trial they would face. Shim was first. He was brought to face our father and his bag taken off of his head. Father asked Shim if he was willing to give up his nefarious ways and follow the commandments of the land. Shim looked away from him and said that he could never do that, then spat on the floor. Father reminded Shim of the testimony that he had when he was young. Shim, with hate and evil in his eyes, said that he never had a testimony and there is no such thing as God. Father reminded him that the punishment for the atrocities that he committed was hanging. Shim dared our father to hang him. With tears in his eyes, he sent Shim to be hung.
There were several conducting the trials as we had so many people to go through. Father took care of Shim and his closest associates. There was only one of them who wanted to change and follow the laws of the land. He gave his word that he would never rebel against the king again and would follow the laws of the land. He was let free, but all the others were hung. We wept for the loss of life. Too many were hung that week. Many who were not closely associated with Shim gave us their oath that they would support my father and support the laws of the land; we were grateful for that.
It took time, many months in fact, for our society to return to normal. We had a lot of trauma that needed to be healed. Even some who originally followed Shim had trauma that needed healing. We again began to be prosperous, always remembering from whom our prosperity came from.