The Ransom of the Manta King

Attention all Ears:

I’ve set up a Myspace account to share some of the songs from a concept album I’m in the process of creating.  The album is called “The Ransom of the Manta King”, and tells the following story:

The Ransom of the Manta King
An Undersea Electronic Opera from The Jukebox Hymnal

The year is 1877.  The Kingdom of Coral is in a state of turmoil.  King Alfredi has allowed his Chancellor, the Whale Dreadfin, to usurp almost all power.  The rich lead decadent lives of affluence while the impoverished masses labour in the factories of the reef.  Dissatisfaction among the workers grows daily, especially among the poorest and most marginalized, the Morays.

Already, secret meetings have taken place among the workers, and a daring plan has been developed.  The Morays have resolved to kidnap the Manta King and show him the suffering of the workers firsthand.  He will only to be released on the condition that Chancellor Dreadfin resigns and leaves office forever.

However, Alfredi resides in a palace that is guarded by a regiment of Barracudas.  The Morays decide to strike during the Moontide Festival, as the King travels to his Winter Palace at the Upwelling of Mindesa.  The Morays plan to attack the King’s retinue with a throng of five hundred eels.

The King’s Barracudas surround the royal party on all sides, but when the Morays streak from the lightless depths beyond the reef, they are caught by complete surprise.  The water is stained crimson with the blood of fishes and eels.  For a moment it appears as though the Barracudas may triumph, until Morays separate the King from his retinue and drag him into the catacombs beneath the reef.  All that remain are the floating dead and a single scrap of kelp, upon which are written the Morays’ demands—the ransom of the Manta King.

Dreadfin responds by sealing off the entrance to the catacombs and surrounding the Moray City.  Workers are arrested, imprisoned without trial, and some are dropped into the Abyss and crushed by the weight of the deeps.

Riots erupt among the workers, who infiltrate the factories and even the coral villas of the wealthy elite.  The reef is awash with blood.

From the relative safety of the Royal Palace, the Whale Dreadfin considers his options.  He is a career diplomat of great ambition, and recognizes the King’s kidnapping as an opportunity to usurp the throne.  However, to realize his aspirations, it is imperative that the Alfredi is killed.  Leaving nothing to chance, he hires the Starfish Assassin to infiltrate the catacombs and depose the king.

The assassin is discovered by the Morays and executed.  So that the whole Kingdom might know of the Chancellor’s plot, the Starfish is cut into pieces and one leg is sent on each of the five currents.

Shamed and facing certain retribution, Dreadfin chooses to consume the poison of a thousand Puffer fishes.  The action of the poison is slow, and as his muscles seize and he drifts slowly down into the Abyss, he contemplates the life he has lived.

The demands of the Morays have been met, although not in a manner they had foreseen.  After negotiations guaranteeing the safety and wellbeing of the working classes, King Alfredi is released.

Although it will be many years before a relationship of trust is reestablished between the citizens of the Kingdom of Coral, the Whale Dreadfin is dead, and the tyranny that he embodied now rests in the depths of the Abyss.

Track List:

  1. Here in the Undersea
  2. Deep Blue Discontent
  3. Look, They Live in Opulence
  4. Coral Villas Fine and Splendid
  5. The Whale Dreadfin
  6. Morays Unite!
  7. Hatching a Plan
  8. King Alfredi and Retinue
  9. Smash the Factory, Smash the Reef
  10. Starfish Assassin
  11. Old Dreadfin Dies at Last
  12. Negotiations
  13. Something Akin to a Resolution

Click on any of the highlighted songs, or stick a nickel in The Jukebox Hymnal and take a listen.

Enjoy!

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About jackfrey
Jack Frey lives somewhere in Northeast Asia with his wife and two young boys. He finds the letter K to be the most aesthetically pleasing of all the consonants, in both its upper and lowercase forms. Like many of us, he is currently seeking publication of his first novel.

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