Tharon heads back to Sargoth, were he is faced with a dilemma. He wants revenge, but in order to do that, he must denounce his loyalty to his kings, Ragnar and Rothgar… And not only that, but beautiful Myra, will be an accountable factor for his decision.
When I returned to Sargoth, I sent my soldiers back to their stations and immediately went up to my room. I did not see anyone for four days. I barely ate, I barely slept. And when I did sleep, I had only one dream that would visit me. Harlaus, Despin and Mirchaud on their knees and me above them, with sword in hand, ready to take revenge on what they had deprived me from. I wanted blood, I wanted to make them pay me back in kind! But then, I was always waking up alone, soaked in sweat, closed up in four walls. I was alone, with no one there for me, for standing up with me. At the fourth day, I heard a knock on my door.
“I said, I want to see anyone!” I shouted in rage.
The door opened and my blood run cold. At the door was Myra, looking down on me, covered in filth, as I had days since I last took care of myself. She looked around, at the parchments that I had left here and there. During my self-isolation, I was drawing maps of Praven, of the districts of the city and a blueprint of the king’s hall. I wanted my revenge to be well planned, and I was fully committed to do so.
“What on earth are all that?” Myra asked.
“Not your business” I replied, grabbing one of the parchments off her hands.
She looked at me with disbelief.
“If someone spoke to me like that, let alone grabbing something away from me, it would be 100 lashes at the very least. You are lucky I sympathize with you”.
I did not answer. I went to my bed and grabbed a shirt to cover my upper body.
“What do you want, princess?” I asked wearily.
“Today is my father’s birthday. It’s important to show up” she replied.
“That’s an order, right?”.
“In an hour, you should be downstairs” she said at last. “I took the liberty to prepare a bath for you. I was expecting you in this… situation. Also, trim the beard, darling, it does not flatter you at all”.
With these things said, she left.
I did as she commanded. I went and took a bath, alone. In contrary with most people in the whole continent, I despised the fact, that you should use others to have yourself cleaned. I mean, how useless of a person are you, to make someone rub you? Especially when I was at inns, I was truly enraged when some loyal cunts wanted to have young girls give them a bath, in order to “have fun” with the poor women. And the worst part? Everyone else was okey with that.
I wore simple clothes, so no one could notice me during the feast. Of course, I took as a precaution a sword, which was supposed to be blunt, but I had real steel in there. Some people already thought that my loyalty against Ragnar, may be in question, so I didn’t want to be upon unwanted circumstances, unarmed.
“Look who is back!” smiled Rothgar, when he saw me coming down the stairs.
I could not help but smile back to him. He hugged me.
“How have you been, son? Myra told me what you learned at Tihr. I am really sorry”.
“Yeah… It is tough to know that everything that have value to you, are now dead or worse…” I sighed. “But life goes on, I guess”.
Loyalty in Question
We did not talk for a minute. After a while, he pointed to the hall’s door.
“Go and stand beside Ragnar. He said he wanted to talk to you”.
“Will do, my lord” I said, doing a small bow with my head.
A servant opened the door and I entered. Thankfully, no one announced me, so nobody actually realized that I showed up. With no further ado, I went straight for the throne of Ragnar. Seeing me, he took a cup, filled it with sweet Nordic wine and gave it to me.
“Next time you come back from a mission I give you, you will report to me” said Ragnar, with his smile still on his lips. “A soldier came to announce your arrival”.
“You knew where I was, if you needed me” I said aggressively.
He turned and faced me, with cheeks burning red from his fury, upon hearing me talking back to him.
“Shut it, Tharon, you are in the wrong here. During those days, I found a trait on you. Loyalty! Should I reconsider?”.
I was about to answer, but he did not let me.
“Loyalty is a rarity those days and I deeply value it at men like you. But some malicious men are questioning this loyalty. Please do not give them food for those ill thoughts”.
I nodded, although I did not really care for what he just said. Loyalty was the last thing that I cared about.
“What do you want of me?” I asked after some time of silence.
“There are some ambassadors from all over Calradia. We shall hail them”.
“From Swadia too?” I asked.
“Yes. I need you to behave yourself. After all, I doubt you have ever met this lord”.
“For your own sake, Ragnar, I hope I have not”.
We saw the ambassador of the Sultanate, who gave as a gift a beautifully carved sword and the ambassador of the Kherights, who gave to Ragnar a magnificent steed.
“I present to you” said the announcer, “the ambassador of the Kingdom of Swadia! After 20 years of warfare, a Swadian sets foot at the palace of Sargoth! Lord Grainwad, you can make your acquaintance with King Ragnar”.
Upon hearing his name, I closed my fists. Seeing his hateful face, awakened my hatred for him and his family. I reached for my sword, but Rothgar appeared next to me and grabbed my hand.
“Don’t!” he whispered to my ear. My grip relaxed, but my hand did not leave the hilt of my sword.
Graiwad came in front of Ragnar and made a bow. He then looked upon Ragnar and I could see his eyes almost gauge out seeing that Ragnar was still alive. Nevertheless, he found his composure.
“King Ragnar, I wasn’t expecting you…” he started to say, but Ragnar stopped him.
“Expecting me alive, perhaps?” he asked smiling.
“That would be the appropriate words, it seems” Graiwad agreed, with a forceful smile. “And you found a stray dog, I see?” he laughed, upon seeing me.
“You will address an esteemed general of the Nordic Kingdom with proper respect!”.
“You must be Rothgar” said Grainwad, with a smirk still on his face. He then turned again to me.
“You know, dear boy, Elina is in good hands. My son keeps her satisfied. Thank the gods the bitch cannot make babies. I would not want an inbred in my family”.
I was in the verge of bursting. Ragnar realized that.
“Tharon, boy, you my leave” he said giving a dead eye to Grainwad, saying to him to actually shut up.
Denial of Loyalty
I started walking towards the exit. But Grainwad had make up his mind to insult me.
“You know, sometimes, I use her for a ride… And I can’t say if she likes it, but I certainly do”.
I charged at him, sword in hand. And I would have killed the bastard, if two guards had pushed me and drop me to the ground. Rothgar, drew his sword too, just pointing it to our esteemed guest.
“Apologize!” he ordered.
“Why?” Grainwad laughed. “You cannot lay a hand on me! If you do, Harlaus will be here, wrecking you again, like he did last time!”.
“Why, you filth… you low life cunt… I will hunt you down and kill you like the dog you are…” I angrily said to him, showing him my teeth, while struggling to escape from the firm grip of the guards.
“Grainwad, my good lord” said Ragnar, standing up from his throne. “You should leave the Hall”.
“Should I now?” Grainwad continued mocking.
“Yes!” interrupted Rothgar. “You should. Or I will have your head. Trust me when I say, I do not care if whole Swadia comes against me. I will kill you, if you don’t leave right away!”.
Grainwad thought that, even if Rothgar was bluffing, it was best that he left.
“Goddamn brutes” he said and spat on thew ground.
When he left, the guards let me get up.
“Do not ever do that again! Am I clear?” shouted Ragnar to me.
“Why? Are you going to lick the boots of the next man I try to kill too?”.
Although I knew that I was out of line, I did not expect Ragnar to hit me hard in the face. My lip got busted and I started bleeding.
“What happening to you?” asked Ragnar.
It may was an honest try from him to approach me and make amends that I should have listened, but at that moment, I was not able to think straight.
“I don’t know, maybe if you had ears and eyes you would now that I have lost everything most dear to me!” I shouted at him.
“And that gives you the right to provoke war and lead millions to suffering?” he asked back.
“What would you do if Myra was taken captive, or if someone killed on of you kin, huh?”
“Kid’s got a point Ragnar” said Rothgar, after a long time without intervening.
“And so what? For what are you defending him? Sending our people to shed their blood for the revenge of one man?”.
“For justice!” I shouted angrily. “The most valorous of all! Or Harlaus boot is so far up your ass, that you forgot what you stand for as a Nord?”.
Ragnar froze at his place. He looked at his feet and shook his head in disappointment.
“I see it was a wrong thing to do taking you in”.
“Or you just changed into a worse leader” I said.
“Tharon stop!” Myra stepped in. “You are not yourself”.
“That is true dear daughter” said the king. “Go away, Tharon. And come back only when you find yourself”.
“I will come to show you how wrong you are. Fuck loyalty! Fuck the Nords! You are not worth me, or my talents. Either way, with your help or not, I will have my revenge!”
And by saying that, I stormed out of there.
Loyalty Was Never the Option
Myra rushed out off the Hall Room, trailing me.
“Where do you think you are going?” she shouted angrily.
I continued to walk with a fast pace, not wanting to face her at that moment, but eventually, she caught up with me. Before I could turn to face her, she punched me hard in the face. Momentarily, I blurred out, as my nose was hurt, but furiously grabbed her and put her against a wall. Two guards, who saw the scene came onto me running. To my surprise, Myra stopped them.
“Crach, Gunnar, go back to your posts. Me and the commander are just having a disagreement”.
The soldiers looked at each other and then turned to their posts, leaving us alone.
“You gave a vow to Rothgar and to my father! Does your loyalty, your own words of honor mean nothing to you?” she growled to me.
“I have honor!” I replied.
“You are about to betray us for your own selfish ways!”.
“You cannot achieve revenge through loyalty, or other bullshit Myra! Get your head out of your ass!” I lashed at her.
“So what?! You used us all those years?”.
I stopped and tried to catch my racing thoughts. She did not let me reply though. The things I said were hurtful and I knew that. But revenge was my ultimate goal. Nothing could stand in its way.
“I have to go” I simply said.
“Where to? Are you out of your mind? You will go against the whole Swadia army all by yourself?” she argued.
“If I have to! Yes! I will do anything in order to make these bastards take from me!”.
“All those years, you never revealed this side of yourself…” she said, more calm, sad even.
“I never forgot, Myra… How could I?”.
She lowered her head.
“The purpose of humans is to go forward, rebuild and heal. This applies to you too”.
I refused to look her in the eye. For all that it is worth, she could be the only reason to stay at Sargoth and lead a good life anew, forgetting everything.
“I cannot do that. I am no ordinary man. Some things just stay with you, and you have to resolve them. My problems will be resolved in blood”.
“You know better than anyone that the circle of blood is never-ending. After Harlaus and all those who betrayed you, others will come for you and then you will go after them” she argued. “At how many deaths will it stop?”.
“Many. But I am willing to pay that price. And I have others to help me. People that their loyalty cannot be bought!”