Tharon, after a heated argument with the two kings of the Kingdom of the Nords, he heads to Tihr to seek refuge and shelter from his friend and brother Fendrel. They together decide to go back to Swadia, in order to seek revenge on the people who had brought misfortune and destruction on them.
A True Friend
“So this is my story” I said to Fendrel, after sharing the details of my last encounter with the two Kings.
I took a sip off my beer, trying to understand what Fendrel had in mind. After a short while, he broke his silence.
“These whoresons just refuse to leave us live in peace” he said angrily, hitting his fist on the table.
“Are you okey, dear?” asked Caitlyn, hearing the outburst of her husband.
“Yes, I am fine, thank you. Nothing to worry about” he reassured her.
She didn’t seem to buy that, but she left us alone.
“So, no kings, no armies are going to help us” I said after some time. “What are we going to do?”.
“What do you want to do Tharon?”.
“I don’t understand”.
“It’s a rather simple question. What do you want from these people?”.
My eyes grew darker.
“I want revenge”.
“Then, I will be with you along the way”.
“But why? We have nothing, we are probably going to lose. I cannot put you at risk. You have a wife and a child”.
“Tharon, when you found me back at my home at Azgad, what did I have? Nothing. Everything I have achieved now, I owe them to the fact that I met you and I traveled with you. So, do not push me away now. We are together in this. It is time for our warband to assemble again and triumph against our enemies!”.
This is Goodbye?
It was time we were on our way. Fendrel and I prepared the horses, took some supplies for our journey to Uxkhal, which was about to last for a week and of course, armor and weapons. Caitlyn was helping us prepare, calm and smiling on the outside, but at the inside, I was not so sure that she was alright with me talking her Fendrel away. We got ready at last and mounted our horses.
“I hope you come back safe” Caitlyn said to her husband, with worry in her voice.
“I will, don’t be afraid” he smiled at her. “We have been through worse, isn’t that true, Tharon?”.
I smiled too.
“You worry too much, dear Caitlyn. If someone gets to kill this man, it has to be someone like me”.
She said something under her teeth, that I couldn’t quite understand, but if I heard correctly, it was something like “that’s what I am most afraid of”.
At our first night, we made camp 10 miles after Jelbegi. We did not want to stay in any village, because we did not any unwanted attention. For dinner, we went hunting. Fendrel turned to still be a deadeye shot. He hit our prey from 165 feet away.
“You are still good with the bow” I said with genuine admiration. “For someone that has become a housewife”.
We both laughed.
“Who do you think provides for the meat at the tavern? It’s good exercise, but also gives me the time needed to get away for a little”.
“Do you regret any of this?” I asked.
“No, of course not. It’s just… I just want to have an adventure again”.
“That was the reason you agreed to come with me” I realized.
“Part of it. But I really want these bastards suffer”.
We arrived at Uxkhal late at night. Because of our tiresome journey, we headed to the nearest inn, just a few blocks away from the main gate of the city. Although the late hour, the city was still alive. Mostly drunkards, but it seemed that we arrived during a festival. We entered the cozy inn and got a table. The innkeeper came soon after.
“What would the fine gentlemen want?”.
“First, the best meal you can make and lot of beer. And after that, we would like a room”.
I tossed a small pouch with denars. He seemed happy with the sum. He should be, because the money was a lot more in comparison of what we ordered.
“Good man may I ask you something?” asked Fendrel, before the innkeeper went on to his business.
“What is the occasion of celebrating?”.
“We celebrate the great victory of our king Harlaus and our lord Despin, against the traitor Tharon, the greatest threat the empire had to face” he replied and left us.
I smiled at the thought of thinking of me as their biggest threat, because they were not wrong there. But the rest… The fact that my own people celebrated my defeat, it was painful for me. I quickly took out my pipe and put some tobacco in it.
“Thought you quitted smoking” he commented.
I lit the tobacco and sucked the smoke into my lungs and then poured it directly to his face. He seemed annoyed but smiled anyway.
“Please don’t do that ever again”.
“Or what?” I teased.
“Or I will not be your friend anymore, friend”.
“Eh, well, I what is one man less”.
“When you have only two men in the army, it’s half the army” he said.
With a Friend Like This
The next morning, we left the inn, with a sole purpose: finding Delinard. By asking around, we learned that my ex-father-in-law, was a city captain.
“How the mighty fall” commented Fendrel, upon hearing this sad news.
We found him patrolling around the main market square, barking orders to his soldiers around him. We went near him, with cloaks covering our heads.
“You haven’t changed a bit, old man” I laughed behind him.
He turned immediately, probably recognizing my voice.
“Tharon, you son of a bitch, you are still alive!” he exclaimed and hugged me.
“Keep it down, we learned that we are public enemies nowadays”.
We sat for a little and chatted of times past. After a while, after I told him that we were actually undercover, he laughed.
“Really? A cloak? That will make you stand out, not blend in” he commented, seeing our outfits.
“Told you so” said Fendrel, smiling, while eating some nuts.
“I am sorry, but it is not every damn day that we plan something like that…” I tried to find an excuse for myself, but Delinard raised his hand to stop me.
“And what is exactly your plan?” he asked.
“We want to start a rebellion. And take down the king”.
“A noble, yet stupid cause, son. How are you planning to do that?”.
“We hoped that you could help” said Fendrel.
“And how would I do that?”.
“We were expecting you, of all people, to tell us how YOU, can help US” I replied.
“Tharon, my reputation was ruined after Despin and Grainwad associated me with you. I have nothing. Even my daughter was taken from me. I am sorry, but I have nothing else to offer you”.
My eyes met the floor, from pain and embarrassment too.
“I understand” I only whispered.
End of the Road?
After a short time of silence, I spoke up again.
“So, we reach a dead-end” I said, with anger building up inside me.
“Not so quickly” said Fendrel. “What is the easiest way of killing a snake?”.
“Crushing its skull” Delinard answered.
“What is your point?” I answered.
“Well, my friend, by creating an insurrection, you try to kill the snake from it’s tail, one piece at a time. Killing Harlaus, meaning crushing the head, will throw Swadia into chaos”.
“It is not a bad idea. This job does not require many men. Just the two of us would be fine. But one question remains. How do we infiltrate the castle? As far as I remembered, the security of the palace is the best among the keeps of the realm”.
“Follow me” said Delinard just then and started walking down the main road.
We looked at each other.
“Are you just going to stand there and look at me like idiots or follow to the man that can give you answers to your questions?” asked Delinard angrily.
Without more delay, we followed him.
Reunited with A Friend from The Past
We arrived a short while after, at the biggest tavern of the city, at the back of the main square. Although some people were looking at me and Fendrel suspiciously, I didn’t believe they realized who we were. In the tavern, at the booth, there was Talion, the old Merchant of Praven. Upon seeing him, Fendrel, like a good son-in-law, hugged him. They laughed and we sat down at the table, while Talion ordered some drinks and something to eat.
“Don’t worry, everything is on me today” he told us.
“Business goes well?” I asked.
“Although it has been a rough 4 years, since our little scheme, I had been able to stand back up. And I have to thank Fendrel for that too”.
“A soldier and a good merchant” I laughed. “You are full of surprises old friend”.
Fendrel just smiled and drank his mead.
After some time, Talion cleared his throat.
“I imagine that your visit is not only of a social character” he noticed, looking at Delinard.
“They want to kill the king” he said, while lowering his voice.
Talion almost spit his drink out of his mouth.
“Are you insane?” he asked.
“No” I said with mere determination. “We are committed. And we need your help”.
“You have a wife! My daughter! And you are okey with this?” Talion started asking Fendrel.
“I know this seems risky and idiotic maybe, but we have to do this. Swadia has haunted all of us long enough” Fendrel replied. “We all have lost something dear near this tyrant. Delinard lost his position, but most importantly his son. You lost your home, Talion. Tharon lost everything he achieved. It’s something that needs to be done”.
“I understand” said Talion after some time. “So, where do I fit in?”.
“We need access to the palace” I said to Talion. “Of course, we cannot go through the front door, nor we have the equipment to climb the rocks behind the palace. Do you know a way in?”.
“I know a way out” he answered.
“What do you mean?” Delinard asked.
“I mean the sewers. You can go out of there, through falling in the water from the tunnels, but I do not know if it’s possible to climb back up”.
“It’s a longshot, but it has to make do” Fendrel sighed.
We stayed and spoke for a long time during that night. When we left, we could see the first rays of the sun appear on the horizon. Once we were outside, Delinard went to his horse. I wanted for some time to ask him that, but I couldn’t say if it was a good idea or not.
“How is she, Delinard?” I asked the old man.
“It’s better not to tell you, child. And I would prefer if you stayed away. I know it may hurt you, but if you go to her, you will hurt many more
“So will you, go find her?’ Fendrel asked me, standing beside me.
“No” I answered to his surprise. “The old man is right”.
I turned to the direction of our inn.
“Come on, old friend, we have work to do”.
A week after our visit at Uxkhal, we were finally at Praven. And to be most specific, on the sewers of the palace, as Talion had suggested.
“I would prefer to go head on and knock Harlaus’ door” said Fendrel, with a grossed face.
“That would result in your death” I replied.
“That was the point, dumbass”.
Finally, we reached at the point that Talion mentioned. It was great for an escape from the inside, but difficult to climb, especially because of the slippery walls.
“Well,” I said after noticing the passage, “Back on the wall and legs in front”.
“It will exhaust us” Fendrel said.
“Yes, but we have no choice”.
“Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all…” he said.
“Fendrel!” I shouted at him.
I came close to his face and grabbed him behind his neck.
“No backing down now! It’s now or never! We will take our lives back!”.
“Let’s do this”.
It appeared quite easier than we thought it would. It was only around 15 meters tall, so after some minutes, exhausted we reached the private bathroom of King Harlaus.
“Good job my friend” I said to Fendrel. But before I finished my sentence, the door opened, and a dozen soldiers came in.
“Weapons on the ground!” they shouted, while pointing at us with crossbows. “Now!”.
We complied. How did they know we were coming? How did it happen?
Soon after, we were in front of a smiling Harlaus.
“You are such a lost cause, Tharon” he said. “Appearing in Uxkhal, talking with Delinard, and you thought no one was going to notice? You should count yourself lucky though. He is still alive at my servant’s dungeon”.
I grunted my teeth. I had been blinded the whole time.
The Death of a Friend
“This is it, dear friend!” laughed Harlaus. “This is where it all end! From the very beginning, my friend, you were digging your own grave. All these self-centered actions, where do you think, they were going to help you?”.
I was trying to think fast, of a way to free Fendrel from the soldiers. He looked at me in the eye. He was calm. “I am fine” he said with his eyes. “I am at peace with myself”.
Really, Fendrel? You are at peace? When you left your wife for my stupid plan? When you are going to leave your child grow up without a father?
“Yes!” shouted Fendrel, like he was reading my racing thoughts. “Your cause it’s just. But do not waste other lives on it. My sacrifice is enough!” and saying this, he grabbed the knife from the soldier that had pinned him to the ground and with a quick thrust, opened the soldier’s throat. Blood came from the wound, blinding Harlaus for a brief moment.
“Here’s your chance!” Fendrel shouted angrily at me and then turned to the king’s bodyguards, who were attacking him.
“Come on, you bastards!” and raged on them, slashing and cutting down several of them.
Time slowed down as I was trying to think an escape route. And then it hit me. Behind the palace walls there was a cliff, leading down to the sea. In front of me, there was a window. Without a second thought, I picked a shield from a mannequin, and raced to the window. It broke, under the force of my push. The last thing I saw, was Fendrel falling, being stabbed again and again, from Swadian soldiers.
“I will avenge you, brother…” was the last words I said, before I hit the water and lost my consciousness.
You should be a part of a contest for one of the greatest blogs online. I am going to recommend this site!