After the death of Fendrel, and ultimately defeated, Tharon returns to the Kingdom of Nords, only to find it lying in ruble… Sargoth was overrun by his enemies.
13 Days Later.
After my escape from the highest of windows of the palace of Harlaus, I do not recall what happened the next 13 days. The last thing I remembered was me hitting the water and engulfed by the waves. I woke up in a hut, which was later revealed to me that it was at the village of Azgad. At first, I did not remember anything. The impact with the water had hit me hard.
“Where am I? Where is Fendrel?” I asked the old lady that was looking after me.
“Relax, lord Tharon, you are safe for now”.
“How do you know my name?” I asked while I was grabbing my head, trying to stop the hammer inside it.
“You are in Azgad, my lord. Fendrel’s homeland” she replied.
“Fendrel, right… I came back to Swadia with him by his side” I said, trying to fill in my memory gaps.
“My lord… Fendrel is dead… Don’t you remember?” she asked, without looking me in the eyes, probably because of her pain for the words she just said. Or plain anger towards me, as I now recall this moment.
“What?! How?” I asked.
“In the palace, my lord, when you tried to assassinate the king. Since then, he decreed that you are an outlaw and enemy of the state. A true Swadian should execute you on sight”.
My memories came back, like a flowing river, hitting me hard. I grabbed my head from the exquisite pain that I was suffering and fell on the ground.
“By the gods…” I murmured in my tears flowing from my eyes.
I tried to stand and look at the woman.
“Why haven’t you killed me yet? Why not end my suffering?”.
She did not answer.
A Suffering Well Deserved
“How long am I here? How many days?”.
“13 days my lord”.
I could not believe it that I have been pinned down here for far too long.
“I must leave” I decided, speaking my thoughts, out loud.
“In your condition? You wouldn’t last a day,” said the old lady.
“Believe me, I have survived worse case scenarios”.
“I do not doubt it. It’s your choice anyways”.
She stopped for a minute while she was watching me dressing up. When I was done, I reached for my sword.
“What will you do now?” she asked.
“I will take revenge”.
“Don’t you think it is time to think beyond yourself?” she snapped at me. “Many people that followed you, now lie dead. How many more you want to bury? How many childless mothers or fathers are you going to make?”.
I was just standing there, unable to say anything. After a minute of silence, the only thing I did, was to reach for my purse.
“No need to pay me. All your debts are already paid” she said, with a smirk on her face.
“By whom?” I asked, like the idiot I am.
“By you. We used your coin for your stay in our village. Do not be afraid, we only used the amount necessary. We may be poor, but we have our honor intact”.
“I appreciate it”.
“Take a horse from the stables, you are going to need it”.
When I reached the door, I looked back at her.
“Who are you? You did not tell me your name”.
“Why do you want it? Does it matter?”.
“It matters to me”.
“My name is Phara. Mother of Fendrel” she said at last and turned her back to me, probably because she did not want to see her crying.
The Journey Back
The journey lasted around 17 days. Usually, a journey of that length, lasted around five to six days. The problem was that, firstly, I was alone and secondly, Phara was right. I was in no condition to travel at this point. Many times, I lost my senses or fell from my horse. I was a day’s length away from the village of Aldelen when I lost my senses. I remember waking up next noon, covered in vomit. My mouth and eyes were dry, and my stomach felt like I had swallowed ashes. Thank the gods, there were a lake nearby and I went there to clean myself. Then I took off my clothes and washed them. After I was done, I went into the freezing water. I have to say, it’s true that I almost died there, but the water really helped me get over my situation.
I was afraid that bandits may steal my rations or worse, my horse, but nothing as such happened. Although I was feeling a lot better than before, I decide to make camp there, beside the lake. I had a nice sleep that really helped me. The problem was that I slept for the entirety of the next day too. And I was not going to risk travelling alone in the night, with all the bandits and wild animals out there.
The journey, although the difficulties continued. I had passed Rizi and I was approaching the hills of Tihr. Behind them, someone could see the city from afar.
“At long last… My troubles are over” I thought when I gazed upon the huge walls of Tihr.
But when I learned what had happened while I was away, it made wish that I had not made the journey back.
Sargoth has Fallen
During the 12th day of my journey, I reached Tihr. From the situation there, I could tell that something went horribly wrong while I was away. I saw soldiers running up and down, officers barking orders, civilians getting into the city walls for protection. I was riding on my way to enter the city, ask the governor about what was happening. And then I saw her. Caitlyn, helping other people get inside the city. She was still smiling.
“She did not learn about me. It’s not a good time to tell her”, said Fendrel, standing right next to me.
I forgot to mention, that during my trials with my health, I hallucinated. I started to see and speak to Fendrel and although I knew that he wasn’t real, it was a pleasant company during my lonely journey.
“Go away, Fendrel. Now is not the time” I said back to him.
“Whatever you say man. After all, I am inside your head. I am actually your voice of reason” he laughed.
“Gods, even dead you are still a pain in my ass” I murmured and spurred my horse away from the city.
I learned nothing from Tihr, so nothing could prepare me for the spectacle that I came across, when I reached Kwynn. I saw fire and smoke. People were running, while riders were chasing some of them. Others were burning houses, killing or raping the women. I almost fell of my horse and pulled my sword. I stopped a man, villager most probably, who was running for his life. When I grabbed him to stop him, he attacked me, because he thought I was an enemy. I managed to stop him.
“I am Tharon, my good man. Relax! Keep calm!”.
“Lord Tharon! We thought you were dead!”.
The Last Day Of Sargoth
“I am very much alive, my friend” I assured the man. “Now tell me what happened here! Who attacked you?”.
“Vaegirs demons sire! They came ten days ago. Today they managed to breach the walls and overrun the defenses! They are killing everyone! We have to run! Now!”.
He went to flee again, but I grabbed him even tighter.
“Where is Rothgar with the army?” I asked again.
“Don’t you get it? There is no army! Aldwin
“Who is Aldwin?”.
“Their general. Now please let me go!”.
I granted his wish and let him go. Then, I grabbed my horse and rode to Sargoth. I had never galloped that hard in my entire life.
“You know” I heard Fendrel behind me. “This might be your fault. If you were here at Sargoth, things might be different”.
I did not answer. I only grunted my teeth and rode faster. Soon, I was there, in front of the battlefield of Sargoth. There were thousands dead, and most of them in blue uniform, the color of the Nords. The army most probably, sallied out to meet Aldwin’s army, in a desperate attempt to stop him before he started bombarding the city with his siege equipment. They were slaughtered on the spot. As it seems, the Nordic Main Army Force was not present in the battle. The people lying dead were mostly a city garrison, with some of elite troops under the command of the king.
Some place farther, I saw the banner of Rothgar. It was broken and the sigil was covered in blood. But his body was not there.
“I hope he escaped this carnage” I thought to myself.
Fight in The Palace
The palace was in shambles. Broken glasses and stones everywhere. Some rooms were lit on fire. I had to be careful, not only where I was stepping on, but because Vaegirs were swarming the place. Running like bandits, trying to find anything of value in the rooms, killing anyone who stood before them. My first instinct was to head to the throne room. Two soldiers were in there, looting, and pillaging corpses and crates left and right. Silently I took them out.
Then I saw him. King Ragnar was lying dead, still sitting in his throne, with a spear shoved in him. I walked to him and kneeled before the dead king. I do not know why, but when I saw his ring in his hand, I took it. It was the sigil of his kingship, a symbol like the crown. I could not let this fall to the hand of our enemies. After I took it, I pulled the spear out of his chest and covered him with his purple cloak.
“These savages will pay” I said to myself, as I paid my respects to the late king.
Suddenly, I heard a woman’s scream from the royal quarters.
“Tharon isn’t this Myra’s voice?” asked Fendrel.
Immediately I started running there, sword in hand. She was screaming for help, while other women were crying and screaming too. I arrived there mere moments later. Five soldiers were in there. One, an officer according to his uniform, was trying to assault the princess. Two of them were trying to get their way with some other servants and other two, were cleaning their blades from the blood of their most recent victims.
Breaking Out Of Sargoth
I moved forward and stuck my sword in the scull of the officer, who dropped dead immediately. The soldiers that were cleaning their blades, tried to rush to me, but they tripped on the blood on the floor. When I was done with the other two, I finished them off. Then, I turned my attention to Myra, who were weeping in a corner room. All the other women seemed scared and confused. Right now, they needed someone to get them out of there. I knelt down beside her and hugged her, until I felt her calming down.
“Where have you been?” she asked me, with tears in her eyes.
I did not respond.
“Have you seen my father? Is he alive?” she asked again.
My silence was answer enough for her. She cried again. I kept hugging her, until she stopped.
“Myra” I said to her, calmly. “Your people need you right now. Tell me where we can go, in order to get out of this place”.
She breathed hard and wiped her eyes.
“The tunnels. We must go there; other nobles and many soldiers must be there. It leads to Jelbegi. From there, Tihr is only a two-day journey”.
“You are doing a great job. Gather the women and let’s go”.
Soon we were on our way. We reached the dungeons. There was a trap door, that led to the underground tunnels. All my years at Sargoth, I never knew their existence.
“The tunnels are known only to the royal family and high-ranking generals of the army. They are used only in emergencies” explained Myra. “Like now”.
I helped the women to go down and I went down last. Soon the darkness of the tunnels engulfed us.
The Conspiracy Against the Nords
During our escape through the tunnels, we reached a point just below the throne room.
“I can hear what is happening up there” I said to Myra.
“Yes. From here we have our spiders, our spies, to hear our diplomatic rivals”.
“All keep quiet” I requested, in order to hear more clearly.
I was shocked to hear some people that I would never expect them to be there. Despin and Mirchaud were talking to a Vaegir general, probably Aldwin.
“We got Rothgar captured and Ragnar dead. His army is in disarray and many of his sons died in battle. We can safely say that the Nords are no more” said the general.
“So Rothgar is still alive” I thought with relief.
“What about his daughter?” asked Despin.
“Probably dead or hiding in the palace. She poses no threat” replied the general.
“Aldwin you idiot. If you leave one alive, the people will have someone to turn to” said Mirchaud angrily.
“King Yaroglek will not be pleased, if this attack continues” said Aldwin.
“Unless you want something like that to happen to your country, you will do as we say” threatened Despin.
“You are the one who let this Tharon escape!” argued Aldwin.
After a momentary pause, Mirchaud answered.
“Just do your fucking job. And let us handle the Tharon situation”.
I heard no more. I understood now. They wanted to silence me once again. Once again, the Nords and I were a threat to their power. Harlaus was ready to repeat what he had do 20 years prior.
“See, it’s not all about you. Sometimes is just about power” commented Fendrel, appearing once again beside me.
“Not the time!” I hissed at him.
“To whom are you talking to?” asked Myra.
I had no answer for her.
“Let’s move on”.
A Second Chance
We arrived after a couple of hours in a large room. In there, around a thousand people, civilians, soldiers, and some officers of the army. All were waiting for a leader. Myra was too shaken to speak to her people, she should not be seen like that to her subjects. So, I stood before the people. I saw their scared eyes, seeking a spark of hope from someone.
“Hear me!” I shouted, more than once to make them listen to me. “Right now, your homes are taken from you! You have nothing! Because Vaegirs assaulted your home, in a treacherous attack, from our so-called allies. But there is one thing, that they cannot steal. That they cannot kill! Your spirit! Your will to take back what is rightfully yours”.
I stopped for a minute and looked at them. I heard murmurs. Some agreed with me, others seemed skeptical, while some other were confused and still scared. I took a deep breath, in order to continue.
“I cannot ask you to follow me! After all, I am not your king! I am just like you. A man, a soldier! But I ask to be of help. Let’s get out of here! Tihr is still standing! We can go there and seek the help of our brothers. And then, let’s fight those bastards! Let’s give them a taste of true Nordic steel!”.
The people, with fists in the air, roared in agreement. They were so loud, that for a moment I was scared of the Vaegirs hearing us. But thankfully, they were not. When I was done, I saw Fendrel standing at the back of the crowd. He smiled to me. After that, he waved and disappeared. I would never see Fendrel again.