Clad in nothing but his loincloth, the king’s chronicler, Togullen, rolled from his pallet. Only a single narrow window allowed light into the small domicile which doubled as his office. Shodding himself in sandals, he took a sheathed dagger, dangling by its leather strap from a hook on the wall. Taking a fresh white robe from another hook, he draped it over his free arm and exited through the only door.
Above him, he could make out the sun of the new dawn struggling to rise above the edge of the great hall’s dome. A stained glass scene otherwise filled the dome, depicting a battle between two kings in single combat. Natas, king of the Vindavians wore the batwinged helmet. Like the rest of his kinsmen, he was tall and broad of frame. All had pale skin due to the colder clime of the south. Within the slits of the black helm, one could make out the deep blue eyes, reflecting the ice cold nature of Natas’ soul. His arms reached up, extending from the lacquered black breastplate; hands locked about the throat of his mortal enemy.
Leaning over him, Tonunda shared all but one of the physical features of the Nusalleans. None grew above the shoulders of the taller southmen. They had eyes of brown, black locks, and skin turned to bronze from years spent in the harsher sun of the north. Wearing the hauberk and surcoat of his elite, Tonunda’s long tresses spilled about his shoulders. The savage little king’s hands clutched the wings of his adversarie’s helmet, his every sinew bulging on his forearms.
Togullen wasn’t at the battle. He was a mere boy at the time, but he did see Tonunda’s homecoming and his death. Aye, he shed tears with thousands of other mourners who lined the highway through Nusalle’s capital, Caliet. A procession of the Blue River Guardsmen marched fore and aft of a stone slab being taken to a grave hewn in a local mountainside.
Togullen could make out the slab hovered just above the heads of the mourners. Atop it lay Tonunda in lifeless repose and dressed in the mail of the Blue River Guardsmen. His dead hands clutched the hafts of his twin tribesman’s axes. Out of reverence, either his family or his elite had closed his eyes. They had a unique duality, revealing his gentle nature and love for others, which he displayed for his people, even unto death. But the jade green irises also reflected his fury, wild and untamed as the bushland that reared him. In truth; a concealed cyclone which he released on his enemies with devastating results.
Beneath the slab, Tonunda’s adopted heir bore the burden of the slab alone. His statue stood second in the Hall of Heroes. Tonunda’s death struck him hardest. Nusalle’s second king would allow none of the Blue River Guardsmen to assist him in carrying the funeral slab.
Togullen smiled fondly. Aye, he wept at the time of Tonunda’s passing with the rest of Nusalle, but he chose to think of the sacrifice he made for his people. It was very similar to another king’s sacrifice; the greatest of kings.