TAB: Quest for a Dying Ember
Quest For a Dying Ember
Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four
The old king sat dying in his bed. His frail arms folded in his lap surrounded by the most luxurious adornments anyone could hope for. Seeing him in such a state one could never guess that he was the very king who united the fractured kingdoms. The man whose strength and cunning was that of legend. The same man who rode into battle after battle and emerged victorious, always victorious. After uniting the warring states under one flag all that was left to do was run the country. As the military leader he was the obvious choice to rule. Strong, a true warrior, he was someone everyone could look up to. But not everyone did. No, though the kingdom was united by name and law there were still some who wished things were different. But the king tried not to worry about that. In a kingdom of this size it is impossible to make everyone happy. If he thought about it too much all he could feel was guilt and a king has no time for guilt nor reason to submit himself to such weaknesses. The wounds of the past were best forgotten.
He had done a good job running this country. The economy was booming. From the fish in the south to the Northern mines, the grain from the east and the ports in the west, money flowed in and out of the country and for the most part everyone was happy. Everyone had a place in this society and it worked. Those at the top worked hard and were rewarded with riches, but no place was permanent. People make mistakes and everyone knows that sacrifices must be made.
Yes, it was a good era and a long reign, but now the king sat dying in his bed with no one to take his place. No son or daughter, for she had ensured that long ago. A king must have his enemies and this nemesis proved truly formidable.
The king wished he could extend his rule. There was so much more progress to be made, but it was not to be. The curse coursed through his veins quicker than any natural sickness. The sickness sapping his strength day by day, he lay withering away. What great irony it was that the very things that once made him the fiercest now diminished him to nothing. Had he known the repercussions of his choices maybe he would have done things differently. Yet, there was little to be done at this point for soon the king would die and someone else would take his place. So he sat waiting, thinking, planning, until he found a solution.
There was one thing he could do. It would be risky, but in the end the trouble would be worthwhile. Yes, this was the only way. He slowly lifted his arm and clutched the pen at his bedside table. Slowly, deliberately, he drafted a proclamation that could change everything.
A royal proclamation:
The King is in search of an heir. Any person of sound mind and body may compete to win the throne upon his majesty’s death. We must warn you it is a treacherous journey not for the faint of heart. All wishing to compete must appear at the palace by sunset on the first day of summer to receive their instructions.
Duty, honor, justice
His majesty King Cassius