NO GREATER FURY
In the camp of the Vindavians a soothsayer by the name of Estron played at dice with a few of the infantry. He was a conman all his life from the desert lands of ‘Soravia.’
Even now he wore the robes of a gentle priest using them to win his way into the homes of unsuspecting villagers, by way of their purses, their tables and the beds of their daughters.
“I win again!” he said triumphantly, taking the coins from the disgruntled soldiers.
It angered them that he appeared to win constantly. Only when he placed the coins within the folds of his robe that the swordsman next to him noticed that he still clutched something when he withdrew his hand.
Clawing Estron’s fist open, all watched as a pair of dice fell into the middle of the small circle.
“Cheat!” the swordsman exclaimed.
Hands swarmed over the stricken seer and wrenched him to the ground. He winced as the point of a dagger flashed above him when he heard the rustle of a tent flap, where stood the king, holding a silver chalice.
Everyman man immediately stopped what he was doing and bowed before the Vindavian monarch, ‘Natas.’
There was strength to him in his broad chest and heavy arms. As all his kinsmen, he was tall and pale of skin, graced with blue eyes. His hair was closely cropped and blond, enhancing a clean shaven jaw seemingly carved in granite. It seemed that Natas was inordinately handsome as if blessed by an elder god. The only thing to mar his appearance was the livid scar on his throat which gave him a guttural rasp as he spoke.
All trembled as his eyes drifted in their direction for all knew that if the king gazed on any one for more than a moment then they would be the object of his anger.
“What transpires here?” he gurgled noting that his seer was involved yet again.
One of the soldiers were about to speak but Estron interrupted.
“Well my king, we were playing dice and chatting away when the subject of ‘Tonunda’ arose.
Would you believe that these sons of Vindavia actually spoke on how much they admired the savage?
Of course I objected to this…” the seer trailed off as the king’s eyes scanned his men.
All color drained from their faces, expecting to feel the point of Natas’ sword yet felt even more unnerved at his unprecedented restraint.
They bowed, leaving him by his tent while Estron retrieved their abandoned winnings and prudently left in the opposite direction.
“Your craftiness will be the death of you one day!” rasped the king after the retreating conman, knowing that the seer had manipulated his anger to his advantage.
Alone at last, the king strode to the brow of a nearby hill, overlooking the ‘Pentraca’ river where the Nusalleans were encamped.
Only one thing angered him more than being manipulated by Estron, he mused. It was the small king of the north men. The feral one whom his men had seen run and hunt with dogs like any wild beast ‘...Tonunda the Savage.’
So lost in his thoughts was Natas, that he failed to notice the walls of his chalice yield and collapse within the grasp of his hand.
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