IN TIME, MY SON
Zarnog the elderly Lord Chancellor watched on as the king of Nusalle sparred with his adopted son in the palace court yard. He sat on the garden bench leaning on his cane.
They trained with wooden versions of the traditional Nusallean axe. The short hafted double edged heads swished as they cut the air a mere hairs breadth from each other.
Tonunda being the smaller of the two sought the advantage of an upward thrust with the spiked tip but his son batted it aside.
The youth clearly thought to cleave downward onto the shoulder of his father but he twisted aside. It descended almost to the ground as it missed its intended mark when the little king stomped down on his wrist and held his own axe to his son’s throat.
Father and son smiled to break and circle each other again.
In a wild arc upward, the youth swung then spun his wrist and hammered the weapon down.
Tonunda however slipped in his efforts to avoid the blow and fell heavily to his back. His son placed his sandaled foot on his chest and held the axe point menacingly at him.
“Well done, young prince!” exclaimed Zarnog rising to his feet.
Tonunda nodded, getting up.
“Do you think I am ready now to train with the Blue River Guardsmen, father.”
“The king says that you have some time left before you are ready for the training fort.” Zarnog answered.
The prince frowned and trudged off.
‘I fear that my son will not be deterred.’ He pulsed in his counselor’s mind.
“I fear you are correct, my king.” He replied verbally.
The prince of Nusalle paced with all confidence down the lanes of the poorer quarter of Nusalle’s capital, Caliet. He held across his torso the long hafted double edged axe of the Blue River Guardsmen.
A pair of Vagabonds eyed him from the wall of the ‘Dogs Head’ tavern. Gripping the haft tightly in both hands the prince raised the weapon of the king’s elite to his chest, scowling. The two continued their conversation but kept their eyes on the adolescent as he passed them.
‘I will show father that I am ready for the Guard’ he thought to himself. ‘Before the night is over I will dispatch a few denizens of the inner city. I will be a hero. Even then my father will not be able to ignore my efforts.’
A scream pierced his ears. The youth rushed to the source into a darkened lane where he saw a serving maid, but she seemed to be in no peril at all.
Feet trampled behind him and as they did so a wicked smile appeared on the girl’s face.
The prince spun on his heel with his axe held defensively. At least ten of Marad’s henchmen crowded the alley entrance making it impossible to leave. Marad himself climbed on top of a barrel standing by the side window of the tavern. His men stood vigilant with cudgels and knives.
“Ah what have we here?” he cooed. “A king’s ransom?”
A guttural growl sounded from behind freezing, the blood in their veins. At first the sound was mistaken for a maddened dog but when they turned they saw something they feared even more. In front of them with a Nusallean axe in each hand, stood the deadliest warrior of all time… ‘Tonunda the Savage.’
He hurled his left axe past the group. They pulled aside from the lethal projectile. It thudded home into the barrel toppling their leader.
His lip curled back menacingly as he advanced slowly. A threatening growl rumbled from his throat that had been known to cow most beasts of the wild. The group immediately dropped their weapons and melted away as he drifted past them to be with his son.
“I am sorry father. I thought I was ready for the Guard.”
Tonunda pursed his lips in frustration.
He wanted so badly to say, ‘Aye son, I knew everything too at your age.’
But he wasn’t able to. His upbringing with the dog pack had formed his vocal chords in such a way that he found human speech impossible.
Instead he contented himself with smiling at his son and lovingly embracing him.
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