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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

By mick dawson



Togullen, chronicler to the king, looked up at the latest statue to be brought to the Hall of Heroes. The plaque read, “Zorava.”

It was taller than the others by at least a head as he was not Nusallean, but came from the island nation of Pendara.

Many had been the time that he had seen the charismatic fellow regale the crowds with his exploits. There was always a ready smile, even in the face of adversity. It was no wonder people flocked to him for his personality alone and the men under his command held their courage.

He studied the statue, knowing that it did not portray him as he was in the present, but as the pirate that first came to Nusallean shores. No; today he wore the blue tunic of admiral; the first of the newly convened Nusallean navy.

There was one thing that Zorava could never change. Permanently affixed to his right wrist was a cutlass blade where his hand should have been.

Perhaps people chose to forget because of his uniform, but Togullen felt that the blade was a constant reminder of the man’s true nature.

“Admiring the likeness?” sounded a cheerful voice from behind.

Togullen, recognizing it as Olleton’s; turned to bow. It was not unusual for his king to make impromptu visits to the great hall.

“Aye my king; it is an accurate image.”
Olleton looked back from his admiration of the statue, grinning broadly.

“To think of all the good he has done for Nusalle,” he said exultantly.

“Aye my king,” Togullen muttered.

“You do not share my enthusiasm,’ said Olleton, although Togullen understood the statement to be a question.

“Zorava is your closest friend. It is not my place to say my king.”

Olleton sat down on a bench set aside for the public.

“I have learned that if my people fear me then I will never learn their true thoughts,” he said softly. “You Togullen; are the father I have never known. Will you not tell me?”

The chronicler lowered his head, dreading the next few moments. Olleton was a man who thirsted for knowledge like no other. It would be a matter of time before he would have the truth.

“Speak to me,” Olleton insisted.

Togullen merely stared; unable to give a response.

“Does this bother you?” he queried, pointing at his crown.

His hand suddenly tore it from his brow and flung it to the floor.

Togullen watched the gold hoop, skip from the wall, breaking free at least two of the encrusted gems. He stooped to retrieve it.

“Leave it!” shouted Olleton.

When his eyes returned to his king, he saw him glaring. There was no malice in the stare. Olleton’s meaning was clear; Togullen was speaking to a “friend,” not to his king.

“He does not belong in the same hall with champions; such as these,” Togullen retorted angrily.

“Why? He leads our navy and protects our coast. Not to mention that he has a fishing fleet in the port of Garan, employing hundreds.”

“My king forgets that he has murdered one of your friends. That he had abducted you and the queen and has ravaged our coast for years.”

“And if I had not forgiven him; would he be the man he is today?”

Togullen dropped his head wearily.

“No,” he said defeated.

“He is a Christian now; as are you. If Jesus can forgive him, then so must you.”

Sighing gently, Togullen nodded.

“It seems that you are called “Olleton the Wise” for good reason. I will learn to forgive him,” he said, forcing a crooked grin.

“Come then,” beamed Olleton, clasping the older man’s shoulder. “Let us drink together in your office,” he said, leading him down the corridor. “And you are wrong about another thing; you are my closest friend.”

“Aye my king?”

“Indeed; and I was thinking of putting your statue up in the great hall.”

“I am afraid my king, that people would find the exploits of an old scribe uninteresting.”

“Ah, but in my account of “Togullen the Great” you will be ten cubits tall.”

“And will I be able to fire thunderbolts from my eyes?” he tittered.

“Of course.”

The two men broke into laughter.

Togullen mused over the previous conversation as they walked, bearing a single thought. He realized that it did not matter where a man began; it was only important where he finished.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 04/23/09
I enjoy your additions to this world you've created. Your ending is powerful and full of wisdom!
Bryan Ridenour04/24/09
Entertaining read...well done!
Lyn Churchyard04/25/09
This was great! I could hear their voices as I was reading. You've revealed a whole new side to these two characters as they discussed what Zorava was in the beginning, and what he is now . Well done!
Josiah Kane04/25/09
I really liked the way these two talked to each other, as people rather than subject and king. And of course your message of forgiveness was nice two. One fairly minor thing was your use of the word "aye" coming from the scribe. Itm being Swashbuckler jargon, switched my mind to thinking that the admiral was talking, and that threw me for quite a while yet. I guess that while dialogue is a powerful tool, it takes in many ways more care to master than anything else.
Lollie Hofer04/26/09
Great story with strong dialogue and a sage ending. Well done!
Joshua Janoski04/30/09
I loved how the king threw down his crown to show that he was a friend. The last line is chocked full of wisdom, and there is so much truth to it. I'm loving every bit of this world and it's inhabitants. Keep these tales coming!