Togullen, chronicler to the king, stood by the first statue in the Hall of Heroes. He gazed for an eternity at the expectant faces of the gathered children in the great hall. A grin curled his lips at their prolonged silence.
“I will tell you all of a tale. One which I have called…”
THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED
Two lines of men stretching for leagues, spanned across the plains just outside the village of the Dog tribe.
The men of the southern line, the Vindavians, were taller than their northern counterparts. As they were from the colder lands, their skins were paler. All of them were blue eyed with either red or blond hair tied in ornate braids. Most of them were scarred and bearded, staring as battle hardened men across no man’s land.
With sword and shield in hand, they waited as their king rode to meet with the northern monarch; a man whom they had come to refer to as “Tonunda the Savage.”
Tonunda rode to meet him. His chancellor rode beside him, thrusting the Nusallean standard into the earth to signify the truce. The southern king’s escort followed suite.
Removing his bat-winged helm the southern king studied his enemy. His closely cropped, sandy hair crowned a visage with deep blue eyes and a clean shaven jaw seemingly carved from granite. His appearance seemed god-like, much like the statues portraying the legends at his palace gates. All that marred his appearance was the livid scar which ran vertically down his throat.
“So I get to meet the barbarian that has thus far thwarted me,” his voice gurgled.
Tonunda by comparison was much smaller. Like all Nusalleans his skin had burned browner under the northern sun. His jet black locks fell around his shoulders, draping onto the links of his hauberk. Brown eyes should have gazed at the king of the south. Instead; eyes of jade green stared back at him, reflecting his very nature; wild and untamed as the bushland that was originally his home.
“My king says that he is willing to negotiate peace with you Natas if…” spoke the old woman at Tonunda’s side.
“Can he not speak for himself!” interrupted Natas.
“Alas no; my king has been raised since he was a babe among the dog packs. His voice has formed in such a way that human speech is impossible.”
“Then you are no more than the feral savage that they say you are,” rasped Natas disgustedly, turning his horse. “This is the last of your army; I will destroy them soon enough.”
“My king says to wait!” called the chancellor frantically. “He says that too many have died; let there be no more!”
“That is war; so what of it?” asked Natas disdainfully.
“He says let there be a contest of kings!”
An evil grin darkened Natas’ face, evolving into an unholy rumbling which Tonunda assumed to be laughter.
“You would actually give your life for these…sheep?”
“This pleases me. I had hoped that my sword would find you in the battle; agreed,” he said, alighting from his horse and drawing his two handed sword.
Tonunda slid from his saddle to the ground, drawing his axe from his holster. He scanned the men of both armies, before donning his helmet and looking back at his foe in the black ringed hauberk. For the first time, he knew fear. He had never felt so alone before.
As he ran to meet with the southern king’s charge, a thunderous tumult filled the air as swords hammered against shields…
“Tonunda won that day,” continued Togullen. “But my king had suffered many injuries from Natas’ blade. I chanted his name in the streets with the crowds when he returned in triumph. I saw him get off his horse and I watched him walk a few steps, then fall.
Like everyone else, I stared, not believing, as if Tonunda dying was reaching into the realms of impossibility. He gave his life so that we might live, just like the king I serve now.”
“King Olleton,” said a young girl excitedly, referring to Nusalle’s current monarch.
“No,” answered the scribe softly, shaking his head. “This king is greater. Although Tonunda is the greatest warrior to ever tread the earth, he will never rise again, but my Lord rose from the dead three days later. His name is Jesus and just like Tonunda, He was the stone which the builders rejected.”
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