The Would Be King

                                            

It was a normal morning in the rolling fields of Vadrefjord, the sun was rising but it wasn't promising to be a warm day, typical weather of Hibernia. Octavius, or his birth name Ortyg, was out hunting for the feast later that night. The feast was a celebration for the crowning of the next Jarl, which happened to be the young hunter. He had insisted on catching the boar and deer needed.

Octavius reached the forest which he hunted regularly, although shouldn't. He was being trained in the art of war, to fight the Saxon empire which threatened to encroach on his soon to be land. As he walked toward the forest edge he noticed a large stag eating grass at the very edge. He dropped down low and crawled slowly towards the animal, luckily the wind was coming towards him, carrying his scent back the way he came. Once he has closed the distance he took his bow, knocked an arrow, slowly got to his knees and took aim, drawing back the string. "You'll make a fine meal." he whispered to himself.  He held his breathe and let the arrow fly. He watched as the arrow shot through the air, spinning and piercing before burying itself in the chest and heart of the stag, instantly killing it. He smiled and stood up and just as he began to walk forward he heard it. A wolf howl. Not just any howl, this was the cry of something different, not entirely sure of himself he hastened and ran to the stag, cut off the pieces he didn't need and began dragging the carcass back to village. He makes it about 20 paces when he hears something thundering through the forest toward him.

Suddenly a huge wolf, unlike any he has ever seen erupts from the tree line, trailing smoke and embers as it pounds across the land. Octavius' eyes widen, "what in Odin's name.....". He drops the stag carcass and sprints away from the oncoming wolf. He can hear it getting closer and closer, the growls and barks of the huge beast as it closes the gap between them. As he runs, he unsheaths his knife in case the beast drops him. He runs as fast as his legs can carry him, vaulting rocks, ditches and leaping a stream or two. He doesn’t stop to catch his breathe, this creature is on his tail and he isn’t keen to be sent to Valhalla just yet.

Octavius runs through a maze of rocks on the outskirts of his village, he can see the wall and just as he lets out a cry to the guards on the walls, the beast side skirts him and drives him hard to the ground, hitting his head on a large rock.

 

As he floats around in his unconsciousness he hears the words of his father, the King of Hibernia:

“When I reminisce about all those years, I see many things. Life and death strung together like the mountains and valleys in which we lived.”

The words echoed softly throughout his mind.

“I see many things, but mostly I remember our songs…we sang as if to drown out the sound of clashing swords, as if the battle cries fell silent, because war, my son, had lost its meaning.”

Then darkness of his mental cavern claimed the words back into his memory.

Those were the words of a man who had lost everything, a man forced to leave his homeland and search for a new beginning; he found it here in Hibernia.

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