The South used to be a fertile land. The old stories tell of a culture that thrived in agriculture, hunting and carpentry. Proud, tall men used to rule the open fields and a civilization that worshipped peace and nature more then anything populated the vast island continent.
For a long time, The South was the main source of exotic grub and wood fineries for The Kingdom of Rioghachad. Even the mahogany sculptures inside The Fortress were brought from The South, made by the best wood-smith of his age, Obrach Fiodha. He was legendary at his craft. So were many more southerners, but none as great as he was. It is believed that his mastery was granted by the same divine power that Sollsich Aon himself drew his strength from.
A Kingdom of their own, the southerners had. It was called Grian, which meant The Kingdom of the Sun, in the Old Tongue. For centuries, the two kingdoms coexisted peacefully, trading with one-another, swiping skills and becoming more and more a single people. Many had thought it was just a matter of time until the two would unite and form a great new nation, the long-time prophesied Kingdom of Comhla, the Kingdom of All.
But, things were not as they seemed, for envy has made its way into the hearts of some. Among them, Fasach Teiche, Governor of Fiadha, the wildest part of Grian. He was the half-brother of the Southern King of that time, Craiceann Tana.
The two brothers were invited to Bhaile on an official visit by the King of Rioghachad, so they could discuss how their lands could prosper even more. They were welcomed like esteemed guests and served with the best that Bhaile had to offer. Truly, a royal greeting they received.
King Craiceann was impressed by the ways of the Northerners and he always tried to implement the things he thought were better in his own kingdom. He kept telling his half-brother that he wanted to combine the best of both, South and North cultures, and create a superior way of life for all people. He believed in unity and wanted the Kingdom of Comhla to come into being during his lifetime.
Governor Fasach Teiche was more conservative than his King. He saw the relationship between the two nations more like a partnership. Two allies who trade with each other, exchange information or help each other in their hours of need. But, at the bottom of all things, they were still two separate nations, competing against each other for resources and dominance. He saw the idea of the Kingdom of Comhla as a cataclysmic prophecy for The South. He figured that if the two nations would unite, Grian and its people would have only to lose. He knew Rioghachad was superior both financially and militarily to Grian and that meant that it could force its ways and culture into the South as it pleased, destroying in the process the old traditions of The South.
Another question he constantly asked himself was, if it were for them to unite, who would remain king over the new nation? How could his brother betray his people and renounce his birthright to rule? How could he just hand it over to a northerner, a man completely unfamiliar with the ways of Grian? Or, how could the King of Rioghachad do that to his people? This was his greatest fear, that his beloved home, his people for which he fought for, to be simply handed over to a new ruler, just as one would hand over a cow to the man that bought her at the market. Luckily for him, as things were now, a union was not an immediate threat.
But, aside from that, he was also envious of the northerners. His Villa, or even his brother’s Royal Palace, didn’t have such luxuries as The Fortress did. It hurt him even more that most of them were made by southern foremen. How did the greatest masterpieces of Obrach Fiodha end up in Rioghachad? Why do his people from Fiadha have to live in dirt-huts and fight wild beasts in the tropical forests? And that, while these arrogant northerners have access to luxuries for which his people had bled, or even died, trying to obtain them.
He spoke to his brother about these things, about how he thought that Grian was used by Rioghachad only as a tool. He argued that the northerners don’t look at them as equals, but more like convenient savages, whom they can use for hard work and dangerous tasks without putting their own people at risk. He told Craiceann that The South was worth much more and, if the two nations should unite, it was The South that should govern the new kingdom, not otherwise.
King Craiceann was a good-hearted man, and a very rational one as well. He pointed out to his brother that his arguments weren’t entirely wrong, but also that he didn’t see the whole reality of the world. He said that yes, the people of Grian worked harder than those of Rioghachad, but that was of no fault of either the southerners, nor of the northerners. No one was to blame that the more foul beasts made their lair in the South. Or that the South had a much more fertile land and that meant that they could grow enough food to sustain the needs of the North as well. That was a blessing! It was of no one’s fault that Rioghachad had mountains filled with precious rocks and metals. It was simply how the world was, and the best thing to do was to acknowledge it and make the most of it as it was.
Governor Fasach was not convinced by his King’s arguments, but he was loyal beyond doubt to him and his country.
Time went on and one day, Governor Fasach invited King Craiceann to Fiadha to go hunting together. It was a good way to put their political and social duties aside for a couple of hours and just be brothers again. They were in a dense part of the forest, looking for prey when they heard movement to their right. It sounded like something big, but agile, a wild boar maybe.
Craiceann’s eyes glowed with excitement and he rushed to the right with his bow ready. Fasach was surprised by his brother’s reaction and was caught unready. He wanted to shout to his brother to wait, but he didn’t want to scare off the prey. Something didn’t felt right to him, but he had no time to think about it. He rushed after Craiceann and got his own bow ready. The forest kept getting darker and the trees grew thicker. He was unable to see farther than three or four meters in front. Something was clearly wrong as it was mid-day. How could it get so dark so fast? He whispered the king’s name, but he received no response. He called him louder this time, but still no answer. Fasach was getting scared and he didn’t care about the potential prey anymore. He shouted loudly his brother’s name. Again, and again, until his voice started to dwindle and his lungs to sore, he kept screaming Craiceann’s name without any form of response.
Then, a deafening cry came from his right. He rushed to the source of it and what he found on the forest floor would forever change him. King Craiceann was laying on the ground, with his eyes wide open and his mouth as it was still screaming, but he was motionless. He had a deep cut on his neck and he wasn’t breathing. His bow was next to him, but he had no arrow ready.
Not more than eight meters away, Fasach saw another body. It was facing the opposite direction and was laying on its face. An arrow was rooted in its back. Fasach went to it. He turned it on its back and saw a pale man, with dark hair and ragged clothes. He was holding a knife with a bloody blade in his right hand. He searched the body and found a small piece of paper in his trouser’s pocket.
“Kill King Craiceann and The South will be ours. Too long have those savages made fortunes of our backs. It is time for Rioghachad to take charge of the Island.
You’ll find him in the forest with his half-bastard brother. Make him think he heard a wild boar. The idiot will come running towards you. After you’re done with the King, get rid of Fasach too. We can’t have him learning of our plot.
When you’re done with them both, bring their bodies together and steal all their belongings. Make it look like they were ambushed by thieves.
Come to me at once after you finished this task and you will be rewarded regally.
Long live Rioghachad!”M.G.
Fasach couldn’t believe his eyes! Someone from Rioghachad killed the King of Grian and tried to murder him too!? But why? He’s deepest fears came into his mind as he was trying to make sense of everything. He was right all along. The northerners were never their friends. His brother was foolish to think he could unite the two nations. Luckily, the assassin had underestimated his brother’s power and ended up dead. He couldn’t even begin to understand what would have happened if the assassin managed to kill him too. No one would have known and Grian would have fallen in the hands of the northerners.
This, Fasach realized, this horrific act alone, meant not only that the unification of the two kingdoms would be impossible, but it meant that they would go to war!