Heavy rain was falling. It was a grim day with a grey sky and still air. The sound of the drops hitting the soldier’s metal armours was the only thing heard on the streets of Fiadha. The whole city was silent like it was abandoned. But it was not the case, for as thousands of people withstood the horrible weather and stood still in the purring rain to send their fallen king to Fearann, the Kingdom of the Undying, where only the ones who made great deeds of goodness in their mortal life would be accepted.
Droch, on the other hand, was a place reserved for criminals, thieves, low-lives, and all others who wronged folks during their stay on mortal lands. It is there, where Governor Fasach Teiche felt he were, but also, where he swore he would send the men responsible for his half-brother and king’s murder.
King Craiceann was loved and adored by his people. The news about his death shocked Grian, but the way he died was unknown by the common folk. The entire Kingdom went from a prosperous and peaceful land to generalized uncertainty and distrust. Rumours were starting to spread like wild-fires all across the country. People couldn’t believe that their fearless leader was vanquished by a mere wild boar, as the state officials have told them.
It was a long debate among the nobles and Governor Fasach whether or not to tell the people the truth about the King’s death. Despite Fasach’s protests, it was decided that it would be better to keep the truth hidden. At least until a more thorough investigation will have concluded.
Some were saying that the boar was an evil sorcerer in disguise. Others were telling stories about how he was not dead but simply realized that his dream to unite the two Kingdoms was impossible and that he ran away, as a self-punishment for his failure. Some were talking about fantastic conspiracies, things like giant serpent-like creatures that he stumbled upon in the depths of the forest and who killed him so that the world would not find out of their existence. There were even a few who spoke of assassination, but they couldn’t give a plausible reason for such a treacherous act.
Governor Fasach was overseeing the funeral from the balcony of his Villa. He was silent, motionless and had a still expression on his face. It seemed he wasn’t even there, like only his body was present, but his mind and spirit were wondering in a faraway place.
-Sir! – a voice from the back of the room mumbled unsurely.
The Governor didn’t clinch. No response came from him.
-Sir! – the voice insisted. This time, more determined, but still cautious.
-I told you, I don’t want to be disturbed! – replied the Governor angrily.
-I know, Sir, and I am regretful to be in the position of disobeying your will, but it is time, Sir!
-Ahhh, shouted the Governor, very well! Bring me my helmet and bow and let’s get this over with.
-Yes, Sir, at once!
Governor Fasach left the balcony and soon after he exited the Villa. He was wearing his full-body armour and had his war-bow, known as Inneal Gaoithe, the Windbreaker, in his right hand. He went on and climbed on the stand which was placed exactly one hundred meters away from the massive pile of wood, on top of which was placed the unlively body of the King, dressed in silk and holding with both his hands the Royal Sword, Ughdarras, the symbol of Power of Grian.
The motionless crowd remained as such, waiting for the Governor to speak.
It was well known that he would become the next King of Grian, as Craiceann had no other direct heir. The common folk had respect for Governor Fasach. He was perceived as a great warrior and a loyal subject to the Throne, but he was also feared, as he lacked his brother’s reasoning and he was quick at anger. He didn’t own diplomacy as his brother did. He was more of a “my way or die” kind of ruler. That was the main concern about him, both for the common folk and for the nobles.
-People of Grian, my dear brothers and sisters! – shouted the Governor from the stand.
-A dark hour we face! Grian, our beloved Kingdom, was robbed of its loyal and loving ruler, King Craiceann. I know your pain, and even more, as I have lost not only my King but my brother as well. I am here, in front of you, mourning my own flesh and blood, and wishing that I was the one laying on top of the pile of wood. We are all here to honour him on his road to Fearann, where he will sit among our ancestors and watch over us, as he did in life.
-It is my responsibility to carry on the legacy of my brother and drive Grian towards the greatness it deserves. I now swear, in front of all of you, that as long as my mind is sane and vigour runs through my body, I will do whatever I have to, regardless of personal consequences, in order to reach that goal! Grian took a loss today, but we will flourish by the end! For that dream, brothers and sisters, I will give my last drop of blood, I assure you! Now, with all the pain of an entire Kingdom, it is time to let our King go, sail to Fearann and watch as we continue his work and fulfil his mighty dream of seeing Grian become the greatest Kingdom that has ever existed!
With those closing words, Governor Fasach lit an arrow, placed it in Inneal Gaoithe, aimed, and released it. A tear was racing down his chin while chasing the arrow with his gaze, as it was making its way through the cold air and heavy drops of rain only to land at the bottom of the woodpile. In that moment, the whole structure burst into flames, engulfing the King’s body within.
Fasach watched the fire and felt it burning him from the inside. He lied about his brother’s death to an entire Kingdom. He has broken his vow of loyalty even before speaking it. He felt like a traitor, but he was not going to rest until justice was done!
-I will avenge you, brother! – Fasach told himself. After that, he turned and went back to his Villa. He had to meet with the nobles again, to make arrangements for his coronation and, more importantly, to plan the retaliation against his enemies!
Grian was about to enter a new Age! A dark and bloody one, but, at the end of which, Fasach swore to himself, the Kingdom of Comhla will emerge, with Grian holding the whips and Rioghachad taking the blows.