Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Holy Books: The Life of Orlandus -- Part 2

Also see Part 1.

At the end of his third year fighting for Metropolitan Timarus, the old man met his end; at last, age claimed what leprosy and the decaying dome of the Vectedréan temple could not. Orlandus went to his bedside dressed in the garb of a temple knight. Timarus spoke to him one last time, reminding our lord of his duty to the Hammerer, who had graced him with such wonders. But the last thing that Timarus said to Orlandus was not to bind him to Vectedréa and the Kingdom of Byrne. Timarus the Leper told our lord "You must spread your light to the places in the world which are the darkest. This is the destiny the Hammerer had in mind for you."

Now, in those days, there were many evils that still haunted the world. The Alchemist had yet to wake from his necromantic slumber, but our lord would fight against that villain in his later years. This was at the end of the Red Age, when Craftsman's Reach was unified under the Lords of Calantheas. No, the great evil of Arunia, when Roland of Wilderlund was a young man, was none other than the Weeping King of the Adeion.

The Weeping King was a figure out of nightmare legend. There were those who claimed he had served Rho'anir the Shapeless One in the Wars of High Sorcery, and those who said he had been a serjent in the armies of Tallëor Twice-Born during the War of Shadows. None, now, can say what the truth was. But amongst those barbaric peoples of the wide open spaces there rose a single power, fusing together the eight warring clan-folk of men and the three nations of wood elves beneath his borders. This man was called The Weeping King.

It was certain that he was long lived. He ruled his kingdom Adeira for five generations of men. The peoples of that land, who knew not how to build like the men of the south, and so tunneled, burrowed, and made their squat towers, were called upon to construct an elaborate castle for the Weeping King, made of stone quarried from the Dragonback range. He made treaty with the Old Soloth, and his nation was flooded with Solothen slaves to do his bidding.

Now, you must also know that our lord did not set out simply to depose a tyrant. There were countless tyrants in his time. No, for there were even greater ills perpetrated by the Weeping King. This monarch made it custom to slay who he would, and there are those accounts which whisper that he would then bathe in their blood. In his might, he challenged even the borders of mighty Tailimisiä, and the elves were forced to make treaty with him to keep his armies at bay. He gave places of high honor to Frost Giants, ogres, and other unclean children of Ulagos' wheel.

Suffice to say, the Weeping King was no mere mortal, but a demon in human form. Orlandus had been told of this monstrous ruler since he was a boy, and he set out now to end the creature's rule once and for all. Indeed, it is set down in his own hand that the Weeping King was a "vampiric spirit of evil humor, puffed up and gorged with blood, and stuffed into the body of an ill-tempered, squat, white-haired man, whose eyes perpetually oozed sickly tears."

To slay the Weeping King, Orlandus knew he would require something more than his native strength and cunning. It was said that an elvish emissary to the king's court had, after being rudely insulted again and again, challenged the foul creature to a duel. There, in the courtyard of the great castle, the king obliged, only to prove that each stroke of the elvish blade made cuts that closed as of their own accord, or else could not even pierce his pale gray flesh.

This, then, was Orlandus' task: our lord must needs seek out a weapon capable of destroying the Weeping King, and bring justice to the north. Though he still nursed a private grudge in his heart against Queen Mir, he could not trouble himself with her reign—though she had seized the throne with violence, she had, in his years abroad, ruled the Wilderlund well.

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