Coundon, Coventry, West Midlands, England
The floor was littered with dwarven corpses. Once great buildings were now reduced to mere piles of ashes. A few injured dwarves tried to stand, to leave this wicked place, and pulled themselves along with every strength they had left in their bodies. For some, it was too much, and they soon collapsed on the floor, either dead or dying. The rubble of the once magnificent castle lay still. Only one body stood out among the crowd. This body was clothed handsomely, despite the recent financial difficulties of Vetsom. His head was covered by a precious crown, its jewels hanging on by mere will. The face of this particular dwarf had been much welcome in dwarven society. He had had the power and the popularity, as well as the strength and intelligence to run the city with ease. However, nothing could have stopped the force that had almost completely wiped out the dwarf race. And the corpse of King Samsoon Urmon proved that fact to any unwilling to accept it...
On awakening, Rhen found herself face down toward the floor, with a terrible pain striking her head. Her palms were covered in sweat, as well as her forehead, and she noticed how pale her face was when she struggled up off the floor and looked in the mirror. Rubbing her eyes, Rhen once again saw the awful visions of her dearest friend’s corpse. “It’s nothing. Just my imagination...” She said aloud to herself, but she doubted every single word. The dreams had reappeared, but they were no longer of the past...
Samsoon sat still, running the words over and over in his head. “I am King, I am King,” He stared in silence at the marble floor beneath him, with Avey by his side. The two had sat, speechless, in the Court room for hours. It was Avey who decided to disturb the air with the sound of his voice.
“Samsoon, you have to do this...” Samsoon looked up in horror at Avey.
“Yes. I know it’s hard, but these dwarves need someone new. Someone not plagued by the politics of running a city!”
“What these dwarves need is stability. I cannot give them that!”
“Yes you can! You’ve just proved it yourself! You know what these people need, and you know deep down how to give it them! Look, I could be wrong, I’ve only known you for three weeks, but Rhen and Amie think you can do it too, and they’ve both known you for years! What I do know, is that if you don’t do this, and something happens to this city that you could have prevented, you will never be able to forgive yourself. Trust me, if I know something, it is that guilt is deadly, and you won’t come through the other side the same.” Samson stood up, and stared intently at the paladin.
“I need to think...” Samsoon muttered and walked hastily out of the room. Avey looked down at his hands and thought of the three friends who had so recently accepted him. He wondered how he could have so
easily tricked them into believing his falsehoods. Some of it, of course was true, but he hadn’t even told them his real name. Smiling slyly at his success, he wandered out of the room, looking for Rhen...
Amie watched the city as it rebuilt itself. The pale faces of dwarves that roamed the streets haunted her dreams, while the shocked faces of those of other races felt the dwarves’ pain caused her to feel the loss of the King all over again. The children had resumed their studies, but it was still as quiet as ever on the lonely streets. No one ever spoke or even acknowledged each other’s presence, still silently mourning the death of their lost King. Blocks of stone were stacked as high as the eye could see, while tons of labourers tried to save the remnants of the demolished and charred buildings. A particular sight caught Amie’s eye; Samsoon was roaming the streets, hindered by a large group of rowdy dwarves. She frowned and left the room, and then the building, looking for the party surrounding her poor friend. Of course, she should have suspected this. The dwarves would never be happy accepting a King who couldn’t even speak their own language. It was true that Amie and Rhen knew that their long and close friend could do the job, but the general population would never be so easy to persuade.
“Hey!” Amie exclaimed as a particularly ugly, (and more than likely, very drunk), dwarf punchedher in the face for absolutely no reason. She returned the gesture willingly, and the exchange of blows soon turned into a full blown fight. The whole mob was against her, but Amie was still able to easily fend them off. Samsoon noticed the brawl behind him, and instinctively reached to fight, restraining himself only when he saw what was actually happening. Sighing, he made his way calmly over to Amie, parting the sea of drunken dwarves to clear a path to his companion.
“Stop!” He commanded. “Look at you, brawling like common street thugs!” Amie blushed slightly as she knew full well there had been no need for her to react to the first blow. “Leave it!”
“Why sh-should we lishen to you? Shupid dwarf, calling shourself our King!” The first dwarf who had assaulted Amie spoke with a slurred tone.
“I do not call myself your King! I have never said that! I cannot replace King Timetory, nor can I bring him back. But I can pick up where he left off. So shut up, and go away, damn you!” The dwarf stumbled away, annoyed by Samsoon’s speech. “Are you OK, Amie?”
“Yes! That was great Samsoon! Why do you doubt yourself so much?”
“I don’t anymore. Finally, my decision has been made. To be honest, I think I knew the answer would be yes all along!” They smiled and the laughed as they walked back toward to castle. Rhen had been observing the scene from her window, (she hadn’t been out of the room since the morning; she was still pretty frightened after the dream), and smiled to herself. She knew full well her friend could do this.
A knock at the door alerted her to the world around her.
"Urr, come in!" Rhen called. Avey Entered, sword in hand, a grave expression onhis solemn face.
"Rhen, I need to talk to you," Rhen nodded so he continued; "I will go straight to the point. You don't trust me, do you?" she was slightly taken aback by his blunt words. She stood speechless, staring at him. "I thought so..."He turned to leave.
"Wait!" He looked back at her, "It isn't a matter of trust, Avey. It's just we don't know each other well at all, and you are already laying down your life for us. Why?"
"I...I wanted you to help me.I thought that if I helped you, you would return the favour..." Once again he turned toward the door, but this time, Rhen let him leave, doubts crawling into her mind...