Grey clouds consumed the vision as William gazed up at the sky. Behind their milky haze, a round yellow ball strained to fight through the thick veil. Atop the crest of a hill, the haze and fog drifted across the ground like a serpent. The dense cloud of moisture clung to the earth. There was a bitter wind that swept in from the north and brought with it a terrible chill. Will shivered briefly as the cutting wind tore at his exposed face.
In the icy air, Will wore a thick, padded leather breast-coat and a sable moleskin overcoat with riveted beads of iron along the neck and torso. Upon the breast-coat there was embroidered a gold griffin with its wings outstretched. Draped over his neck a downy coat of fur ran down his shoulders and back. The fur was tan and white, skinned from a wild mountain tiger a few days past. His black boots were lined with the same, his short, narrow feet were warm and snug.
Gleaming silver hair glued to Will’s forehead in the moist, damp morning air. His face was pale and muddled on his cheeks and nose. He had his father’s eyes, everyone had told him, a pale green that appeared to change to a deep, venomous shade in times of angst or rage. He was a young boy of fourteen, the wear of age had yet to barrage him. Clasped to Will’s side, a magnificent blade with a ruby incrusted hilt lay, the pommel of a gilded griffin’s head that gleamed in the grey glare. The blade was forged of runiviom, the strongest steel in all of Tacora, used by the craftsmen of Borr. In their days they crafted ten great swords, only seven of them now still exist. The others are all lost and have never been sought.
On the high crown of the grassy, dew-clad hill a grey stone table rested. Around the table, hundreds of people clothed in leather and fur gathered, dreary expressions on their pallid faces. Will stood close to the stone bed, exalted knights and officials stood beside him. They were suited in fine plates of armor, oiled with a dark red enamel. Painted in gold across the chests a gilded griffin with outstretched wings gleamed. The griffin was the great sigil of the ancient and powerful House Tellin. They wore golden mail under their plates of armor and a deep red helm that concealed their faces.
Across from Will a strong, tall young man stood, his hair was straight and made of gold. His nose was long and sharp, a thin bridge below his pale green eyes. His face was sharp and angled, a hard, intent expression etched across his face. His lips were pursed tightly. A long sword was strapped to his side and hung in a brown, leather sheath. He wore the same leather coating as Will, though his fur was a pure, unadulterated white the color of freshly fallen snow. His chest glimmered with the Tellin crest. He eyed Will shrewdly. A magnificent golden crown encrusted with rubies and sapphires and emeralds gleamed in the meek grey dawn. He was to be the new king, the king of the Crowned Cities of the west. He was Will’s older brother, they shared the same white-blonde hair and that was about all.
Standing beside the man a tall, fair women gazed on at the stone table. Her brows were thin and black. Beneath them, golden eyes caught the scarce light. She wore a sly smirk across her face and her long, flowing golden hair ran down to her mid-back, braided in an intricate pattern down the center. She had high cheekbones that protruded from her skin and sallow cheeks. Her silken, jaded gown was thin and flowing, accenting the natural curves of her body. She wore around her long neck a band of string knotted with a pendant of the griffin of the House Tellin. Atop her head a small silver tiara was placed, disappearing in her thick mass of hair. The women glared over at Will with an oppressive, commanding nature. Her hand glided over to the boy, her long, spidery fingers weaving between his.
From behind the crest, a tall, elderly man in black robes and a grey beard appeared, carrying a dancing torch in his hand. His expression was grey and hard. Behind the cloaked man came a flag bearer clad in silver armor. He hoisted a rippling banner in his hand, the impetuous wind sliced at the cloth. Embroidered into the heavy fabric, the golden griffin of the House caught the faint glint of the struggling sun. A party of four, all dressed in red silks and linen followed, heaving a long, slender gold pillow. A man lay across the pillow, his face stern and grey. His hair was short and coiled with lustrous curls of almond-brown hair. His eyes were closed. The four bearers moved out of line and shuffled to the stone table.
They carefully lifted the body and placed it upon the hard, grey stone. The man was dead, clearly. His body was wrapped in a white robe, a tradition of the House. The four men now scurried away, taking their place in the gathered crowd. When the procession had concluded the first man to appear stepped forward, his black robes swaying in the wind like the waves out at sea. He still grasped the torch, the flame continued flutter. All was silent, only the sound of the coruscating torch could be discerned. The man stepped forward once again, now closer to the dead man that lay upon the stone table.
He walked closer and then stopped, and began to speak. “Pray with me people of Osgareth. Together we must cry.” He raised his head up at the sky and began to chant the legends of old and of the gods. The people followed, a loud, rumbling single voice resonated from the hill and down into the earth and up into the heavens. “It is now.” The man said, keeping his head held high. “It is now we remember the great King Rikkn. In the name of Allinor and the great gods of old, do well with his body.” And he brought the torch down onto the dead man’s body, and he was engulfed in a tempest of flames.
Will watched the flames lick the burning body and scintillate into the air. He could hear the crack of the blazing red fire as they began to eat away at the body. Ashes began to flake up into the air with the ruby red embers as they floated into the sky, glittering like stars. The man in black robes tossed the torch into the flickering flames. He then came down to Will and grasped his shoulder, his hands digging deep into his clothes. Will gave him an incredulous glance, what was he doing? The man led him to the burning table and raised his hand. He shouted to the gathered crowd. “I pronounce you now with your new king. The true heir to the Glass Throne, the first son of Rikkn Tellin, William Tellin the first of his name.” And a roar from the crowd erupted. “From this day forth you will serve as King of Osgareth and Protector of the Crowned Cities.” Will looked out at his people wearily; he was not ready. He was only a boy. This was not supposed to be. His brother was supposed to take the throne. He was not supposed to be king.
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