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Part 1

The city of Nolvis could be seen from their vantage point atop a hill. Small wooden walls surrounding the large city providing simple yet effective protection from outsiders. Nolvis was not built to withstand large sieges but was constructed more to keep small groups of bandits from entering unwanted.

The walls had been built for the purpose of bandits in mind. The last ten years had an extraordinary decrease in bandit numbers almost to the point where they were never seen or heard of. The alliance with Xer and Tykin had all but demolished even the idea of pillaging and plundering due to the harsh consequences.

The penalty for banditry was immediate execution. Their numbers dwindled and Vulkira became a beacon of hope. Crime had dropped so dramatically that there was little need for soldiers policing cities. Any sort of armed forces were kept in the strongholds at each castle. Nolvis had no such castle.

Erik watched as hundreds of people bottlenecked the city gates. Everyone was fleeing the north and coming south. Soon, Nolvis would be overwhelmed as would the other cities and strongholds bordering Vulkira. Erik’s plan was to meet king Xerath at Calchester and hopefully with his sister's influence agree to harbor his people till a resolution could be found.

Erik forced himself to look at the Vog logically. As much as forcing his people from their homeland enraged him, the Vog had peacefully as possible, removed the citizens from their homes.

His conversation with Shay had given him renewed hope and determination, however, his doubts grew. He would think of a way to gain Vulkira back peacefully or by force if it came to it. Erik preferred the peaceful route.

The Vog had kept the violence to a bare minimum. However, it was hardly a choice because Erik knew if it came to a fight, the Vog would decimate them. He would not force his people to fight a losing battle but he wouldn’t give up on the kingdom he worked so hard to build.

Felkuru, the leader of the Vog, somehow communicated with Erik through telepathy. The bond it created confused Erik. He felt he should help the Vog in any way he could because emotions and thoughts frequently overwhelming his mind but he also knew these were Felkuru’s thoughts and emotions.

He saw the Vog as people rather than animals now. They somehow were all connected and thoughts could be relayed from a distance. Erik was uncertain how far the distance was for them to communicate but he suspected it was further than he would expect. So much was unknown and Erik had lost the faith of his people.

Some cursed his name, others begged for him to save them. Not all trust had been lost but Erik would need to restore the people’s faith in him, and soon.

“Nolvis can’t support this many people at once. Winter has only just ended, their grain stores must already be low.” Torstein said. “There will be panic and chaos if we don’t do something soon.”

Torstein had walked up on him without Erik noticing. A bandage covered his head from where the stone had hit him. He had jumped in the way of debris to protect Erik and he would not forget his loyalty.

“Torstein. Shouldn’t you be resting?” Erik asked it but was more a statement.

“It’s nearly been a week, sire. I am fit to walk around, though I don’t see myself fighting anytime soon.” Torstein replied.

“Alright. But promise me, tonight you will get your rest.” Erik looked at him. “I will need you tomorrow. These next few days will be rough.”

“As you wish my lord.” Torstein slightly bowed. “I aid you with anything you need.”

“I must thank you Torstein. You are a good man. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.” Erik admitted. “You threw yourself in front of danger to protect me… without hesitation. I swear, when all this is through, you will be honored and awarded your heart's desire.”

“Thank you… sire.” Torstein paused. “I do not serve you to be awarded gifts, lord. You are my king and I made an oath to your father and to you that I would serve and protect you with my life.”

Torstein ended with that. He was a simple man, strong and true to his word. His desire was to serve. That was all the honor and reward he needed.

Erik extended his arm and Torstein clasped it with his own. “Very good,” Erik said, unsure what else to say to the burly man.

“I will go to the city tonight,” Erik said. “Don’t worry, I’ll have a dozen guards with me. After I speak with Moric we will make our way to the wall and speak with my sister at Calchester.”

Moric was the lord of Nolvis and protector of this region. Erik did not know him personally but had met him once at a feast in Vlakias many years ago. One thing that stood out about Moric was his bluntness and rude humor. Not a kind man but he was a good lord and Nolvis prospered under his rule.

“Very good, sire,” Torstein said. “I’ll leave you to your thinking.”

Alone again on the hill, a strong cool breeze washed over the grass and hit Erik with welcome arms. He loved the wind and the coldness that bit at his nose and fingertips. His cheeks turned red from the chilly air but Erik remained, pondering what was to become of Vulkira.

“What would he tell Cara.” he thought. “Would Xerath be in a mood to aid him once again?” Xer was the backbone of Vulkira and Erik now, more than ever realized the fragility of his kingdom. With fairness to himself, the Vog were an unknown, and the sudden appearance of a race with an intelligence matching or outmatching the human race was a hard thing to swallow.

Felkuru promised non-violence for now, but what would come later? If he rolled over now and abandoned his kingdom entirely, the odds of regaining it back were slim to none. If he went through with seeking Xer’s aid once more, Erik was forced to consider never being king again.

Was his desire to remain in power more than his desire to save and protect his people? That was a question, Erik asked himself every day. Perhaps he was not the loving king he thought he was. He had given nearly twenty years of his life to Vulkira and it all was crumbling down before him.

Did he have the authority to order Moric to surrender his power to him and make a deal with Xer to allow his people to enter safely? He did, but would Moric relinquish his own power was another problem Erik saw as a possibility to further divide and harm his kingdom.

He stood there for nearly an hour when Jebbin approached slowly. He looked frail and tired but he made his way to his side but said nothing for several minutes, enjoying the breeze and watching the sunset over the horizon.

“When was the last time you spoke to your sister?” Jebbin asked.

“I went to see her when she moved to Calchester.” Erik responded, “About three months ago.”

“How was she?” he continued to ask after his sister.

“As well as she could be after what happened. And I can’t blame her, nor Xerath. No parent should go through something like that.” Erik said sadly.

“Indeed.” Jebbin agreed. “She is strong. Cara will pull through like she’s always done in the past.”

“I certainly hope so,” Erik said with less confidence than Jebbin.

“It’s been a long couple of days. Shall we retire and get some rest before tomorrow?” Jebbin suggested.

“That’s a g-” Erik froze mid-sentence as an intense pain shot up the back of his spine and into his head.

Without warning, a blast of unimaginable pain shot into his head. Erik thought he had been struck from behind but as he collapsed he realized he was having another vision of Felkuru’s memories.

He convulsed on the ground and shook uncontrollably. Erik’s mind became foggy and focused on the images.

A large army formed in his mind. He recognized the landscape, it was in the mountains near Zidyria and Nalia. A man on horseback led the soldiers, which Erik knew to be Tykin banners.

Erik’s eyes were blurry, but he saw Jebbin standing over him mumbling incoherently. Two more figures appeared over him, touching his body. “What...Get….Now!” their words were jumbled and unclear.

Rows of shields and archers sat atop a small hill. Calvary on each side of the army of men. Then Erik realized he was seeing through the eyes of the Vog. Looking down he saw four toes with claws stretching out, then turned and saw at least a thousand Vog lined up, waiting for something.

“Do not attack unless they charge.” a voice boomed in Erik’s head.

Erik screamed in agony, the pain intensifying. His body was flailing uncontrollably.

Three figures blurred into Erik’s vision, standing over him. He thought he was being carried but was unsure.

“Hold…. Help…. Worry…. Outside!” voices were yelling.

Blood and gore covered a battlefield. Mostly humans lay scattered everywhere. Bodies ripped apart, limbs flung, heads crushed. Bone and flesh tore apart. Pools of blood soaked the battlefield.

The vision began to fade. Erik couldn’t tell if someone was speaking to him or if the memories said something but whatever it was he heard a whisper.

“I… will… be… king.”

 

Part 2

Erik snapped out of his trance and opened his eyes in shock. He was in his tent. Several lamps lit the small room and revealed Torstein sitting next to him. Two guards at the door and a young woman wiping Erik’s face with a wet towel, a moment later Jebbin entered the tent.

“What happened?” Erik asked the silent room.

“Oh!” The woman pulled back, startled from his sudden movement, “You’re awake.”

Two guards stared at him, worry written all over their faces. Torstein leaned forward. “Sire… you…” he trailed off looking at the woman.

Erik looked her up and down, unfamiliar with the girl. “Who are you?” he coughed. “Do I know you? You look familiar somehow.”

“My name is Amira, lord.” she introduced herself.

Erik sat up and used his arms to push himself against the bed frame in a sitting position and looked around the room.

“Sire, you were having a seizure.” the woman said.

She wore a plain blue dress, with white trimming on the collar and hem. Thick brown hair was tied up into a knot on her head. Long strands of hair fell to her thin nose and into her lip. She looked young but her eyes gave away her true age. Amira, Erik guessed, was older than she looked.

She had the look of a woman who had been through hardship. Fiery orange eyes pierced his. For an instant, he thought he could see into her soul.

It chilled him to the bone. Welcoming her stare he asked, “What is a seizure?”

“I’ve never seen a seizure so severe as yours my lord,” Amira stated. “It’s when your brain is overloaded and it causes your body to convulse uncontrollably.”

“I see.” Erik chuckled. “That explains a lot.”

Amira looked at him in confusion. “You don’t seem to be surprised. Have you had an episode before?”

“Once,” Erik admitted. “But your description explains exactly how it felt.”

The girl named Amira had a look of realization but hid it too late. Erik couldn’t help but take note of her reaction.

“When sire? I’ve never seen this before. Have you been hiding it this whole time?” Torstein looked extremely upset.

“It was… during the attack on Vlakias,” Erik said, remembering his encounter with Felkuru.

“The Vog!” Torstein hissed. “They did this to you?”

“Calm down, Torstein,” Erik ordered. “You don’t understand. It wasn’t on purpose.”

“What do you mean it wasn’t on purpose?” Amira asked.

Torstein turned to the woman and looked annoyed. “You can leave now,” he commanded. “Your service is appreciated but he needs to be alone. Our king needs his rest and doesn’t need a woman snooping into the king’s business.”

Amira bowed to Erik and turned to leave. “Wait,” Erik called to her.

“Yes, my lord?” she turned to him.

“Thank you. And forgive Torstein’s rudeness.” Erik smiled.

She smiled back and Jebbin also thanked her before she left the room.

“Torstein?” Erik looked at him. “What has gotten into you? She was helping me. There was no need to be so rude to her.”

“Forgive me, sire.” Torstein nodded. “Seeing you like that… I feared you were dying. And now that you are here and okay… her asking you questions on personal matters made me upset over her nosiness.”

“Nosiness? Torstein… she asked a fair question that anyone would want to know the answer to.” Erik explained. “I even said it cryptically. She came to help. Don’t fault her for wanting answers.”

Torstein looked solemn and unfazed. “Of… course, sire. I see you fancy her and I will make an apology to her later.”

“Fancy? Torstein please stop.” Erik begged. “You're embarrassing me.”

“Sorry.” he shrugged then leaned forward again. “What did you mean? Not on purpose.”

“The night the Vog came. Their leader, Fel, did something to me, which allowed me to… see into his mind.”

“See into…!” Torstein started.

“I know how it sounds. Trust me… I didn’t know what was happening to me or why but… I am telling you… I saw things that were not possible. Things not of Isulia.”

By this point the guards had already left and stood outside, to which Erik appreciated their discretion and Jebbin stood silently in the corner, listening.

“What did you see?” Torstein whispered. “Is this why you're having seizures now?”

“Yes, I believe so. Fel told me, he cut it short because it would have killed me.” Erik explained. “We have some sort of connection now, and I saw… death. Their world was destroyed.”

Torstein sat motionless, eyes fixed on him, unsure what to believe or see his words as insanity.

“It comes in waves and in a vision. What I just saw… was Tykin invading Vulkira from the east.”

“Did they attack the Vog? What happened, lord?” concern flickered across Torstein’s face.

“Torstein… the Vog killed every soldier from Tykin.”

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About the author

MorseCode

Bio: Hello, all. I am a new aspiring author and I'm extremely excited to share my stories. I've always loved writing and bringing the ideas in my head to life, though it was only recently that I began to write on a more serious level. I have many many books I wish to write and I hope I can share them with you all in the future. I have a lot to learn but I hope to grow into a more experienced and learned writer.

I don't shy away from gore, which will be present in all my books to come. I hate plot armor, and I do everything I can to make things as real as possible. Real decisions, consequences, logical outcomes, and making a darn good story are my main focus.

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