The Great Knight of Malterrum
At the twilight of the Third Age of Malterrum, the Great King was deeply saddened by the behavior of his subjects. So heavily under the influence of the Necromancer had they fallen, they no longer recognized the rule of the Great King. Summoning his son, the Great Knight, and his dearest friend, the Great Councilor, who had served him from the beginning of his reign, they discussed the course of action needed to save Malterrum.
“Many of them no longer hold me as their ruler,” said the King.
“There are still those that love you, my Lord. They will remain faithful should you choose to take action,” said the Councilor.
“Father,” said the Knight, “Let me lead an army against the Necromancer. With an army of your faithful followers we can storm his gates and end his rule forever.”
“Nay my son. Do you not know that I could crush him with my bare hands if the time was right? No, we must save as many of our people as possible, but the Necromancer is too loved—to overthrow him too soon will cause a revolt and doom those in our care. Further, it is against the treaty we signed at the dawning of the First Age. I will not lose my honor, nor succumb to evil tactics. We must get our own people to realize that I am the only true leader of Malterrum”.
“But father, how shall we do that? The evil magic of the Necromancer has a powerful sway over the people. Even those who love you periodically succumb to his devices.” Said the Knight.
The King responded, “We must enkindle in them a love for us—inspire in them a tale that will be told for ages, and which will make them courageous enough to fight against the Necromancer. We will use our own Ancient Magic. It is more powerful than the Evil One realizes. It is time to call upon the leaders of the twelve clans. Councilor, go and prepare them. They must be ready to answer the call when the Great Knight calls.”
Therefore, while the Great Councilor travelled the land preparing the leaders of the twelve clans, the Great Knight sat in council with his father to learn all that he must do to save his people. When the time was right, the Great Knight rode out among the land to gather the 12 men who would serve as his army. They travelled, telling men, women, and children about the love the Great King had for his people. Some listened, vowing not to follow the Necromancer, and promising to aid in the battle against him should the King call on them. Most, however, wanted nothing to do with the Great Knight—though he was the King’s son, they chased him out of towns, spit in his face, and even threatened him and the Twelve with death. The Knight would bring them medicine for their sick, food for their hungry, and even some knowledge of his ancient magic so they could live happier lives. The people always took these things, but only very few were grateful.
After three long years of travel, the Great Knight’s men were tired and sad, feeling as though they had failed in their mission. It was then that the Great Knight decided to tell the Twelve leaders the full plan his father had devised.
“My friends, I know these last three years have been both difficult and rewarding. We have saved many lives from the clutches of the Necromancer. Though you may not think things are going well, I desire you to know that all is going according to my father’s plan, for he knew that the people’s hearts would be hardened by their devotion to the Necromancer. They follow him because he promises them escape from death, but really all they receive is a sort of living in a state of eternal death. To show them true life, we will show them the Ancient Magic of my father, whom, though they may die now, they will live eternal in the Spirit Realm, and will join us again once the Necromancer has met his end. They will no longer be lifeless bodies under the slavery of evil.”
“But my Lord,” said one of the Twelve, “How will such a magic be shown? Though you try to explain it to us, we do not understand your ways, or the magic the Great King yields. How will you show them they can live on as spirits after their death?”
“Brothers, “ the Great Knight paused, “the only way to show them what awaits them after death is to be the example. I will deliver myself into the clutches of the Necromancer and his minions and they will bring me to death. But the ancient magic of my father will protect me, and you will see me again. For because I live with my father, and am his son, not only will I live in spirit, but in my entirety.”
At this the Twelve gasped, “My Lord, it cannot be! We refuse to let you die to the Necromancer. What if something goes wrong, and the Ancient Magic does not work?”
“You fools! Do you not, after these years we have spent together, realize my power, much less the power of my father? You may not understand the power that love and sacrifice has to win the hearts of our people, but you must never doubt the plan and power of the Great King. Anyone who does can leave now.”
None left the side of the Great Knight, and while they feared for his life, they trustfully accepted what must be done. And so the thirteen warriors marched on the Palace of Hadeum, the center of the Necromancer’s power, and called him to come and fight. But when he appeared the Twelve fled, for they knew they were not yet protected by the King’s Ancient Magic, and thus were scared for their lives. Seeing the Great Knight powerless, the Necromancer ordered his minions to capture him, and brought him into his Palace.
Inside he was tortured. But great was the love of the Great Knight for his father and his people that he refused to use the Ancient Magic to deliver himself from the pain and suffering leading to his death. In the end, the Necromancer lanced his side and threw him off the highest tower. His body lay broken and mangled at the base of the cliff on which the palace stood.
His followers, dejected and scared at the Great Knight’s death, forgot his promise of return, and carried him off to one of the Twelve’s ancestral temple to be buried. They encased his body in a stone altar, alongside the ancient ancestors of the Twelve, where they would weekly offer sacrifice in remembrance of those loved ones who had died in service of Malterrum, but which the Ancient Magic had not yet saved.
When the Twelve next gathered around the Great Knight’s altar, in preparation for offering sacrifice on his behalf, the tomb split open and up rose the Great Knight, more glorious than they had ever seen him in his previous life. His body radiated with the sheer power of the his ancient magic made manifest. The tombs of the other dead among them wrent open and, though their bones remained, their spirits drifted off to the East.
The Twelve bowed to him in sheer amazement, but he motioned for them to rise, “My friends, there will be time for worship later, but right now we have much to do.
“I will be leaving you to go back to my father, where I will help him rule over the spirit realm. We have many new people who have stayed devoted to my father who, though in death, will be a great part of our kingdom. Malterrum is not ours yet, and though the war to win the hearts of our people will be long, the victor has already been decided. The Necromancer cannot win against us, and when the time is right, I will return to you in conquest. However, in my resurrection we will establish a new Kingdom, and we will call it Ekklia.
“It is a Kingdom, within our world, which recognizes my father as the true King. It will be scattered throughout Malterrum, but this will not make us weak, but rather able to reach every corner, every person of our world.
“You, my friends and faithful followers, who have travelled with me and learned from me over the last three years, you will be the rulers of this new kingdom. I will send the Great Councilor to you, and together with the twelve of you, and those whom you choose to succeed you, shall make policy for the good of the people. Take not lightly this responsibility, for you have been entrusted with the lives, and deaths, of the Great King’s people.”
The Great Knight of Malterrum stayed with his followers for many days afterwards teaching them how to best look after his people. When all things had been established, he had the Twelve kneel, and with his sword, he knighted them, making them protectors, servants, and rulers of Ekklia. And, bidding them peace one last time, he rode off into the Eastern sunrise, towards the palace of his father, where new life was just beginning.
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© 2012 rdlang05
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