Chapter 12

Belgrave and Naiya’Nal awoke as the first rays of the early morning sun shined through the window. Commander Sidrahkir had left some breakfast outside their door next to Naiya’Nal’s new armor. She was amazed at the way the smooth black metal reflected its surroundings. The breastplate had the same red dragon emblem that was on Belgrave’s armor. She admitted that it was much nicer and stronger than she ever could have done by herself. They ate their breakfast and put on clean garments and armor. They left their helmets and shields in the room.

As the sun rose in the sky, Amehtana became busier. Hundreds of cooks were working to prepare the feast for later that day. Soldiers were directing crowds of people through the city. Leaders from all of Tanarad were talking politics and sharing ideas for future endeavors. Everyone wore their nicest clothes or armor so that they would be presentable before their new king. Even with all the hustle, the city still remained quiet with suspense as they waited for their king to be crowned.

By midmorning, everyone had gathered along the road that began at the bottom of the steps that led into the palace. The five brothers stood in their place of honor at one side of the palace entrance while Commander Sidrahkir, Colonel Balvain, and the color bearer Tytane stood on the other side. Behind them, the great white curtains were closed to hide the inside of the palace from the crowd.

Thag stepped from his place and addressed the people. “When the great city of Atalan was destroyed and the Great King was lost nine-hundred sixty-three years ago, the greatness of Tanarad was lost. Since then, Tanarad has been divided by the rule of local governments and only a loose alliance provided for the common good. We have maintained the pride of our heritage and our devotion to prophecy, but we have become weak and insignificant. Today this has changed. The sword has been found and the king has returned. Prophecy has been fulfilled and gives us hope. Tanarad will regain her greatness and once again shine above all lands.”

A drum roll sounded, the white curtains partially opened, and Belgrave stepped out. He was flanked by two soldiers, each holding a white banner with the two red dragons. The white curtains closed behind them. As Belgrave stood before the crowd, his shiny armor reflecting the late morning sun, the people stood silent and waited. Commander Sidrahkir and Thag both went and stood beside him. The Commander handed Thag the crown and Thag turned to face Belgrave.

“To the lineage of the former Great King Telkome and the true successor to the throne of the Great Kings, to the unifier of Tanarad and the vanquisher of Narva, to the beacon of hope that shines upon all lands and the fulfillment of prophecy,” he proclaimed, placing the crown on Belgrave’s head, “I crown you Belgrave Palafox, King of Tanarad.”

Thag then turned to face the people. “Hail, King Belgrave!” He dropped to his knee and bowed before King Belgrave. The crowd followed Thag’s example and also bowed. King Belgrave stood in front of the crowd and felt awkward as the subject of their reverence.

After a few moments, Thag rose to his feet. “The days of the Great King have been renewed,” he announced to the people. “Tanarad will once again shine across the world.”

The people of Tanarad cheered at Thag’s proclamation and appeared truly happy to have him as their king.

When the noise died down, Commander Sidrahkir took a step forward. “The lineage of the Great Kings has been renewed. However, this great line cannot continue without a queen. The king must choose a queen!”

Many of the unmarried young women in the crowd gasped in anticipation and King Belgrave thought he saw at least one of them swoon. He stepped forward to address the crowd “Before I learned of the final prophecy, and against all odds, I already have a queen.”

The crowd stood in silent suspense as the white curtains partially opened once again. Naiya’Nal, in her shiny black armor and purple cape, slowly stepped out. She wore her red armband on her left arm. She walked forward and stood beside King Belgrave. “I present to you Naiya’Nal, Queen of Tanarad,” King Belgrave announced.

King Belgrave took a tiara from Commander Sidrahkir and placed it on Naiya’Nal’s head. As he smiled and kissed her, the crowd finally began to applaud.

“King Belgrave, Queen Naiya’Nal,” said Commander Sidrahkir. “I am honored to invite you to sit on your thrones.” The white curtains opened completely. Two soldiers escorted them into the throne room. The crowd applauded as they took sat on the thrones. After several minutes, the curtains closed to allow the five brothers to conclude the ceremony and begin the festivities.

Naiya’Nal looked over at Belgrave. “When I heard the silence of the crowd when I stepped out, I almost expected them to try to kill me,” she said.

“There wasn’t any reason to worry,” Belgrave reassured. “They were merely in awe of your beauty.”

“Stop making excuses,” Naiya’Nal giggled. “At least they approved of it in the end.”

When Thag finished dismissing the crowd, the curtains opened and people began to file into the throne room to pay homage to their new king and queen. It was a long day and the line was long. However, King Belgrave and Naiya’Nal were still able to enjoy the festivities that lasted long into the night. They especially enjoyed a performance by a minstrel named Eken and his wife Ora’Yam. It was an ancient piece called the ‘Ballad of Icavor and Yanna’Reh’ and told about two lovers and their tragic end. The two singers alternated parts throughout the ballad, but they sang the final stanza together.

They told him a tale about her,
And sent him to search far and wide,
So he journeyed further and further,
And came to where she did abide.

With grey eyes that never could harden,
Her smile shone bright in the light,
She sat by herself in the garden,
But then a man walked into sight.

His eyes opened wide when he saw her.
He knew that the tales had lied.
Her beauty was so bright about her,
It darkened the wide countryside.

Her father then stepped out beside her,
And turned the young man with his chide.
The young man must prove he was worth her.
He must bring a fresh dragon’s hide.

He set down a flower before her,
A flower of crimson and white,
Then gave a quick nod to her father,
A dragon he’d go find and fight.

The flower she put in the sunroom;
She watered it well every day.
And five times the flower did blossom;
It grew in the bright sunny rays.

He knew that one day he would have her,
And struggled to get dragon’s hide,
But each night as he thought about her,
His heart wept and silently cried.

The long nights she spent thinking of him,
She wanted to be by his side,
But first he must favor her father,
Or she would be kept from his side.

He finished and hastened to see her.
He brought with him three dragon’s hides.
He gave the three hides to her father,
But still couldn’t stand at her side.

One last quest her father would give him,
A dress is the one thing she’d want.
One more time her flower did blossom,
It grew in the bright sunny rays.

He searched for the dress he would give her,
And found one of purple and blue.
Her father then smiled down on them,
The young man had proved he was true.

The two of them danced in the field,
And spent the night under a tree,
Yet love, fortune never will shield;
Such beauty will end tragically.

A fiend in the night killed her father;
Her mother fell right at his side.
Her man raised a sword to defend her,
And shortly thereafter he died.

She reached for the sword of her lover;
The fiend succumbed to her revenge.
She cried by the corpse of her lover,
His death avenged by her revenge.

He never had a chance to tell her,
The bounds of his love, far and wide,
But actions of his loudly whispered,
How his love stayed true as he died.

Farewell to the cruel life of lost love,
The flower is all that survived.
She fell down in grief to her lover;
She joined the young man in the grave.

Forever the world will wonder,
Forever the world will know,
That our love is too strong to sunder,
And such love no other will know.

It was the final song of the evening and the crowd dispersed into the night after a moment of thunderous applause. “That song is just as famous now as it was the day when it was first sung,” Naiya’Nal told Belgrave, as they headed to bed.

“How long ago was that?” Belgrave asked.

“I don’t think anyone knows for sure,” Naiya’Nal replied, “but I have always heard that it was first sung before the Great King Turos XIII about two and a half thousand years ago by a minstrel named Jefrog.”

Belgrave chuckled as they entered the bedroom. “I’m glad I don’t have a name like Jefrog!” he said.