Arick Darkfist sat with his back against the two corners of the dimly lit room. His servants took away his untouched food, but refilled the empty wine before stepping out. He rose after they left and lifted the jug and took a swig. Watered down, as he suspected. He paced back and forth in front of the cold empty fireplace deep in thought. He was sure that having his men hunt down that wood nymph’s Ironwood tree and having it crafted into a beautiful blade would snap Ozzette out of her current state. His groin still ached from her firmly planted boot. Two weeks and it still caused him grief. He had tried everything to bring her around, and found himself more and more worried. He almost never showed his feelings for the slough, but for the first time in his life he had found a woman whom was equal to spirit as he himself had always been. Deadly on and off the battle field, beautiful and as cunning as he, to see her reduced to little more than a mindless drone tore at him as bad as when he had been caged.
All the hard work he had put into building this kingdom seemed pointless without the one who had placed him on the thrown. In the last two months he had proved himself unfit as a king. His heart sank as he realized just how much the citizens hated him, not just the non-humans but humans as well. He thought the tax would have caused only small areas of concern, but instead had his people on the edge of rioting. Finally he had disbanded the tax, yet the people still seemed to resent the tax. The money he had collected was going to repairs for the war with Kalladen. Kalladen he would never see the same, they would have all fallen on the field like swine had the band of mercenaries not turned. Elite fighting squad they might be, but now they had a formable enemy named Arick Darkfist, and as he thought of them he felt his blood begin to boil, the barbarian in his inciting a rage, and his fist tore through a ceremonial steel shield sitting on the wall.
Taking a deep breath he calmed himself… He needed to think now. Sitting in this castle with servants and aristocrats pawing at him did nothing but make him weak. Being king only gave him the chance to collect some interesting items. He could not extract revenge on the mercenaries, nor could he return Ozzette back to her old self. There was no reason for him to continue milking the realm when he had failed it, and given nothing in return. He sat at his desk and pulled began to write…
A week later…
The Highlord Arick Darkfist gave a proclamation to the People of Havenswatch. Standing in front of everyone Arick’s words rang out loud…
“I am Arick Darkfist, King of Havenswatch… Is there anyone here that disputes my word is law?” A few stirred but none dared speak up. “Then this day, as your king, I hope to serve you as king the best I have since the day I was crowned. Many of you do not remember the years past when Havenswatch first crowned its first leader, a Highlord who by all accounts say was fair and a just king. Many of you agree that with the war against the pirate kingdom Kalladen, the unfair taxes against the races not human and my barbarian heritage that I am a poor king. My greatest service to Havenswatch is this, a week ago I wrote a letter to a Dwarf named Sir Azariaz, Son of Artor, asking him to return to Havenswatch, and indeed he has come. Arick beckoned a figure from behind him to come forth.
A dwarf walked forward, head held high and proud as his dark blood red beard swung back and forth over his chest. Arick bowed slightly and looked out at the people again. “I give to you, Sir
Azariaz, Son of Artor whom upon my request has come to take my place on the thrown of Havenswatch until the time that I am ready to reclaim it, or my rule is over. Azariaz has proven to be a good king in the past, and will do so again in the months to come. As your king, I command it. Arick turned and chanted the words of teleportation, disappearing.
Murmuring swept the crowd both dismayed and rejoice full. Some outraged that this was not how new kings were elected, and others pointing out that Azariaz was only a stand-in to act as king until the return of king Arick. The grumbling of orcs in the crowd could also be heard, as there was little love between dwarf and orc.
Later, Azariaz stood in the king's study as he skillfully signed the last document on the desk. He then handed it to the Champion. Autheron looked over it, before looking at the dwarf. “We are to give a bonus to all the militia of 50 emeralds?”
Azariaz smiled at his old friend, “Don’t yee be looking at me like that ya twig of a woodland sprite, twas the last thing your king Arick ordered before he went off on his grand adventures. Said’s he that ya’ll had earned it, and told me to make sure ya’ll got a bit O coin for yee troubles.
Autheron smiled at the shorter man and pocketed the document in a folder to deliver to the steward. “What grand adventure could Arick have, my lord?” he asked
The dwarf barked a laugh, “Not quite sure lad, not quite sure.”
Arick bent doubled over as he ran over the plains in a dead run. He could feel he was a little out of shape from his stay at the castle, but there was still a hardness to him that pulsated in his eyes. His sword strapped to his back he ran past the fields of Havenswatch in the direction of Kalladen. By the time he arrived he would have honed his skills back to a fine edge, and be ready to face his brothers in the Fallen. He needed some answers.