The aged King Tragihma sat upon his throne in his great hall, staring out into nothingness, wondering about the fate of his kingdom now that sickness and age were coming upon him faster than before. He wanted it found and delivered back to him, before his voyage across the river of woes.
“How many have returned?” he called to his Captain.
“None sire, none have returned,” answered Captain Tisamar.
Captain Tisamar was King Tragihma’s mightiest general and leader of all the northland army. A trusted friend and advisor to King Tragihma.
“None sire, they have not returned and we have not found any traces of them or their horses.”
“Strange,” King Tragihma, softly uttered.
“How many did we send out?”
“Twenty sire, ten each for two moons wane.”
“Shall I send out more sire?” the Captain asked.
“No, no, I shall not waste more of my best men on this quest. Bring me Haclyon, the elder,” King Tragihma commanded into his great hall.
Haclyon, now stood before King Tragihma, dressed in his finest robes, all in black and silver he was, with his shaved head painted black and covered with red runic symbols. Haclyon was the king’s seer-priest, for the moment. He waited for King Tragihma to speak.
“What have you seen in your temple eye?, Priest. What of the searchers that I have sent out?”
“I have seen nothing sire. They have not appeared to me.”
“What?” was King Tragihma loud response.
“Nothing sire,” Haclyon meekly replied, as he stepped slowly back from King Tragihma, for he wanted to stay the king’s seer-priest, and did not wish to meet his fate, as so many other seers had.
“Should I send more men out on this quest?” the king questioned.
“I have seen nothing in the temples’ eye, for which you seek, it shows me nothing sire,” a half pleading answer did Haclyon give to King Tragihma.
“I thought as much, be gone from my sight.”
“Tisamar, pick six of your finest men and send them out.”
“Yes sire, it shall be none. Ah, sire?” Tisamar quietly asked.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Perhaps, another approach can be used to find the Shield of Njordist.”
The king puzzled at what Tisamar had just said.
“I have heard of someone who may be better able to retrieve the shield.”
“Who?” King Tragihma impatiently questioned.
“I have heard the name Sigmarr of Kadermist, whispered among the men sire.”
“Who is this man? Do you know him? The king seized upon the name.
“I have never met the man sire, but I have heard of him.”
“What of him?, tell me, quickly.”
“I have heard than he is a tall brutish man with the strength of five men, but I doubt that, he has seen many battles, and it is said that he even fought with you against the Borjiorn in the valley of Nedimus many years ago, an impatient man then.”
“What was his name again?”
“Sigmarr? Yes, yes I recall now, yes a big man he was, with yellow hair, yes, I remember, I did meet him once, he saved the life of general Vanerst, killed three men with one blow then. Yes, I remember, I gave him some land as a reward. Where is he now?” King Tragihma urgently asked.
“I don’t know sire, he may still live in Kadermist.”
“Go now!!, and take some of your bravest men with you, I want him here now!!” the king commanded.
“Yes, sire,” was the Captain’s obedient reply.
Sigmarr, now stood before King Tragihma, in the king’s great hall, flanked by six royal guards, two on each side and two behind.
“Why have I been brought here? What is the meaning of this?” Sigmarr’s bellow was heard throughout the large hall, then he knelt on one knee in front of the king.
“Are you Sigmarr of Kadermist?” the king questioned.
“Yes, I am sire,” Sigmarr did not move from his stance nor did he look up.
“Did you fight against the Borjiorn in the valley of Nedimus, many years ago?”
“Yes sire I did, I fought with you, you gave me some land for saving your general’s life.”
“Good, good, then you are the man I seek, stand up, I will have words with you.”
Sigmarr was very puzzled by this, he had done nothing wrong that he knew of.
King Tragihma slowly descended the few steps down from his throne and to Sigmarr. One could plainly see now that he was getting near the end of his days and he would soon be taking his voyage across the river of woes. An old man bent over with trembling hands now, not the hands or body that had fought along with Sigmarr in the valley of Nedimus. He came to Sigmarr and when he did, he straightened himself up, in a kingly way, and now stood as tall as Sigmarr was, both men could look squarely into each others eyes, but Sigmarr did not, he kept his head and eyes lowered before his king.
“I have brought you here, for I have a quest than only you can fulfill,” the king seizing the moment spoke forcefully with a strong and certain voice not the voice of an old man.
“A quest sire?”
“Yes, I will have you retrieve the Shield of Njordist for me.”
“Why me sire? You have an army of men who could get it for you.”
“My army moves too slow for this and there are tells that the Borjiorn have sent raiding parties across the border near Treyfiel, I need them here. You will go.”
“If your army can not go then send some men after it, I can not go.”
“You will go. And I have... sent men out for the shield, many men, none have returned.”
“What is this shield to you? I have not heard of it before, why should I care?”
“Do not test me on this, you will go. The Shield of Njordist, belonged to my father’s father and was taken when the Borjiorn raiders entered this castle and stole all that was within, while King Berentos was gone fighting the Borjiorn hordes. It is part of a set of four shields, that belong to this kingdom, I have returned three to their rightful place on the wall there, only the Shield of Njordist remains missing and I shall have it returned to this castle before I travel on the river of woes,” King Tragihma pointed to the western high wall, there hung the shields he spoke of, with a space between for a fourth.
“I cannot go, I will not,” Sigmarr protested.
King Tragihma ascended to his throne once more and sat upon it in regal splendor.
“You will go,” King Tragihma now motioned to his guards at a black draped door. The black drapes parted and bound prisoners were brought forth.
To be continued...