I am sorry for having avoided another letter to you. Since last you heard from me, I’ve come to meet briefly with King Ursus. When I arrived at his kingdom I was greeted by soldiers and scribes, many who’d wanted to know what brought me to their gate so suddenly. I solemnly passed them by and approached King Ursus, to question his motives and his authority. Wondering why his kingdom was so capable, so influential. It was a bastion of hope that hadn’t been shaken since it’s founding.
I wanted so badly to have that for myself.
Ursus invited me into his hall where we sat in silence for a while, and it allowed me a moment to gather my thoughts. I hadn’t anticipated what I would say upon meeting him. I only knew that I wanted to see the world how he did. Something about his strength that came from deep within him allowed him to lead with more fervor than any other king I had known. His people were indomitable, their armies were infallible. Ursus’ kingdom was a kingdom ruled with iron fist, and yet, his people adored him.
I learned quickly why, as he asked me no questions but sought to find me a warm meal and a tall drink to sate me. I accepted gracefully the platter and mug I was offered, and his still remained silent. I wondered why he refused to speak, to greet me. Perhaps it was a custom of his nation? I said nothing as I spoke, worried that I would offend by questioning his authority with a mouth full of bread and meat. However, I realized after I had finished that he was merely waiting.
When I had finished eating, he looked at me with his bright smile, his long white hair wrapped into a tight bun behind him, his crown hanging from the side of his throne and he just smiled for a moment, forming his words.
“What is it like?” He asked me.
“What is what like?”
“Stepping away from your throne for any time at all?”
Ursus sat in his chair across from me, on the other side of the throne room. He had made it a point to bring a small table for his advisor to sit at. The same table, which we then occupied, was ornately designed and decorated according to the themes of what seemed to be his entire kingdom. Bears, war, and glory. In the south, a prevailing wonder at nature coalesced within the hearts of all men. The frigid ice caps were home to ferocious hunters and creatures of great mystery that lived within the depths of the seas. The water cold enough to be inhospitable, and yet the world below their kingdom thrived. They had built much of their kingdom in honor of this natural appreciation of hunter and hunted. The circle of life, Ursus called it.
“I don’t know what you mean?” I looked at this king, old age had weathered his flesh, his robes lined with thick fur that only accentuated his weakening body. Even so, his frame was much larger than my own. I am but a boy, all things considered, this man is a king with great influence. I realized, that influence came from never departing his throne. His unwavering hand was more than legend. His power came from his presence.
He was the King of Power because his rule demanded such. His shoes to fill were too large for him, and the pressure crushed him.
For all the power he had, he was still but a frail man in the chair across from me, thankful for any moment that he was allowed to step away from his throne. His power wasn’t a myth, but it was as real as he was.
It wasn’t a power of the body, not wholly.
The fabled legends of King Ursus told of his unwavering hand, his cold discipline, his dedication to his people and his faith in the way of nature, as all things work towards the cycle of life.
He told me there, that day, that his power came from within, knowing that his time would come and doing everything he could to leave a legacy that his people could rely on. If had had lived in another kingdom, if he had been another king, he would have done the same. The circumstance of his power came from the love of his life. His gratefulness to live at all.
His power was born within a realization in his youth, as he was pinned down on one of those frigid ice caps after a game of tag had gone wrong, he was trapped by a bear, and he had no way out. His father came to save him, and as the bear turned to face off against the man who had become the larger threat, Ursus escaped and watched as his father battled against the creature until one of them was felled.
He learned then that all things are a cycle.
He learned then that his power must come from within.
Each moment of life for him was a gift.
A gift that was running out, and as he sat before me he offered me the piece of advice that his late father had offered to him.
“Your law as a King should come from your own Power. Do not lean on others who are weaker. Be the one that others can lean on.”
He told me the law of the Bear. The King of the Frozen Tundra, long before his kingdom had come to power.
Bear the weight of your frozen hopes. Shatter them with your fangs.
Be strong. For All.
My meeting with King Ursus ended as quickly as it began, and as he laid down to rest, he sent me towards another who might be able to aid me. Her name is Fenris, a Queen to the East. Fabled as the Queen of Death. He suggested that I visit her next, to continue my own journey.
As I was traveling to her kingdom, however, I’ve come down with an ailment and I must rest and recover before I reach out to you once more.
Categories: Umbral Dawning