My travels had slowed due to the sickness, I fear that I have grown impetuous when dealing with my own health. I am quick to assume my frailty is my final act and grow weary when the slightest change in my breath is noticed.
That being said, I’ve arrived in the kingdom of Queen Fenris. I thought I would let you know that I am safe, and I hope my previous letter found it’s way to you safely. I’m sure that due to my own setbacks, you will likely receive them all at once. Which I suppose is not as bad as never getting them.
Regardless, the Queen of Death welcomed me into her kingdom with open arms. A sentiment which did not sit quietly within me. However, when we arrived and I was sick with a violent cough. She opened her gates and her people swarmed us with salves and medicines, all of them reaching their arms out in aid. It is not what I would expect from one known as the Queen of Death.
We were quickly summoned to her quarters upon hearing of my arrival, funnily enough, our slowed progress had given a messenger sent from Ursus a sizeable lead on us, and she had prepared rooms for us. Had Ursus known we would immediately leave for her kingdom? I suppose it doesn’t matter much. What Queen Fenris lacked in military power, she held in treaties and bargains with other kingdoms. Despite her name, she was not violent or deadly in any traditional sense. In fact, presence with her was a delight.
The Queen of Death was the kindest woman I’d ever met.
She welcomed my traveling party into her halls and fed us, allowed us to bathe and invited us to stay for the night. She delayed my meeting with her until the morning as she had some manner of personal business to attend to.
I retired with my troupe and waited patiently for my meeting with Fenris the next day.
When sunrise came, I was woken by an attendant in the early morning. I was given a salve to aid my cough and brought to the Dining Hall where I was met by Queen Fenris and two more, both of them leaders of countries I had yet to visit. Who I’d later discover Fenris would wish me to seek out. Queen Panthera of the West, and King Cervus of the North.
I was invited to sit with them as Queen Fenris began to relay the nature of their meeting from the evening prior. The King and Queen had come to seek counsel, as they were growing old and weary. Their bodies frail and dying, they sought the comfort of this queen.
I came to understand as we sat around her dining table that her name had been mystified by her people and her enemies. Armies would wage war upon her and the rival soldiers would vanish. As legions of squads would disappear from battle and not return home, other kingdoms began to remark that she had trained an elite force. Rumors spread that she had allied with King Ursus as they had been witnessed together numerous times, she dispelled for me as I am for you now, that those things are not true.
There is much talk in our kingdoms, rumors upon rumors regarding the royal families, despite not knowing the truth behind the gates of anything. These Kingdoms became infamous for their lineage, their rulers always firm in their beliefs in times of war and times of peace. They stood by virtues that would everlast the ages.
Queen Fenris sat with her friends as their lives were each coming to a close and revealed to me the truth of their families. They, including King Ursus, had been childhood friends. Fenris armies were not the bloodthirsty killers that fable had imagined. They were standard as any other fighting force, save for one aspect of their training. It was so ingrained into the lives of her kingdom that Fenris could hardly understand that others went without the virtue.
Her soldiers and her people were unified. Everything they fought for, they fought for with the knowledge that they were never alone. Their unity was what kept them together. Just as King Ursus’ people were brought together by the strength of their burdens.
Queen Fenris sat me down beside her long time friends and explained to me that a good leader must be both strong, and unifying. She told me that her secret had always been her ability to bring people together. She sought actively to keep from tearing groups apart. It put stress on her, but the product resulted in a Kingdom that could withstand any storm.
As we concluded our meal, she asked that I return in the morning to meet with them once more. King Cervus and Queen Panthera wished to speak with me apart from Queen Fenris when I had time. So I retired to my room to send a new letter to you. I’m sure I will write once more after our meeting. It is so strange to think that after the Bannermen and the demons of my own past and present I’ve found myself here, at the font of knowledge in the presence of these great leaders. I hope to one day match their legacy, if not surpass it entirely.
But that is a story for another time.
Until then, I am still learning what it means to become a king.
I will speak with you soon…
Categories: Umbral Dawning