O’er life and death a silence grew, the arm trembled and the thain fell to his feet before him. Young eyes lay to rest upon old mistakes and the sword clattered to the floor, shattering the revered silence of the moment.
So it had come to this. An end. Or not? The man clasped his hand on the quivering shoulder of the thain, pulling him up to his feet once more. How could he hate this man? Yet he should have been hated, for all he had done, all he had commanded.
Time stopped for a second that was their eternity, freezing the huscarls in their anguish, the councellor as he pulled himself from the oaken floor; and in that moment, that one moment, they looked into each others eyes, searching for understanding, for forgivness.
And as time again slipped into its fluid motion the huscarls reached them, and a dozen swords were placed against the mans neck, pushing into the skin, ready to let his warm blood flow. But no blade did spill his blood. Maby they too could see, and had willed him to succeed.
But the thain again knelt before this man, and the huscarls moved away. A beauty and a splendour about him shone, a light from his heart shining through the mud and the sodden clothes. And all who saw him upon that day feared him and loved him.
He knelt next to the king, and huged him. “I came here to kill you, my brother,” he spoke, a true statement, a penalty for death. But the thain did nothing, just bowed his head as an acknlagement of this truth; “I know.”
“What happened, brother?” spoke the thain, his voice weak and thin, his eyes welled with tears, “what has happened to this?”
“You know,” said the man, “it became so for you.” He rose to his feet, and walked to the other end of the hall, past the excuse for a man who lay like a coward upon the floor and past the carven images of his gods untill he reached the thains throne. He ran his fingers lovingly across the entwined knotwork, and took his seat. The counsellor twised his malignant form and looked at his face, so wise and powerfull. The man just lauged.
“I see,” he said, “your ploy has not worked, has it? I should donounce your soul to hell if it ’twas not for the fact that you stripped me of my power.” He rose, slowly, never taking his eyes of that face. He was the one he had hated really, the puppet master, not the puppet. “you are the one who did this, are you not?” his voice grew louder and louger and he got nearer and nearer, “you are the one that said the people should burn, the crop should fail and the men should fight, and in the aid of what? Gold?” he laughed, “silver? what metal or stone could you have desired for yourself in the name of your lord that you did not recieve?”
The counsellor shook his head, muttering and sobbing in protest. The man walked around him three times slowly, and spat on his patheric shape. “You deserve to die, yet pity keeps me from it.” He kicked him, an utterance of pain from the dank figure befor him. “I shall kill you, if I ever see you again. Now leave.”
And the counsellor half walked, half crawlled to the great table where he pulled himself to his feet and fled the hall, fourteen pairs of eyes following his steaps. No blood would be spilt this day.
The man, the rightful thain walked to the front of the hall, bathed in the glory of the risen sun as it cast its cold light over the barren waste before the hall. Much was to be rebuilt, on hope, rather than war and fear.
A new rule was to begin, one of glory and of friendships, under the eyes of the eagles their task was lain, a land to be rebuilt and fields to be resown;
And all the earth to live.