During the reign of Khahan Deghul there was a lovely princess, Khao-Mei was her name and she was like a rose among daisies, beautiful yet full of thorns. Vain and proud she was, full of herself and contemptuous of others. Still men fell for her heavenly good looks, her perfect shaped lips and her hauntingly beautiful brown eyes. They fell in love and when stumped, they fell in ruin.
One such suitor was Prince Lehio the Brave, the hero of the Kalthurian war, the slayer of Grund, Lord of Dhalia. He was a popular man bringing cheers and laughter of joy wherever he went. The peasants named their eldest sons after him, the nobility sent their daughters to ask for his hand, and the Khahan himself valued him above all of his Generals.
Then one day, as the Khahan threw a party to celebrate the conquest of Bloodmoor, Prince Lehio met Princess Khao-Mei and Lehio stopped dead in his tracks, forgot about his followers, a flock of hopeful girls. But Khao-Mei was used to such attention and she discarded it, for she knew not who he was. Later during the feast as the Khahan led his generals and their chosen escorts to the dance floor, Lehio approached the vain Princess, asked for her hand in the dance. “It is Lehio milady, the Slayer of Grund, the hero of the Kalthurian war. Some say he is the Khahan’s favourite and the rumours tell that he was decisive in the Bloodmoor campaign” the words were whispered by one of the Princess’ chambermaids. Her manner suddenly changing, the Princess opened her petals, turned on her charms and the Prince was smitten, struck to his knees by lust and desire, love and foolishness.
For his new won love, the Prince ordered a bridge built from his home isle of Caoju to the mainland city of Dhalia. And as the flowers blossomed in May, they were married in the cathedral; the Khahan even graced the bride with a private word and a blessing before the wedding. Nothing was good enough for his favourite general the people whispered, and he had must have ordered her to be an obedient and good wife. Afterwards the bride and groom walked home from Dhalia. Crossing the bridge they stopped, kissed deep and all the while the people cheered. Their hero had gotten his fairy tale princess. His head swam, tears fell and the people rejoiced.
But there came a time when the Khahan once again went to war and the first to be summoned was Lehio, chosen of the Khahan, hero of the people. So Lehio fought. He fought for his Khahan, he fought for his people, and he fought for his bride. Through the swamps of Kandarra he waded, drenched in the blood of enemies, wounded a dozen times. Through the highlands of Keldon he marched, his men tired beyond humanly possible but still carrying on, inspired by their relentless lord, willing to die if such was his demand. At last Lehio won the war. In the enemy capital of Mothanderon he accepted the former king’s oath of fealty and he returned home, happy, for his bride was waiting.
At the gates of Dhalia the gatemen cried, their heads lowered as he rode into town. Within the city the streets were emptied and only a child yelled “My Prince, My Prince! Do not come!” As he crossed the bridge, the colourful pendants were gone and the fishermen in the ocean took of their hats, lowered their heads. Deeply worried the Prince rode on. Never had he had such a strange welcome. There were no flowers, no shouting maidens, no admiring boys, and no proud and smiling old men. There was only eerie silence.
Entering his compound the Prince looked about. There stood the Princess, silent and cold. She looked as lovely as ever but something had changed. He ran to her, but she rejected him with a cold shoulder, not even offering him as much as a glance or a smile. Confused the Prince went to his bedroom, but unknown soldiers blocked his way. “You may not enter while the Khahan sleeps” the soldiers said. But the Princess could and so she did.
Confused, Lehio meditated in the shrine, prayed to his gods, to his forefathers that what his mind told him was untrue. And there came an answer, as if in a mocking reply, the wind brought moans of pleasure, moans he knew all too well. And Lehio cried.
As the days went on, the Khahan and the Princess flirted openly, walked past the shivering figure of Lehio, even ordered him to fetch them dinner, fruit and wine. Nights brought moaning, the perverted screams of the black bride. At the seventh day Lehio broke.
He went to the river, cold and torn.
He walked the bridge, his soul forlorn.
He pulled his dagger, cried for his whore.
He slit his throat, and was no more.
At this time an old man, one who told the Prince wondrous tales during his childhood, walked upon the bridge and witnessed the prince commit suicide, saw him fall into the water. “This is the Bridge of Fates. I foresee great sorrow and happiness. This bridge shall never remain neutral, shall know tears of joy and the blood of innocents”.
And thus it came to be.
Many years later it was known as the hero’s end, until the sacking of Dhalia when a fleeing flock of school children was cut down by charging cavalry on the bridge. Then some years later a jealous husband drowned his wife, beating her head violently against the stonework and the bridge was thought of as an ominous place, haunted by restless spirits who floated beneath the surface of the water, staring with dead eyes at those who walked upon their grave.
Nowadays the Bridge of Fates is the property of the Dancers of Jhalion. During sunrise they dance in ecstatic circles, praising their lord. During sunset they hold hands and chant, praising the glory of his creation. By their will is the history of the bridge told, generation after generation. By their will was this tale brought to you.