The long march from Rodes to Rhune, the next closest settlement having any sort of defensive fortified settlement to Rodes, was a harrowing and bloodless march bound more by food and water supplies having dwindled to almost nothing within the first few days of the march. The attendants, whittled down to an even dozen males ranging from ages eleven to fifty nine, were simply too few to maintain rationing among the undisciplined mob of civilians. Besides for a bare few including and Osur, the attendants had been turned into motley scouts to make sure the Vesi did not follow.

It was mostly the quiet by strong leadership of Solomon and his glowing warhammer and the almost-blind Osur. Osur had been an attendant to a veteran hoplite for decades. Having lost half his sight in his thirties against the Eturians, the other eye had slowly clouded over until Osur had to be guided by a lad less than ten wherever he went. However, it was Osur's healing abilities that had maintained the punishing speed that the train of refugees had moved at.

However, instead of being greeted by the arms of the Datian garrison, the refugees came to a sight of a large camp having sprouted around the small settlement of Rhune. And the flags that flew from the banners bared the sigil of a white dragon rearing to attack on a silver field. A small wisp of smoke trailed into the air above Rhune.

Solomon, having not been anywhere before but Datia, did not recognize the banners. However, once he relayed to Osur on the image of the banner, a hiss from the old man's lips,'That is the personal banner of Vezimmir, the Son of the Light and Emperor of the Holy Empire. Of course they would be here..' When Solomon pressed for more of the troubling news, the old healer merely shook his head and prompted his guide to lead him away. It was all the same, since a long line of horsemen had already begun to converge on where Solomon and the the train had halted.

The man, if that was the name of the creature, rode up on a monster of a midnight black stallion near thirty hands tall. The giant stood at near eight feet tall and it's skin was as black as the night itself. Hair as white as snow fell to the giant's back and his eyes gleamed the brightest blue as he looked down at the human with the glowing warhammer,'Welcome Solomon, son of Nathaniel, of Rodes. His Holy Grace, the Emperor of Us All, requests your company this evening. I am also to tell you that His Holy Grace commends your bravery in the face of the Vesi horde..'

At this the herald trailed off as Solomon had begun to move away, speaking quietly on camping arrangements outside of Rhune for a moment. As this was going on, the herald frowned and swung gracefully from the saddle of the horse. As he did so, the sword on his back back to emanate in unseen waves of power. Strapped on his back was the great sword that pulled the gaze towards it, the weight of it's power like the plunge to the deep, a pressure on the skull. At this Solomon turned back towards the giant and in his hand the warhammer pulsed in mirror to that of the hidden blade of the herald.

A smile crept across the face of the herald,'Yes Solomon. The Power you now wield once belonged to another, as does all true Power. You have been Chosen and must cast aside your worldly desires and give in to what the Light demands of you.' The giant broke contact from the silent Solomon to cast his gaze to the North, where in the distance Rodes still burned if one had the height of an eagle in flight.

At this Solomon gave answer,'I say this frankly. I was never a devout man before this hellscape was thrust upon me. I was an honest and fair man and sought no quarrel unless in defense of my home. Nor was I a hero worthy of the name, such as those who gave their lives at the docks at Rodes. And I sought vengeance at the fall of my home against the Vesi and willingly sought out their bands in the night as we fled from that once fair city. Time and time again I was overwhelmed and many times I suffered wounds that would have killed a lesser man. But for all that, I was not immune to the pain of those wounds, nor could I but watch as my hammer learned to kill without mercy. All that now guides me is the safety of my people and, if I can with this new Power, maintain the safety of those who cannot defend themselves. But let one thing be known before I proceed down this path that the Light has Chosen for me.'

'What?'

'Power is a curse.'

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Part of the Holy World Codex.