Near the end of last week, Exbaltaira was thrown into a terrible state of confusion and grief. During the Fourth War of Keimin, Prince Arthanu Halldhor was charged with patricide, genocide, kidnapping, and impostering royalty. It was claimed that Prince Arthanu had killed King Halldhor as part of a bloody tradition that’s stretched far into the past, since the beginning of recorded Exbaltairan history. It was said that the prince took the throne and the name King Halldhor, as had his father, and the father before that. For the past several months we as a nation refused to believe such heresy that went against everything we had been taught.
Well, it would seem like the time for denial has passed. Recently, in Council territory, Arthanu staged a rebellion, breaking out of the Council prison and beginning a new, bloody crusade against the Council. This rebellion, like the dozens we’ve seen in this very country, was quashed almost immediately. Prince Arthanu himself was executed by an unnamed Crusader. Escorting his body back was King Samuel Exbaltaira.
The first reactions, as could be seen around the nation, was anger. Riots raged through town, protests were staged in cities, hundreds of men and women called for blood. But from the anger blossomed a new weed: grief. Just days after the news hit, the people were littering the streets: not crying, not wailing for justice. A silence fell over the nation for the first time in generations, as all the elves seemed to face mortality.
King Samuel himself, who had won a decisive and humiliating victory over Arthanu during the war, gave a grief stricken speech at the funeral. He talked about the death not as a showcase of his power, of his ability as a leader, but rather as the end of an era, and the beginning of growth for the nation.
“Everything about my life had been shaped and defined by the idea that King Halldhor was eternal. And now, today, I am met with proof that he is not. And that terrifies me.”
— King Samuel Exbaltaira
With the death of Prince Arthanu came the death of the Halldhor myth. Now, the people were willing to listen.
The King’s speech did not end in a magnificent ovation from the crowd. A melancholic atmosphere dominated the event. The King did not present an image of unstoppable confidence, of charismatic grandeur. Instead, Samuel gave the image of moving on, of change.
I had the pleasure of speaking with King Samuel the day after, and conducted a short interview. The bulk of which will go under its own story, but I thought I would let the last question end this piece. The question was “Who was King Halldhor to you?”
“Many think of King Halldhor as the symbol of oppression. As a tyrant and a bully who threatened and killed who and what he pleased. And maybe that’s all true. But to me, growing up in Exbaltaira, he was different. He was a father, a teacher and a protector. When I was weak, he made me strong. I didn’t care if he was real or not; the idea was real! And the idea remained real, even after I learned the truth, even after I saw Arthanu sitting on his throne. Even after I had defeated him and removed his ears, it all felt real. It all felt like I was living up to my father. King Halldhor was Exbaltaira, epitomized into elfhood. And because of that, seeing Prince Arthanu die was one of the hardest, most painful moments of my life. I did not kill him; I had requested to, but the heat of battle does not care for honor. But I needed to see it happen. It feels terrible to say, but only now that he’s dead can I grow, and can Exbaltaira grow.”
HEADLINES FROM THIS ISSUE:
Full Interview With King Samuel
A Warm Welcome To the Other Halldhor Sisters
Complainer Gone Under; Informer Making Its Move!
Orc and Humans, Lost Siblings or Distant Counts: A Look At Human-Orcish Ancestry
Whispers of Rebellion Brewing In Southern Exbaltaira
Protestors Demand Access to Onisia River
A Look Back at State History
Garden Gnome Demands Rights