Chapter 3

Donash looked around the throne room with wonder. As knights, Theryns and other noble lords and ladies entered the room in small groups, he couldn’t help but stare over his shoulder at them. His seat was at the front row, closest to the king, patiently awaiting the gathering of nobles on his throne.

As the last nobles entered and guards in richly decorated armour closed the hall’s large wooden doors, the king very slowly rose from his throne and carefully took a few steps down. Taking his time, he looked around the room. Perhaps he’s looking if there’s people absent, Donash wondered.

Seemingly satisfied with the attendance, the king finally started to talk: “Lords and ladies of the land. I have gathered you here in consequence of the great tragedy that has befallen the north. No doubt you have heard of the events. Yet, I do not know whether more than mere rumour has reached all lordships, and therefore shall recount to you the truth of the matter.”

He paused and looked around the room. Assured that he had everyone’s undivided attention, he continued: “One week ago, a plague has struck Windvale. A terrible contagious and lethal disease. The Theryn was the first to fall, but through his misfortune, the disease spread to the rest of the castle. Surely, the disease would have spread to the town as well, had a brave hero not stepped in.

This hero is a young physician who had just arrived in town. Before and unlike anyone else in the town, he realized the terrible threat and acted with the necessary urgency and determination. He had the castle sealed off and the rest of the town quarantined in small districts to halt the advance of the disease.

With the plague under control, he proceeded to cure whoever he could. I am certain that, had the young hero arrived earlier, the entire tragedy would have been averted and Theryn Windvale, Gods bless him, would sit amongst us now.

However, fate has not willed it that way, so we find ourselves with two objectives this day. First of all, we have a hero to honour. Second, with the destruction of the entire Windvale family, it is my responsibility to find a successor worthy of their name. But let us start with some well deserved praise. Lords and Ladies, please honour Donash, the plague-destroyer!”

Donash slowly rose from his seat and walked over to the king, who turned him to the audience. Donash bowed as the entire room stood up and applauded him for his actions. It all felt like a dream to him. One that was too good to be true, especially given what was to come next.

After a minute, the king raised his hand, asking for silence. The applause died down quickly. “I feel that Donash, through his actions, has proven to possess honour, determination, leadership and a good heart. Therefore, I think I have found the solution to the second issue of today. If anyone wishes to speak his mind on the choice for a new Theryn of Windvale, speak now and I shall listen.

This was the scary part for Donash. The king was supposed to listen to every proposal any of the lords could have for a successor. Often, nobles would propose a second son, cousin, nephew or pretty much anyone else remotely related.

Immediately one of the nobles rose from his seat. Donash bowed his head. He had expected that the nobles would not accept a simple man like him. Yet the man did not propose anyone else. “I think that the town of Windvale will be happy to have their hero as lord, and that under his leadership, it will be a healthy town indeed,” he said in a voice that was somehow familiar to Donash.

The other nobles cheerfully laughed at his wordplay, and when it died down, he added: “A prosperous town of Windvale is a benefit to all the north and indeed all the realm. I think his Majesty has made an excellent choice.” Much to Donash’ surprise, the others all agreed.

“Then it is decided,” the king stated as he drew his sword. “Kneel, Donash.”

Donash knelt in front of the king, who placed his sword on his right shoulder. “Donash, I elevate you from the rank of commoners to that of Theryns. From this day own, you are a lord of the realm, swearing allegiance to the rightful king and only the rightful king.” He lifted the sword and placed it on his left shoulder. “And from this day on, you are known as Theryn Donash of Windvale.”

>> Chapter 4

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