By Samuel Sebbowa Bunnya, Uganda
“It was I that started to win over humans to his cause. It was I that convinced the great people of this land that the gods were mere fools. It was I that challenged my mighty brother and people. It was I that dared to fight against the dragons. It was I that our great master blessed with his great magic. It is I that forced the dragons to seek a last resolution. I was there when our great master was cast down by my brother.
“It was my fault. It is my lingering love for the little boy that my mother birthed that caused it. I should have struck my blade into Trystan’s chest but I did not. I was too afraid to do so. I still loved my brother and my blade wavered. It is my fault that all this happened. But he understood. The great master saw my love for my brother in my heart. He too had admitted to me that he loved Anil even when they fought fiercely in the heavens.
“Some part of our master did not want his brother to fall like their father. It is the flaw of brothers and the flaw of having love for family. It blinds everyone. It blinded me and it blinded our great master. His love for his family of the gods misled him to one final parley; a day that this land has long forgotten. The books of the Sheyks call it the Battle of Silver and Gold. The Sabbah call it the Birthing of Ukama and the Emystians know it as The Drowning. Even the great sea masters in their drowned islands forget the day of the Red Comet.
“The place known as the Five Peaks served as the place of the great meeting. I with our great army of five hundred thousand stood to the back of the great master as he reasoned with the gods. My brother and people flew up above with their dragons watching over Orhóvihir’s kin. The gods cursed and abused the great master. But the great master did not let it all fall on him. He brushed it off and offered his kin the new world where gods and man would be one.
“It looked like the gods would agree with him. Our hopes for an end to the war that erupted in the skies were fed. They blossomed and that was when my eyes looked to the skies. They had fooled us all and when we thought peace for all the land would be reached, Anil disappeared with his kin. They filtered away and my brother rained his fires down on us. We fought them as we could but they slaughtered us. Their magic was too powerful and our god wallowed for a moment. It was then that my brother and six of his most trusted sprung their trap. The seven crowns that locked our great master away were cast into the hearts of the sky.
“I stole in to see him once more before the magic took full effect. Before the seven crowns sealed him away, he blessed me with great knowledge and a mission. He passed onto me the magic which I have used to fight those bastards that are descended from my brother. He gave me knowledge and cunning that I did not have then and he extinguished the sparks of love I had for my people once and for all.
“The mission is not far off from my mind. It is that mission that we as the Paladins of Naherus must finish. We have to get the High Crown and the red crown to achieve what we must. We must set Orhóvihir free. He must exert his revenge on Anil. It is my duty as master of the order to ensure that the Varyyin fall. For if all the dragons are slain, the crowns are broken and he is set free. Many join us now and more will join us.”
Rohorg looked at the man. “You are Naherus,” he whispered.
“Naherus is but a legend,” the master said. “I am Utheric the Naherus of Orhóvihir. It is my duty to be master of the Paladins until the day that our master returns; until Anil’s warriors are slain and no more. The dragons must fall.”
But my dream. Rohorg believed the man. He could see the age old wisdom in his eyes. The small similarities that the master had with their great dragon riding enemy was visible in his eyes. Rohorg was in the presence of a great man. “You know what I saw master. You know this might never happen.”
“He will rise and the dragons will fall.”
There was no questioning the master. Was their war really a war of legend? Was it a conflict between brothers? Rohorg did not understand a thing. He did not know what to feel about the master’s revelations. If anything he was more afraid of the old man before his eyes. We are going to be led to our death.
“Death is but a small price for the larger part,” the master said.
“All life is important,” Rohorg whispered.
The master smiled at him. “Nothing is more precious than what the dead leave behind.”
You will leave our corpses behind in the name of our god. The dream Rohorg had walked through made sense to him. The red hot flames; the dark skies; the terrified screams; the torn banners; it all seemed clear. The war was coming to a head. Whether it would come to a head now or in the far future, it would all end. He looked up into the mastrer’s eyes. There was an understanding between them.
“You saw a possible future boy,” the master said. “Nothing more, nothing less. The dragons will fall. My people who chose the wrong god will fall. The Varyyin and the dragons will perish in the flames of Orhóvihir’s vengeance.”
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