By Aevin Mayman
Two men stood on the heather-covered hilltop, gazing into the breaking dawn.
The battle chieftain rested with one hand on the hilt of his sword, the other hand fingering the silver band, a pendant, around his neck.
“What do you see, Tellu?” He asked, turning his head to look at the man to his right.
Tellu gazed out upon the valley below, dark hair waving lightly in the morning wind. “I see a kingdom, Ffindán. I see your kingdom.”
Ffindán scoffed lightly, crossing his arms over his chest. The spiraling crow tattooed on his arm seemed to soar as the muscles flexed, the blue inked wings a deep royal color in the dissipating darkness. “That is quite a bard-like thing to say, Tellu.” He said.
Tellu chuckled. “Well, I am a bard, so…”
Ffindán laughed along side him for a moment, then the two fell silent once again.
“I see the time between times,” Tellu began quietly. “I see the first dawn of the fair season of Moffar breaking upon the land.” He stopped and turned to Ffindán. “The land with you as its leader.”
Ffindán gave him a hard stare, but Tellu held his ground.
“As you said, Ffindán, I am a bard. It is my duty to know these things. As your closest friend it is my duty to show you the truth. And as chief bard of the clan of Gofaddain it is my duty to choose its new king.” Tellu put a hand on Ffindán’s shoulder. “And you are that king, brother.”
Ffindán shook his head slowly, the pendant glinting softly as the sun rose. “Tellu, I know you mean well, but I cannot be king.” Ffindán gestured to the settlement sprawling in the valley below. “These people have just lost their king. They need someone strong to lead them. I am afraid I am not that man. I can be a leader, but I cannot be a king.” He sighed as he finished, turning to walk down the hill. “I am going with the next hunting party, Tellu. I wish you well,” Ffindán said and made to leave.
“Ffindán, wait!” Tellu cried, running after the chieftain. He caught Ffindán by the arm and turned him around.
Ffindán grunted and tried to pull away, but Tellu held tight to him. “Honestly, Tellu,” Ffindán said. “I don’t know what you hope to accomplish with–“
“By Airmid’s hand, Ffindán,” Tellu cried, staring the stubborn battle chief straight in the eyes. “Listen to me! I am the Chief of Songs, the Teller of Stories. I am the bard of Gofaddain, your bard. I have been your friend since you entered this clan. Trust me and listen!” He tightened his grip on Ffindán’s shoulders.
Ffindán froze at the chief bard’s hold and gasped, eyes going unfocused. He stood that way for a couple heartbeats before going limp, stumbling slightly.
Tellu steadied him.
“What–” Ffindán swallowed thickly and began again. “What was that, Tellu?”
“That was the A Bheith,” Tellu answered, still holding Ffindán by the shoulders. “What is to be. I have given you a vision of what is to come,” Tellu explained. “Did you see it?”
Ffindán nodded slowly. “Yes,” he said. “I did. I saw the kingdom below this hill. I saw my kingdom.” He turned away from Tellu to face the open sky. His dusky red hair caught the rising sun and erupted in a fiery brilliance. “I saw the people smiling up at me, thanking me for leading them well.” He turned his head to the bard. “What does this mean, Tellu?” He asked quietly.
Tellu met his gaze. “You know exactly what this means, Ffindán.” Ffindán looked back to the valley. “It means you are meant to lead them.”
A flash of light caught Tellu’s attention and he looked down. “Ffindán,” he brought the chieftain’s attention to him softly. “Your pendant.”
Ffindán removed the band from his neck and held it in front of him.
The ornate metal was lit with the rising sun of dawn, transforming the silver it was fabricated from.
“It is gold.” Ffindán breathed.
Tellu smiled. “Yes, it is. A king’s color, is it not?”
Ffindán placed the pendant around his neck and gazed out upon the settlement below, the town just beginning to move as people woke. Dogs began to bark, roosters started their morning cries, children’s voices graced the morning wind.
“You certainly do fill your place as bard,” Ffindán said lightly.
Tellu snorted and turned to walk down the hill. “I certainly hope so, brother.”
Tellu disappeared into the treeline, leaving Ffindán standing on atop the hill’s crest, pendant glowing the color of kings.