When the potter began to run his wheel, Middle Dane still had a fair king. The potter was knelt at its side and had begun to bend the clay slowly to fit his requirements. Like any good potter, this artist didn’t rush. The potter took time to carve the damp clay into a wide but thin shape. His eyes examined it in fine detail, being careful not to overwork the clay by messing around with it too much, if he did then he could be forced to start over with another ball of the dark stuff. The potter would often shut out the outside world as he worked, not wishing to be distracted from his quickly turning wheel as the brownish-water ran off of the surface.
It was because of this dedication to his work that he didn’t notice the man holding the sword as he crept up on him. The potter was engaged in his craft and was smiling as he raised the sides of his latest creation into a vase. The man with the sword held it close to the potter’s neck, pulled it back and decapitated him in one clean move. The potter’s head rolled off and onto the wheel, which kept spinning for only a moment, sending a clay-splattered head across the parlour. The brownish-water, however, was gone. In its place blood poured from the wheel into the tray.
Lord Ser Banborus Tantalus Bullsear was always going to lead his soldiers into the palace. He had spent every year of his life preparing to sit on the glass throne inside the palace of Middle Dane – all sixty of them. Bullsear marched up the stone steps with the stubborn dignity and pride that only a serving general could possess. He was flanked on each side by more than a dozen men in the same regal, silver armour that he wore across his heavy torso. Lord Bullsear carried his gigantic warhammer, Ranstrom with an innocent man’s blood dripping from its head already. Bullsear pushed open the great doors of the palace and let light pierce the glass chair at the end of the hall.
‘Today the dynasty of the Reichmars will end,’ Bullsear cried as he strode confidently into the throne room. His soldiers kept the same pace as him, sharp eyes challenging any of the courtiers who were watching the coup. Light bounced off of the veteran’s bald head like he had a halo and the general’s hard-set jaw was carved into a snarl against the king of Middle Dane.
‘If you start this with violence then it will only end with violence Lord Bullsear,’ said King Edvard IX, king of Middle Dane – albeit at the age of fifteen not being an expert in political matters. The boy, as Bullsear still saw him, was unfit to rule as king and this time the Bullsear family would not be ignored in the search to find the next king.
‘Do not talk philosophy with me boy,’ Bullsear said, ‘from today my family’s name will no longer be acquainted with dishonour and a lack of luck; but instead of awesome power.’ The captain of the king’s watch, who stood before the glass throne calmly, drew his sword and stepped forward towards Bullsear, ‘Do you, Edvard son of Edvard Reichmar, and the ninth of his name and the king of Middle Dane, consent to abdicate as ruler with immediate effect with all of your powers being transferred to Banborus Tantalus Bullsear – supreme commander of your armies?’
‘The king will allow no such thing Banborus, and you will soon have your head balancing on the chopping block,’ the captain of the king’s watch replied coldly. He pointed his sword towards Bullsear but neither man showed any inclination of stepping down.
‘I don’t want to kill you Kidner – you have always fought honestly and been loyal to your king – but if you don’t stand aside then your wife will be taking a widow’s pension.’
‘I don’t bow to traitors Banborus,’ said Ser Kidner, ‘you have cast aside your oath to pledge loyalty to the king; if I am to die honourably then shame on you.’ He stepped forward and jabbed his sword towards Bullsear. The general reacted without comment by deflecting the sword away from him using the great warhammer. With Ranstrom Bullsear was in his element as the king’s watch ran at his personal army. His soldiers drew their swords and spears and attacked ferociously – they had nothing to fear. Bullsear sent Ranstrom through Kidner and the captain’s sword shattered, sending shards of steel everywhere, Bullsear felt a sharp bit of shrapnel hit him just above the eye and a thin stream of blood began to ooze from the thin wound. Bullsear lifted Ranstrom above his head, forcing his bulging muscles to work like they hadn’t for years, and brought it down on Kidner. The cracking sound that ensured would stick with an innocent man for the rest of his life as the captain’s skull collapsed from the power of the giant hammer.
Blood went everywhere this time and as his fellow revolutionaries dispatched their partners in the dance of a swordfight it became difficult to tell the difference between one’s own blood and that of their opponent. It was over before it had started. The last of the king’s defenders slumped and fell on his face with only a little bit of hep from Ranstrom and then only Edvard IX was between Lord Bullsear and the glass throne he had craved for sixty long years.
‘If you want the crown then you’ll have to cut off my head Bullsear,’ Edvard said. The general walked slowly towards the throne, hiding any feelings from the young king. In truth, Bullsear was loving his walk, he made the moment draw on as he marched across the bloody marble floor, in a minute he would be king at last, after the way his family had been betrayed nearly two hundred years earlier, as well as an entire life of plotting the downfall of the Reichmar dynasty, the golden crown would be worn by Banborus Tantalus Bullsear.
‘All my life I’ve been planning today, Edvard, waiting for the best moment to strike; the best time to retake the throne which has been owed to the Bullsear family for generations. All that time I’ve been debating what to say when that victorious moment comes – a cheesy quip? No, a poem from the tomes of your ancestors was another option, but I decided against that as well. I decided only an hour ago Edvard what I would say to you and your goddamn family before I cut off your head and put it on a spike, I chose to tell you the Bullsear family motto – which will stay with you for what remains of your short miserable life
‘Power breaks everyone,’ and with that, Lord Bullsear lifted his hammer and slew King Edvard IX, still only fifteen years of age. The veteran slowly stooped to snatch the golden crown from Edvard’s bleeding head and he turned triumphantly. In front of his elite bodyguard, who smiled and cheered like any goon would. Bullsear, covered in the blood of honourable men like a scene in an old demented story, lifted the golden crown above his head and placed it on his tough, bloodied and bald temple, ‘hail your king countrymen. Hail your rightful king!’