The King walked up the stone steps of the Temple, hewn out of rock in the summit of a huge mountain.  Each step he took sent a pain through his legs… each step and each stab reminding him of all that he had to sacrifice, put on the line, risk-to win the land now surrounding him.

He looked up at the many stone steps he had to climb.

He had a strange sense of foreboding as he climbed, for even though the mountain was on land that belonged to him, the mountain itself was not his to claim. He had visited the Temple on top just once, alone, and whatever had transpired there was a mystery to all. The King had forbade everyone from attempting to ascend the mountain thereafter.

A great white Eagle soared high above him…its golden beak shone brilliantly in the  sunlight. It was Ferow the Golden. The great Eagle swooped and threw itself into a dive and hovered a few feet above the tiring King. It looked at the King with a  mocking sorrow in its eyes.

The look in the Eagle’s eyes shook the King into a defiance…and angry with his depleting strength, he threw himself up and up, relentlessly, breathlessly, carelessly..not stopping for a breath or drink, the sorrowful eyes of the Eagle an insulting shove upwards.

Sweat pooled in and around the King’s argentine mane…streams of salty liquid flowed down his eyebrows, over the strong nose and around his thin, firm lips and under his strong jaw. The weight of the mighty, double-bladed, diamond gilded Thorn of Triund bore down at his belt.

The ancient hard black stone steps fell behind…the summit drawing ever closer. The Eagle soared higher and higher. Circled. Swooped down. Shot up. And circled. Like a hungry vulture waiting for its tired carcass to give up its soul.

With a final defiance of his frail health, and a mighty push from his pride, the King ascended the last step and stood facing the sanctum. Permitting himself the luxury of rest, he unsheathed the Thorn of Triund and got down on his knees. The trusted sword was his support even now…its keen point fast against the black rock.

The great Eagle sat on its perch above the stone temple, and swooped down to greet the King.

It landed at a respectable distance, and the King laid down pieces of white meat on a cloth of a golden velvet. Taking a bow, the King stood up and walked back a few steps. Both of them knew they were Kings of their domains and treated each other as such.

The Eagle glided forward and accepted the offering.

Finishing the last piece, he flew off towards his perch. Moments later, a bundle of sweet-smelling sticks landed at the King’s feet. The sticks belonged to the Eagle’s nest-a sign that the King could now enter the sanctum.


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