Back in Tallasian, the past month had passed painfully slow for Tallonus, he knew that the great insult was on every ones lips but he tried to hide his feelings of betrayal through the pride of Kleg’s victories.
“ you should have been there with me father, with my own eyes I witnessed Kleg become Golheck, these eyes that I look at you now wept with pride father” sighed Tallonus to his father Zalon who just glimpsed up from his jug of ale looking glumly at his son‘s comment.
“ a winner of the Rion sword contest trained here in Tallasian , at our school and by these hands Father” Tallonus added showing his Father his hands as once again Zalon remained silent.
“ Father what is wrong ? , will you not toast our success with me “ Tallonus said as he held out his jug towards his Father
“do you not feel pride at what this school has achieved , for the first time in three centuries a champion has emerged from the south of Kratos!, from our school , trained by you and I “
Zalon suddenly pushed his jug away from himself and sighed loudly as if in disgust at his son
“How blind can a son of mine be “he sighed surprising his son?
“Your brothers would be turning in their graves as you rejoice for this imperial contest”
He sternly added while emphasizing loudly with disdain the word imperial.
Tallonus leaned back in his chair in surprise
“Why must you speak like this father “ he asked.
Suddenly the jugs on the table jumped into the air as Zalon angrily banged his huge fist onto its wooden top.
“How much more must I hear of this damn contest..... Your admiration for this damn imperial contest sickens me to the pit of my stomach “
“No! “ Zalon shouted before adding
“three hundred years , you say , three hundred glorious years of contest you tell me, mouthing it like a romantic yarn, you’re a damn fool my son , you praise the last three centuries for its Rion contest when you should be damning this infernal empire for three centuries of slavery it has imposed upon your people !”
Tallonus rose from his chair in an angered pose
“I will not be drawn into this again “he said reminding his father of past confrontations they had on this topic.
Zalon banged the table again
“Damn it son, you are Zachanian “
“No father I am not!”
Zalon now rose to his feet, a look of disgust and surprise was now on his face
“The empire are your sworn enemy “He growled as the conversation turned into an argument.
“ how many more times must I tell you father , I am not Zachanian , my ancestors were born from that land , both you and I were born Tallasians, my wife is Tallasian , my sons are Tallasian , we work and live in Tallasian, like it or not we are all imperial subjects”
“Enough!” Zalon shouted
“I will hear no more of your words, I will not stand here and witness you renounce your ancestors and heritage”
“My ancestors died centuries ago father “Tallonus pleaded to his father’s now turned back.
There was a slight silence as Zalon rubbed his head in a gesture of frustration
“if your brothers lived they would take your life for what you speak “ he mouthed quietly.
Tallonus rushed to his father and violently grabbed his arm turning him around to face him.
“for most of my life I have had to listen to you preach upon my brothers names !, for years you have abused me on how they would be ashamed of their younger brother, for years I have had to listen to your lies that my life has not lived up to theirs, but one thing you forget father, my brothers died in the gladiator arena and not as mythical Zachanian warriors on some holy crusade that happened centuries ago , they were no more Zachanian than you or I “
Zalon burst into rage at his son’s outburst and pushed him onto the floor; he then reached above the fire place and grabbed the sword that always lay there.“will your Zachanian honour take the life of his last son “ Tallonus mouthed from his position on the floor which was more said as as a challenge to his father who stood above him with the sword now raised ready to strike.
Zalon bit hard on his lip as he looked deeply into his sons eyes, the old warrior finally accepted that his son was a lost cause as his own eyes filled with emotion.
“We are so alike in many ways my son” he said as he lowered the sword and threw it at the wall before returning to his chair.
“Your stubbornness could only spur from my loins son “
The two men both once again sat down at the table, there was a long silence before Tallonus spoke.
“ I do understand you father, they are after all my ancestors too, but times have changed, Zachania was a time centuries ago , there is no longer a Zachania nor are there Zachanian’s , this empire that you speak so angrily about is all that exists now , it has been good to me , given me this school , I am respected throughout the whole of Kratos, my friends are imperial soldiers , everything I have achieved in this life gives me pride , can you not somehow understand this father”
“I would call it shame” his father gasped
“Father is it shame to care for one’s family, is it shame to wish them a happy future”
“And what of Klegs family?, who will now put food on their table” Zalon answered as he reminded his son of the fact that he had returned from Kallick town alone.
“They will in due course be summoned to join him in the north” his son replied
“If you believe that then you’re a fool, his family will never see him again , wait for the word , it will soon come ..a message shall express the empires great sorrow that Kleg has died by accident , when the truth be hidden that his throat will be cut in his sleep by an imperial blade, they will not allow him to live , a civilian hero is a hero too many for this empire”Tallonus shook his head at his father’s remark, he merely rose to his feet and retired to his room that was one comment he knew was true.