4. Rex Nusquam
Madman, they whisper behind their hands.
Madman, they call me, for taking by force that which should have been mine by right- where is madness to be found in that?
Madman, for avenging a foolish father slain by a treacherous thug- what is the madness in such an act?
The snow flutters against my face, but I do not flinch.
I am a king- such things as cold are beneath me.
I am not mad- I am betrayed.
My generals are fools and incompetents- not a one of them is fit to lead a herd of swine, let alone an army.
Even an army such as mine-lazy and stupid and wretched, cowards to a man, terrified by legends and cowed by superstitious.
Each day I have sat upon this throne-this fabled throne of Meduseld, of Edoras-has brought naught but misery to me, each messenger a harbinger of naught but sorrow.
This should have been a joyous place for me- a place of triumph.
I should rule all of Rohan- as was promised to me, as was my right- my queen at my side, my armies strong and feared, my name glorious in the mouth of all who speak it…
I can feel frost on my beard, on my brow, but I do not move to shake it off.
I am a king- things as torment the common man are beneath my notice.
My sword is still in my hand- the body of Haleth, the last who stood against me, still lies at the doors of my hall, ravaged by the crows and by time- a warning to all who would oppose me.
I am Wulf, son of Freca, and I rule all of Rohan, even as the liars and scoundrels seek to take it from me, even as the betrayers and deceivers try to usurp my throne.
I am Wulf, Lord of Edoras, and none shall move me lest they can defeat me- I am no cur to slink away into the shadows.
I am the scourge of my enemies, the hammer of my foes, the bloody and unbowed destroyer of all who oppose me, and I shall not leave this hall alive.
Madman, they call me, as they run to make pact and peace with my enemies.
Madman, they call me, scared and shaking.
They do not say it to my face.
They would not dare.
I see their frightened faces dancing before me in the dark of this hall, this ruined wreck, and I laugh, the sound bouncing around the blood-stained walls and ash-strewn floors, amplified a thousand- a million- times.
Madman, they call me.
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