Rajendra knew that there were temples built to him, but he didn’t understand why. He was the worst excuse for a god in all of Nevre, but he was still worshiped as one. Some of his worshipers thought that maybe he would dispel their fears while others used his powers to cause fear in others. Very few realized that fear was his secondary domain even though his title was The Coward.
The Coward’s main domain was cowardice, the opposite of bravery. For this reason, he had a shaky relationship with The Warrior, but Kemp still recognized him as the rightful king so he tried to help. Not that it did any good. Whatever power was released when the stone exploded heightened personality traits. This was Rajendra’s curse. He would always be a coward, no matter what.
– – –
“Look, Kemp. I know you’re trying to help, but this isn’t helping at all.” Rajendra sat down, trying to avoid walking out on the conversation. “I even try to run away from arguments. It’s taking all my willpower to just sit here.”
“That’s an improvement. I just fear you’re getting depressed in addition to being chronically cowardly.” Kemp sat down at the table across from The Coward. “Look, my king. You can still fight this. Turn your powers into what your followers use them for. Cause cowardice and fear in your enemies. That is the expression of your power you should strive for.”
Rajendra turned his back to Kemp. “How would I do that? I can’t even hold a sword without shaking in fear.”
“Who said anything about swords? You can fight with words.” Kemp didn’t try to get Rajendra to face him. He knew that would cause him to run off, just like the last time. “Amir told me how your debates with Emyr used to go. You would stand your ground on pacifism so firmly that your resolve would cause him to turn away from the topic in fear. That’s the power I speak of.”
The Coward stood. “I wish that I could still do that, but I can’t. Nothing I say or do would cause fear in anyone. I’m going now.” He turned and went through the door, barely able to keep himself from running.
Watching Rajendra leave Kemp whispered under his voice, “you make me fear for you.”
– – –
The Coward heard everything The Warrior was telling him, but he was afraid to put it into practice. When he was with his son he was less cowardly and fearful. His son’s commanding presence was enough to keep him in line. He often would seek him out after meeting with Kemp.
“Father, what brings you here?” The Commander was sitting at a table feasting with dwarves. “Come to join in the celebration?”
“Oh, I didn’t know you were celebrating something.”
“Ah, yes. We just made a deal to clear out our ancient caves. Come, The Coward, join us! Drink our finest ale and eat our best meats!”
The Coward gave a small bow. “I think I will, sir.” He sat down at an empty seat next to his son. “Did you know I would be here?”
“Why do you ask?” Amir grabbed the fried leg of a bird and tore a large bite from it.
Reaching for his own portion of the feast Rajendra responded, “the seat next to you was empty.”
“Well,” Amir answered between bites, “Stigr told me to keep an empty place for an unexpected visitor. Then he corrected himself to unknown visitor because I then expected one.”
“Sounds like him.” Rajendra stared at his plate. “So, son. Do you think I can still cause others to fear me?”
“Been speaking with Kemp again? Good warrior…except he gave my sword away. Something about regaining his honor.”
“You didn’t answer my question and now I fear the answer. Don’t do that to me.”
“Sorry, father.” Amir frowned, then suddenly smiled broadly. “Well, it may be because you’re my father, but I did fear your anger just now. How’s that do ya?”
Rajendra smiled slightly. “I think you’re spending too much time with dwarves. Maybe visit the elves after this. They’re more refined.”
“Oi! I heard that!” One of the dwarves yelled, his beard frothing with mead and plate stacked taller than himself with various meats.
“You were supposed to!”
– – –
Rajendra stood at the opening to a strange portal with Kemp and Stigr. “What is it?”
“It’s a portal,” Stigr answered tersely.
A withering glare was directed at Stigr from Rajendra. “I’ll ask The Jester what something is if I want a sarcastic answer.”
Stigr subconsciously backed away a step in fear. “Yes, my king.”
“That’s better.” Rajendra turned to his son and his warrior. “Well, what do you think it is?”
“A portal to another realm?” Kemp stared at the edge of the portal. “I have a suggestion.” He turned to look at Stigr. “Leave and then come back in a few minutes. Once you leave I’ll give a ten count. Stop me before then if I shouldn’t do what I’m about to.”
“Okay. I’ll just jump forward, then.” Stigr disappeared.
The Coward stepped in front of The Warrior. “I trust you know what you’re doing? If you go through that even The Pathfinder may be unable to do anything about it.”
“He’ll stop me if I shouldn’t. Let me go.” Kemp moved to step around Rajendra.
“Have you no fear?”
“I do, and you aren’t helping any right now. I need to do this.”
“I’m going with you then.”
“Then let’s go.” Kemp walked through the portal followed closely by Rajendra.
Shortly afterward Stigr appeared. “Oh, shast. I won’t know if this is bad or not for years…wait, I can just jump forward and see how this turns out. What am I fearful of?” He jumped forward in time.