The principality of Teramyt had long awaited the birth of a royal heir, for King Gizahilketa III was elderly and without any legitimate heirs or brothers. As a nominal vassal of the Pharaohs of Labankada, it was feared that Teramyt would lose its independence and submit to foreign rule should Gizahilketa perish with no heirs.

It was thus that there was great, rhapsodic jubilation upon the announcement that Gizahilketa’s third wife, the young Queen Haurtxo, had borne a healthy son. Her death in childbirth scarcely dampened the enthusiasm of the populace, and young Prince Heriotza was declared even before his reign as the future King Heriotza II The Desired.

Even as he tried to produce another child with fourth and eventually fifth wives, King Gizahilketa hired the best tutors from across Teramyt and even Labankada. The Pharaoh had agreed to serve as the young prince’s godfather, and reportedly was fond of the young man, lavishing him with gifts. The hope that Heriotza might marry his daughter likely played a part as well.

Despite his advanced age, Gizahilketa clung to the throne—there was no precedent for a king to abdicate, as he was considered to be a divine personage. He was still on the throne when the prince reached his majority: handsome, well-educated, and well-liked, Heriotza seemed every bit “the desired.”

When the news reached the King that his son had been slain in a hunting accident, the old man was devastated. He approached his court magician and asked if there was not some way to revive the boy, to stave off the encroachment of Labankada and save his kingdom. The magician replied that such a thing was possible but that it should never be done—souls brought back thus always carried the taint of the underworld with them.

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