The king refused to listen, and ordered the ritual to be performed on pain of death. The magician complied, and Prince Heriotza was returned to life. All seemed well, but the populace noticed a definite change in the young man’s attitude. He seemed numb to pain in himself or others, cherished mean-spirited pastimes and jokes, and began studying intently with the court magician despite the latter’s protests.

When the magician, despondent, took his own life, King Gizahilketa confronted his son about his strange behavior. Heriotza responded that the old man was a fool to question his judgment, and that the magician’s death was of no consequence—the man had taught all he knew and another tutor in the black arts had already been dispatched from Labankada.

Legend has it that at this point Gizahilketa, mortified, tried to disinherit his son. The young man, laughing, then struck him down. The official histories simply record that the confrontation was too much for the old man and he perished in a fit.

The people of Teramyt spontaneously erupted in three days of feasting and celebrations for the new king, during which he was lifted on the backs of the populace and carried around joyously. At the conclusion of the festivities, King Heriotza II thanked them for their efforts, and informed them that there would be no need for any more such wastes of time.

Over the next year, the new king gradually undermined and removed every obstacle to his absolute rule. The last queen, the vizier, and the most troublesome nobles all found themselves isolated and executed on charges of conspiring with Labankada. The Pharaoh seems to have been mostly amused by this, and let the incidents pass without comment to his godson.

At the same time, Heriotza quietly introduced military training and conscription, requiring that each family with more than two adult sons furnish one for the army. To bolster the ranks still further he recruited daughters from families with multiple girls to serve as archers and charioteers. The conscripts reported for training and were generally never heard from again. Only those rejected from service for some deformity returned, and spoke of large camps in the desert with black tents, from which scarcely a sound emanated.

The people of Teramyt soon learned what King Heriotza II The Desired had been planning.

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