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Gwandor Saga

The Saga of the Gwandorlings 18

On the eve of the companion's departure to visit with the Kitori, Utgard and Norolf announced that they were returning to Old Wind. It seems the Empire had dispatched an army on exercises into the valley leading to the temple.

The friends got the local storm priests to work on calling storms to flood the creek and the fields in the region. The heavy storms would disrupt the Yelmalian's magics and the flooding would prevent their forces moving quickly. The local river priestess was called upon to gain the help of the creek's spirits.

The Varax reminded his friends that his hero, Rax the Fury, had fought with Arkat against Palangio, a Dayseneri general and helped defeat the solar army. Daysenerus is an old name for Yelmalio. The friends decide that they will ask the Uz to tell them more about Palangio so that they could quest to join the ancient battle and gain power over the Templars.

With these tasks underway, the companions flew to the Kitori lands to ask for their aid in the coming confrontation and for the information for their quest. As they strode into Kitori land they were challenge by a warband of Uzko[1]. Enlo[2] could also be seen scurrying around. Gudny greeted them and told them of their desire to meet with their chief. The conversation quickly devolved into "Kill Sun-men!" which the Uzko finally understood. The warriors told the friends to remain there and they would be back. When they returned, they were accompanied by an Argan Argar translator who agreed to lead them to their chief.

The clearing the friends were led into rang with the clash of weapons and echoed with shouted commands. Enlo could be seen drilling at shield-and-spear fighting. Uzko and Uzdo [3] exercised at mace-and-shield combat.

The friends were approached by a huge Uzko. The warrior wore a red cloak over his mail armour and a heavy mace hung from his belt a-glow with a sickly black aura. Under his muscled arm was a heavy helm with a demonic visage. His face was heavily scared with death and darkness runes. His two tusks curved up from his lower jaw and were capped with a dull metal. Strangely, he had a third tusk protruding from the center of his lower jaw; it curved up and nearly over his snout. Kartag Three-Tusks was every bit the Zorak Zorani Death Lord.

Through the translator, Kartag asked the friends their business. Gudny introduced himself as a Troll-Friend of the Sazdorf clan and told of their reason for seeking the Kitori. He asked after the Uz's reason for their muster and was pleased, then dis-pleased with the response. Kartag took them into his cave-home, served them human food, and told them why his clan mustered.

Kartag's clan has been the guardian of a powerful relic since the battle between Arkat and Palangio. After Palangio had been slain, his spear, which could blast a dozen Uz with the power of the sun, was removed from the field, bound deep under the earth and guarded by Kartag's people. A few days before the companions arrival, Ogunjar had fought his way into the caves and made off with the great spear. "Our people were to die in the defense of that relic. So we go now. We go to bring it back; or we go to die."

When asked if they were familiar with the rites that would take one back to fight in the ancient battle Kartag beamed [4] and revealed that not only did they know those rites, they re-enacted them every holy day and had just done so again to prepare for their battle against the Sun County phalanx. The friends asked if the Uz would show them the rites but Kartag would have none of that. "Rites need humanz to do right. If you want, we do again but this time with you!"

From Varax's and Kartag's telling, the great battle was an ambush. The Army of the West lead by Arkat's best generals fought and was losing against Palangio's forces. The great Dara Happan phalanxes chanted their Songs of Position and ground forward pulverising all in their path. The allied Orlanthi showered the Western Knights with lighting and loosed tornadoes withing their ranks. The day was saved when Arkat arrived. Behind Palangio and followed by a hoard of Uz and with bands of human troll-friends. Palangio's reserves were overwhelmed and their phalanxes were disrupted by the rear attack. Arkat carried the day.

The friends and the Uz spent the rest of the day preparing for the hero quest. When they were ready, Varax manifested his hero Rax and lead the companions over to the otherside. His connection with Rax was so strong that he had no doubt as to his destination. Kartag led his clan in their rites and quickly joined the humans. The allies marched off across the land.

The band entered a heavy mist and passed between large trees; they were in a heavy forest. The sounds of battle drifted through the trees. The thrum of bow-strings, the hissing thousands of arrows. The rumble and crash of charging cavalry. The clangor of weapons, and the screaming of the dying. As the friends strode out from under the trees they found themselves on a hillside; a host of Uz gathered at the forest's margins intermixed with small bands of humans.

The companions remarked on the complete lack of enlo in the host. As this was not long after the Battle of Night and Day, the enlo curse was still new and the Uz still ate all enlo born.

Before them in the valley, a golden glittering army was driving a smaller force down the valley. Palangio's host counted near 30,000 while the Army of the West mustered 20,000. Upon closer inspection, near a third of the hosts was made up of incarnated spirits, ancestors, and more magic then the friends had seen since they fought with Vingkot. The battle was hard fought and the retreating warriors gave ground grudgingly. With a cry, a great glowing figure in plate armour, Arkat, led the charge down the hill. With a shout of primal hatred, the Uz host threw themselves down the hillside at the Solars. An all enveloping darkness flowed across the battlefield along with Arkat, it overwhelmed and subsumed the brilliant sunshine called forth by Palangio.

Palangio tried to turn his reserves but they never got formed up before the Uz hit them. Arkat bore down on Palangio with his body-guards trailing in his wake. Varax, manifesting Rax the Fury, charged into the fray. The heros were quickly separated in the melee.

Gudny struck down a dark skinned spear-man before he leapt into the air to join the broiling air battle; he left naught but a pair of steaming boots where the man had stood. Argrath fought a mighty battle another peasant spear-man before knocking him down. Bronwyn was nearly felled by a sling stone which struck his head, but he persevered and brought Orlanth's gift of lighting upon the man before following Gudny. Sigmund hurled Little Weighty at a towering Yelmic warrior. The officer had been driving his phalanx forward and was caught by surprise when he was struck. He spun around and called on the power of Antirius to smite this barbarian. Sigmund waved the sunspear aside with his thunderstone and smote the Imperator knocking him senseless. Kamoar manifested Yinkin and bounded into the fray. He leapt upon a hapless peltast ripping the man limp-from-limb. Varax, charging into the midst of Palangio's household troop, came upon a Dorasti Chieftan. The warrior hurled himself at Varax with the might of the Bigger Storm. They fought back and fro with mighty blows. With a final imprecation, Varax hewed his foe with his great ax separating the man from his head.

In the swirling melee over the battlefield, Gudny was met by and triumphed over a massive vadrudi sylph who threw sheet lighting at him. While collecting his breath, Argrath was struck from behind by a militiaman. He quickly dispatched the poor wretch. A great shadow swooped down on Bronwyn, he swung about and swept a great hawk and its rider from the air with a great thunder clap. Sigmund stood and cast Little Weighty into the rear of a tightly packed phalanx slaying entire files of men. He noticed later that the stone had passed through the phalanx and struck down nearly as many of the Westerners. Kamoar tore himself away from his prey and bore another victim to ground; one of Palangio's catamites. He tore out the child's throat and lost himself in a blood frenzy tearing into the flesh with teeth and claws. Varax came across an odd man. Short and stocky with a thick black curly beard and conical helm, the man bore down on the Stormbuller with a red-glowing mace and a shield with a circle and an inverted 'V' on it. Varax and the Shargashi Eleven battle back and forth. The Eleven forced Varax back and beat him to the ground with his mace. Varax called the Spirit of the Bull to him and entered a berserk rage. He drove his halberd through the Eleven and hacked the body again, and again, and again until there was naught left to be identified.

Palangio's army broke and fled the field. Arkat sent his knights to ride down the fleeing forces and engaged in a great slaughter. The companions wrapped their wounds and along with Kartag's warband returned from the Otherside.

Looking about them, the friends were confused. They stood in a field that looked like it was in Sun County. Signs of a great battle littered the field around them. Locaem warriors wandered the field looting the bodies while new widows wailed over their dead. The Creek was a short distance to the east and clouds of dust could be seen to the west where the Yelmalian forces retreated.

When all the tales were told the friends were greatly surprised. Four days ago, they had come to the King of the Locaem and convinced him to attack Sun County. "We thought you were soft in the head," the King told them. But they agreed to the attack when the friends vowed to bring the trolls along. Ogunjar had quickly mustered his forces to repulse this invasion and was grimely pushing the Orlanthi back into the Creek. That would have begun the slaughter. At the last moment, the companions had appeared behind the Yelmalions with a host of Uz and won the day.

Ogunjar had escaped with most of his army though Palangio's Spear had been broken in the battle The Uz were busy trying to eat it so that it would never be released again. The Orlanthi were still still puzzled by one weapon that the Solars had employed, "Some sore of rock-thrower that plowed into our shield wall." No such device was found among the wreckage on the field; Sigmund's face glowed a bright red for some reason.

As the Orlanthi fyrd withdrew across the Creek, a large army approached from the south. Scouts reported nigh on 6,000 imperial troops led by Fazzur[5] himself.

Fazzur and his personal troop approached the friends under a flag of truce. He was accompanied by Ogunjar and heard the tale. Fazzur declared the outlawry of the Locaem and Lismelder kings illegal and reinstated them. He scolded Ogunjar and ordered both sides to disperse their armies or he would get involved in the fight.

Fazzur and his men continued to Boldhome ignorant of who the friends were, much to their great fortune. In the days to come he would countermanded most of Tatius' commands and edicts including recalling the army threatening Old Wind.

[1] Dark trolls, surface troll, these are your bog-standard trolls.
[2] Trollkin. When Nysalor defeated Kitor Ligor at the Battle of Night and Day, he laid a curse on the race of Uz. From that day on, most young born to an UzUz (Mistress Troll) were these scrawny runts. The Uz had no use for these midgets and so ate them. It took many years for the Uz to accept that these Enlo would be a major part of their race in the future and started to find other things to do with them.
[3] Great trolls, huge, but stupid, troll warrior slaves. These were created during the Uz's experiments into breaking Nysalor's curse.
[4] As much as any psychotic Zorak Zoran berserker ever beams.
[5] Fazzur is the military governor of Sartar. Tatius was standing in for him while Fazzur campaigned in Esrolia.

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March 27, 2001

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