The Saga of the Gwandorlings 21
Our tale takes up again in the Vale of Flowers, north of Amadstead where The Companions rested with 140 weapon-thanes and the Orgovalti fyrd.
The Companions had decided to raid the Cordali clan of the Tovtaros tribe. The Cordali were a Yelmalian clan loyal to Harvar Ironfist. Argrath decided to lead his warband along with the Orgovalti fyrd on the raid to collect provisions for the coming winter.
Fillian Finebrow, Argrath's Issaries, had suggested raiding the Kinwood and Sunwatch steads. These steads were on the eastern border of the Tovtaros in the Sheep-of-Luck hills and thus were vulnerable to raiding. Kinwood was a crannog stead, located in a marsh whilst Sunwatch was surrounded by a palisade. Both supported nye on 100 people.
Kamoar had prowled the land between Skyfall lake and the steads seeking a concealed march route for the raiders and marked out a path from the lake into the Vale of Flowers where they would rest for the day. On the following night the warband would march south and hit Sunwatch, the southernmost stead and then strike Kinwood on the way north.
The raids had to be done quickly as Sunwatch was barely 8 leagues from Alone and Triolf's garrison.
It had happened on the first night's march that the column was spied by a group of hunters and challenged by their leader, Brothic Greenspear. "What dost thou do in our lands with this army?" he asked Argrath. Brothic was the chief of the Priderni clan of the Tovtaros and not a friend of Harvar's.
"We seek sustenance for our men for the winter," Argrath replied. "We would hope that you are seeking such sustenance further south than my lands," spake Brothic.
Argrath told him that they were boun to strike a blow against their hated foe Harvar Ironfist. "Those are dangerous words my friend," declared Brothic. "We are dangerous men," Argrath replied.
Brothic asked Argrath if he would mind their company until they left his lands and Argrath welcomed him. "So what tribe are you king of?" he asked Argrath. "Sartar," was the simple reply. Brothic rolled his eyes and made a non-committal reply. "Who are ye raiding? Amad? Tres? Bachad? Torkani?"
Argrath locked Brothic's eyes with his and said "Tovtaros." He grinned widely and assured Brothic it was the Cordali and not the Priderni who would see this warband. "We are going to kill their men, burn their steads, steal their cattle, and take their women!" Argrath shouted! "Hurah!" the warband cried and beat their shields with their battle-spears.
Brothic confirmed that the Cordali were a wealthy clan with many thralls and wished the Companions luck on their expedition.
When the band made to camp that Elmals-rest Brothic and his small band fared off to the west. Kamoar tracked them back to their steads.
Come morn, the band girded themselves for battle. Gudny and his thunderbrothers mythically prepared for the fight with an Arming of Orlanth ceremony; they performed well and an aura of power sprang up around Gudny. The warriors of the band slipped into their mail-coats and tied their heavy battle helms to their heads. They strapped their sword-belts around their waists and made sure of the heads on their great battle-spears. Their final preparation was to offer up small sacrifice to Orlanth and Humakt asking for their blessing in the fray. Sigmund called on Hedkoranth for his strength.
Kamoar and his rangers led the column forth. Light clouds drifted through the sky and a brisk breeze blew across the Sheep-of-Luck hills. Kamoar had just sat down to rest when he espied three men on the hill crest above him. They looked straight at him and sprinted off down the otherside.
Kamoar sprang up and gave chase. When he crested the hill he saw the stead of Sunwatch below him and the three men entering the gates of the palisade. He quickly returned to the main column to report the sighting.
The Companions immediately launched into the air with Argrath's warband to strike the stead before they could send riders of set a signal fire. Orgovalt and his fyrd raced north to assail Kinwood.
As the Companions swept down on the stead they could see men running around trying to arm themselves, archers on the walls fired ineffectively at them and a column of smoke was rising from a great fire in the centre of the fort.
Argrath led the effort to clear the walls knocking men off with his movement magics. Gudny called the spirits of the Vadrudi to create a whirl wind over the fire and scattered it about the stead setting light to most of the buildings. Sigmund alit in the main courtyard just as the chief stumbled out of his hall still strapping on his cuirass. He smote at the Yelmalian with Little Weighty and caught the stone after it ricocheted off of the wall behind the torso-less corpse.
Gudny smashed a hole in the hall's roof with Orlanth's thunder and dropped into the room and rounded up the womenfolk therein.
Bronwyn had espied the thrall's hut and made to release them. He
unlocked the door of the burning building and saw that the thralls
were all chained, this was not common. With a moment to centre his
thoughts, Bronwyn called on the Strength of the Dragon to aid him.
His muscles swelled and he tore the chain asunder with his bare
hands; the thralls later swore that his eyes glowed green while
his skin looked like it had gone scaly.
It was later learned that the Cordali treated their thralls very poorly, even beating them, and the thralls had attempted many times to escape from their tormentors. This is why they were chained. Argrath freed them and bid them fare where they would. Most remained with the Orgovalti.
While Argrath and his warband remained to collect the livestock and prisoners, Gudny led the rest of the companions north to strike Kinwood. They passed over Orgovalt's column and burst upon the hapless farmers like a sudden tornado. By the time Orgovalt arrived the Friends were counting their plunder.
The outlying pickets returned with the news that a troop of men was coming fast from Alone towards the burning steads and another was boun this way from Ironspike.
The Orgovalti gathered the plunder, including 45 cows, 63 sheep, 81 swine, and 12 horses. Fillian gauged the other goods they took, coin, nice cloth, trade goods, as being worth nye 2000 marks. They had also collect 6 good swords, a score of spears and 5 good mail-coats. Orgovalt led his fyrd and the warband back towards the Vale of Flowers with Kamoar and his scouts working to conceal the tracks as best they could; it being very difficult to cover the tracks of 200 livestock.
Bronwyn led Gudny, Sigmund and Nestin in a ritual to call a great storm to help cover their movements and wash away the tracks. Thick black clouds boiled over the area and a heavy, stinging rain fell from the sky.
The Companions and their personal followers set an ambush for the Alone column meaning to catch them in a valley and slow their chase. Argrath called a great mist to cover the land all was blotted out.
Two scouts made their way into the valley prowling around seeking threats to the column. They both stopped and peered hard into the mist on either hillside then turn and ran back down the road cry the alarm. Bronwyn called a thunderclap which rolled over the hills drowning all sound. Gudny plucked a scout up and threw him over the hill with a whirlwind while Argrath used the powers of Mastakos to whisk the last scout to his side and slew him with a spear thrust.
Bronwyn slid back down the hill to watch their back and spotted a large column of men, spread in skirmish order, making their way around behind the ambush. Gudny raced over and released Black Cloud from its bag, he commanded to to slay that band and return to him.
"Ah ha! I'm out! I'm out! Kill? Yes! Yes!" and the great sylph charged off ripping and tearing trees and shrubs and men and showering lighting about like the rain that was falling.
As the companions regrouped and prepared to follow-up on Black Cloud's rampage, the great sylph returned, "Oh, Ow, let me back in the damn bag! Ow, ow, ow! Open the bag. That hurts! Oh I'll get you for letting me out of there! Very bad, ouch! Let me back in the bag!" In shock, Gudny asked what had happened. "Big windmaster there. He bent me lighting back at me. Ouch! Ow, oh! Very bad, let me back in the bag!"
The companions charged forth to find what had happened in the mist. The followed the trail of destruction left by Black Cloud. They charged out of the mist and stopped dead. In an opening in the mist, a tornado, 10 ells high, raged in the opening. A man stood atop the tornado pounding the surrounding area with lightning. Five other men floated in the air behind him and another three score followed the tornado on the ground. The mist was rapidly dissipating.
Argrath called on Orlanth's Mist Scarf to call more mist so that his band could circle this monstrosity and strike his troop from behind. Triolf, for it was he on the tornado, locked his eyes on Argrath and fought to scatter the mist. As the friends watched, mist poured from Argrath's hands but the opening in the mist grew larger and the remaining mist grew thinner. With a sigh, Argrath fell to the ground senseless. Gudny grabbed his friend and the band took flight and fled through the storm.
Kamoar had broken up the column into smaller ones and sent them all on differing paths to the campsite in the Vale. This made it easier to hide the tracks and gave any pursuer multiple trails to follow. He met up with the rest of the Companions at the camp.
 1 ell = 2 feet
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