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Gwandor Saga

The Saga of the Gwandorlings 24

"Bison, impala, and rhinoceri...oh my!"

- Gudny Stormchaser

And so the Companions fared on their separate ways. Argrath, Gudny, and Sigmund busked south and then east with Hurred the Drayce.

As they journeyed, Hurred told of his land and the peoples there. He told how the Empire had not sent any soldiers to the Marches and seemed unconcerned with what happened therein. He told how an army from the God Forgot Isles had landed at Refuge and taken Mt. Passant, which they still held. He told of Barbarian town, north of Knight's Keep, which was ruled by a group called The Standing. Their leader called himself the Facilitor. He told how Knight's Keep sits on a mesa next to an oasis and had never fallen to siege, even the five year siege laid by the Machine people. He spake of Lord Guennvar and his forces, and his captain Lord Renethon who resided in Greenstead with 100 soldiers. Greenstead was a hill-fort that commanded the Castle Valley.

The band was stopped in the hills east of Mt. Passant by a cavalry patrol and then again at Wallford. Knights of Ranth held the ford and demanded to know what The Drayce was doing in their lands. After a heated exchange the party was passed. Gudny asked why The Ranth gave Hurred such troubles. Hurred replied that The Ranth thought that he should be March Lord rather than Hurred.

They arrived at Drayce Hold, an old, grim, solid fortress built onto the shoulder of a great mountain. Hurred told them that legend said that the mountain, Drayce Guard Mtn., was a slumbering giant who would come to life to protect the Drayce family if they were sorely pressed.

Hurred sent the call out for a council of the Barons to be held in a few days time.

Our tale must now turn to the north, where Bronwyn was seeking the fate of Sota Lamplighter. He fared through the foothills of the Stormwalk Mountains until he entered Kitori lands. When taken before the local chief, Bronwyn told of his mission and how he had fought with Kartag Three-Tusks against the Sun-men to the north. The chief looked surprised and told how he could help Bronwyn and that Bronyn could help him in return.

The chief had a great mastiff brought in. Bronwyn recognized it as Bronzebender, Sota's dog. After foully insulting Bronwyn and his friends, Bronzebender told his tale.

It seemed that Sota had been taken by Gargarthi bandits while returning from Sun County in Prax. After trading more insults, the story continued, "Master told me to run with his spear. I followed them east into Prax. 50 smelly wind-men had him, there had been 80 when they tried to take him. They met a bunch of wagons. Big wagons. Smelt like home and had Sun Dome marks on sides. Smelt like bronze. Smelt tasty."

With this, Bronwyn and his party followed Bronzebender east into Prax tracking Sota's takers. They fared east and south passing south of The Block. The trail showed that more riders had joined the bandits and they now numbered nye 100 of many different tribes.

The trail led south to the Sog ruins near the coast. Their, they found a camp with over 200 riders. They espied Verthun Battle-Mood riding into camp upon a flame-skulled, flying horse.

They watched the camp for a day seeing bands of Gargarthi ride in in their ragged clothes and armour and then seeing them ride out in shinny new armour and equipment. It appears that the band was paid in severl wagon-loads of arms and armour to take Sota.

Now our tale turns to Horn Hill in Horn Vale. The hill is the traditional meeting place for the Barons of the March. It is named for the collection of nomad animal horns planted on the hillside. Anytime the nomads raid the Marches, the horns are chopped off of the dead riding animal's heads and stuck into the ground on the hill. The nomads hate it.

Eleven of the March Barons attend the meeting. First to arrive is Norden the Ranth. Norden has the largest, safest, and wealthiest Barony in the March. Many of the other Barons do not consider him to be a March Baron as his Barony is the furthest west and has not seen a raider for many a year. He is an Aeolian with good relations with the God Forgot Islanders.

Rith the Brone arrived next alone with Weren the Stollberg. He is an Orlanthi lord and a formidable warleader. He is a close friend of The Stollberg. Weren is also an Orlanthi, he is old and strange; he takes long walks alone through his lands at night. Weren holds an old grudge against the Arrin which nobody understands.

Logar the Vrance arrived looking unsettled. His Barony also sees little raiding and he did not agree with the other Barons that there was a problem. It turned out that he spent most of his time in his family crypts communing with his ancestors.

Arthag the Urulf arrived with Fjenth the Smord. Arthag is a mighty warrior with the eyes of a killer. He dislikes most of the Barons except for Fjenth and Hurred. Fjenth is an Issaries Golden Tongue. His lands are nearest to the Praxians but see little raiding. He bargains with the nomads instead.

Osben the Thren rode up next and scolded Hurred for calling this council. It seems that, of old, the Thren has been the March Lord and he was upset that another had that title now. He harboured a fierce dislike for Hurred.

Kordur the Orrin has the southernmost Barony with a large fishing village on the coast. He is a wealthy man and likes to show it.

Drath the Grim and Irkendor the Knife arrived next. They were trading insults and fingering their knives as they climbed the hill. The Grim and the Knive Baronies had been feuding for longer than living memory.

Gudny introduced Argrath to the assemblage and spake of his deeds in the north:

Uz-friend, Warlord, Wise, and Wealthy
Wolf-Brother, Dragon-Friend, Destroyer of Foes
Empire's Bane, Voydag's man

Bold wielder of blood-snake and burster of helms
Chosen of Crag-spider, he crushed the Count
Sartar's Flame flared at his touch

Kodigvari is his clan and close is his ring
Fell is his band and ferocious his rage
Lo he's come to liberate the land.

Argrath strode forth and told of their troubles with the nomads and the Rokari in Knight Keep. He introduced Erdhar and told of his plans to slay the Rokari lords and bring the Firebull clan down to help defend the Marches from the nomads.

Orrin asked where these people were to settle. "We have enough trouble with the Rokari," he spat, "What dost we need more foreigners for?"

Gudny speaks of Bull Graze Valley and how they planned to settle their or in Castle Valley. Between them, Argrath and Gudny convince the Barons to support them for now. "Show us your battle plans and your troops and we will think more on this," the Barons said.

Now it must be said that Bull Graze Valley is under Stormwalk Moutain, home of the sky bulls, sacred animals of Storm Bull and Orlanth. These bulls graze in Bull Graze Valley and stomp any building ever built there. No one lives in the Valley.

So Gudny and Erdhar fared north on the wind. They arrived at Old Wind and Erdhar went to ready his people to move south. Gudny sought words with Utguard. "Tell me how to tame the sky bulls" he asked for Bull Graze Valley was where they wanted to settle the Firebull clan. Utguard reminded him that the sky bulls are herd animals and that they follow the lead bull. He suggested that they replace the lead bull with a new one that will not attack steads. They discuss ways of accomplishing this and settle on summoning the Fire Bull spirit to inhabit a sky bull and having it defeat the leading bull. Utguard tells Gudny how to capture a sky bull.

Around this time, news came to Drayce Hold that Urulf Hold have been assailed by Sable Riders. The riders have routed The Urulf's forces and some had penetrated his hold when a force of Knights led by Guennvar had arrived and defeated them. In gratitude for the rescue, Urulf had sworn fealty to the Rokari as did Smort.

The news also came that The Grim and The Knife were fighting again.

Hurred received an embassy from Barbarian town asking to meet with a representative of the March. Hurred asked Argrath to accompany his representative.

As their road traveled through the lands of Grim and Knife, Argrath called both of them to a meeting to settle, or postpone their feuding. They accused each other of trespass on the lake. Argrath told them that they had other, more important, things to worry about. Guennvar being chief among them. They both agreed that it was a black thing that Urulf had fallen on his knee before the Rokari warlord. They both agree to keep their blades from each other and to help Argrath bring down the Knight.

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March 27, 2001

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