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