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Gwandor Saga

The Saga of the Gwandorlings 27

Our tale now returns to Knight Keep. The March Barons had gathered there with the Companions after the defeat of Guennvar to celebrate their victory and discuss the future.

Argrath formed his King's Ring to rule the land. He was the King. Hurred the Drayce was the leader of the Thunder Brothers. Gudny was Priest. Bronwyn was Knowing Man. Sigmund was Warlord. Kamaor was Border Warden.

As the Warlord, Sigmund was the Commander of Knight Keep. Sixty of Guennvar's knights swear loyalty and service to the Warlord along with 180 men-at-arms. Sir Fennan's Free Artillery, a mercenary company of 20 engineers have their contract renewed by Sigmund. They are to help rebuild the damaged steads.

The Uldweyh clan of the Impala nation reaffirmed their oath to serve the Warlord up to three times a year in exchange for unlimited use of the oasis.

About this time Sir Thorarir, Hurred's First Knight, arrived at Knight Fort. He had ridden hard over the hills from Drayce Keep and was nearly dead with exhaustion. His armour was rent and there was blood over his gear. "Drayce Hold has fallen!" he exclaimed and then collapsed.

Once Thorarir was revived, the story came out. They had heard a commotion on the roof and gone to investigate. They found five strangely clad warriors butchering the roof guards. They proceeded through the keep slaughtering all that they found. They were glowing in a strange manner and nothing seemed to touch them. Thorarir commanded the garrison and the inhabitants to flee but the attackers had the keep surrounded and few escaped. Thorarir had ridden with the wind and reached Knight Fort three days after the attack. Hurred suggested that the attackers sounded like Horali, Brithini warriors from the God Forgot Isles.

Now it must be told that the Brithini are a strange people. There are not many of them but they are immortal. They do not worship any gods and have a strict way of life that allows them to live eternally. This gives them great power and heroic martial prowess.

Argrath summoned the Barons to council and commanded that their levies be readied to march. News was brought to him that the Vrance had already departed with his entire fyrd.

Leaving Sigmund to arrange the march, Argrath, Gudny, and Kamoar tracked the Vrance's men and found them force-marching as quickly as they could back to Vrance Hold. The Vrance himself had ridden ahead to protect his ancestors. Frustrated, the Friends returned to Knight Keep.

Kamoar flew south on his SkyBull to located the attacking force and divine their intentions and forces. Sir Dengthar, the new Baron of Green Stead was left in-charge of Knight Fort with 40 men-at-arms and 160 militiamen.

The rest of the Baron's forces marched to Vrance Hold where they met Kamoar after two days of hard marching. Kamoar told how Stollberg had fallen and was garrisoned by 20 men. The force, led by the Ranth's warbanner was marching on the Brone. He reported 20 of the strange warriors led by another on a horse wearing a crown. They marched behind a banner with a crown and a heap of money on it. there were 220 mounted warriors, 350 footmen and 90 knights in the Ranth's army.

Argrath's forces included 65 knights, 572 footmen, 370 militiaman, and 150 Storm Bull nomads. They met in the Misty Vale before Vrance Hold.

In preparation, the Friends, excluding Argrath, hero formed Orlanth and the Thunder Brothers. Argrath arrayed his forces to match the waiting invaders.

The Ranth's knights sat their steeds on either flank. The Ranth himself was at the head of the knights on the right, the place of greatest honour. His foot men were in three divisions in the center with the Brithini in reserve.

Argrath arrayed his forces thusly: On his left, facing the Ranth, he placed Rark Ironbear, the Storm Khan with his 90 heavy nomads. In the middle were the various Baron's forces led by their huscarls and soldiers and backed up by the warriors and finally the militia. On the right was Hurred leading all of Argrath's knights. Argrath stood in the center at the head of the reserve. The Grim and the Knife's men were arrayed along the line in skirmish order. Rark's 60 light riders were split to harry the Ranth's flanks.

The Ranth rode forth with the crowned Brithini to parley. Argrath rode forth and they traded insults. Neither would give. Both rode back to their lines and ordered the advance. The warhorns rent the air and the men sang their battle songs. The Knife and the Grim led their men forth to harry the Ranth's line and slowed their advance.

Gudny led the 17 Thunder Brothers into the air and flew directly towards the Brithini. There was a great disturbance in the air around the 21 Horali and they took flight on a great vortex of air spirits. As the Horali neared, Gudny released the spirits from the Brithini's command and the Horali fell to the ground. They landed like cannon balls in the middle of Argrath's battle line and emerged from the clouds of dust with their weapons swinging in deadly arcs. They commenced slaughtering Argrath's men with mechanical precision.

Gudny released Black Cloud and set him on the foe. The Ranth's men paused in their march and looked with shock at the great black cloud as it billowed and raged towards them. Funnel clouds could be seen tearing through their lines and lighting stabbed repeatedly at the ground. A great howling came from the cloud and men could be seen flying off into the distance.

Hurred led his knights charging into the Ranth's left. The two formation of knights met with a resounding crash and both came to a stand-still. Rark led his Storm Bull berserkers into a wild charge at the Ranth but the knights better trained line held and pushed them back. The skirmishers were holding the Ranth's line.

Sigmund flew at the Brithini leader. Next to the banner he espied the Zzaburi, the Brithini wizard; A powerful looking man with a beard. Sigmund hurled little weighty at him with all of the power of the hero-forming ritual. A massive forest of lighting bolts reached up from the ground around the wizard and met Little Weighty. A great crash rolled across the battlefield deafening ever person in the vale. When the flash cleared, the dazed combatants saw a gaping crater, 5 ells deeps and 100 ells across in the middle of the Ranth's line. More than 100 of Ranth's men had vanished and even Black Cloud had been buffeted by the blast. Every horse on the field was in panic fleeing from the sound. The Zzaburi lay sprawled on the ground in a stupor. When Sigmund looked at Little Weighty, it was smudged.[1]

The Horali did not even glance at the blast. Their leader saw Gudny rushing at him and he stood and grounded his sword. Gudny alighted afore him and greeted him, he asked the warrior's name. Arden the Sixth was the answer for he was in his sixth century, Gudny named himself, "Orlanth, the Storm King" when Arden asked [2]. "All barbarian names sound the same to me," Arden replied. Arden told how he was bored. "This is a not a good fight," he said. Arden said that he did not want to continue fighting as there was no reason to. He and his Horali would walk off of the field as long as Argrath's men left them alone, otherwise they would continue to slaughter them. Gudny agreed to this and they marched off to watch the rest of the fight.

At this, the Ranth's surviving men surrendered to Argrath and he accepted.

Gudny recited this poem:

Horns low, horses scream, Humakt[3] tithes the land
Battle-Harps[4] sing and darken the sky
Storm-King[5] rages and smites the foe
Battle-Kites[6] flutter over the furious fray
Helm-Gnawers[7] snarl and let Gold-Ring Givers[8] lie
I drink of Drogarsi's Mead[9] and laugh;
My Lord survey's Daka Fel's[10] crop.

Gudny found the Ranth and brought him before Argrath. Argrath took up his spear and pierced Ranth again and again letting his life-blood seep out slowly. The Ranth died begging for help.

Among the Ranth's knights Argrath found many Rokari who he had spared at Knight Keep. He executed all of them personally to show the penalty for treachery.

Argrath slew all of the Ranth's lieutenants as an example of the depth of his fury.

When he demanded, the Vrance's people handed over their Baron who was taken back to Knight Fort in chains to stand trail for treason.

At this time the Brithini Talar, the crowned man, who was called Maron Gorren came forth and asked to speak with Argrath. Argrath greeted him and bade him enter his tent and sat him at his right and Hurred at his left. Maron Gorren would not speak to Argrath. He spoke to Arden who passed on his words.

We must recount the Talar's words. He told that the Brithini were here to secure their eastern borders. They needed a stable central noble in the Marches who could keep his people from bothering the peoples of God Forgot. They had thought that the Ranth was the man for that. Argrath proved them wrong and they asked Argrath to be their eastern ally. The alternative was for them to summon an entire army of Horali and exterminate all of the people in the Marches. Argrath agreed to their terms and they set the border.

Argrath marched on Ranth Hold and the defenders immediately surrendered to him. Argrath appointed a warbander, Orik Rastalsson, as Lord of Ranth. Orik had leapt in front of two sword strokes to save Argrath's life.

While Argrath arranged things and the Baron's sent their levies home, Gudny fared into the hidden valley behind Ranth Hold. The locals called it Stone Storm, or Death Pass for there was a great storm in the valley that none could pass. Gudny strode forth and bravely dared the storm to do its worst. He emerged at the center of the valley in the eye of the storm. As he peered around the valley looked the same as it did on the hero-plane. There was the boulder where the giant had been trapped. There was the hold in the boulder where the tree had been. There was the impression in the ground caused by the giant's body. The stone that the giant had given Gudny grew hot in his hand and he placed it in to hole in the boulder.

Immediately a great change came over the valley. The storm died, the grass sprang to verdant life. Trees grew from the ground and stretched branched to the sky. The clouds broke and Elmal shined through and bathed the land in his light.

The Friends spent a few days exploring this new land. It was roughly three leagues long and had the best cropland any of them had ever seen. The hills were perfect for grazing cattle and sheep. There was easily enough land and water to support a large clan. They found bronze deposits and evidence of gold in the hills. In the center of the vale a 15 ell pyramid reached skyward surrounded by a 10 ell high stone wall. There was one entranceway into the enclosure and the river flowed around it leaving it isolated from the rest of the valley.

Over the next season, the winter deepened. Sota decided to return to Sun County but sent messages first to tell of his ordeals. He suggested to Argrath that they found a Sun Dome Temple in the marches and Argrath agreed, through for different reasons [11].

Many men, impressed with Sigmund's valour and might, wanted to join Hedkoranth. Sigmund consecrates a temple to the Stone-Thrower in Knight Fort.

Gudny joins with the local Storm Priests preaching at Horn Hill. He and his Followers journey the breadth of the land seeking converts from the Aeolian faith and had many make the change. Gudny sends his man Trego Talks-Good to journey north bringing news of home and bearing gifts for the Sazdorf.

Argrath sends his body-guard Von Heartstopper north on his SkyBull seeking news of the Orgovalti.

The Vrance is found guilty of Treason and executed by a stickpicker. His people are convinced to move to Stone Storm Valley and Argrath considers turning over Misty Vale to Sota.

News reaches the marches of a Giant's Cradle floating down the Zola Fel River and defying the Empire's attempts to stop it. It floated out to sea and disappeared with Argrath Sharpsword on it.

Trego brought news from Gwandor lands. Verthun Battlemood had raided them in retaliation for the Friend's actions against him.

The Fire Bull fared south but were held up by Barbarian Town. The town's Facilitator negotiated with Argrath for the clan's passage. They settled on 25 horses and made pledges of peace between the lands.

Von returned with the news that Orgovalt had been raiding Harvar Ironfist's lands and ambushing his counter-raids. They had even been helped by Cragspider who was annoyed at Harvar intrusion into her lands. Harvar had been recruiting tusk-riders to help.

Jolmes Wulf had been raiding the Telmori and the Torkani had repelled small raids from Alone with the help of Argrath's warband. It seemed that Harvar had been turned from his efforts to subjugate the Torkani by some rebel activity to the north [12]

[1] The hero-forming had given everyone involved an extra mastery level for the duration of the combat. When Sigmund threw his rock at the zzaburi, his natural skill was a mastery; plus the extra mastery given by Little Weighty, plus the extra mastery from the ritual. He rolled a critical success, plus three masteries. The Zzaburi also had three masteries and he rolled a critical success. The GM ruled that this resulted in a rather large explosion.
[2] When you have hero-formed a hero or a god, for all intents and purposes, you are that god or hero. You do what they would have done, you dress as they dressed and you talk as they talked.
[3] Death
[4] Bows
[5] Orlanth, in this case, Gudny
[6] War Banners
[7] Sword
[8] Chieftan
[9] Fame
[10] Daka Fel is the god of the dead. His crops are the souls of the fallen.
[11] Sota of course wants to spread the way of Yelmalio. Argrath wants access to his own band of Templars.
[12] Orgovalt

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March 27, 2001

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