The Saga of the Gwandorlings 29
The tale now returns to Orgovalt's hall where the King was hailed by Eurjorl Fleet-foot a weapons thane from the Fire Bull clan. Argrath greeted him warmly and brought him into the hall and sat him down beside him. He called for food and drink and Eurjorl spake his news from the south.
It seems that the red-men had marched south from Whitewall and, in the heavy forest of Dark Oak valley, were fallen upon by King Broyon's forces. In a three-day running battle Broyon crushed the northrons and sent them scurrying back to Whitewall. Erdhard had personally broken the Upland Cavalry regiment and slain their leader. Broyon had sent him and the rest of the Marcher men home with over 5,000 marks of booty and words of great honour. Eurjorl told his tale well and elicited great gales of laughter from the company; though he smiled, Argrath never laughed once.
It also happened that one of the Hendriki lords Trearn of Lorg - recognized the Baron Knife from a previous raid and, challenging him to single combat, slew him. Anger smoldered in Argrath's eyes at that news but he kept his council to himself.
Eurjorl now told of a new wonder, Fazzur Wideread, the Tarshite general leading the Solar's army had been sent home in disgrace before the battle. The tales told that Tatius the Bright had engineered his dismissal after the fall of Hendrikiland to Broyon and the loss of the Nochet Moon Temple.
Later that week, news arrived from Prax where Argrath Whitebull was told to be raiding the Lunar settlers in the Zola Fel valley. All of Pavis was talking of his exploits and the Brushies  were scrambling to find him.
News also arrived from Alda-Chur where Bronwyn had enlisted a teamster to tell him of the goings on. Harvar Ironfist had returned from Furthest with several hundreds of red soldiers. Linus, the Sage, agreed to tell what he knew of Harvar's plans in exchange for access to Crag Spider's library.
Linus told of a treaty Harvar had presented to the Provincial Overseer in Furthest. Harvar had petitioned the iron hearted Overseer to accept Harvar's confederacy as a subordinate provincial kingdom. This would open the way for Imperial military and financial aid and provide the Empire with a secure base in the region. The Overseer had accepted with terms. Harvar had to expand the facilities used by the Empire in Alda-chur, guarantee the safety of Imperial commerce and citizens traveling the Pavis Road through his lands, and finally he had to have a larger kingdom. The Overseer acknowledged his claim to the Torkani lands. As a preliminary gesture, the Overseer sent Artemis of Spol to Alda-chur as an advisor to Harvar. With Artemis went 200 light footmen, 100 light cavalry, 50 of Artemis' personal knights and 10 Carmanian Viziers. Linus told that the Viziers were some form of magician from the north and west of the Empire.
The Companions resolved to do all they could to stifle Harvar's ambitions.
Byrne Thorrasson, a friend of Bronwyn's brought him news from Jonstown, Boldhome, and the March. Malani tribal warriors had burnt down Gwandor house in Jonstown and declared blood feud with Gudny the Stormman for insults to their tribe's honor. The Friends laughed when they heard this as Hamdir the Outlaw had taken the house from the Gwandor clan and his kin ran it now, or did.
In Boldhome, Tatius the Bright had declared a bounty of 10,000 silver Lunars for the head of Argrath of Sartar.
Sota had sent a message that Ogunjar had suppressed a peasant gathering protesting his rule; he had used excessive force and the entire county was now under martial law.
Argrath took his companions to visit Isildirian the Wise, Gudny retreated to Crag Spider's library to seek knowledge on the early Heortlings and their way of rule.
Isildiran greeted the Friends as if they had never left (he was still on the same work period) and listened to their tale of the giant jolanti they had seen in their quest through the Stormwalk Mountains. He told them that that would have been during the initial stages of what the humans called the Greater Darkness (work period 2,456,092 23/a) when the mostali had tried to prevent the darkness folk from coming onto the surface world. From the description the jolanti was salvageable, perhaps even reactivatable. Isildirian thanked Argrath and promised to pay him the worth of the jolanti once it was recovered.
The Friends then made for Torkaniland and fared well. King Jafoksor the Short greeted them warmly and bade them feast with him. They talked of this and that and then Argrath gave him their news of their doings and finally Harvar's plans. Looks like fire season is going to be bad, replied Jafoksor. Agrath pledged to help them come summer and sought information on the caravans passing along the Pavis road.
When Argrath returned to Cliffhome, Crag Spider sent for him and they met in her audience chamber. She asked him after his doings in the last year and he told her. She asked him what of those doings had brought danger to her people. Argrath told of the raids on Harvar and his worry of Harvar's counter stroke. Crag Spider was content with that and said that, If they launch an armed incursion into my lands it will be met by force, and they won't like it. Eyeing the 10 score great trolls in the room Argrath smiled, but again, did not laugh.
Bronwyn checked in with Wyrm Quill and his research into the EWF banner, he also spake of the vision they had had of the dragon in the Stormwalk Mtns. Wyrm Quill was making steady progress on the banner and was interested in the vision. He told how the Old Day Traditionalists, near the end of the EWF, had raided many EWF temples and carried off the holy relics. This had happened so long ago that few remembered the thefts and none what the items did.
Argrath fared back to Isildirian and sought his aid excavating the site of the dragon attack. Isildirian decreed that he would pay Argrath 1 part in 10 the worth of the jolanti in goods or services. He would also put a 50-mostali work detail at his disposal for two years; the detail was to arrive in one human season.
The news now arrived that the red-men were encamped outside the walls of Alda-chur and were marking out the plans for a new fortress to expand the city walls. Kamoar made his way to a hill east of Aldachur and watched the tent city for a day to determine their defences. He espied a score of flying thanes patrolling the space over the city, they were following the pattern of the air rune.
That night the Companions struck the camp. Gudny led an arming of Vingkot ceremony and ritually dressed Argrath in his battle garb. Tharn Raindancer then did an arming of Orlanth ceremony for Gudny.
Gudny led the attack, setting Black Cloud free and instructing him to kill everything in the camp. Gudny swept over the camp on Brunjarl, his sky bull, raining thunder upon the hapless soldiers on the ground. Kamoar leapt from his sky bull and raged through the camp screaming incoherently in his fury. Many were the soldiers who remembered the Beast in the Night. Bronwyn swooped into the camp on his great dragonwings. He tore the canvass off of a tent and seized the centurion issuing orders within before flying off into the night with the man screaming unharmed - in his great talons.
Black Cloud thundered through the camp sending men and weapons flying through the air. The camp fires scattered to all corners and set all ablaze fanned by his vadrudi winds.
Argrath, floating over the battle with his wind walking thanes, spied the first counter stroke; a half-dozen flying thanes flew out of the darkness at the camp. Argrath fell on them from above and scattered them in confusion. Sigmund struck at the horsemen's horses with Little Weighty sending them running off in to the night in panic.
Dozens of Harvar's men stepped out of the shadows where they had been hiding with Sandals of Darkness and struck at the Friends. A man made to strike Argrath with his sword but missed. Argrath spun on his heel and lunged at him with his spear. The spear passed through the man's shield and on into his trunk dealing him his death right there and the body fell to the dark ground.
Five warriors surrounded Gudny and made to attack him. Gudny summoned a great spherical blast of thunder and struck them all dead on the spot. Naught was ever seen of them again but for one badly burnt shield and a melted helm.
Sigmund squatted under a murderous axe blow, raked his boot down the man's shin and struck his head off with his sword.
Argrath could now see 200 men lifting into the air over the nearby keep and flying towards the camp. He had Djarn the Voice sound his horn in warning and the Friends made off into the night. Before Gudny could summon him back, Black Cloud rushed at Harvar's warband, for it was Harvar himself leading the attack. 200 bolts of lightning reached out, coalesced into one and struck Black Cloud full on. The spirit retreated to the bag on Gudny's belt without a word.
 Brushies some Imperial soldiers have horsehair
crests on their helms that look like brushes.
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