And so it was Sacred Time 1623 and the Companions attended to their
temples. People say that during the ceremonies semi-corporeal dragon
newts were seen passing among the worshippers touching a person
here and a person there. None could touch the spectres and no magic
worked against them.
It should be mentioned that during Sacred Time, the priests lift
the entire congregation to the God's Plane where they spend time
with their god.
Bronwyn and his draconic followers meditated in the Obduranic Palace
upon the head of the Cosmic Dragon – this was very different from
his previous Sacred Time's where Oburan's Hall was within Orlanth's
Stead. Bronwyn decided that his experience had changed as he had
changed and become closer to his true inner dragon.
Sigmund and his Hedkoranthi spent the time in Hedkoranth's Hall
drinking, wenching and breaking barrels before they passed north
with Hedkoranth and struck down a legion of sky gods.
Argrath and his Vingkotlings joined King Vingkot in his Hall on
Grizzly Peak where they drank, competed at poetry and conducted
a north-faring against the Dara Happans.
Gudny led the ceremonies at Horn Hill for the entire Marches' Orlanthi.
They joined the Thunder Brothers in Orlanth's Hall and feasted well
between contests of strength, saga telling and a foray against the
minions of the Evil Emperor.
It should also be noted that people witnessed a fluctuating red
corona around the red moon. Some espied tendrils of crimson reaching
out from the moon and touching the ground.
It is commonly known that Argrath made his kingdom a war kingdom
for the year.
As Sacred Time neared its end news reached Argrath of several attacks
on his lands. It was said that several steads near the mountains
in Green Stead and Red Water Vale. When asked the three survivors
could only say that it was a terrifying creature that appeared out
of the winter storms and slew everything before leaving again.
Argrath flew to the steads and investigate. Morguth Crushing-Skull,
a follower of Gudny's smelled a taint of chaos in the area but not
much. Kamoar and his March Wardens immediately set off to follow
the tracks that they found. They appeared to belong to a mountain
bear, though it would have to be thrice the size of any bear ever
seen before in these mountains to have made those tracks. Argrath's
diviners told this tale:
“It was a dark and stormy night; five-times-five were
the children of Valind pressed against the door. Four-times-four
were the children of Orlanth within. Three times the wind stopped,
two times a heart stopped, once the fire stopped. A Sending-Storm
was it. Sent to cloak the foulness within. Twice the height of a
man was a great bear that passed through the wall. Four-times-four
less one were slain within, the one hiding under a bed. The storm
passes, Valind's children depart, Orlanth's children are no more.”
The Companions found blood everywhere in the smashed steads but
few body parts. Kamoar found that the tracks led towards the mountains
and then vanished.
The attacks were taken as bad omens and the people were frightened.
The next day two steads in Cloudy Vale were attacked in the same
manner. Again the tracks vanished.
Argrath decided that the bear would assail Brone lands next and
gathered his warband there. His huscarls joined the Baron's knights
patrolling the steads and the Companions were guested at Brone Hall.
Now everyone knows that Brone hall is a great stone keep in the
Hendriki style but in those days it was a wooden hall in the same
style. On the ground floor were the cattle. On the next was the
hall and on the last the Baron's quarters.
As the night grew darker the winter storm grew thicker and the
Snow Demons danced with delight. Ice demons hung from the eves and
tried their best to penetrate the heated hall. As the companions
sat there, there came a crash from the floor above and the entire
building shook. The ceiling moaned and began to collapse. A large
leg with a paw the size of a sturdy man's shield swept through a
rent in the ceiling.
Gudny stood his ground and smote the leg with Thunder but the blow
seemed to be drawn into the creature.
Argrath leapt up and bravely hastened the Brone's family out of
the hall before turning to attend his own defence.
With a staggering crash the ceiling fell in and a giant bear landed
before the Companions. The bear had crimson fur and giant wings
that shrank and disappeared into the massive shoulders. The creature
gave a mighty snarl and the Companions surged to the attack.
Argrath called upon Mastakos' boots and stepped first on the north
wall, then on the ceiling and then landed astride the creature's
neck where he struck valiantly at that iron skull with the Ormsword.
The bear's head flew from its body, with Argrath still taking mighty
strokes, and took the head off of a great roll with one snap of
those hellish jaws. Before any could act the head had returned to
Bronwyn's eyes flared brilliant green and his jaw elongated into
a dragon's snout before he belched a gout of fire that enveloped
the monster's leg. A glowing red paw materialised behind the dragonman
and sent him cart-wheeling across the room before vanishing again.
Sigmund braced himself before the giant and hurled Little Weighty
with all of his strength giving the bear its death right there.
Such was the power of the blow that the bear never managed so much
as a whimper before its fell down dead . The headless body shrank
to the size of a normal bear and a great bloody globe burst from
the jagged neck, rolled across the floor shedding blood and finally
revealed a small moon rock. Before any could act the rock hurled
itself skyward and vanished into the screaming storm.
Great was the honour earned by Sigmund that night and he was generously
gifted by Argrath and the March Lords.
Argrath later learned that every rebel leader of any power had
been assailed that Sacred Time and that Tatius the Bright was responsible.
Argrath also arranged for the damanged steads an Brone Hall to be
It is told that Jaldon Tooth-maker reappeared in Prax at this time
and that the Empire hunted the demi-god ruthlessly.
It was also at this time that Argrath learned of an army encamped
before his western border town of Wallford led by Duke Gerard du Mantanpein of
Mt. Passant, the outlaw knight who was fighting the Brithini.
Argrath summoned his knights and his warband and fared through
the snow to Wallford to ken the intentions of the forces there arrayed.
When he arrived he spied five hundreds of knights, ten hundreds
of spear and a further ten hundreds of warbanders camped on the
snow scraped fields. They appeared well equipped but ragged. When
news of Argrath's arrival was carried to Duke Gerard he rode out
to meet the King. Gerard rode under the banner of the Aeolian Church
and was tightly wrapped in a bright green cloak.
We need say that Gerard had been a Rokari knight involved in the
Heortland civil wars when he met and became enamoured with the daughter
of Duke Coael the Hawk-eyed, then duke of Mt. Passant. Gerard converted
to the Rokari faith after the defeat of King Richard and married
his love. With the passing of Duke Coael he was the new duke.
“Greetings noble knight and may your St. Aeolus protect you,” bade
Argrath. “He does,” replied the duke, “but thank you for the thought.”
Though his tone was irreverent he was instantly likeable and Argrath
gave a rare smile. “What brings such a gallant company before my
walls,” he asked. The duke replied that he was gathering an army.
“Pray tell for what reason,” quoth Argrath. “To fight,” said the
duke with a twinkle in his eye. “I beggeth of you, keep me not in
suspense, who doth you plan on fighting for such is a large force
and verily it will cause some discomfort for somebody hereabouts.”
“I am going to fight those thrice-damned Brithini,” the duke replied.
“But we have a problem.” Argrath inquired into the nature of the
problem. “It's cold out here and we need some mulled wine inside
us. Your place or mine?” Argrath smiled and said it should be his,
as the King would undoubtedly have better wine than a campaigning
army would. “Too right and you probably have more stone walls with
more fireplaces as well,” replied the duke.
With that Argrath led Gerard and his retainers into Wallford where
they were feasted and filled with steaming mulled wine.
They spent the evening speaking of this and that but mostly Gerard's
campaign against the God-Forgoti. Gerard told of his marriage and
his claim to the duchy of Mt. Passant. “So I am come to claim that
which is not mine by birth,” he joked. The duke claimed to have
slain two Horali with his own blade and his boone companions were
said to have slain eight more. The Companions were rightfully impressed
with this after having fought the Horali themselves and knowing
that there were only five score of them in the region. Losing ten
had to be a serious blow for the Brithini.
Gerard told how they were going to win their war with the Brithini,
for with the support of Archbishop Gwydion of the Aeolian church
and the blessings of St. Orlanth the Just they could not but win.
“But,” he said, “once we win then there art land troubles between
you and I.” Argrath politely asked which of his lands the Duke thought
should be his but the duke laughed and shook his head. “You know
the steads of Torry's Hall and Eight-Stead Vale?” Argrath nodded.
“I don't want them. They are full of hairy, smelly barbarians. I
want you to take them.” Gerard told how he would support the creation
of a new duchy that owed fealty to the March. He also spoke of establishing
the border between his lands and the Marches on the Bandari River,
which was much further west than they presently lay. The new lands
would increase Argrath's holdings by nearly a third again. All he
needed from Argrath was his support to the Duke's claim of Mt. Passant.
Gerard also asked that a fair price for Argrath's iron be included
in their treaty, though he understood that he could only purchase
what was available for sale. Argrath agreed and they exchanged oaths
upon their gods. Gerard returned to his army and after a few days
rest they departed.
Now one Koraluf Jagged-Tooth, a Telmori runner, arrived with news
from Turrog. It seemed that Argrath's companion had taken a new
name, GreatWolf and had successfully completed his great spirit-quest.
It was told that Turrog had successfully arranged the birth of a
Great Wolf with yellow eyes that flung lighting bolts and a terrifying
howl that could strike a man dead just by hearing it . Turrog
GreatWolf now leads a mighty warband that included one of the nine
chiefs and three great shamans of Telmor. He had called the band
the Wolf Runners and was recruiting more warriors to fight the Empire
in King Argrath's name. Turrog sent this message seeking aid from
Argrath. He needed military supplies and money but asked that no
troops be sent. Koraluf spoke of a fragmented situation among the
tribe as some insisted that Temertain was the True King, others
insisted that various people were the True King and more claimed
that they had been betrayed by the king and should form their own
Argrath dispatched Tumult with a score of warriors carrying arms
and armour and gold for Turrog.
It was about this time that a message came to Argrath seeking his
presence at Dragon's Rest. Argrath, Bronwyn and Sigmund passed along
Mastakos' path across the Wastes and arrived at the monastery where
Doyban the Serene awaited them. After several hours of meditation
and purification the monk took Argrath to meet somebody.
That somebody named himself Great Brown Swooper. He was a tall
man with yellow eyes and many feathers in his hair. He was dressed
in old leathers and had the look of well-beaten leather himself.
Swooper was of the Korgatsu, a mystical group of Hsunchen who spent
most of their efforts defending their brethren from Kralori aggression.
Swooper told how he had spent the past twelve years meditating
on a mountain about his purpose. He spake of a recent revelation
he gained from the World Dragon and how he had come down from the
mountain and acted upon it. “I am to travel to a foreign land and
find the mountain hold of a great king. There I am to teach many
warriors and magicians my magic.”
Argrath thanked him for his forthcoming aid and they returned to
Stone-Storm Valley. Swooper came with size followers and a score
of brown eagle familiars. He told Argrath that he would immediately
seek recruits with the aid of the World Dragon and that he would
begin training in a few seasons.
Our tale need now run forward to Stasis Week, Sea Season. Argrath
gathered his army and many ships to carry them to Nochet where they
would pass to Pennel Ford. He heard that Harrek was definitely leading
the returned Wolf Pirates and they had passed east with a fleet
of refugees from Nolos.
When Argrath arrived at Nochet he was dressed in his finest clothes.
He wore a shimmering green silken shirt under a brilliantly coloured
cloak. His helm was traced in gold and his shield in silver. With
the Ormsword at his side and Vingkot's spear in his fist he made
an impressive sight riding upon Viga-Holsten. With him were Bronwyn
in his plain brown robes and travel stained cloak, Gudny in his
finest wolf fur-lined cloak and his arms heavy with gold rings,
Kamoar with a new necklace of red teeth and Sigmund with a light
blue cloak of the finest silk and his Golden Shield shining in the
Behind the Companions came 500 knights and sergeants, a score of
warbanders from Knight Fort, 150 of Argrath's warband, and the nine
surviving great trolls. There were also thirty of Gudny's warband
and his 13 magicians. Combined with personal bodyguards, Argrath's
force numbered 738 and, like any true king, Argrath was heard to
say, “I'd really like to bring most of them home again.”
Nochet was teeming with troops and the harbours with awash with
shipping. So many were the Wolf Pirates that one could have walked
from Visel to Nochet from ship to ship.
In Nochet Argrath Sharpsword greeted Dragonfriend and they retired
to Dragonfriend's pavilion to catch up on the news. Sharpsword was
accompanied by a bodyguard of hardy wolf pirates all well equipped,
though their arms were as varied as the pirates themselves. There
were Agamori from Prax, beady-eyed Vithelans, a purple man who hailed
from a southern land and more. All were heavily adorned with gold
They spake of Sharpsword's journeys around the world and he congratulated
Dragonfriend on his actions over the last three years. Sharpsword
bitterly told how he could not return to Prax now that Whitebull
had taken over his organisations. “It was I who held the Empire.
I defended the Cradle. I spent 12 years building the resistance,”
he spat. He heaped curses upon Whitebull and Maniskisson and appeared
to be nearly frothing in his anger. The result was that he had elected
to remain in Esrolia and “do what I do best lead large bands of
wolf pirates.” Dragonfriend replied that he had no troubles with
the other Argraths as they were all working together to throw down
Shepelkirt and her minions. “After that is done, then we may have
Sharpsword finished with a warning to Dragonfriend. “Do not stand
in front of Harrek. I did and he cut both my legs off.”
 This creature had skills in the w3 and w4 range and
was supposed to give us a really hard time. Sigmund's skill was
3w3, he spent a hero point and Little Weighty gives him a bump resulting
in a skill of 3w5; he bid all 63 of his AP. The bear also spent
a plot point to have 10w5 in his defence. The bear fumbled and Sigmund
rolled a critical resulting in a transfer of 3x (189AP) and the
giant bear was dead.
 When the Companions defeated the hound of Baskelos on their
sky-bull quest Turrog had taken the hound's scrotum as his portion.
It seems that he had integrated the hound's magic with a wolf spirit.
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