The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 51
Our tale turns to the Dragon’s Eye where the Quest stepped off of the dragon’s road from the Celestial Dragon. The Companions remarked that there were no dragonnewts in sight.
Maniskisson immediately went his way.
Kallyr suggested that the Companions seek an audience with the Inhuman King as seek his aid in the coming battles. She told how she had a plan to attack the Reaching Moon Temple. “We need know when the Empire will be completing their ceremony,” she spake.
Kallyr continued by telling of Minyrth’s studies. She told how Purple had found that the ritual required a precise alignment of the stars to work and that the members of the ritual were tied directly to the star that they represented. In fact, the member became the star and the star became the member. Kallyr said that if they were to attack the members of the ritual then they could disrupt it by disrupting the celestial alignment.
Kallyr also spake of Orlanth’s Ring, a constellation of stars that included the celestial dragon’s head. She told how the ritual had to occur while Orlanth’s Ring was no in the sky.
Now the Ring enters the sky when it sees fit and wanders around bumping other stars and planets in its path. However, the Ring cannot enter the sky while the Storm Gate is closed. Purple said that they needed to get into the ritual and slay the representative of the Gate.
Once the gate was open then Orlanth’s Ring, consisting of the Virtuous Stars of Orlanth could enter the ritual and wreak havoc.
Kallyr told of a raiding myth where the Evil Emperor’s minions had stolen some of Orlanth’s sheep and brought them back to the sky. She said that using that myth, she and some of her boon companions could get into the ritual and then slay the Gate.
With the Gate open, the Companions could enter as Orlanth’s Ring and hack their way across the sky.
“It will not be easy,” she said. The Companions knew of myths that they would have to enact to prove they that they did represent Orlanth’s Virtues and knew that they were difficult.
At this point Kallyr and Argrath vowed to keep in touch and to let the other now what they learned of the ritual. “We need two week’s notice,” said Kallyr. “And they will for sure needs perform their cursed ceremony in Earth or Sea season.”
With that Kallyr departed with her surviving companions.
It was then that a dragonnewt appeared and bowed to Argrath. “You are wished to be seen,” it hissed in Draconic.
Once again the Companions fared through that strangely twisted city and were brought before Sibilant Tongue, the King. In surprising deference to the non-draconic Companions the king used a translator that spoke passable Sartari.
“Dragon friend, you complete great quest. We are pleased. The Cosmic Dragon is pleased for it has spoken to us of you. We await the day of Conjunction.”
Argrath asked if the Inhuman King could help them bring forth that day and if he knew when the imperial ritual would take place. “Know you this,” the King replied. “On the day of Conjuction the dragonnewts will see battle.” With that the audience ended and the Companions went on their way.
The Companions made to fare back to the Marches but stopped at the Gwandor on the way.
They were greeted at the Chief’s hall by Erkenbrand, Gudny’s loyal Sunthane and still the Chief of the Gwandor. Erkenbrand granted them Guesting and led them to his high seat. Argrath was seated at Erkenbrand’s right and Gudny to his left and then the chief had food brought forth and a merry feast was had by all.
Gudny gained great honour with his tellings of the Companions’ deeds and Argrath’s generosity was noted when he gifted the chief with a certami shield and spear. After that they talked of this and that and the Companions learned much that was new to them.
Hild Cowwise, Gudny’s sister, spake of the clan’s growth. She spake of the many refugees that had fared to the tula at the Companions’ bidding and had been made members of the clan. She spake of the many thralls that the clan had freed and made into carls.
Erkenbrand spake of the Gorde clan and how much smaller it was. He also spake of the Gorde’s turning from Yelmalio and their return to the traditional ways.
Randver Battlespeak, the Gwandor’s Lawspeaker told of the tales of the Companions’ heroics at Milran that had reached the clan.
Erkenbrand then told of the Culbrea as a whole. They shared news of cousins and brothers and all were happy to hear good news of their friends. In general the Companions learned that the Culbrea were waiting. They were sharpening their swords, their sons had grown to be men and they were waiting for something to happen.
Sigmund and Gudny had joyful reunions with their families and friends. The bloodbrothers were brought even closer together on learning that their wives had born sons on the same day that summer. Gudny named his son Sigmund Gudnysson whilst Sigmund named his Gudny Sigmundsson.
It was during their stay with the Gwandori that more news reached the Companions.
It seemed that High King Temertain was dead; slain by a humakti fanatic named Artamesh of Spol. It had passed that Temertain had turned red with rage when the army of Heortland had been defeated at Milran. The king had hurled insults at Artamesh before all the gathered officials of his court. Now Artamesh accepted those insults for the length of time it took him to take three strides to Temertain’s high seat and then the knight killer cut the king down with his massive battle blade.
When Temertain’s lunar bodyguards rushed forth to hew the murderer Atramesh’ Dark Blades closed around their lord. The Carmanians smote about them with such a fury that they won free of the palace without losing a man.
Tatius the Bright arrived then and stayed the fighting. He sent Artamesh back to the Heartlands with censure – exactly what Artamesh had told the Companions that he sought.
Another tale told how Tatius was seen kicking Temertain’s head about the throneroom.
Now the death of Temertain stoked the fires of rebellion in Sartar. Tatius refused to replace him and sat on the high seat himself. Many tribes that had supported Temertain, for he was a true Sartari King, rose their voices in protest for Tatius was the Evil Empire incarnate.
News also reached the Gwandor from the Poljoni that Whitebull had stormed Corflu and slain the imperials to a man. All of the tribes of the Wastes had joined Whitebull to fight the Empire and Jaldon Toothmaker had reappeared among the host.
We needs to tell more of Jaldon. He was a great hero of Prax who united the tribes to fight the EWF. Jaldon led one of the raids that penetrated the giant walls of Pavis. When Jaldon died, he told his followers that he would return to lead them to victory again when all of the tribes united once more.
And so it came to pass that Bronwyn and Garthael fared to Boldhome to speak with Coreno Fastladle. Coreno we need recall was Bronwyn’s man working in Temertain’s kitchens. Bronwyn hoped that he may know something of the Reaching Moon’s timetable.
The rest of the Companions fared back to Stone Storm Keep and thence on to Knight Fort.
At Knight Fort Argrath found Erdhar Nohorse with most of his clansmen. It seemed that the Empire had sent nye on two thousands of troops into Bull Graze Valley, “For no reason known to me,” spake Erdhar. When Argrath asked about Erdhar’s raiding the chief replied that he had been raiding throughout the summer but that was no reason for the Empire to get angry.
The red-men’s column included the Entelos fyrd, the Drenthi Grims - a regiment of Aggarri Highlanders – a detachment of the Bell Temple cavalry and the Jillaro Windbreakers magical band.
Hurred had already summoned the Marches’ levies and was gathering them at the Fort.
While speaking with his captain and barons, Argrath learned that Sharpsword had taken Karse with 600 Wolf Pirates and now held the city. He had named himself the Protector of that city. Argrath also learned that Jansholm had risen behind the Empire and declared itself for King Broyan. The Empire’s forces had made it back to Whitewall where more troops had arrived and their were now over ten thousands of Shepelkirt’s babes there.
Gettig Kingsvoice came to Knight Fort about them seeking Argrath’s aid in freeing Volsaxiland. It seemed tht Gerard of Mt. Passant had declined and Argrath also begged off as too busy with commitments of his own.
Now there was a man named Egorlant Berjolsson. Egorlant was called Rusty-Spear for he was compulsive in the polishing of his war gear. Egorlant was the son of Berjol No-Hair and Gerthild Alynx-Mam. Gerthild was the daughter of Terlaman Fireleaper who was chief of the Silver Salmon clan of the Tres tribe. Egorlant had joined the Orgovalti and been accepted as a thane when he and all his kin were declared outlaw by Harvar’s Warlord, Triof the Fist. Egorlant was held in high esteem by the Orgovalti and was considered by all to be a fine man all around.
So Egorlant arrived at Knight Fort bearing news from Orgovalt the Angry. Harvar had slowed his raiding against the clan while he concentrated his efforts on finishing the new defences around Alda Chur. Egorlant also spake of Ogunjar’s new Sun Dome temple and bitterly announced that it had been completed. On a happier note Egorlant revealed that the Alone Confederation was reading their swords.
Argrath also learned of a further eight regiments of red-men arriving in Alda Chur. It appeared that they were to be posted at the Reaching Moon Temple once the expanded barracks there were ready.
By Argrath’s count, these new troops brought to twenty thousands the strength of the Empire’s forces in Sartar.
Bronwyn and Garthael returned from Boldhome with no new news. Coreno had been accepted into the service of Tatius’ imperial clerks, stodgy worshipers of Buserian. Coreno told how the clerks spent an equal amount of time writing and staring at the sky.
After much discussion the Companions decided to seek words with Fazzur Wideread. They hoped that Fazzur’s differences with Tatius would lead him to aid them in their efforts to defeat the sun-man.
And now Agrath gathered his captains to him and they set about making plans to drive the imperials out of Bull Graze Valley. Garthael, Kamoar and Gudny joined him there. Sigmund was equipping the muster out of the Fort’s stocks. Hurred the Drace and Erdhar also stood by. Around the edge of the room were Argrath’s Dragon’s Shadows, his troll bodyguard while Rolf and Von stood at their king’s back.
First he counted his forces. Three hundreds of his knights had survived the fighting in Heortland and rested in the Fort. The barons of the Marches could gather a further three hundreds of huscarls and Aeolian knights. Three hundreds of weaponthanes had been summoned from Stone Storm Valley to join Argrath’s warband – bringing it to fifty and four hundreds. The Sun Dome Temple in Misty Vale pledged two hundreds of Yelmalian Templars to fight for the King. The Impala tribe at the Knight Fort oasis owed Argrath three hundreds of riders. Erdhar spake of gathering three hundreds of his fyrd and thanes. The Marches muster, fourteen hundreds was gathering at the Fort. Finally Gudny could call upon the fanatic warriors from the Block, nye three hundreds of Uroxi and Stormbull berserkers.
In the middle of this conference, the table was thrown aside and six warriors rose through the floor to attack the gathering.
Garthael drew his terrible blade and hewed at one of the assassins. His blow fell on the man’s shoulder, where it met his neck, and sliced clean through to the other shoulder dealing the man his death.
The leader, the same man who had assailed Argrath in Refuge, hurled an object at Argrath, striking him on the chest. Argrath immediately found that his magic was cut off.
So as Orlanth did when Chaos overran Umath’s stead, Argrath ran from the room.
The assassin lord leapt to follow but Kamoar, Gudny, Bronwyn and Erdhar threw themselves at him to protect their king. The assassin swept through them like a torrent and with four thrusts of his spear dealt each of them their deaths.
Argrath grew wroth and his fury powered his magics. Again he did as Orlanth and left leaving the assassins no target, for he knew that he was the target and he knew that he could not defeat the assassin, as Orlanth could not defeat Chaos. Argrath stepped onto Mastakos’ path and strode it to Cragspider. There he stepped onto another path and fared to Stone Storm Keep.
Seeing Argrath escape him again the assassin lord cried in anger. He whistled and then sank into the floor with his two surviving companions.
When Argrath returned to the Fort an hour later he found that size of his Shadow’s had fallen along with the Companions.
Now it was a good thing that Argrath had invited several priestesses
of Chalana Arroy to found a temple in the Fort and that they had
accepted. The slain Companions were rushed down the hallway to the
temple where the priestesses immediately began their rituals that
could bring back the dead. Healuna the Supple was the temple’s leader
and she led the rituals.
Argrath gathered his warband and they all prayed for Healuna’s success. Hurred and the other captains rushed through the Fort spreading the news of the fallen Companions and all rushed to their shrines adding their prayers to those of the warband.
Backed by this outpouring of support Healuna stepped into the Otherside and made her way along the paths to Daka Fel’s Hall. She gave the Boatman on the Styx a silver mark and passed on into the Hall. Once there she cast about among the multitude of souls there and found Gudny’s as he was passing through the gate to Orlanth’s Hall. Seizing Gudny’s spirit she fought to drag him back to the Mundane Plane. The Storm Lord’s power nearly overcame her but in the end Gudny’s corpse took a breath again .
Healuna repeated her efforts three more times and managed to bring all of the Companions back to life before she collapsed from exhaustion. It is said that the priestess did not awaken until she had slept for a week.
Now it was quickly apparent that the dead-risen had been altered by their experience. Bronwyn seemed almost bitter and became disassociated from the physical happenings around him. He later told how he had been with the Cosmic Dragon and that the light of wisdom was blooming in his breast when he was pulled back to this world.
Kamoar was seen to lose interest in his physical body. He claimed that he had learned that his body was imprisoning his spirit.
Gudny had lost all fear of death and retained no concern for his wellbeing for he knew that his place in Orlanth’s Hall was near the high seat.
Argrath then learned that the Imperials had left Bull Graze Valley immediately after the attack on him – it appeared that their entire expedition had been mounted as a diversion to draw him back to his Fort where the assassins awaited.
Once the Companions had recovered, as much as they would ever recover, they fared north with Argrath. They travelled to the Orgovalti with Egorlant where they spoke with Orgovalt and learned that all was well with him.
Bronwyn sent his man Porter Haraldsson into Tarsh with a message for Fazzur. The message was included in a gift from Argrath - a book on EWF warfare – and invited Fazzur to meet him at Tink.
From their the Companions passed along Mastakos’ road back to Knight Fort.
It was about then that Whitebull arrived at the Fort seeking guesting. He had with him the Sword Brothers, a Praxian band of humakti who served as his bodyguards.
The Argraths greeted each other warmly and exchanged pleasantries. Whitebull drew a head out of a sack, still wearing its helm and tossed it on the table. “From the garrison of Corflu!” he declared. And so they spoke of this and that and exchanged news of their doings.
Dragonfriend told how Maniskisson was like Vongos, all boast and no substance. He told how Maniskisson tried to claim the victory of Pennel as his, but he brought the traitors that almost destroyed the allies. He told how Maniskisson tried to claim that the Boat quest was his but again he brought the traitor that nearly undid them all.
Whitebull spoke of his correspondences with Sharpsword.
Dragonfriend shared more news of Maniskisson. He told Whitebull how Maniskisson had gathered a host of Ditali and Solanthi and had taken the Esrolian city of Kosh.
Whitebull spoke of his plans to liberate Pavis. He told how all of the tribes rode with him and he had twelve thousands of Praxian riders with him. He also spake of his talks with Sun County and told how he had met Sota Lamplighter. “The Yellow’s will march with me,” he told Dragonfriend. He then asked Dragonfriend if he was interested in joining him. “I’d love to see you along,” he spake. Dragonfriend agreed that it would a fine thing if he could be there but that he had too many other things to do.
After Whitebull departed Argrath asked Sota to visit him and greeted the Yelmalian well. Sota looked much more hale than he had previously. All present noted that the priest actually glowed with a soft light. They quickly learned that Sota had been heroquesting for more power.
Argrath spoke to Sota of his doings and inquired into Sota’s progress on his plans. Sota told of his meetings with all of the Sun Temples in the Pass and told how they had all agreed to refuse service to the Empire. Argrath was pleased at this and thanked Sota for his support. When asked if that included Ogunjar, Sota spit and declared that Ogunjar was a rebel and that he would be crushed. “When you move against him, I will march alongside you and crush his life with my own hands.”
 Orlanth’s sheep are clouds.
 The GM pitted Healuna’s Ressurect Other’s ability against each of our’s best magical ability to represent the power of our souls’ resistance to returning to life. Gudny was only brought back because she had the extraordinary support of Argrath’s warband and rolled a critical success. Kamoar was also difficult to bring back as he was is a shaman. His soul was headed for the gate to the Spirit Realm and Healuna had an improvisational penalty to bring him back. Bronwyn was likewise difficult to bring back due to his mystic bent.
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