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Gwandor Saga



The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 58


"We've done this before, it wasn't too bad."

- Kamoar on owing favours to dwarves

Now Kallyr called a council of the Argraths, all but Whitebull were there - he was still battling Jaldon in Pavis County. Sharpsword brought the surprising news that Harrek had sailed off to Pamaltela with his fleet leaving Sharpsword as the chieftain of the Wolf Pirates.

Kallyr told of more regiments that were forming for the Royal Army: The Guildsmen, formed and equipped by the towns of Sartar, and the Free Men, formed of freed slaves from the Lunar farms in the kingdom.

The other Argraths told of their doings and they set about making plans for the coming year.

That night, responding to an invitation from Sharpsword, Dragonfriend supped with the pirate in Sharpsword's palace. The greetings were formulaic but lacked any warmth.

"We have a problem," spake Sharpsword. Dragonfriend bade him speak of it. "Our problem is those refugees that you took in, especially the Erlthanth bloodline."

"They are on my land now and hath sworn not to bother thyself," responded Dragonfriend.

"Ah, but they came onto MY land, killed MY people and burned one of MY villages!" Dragonfriend asked what the damages were. "Five thegns, one score of carls and a burned village."

"This is indeed poor news," spake Dragonfriend. "If it is the truth. I will speak with Erdhar and learn more of this matter."

Now, because Dragonfriend had guaranteed the refugee's behaviour, he was responsible for the weregeld. "The thegns are two-score and ten cows each," he said. "The carls are five-and-twenty. How doth you value the village?"

Sharpsword thought for a moment and replied, "The thegns and the carls come to seven hundreds and fifty cows. I will value the village at two hundreds and fifty." Dragonfriend agreed that was fair and took his leave.

Dragonfriend immediately gathered his Companions and, stepping onto Mastakos' Road, fared to Erdhar's stead in Dundealosland. Erdhar was expecting him. He answered calmly to Argrath's explosive questions. "They did it, they've been boasting about it all the way from here to Wilmskirk." He went on to explain that there was more to it than Sharpsword appeared to know. "They also killed a merchant and his entire family."

It appeared that a travelling merchant was heard to disparage the Erlthanth for running from Sharpsword. The family took his comments as deliberate insults and hunted the merchant down, slaying him. Then they found his family and slew them. Finally, they found the merchant's home village and burnt it down. "They deemed it a matter of honour," Erdhar said. "They are a hot-blooded people and mighty warriors," he concluded.

Argrath called them oath-breakers. He went to the Thingyard and spake the words to make notice of a lawsuit against them. He gathered the requisite twelve witnesses who made their oaths on the Thingyard. Then he fared to the Erlthanth steads and repeated the words of summoning. Finally, he rode to the limits of the clan tula and spoke to words to the world summoning all who would hear his case. He intended to have them all outlawed and then give them to Sharpsword as thralls to offset the cost of the weregeld. their forfeited property would make up the rest.

On the morn Argrath awaited the clansmen in the Thingyard. His witnesses arrayed behind him and Gettig, his law-speaker aside him. Korsant Erlthanth came with his family. Together he and Argrath selected three jurors: Erdhar, Erdhar's law-speaker, Bilanth Grey-beard, and the Yorendos clan law-speaker, Hroth Tak-chewer.

Before the assembled clan, Argrath repeated his oath of claim. His witnesses each came forth and repeated their oaths. Then it was Korsant time to speak. His law-speaker spoke of the honour of his family and of Umath's law - Violence is always an option. He spoke of the times that Orlanth avenged his honour.

Gettig spoke of Heort's laws and Sartar's laws and reminded the gathered Heortlings that they superseded Umath's laws. He spoke of the importance of keeping one's oath. He spoke of the damage done to Argrath and the costs incurred.

The case was argued, and argued well, for nye on seven hours. When the speakers were finished the jurors conferred. Then Erdhar spoke. He pronounced the Erlthanth guilty and subject to full outlawry. He further declared their property forfeit to Argrath to pay the weregeld.

After the Thing broke up Argrath called Korsant into his booth - he did not invite him to sit and did not offer him any food. He spoke to Korsant about what he did and why. He then asked about what Korsant would do now. "We will find someplace to settle far from here. We have no quarrel with you and bear you no ill will. You did right."

Argrath took a firm hold on his Crystal Sceptre and spoke of his vision of the future. He spoke of what he had planned on doing to Korsant and his people. He spoke of other options that were possible for a truly loyal follower.

Korsant was awed by Argrath's mercy and shamed by his own behaviour. He fell to his knees and swore to follow Argrath. "By Humakt's blade, my entire bloodline and all of our descendants will follow you, and your descendants, in all things." He felt the cold kiss of death rest on the back of his neck and looked up to find Garthael's battle-blade pressed against his flesh. "Repeat thine oath," commanded Argrath, and he did. Argrath smiled. "Rise mine thegn and get about thy work."

With that, the Erlthanth fared north to Alone. From there they were guided to the Orgovalti village which they joined. The possessions they left behind were given over to Argrath and he gave them over to Sharpsword as weregeld. Dragonfriend had to add another four-hundreds of goods of his own to satisfy debt.

Sea Season/1628

With the first thaw of the new year came news of a chaos horde raiding the Far Point tribes. It quickly passed on into the Alone confederation and scattered to cause more havoc. It seemed that the horrors from Snake Pipe Hollow had tunnelled onto the plateau instead of coming out into Dwarf Run. Orgovalt sent word that he had gathered his fyrds and marched to battle the horde. Argrath sent Sigmund to lead the detachment of knights from Alone. He sent Gudny to command his flying warband in the hunt for chaos and he sent Kamoar with the shaman's warband to help.

It was about this time that a factor representing a group of merchants from Tarsh came to speak with Dragonfriend. Fillian Finebrow showed Argrath the gifts that the factor had presented at the same time that he requested the interview and the Dragonlord was impressed. According to the letter he represented over a dozen merchant houses in Tarsh and the Provinces who wished to continue trade with Sartar and Esrolia. They wished to speak with Dragonfriend as he was the Warlord of Sartar and thus controlled the roads and tolls. Argrath suspected that they wished to bribe him to gain access to the kingdom.

At the appointed time, Ifmanees of Furthest presented himself at Argrath's palace. With him was one guard, a tall, hard man with two swords strapped to his back. Garthael, Lothar, Rolf and Von stood behind Argrath's high seat. Argrath bade Ifmanees be seated on his right and broke bread with him. Ifmanees thanked Argrath for meeting with him and presented more lavish gifts. Argrath presented many gifts of his own to Ifmanees. They began to speak of trade between the kingdoms but Ifmanees turned the conversation away saying, "I have something more interesting to speak of." With that he passed his hand before his face and his visage changed.

Sitting beside Argrath was Tothus Seven-Seventh the rashoranic mystic who had defeated the Fire Bull daimon in personal combat so many years ago. Argrath didn't even blink. He turned to the bodyguard and spake thusly, "That would make you Kirvander Street-Scar". The big man nodded. "And what brings the Empire's servants to my hall?"

Tothus apologised for the subterfuge but he needed to speak with Argrath. "About?" Argrath asked.

"Your impending doom," came the straight-faced reply. "Hopefully we can avert it." Tothus went on to speak of the situation in the Provinces. He told how the Imperial army had pulled out of Sartar and that the Provincial Overseer was blocking any attempt by the army to return. "We have a situation where we would like to see the Overseer … stumble. His star is not to rise any further. That makes us some-what friendly to your cause at the moment."

"And how will your friendship manifest itself?" asked Argrath.

Tothus explained that Harvar Ironfist had been placed in command of the Provincial Expeditionary Force. He told how Ogunjar had been in command but was now leader of a provincial sun dome force. Triolf the Fist was a leading figure in the Sons of Umatum, a collection of barbarians who worshipped various faces of a 'higher storm', like Tarumath and Bigger Wind. There was also a collection of heartlanders in the force led by Toventus of Gerethas. Toventus was Young Kastok's father and had come to avenge his death. "Yesterday," said Tothus, "Harvar's force was at the Travelling Stone."

It appeared that he had linked up with several Tarsh Royal formations and was now conducting preparing to march on the Far Point. "He has arranged several diversions for you," Tothus reported. The chaos horde was the first. Tothus spoke of fifth-column forces within the Far Point and told how he knew of other planned distractions but not of their form.

"Harvar should be attacking you tomorrow."

Argrath thanked Tothus for his news and bade him safe journey to where ever he was bound. He then began to make his arrangements to defend the kingdom. Kallyr agreed to send the new regiments to Alda-Chur. Argrath leaped atop Mastakos' Chariot and rode it to Alone. He sent the chariot to gather his companions about him and shared the news with them. He bade them go forth and gather his forces at Glass Wall, the fort guarding the ramp where the Tarsh Road climbs onto the Far Point Plateau.

Gudny returned to the Red Cedar tula where his and Argrath's warbands had been hunting broo in the woods. They flew to Glass Wall and found it taken. It seems that five-score of flying thegns had attacked the fort helped by many traitors within.

Sigmund sent Argrath's knights and the Little Shadows [1] marching to Glass Wall.

Kamoar rejoined his March Wardens and made for Orgovaltiland. He was to set a picket across the northern side of Snake Pipe Hollow to ward against a flanking attempt by Harvar and then personally scout Harvar's forces.

To guard the southern flank and the route through Dwarf Run, Argrath visited Isildirian. The mostali was too busy to see him but agreed to bar the valley to Harvar. "You owe me a favour," was the price.

When Argrath arrived at Glass Wall he learned of his Companion's deeds and news. Bronwyn was there with the news that Fazzur had been publicly executed during Sacred Time. He also related that Maniskisson was leading a large force of Grazers in revenge raids into southern Tarsh.

Kamoar returned with information on Harvar's host. He appeared to have five hundreds in his personal warband. Ogunjar had seven hundreds of phalangites, three hundreds of his personal guard - all elite and heavily armed templars. Ogunjar also led five hundreds of Sun Dome light infantry and five hundreds of Sun Dome horse archers. Triolf led two thousands of Suns of Umatum. Kamoar spied Kao Lu leading three hundreds of his Black Iron acolytes. There were four hundreds of the Servants of the Cleansing. Toventus of Gerethas led two hundreds of his house troops and three hundreds of the Servants of the Immortal Justice - described by Tothus as fanatical upholders of Antirius' justice. Kamoar also spied five hundreds of medium infantry following a Doburdani banner. There was one thousand of Tusk Riders. The Slave Wall foot marched with the Tarsh Light Foot, both mustering eight or nine hundreds, and finally there were four hundreds of the Furthest Cavalry. All told, over nine thousands.

Kamoar also related that Harvar's Travelling Stone rituals had been successful and his host was moving at an incredible rate - they would arrive at Glass Wall in half a day.

Argrath sent Sigmund into Alda-Chur to gather all the earth godyr that he could find.

Other messengers arrived from Orgovalt and Kallyr with grave news. The Dinacoli had risen and were attacking the Torkani. They had also seized Danger Fort and barred Kallyr's path. She was taking the Boldhome regiments to Two Sisters where there was a ford over the Creek. Other messengers reported that scores of bands of Gargarthi - led by Verthun Battlemood - had descended upon the Alone tribes. Traitors among the Far Point tribes had risen and the Tovtaros and Princeros were embroiled in civil wars and kin-strife. The only good news was that Orgovalt was gathering as many of his scattered warriors as he could and marching for Glass Wall.

There would be no quick reinforcements for Argrath.

Bronwyn made he way to Dragon's Eye too seek the Dragonnewt's aid against the Dinacoli but was refused. Messengers were sent to the Torkani and to Jolmes Wolfe asking them to aid the Torkani.

Venharlsson gathered his Storm Walkers and harried Harvar's host, slowing their march. Whitebull was riding for Alda-Chur having slain Jaldon in personal combat.

It began to rain, hard.

When Sigmund returned to Glass Wall he had all of the earth godyr and the city militia with him. Argrath had the godyr raise an earthen ramp against the vitrified wall of the fort and his warband charged to the assault.

Sigmund led the charge over the ramp. The defenders had erected crude barriers at the top but Sigmund blasted them aside with Little Weighty. He called upon Hedkoranth's Ricochet Blessing and hurled his thunderstone into the enemy host slaying many.

Kamoar leapt atop a weaponthane from the Ventaros clan. His clawed hand struck through the man's shield and clasped his left shoulder. With a mighty heavy he tore the man's arm clean off and the warrior fell down dead on the spot.

Gudny flew over the wall and landed atop the walls. Borak Two-Axe, a captain in Harvar's guard and the leader of this band confronted him. Crushing Noise staggered the captain but he recovered and struck back at Gudny. Borak's spear-thrust was turned on Arran, Gudny's shield, and the stormlord's counter burst Borak's torso asunder.

When the fighting was finished Argrath had lost thirty men but the fortress was his. Against Harvar's nine thousand, Argrath had a little over nine hundreds.

And so it came to pass that Harvar's advance guard rode down the Tarsh road and mounted the ramp to Glass Wall. Now, we needs tell that the Tarsh road was dwarf work and wide enough for two carts to pass each other. We also needs relate that the cliff under Glass Wall was several hundreds of feet high and the Tarsh Road passed up a great ramp and through the gates of Glass Wall.

Harvar's advance guard was ambushed and slain to a man whereupon Argrath closed the gates of the fortress. Dragonfriend refused to parley with Harvar and sent him away with insults.

In the valley below, Harvar's host made camp and a large ritual was begun. Storm clouds began to gather over the camp. Kamoar gathered his shamans and they unleashed their combined spirit host against Harvar's priests while Venharlsson led a ritual to gather a storm of his own. For nye on four hours the storms battled until Venharlsson announced that he could fight no longer. "There are too many of them for mine efforts to defeat."

Argrath had the earth godyr crater the dwarf-road before the gates. A messenger came from Orgovalt that he was approaching.

The clouds over Harvar's camp coalesced into a giant golden storm ram. The ram stepped down to the ground and began to head butt the cliff. Piles of rock fell from the cliff face and began to form a second ramp. The Companions attempts to stop it failed.

About this time Orgovalt arrived with his advance guard. With him were all of his tribal warbanners. He immediately rode along the lip of the cliff waving the banners about where Harvar could see them. At the apparent arrival of the Far Point fyrds, Harvar gathered his host and withdrew into Tarsh. There was no real way for him to fight up a ramp against the gathered hosts of Far Point. Little did he know that a bare score of men were holding those banners.

And so it came to pass that the Battle of Glass Wall was another victory for Argrath, the Warlord of Sartar. The combined Torkani, Telmori and Wolfland hosts defeated the Dinacoli is several battles and skirmishes an then turned on the Gargarthi. Jolmes battled Verthun in single combat - the latter made off laughing with Jolmes' left leg. Kallyr retook Danger Fort.

When confronted, the Dinacoli claimed that their attack was revenge for the Dragonnewt raid the previous year. The Torkani began a lawsuit against the Dinacoli.

Kamoar trailed Harvar's host and reported that the Tusk Riders returned to their forest. Harvar then turned south and marched to Dunstop where he fell upon Maniskisson's host and surprised the Sacred King. After a hard-fought battle the Grazers withdrew into their hills.

Kallyr summoned King Osmod Dashing-Blade of the Dinacoli to Boldhome to answer a lawsuit alleging treason to the Kingdom.

Wyrmquill brought news to Argrath. It seemed that he had found a Silver Age text describing a Quivini warlord who was the ruler of Dara Happa. According to the text Arkat had installed a junta in Raibanth ruled by Harangot. When the Dara Happans rose against the Quivini he fled to Dragon Pass with several items of power.

The chaos incursion was eventually crushed.

Orgovalt hunted down the traitors involved in the risings in his confederation.

Jolmes Wolfe declared a vendetta against Verthun Battlemood and swore to hunt him down as soon as his leg healed.




[1] The Little Shadows is the name of Dragonfriend's enlo legion - 500 warrior trollkin.

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September 4, 2001

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