The Saga of the Gwandorlings
Who's your king!
Who's your king!"
remained in Boldhome that summer with high esteem.
tales of Tarsh when he visited in Fire Season. He saw Fazzur die
and put rest to the rumours of his escape. He spake of a restless
countryside and cities under martial law. The old regiments seethed
while the new lunar regiments guarded the streets. It seemed that
Harvar Ironfist had the only mobile forces in the kingdom.
her regiments the Free Army and summoned godi from across Sartar
to join her Free Philosophers magical regiment. Orgovalt formed
a regiment in Argrath's name and named them the Headhunters; they
could fight as light horsemen or form the shield wall afoot.
fought several small battles and large skirmishes with Harvar as
he withdrew into the Bush Range. Late in the season Harvar turned
his host to the north and encamped outside Furthest.
Osmod of the Dinacoli to the King's Thing in Sea Season 1629 to
face charges of treason.
We needs relate
the deeds of Gudny Stormchaser in Fire Season. Now Gudny was a trusted
companion of Argrath's and a renown godi. Among the Culbrea tribe
Gudny was known as a mighty warrior, respected speaker and canny
Now there was
at that time a clan within the Culbrea called the Marthiording.
They were feuding with another Culbrea clan called the Varnding.
The feud had been going on for nye two centuries, ever since Gwithord
GreyOwl saw in a vision that the Marthiording were to own the Mole
Fields. It should be mentioned that the Varnding then lived there
and had been living there since they first came to Dragon Pass.
And so it came to pass that the Marthioding attacked the Varndings
and drove them from the land with much bloodshed.
So Gudny went
into Varndingland and offered to negotiate a settlement to the long-standing
feud. Kjart Gellir was chief of the Varndings. "I would agree
to any settlement you would care to suggest, but it is pointless.
The Marthiordings will never agree." Gudny nodded and passed
over to Marthiordingland. He bade good-day to Bolli Ridge-Dancer,
chief of the clan. He made the same offer to Bolli and received
the same response. Over the next several days Gudny convinced both
chiefs to split the Mole Fields and arbitrated on where that split
would be. The chiefs accepted Gudny's demarcation and swore to abide
by the Mole Field Treaty.
great acclaim in the tribe for his wisdom and perseverance.
Our tales needs
now turn to Wintertop where the Argrath Council was to meet with
an old city, built in the time of the EWF, that was perched on a
shoulder high on the side of Kero Fin. It had walls higher than
six men and spires that reached high into the air. On three sides
the city glared out over sheer cliff faces. On the fourth, the city's
back, reared the main spine of Kero Fin herself.
his Companions flew into Wintertop atop their sky-bulls.
upon Viga-Holstein, his sky-bull, and wore a shirt and pants of
fine green silk from Dragon's Rest. He was girded round with dragon-scale
armour and wore a high, gold-chased, iron helm. Ormsword hung from
his hip while the Spear of Vingkot was clasped tightly in his fist.
Around his neck was the Iron Torque, the sign of the Warlord of
Sartar. His appearance brought him great respect among the locals.
Crashing, an evil tempered sky-bull with a red hide. He wore a brilliantly
dyed blue shirt with silken pants. He wore tightly laced boots and
a western-style iron helm - a gift from the St Taurox Church in
Hendrikiland. He also wore dragon-scale armour and clenched a Vingkotling
spear in his right fist. He carried a gold-faced shield in his left
hand and had tossed his intricately embroidered cloak over his massive
Lothar did not
have a bull of his own and so rode behind Argrath's bodythegn Von.
He leapt to his feet when the bull touched down and stood close
beside his king. Lothar wore a dark grey tunic under his dragon-scale
byrnie. His hands rested lightly upon the hilts of his twined iron
blades. He had set the skull of a tusker over his helm and stared
about the courtyard through the preserved jaw. The bristled boar's
hide hung over his shoulders like a heavy cloak.
Gudny set down
on Brunjarl, his massive brown sky-bull. He wore a simple white
tunic under the byrnie Turn Spear though his arms were heavy with
gold bands. The blade Humakt hung from his rune-carved belt and
the shield Arran hung from his saddle. He held the javelins Lightning
in his left hand and tossed his heavy wolf-pelt cloak over his shoulder.
Kamoar set down
upon Thunder-Hooves, his spirited young bull. He alone wore no finery
for he cared little for his physical appearance. He was wrapped
around in his Hound's Pelt and was hung all over with fetishes and
charms. He clasped Heart's Thew, his father's hunting spear, in
his left hand and rested his right upon his alynx Shadow Weaver.
Behind the Companions
were four-score of Argrath's warbanders.
greeted Dragonfriend well - in his way. Maniskisson guested the
Companions in his palace and toured Dragonfriend around his city.
He showed Dragonfriend the new barracks and stables where the Bush
Children and the Yarandros Chargers abode. He showed them the newly
expanded hospital, overflowing with wounded from the recent battles.
They met thanes from the Iristaros, Hendarii, Marantaros and Mitchuinn
As they walked,
they talked. Maniskisson spoke of his campaigns and named himself
"the Great General." Dragonfriend snorted and asked who
had been winning the battles in Sartar. "Of course," replied
Maniskisson. "Like Elmal, you are loyally guarding my homeland
while I, like Orlanth, do the important work of harrying the enemy.
It will not be long now, Kallyr cannot stand with the real men.
Soon, I will have my throne back."
greeted Freidar Fazzursson and spoke his condolences over the death
of Fazzur. "Thank you for your thoughts, though I am sure you
are eager to meet with my brother."
With that, Maniskisson
turned towards his palace. "The rest of the council awaits,"
he said. In the hall Dragonfriend found the Argrath Council, excepting
Kallyr who claimed to be busy elsewhere. Sharpsword greeted him
coolly. Whitebull greeted him with his typical warmth. "Sorry
I've been not been around. I have settled my troubles," he
said. With that Whitebull pulled Jaldon's head out of a sack at
his side and patted it happily.
called the meeting to order. "Can I take this opportunity to
introduce our new brother," he waved at Onjur Fazzursson sitting
next to him, "Argrath Fazzursson!" Whitebull scowled and
replied that the council needed to discuss any new members. Dragonfriend
asked Onjur what his plans were and how he thought to claim a seat
on the council. Onjur spake well of his desire to free all Heortlings
from the Empire. He told of the wide support he had among the Tarshites
and said that if he could combine it with the other Argraths they
could defeat the hosts arrayed against them.
a noble cause," spake Dragonfriend. "I raise no opposition
to his taking a seat on this council." Sharpsword muttered
about Argrath the Vanchite and Argrath the Argarri then reluctantly
gave his ascent. Whitebull agreed as well.
asked after the Council's plans. They decided to harry Tarsh and
continue to build their forces to invade the Kingdom. Dragonfriend
asked Fazzursson what he needed from the rest of them. "Shelter
and arms." They then spoke of their preparations. Dragonfriend
related the progress of Kallyr's Free Army. Maniskisson spoke of
his plans for a new raid into the Dunstop region. Whitebull pledged
increased aid now that he had pacified Pavis County and the grantlands.
Before the Council
broke up, Maniskisson arranged a military review of his forces.
The riders in the Yarandros Chargers and the Bush Children were
greatly pleased to receive the attention of the Argrath Council.
After his return
to Boldhome, Dragonfriend ordered Kamoar and Orgovalt to raid into
Trader Valley around Slavewall.
It was about
this time that Argrath turned his hand to training the Free Army
and Gudny began to spend time teaching the Free Philosophers.
Now, it is said
that Argrath's relationship with the Dragon's Fang was begat at
this time. Though Argrath never kept it secret - that would have
been secret murder - he was a king renown for not boasting of his
deeds. It would appear that Argrath paid two thousands of cows for
the Dragon's Fang to slay Triof the Fist.
in Boldhome through the winter working with the Free Army.
The news travelled
quickly telling of Maniskisson's Great Raid. It seemed that the
Sacred King had led a force of Grazers and Exiles deep into Tarsh
and had nearly managed to pillage Talfort! Orgovalt led his Headhunters
deep into Tarsh and rode within sight of the Reaching Moon Temple.
There they battled the Reachittes - the temple's garrison - and
Orgovalt cut off the arm of their commander, Kurrash Khan-Eater
before his horse was slain beneath him. Kamoar's March Wardens razed
several lunar plantations and brought four-score freed slaves back
to Sartar - they were inducted into Kallyr's Freedman regiment.
In Sacred Time,
Dragonfriend consecrated a new temple to Vingkot in Boldhome. The
Erlthanthlings formed a clan and instituted hero worship of Dragonfriend
as their patron deity.
In the new year
the coast of Maniria erupted into flame as Harrek sailed out of
the south and retook his place as chief of the Wolves of the Three-Step
Islands. It was said that his reavers reached as far as Seshnela.
Sharpsword retained control of the pirates in the Mirrorsea but
now called himself High Admiral. Interestingly, Harrek stayed out
of the bay.
Our tale need
now turn to the King's Thing in Sea Season. All of the kings of
Sartar and most of the chiefs were there to see the Dinacoli trial.
Of the Argrath's, only Dragonfriend and Venharlsson were there.
Sitting as jurors were all the tribal kings of Sartar.
argued that Osmod and the Dinacoli had broken Sartar's laws and
owed weregeld to the Queen. Osmod's lawspeakers spoke of the High
King's responsibilities for keeping the tribes safe and the Dinacoli's
guaranteed rights under Sartar's Ring.
droned on for a week. During that time, Whitebull came and spent
much time with Kallyr, riding in the hills and supping in her palace.
The jurors found
that the Dinacoli were guilty and owed weregeld to Kallyr and all
those tribes hurt by their raids. The decision was sixteen to eight
and the man-price was set at three thousands of cows, nye on three
in ten of the tribe's entire wealth. Osmod called it shameful tribute
but agreed to pay it.
It was later
that week when Lothar felt the breath of Death Vale upon his sleeping
face. He immediately girt himself for war and went about awakening
all within Argrath's palace. When questioned he could give no reason
for his unease but none doubted his sense for imminent death.
onto the ramparts and peered out over the city with his alynx-like
vision. He gasped in shock. Hundreds of grey forms were scaling
the rock under the walls of Kallyr's palace.
took to the air with Argrath's warband and flew for the palace.
Flying to meet them came a warband on a mixture of flying animals.
Mastakos' chariot into Kallyr's throne room and raised the alarm.
Whitebull burst from her bedchambers, skyclad , with his sword
in hand. "What is the danger Dragonfriend?" Dragonfriend
told him about the climbing forms and the flying warband. Whitebull
returned to Kallyr's room to gather his Queen and put on a shirt.
The three leaders then ran for the walls.
forms released a ghastly howl into the night air. "Ghouls!"
cursed Lothar. "Foul undeath! Humakt comes for thee!"
The humakti dropped from a slyph into the open gate of the palace.
A wave of ghouls surged forth. Lothar called for Hu's blessings
on his swords and charged into the undead horde. His blades danced
and the ghouls screamed. Within moments a pile of corpses had formed
Gudny and his
bloodbrother Sigmund rode to meet the riding foe. As they neared
they spied Verthun Battlemood leading his Wild Hunt.
boiled before the charging bandits and formed into the Wild Hounds.
Kamoar released his spirits to battle the Hounds. Gudny unleashed
Black Cloud to join the battle.
onto his saddle and hurled Little Weighty at Verthun. The gargarthi
grinned and tore open a small sack. Out of the sack a cyclone leapt
forth and seized up the thunderstone carrying it off over the mountain.
Verthun called to Sigmund, "Come now Hurler, let us see how
you fight without your stones! Or is that stone?"
and let loose a deafening battle shout. Several riders on both sides
of the battle fell from the sky stunned. Verthun shrugged and spake
"Are you finished your wailing? I have heard the baying of
the Wild Hunt, what is your yelping to me?" With that they
came together with a flurry of blows. Sigmund's lightning blade
crashed upon Verthun's shield and staggered the bandit. Verthun
spun on his saddle and stabbed at Sigmund with Gargarth's Spear.
That fell tip passed through the golden shield and on into Sigmund's
side. Verthun leapt from his mount and landed atop Sigmund knocking
a flying llama rider from his saddle with a crash of crushing noise.
and Dragonfriend raced for the walls. A door burst open and Osmod
Dashing-Blade charged through with his warband. "Die harlot!"
he cried. Kallyr turned to the others, "Dinacoli, Brangbane!"
We should remind
our readers that Brangbane was an ancient king of the Dinacoli who
had been made into a ghoul by Sartar to punish him for his foul
habits. He now wandered the hills of Sartar with a host of ghouls
plaguing and hating until the ghosts of those he has slain catch
up to him.
charged into battle. Whitebull left with his long axe and right
with his battle blade dealing three weaponthanes their deaths right
there. Kallyr struck fast with her broadspear and sent two more
warriors to Ty Kora Tek. Dragonfriend used his powers of movement
to hurl Osmod into the ceiling. Such was the force of his impact
that the entire room was coated in gore as the traitorous king's
head exploded. With the death of their king, the surviving Dinacoli
down behind Lothar and began the summoning of Brangbane's Victims.
These ghosts were said to aid people in their contests with the
ghouls. Lothar continued to kill. Two score ghouls had been laid
to rest by his blades when he paused. A powerful force approached,
parting the hordes of undead. A massive ghoul with iron arms and
armour stepped forth. His eyes glowed a cold blue and the ancient
crown atop his head glowed a dull red. He bore a glowing sword and
a smoking sickle.
meet your lord!" With that Brangbane leapt at Lothar. He swung
his sword at Lothar's head and the sickle hooked evilly towards
his belly. Lothar spun and blocked both blows. The king stared agape.
Lothat kicked the ghoul back and struck with all the power and speed
of Humakt himself. He dealt the ghoul king his death then and there
and Brangbane fell to the ground in four pieces.
in the city fell down then for the power that had driven them was
with a Gargarthi shaman who turned and fled when Verthun summoned
his followers and flew off into the night.
We needs tell
now of what Verthun did to Sigmund after he overpowered him. Now
Verthun's temperament is well known to all and his many sick appetites
have been amply displayed. Sigmund awoke to find Verthun acting
like his god's ancient kinsman, and using the hedkoranthi like Ragnaglar
would with a sick snickering as he worked.
Now this was
a secret that Sigmund took to the afterlife with him. He swore a
blood-vendetta upon the bandit but none ever learned the real reason
returned shortly after Verthun flew off.
wroth at this betrayal by the Dinacoli and called for a general
muster to take fire and death into Dinacoliland.
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