The Saga of the Gwandorlings
winter the Argrath went to the Poljoni and negotiated trading rights
in Barbarian Town. To the horsemen he offered tax-free trading and
toll-free access to the town. Other Praxians would have to pay both
taxes and tolls. The Poljoni suggested that Argrath return the town
to them accepted his offer when he flatly refused any other. Argrath
placed the town under the protection of the Dundealos and named his
follower, King Erdhar No-Horse, Eorl.
Time Gudny passed onto the Heroplanes where he climbed the Ice Mountain
and stole a kiss from the White Queen while doing the "Sitric
and the Mountain of Ice" quest. Upon his return his followers
were amazed to watch him stride through the snows sky-clad and suffer
As Sea Season
came, following a week of thunderstorms, the Argrath's gathered
in Boldhome once again. Even Whitebull came for it was told that
Jaldon had ridden off into the Wastes.
opened the meeting by saying that, with the departure of Harrek,
he should be King.
stated that he should be King.
that Dragonfriend should be King.
that Maniskisson should be King.
went to and fro with each Argrath arguing his point most eloquently.
When the meeting ended they had come no closer to choosing a new
king than they had been before.
Dragonfriend spoke with Whitebull about that matter. Dragonfriend
spake that the situation had not changed from when last the council
pondered this issue. "Sharpsword is too dangerous to us, but
Maniskisson can be manipulated," Dragonfriend stated. Whitebull
agreed to vote as Dragonfriend wished, "I will vote for Maniskisson."
came to speak with Dragonfriend. "I know that you dost not
wish to see me on Sartar's throne," Sharpsword said. He then
offered to abdicate and make Dragonfriend an Underking. "Thy
place would be as King of Dragon Pass and I would be King of Kethaela."
Dragonfriend acknowledged Sharpsword's generosity in making the
offer but declined saying, "It would be better for the Kingdom
at this time if Maniskisson were King." Sharpsword thought
briefly and agreed.
sought out Dragonfriend. "Arst thou going to be foolish and
oppose me as King or will you prove your loyalty by putting the
rest of these Argraths in their place?" Dragonfriend smiled
serenely at Maniskisson. "I would that you were King of Sartar,"
he said. "But," he continued before Maniskisson could
reply, "I would that you left some things unchanged."
He went on to make Maniskisson agree to maintain the Argrath Council,
keep Dragonfriend on as Warlord and leave Dragonfriend's power structures
intact. Maniskisson thought long and hard but realised that he could
never be king without Dragonfriend's support and agreed to his terms.
told him that the other Argrath's would vote as Dragonfriend did.
With the Argrath
Council reconvened they all voted for Maniskisson, excepting only
Venharlsson who still said naught.
With that, Sharpsword
gathered his warband, passed out of Boldhome and made his way back
to his own lands in the south. Gudny opinioned that he was bound
to the Three-Step Isles to challenge Harrek for command of the Wolf
With his immediate
business taken care of, Dragonfriend gathered his Companions and
made his way up the King's Road to Aldachur, where he spoke briefly
with his follower Prince Orgovalt, and thence on to Cragspider's
He was ushered
into the demi-god's hall and gazed, with growing horror, upon her
child, Gergak the Younger. Now it was mentioned before but finally
seeing Gergak in the flesh was quite shocking; for he was over 10
paces long and weighted more than two sky-bulls did. Cragspider
opinioned that the Companions may have some difficulty moving the
baby and said that she had commissioned some aid for Argrath.
With that she
waved Isildirian out of the shadows. The Companions greeted the
dwarf properly and but couldn't hide their surprise at finding a
dwarf in the midst of a troll fortress. "Cragspider and I have
been friends for over
well 2,000 of your years," explained
Isildirian. The dwarf went on to say that he had some items tested
but that he could not generate the winds needed. "And you owe
me a favour."
agreed that he would do what he could to help Isildirian and asked
what was required and how it would help Cragspider. "The RX4943
project -" he began before Argrath's confusion cut him short.
"Ah, I call it a 'Ship-of-the-Air'." He went on to tell
how he had gathered 'High Air', or air from beyond the Sky Dome
and enclosed it within a flying vessel. "The High Air naturally
tries to rejoin the rest of the High Air over the Sky Dome and thus
lifts the RX4943." He then told them that his only problem
was propelling the vessel and that he thought Argrath could help
there, "I have modified the Alchemical Transformer into a device
called the Atmospherer that will allows on of your followers, the
type with mastery over the Air, to move the RX4943 about. I also
need you to deliver a message to Nida for me." The dwarf finished
by saying that the vessel would be ready to leave in two weeks.
those two weeks making his arrangements for the journey. They knew
from Isildirian's instructions that the Ship-of-the-Air would travel
about 30 miles a day and that it would take them about two seasons
to reach the ice island where they were to deliver the baby. Argrath
did not relish the idea of being away from Sartar for two seasons
but it had to be done. He nominated Tumult, the captain of his warband,
as his replacement as Warlord in his absence and Maniskisson accepted.
With Hurred the Drayce watching the Marches; King Erdhar watching
his southern and eastern Sartari domains; and Prince Orgovalt watching
northern Sartar and the Far Point; his lands were as well taken
care of as they could be.
And so it came
about that the Companions gathered again in Black Mountain. With
Argrath was Wyrmquil the Sage, Gettig Kingsvoice and Von the Bodythane.
With Gudny were Nestin Hollowdancer, Korbin Orlanthsson, Doryl Safepath
and eight Stormpriests from his warband to help move the vessel
about. Lothar, Garthael, Kamoar and Sigmund also took up their weapons
and joined their King.
Began Ok, with
whom the Companions had travelled across the Wastes, was on the
journey to watch over Gergak. She had four great trolls to help
her. A dark troll trader, Orbal Bluenose by name, was along to help
the expedition speak with the trolls that they would meet on their
We need now
describe the Ship-of-the-Air that Isildirian was so excited about.
It hung below a balloon, fully 200 paces long. The vessel itself
was laid out in three stories, Isildirian called them 'decks'. The
top floor had nine of Isildirian's cannons arrayed on each side
and two great siege guns on the front. The middle floor had quarters
for the passengers and were open on the side to form boarding galleries.
The final floor was the cargo space and it was here that the baby
was carefully placed. The child was to be fed by fungi grown in
the dark holds.
The ship was
heavily manned. There was a score of iron dwarves, each with a foul
meldek-sylph bound into their armour to allow them to float in the
air. A salamander was bound into a backpack that Isildirian thought
would allow them to move about rather than just float . There
was another score of Morloks, humans bred to serve the dwarves,
aboard to man the cannons. There were three lead dwarves, two quicksilver,
three copper, four tin, three brass and two silver to manage the
various devices and tasks required to make the vessel fly. There
were three gold dwarves commanding the crew.
Along with the
cannons, there was a smaller version of the Alchemical Transformer
and several assault jolanti - designed to be launched at a foe through
the siege guns.
And so Argrath
and his Companions set out on another world-spanning expedition.
They sailed west and south passing quite close to Kero Fin. At the
Mother of Orlanth the Companions left the ship to climb the mountain
and leap from the peak. After a short time on the heroplane they
rejoined the still sailing ship as it passed south of the Glowline.
The ship fared further west making for Helikiv, a troll-land on
the other side of the Mislari Mountains. They passed over the Grazelands
and spied Arrowmound to the south.
As they passed
through the mountains themselves a harsh clanging broke out and
the dwarven crew began to run about standing at what they called
"battle-stations". The vessel's captain, a gold dwarf
called Captain 44393 told Argrath that they had detected a "spiritual
spatial anomaly". Kamoar peered about and espied a seething
manifestation of spirits about a nearby mountaintop. "I have
not seen their ilk afore," he growled. Dragonfriend was taking
no risks with Cragspider's child and ordered the vessel to turn
further south and avoid the spirits.
The ship continued
to climb over the mountains. The temperature grew bitterly cold
and the air thinned.
The next day
was when the Companions found a plateau high in the mountains. They
sensed a lot of magic on that plateau and so Gudny used his Farseeing
Helm to look closer. What he saw puzzled them. The plateau was covered
in ice floes, but ice floes that looked like they had climbed the
plateau to cover it rather than formed there and flowed off.
his Companions to investigate the plateau while he guided the ship
further from the mysterious magic. Once they flew down and landed
on the ice they realised that it was like fingers of ice had reached
over the edges of the plateau and encased an object, a giant pyramid,
in ice. Gettig could make no sense of what this edifice was or who
may have built it. Gudny and Sigmund called upon the Thunderer to
gift them with a warm spring rain. Then they called down lightning
bolts and split the ice away from the pyramid.
It was about
then that they noticed the flurry of Hollri skating across the ice
towards them. Lothar, Garthael, Kamoar, Sigmund and Gudny stood
their ground and shattered the daimones in the scores.
With that they
turned their attention back to the pyramid and cleared all of the
ice off of it.
When the Companions
studied the pyramid closer they found that it was covered in strange
runes and pulsed with a strange, yet familiar magic. It was Sigmund
that first realised at what they stared. "Tis a dragon plinth,"
he spake. "A very, very large dragon plinth." And he had
the truth of it - it was the largest dragon plinth that any of them
- Wyrmquill included - had ever seen. When Argrath received word
of their find, he flew down with Wyrmquill to look it over. The
Dragon-sage said that it was very old and may even predate the Gods'
From the plinth,
the Companions could see into Dragon Pass to the east and Ralios
to the west. "Mayhap this is part of a dragonroad," suggested
Kamoar. With that they returned to the ship.
And now it came
to pass that, ten days after their departure from Black Mountain,
they arrived at Helikiv.
was a another great troll land, much like Dagori Inkarth, complete
with their own Castle of Lead. The Companions knew that they had
arrived when they espied the gloomy land, shrouded in shadows, and
the towering fortress engraved with giant troll faces. Before the
keep they watched a vast host mustering, large bands of trolls flowed
in from all directions and joined the horde below.
thyselves humans," grated Began.
brought the ship into a hover before the castle and a large party
of trolls came forth to meet the Companions. Orbal climbed down
from the ship and spoke with them for some time. What they talked
about could not be heard but that he was displeased was obvious.
After some time he turned and called out to Argrath, "Defender
of the Babe," they would that you came down and spoke with
again and repeated her warning, "Be very careful."
We must say
that the ship was surrounded by over two thousands of dark trolls
and that again in trollkin. The Companions could see a score of
mistress trolls. It is a credit to their courage and their loyalty
to their king that none even considered hesitating in the face of
was on the ground the crowd parted and a massive mistress troll
strode forward. Now we needs say that the name mistress is misleading
and that not all mistress trolls are women. The troll now lumbering
towards Argrath was most certainly not a female. He named himself
Gudrad Bloodspiller and challenged Argrath to the right to defend
the baby. Before Argrath could reply Began argued his right to challenge
them. She spake of Cragspider's desire to have the babe reared by
his kin in the Underworld. Gudrad spake of wanting the babe reared
in his Castle of Lead under the spirit of Kygor Litor.
held his hand up to silence the argument. "If thy wish is to
challenge me, the babe's Defender, then that is thy right. You shall
meet my champion." With the Dragonlord waved Lothar forward.
The horde broke into a loud chanting and cheering, "Gudrad,
Gudrad, Gudrad." The two heroes called on their gods for blessings
and readied their weapons. Lothar started his death chant - this
would be a fight to the death.
a toothy grin and stared down at the humakti. "I am Gudrad,
Son of Roilgak, Daughter of Cag, who is the sister of Grey Shadow
and the Daughter of Xiola Umbar. I am the Champion of Helikiv and
a Disciple of Zorak Zoran. I will feed you to the Dark Hater!"
his twinned iron blades and spake thusly, "I am Lothar and
I am no-man's son. I am called Twin-Swords. I am the Deathbringer
and the Truthteller. I have fought in the front for ten years and
never been defeated. I stood upon the wall at Knight Keep and slew
fifteen lionmen with each of my blades. At the Battle of Heroes
I stood before the Moonswords and slew nine Imperial Champions at
my king's side. Your hate is nothing to me. You are nothing to me."
At that Gudrad
released his hate and charged in a berserk frenzy, his ten-foot
burning maul held high. He made to strike Lothar upon the crown
and had his blow landed he would have driven the champion deep into
the ground. As it was, Lothar stepped to one side and then struck
the troll seventeen times with his iron swords. Fingers, hands,
arms, legs and then Gudrad's head flew off and the mistress troll's
millennia-long life ended then and there. 
cheering was cut off abruptly and the square fell silent. Then the
gathered trolls started hooting in approval. The Queen's delegation
nodded in approval and bid the Companions join them in a celebration
for a fight well fought and even better won.
Now the expedition
stayed at Helekiv for several days and Lothar had many trolls come
to him to learn of Humakt. Several of them wished to join Lothar
and worship the Grim Slayer. "I am on an errand now but I will
stop here on my return and you will fare with me back to my land
to learn what I would teach." They all agreed that that sounded
fair and stated that they would await his return.
And so the ship
turned north and west and fared over a land that was once called
Ormsland. "There were once many dragonewts here," said
Wyrmquill. Dragonfriend directed that one and all keep a sharp watch
for another dragon plinth for the plinth in the mountain had to
be part of a longer network.
One day, as
they were still over Ormsland, a dream dragon approached the ship.
Argrath used his stormvoice to great the dragon properly and he
said, "Good day". The dragon paused and replied with mindspeach,
"We would speak. Follow."
And so the Companions
left the ship again and followed the dragon to a hilly area where
they espied primitive dragonewt buildings. Even Gudny, with his
discomfort and deliberate non-knowledge of things draconic, could
tell that these buildings were older and less advanced than those
in Sartar. The settlement was spread out and half engulfed in the
forest. A great horde of dragonewts awaited the Companions.
A large tailed-priest
strode forth and greeted Argrath, "I am Gemmed-Wandering-Tail
and I speak for our community." Argrath greeted the priest
well and named the Companions to him. "I foretold your coming,"
spake Gemmed-Wandering-Tail. "I saw you in my dreams. You are
the Speaker-of-Names. From whence do you come? How did you enter
my dreams?" Argrath spoke of his communing with the Cosmic
Dragon and his words with the Inhuman King. The priest stared at
him in shock, "You are from the east?" The dragonewt spoke
of the great sky-path plinth that had once linked them to the east.
He told how the magic had been blocked for thousands of years and
they could no longer use it.
At that Argrath
told the dragonewt to try it again, "for we hath cleared the
path and your sky-plinth would work once more." The priest
gaped once more and said, "come," before racing off with
his people in tow. They swarmed over a small hillock and pulled
several feet of rock and soil off of a great plinth, a twin to the
one on the plateau. The priest touched the plinth and leapt for
joy, "The path! It is open!" Argrath suggested that the
dragonewts could now visit the Inhuman King.
thanked Argrath most profusely for the great gift his people had
received. He gifted Argrath with a set of rods, there were four
of them and strange green stones topped them. "If you would
plant them in the shape of a plinth an army of my people would come
to fight for you." With that, the dragonewt spoke of making
preparations for an utuma ceremony in the morn and bid Argrath remain
Now we needs
mention that utuma is a sacred dragonewt ceremony where the dragonewt
sacrifices this life to return to his egg to begin another.
the Companions followed Gemmed-Wandering-Tail to a large clearing
where three thousands of crested dragonewts  awaited. As one
the crested dragonewts bowed to Argrath and then as one committed
utuma. Argrath's rods began to glow a brilliant green. He asked
the priest what that meant and Gemmed-Wandering-Tail replied that
those dragonewts had linked their souls to the rods. "They
will remain in their eggs until you call them. At that time they
will step forth to fight for you." Argrath was honoured at
the sacrifice of one in ten of the communities dragonewts and said
so. The priest replied that it was a small thing compared to what
Argrath had done for them by reopening the sky-path.
And so the Companions
flew back to the ship, which had continued on its way. The ship
turned west and left Ormsland behind. After a time they began to
see steads in the forest below and the Companions remarked that
it looked a lot like Sartar, only flatter.
A few days later
they passed over a large river and spied a large battle raging on
the plain. Twelve thousands of what looked like Heortlings stood
before a small city defending it against some twenty thousands of
western-looking troops. Behind the attackers stood a massive black
banner guarded by one thousand iron-armoured knights.
down to a nearby stead to find what happened and who was fighting
with whom. The hall door was securely barred so the Dragonlord teleported
himself and his Companions inside. Within, they found a huddled
group of women and children. Argrath greeted them properly and gifted
them with a silver torque. He asked them who was fighting and why.
Now there was
a woman named Olgreda and she was the wife of Yann Woadbrewer. Olgreda
was the one who replied to Argrath's questions. She spoke of the
musters of the Confederation of Jofrain and the people of Lankst
fighting against the Arch-bishop Surantyr of Octorion. It seemed
that Octorion was the leader of something called the Henotheist
Church. "Meldek's," muttered Garthael. Olgreda agreed
and continued by saying that their peoples had been fighting for
over six years. It seemed that the city they had seen was Jofrain,
the capital of Lankst. "Octorion rides with the Banner of Arkat,"
she cried. "Our people are doomed."
With that in
mind, the Companions chose to join the fray and to do what they
could to drive off the sorcerers. Began argued that this was no
business of theirs and that defending the babe was more important
than this city. Argrath told her that he was not going to let the
meldek's overrun Lankst and that the babe would be fine. He turned
to the Companions and the dwarves and gave his commands. The ship
turned towards the fighting and they all made their preparations
Now Gudny and
Sigmund got together and decided to surprise the Arch-Bishop. Gudny
took his sky-bear bag and turned out Black Cloud. "Yippie!
I'm out, I'm out! Woohoo!" the daimone screamed. Gudny called
him to heel and then he and Sigmund poured their magic into the
spirit. They granted Black Cloud blessings of crushing noise, tornadoes,
hail, killer rain and more. The deva swelled and power crackled
through him. When the two storm-warriors were done Black Cloud was
thrice his normal size and barely under contro. Gudny shed his clothes
and leapt atop the seething storm daimone with a shout.
And then disaster
descended upon the army of Octorion.
Gudny rode Black
Cloud into battle and they struck the battle-standard and its defenders
with a fury. Tornadoes spun off, lightning crashed and hail smashed
down. Debris flew and bodies were flung around. The elite Knights
of Pride, one thousand of Surantyr's elite bodyguards, were destroyed
and the Banner of Arkat smashed. Surantyr and the bodies of his
priest-guard were never found.
flew into the fray as well. The assault cannon launched jolanti
after jolanti into the fighting. The cannon fired volley after volley
of grapeshot while the iron dwarves thundered away with their muskets.
line staggered, then buckled and finally broke when Black Cloud
tore into it. The footmen and knights of Octorion turned and fled
for their lives with the host of Lankst in pursuit.
As the Companions
stood about regaining their breath a warrior, standing on a flying
spear, approched. He was covered from chin to shin in woad and tattoos
and the power of the Thunderer was very strong in him. He named
himself Garundyar the Stormhero, High priest of Siglalf Cloudchaser.
He thanked Argrath for his help. "That was a most potent spirit
you released, you must have been sent by Orlanth to save us."
He invited them all to feast with his king in Jofrain to celebrate
That night the
king, Kocholang, who was the brother of Garundyar, guested them
and they feasted well. King Kocholang spoke of his trials fighting
Surantyr and Garundyar spoke of his hatred for the Red Moon. Now
it appeared that neither brother had encountered the Lunar Empire
but both knew that the Red Moon bode no good for Orlanth.
and traded tales with Beilrunya Buttertongue, the king's saga-teller.
He spoke of Argrath's quest and won great honour for his king in
the telling of how he kept his word to Cragspider.
all of the gathered thanes of Lankst, Garundyar gave his great horn
to Argrath and spake thusly, "Blow my horn and I will come;
I will fight with you."
 Yes, floating
armour with experimental jet-packs. "The Dwarf is your friend
 With their augments both fighters were over w5 in close combat.
Both spent a heropoint. Gudrad bid 100 AP and failed his roll -
Lothar criticalled his. The 83 AP left after Gudrad's armour was
taken into account was doubled for the die result and then doubled
again for the iron swords.
 Scout dragonewts.
 When the two of them had finished, Gudny and Sigmund had pumped
Black Cloud up to 13w7.
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