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Gwandor Saga



The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 66

And so our tale takes up a few days later as the Companions fared north and west again aboard the ship-of-the-air. They had spent another day with King Kocholang and his brother feasting well on the spoils of victory.

There was in Jofrain a man, a Mastakos-thegn, Trizm Nrizimsson called the Skyfoot. Now Trizm was a tall man and steady on his feet. He could guide a chariot with one hand while standing on the horse-bar and throwing javelins with the accuracy of a lightning bolt. Trizm had been charioteer to Forlamor Destorsman, who had fallen on the battlefield, and now had no chief of his own.

Now it needs be said that the King's people were Alakorings and thus held to different beliefs than Argrath did as a Vingkotling - and a Dragonlord - for Alakoring had been a great dragon-killer and helped bring down the EWF. None-the-less, Argrath's regal bearing and Gudny's noble tellings convinced Trizm that the Dragonlord would make a fitting lord and he became Argrath's charioteer.

The ship sailed further to the west and, passing into the Nidan Mountains, entered High Llama pass. There, they came to the town of Bad Trade, a mostali trading centre high in the mountains. The pass used to be the home of a tribe of llama hsunchen but none knew where they had gone nor when. Bad Trade sat at the highest point in the pass and was made of sturdy stone buildings, dwarf-built. So high was the pass that the Companions had trouble breathing. There were many people and many peoples in Bad Trade for the Pass marked the only crossing place over the mountains for many leagues in either direction.

Five hundreds of iron dwarves with a gold dwarf leader awaited the ship's arrival before a great tunnel leading into the bowels of the mountain. The ship's captain passed over a large scroll to the gold dwarf, "Blueprints," the dwarf said when Argrath inquired.

From Nida, the Companions fared west along the northern shoulders of the mountain range. They crossed over the Erontree forest without any trouble from the aldrymani and reached the Neliomi Sea. Once over the ocean, the vessel turned north and west again sailing off of the edge of every map possessed by man; Gettig opinioned that they had passed into Luatha.

It was during this journey that they spied a small boat on the water's surface - little more than a rowboat. There was a man in the boat, paddling doggedly on with naught but his hands. "What manner of man is this and how did he come to be here," wondered Argrath.

And so the king and his Companions flew down to speak with this stranger. "What have I here," the man asked himself. "Am I really seeing a brace of Dregr standing on air before me?"

Doryl Safepath, Gudny's Speaking Companion called on Issaries to grant his boon of understanding upon one and all and Argrath greeted the man well. He asked after the man's name, from whence he had come and wither he was bound.

The man named himself Fridmar the Outcast and said that he had come from Ygg. It seemed that he had lost a struggle for the rulership of one of those storm-wracked islands against his brother. "We are twins and neither could win in our trial of arms. Nor could we prove who was eldest." He went on to say that his twin was trickier than he and had gotten him drunk. "I woke up on this dingy a few days ago."

Argrath named himself to Fridmar and offered him a place in his warband in return for his oath of loyalty. With little else to look forward to the Yggite accepted and swore his right arm to Argrath under the stern gaze of Lothar and Garthael.

Now the ship continued to sail deeper into the heroplane. The sea below them was very rough. The weather changed at random. Monsters and other unidentified creatures broached the surface. The Companions were very happy that they were flying and not having to make there way across those dangerous waves.

In time they came to a great island covered in ice. From their height the island looked to be nye 300 hundreds of miles across and boasted a great icy mountain range in the middle. The expedition had reached its destination.

As the ship settled closer to the ice the Companions could see several trolls awaiting them. There were tiny hollri scurrying about the trolls' feet and it took the Companions a while to discover that the hollri were not tiny - these trolls towered nye on two hundreds of feet tall.

In short order, Gergak's kin, these giant trolls took the babe from the ship and bade the Companions safe journey back to their homes. With that they turned and carried the babe into the mountains.

Now Argrath had no intention of spending another two seasons floating back to Sartar and he carried his Companions onto the Mastakos Road and they fared back to Stone Storm Valley that afternoon. They left the dwarves, Began Ok and Gudny's storm priests with the ship - the priest had to remain as they provided the propulsion to get it home again.

Dark Season 1631

Gudny sent umbroli out telling of Argrath's return and sought news of his followers. The first to see him was Bronwyn who spoke of trouble with the Telmori.

It seemed that soon after Argrath departed the Telmori began to heavily raid the Jonstown tribes. The Malani, Cinsinna joined Wulfland in taking a large host into the Telmori wilds. The fighting was fierce but quickly turned into a stalemate.

The tribes then went to King Maniskisson and brought suit against the Telmori for the raiding. The king found that they had broken Sartar's Peace and owed weregeld for the damage they had caused. Kostajori Wolf-Champion, king of the Telmori, refused to pay. Maniskisson gathered a great host and attacked the wolf-men. Kastajori was slain and the Telmori were scattered. Maniskisson's bodyguard now call themselves the Wolfskins and they all wear a wolf-pelt cloak. About this time, Whitebull sent warriors into Telmoriland to help calm things down and protect the Telmori from unjust retribution from the Sartari.

Then Bronwyn told how, with Maniskisson's attention turned eastward, Harvar had begun to raid the Exiles again. Finally, Bronwyn said, Maniskisson had made peace with the Telmori and turned his attention to the west again.

Now Bronwyn spake more of Harvar. It seemed that he had increased the size of his host and stepped up his raiding - he had even managed to raid the Dinacoli a few times. Harvar had finished his military road though the Koffer Hills and fortified Bagnot, Too Far and Slave Wall. He was stocking supplies and training his hosts until they dropped.

Argrath sent much aid to the Telmori to help the rebuild after their war and left for Boldhome. He stopped to visit Erdhar on the way and learned that the Poljoni had given the Telori much help as well by sheltering their people and feeding their children. This left Argrath feeling obligated to the horse-riders and so he met with their chiefs and gifted them with Barbarian Town. He gained immeasurable honour and respect from that and the saga tellers speak of it still.

Once he returned to Boldhome Dragonfriend called for a meeting of the Council of Argraths.

All of the Argraths but Sharpsword arrived. He sent a representative, named Asberl Skeet-Catcher, for he was engaged in constructing a vast fleet. It was said that he aimed to have three-score and ten ships of his own that he could join up with the Right Arm Islanders to dominate the coastline.

First Maniskisson spoke of a plan to create an Army of Freedom. This host would be a permanent force with regiments contributed from all of the Argraths and including the Royal Army. When the King finished listing the units he wished to see assigned to the host there were some twelve thousands of spears. His list included Dragonfriend's units the Little Shadows, the Headhunters, the Wolf Runners, the March Light Horse and his three magical units. He suggested that each Argrath would continue to support their own units but that they would fight under the Warlord for the good of them all. Dragonfriend agreed that this would be a good idea.

The foot bands that were to form the Free Army were the Royal Army's Freemen, the Guildsmen and the King's Own Foot. There were Sharpsword's Candle Dancers, Goldgotti Foot, Army of Tomorrow and the Sartar Sun Dome. There were Venharlsson's Wind Children, Dragonfriend's Wolfrunners and Little Shadows, and Whitebull's Twin Spears, Axe Brothers and Longspear Slayers.

The mounted bands included Maniskisson's Yarandros Chargers, Shalanvar and Dendrogi Bush Children; Sharpsword's Army of Tomorrow Knights and Sanuel's Horse; the Royal Army's Wolfe's Horse, the Thieves Arm and the Antler Chase; Dragonfriend's Light Horse and Headhunters; and Whitebull's Swordbrothers and Bullocks.

Finally, the Argrath's formed the Sartar Magical Union. There was Tosti Runefriend's dragon followers, the Snakepipe Dancers, Sir Narib's Company, the Egglord Warlocks, Earth Twins, Warm Sisters, Free Philosophers, Eagle Brown Warlocks, Eleven Lights, Stormwalkers and Sir Nandaras' Company.

When they were all mustered, there would be some fifteen thousands of the best warriors the Argrath's could muster.

Then Dragonfriend brought up the Telmori issue and sought an explanation of the King's actions. Maniskisson spake of the suit and having followed the laws of the Kingdom. He spoke of having tried to make peace with the wolfmen but said that they had eaten one of his messengers. Dragonfriend agreed that the king had done all that he could to resolve the matter peacefully.

Fazzursson spake of Tarsh and told how Dunstop and the west of the kingdom was ready to rise in his name. He told how most of the regiments loyal to the king were gathered in Furthest and how the north, the most Lunar, was still loyal to him. Then Fazzursson spoke of the Tarsh Heavy Foot, a regiment of Tarshite huscarls that garrisoned Bagnot. It seemed that their commander, Rangor Knight-Cleaver, wished to speak with the rebels.

Now we needs tell of the Tarsh Heavy Foot. They once fought a host of raiding Pentans and when the battle was over there were so many arrows sticking out of their armour that they were forever after called the Quivers. Now the Quivers were one of the oldest regiments in Tarsh and clove to the traditions of Arim. They had little time for the new ways of the Empire and were at constant loggerheads with the Kingslayers and the Lunar King's followers.

The Argrath's then talked about this and that and Maniskisson spake of the good harvest they had had that year and how all of the tribes were once again paying tribute to the king. Then he said, "Let's take Bagnot." The council agreed.

They spoke for a while longer about how to supply the Freedom Army and then Dragonfriend said that they need not worry for he would solve the problem that eve.

Back in his palace, Dragonfriend bent another finger on his Monkey's Paw and asked the Monkey King to bring him the Great Horn of Cornucopia. Come the morn, the horn was sitting in the courtyard. It was ten feet long and five tall at the mouth. Argrath had a special wagon built to carry it and set Bronwyn to tend it.

Whitebull let it be known that he would ride with the Army and would bring five-score of his personal warband. Fazzursson spake of faring into the west of Tarsh and helping the kingdom rise when Bagnot fell. Maniskisson said that the Warlord would go in his place.

And so it was that the Freedom Army gathered in Wintertop in the depths of winter. Dragonfriend ordered supplies gathered there and the army made ready to march. Then he sent Kamoar into Bagnot to speak with Rangor.

Kamoar used his Walk Through Darkness talent to gain the walls of Bagnot. His Leap High talent got him over the walls and then he changed his form into that of an alynx. He set off into the city seeking the Quiver's barracks and their commander. As the night drew to a close he found Rangor's room and reassumed his own shape. He leapt through the third-story window.

A voice came out of the darkness, "Should I put on the light? Is this thievery or should we talk? You don't look like any normal thief." Kamoar turned to Rangor and smiled. "I would speak with you general."

With that Rangor lit a lantern and set aside his axe. He looked Kamoar over and spake thusly, "I don't know if my axe would have done any good had I chosen to use it." Kamaor politely said nothing on that matter.

With that Kamoar gave the general greetings from Argrath. "Which one," Rangor asked. Kamoar replied that he spoke for them all and delivered a note to the general. The note concerned the Argraths' intention to free Bagnot from Harvar and the lunars and sought Rangor's aid. "My people are concerned for their families, most of whom are kept under guard in Furthest," replied Rangor. He then spoke of the king gathering powerful forces to defend himself from the rebels, "The king is desperate and insane." Rangor then told how his men were willing to risk their families if it freed Tarsh. "Drive Harvar away and I will open the gates to you." With that the meeting ended and Kamoar returned to Wintertop.

It took several weeks for the army to prepare for the attack on Tarsh and they got news that Harvar had begun to gather his forces as well.

Now we needs say that Harvar had finished a fort in Dendrogi Pass and it was garrisoned by the Silver Flames and the Doburdan's Chosen warbands. Dragonfriend unleashed the Bush Children and the Wolf Runners in the Eastern Bush Range to raid and threaten the fortress.

When the host was ready, Argrath led them down out of Wintertop and they fared through Shakeland. Harvar pushed a skirmish line out to slow the army and then marched up the road to Furthest for he had naught the forces in Bagnot to fight the Free Army.

Argrath stood before the gates of Bagnot and demanded the surrender of the city. He offered the defenders honourable terms - where they could keep their swords and their freedom - and Rangor opened the city gates.

The first out of the city was Kau-Lu with a detachment of his Order of Black Iron. He shook his head in frustration at Argrath. "It may be more in thy interest to serve me," spake Argrath to which Kau-Lu replied that he had five years yet in his service with the Provincial Overseer and that he would certainly consider Argrath's offer then.

Once Kau-Lu had marched off the Bagnot Foot and the Tarsh Heavy Foot declared their support for Fazzursson.

It was about then that Dragonfriend sent troops into the western bush range to chase out the Gorers and then attack the fortress in Dendrogi Pass from both sides. The defenders were offered, and sought, no mercy and all of them fought to the death.

As the winter progressed Dunstop, Kodros Island and the western reach of Tarsh all declared their support for Fazzursson. Anstad of Dunstop opened the gates of the city and pledged the Dunstop Foot in his support.

Bronwyn's people in Holay sent word that the Provincial Overseer had summoned the Provincial Expeditionary Force to return from Kostaddi; they also spake of Imperial forces gathering in Sylila to move into Tarsh.



 


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March 7, 2002

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