The Saga of the Gwandorlings
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.
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
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?"
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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'
When they were
all mustered, there would be some fifteen thousands of the best
warriors the Argrath's could muster.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
<< Previous | Part 66| Next