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Gwandor Saga



The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 68

We needs tell of some happenings in late Storm Season.

Argrath spoke with his wife, Voydag, of his desire for an heir. Voydag agreed that it would be a wise thing to do but refused to give him one herself. "Thy need is for a political marriage and an heir from such a union." She then told him that she had been working on finding him an appropriate Winter Wife. Argrath thanked her and praised her for her attention to his well being.

About that time Argrath learned that the Lhankor Mhy council would meet in Dunstop to select a High Sage of Dragon Pass. Argrath spoke with his follower Wyrmquill of the council and encouraged him to join the competition. Wyrmquill didn't think he could prepare a thesis in the time that he had and wished to decline but Argrath convinced him to do it.

Here is what Gudny learned of the Righteous Wind and its wyter. He heard from a wise man in Jonston that the wyter had been formed to fight the higher magics, like Bigger Wind and Tarumath, that sought to oppress the Orlanthi. His attempts to speak with the wyter had limited success and he found little more than that it granted blessings against these higher storms.

Then the Companions met and spoke of where they could gain more warriors. Gudny suggested that they send out a call to the Uz in the Pass to form a Darkness Legion to serve the Dragonlord. Argrath agreed and Gudny's follower Trego Talksgood, an Uz trader, was sent to pass the call. Trego would fare into Kotoriland, he would visit the Sazdorf and then he would pass into Dagori Inkarth. The trolls were to gather at Adari.

Just before the start of Sacred Time a stranger arrived in Boldhome and made his way to Argrath's palace. The man carried himself like a merchant and wore the garb and marks of an Aeolian from Hendrikiland. Argrath bade him welcome and had him brought into his hall. When he looked at the merchant's companions Argrath smiled and named the merchant Tothus Seven-Seventh. He congratulated the red-man on his ability to disguise himself and then bade him sit on his right. Tothus's companion, whom Argrath saw was Kervandir Streetscar elected to stand by his charge.

Argrath bade Tothus speak of his reasons for faring this way again and Tothus spoke of how his interests once again seemed to parallel Argrath's - for now. "It has come to mine attention that you plan on crowning the rebel Fazzurrson as the king of Tarsh. You should know that there may be an attempt to remove the potential rebel-king from his supposed throne." Argarth replied with a simple, "I'm listening." Tothus went on to describe the political situation within the Empire. He spoke of several catastrophes that had caused a rift between the Provincial Government and the Empire's inner council, the Ordenestium. "The Provincial Overseer reported directly to the Emperor. While we await the Emperor's return the Overseer had made it clear that he acknowledges no-man to be his master. His co-operation and support for the Heartlands has been … limited." Tothus went on to say that this rift had a basis in the death of Young Kastokus at the hands of the Sartari Rebels. "His family had much influence within the Heartlands and their lobbying has upset the Overseer."

"Now," continued Tothus, "the Satrap of Sylila has decided that it would be of benefit to the Empire if he were to re-establish a Sylilan protectorate over the Provinces." Argrath knew that this was precisely what the Provincial Government had been formed to prevent. Tothus then mentioned the Imperial army that the Companions had heard was gathering in Sylila. "It already marched." Argrath calmly accepted that information without flinching. Tothus told how the host had fared down the Daughter's Road to Fillichet and been met by an equally sized Provincial host and barred any further advances. "They sit there now waiting for one or the other to flinch." He spoke of each army having nye on fifteen thousands of warriors.

With that, he congratulated Argrath on his good work, "for thy distraction is doing us very well." Tothus refused to say to whom he was referring when he said "us". "You have been a worthy barbarian helper. I will ensure that you have a comfortable retirement villa in Glamour after we have crushed your little rebellion here."

Argrath thanked Tothus for his kind words but reminded him that they had begun with talk of an assassination attempt on Fazzurrson. Tothus replied that the effort would be a Sylilan plot and that the King of Tarsh had allied with Sylila. He also said that the King had alienated the Overseer by doing so. "I spied a Sylilan Dart team entering Tarsh but I cannot find them now."

Argrath thanked Tothus for his words and bade him safe journey.

Our tale now turns to Sacred Time after the Companions finished their heroquesting. Argrath gathered his Companions about him and, dressed in their finery, they set out for Dunstop where Fazzursson was to be crowned King of Tarsh.

They fared west from Boldhome and passed through Malaniland. They crossed the Creek at Two Sisters, stopped at Tink and then made their way over the River to Wintertop. Then they passed down through Shakeland to Bagnot and onto Dunstop. Dunstop was bustling. The city's inns were packed and there were even several camps outside the walls. Everyone who could, had come to see their new king.

Now the Companions made quite an impression when they arrived at Dunstop and gained great glory with their obvious wealth. Argrath wore trousers of the purest white cotton. His tunic was bright green Kralori silk. He wore a dark green cloak hemmed with Teshnan fur and his iron chain-tunic was so brightly polished that it blinded the unwary. Ormsword hung from his iron-buckled belt; his arms were heavy in gold and iron rings; he carried Vingkot's spear Flashing in his left hand and guided his skybull with his right. Tul the Staunch, Argrath's bannerman, rode at his side with Argrath's personal banner - easily recognised for it had led the Free Armies to victory after victory.

Each of the Companions was similarly attired and Argrath's generosity was amply demonstrated at the gold that each of his followers wore. Only Kamoar wasn't finely dressed for he cared little for his physical appearance.

To further add to the impression that they made, Argrath was accompanied by his ten great trolls, ten of his iron-armoured Storm Dragon Guard and ten of his iron-armoured March Knights. They were met in the main square by Anstad himself and shown to an abandoned mansion, the residence of a now-departed lunar noble, where he bade them make themselves comfortable.

That evening Fazzursson held a great feast in his new palace. Dragonfriend greeted Whitebull, Maniskisson and Venharlsson.

Dragonfriend learned that Sharpsword would attend the coronation. He had sailed from Karse with his battle-fleet and joined with ships from the Right Arm Isles and the God Forgoti. All tallied he had some five score ships and from five to ten thousands of warriors. He sailed for Three-Step to take from the Wolf Pirate's Captain's Council what they refused to give him - command of the pirates.

Fazzursson came over to Dragonfriend and spoke thusly, "I greet you Brother Argrath and thank you for all of your help making this day possible." Dragonfriend congratulated Fazzursson and then warned him of the assassins. "I have avoided a score of assassins in the last year, I have no fear for this new attempt." Dragonfriend smiled coldly and asked Fazzursson had faced a Sylilan Dart Team before. "Nay, that would be more worrisome." With that Fazzursson took Dragonfriend about the hall and introduced him to all of the Tarshite tribal kings that had come to swear their loyalty to him. Dragonfriend greeted them properly and then greeted the Exile kings as well. Fazzursson told Dragonfriend that they kings were not all loyal but that they were hedging their bets, professing their loyalty to stay safe but not really intending to do anything either way until the matter was resolved.

Fazzursson then led Dragonfriend about the palace showing him everything about it. "This was built with Imperial gold to house the Duke of Dunstop. They only just finished it before we took the city." Fazzursson showed Dragonfriend the Sylilan marble pillars, the running water and other wondrous features. Dragonfriend shared his amusement at taking it from the Empire so soon after its completion.

In the morrow the Sage's Council gathered. The contestants for High Sage each presented a thesis for review. Wyrmquill's was on Middle EWF Grammatical Structures. When he was finished a new acolyte from Bagnot stood and pointed out that Wyrmquill's entire thesis was built on one rune that had been copied backwards and thus was meaningless [1]. Wyrmquill fled the room and raged at Dragonfriend for the embarrassment. "I have no time to do anything properly with you. It's always 'Wyrmquill do this, do that, come here, go there, hurry up!' This wouldn't have happened had I the time to properly prepare a thesis." Argrath thanked Wyrmquill for his efforts and spake thusly, "Thy worth and the worth of thy work cannot be measured here. Cleave to this, your research has helped free Sartar and thy continuing research helps our cause everyday." Wyrmquill thanked Argrath for his words and returned to his studies in Black Mountain.

Manikisson's man, Minaryth Purple was selected as High Sage of Dragon Pass.

The next day brought the actual Coronation ceremony. The nobles of southern Tarsh and the Argraths gathered in the main hall, a room eighty feet across by two hundred long. The Argrath's were sat down in the front row with the kings of Tarsh behind them. The Argrath's retainers were behind the kings. Fazzursson stood on a podium at the back of the hall with his new ring about him.

The ceremony began with the presentation of coronation gifts from the guests. Dragonfriend, being second only to Maniskisson in the room, revealed his gift after the King of Dragon Pass. A stunned silence filled the room as Argrath held forth a gold-and-iron crown that was so rich it could probably have bought the entire city and every person within it [2]. Argrath spoke of how his personal smith had formed that crown and then of how Argrath had taken it to the hero plane and personally enchanted it with Vingkot's gifts of Leadership. He told Fazzursson that the crown would grant him blessings to lead his followers and find compromises. He then very quietly told Fazzursson that the crown would also, once, carry the King to Wintertop to escape danger. Many of the more traditional Tarshites in the crowd were displeased with the crown for it was obviously of the Vingkotling style and even had Vingkot's rune prominently displayed on it. The Tarshites were Alakoring and they had rejected Vingkot's way of rule after the EWF fell.

The gifting continued for some time and then the actual rituals began. Dragonfriend squirmed at the alienness of the Alakoring rites but said nothing.

And then there came a disturbance. Several guards along the walls began to thrash about and then drew their blades and slew people standing near them as a glowing red mist formed about them. Then there was a crash as the walls nearest the podium tumbled in and giant figures strode from cavities within. Each figure was a warrior, seven feet tall, who swung a mighty battle-axe at Fazzursson's huscarls. Corpses flew twenty feet through the air after being struck by those axes. A great fireball formed in the centre of the hall and a sorcerous elemental manifested within it.

Dragonfriend was the first to react. He took up Ormsword and leapt to Fazzursson's side. With a quick prayer to Mastakos one of the armoured figures vanished and then reappeared several thousands of feet above the city. Where it fell none ever found out.

The crowd panicked and made for the doors but found them sealed against them. Those touched by the mist lost their sanity forever.

Kamoar recognised the mist as being manifested madness spirits. He released his fighting spirits from their fetishes and tore into the lunar spirits shredding scores of them. Venharlsson joined him in battling the spirits. The two quickly dismissed the madness spirits.

Gudny turned and drew upon the Valindi winds to battle the salamander. Frost formed on his brow and an icy wind roared across the room. The salamander ignored it and a wave of intense heat enveloped Gudny. He refocused himself and terrible winds blasted the salamander from all sides. The winds howled and ice formed upon the ceiling and floors. With an eerie cry the elemental was destroyed by the cold. Several bystanders also stood dead, frozen, around the combatants. Stone hands reached out from the floor to grab Gudny but he leapt into the air and avoided them.

Sigmund saw that the doors were sealed and seized up a thunderstone from his pouch hurling it at the nearest wall. The wall exploded outwards and the crowd poured out into the courtyard. Sigmund followed the crowd out to see what was happening in the city. He found that there were several small riots taking place but Fazzursson's guards had them under control.

Lothar seized up his iron blades and stepped before the nearest giant warrior. He made to strike the warrior but its axe fell upon his blades and smashed him cruelly backwards. The humakti recovered his footing and hewed at the armoured form. Though his blades carved large pieces from the armour it slowed it not at all. Lothar took a moment to call on Humakti's blessings, squatted under another mighty blow from that axe and then struck at the form again. So hard and so often did he strike that he could see all the way through the armour in many places, there was naught within but a red glow.

Maniskisson and Whitebull leapt to Dragonfriend's side and held their blades ready.

Kamoar turned his eyes to the magic planes and saw many disturbing things. He saw that the walls were built with pockets of moonrock within them. He also saw that there were lines of power reaching out from under the podium to each of the warriors and to the rock in the walls. He decided that the entire room had been built as a trap for Fazzursson. Kamoar charged for the podium.

Garthael took up his great battleblade and struck at another giant. He was battered back and fought a grim fight for his life. The two battled to and fro and then with a monumental swing the humakti clove the armoured form from shoulder to groin. The armour fell apart and revealed a mighty vecor. The lunar deva continued to attack Garthael.

Dragonfriend and Fazzursson turned back to back and battled the encroaching warriors, when it was apparent that they could not hold them, he carried Fazzursson into the air with him and landed upon a crossbeam near the ceiling. Whitebull and Maniskisson were forced to adopt the same position. Gudny summoned Orlanth's dark magics and struck a warrior with Crushing Noise. The armour dented and all over but continued to fight. Dragonfriend cried out to everyone below to flee, "Their target is Fazzursson and they cannot reach him now."

With that, the podium creaked and swung to one side revealing a tunnel. Four grimy men ran from the passageway and peered about. Three wore square red hats, one wore a pointed blue hat. That one snapped a command and the giant warriors waded through the huscarls before them to form a ring about their masters.

Gudny shouted in anger and struck the blue-capped wizard with Crushing Noise. The man staggered and then spun Gudny about with a blast of red magic. Gudny struck again and again with his magics and dealt the wizard his death then and there.

With that the armoured warriors froze and then collapsed. The vecors that had been forced from their armour screamed in anger and returned to the moon from whence they had come. Kamoar reached the other three at that point. His tore into them with clawed hands and left three bleeding corpses upon the ground.

Now this boded no good for Fazzursson's kingdom in the years to come. Fully half of the tribal kings of Tarsh lay dead in their high king's hall. Fazzursson's three best war captains and half of their warbands lay there with them. Whitebull, Maniskisson and Fazzursson all bled heavily from deep wounds while the city's healers lay burned from the salamander and frozen by Gudny. All tallied, there were over five-score of Tarsh's best dead. With the interruption of Fazzursson's ceremony, his kingdom's magic was disrupted and seriously weakened for the coming year.

Fazzursson thanked the Companions most profusely for their aid and praised their skill in battle. He gifted Dragonfriend with four of the armoured suits and feasted them all.

Soon after this transpired, word came to Dragonfriend from Sharpsword's lands. It seemed that Sharpsword had taken Three-Step Island and was now the undisputed lord of the Manirian coast. Dragonfriend also heard that a great company of western mercenaries had landed in Karse. Called The Grand Company of Tanisor, they were led by Sharpsword's old friend Mularik Iron-Eye and numbered some five thousands of spears including a siege train.

 

 

[1] Wyrmquill fumbled his lore roll.
[2] Argrath lowered his wealth rating 2 points to create the crown. His wealth rating was 1w4.

 



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March 17, 2002

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