The Saga of the Gwandorlings
the hell is she doing?"
Argrath regarding Voydag
Come Fire Season,
Dragonfriend received another Argrath Directive from the High King.
for 1632 (Fire Season Onwards)
As dictated by Argrath Son of Maniski, High King of Dragon
Pass, Prince of Sartar, Protector of the Grazelands, Champion
of the Pol Joni, Liberator of Tarsh, Esrolia Victor, Moonberg
Breaker, Wolfslayer, Beastfriend and servant of Orlanth.
will see the solidification of our position in Tarsh thanks to
the efforts of our loyal subjects in the Holy Country and to sterling
work elsewhere. 1634 will be the year we liberate all of Tarsh
and all aspects of our efforts this year must be to bolster our
forces, supplies and skills to that end.
from the Empire indicate that it is in a state of extreme internal
disorder that seems likely to intensify in the following year.
Sources in Holay have observed the Imperial army in Filichet is
readying to march and given the lack of supplies being prepared
in Tarsh, we can reasonably assume that they will be heading north
along the Daughter's Road or down the Oslir to the Heartlands.
To aid in
our efforts next year, agents in our employ have ventured deep
into the northlands and have made contact with the Norguntay Confederation
of the Pentan nomads currently encamped in Garsting. Thanks to
common ancestry with our own allies, the Grazers, the Norguntay,
a Pure Horse People, have agreed to action against the empire.
Significant fiscal resources were allocated to persuading them
to this task, for though friendly, even garrulous with our embassy,
these are a hard people who care little for sentiment. They have
promised, with oaths of blood, to invade the Empire, south of
the Imther Mountains by Storm Season of this year with some 10,000
offensive has also been initiated against Imperial support in
Holay and Aggar. Contact with Holay and Aggar will be facilitated
with the fall of Tarsh but we must make all efforts to isolate
the Lunars from any support the other provinces can give. The
Sword of Sartar is therefore ordered to prepare a mission to Aggar,
using the contacts available to Duke Wulf and his family. We understand
that the Sheath of the Sword  has already been active in Holay
and we commend and further promote her efforts.
events are unfolding, we must redouble our preparations in Tarsh.
The Sword will organise a training regimen to bolster our forces
and will assign the yearly 400 replacements mustering in Boldhome
to the regiments in the Free Army. Whitebull, Sharpsword and Fazzursson
are all adding forces to their contingents. Esrolia has already
earmarked much of its surplus to our war effort for the coming
year and depots for supplies should be set up, as well as secure
lines of communication through the Dragonspine.
forces attempt an offensive or should Harvar's army march against
us, the rapid concentration of our dispersed elements is to be
carried out along a suitable line of retreat until operational
envelopment can be achieved.
We trust that these directives will be carried out with the utmost
haste and alacrity.
And so it was that Dragonfriend gathered his Companions about him
once again. They spoke of the directive and discussed how best to
supply the Free Army in Tarsh. They finally decided to build a road
across the Dragonspine at Dragon Pass. It would pass down the Feyghost
River until it was navigable where they would establish a landing.
Supplies for the host would pass up and down the Creek-Stream from
Sartar and Esrolia.
He turned to
Gudny, Kamoar and Garthael and spoke thusly, "I would that
you busked to Wulfsland and spoke with the Duke." They were
to find what they could from Jomes and then hurry themselves into
Aggar where they would speak with the highlanders and learn their
minds. The three nodded and went to make their preparations.
turned to Lothar and Sigmund. "Thou art to accompany me whilst
we speak with the Beastfolk along the Feyghost of our plans. Then
we are bound to the dragonewt city, called Ghosts Around, where
we will seek their aid in our endeavours.
With that Argrath
mounted his horse and rode for Duck Point. Tull the Staunch bore
his banner. Lothar and Sigmund rode at his sides along with Von
and Rulf. Ten of the Alone Knights and ten of the Storm Dragon Guards
rode with him. At Duck Point they took to rafts, guided by Druluz,
and sailed up the Feyghost River. When the barge could not safely
go further they stopped.
Now they found
themselves on the tula of the Trickle Falls clan, a clan of Centaurs.
They waited a short while and near upon five score centaurs came
forth led by their chief Urath Windmane. Urath was a massive centaur,
standing over sixteen hands high. He greeted Argrath well and offered
him guesting. Argrath bade the chief "Good day" and accepted
needs now be described for the centaurs live a simpler life than
the men in Sartar do. They had no herders, for they were vegetarians,
and they had no smiths for they did not work metal. To Argrath's
eye, the village appeared ramshackle. There was no palisade, nor
a great hall. In the centaurs' huts, there were no seats for centaurs
had no use for them. The Companions had to stand or sit on the rush-covered
In Urath's hut,
Argrath gifted the chieftain richly and praised him most high for
he had recognised the centaur as one that had fought well at the
Battle of Heroes. Urath thanked Argrath for his gifts and words.
They spoke of this and that and then Argrath spake of why he had
come to visit the Centaurs. Argrath spoke of the wars against the
Empire and the need for a road across Dragon Pass. He told Urath
that he would like to build a road through the Trickle Falls tula
and the next two tulas up the river. He would also like to set up
trading agreements with those three clans for food and fodder and
finally would like to make arrangements for the Centaurs to police
the road. Urath thought for a time and then spake thusly, "Thy
road would be on mine people's land and would greatly disrupt our
way of life. Those on the road would be subject to our law while
they were on our land and they would not be permitted to move more
than fifty paces from the road." Argrath agreed to those terms.
Urath said that he would send for the other two chieftains and present
Argrath's wishes to them with his endorsement.
The next day
the two chiefs came. They were Borea Blackhoof and Tobal Goodlance.
Uralf feasted one and all in his hut. The other two chiefs quickly
agreed to the terms that Urath and Argrath had discussed. Then they
spoke of the price that the High King Maniskisson would pay for
his roadway. The centaurs started high and Argrath negotiated ruthlessly.
In the end he pledged to pay ten suits of metal armour and barding
to each clan. Each suit was to be specifically crafted for use by
centaurs. Each clan would also get one iron suit. Urath's clan would
get an additional ten sets of bronze armour as the new landing would
be in his tula. Each clan would gain a further two suits of armour
every year in tribute for the use of the land.
Then Urath spake
these words, "We would that you paid afore you started building
thy road even though thy work may lie unfinished in the future."
Argrath asked why the work wouldn't be finished. "The Feyghost
Wilds are haunted and no man may enter them with impunity."
Argrath smiled and replied, "I know of these ghosts and they
worry me not."
With that Argrath
rode further up the Feyghost River. They passed the Wild Temple
and entered the dragonewt huntlands about Ghosts Around. There was
within Ghosts Around a dragonewt priest called Speaks-With-Dreams
who was the leader of that city. It was with Speaks-With-Dreams
that Argrath met. They spoke briefly of the Cosmic Dragon and of
the dragonewts that Argrath had found in Ralios. Then Speaks-With-Dreams
addressed the Companions, "We knew that you would come. We
know why you have come. We know what you wish to ask. Our answers
are yes, you may build your road; yes, we will provide fodder; yes,
we will ward your road from the ghosts; and there is nothing that
we wish in return. You may go now."
Our tale needs
now turn to the other Companions, Gudny, Kamoar and Garthael, who
had ridden for Wulfsland. Ten of Gudny's Third Thunder warband rode
with them and ten of Kamoar's Wardens loped along with their chief.
They busked over the Dragonspine, rested at Aldachur, rode east
on the Tarsh Road to Heron Green and then turned south and east.
They fared through Dinacoliland and entered Wulfsland.
With the addition
of Dinacoliland to his holdings, Jomes now had some fifteen thousands
of people in his lands. Wulf Fort was now a small town with more
than eight hundreds living there. Wulf's Heavy Horse had nearly
been brought up to full strength after the heavy casualties it has
were greeted well at the main gate, and when they reached Jomes'
keep he was waiting to greet them himself. He bade them all "Good
day" and ushered them into his sitting room. "The Hall
is too drafty and formal for friends such as you," he said.
He bade the Companions be comfortable and summoned food to share
with them. Then he turned to Gudny and spoke of needing a favour
from the godi. "I would that you initiated me into the ways
of Orlanth." Gudny agreed straight away and said that it would
be done in Storm Season. "Then we shall sit together then and
I shall tell you of Alakoring."
We should mention
now that up until this time Duke Wulf had worshipped the Provincial
Church of the Seven Mothers.
With that out
of the way and each man holding a brimming mead horn, Jomes spoke
of his homeland, Aggar. He told how the northern Aggari followed
the ways of the ancient Vingkotling Winter tribes while the southern
Aggari clove to those of Alakoring. "Though the King be a Lunar,
many among the southern hills still sacrifice to Orlanth."
He went on to tell how the Lunars did not have a tight hold on the
highlanders. "The High King," he said, "is more concerned
with gathering the Empire's bounty to himself than he is crushing
the Orlanthings." Jomes spoke then of the Telmori tribes south
of Angry Lake - tribes that he had grown up fighting. "I hast
been here in Sartar for more years than I care to recount, but I
still have family in the highlands and I correspond with them and
other people." With that, he spoke of troubles among the Sun
Dome temples. "Turmoil," he spake, "a heroquester
has gone among the temples stirring up trouble." 
said that "the highlanders are a boisterous bunch and little
enamoured with empires. The Alakorings are very individualistic.
All they need to throw off the Lunars is for an Alakoring hero to
arise and yell - Follow me!"
Jomes of the City of Ten-Thousand Magicians. Jomes said that once
ten thousand magicians had passed through the gates the city was
fated to be destroyed. "They refuse to let any magician within
the city walls unless he be a member of their council." Later,
Bronwyn spoke of a dragon that had allowed the city to be built
on his head during the EWF period. "Once a certain amount of
magical energy has gathered the dragon will eat it - and the city
- and return to his rest," he said.
And so the Companions
parted ways with the Duke and rode for Aggar. They carried gifts
from Argrath and from Jomes for his family. They rode through the
Uitaros tribes north of the Hydra Mountains and were greeted well
at every hall they encountered for their fame and honour was such
that all the tribesmen knew of them. They passed south of Holay
and entered the Billiz hills about Angry Lake. There they encountered
the Tarkaling People.
And so it was
in the middle of Fire Season when the Companions came to the hall
of King Leikan of the Vandaros Tribe. The King was a regal man,
tall of body but thin of arm. The Vandaros were one tribe among
the Tarkalings and numbered some ten thousands of highlanders. The
King had the companions brought directly to him in his hall and
he greeted them well though subdued. The hall was richly furnished
and showed much Imperial influence. Gudny stepped forth and spake
thusly, "Hail King Leikan of the Vandaros, kin of our own Duke
Jomes Wulf." King Leikan returned Gudny's greetings and bade
There was then
in Aggar a man, Sangor Redsword by name, who was the High King Rassius
One-Eye's Champion. Sangor was a mighty warrior and a powerful devotee
of Yanafal the Ram. He spent much of his time in the highlands seeking
Orlanthi and killing them.
It so happened
that Sangor was guesting with King Leikan when the Companions came
there. Gudny assured the king that he would respect all of the laws
of hospitality. King Leikan assured Gudny that Sangor would be leaving
shortly. Before anymore could be said, Sangor swaggered into the
hall. He looked at Gudny with his tattoos and runes and smiled.
"Thou are a follower of a proscribed god," he said. "Thou
art outlaw and criminal." Gudny replied that he was no outlaw
in any land and was accounted a thane in his home. Sangor laughed
and said that no criminal that worshipped Orlanth could be anything
but an outlaw. Gudny replied that he did not in fact worship Orlanth
but was a follower of Ohorlanth but Sangor would have none of that,
"Orlanth, Ohorlanth, both are proscribed. Is not Doburdan the
Loyal Storm?" Gudny pointed out that the King had granted guesting
to them both and that Sangor had no place disrupting Alakoring's
laws. Then the champion turned to King Leikan and spoke harshly
to him, "Harbouring an outlaw is also a crime against the High
King's laws. Come the morrow I will take this outlaw back to Eneal
with me and he will be tried. You would do well not to interfere."
With that he turned and left the hall.
Gudny gave his
apologies to King Leikan for causing him this trouble and offered
to leave to avoid it. The king replied that he had granted guest-right
to the Companions and that naught would make him lift it. Gudny
replied then that he would challenge Sangor's interpretation of
the law through Trial-by-Combat and that Garthael would be his champion.
With that King Leikan called his people to feast and sat Gudny on
his right on the High Seat. He sat Kamoar on his left and Garthael
to his left. Then he told Gudny that he would summon the other Tarkaling
Kings to meet with him.
A little later
Sangor entered the hall and spoke thusly, "I hear that you
would challenge the law. May I be the last person that ignores the
High King's laws, unlike some in this hall, I will meet you in the
morning and we will fight. I assume that you will have a champion?"
When Gudny named Garthael as his champion Sangor sneared, "Grim
man, prepare to learn something in the morrow and then to take my
greetings to your ignorant god."
Now in the morrow,
when the moon was at half, most of the tribe had gathered to watch
the Champions Duel. Garthael had spent much of the night preparing
his dark magics and he wore his hero light proudly. His muscles
bulged and he moved with a grim grace that betold his skill. His
battle-blade glowed hotly in his fists. Sangor strode from the king's
hall and smiled at the suddenly quiet crowd. Sangor's helm glowed
red and ethereal horns curled tightly on his temples. His sword,
a straight and narrow blade glowed malevolently with the moon's
Garthael with a curious gesture and settled into a defensive stance
with one arm behind his back. Garthael smiled behind his helm and
spoke thusly, "Hark, do I hear thy bedboy crying in his room?
Surely it is thou art a boy-lover." Sangor continued to smile
and replied that at least he was getting some. Garthael shrugged
and watched Sangor for some further time and then attacked. Sangor
hurled his hidden throwing knife at the humakti who dodged it with
some difficulty. Then their blades met.
Garthael's great blade with his own, smaller one and forced Garthael
back. "That is how it is done boy," he taunted the humakti.
Then Sangor hewed at the humakti but Garthael stopped his blow with
his own blade and then made to hew the redman's knees. Sangor quickly
leapt back and replied, "No boy, you can't hit anything with
a blow like that". Garthael started to sing his death song
and entered a sword trance, becoming one with his blade. Their sword
flashed and clashed quickly, too fast for most of the tribesmen
to follow but Sangor's cutting commentary carried over the crash
of iron. Clan champions looked on in awe as the blades flew to and
fro and the warriors danced left, now right, now leaping over a
glowing length of iron and now ducking under another. Sangor drove
Garthael back and back again. He forced Garthael to the ground but
was then struck full on by five feet of iron-edge sword and staggered
back. Garthael leapt upright and his great blow numbed Sangor's
hand. Sangor spun on his heal and hewed at the humakti drawing blood
from his thigh. Garthael's song never faltered and he struck at
Sangor from the left and then the right cleaving Sangor's arm. With
a snarl the Tarnilsman summoned the fury of the Ram and leapt at
Garthael. The Humakti turned and thrust forth with his blade and
struck Sangor full upon the breast. His sword passed through the
champion's iron breastplate and on into his chest until it stood
four feet out of his back and Sangor fell down dead on the spot.
to the cheering crowd and nodded curtly to them. When the cheering
turned to a gasp of horror he spun about again and saw Sangor standing
with sword in hand once again. "Would you care to try that
again," he said to the humakti. They were both prepared to
fight again when Gudny spoke up and said these words, "That
was most nobly fought but it was a Trial-by-Combat with death to
the loser. Thy death, Redman, has shown the right of my claim to
be a thane and the failure of yours that I be outlaw. Thou are the
King's Champion and it is not thy place to break Alakoring's Laws.
The Gods have spoken." Though he was not pleased, Sangor agreed
that the law must be obeyed. He gathered his men and left the King's
When all was
settled and the crowds had returned to their homes King Leikan called
the Companions before his high seat. "There will be trouble
from this," he spake. "I would that you left my lands
now. We know how to reach you and I will speak with my fellow kings."
Gudny agreed to depart and the Companions gathered their followers
and went on their way.
They fared west
out of the Billiz hills and then north up the Salantor Valley. They
stopped at the Sun Dome temples along the way seeking words with
Sota but learned that he had trod the heropaths on the Hill of Gold.
They also learned that the Templars were having trouble with Ogunjar
and Harvar for it seemed that the pair were heroquesting to become
Palangio and Lokomyadan.
made their way into the Autumn Mtns west of Bear Mtn and came upon
an outlaw called Brandig the Bandit King. They never learned why
and by whom he was called the Bandit King for he had but six followers.
Gudny described the valley where Harangot had spoken his stash and
Brandig took the Companions there. They found naught but an old
ruined archway that was half buried in fallen stone. Then Gudny
performed the ritual that Harangot had described and the archway
glowed with power. The Companions stepped through the arch and found
themselves in a short world. The valley was the same but now was
filled with buildings, most looked like store houses. The entrance
to the valley was now curtained in a shimmering wall of light. Within
the storerooms they found the promised Hoard of Harangot.
With that, the
Companions made their way back to Dunstop. On their journey they
found the highlands seething. The High King had taken punitive action
against the Vandaros and the other tribes had retaliated by turning
away the King's taxmen and his thanes. The Sun Dome Confederation
was said to support the highlanders. Now while no fight had taken
place, many a sword had been drawn and was a near thing.
And so it came
to pass that Sigmund rode into Sambari Pass in Dark Season. There
he made his way to the Hedkoranth Temple and convinced the worshippers
there to become his warband. He had some 20 devotees and and a further
four score initiates that joined his band. With that, Argrath sent
word to Sir Pallon the Black in Knight Fort and asked that he become
the Lord of the Keep replacing Sigmund.
news that the Orms Fang assassins were wreaking a terrible slaughter
throughout the Oslir Valley in Tarsh and that Harvar had been distancing
himself from the Tarshites. The Companions suspected that Harvar's
host would soon be marching north for the nomads that Maniskisson
had mentioned in his directive were ravaging Imther and the Dog
Plains in Holay.
learned that in the new campaign season he would have more warriors.
The Grazers were sending some three thousand horsemen, the Esrolians
were sending some five thousands of spear and axe. Whitebull sent
a further three hundreds of Axe Brothers and a new regiment, the
Pavic County Foot to join the Free Army. After his trip to Nochet,
Dragonfriend's warband was back up to six hundred warriors.
News came from
deeper in the Empire of more trouble. It seemed that the distant
kingdom of Carmania had liberated itself from the Empire and begun
a war against its former oppressors - much as the Argrath's had
done for Sartar. Further news reported that something called the
Wall of Charg had fallen and a kingdom led by descendants of the
Blood-Kings had allied itself with Carmania.
As winter descended
on Dragon Pass the Companions learned that the nomad invaders had
defeated the Provincial Army in a three-day running battle. Bronwyn's
sources reported that Harvar had instructions to move north in Sea
Season. Dragonfriend chose to rest the Free Army through the winter
to prepare it for the coming campaigns. Orgovalt reported that many
of the Tusk Riders were migrating out of the Stinking Woods, headed
north. Kamoar fared into the woods and returned with an Aramite
 prisoner. When Argrath questioned him the rider said that they
were following, "Arim-who-had-returned." It seemed that
some ten thousands of them were following this "Arim the Tuskless"
to a Promised Land. Upon further questioning the Companions discovered
that this newly arisen Arim's more common name was Harvar.
 Sheath of
the Sword: Dragonfriend's wife, Voydag.
 Probably Sota Lampbringer
 The Tusk Riders call themselves Aramites.
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