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Gwandor Saga

The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 76

Lothar the Groo

"What's next, Argrath-that-cleans-out-the-toilets?"

We need now turn out tale back to Dark Season in 1633 and follow the Companions as they fare through the heavy snows into Aggar.

With the General Mularik Iron-Eye directing the siege of Furthest and the Warwyrm Dragonfriend directing the training of the new Army of Dragon Pass, there was naught for Dragonfriend's Companions to do during that winter. And so they decided to join Gudny in his journey.

Movement Week/Dark Season/1633

It was Freezeday when the Companions rode out of a blizzard and onto the tula of the King Oak clan of the Perib Tribe. King Ornjar the Dour greeted them well and bade them welcome to Hundsverk, the hillfort his town was built around. He offered Gudny, Lothar, Sigmund and their captains guesting in his own hall while the Righteous Wind encamped within the ancient walls.

Gudny said that he had come to help Aggar throw off the chains of Shepelkirt's oppression. King Ornjar spoke of hearing about the victory at Denston and the imminent fall of Furthest. "The Aggarings are ready to raise rebellion against Bad-King Rassius and throw out his lunar sycophants."

Through the night the Companions learned that the Sun Dome temples in the south were unified under the teachings of Munrough - as preached by Sota Lamplighter - and were ignoring the Bad-King's calls to arms. Axe of the Oak, Kari Creekside, the tribal champion, spoke of the Bad-King's call for the provincial regiments, the Drenthi Grims, the Confederation Foot, the Toothspears, the Forantin Screamers and the Gemline Watch, to mobilise and ready themselves to put down any potential rebellion. "He is afeared of your coming," he said to Gudny. "The men are gathering but they are not happy. I don't think that they have decided who to fight yet."

Come morning, the host moved on to King Leikan, of the Vandaros Tribe's hall. Once again King Leikan greeted Gudny well. He spoke praisefull words of Lothar and was most noble to Sigmund even speaking of the Hurler's feats in the siege of Furthest. King Leikan bade the companions welcome and extended guesting to their captains. The host was invited to camp around the town. King Leikan bade Gudny sit on his right at the high seat and sate Lothar on his left. Sigmund was seated to Gudny's right and all were accounted all of the honours that the king could give.

Speaking with the king, Gudny learned that most of the Summer Tribes of Aggar were ready to raise rebellion if they had somebody to follow. King Leikan spoke of the Jonrys and Wrealing tribes having declared their support for Bad-King Rassius - it seemed that the noble king of Jonrys that had been installed after Gudny's last visit there had been executed by the Bad-King's champion. King Leikan went on to tell of the Winter Tribes and their unanimous support of the Bad-King.

It was about then that Gudny learned of Sota's return to Aggar and he fared across Angry Lake and into Salantorland with his bodythanes to visit with the Yelmalian. Lothar and Sigmund were left with King Leikan to arrange a gathering of the Summer Kings and to prepare the Righteous Wind for the invasion of Wrealingland.

Now the Salantor Sun Dome was am imposing complex. The clean lines of the temple shone under the sun behind thirty-foot snow-covered stone walls. Prayer Towers, houses, markets and workshops filled the space behind the wall and everything managed to glitter in the newly fallen snow. In the southern corner was the drill yard and barracks for the Templars. The whole county had some 15,000 citizens, all worshipping Yelmalio.

Sota met Gudny on the steps of the temple and greeted him well saying "Welcome Gudny, I see that much has changed since last we met." Gudny replied thusly, "Indeed Sota and you are the first to learn of the latest - I now call myself Argrath and will claim a seat on their Council. I see much has changed with yourself as well and I congratulate you on your successes." [1]

Sota and Gudny spent the next few days speaking of their activities since they had last met and speaking of their goals in the future. Sota spoke of the Pentaverate of northern Sun Dome Temples that had rejected his Doctrine of Munrough and now followed Ogunjar Straitarm's Daysenerus Doctrine - it seemed that the Pentaverate was supported by the Provincial Government. Gudny expressed his surprise at Sota's use of that ancient name, Daysenerus, and Sota explained that Ogunjar believed that Yelmalio was an aspect of the High Sun - Sota himself didn't hold to that opinion.

Gudny spoke of his intention to claim the throne of Aggar: "There will be a war to free this land from the Empire. I would that your spears fought with us." Sota replied so: "My people seek only to be free to live their lives as they see fit. We will no longer accept foreign authority over our lands and our god. I will support he that would promise my people freedom from secular authority." Gudny assured Sota that he had no intention of imposing any secular control over the Sun Domes, "even were it in my power to do so." Sota then said that his people needed more land to expand into. Gudny suggested that Black Horse County now lay empty and that he would support any claim that Sota cared to make to it. To this Sota asked, "What do the gathered Argraths, the kings of Dragon Pass, care about any agreement that you may make?" Gudny replied that Sota's Sun Domes lay in all of their lands and that agreement with these terms was the price they had to pay for Sota's support.

In the end they spoke for 4 days and signed the Salantor Treaty. In exchange for freedom from all secular authority, taxes and levies, Sota agreed that he would supply a minimum of 500 soldiers per qualifying county under his control to the army of the Argraths. A county qualified when its population reached 12,000. With his current 9 temples, Sota would field 3,000 phalangites, 500 horse archers and 1000 light infantry - the soldiers to be fully supported and equipped by Sota at his own expense.

Sota remarked that in the drive to break the Pentaverate and destroy Ogunjar's heresy, he would supply as many soldiers as he could to any direct conflict with his foe.

Our tale needs now turn south to King Leikan's Hall where Gudny's Discovery Band reported that a host of tribesmen was mustering to march on Masassakar. It seemed that the Jonrys, Drendip, Grangi and Wrealing tribes had decided to seize the city, holding it for the Bad-King. With them was the half of the Forantin Screamers that mustered from their lands.

All tallied, the host would number some one thousand hardened fighting men and three thousands of fyrd.

Lothar quickly gathered his warband and Sigmund gathered his. With four hundreds of the hardiest veterans in the Righteous Wind they flew to Masassakar and came to earth in the city's main market. King Leikan and King Ornjar gathered 1,000 of their select fyrd and the joined the Righteous Wind marching through Wrealingland behind the Lunar host - they had over 5000 warriors with them.

Masassakar was a small city but it was the largest around Angry Lake. The city had been the traditional seat of the Aggaring High King before the red-men moved it to Eneal. With 3000 citizens, 35-foot walls and being built on atop a steep hill it was a formidable place to take but the people were little used to watching 500 picked Orlanthi champions fly over their walls with their warhorns sounding. Two hundreds of the Toothspears Shieldwall quickly formed up to meet the visitors.

There was then in Masassakar a man named Bracus the Victor. Bracus was the son of Red-Aedin a renown Lunar sympathiser and member of the Bad-King's court. His mother was Liorna the Witch who was more devoted to the Poison Moon than her husband. Bracus' grandfather was Alakor the Smith and the rest of his ancestors came from similarly humble roots. Bracus was a grizzled man, tall but sword-thin; his beard was just growing in and the Orlanth runes on his jacket were freshly applied. His war axe was well used and his chain tunic was of the finest Smithtown ironwork. Bracus held command of the Toothspears and was accounted the senior of all the regimental commanders in the Winter Tribes. He had recently renounced the Seven Mothers and rejoined the worship of Orlanth.

Now Bracus stepped forth and, greeting the Companions, asked after their business in the city. Lothar replied that they had come to defend the city from conquest. He spoke of the approaching host of lunars and the reinforcements that were bound their way in form of the Righteous Wind.

Bracus quickly gathered the 13 people on the city's ring and they decided to fight with Lothar and Sigmund to keep the advancing fyrd out of the city. Golden-Gaeldon, who occupied the Crafter seat on the ring, opinioned that they had already let Lothar's conquerors in so they may as well fight. Ylan the Staunch, the city's Rex replied that Lothar rode with the Alakoringsson.

And so it came to be that the two hosts met before the walls of Masassakar with a light snowfall quietening the day.

The veteran warriors of the Companions' warbands looked at the untried fyrd that approached and were confident of victory though their Aggaring allies were restless and unhappy at the prospect of fighting their neighbours. Their ranks were swelled by the 400 men from the Gemline Watch, Confederation Foot, Forantin Screamers and the Toothspears that had mustered and were ready to fight.

King Dorag Moonbear of the Wrealing tribe strode forth from the enemy host aglow in his hero light. He berated the defenders for raising rebellion against their High King. He told them to, "Stop opposing the glorious Empire," and to "stand down."

Seeing how unsettled his own host was, Lothar crunched forward through the snow and issued challenge to the Champion's Battle. King Dorag eagerly stepped forth as his own champion. The king bore a heavy double-handed war axe and was clad round in an imperial-style iron chain byrnie with plates. He wore a heavy bear's cloak that glowed with magic.

Stepping towards the Deathlord, King Dorag unleashed a great growl and staggered Lothar with its ferocity. Lothar shook his head and leapt to the assault. He made to strike the king with Severance but his blow fell upon the leaping axe head. Then he squatted on his heals and struck the king with Deathbringer to no visible effect. The King swung his axe in wicked arcs but Lothar swayed out of range and darted in again with his blades flashing in the dim sunlight. Still, the king's armour was proof against the Humakti's assaults. Finally, Lothar struck with everything he had. His sword fell upon the king's shoulder and passed through his bear cloak and armour tunic striking off his left arm. The king glanced at his wound and screamed in berserk fury. He hurled himself at Lothar wielding his axe in one fist. He struck with the strength of the grizzly but Lothar sang his death song and, entering his sword trance, fought back with the grimness of Death itself and ended the king's reign with a quick stroke to the neck and a murmured prayer of blessing over his corpse.

The fyrds stood in shocked silence as Lothar cleaned his blades and walked back to his warbanders to have his wounds attended to.

Sigmund strode forth and used his stormvoice to address the foe. "Thy evil king has been felled in honourable combat. The supremacy of Orlanth's ways has been proven. Throw off the chains of the Poison Moon and join us!"

There was some murmuring among the fyrdmen and then the host broke in two. Those who moved to the front agreed to join the Alakoringsson and breathed their first free breaths. Those who would remain shackled to the Bad-King moved away and declared their intention to return to their homes.

Bracus the Victor spoke with them. Most were of the Lunar faith but had no wish to fight their neighbours. Bracus allowed them to leave the field on the understanding that they would return home and not bother any of the locals on their way.

Unfortunately for them, they met the advancing Righteous Wind warbands that evening and were slaughtered to a man.

Gudny received word of the battle from an Umbroli about the time that he was to meet with the local tribal kings. The rulers of the Billizangings, Denthali, Gokopy, Jaruidi, Nantorings, Salangari and Vurganthi tribes had gathered at Salantor to speak with him. Also present was Orog Ox-Breaker from the Skanthi, the commander of the Drenthi Grims and Sota, the host.

Gudny met with the kings and feasted with them. He showed them the tokens from the Tarkaling Kings, the Telmori, Dragonewts and the Water Torque. Then he claimed the throne of Aggar as did Alakoring. "For I am Alakoring-Come-Again and I would lead this land out from under the shadow of the Poison Moon."

Now these Kings were not going to follow just anybody in rebellion against the Empire. Gudny summoned all of his charisma and his Drogarsi voice to convince them.

The kings pointed out that the Lunars were still a power to be reckoned with many regiments and powerful magicians. Gudny replied that the Empire was fragmented and fighting amongst itself. He spoke of nomad invasions, Charg and the belligerence of Sylila.

The kings spoke of the soldiers of the Bad-King and Gudny spoke of the Righteous Wind, the Summer Regiments and the Army of Dragon Pass.

The debate went on for most of the day before the kings were satisfied with Gudny's claims and arguments. Then they set up a clamorous weapontake and declared him Alakoringsson and High King of Aggar.

In the weeks that followed Gudny fared to Masassakar, with the fyrds and thanes of the local tribes. There he met the best men from all of the loyal Summer Tribes, the loyal regiments, the Counts of the Sun Domes, Lothar, Sigmund and the captains of the Righteous Wind.

On Godsday, Movement Week, Storm Season Gudny finally walked into the ancient palace in Masassakar. He passed between the ranks his Under-Kings and under their arched axes before sitting on the High Seat for the first time and accepting the oaths of his followers.

Across the highlands a terrible vengeance was taken on lunars with many being hanged before their village gates and their properties forfeited to the High King. Lunar temples were thrown down and their properties were also seized by Argrath Stormchaser.

Gudny gifted half of the property to his followers and set the other half aside to run the impending war against the Winter tribes.

He appointed his Alakoring-ring, including Bracus the Victor as Axe of Aggar and his warlord.

As Gudny was to learn, he could field some 12,500 soldiers. That included 5 regiments of veteran Aggari soldiers trained as Provincial Auxiliaries for the Empire, 3 Sun Dome Phalanxes, 1 Sun Dome Horse Archer regiment, the 4000 champions of the Righteous Wind and 400 picked champions in his own warband. Bad-King Rassius was thought to have some 12,500 soldiers of his own.

Sacred Time/1633

In their various locations around Dragon Pass and beyond, the Companions spent Sacred Time performing the various ceremonies required by their gods.

Disorder Week/Sea Season/1634

Gudny left his ring to arrange the preparations for war and returned to Furthest along with Sigmund and Lothar to join the final assault on that doomed city. The Righteous Wind was left to bolster the Kingdom's armed forces.

At Furthest, word came from Mirins Cross that the Provincial Overseer had declared the Kingdom of Saird. His brother was placed on the throne by their father, the Satrap of Sylila. The Queen of Holay was informed of the rearrangement of her borders. Bad-King Rassius reluctantly agreed as he had just lost half of his kingdom to rebellion. Holay was further cobbled by the restoration of the Dog Plains to Imther.

[1] Tonight Sota was played by Argrath Dragonfriend's player as THAT Argrath had no role in this instalment of the saga.



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January 14, 2003

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