The Saga of the Gwandorlings
And so with
the fall of Furthest all of Tarsh was finally free from the insidious
rule of the Poison Moon. High King Maniskisson turned to his Warwyrm,
Argrath the Dragonlord, and spake thusly: "I leave it to you
to divide the lands of Tarsh and the spoils of the siege. I have
important matters of state to attend to." The Dragonfriend
asked: "I thought Argrath Fazzursson was to be King of Tarsh?"
"Not all of it!" replied the High King. Maniskisson further
directed that Furthest was to be the capital of the High King of
Did I just give a fortress to somebody that is no longer
loyal to me?
And so it was
that Argrath Dragonfriend doled out the spoils of the siege.
Lord Mularik Iron-Eye and King Fazzursson he divided Tarsh between
then. He spoke of the oaths given to Mularik that northern Tarsh
would be his in reward for his aid in the campaign and described
a line that ran east from the Oslir to the Rockwoords, one half
of the way between Furthest and Talfort. "The High King has
decreed that this shall be the southern extent of Lord Iron-Eye's
lands." Argrath Fazzursson was not pleased and spake thusly
to the Dragonfriend: "Mularik had better not make any mistakes
or allow the redmen back into the land for I will not come to his
aid." Dragonfriend replied that Mularik was an able general
with an army to match and should have little problem controlling
the northern Tarshites.
did seem to be doing well at subjugating the land. He was rousting
out all lunars and any sympathisers that he could find - though
some claimed he was less than selective in his pogrom. He confiscated
their lands and their properties and gifted it to his soldiers.
He ruled the clans and towns with an iron fist and brutally put
down any opposition. The road from Talfort to Furthest became lined
with spears bearing the heads of those who had displeased Mularik.
He made Talfort the seat of his rule and named his lands the Grand
Duchy of Talfort and himself Archduke. His subordinates became counts
and barons of various towns and cities, as was the custom of the
Next the Shakers
of Maranaba sent an acolyte, Hjorla the Fierce, to collect their
promised bounty, one from every three of the thralls taken in the
siege. Argrath greeted her well and spake: "There were five
and ten thousands of slaves captured when the city fell. As was
our pact I have gathered five thousands of them for you to take."
Hjorla thanked him for his efficiency and led the screaming slaves
back to her blood-soaked temple - Dragonfriend later learned that
many of them had been sold in the slave markets rather than sacrificed
and that the Temple had grown rich from the profits.
A gold dwarf
identified as WindSpeak23-4e/6 came next to speak with Argrath.
He reminded the Warwyrm of the price he had agreed for Isildirian's
aide, all of the iron in Furthest. A horde of dwarven workmen scoured
the city using strange scurrying creatures and collected every last
chip and fragment of iron. They also rebuilt their siege towers,
turning them into an immense cart powered by their infernal engines
and carried the fallen jolanti off with it.
Now King Fazzursson
staked his claim to the city's spoils: "I will be content with
one thousand slaves, one part in ten of the gold and the heirloom
of my people - the Axe of Palashee." Dragonfriend granted his
request and there was much rejoicing among the Tarshites at the
recovery of that magical axe. Annstad of Dunstop was made holder
of the axe as warlord for King Fazzursson.
Avenger, the Luminous Stallion King received 1000 slaves and his
share of the plunder for the efforts of the Grazer Great Army, which
had screened Mularik's charge so well at Denston.
Sword Sharpsword and General Whitebull each received 300 slaves
and their shares of the booty. The Dragonlord, ever clement, gave
lands to those who would take a vow to him and swear to worship
As the High
King, Maniskisson collected half of the slaves and booty. To provide
some population for his capital city, the High King offered freedom
to any of his slaves that would renounce the Seven Mothers and convert
to the Storm Tribe, six of the seven thousand did. The High King
would not move into the city until the ruins were cleared and a
new palace citadel had been built for him. Till then he remained
then turned to his Companion Lothar of the Twin Blades. To him he
granted the Phargentite Keep and the right to collect tolls on the
roads and bridges around Furthest. In return Lothar was to raise
a regiment of Humakti and provide a city watch for Furthest until
other arrangements could be made.
He then turned
to his Companion Sigmund the Stormblade and granted him support
for his heroquesting plans.
Once all of
that was completed the Argrath Council gathered once again in Dunstop,
to plan their further operations. King Argrath Fazzursson hosted
the gathered warlords and their hosts in his palace. The High King
Argrath Maniskisson rode in with his Wolfskins and grumbled about
being torn away from his hawking and hunting. The disciple Argrath
Venharlsson floated in on an urothrol cloud and greeted one and
all distractedly. Warwyrm Argrath Dragonfriend stalked into the
palace with a band of his Storm Dragon Guards and greeted one and
all properly. Prince Argrath Whitebull of Prax joyfully entered
the palace and greeted his fellows well. King Argrath Sharpsword
of Ketheala forcefully entered the room and ignored all about him
There was an
altercation before Fazzursson's hall when Gudny Stormchaser was
refused entry by the King's guards for, "only the Argraths
may pass within at this time." Gudny's booming reply echoed
throughout the palace, "I am Argrath!"
replied thusly: "Enter our hall and be tested. Who are you
and by what right do you claim a seat on our council?" Gudny
replied thusly: "I am Argrath Stormchaser, called Alakoringsson
by some. I am the High King of Aggar and bear the Water Torque of
Alakoring. I am the Telmor-Victor, the Dragonbreaker and the Champion
of Delela." Maniskisson acknowledged his claims as did the
other Argrathi, though some more readily than others, and stated
that he would have to swear the Argrath Oath. "What oath is
this?" asked Stormchaser. "You must swear to thrown down
the Empire at all costs, to put aside personal feelings and feuds
in the face of the common foe and to never rest until Shepelkirt
is torn from the Sky and all peoples subjugated by it's evil light
are freed." Stormchaser laughed and replied that he had sworn
that oath a decade past when the Empire had exiled him from his
clan. "But I will gladly swear it again on the blade of Humakt
that I bear."
And so the Argrath
Council grew to seven and now represented the peoples from Corfu
to Skanthiland, from the Sha Yar Valley to Caladraland.
discussed the progress of the Army of Dragon Pass and of the situation
in their lands. Then Argrath Stormchaser presented the Treaty of
Salantor to the council. Argrath Fazzursson complained thusly: "Art
thou saying that I will lose control of the Sun Dome of Ever New
Glory?" Argrath Stormchaser retorted: "Thou hast never
had control of the temple and would never be able to gain control
of it." He turned to the rest of the council and said, "Thou
need not approve this treaty but these are the terms that the Disciple
Sota the Lamplighter demands for further use of his templars including
the Vaantar, Ever New Glory and Praxian phalanxes. Argrath Dragonfriend
opinioned that the treaty was a good one. "The phalanxes will
cease to be mercenary as they are now and there will be more of
them." Argrath Maniskisson agreed and called for a vote by
secret ballot. One Argrath abstained; one voted "nay"
but five voted "aye".
Our tale needs
now turn to the Dragonfriend's Champion, Lothar Twinswords. About
this time Lothar was approached in Furthest by one Bardor the Drum,
the High Sword of the Death Hollow temple in Gwandorland. Bardor
greeted Lothar thusly: "Things are prepared for you Lord. It
is time." It turned out that Humakt had spoken to Bardor and
revealed the details of a grim ceremony that Lothar was to undertake.
Lothar knew naught of this at the time but agreed to accompany the
priest none-the-less. A score of battle-masked Humakti rode from
the shadows with rope and whips. Bardor instructed Lothar to strip
on the spot. Lothar's hands were tied before him and he was lashed
by the mounted sword-brethren. His hands were then tied to Bardor's
saddle and he was dragged from the city.
For seven long
days the Humakti rode in silence with Lothar dragged behind them.
He was given sips of water every night but naught else. His guides
slept naught. Lothar stoically endured the torture.
Now, while the
sword brothers dragged him along, many people who saw it thought
that they were seeing a criminal dragged to his death. The lucky
clucked their tongues and went on their way. The unlucky jeered
the champion and one group of village children threw garbage at
him; all that mocked Lothar - be they man, woman, child or elder
- were ridden down by the Humakti and slain on the spot for daring
to sully the ceremony of becoming.
At Death Hollow,
there were some three hundred of the Death God's worshippers waiting
in the great gloomy depression. The Great Death Drum was beating
in the depths of the temple and a wooden death rune stood upright
in the centre of the Hollow. The High priests of Dragon Pass performed
a grim ceremony and nailed Lothar to the death rune .
When the ceremony was over the gathered Humakti planted their blades
in the earth around Lothar and left the temple.
For five days
Lothar hung on the rune. He knew that he could have torn himself
free at any time but knew also that he would have been tearing himself
away from Death.
gave up the fight for life and passed on to Humakt. He heard the
grim voice of Death and it spake so: "You fought to hold on
to Life but now you are Mine. You will be Death Incarnate and carry
out my work in the Middle World. Do you accept?" Lothar replied
that he wished to join his Lord in his hall but that he felt that
there was yet more Severance to bring to the world, he accepted
Humakt's offer. "When next I see you I expect you to have a
sword in your hand and the blood of a thousand foes on your blade."
returned to this world he found that his skin had taken on a grey
pallor and his heart beat half as fast as it had. He was now very
firmly connected to Death and all of his relationships and loyalties
from his previous life were sundered. He tore himself free of the
death rune and staggered out of the temple. There, the gathered
sword brothers greeted him with a deathly silence and then raised
a soul-wracking weaponstake - still without saying a word to him.
priest in Dragon Pass was there to see and to spread the word of
the creation of the first Disciple of Humakt since the fall of the
Household of Death in 1602.
Deathbringer rode from the temple with his reclaimed and awakened
swords, there were over two hundred sword brothers in his band and
he was already making preparations to awaken the Raven-banner of
a new Humakti battalion.
received a letter from Queen Karsalla of Holay seeking to meet with
him in secret. And so he rode to a village on the border of Tarsh
and Holay with this guard and met with his future mother-in-law.
The Queen spoke more of the creation of the Kingdom of Saird and
the affect that that it would have on Holay. She also said that
she had been declared anathema within the Provinces by the Overseer
in Mirin's Cross and that her sister had been declared Queen of
Holay. "The people of the south and those of Furthest are still
loyal but I will need aid to hold my throne." The Warwyrm pledged
to do what he could and rode back to Furthest.
Once again the
allied rulers were called to conclave and Warwyrm Dragonfriend spoke
of the plight of the Queen of Holay. He said naught of his impending
marriage to any but Argrath Stormchaser but impressed upon them
all the opportunity to deal the Lunars a further blow by freeing
the Queendom from the Red Moon's chains. He asked them all what
forces they would pledge to join the Army of Dragon Pass in this
spoke of the weakened state of Tarsh but that Holay must be freed.
He pledged his own guard the Quivers, the Bovakite Light Foot, the
Tarsh Light Foot and the Yarandros Chargers. He also spake of the
Luminous Stallion King providing his Golden Bows and one warband
each of lancers and archers. The king would not personally be joining
High King Stormchaser
pledged to launch an assault out of the highlands of Aggar against
the Winter tribes to split the Provincial Overseer's attention.
pledged her Axe Sisters, Mace Wives and the Elmal Husband Horse.
pledged his own guard, the Bullocks, the Long Spear Slayers and
a mercenary cavalry regiment named Magan's Greys.
pledged the Volsaxar Huscarls, Karse Spears, the Knights of St.
Elhim and the St. Tauroxi Killers.
pledged a regiment of knights, one of spears and a company of engineers.
The Tarsh, Vaantar
and Praxian phalanxes stood ready.
pledged the March Light Horse, the Little Shadows, the March Knights
and Sir Nandaras' Company of sorcerers.
also be the Goldgotti Spears, Sir Holburn's Axe Brothers and the
Army of Tomorrow Knights, Foot and magicians.
All of this
veteran force would compliment the inexperienced regiments of the
Army of Dragon Pass and was tallied to be nye upon five and thirty
spoke of the forces available to Queen Karsalla. He spoke of the
Queen's Heavy Foot a few shield wall regiments, two Sun Dome phalanxes
and a regiment of highlanders.
The war captains
then set about making their plans.
First, the Warwyrm's
Companion, Kamoar Shadowstalker, was to march into Balazaar with
his March Wardens and the Bovakite Light Foot to seize Elkoi and
butcher the few hundred of defenders. It was hoped that support
could be raised against the Empire in Balazaar. Dragonfriend's follower
Gettig Kingsvoice would accompany him to speak with the natives
once they were freed from the Empire's yoke.
was assigned ten thousand men and told to storm Eneal, the seat
of the Bad-King Rassius the Old of Aggar. It was thought that there
were some three thousand defenders and that some of them may leave
when King Stormchaser attacked the Summer tribes. Stormchaser claimed
the right to lead the assault on the city once Whitebull had it
invested. Whitebull's host included the Goldgotti, Axe Brothers,
Long Spear Slayers, Little Shadows, Karse Spears, Tauroxi Killers,
Ever-New-Glory Phalanx, March Light Horse, Volsaxar, the Tarsh Light
Foot and a foot regiment from the Army of Dragon Pass.
was to assault the Reaching Moon Temple outside Filichet. He would
have the rest of the combined host to pull troops from. Dragonfriend
sent his Companion Sigmund to aid Sharpsword and then he asked the
Deathlord Lothar if he would participate in the assault. "There
are many enemies to slay within the complex and temple to the hated
Tarnils to thrown down." Lothar agreed.
sent word that she would seize the Daughter's Keep in Fillichet
- this was the fortress that warded southern end of the Daughter's
Road and was held by warriors loyal to the Provincial Overseer.
 Sir Argrath Not-Appearing and
Sir Argrath Caught-in-Traffic still couldn't make it to the meeting.
 A cross.
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