Stormchaser Fragments - 1
tales told of the Alakoringson, Gudny the Stormchaser, in his quest
I am Leary,
son of Cormac the Bald who a cousin of High King Kocholang of Lankst.
To my companions I am named the Rock-Stepper; in Dunrigh, the King's
hall, I am the Merry; the godyr call me Helamath. I don't mind saying
that I am a slight man, short of stature and bone-thin. Not for
me is the crush of the front-line of battle or the boisterous wrestling
around the hearth. I am more apt with the long spear and the breast-bow,
at the love-poem and the mead-horn.
Now hear my
telling. My telling of the Alakoringson. My telling of the Stormchaser.
He first came
among us in the 9th year of King Kocholang, during Ernalda's time
- Earth Season. The Theyans would have called it 1631. Those were
the darkest of days for the peoples of Lankst for the Meldeks of
Otkorian pressed us sorely and the High King and his brother the
great Garundyar Stormhero had led our hosts out for the final battle.
As the fighting raged fierce, and the knights of Otkorian looked
set to sunder the shieldwall, King Argrath the Dragonfriend swooped
out of the clouds atop a fire-breathing beast bound round by a great,
black, hurricane. With him rode my lord, the Stormchaser.
In short order
the King Dragonfriend and his Companions had scattered the hosts
arrayed before us and saved our people. They were feasted in the
hall of High King Kocholang for two days and many were the tales
traded between the Dragonfriend's Teller, Gudny, and King Kocholang's,
Beilrunya Buttertongue. In the end all declared that Gudny was the
more masterful teller and that King Dragronfriend's deeds were glorious
to hear. The noble Garundyar gifted King Dragonfriend with his great
horn and pledged to fight with him when called.
When next I
met Gudny Alakoringsson it was Fire Season in the 10th year of King
Kocholang - 1632. The Stormchaser came out of the clouds atop his
fearsome sky-bull and landed before Lord Garundyar's hall. With
him was a massive shadow cat with uncanny eyes, a score of Gudny's
picked champions and the Humathsson, Lothar of the Two Swords.
from his hall to personally to greet Gudny and Lothar. The visitors
responded properly, praised Garundyar's might and hospitality and
asked for guesting at his hearth. Garundyar replied thusly: "There
is no reason for you to ask for my hospitality. You are both valiant
warriors and among the best of men. You are always welcome in my
With that Garundyar
led his guests into the hall. He called for meat, mead and salt
to be brought. He sat Gudny and Lothar on the High Bench - Gudny
to his right, Lothar to his left and served them himself - the Lord
chose not to notice when a passing bowl of milk curdled from the
grim presence of Lothar. We all feasted long into the night and
traded news of our feats since last the lords had met. They spoke
of this and that, of their children, grandchildren and wives. Lothar
spoke of the Moon Berg. Garundyar spoke of the Sack of Otkorian.
Then Gudny stood
and gifted Garundyar richly. "This golden bow was taken from
the palace of the Emperor of Dara Happa by the Heortling, Harangot
when he sacked the City of Gold during the wars against The Deceiver."
Garundyar thanked Gudny for his gift and praised him for his generosity.
Now Gudny spoke again: "Mighty Garundyar, brother of High King
Kocholang, I seek a boon."
replied thusly: "Thunderer, you and your king saved our people
and my brother from the sorcerers of Otkorian. Ask what you would
and I will move Top of the World itself to make it so."
"I would like to be adopted into the royal family of Lankst."
"Then we must speak with the King. There will be tests but
such as you would be more than worthy of being my kin." He
turned to Lothar and looked the question at him.
his head, "I am Humath's man, I have no kin but His swords."
In the morning
Lord Garundyar took Gudny to speak with the king.
High King Kocholang
replied much as Garundyar had. "I would be honoured to have
a proven champion like you as my kin. It strikes me though that
this is a strange request. You have no interests in Lankst, you
have considerable interests in Sartar, and your devotion to your
king's cause would make it unlikely that you would be considering
a move to our land."
the king for his words. "My interest in you kinship has more
to do with my quest to emulate Alakoring than it does to gain any
power in Lankst." Then Gudny explained to the king and his
advisors that his aim was to raise rebellion in Aggar against the
Empire, "much as Alakoring did against the despised EWF. With
your approval and support, I would become part of the royal house
of Lankst, as was Alakoring. I would quest against the wolfmen and
the dragonmen, as did Alakoring. Then I would take my warband over
the mountains to Aggar, as did Alakoring."
nodded at this, "You have grand plans and there will be much
danger for you in this. We owe you a great boon for the aid that
you gave us when we needed it. Here is what I shall do: We shall
test your suitability to be of the royal house of Lankst - as you
are Kodigvari, I don't think the tests will be too difficult. Having
passed those tests I will give you permission to raise a warband
from those of my champions who would follow you."
The next day
the king and his advisors listened as his Knowing Man tested Gudny's
knowledge of their myths. Though Gudny's knowledge of local heroes
and tales was no better than any cottar, his tellings of the gods
were unmatched by any in the hall.
The next day
the king and his ring subjected Gudny to trial-by-combat. Gudny
out-wrestled Cuiltach the Homely. His lightning-javelins flew further
than Neirdra the Red's. He rode Brunjarl, his skybull, _over_ the
course while racing the Lightning Knight Ailbry Koolysson - to much
laughter all around. The king's Mastakosthane Saelrot the Mover
out-raced him in chariots.
Lightning Knights drew lots to see who would have the honour of
testing Gudny's blade, Sheamus the Stomper won. He drew his helm
low over his eyes and crouched behind his shield. Gudny summoned
Ohorlanth's blessings and let loose a shout that startled Sheamus
so badly he landed on his rear. Gudny apologised to the champion
and helped him up with a smile. They fought with axes, without blessings,
and Gudny defeated his foe after a hard-fought contest.
Next the king
tested Gudny's magic. Gudny made it snow on a sunny day. He brought
a fertilising rain to the queen's vegetable garden. Finally, Gudny
stepped atop Black Cloud and flew through the air on the daimone's
The king's next
test was of wisdom. He sat with Gudny and they spoke of what a leader
was. They traded poems and battle tactics. They debated before the
king's court and discussed the laws of their lands.
On the fifth
day, Windsday, King Kocholang consulted with his ring and then declared
that Gudny was a mighty follower of Orlanth and a suitable champion
of Lankst. He gathered his people before Dunrigh and summoned his
clan's ancestors. King Kocholang invoked the blessings of Alakoring
and of the ancestors. He called for their approval to formally adopted
Gudny into his family, "as though he were one of my own sons."
All those present saw the ancestor Huirach Hot-Tongue go to Gudny
and hand him a token. Gudny smiled and promptly spit fire from his
mouth . The clan set up a mighty weapontake showing their approval.
That was the
night that I joined Gudny's warband, the Thunderspears.
Over the next
few days Gudny never stopped. He visited the local temples and made
sacrifices to the local heroes. He was especially interested in
Muirtach Wolfbane and spent an entire day there in prayer and ritual
preparation. At every place that he visited he won over the thanes
and godyr and gathered another handful of warriors for his quest
against the wolf-men. At Beacanstead he spent a day helping with
the Deathman visited the local clans and spoke with the Humathi
there. He made sacrifice at the temple in Ciarglade and fought several
ritual duels with the various champions.
When Gudny was
ready, he gathered his band, a scant two score, about him. Included
in his band was Lothar the Wolfbane who had taken those days to
prepare himself for a great wolf-killing. There was Borne Gudnyssman,
Skorvijji Unseen a scout and more champions. Gudny said the words
that Alakoring said and named Lothar as the Sword of Lankst. He
gave Lothar his own sword, as Alakoring did and stepped onto the
chariot that King Kocholang had loaned him. Then he led his host
along the trail that Alakoring had ridden into Telmoriland.
He stopped at
the Grey Cairn and performed the ritual summoning of Telmor. The
summoning went on into the dark of night. When Elmal was at his
weakest the wolves came, five-score telmori warriors and wolfbrothers.
Gudny and his champions tore into their foes like a hurricane storm.
Lothar strode among them like an avenging fury; nine and ten telmori
were sent to their spirits by the Humathi himself.
That was when
Rworg OverGlen, a mighty champion of his pack called forth his challenge.
As he was bound by his quest to do, Gudny accepted it and his thanes
to challenge Gudny's identification with Alakoring. "You are
not Alakoring," he said. "Your tattoos are those of a
I am Alakoring! Would a foreigner breathe fire like the High King's
clan?" replied Gudny swelling with power as his magic strengthened.
"Am I not wearing a white tunic given to me by my daughter
like Alakoring did?"
not Alakoring," said Rworg, "for he was the King of Lankst."
the King would have ridden here in the King's chariot?" Gudny
replied. "Am I not of the royal house of Lankst? Am I not served
by the Sword of Lankst?" At that Rworg could think of nothing
more to say and prepared to fight.
The two of them
battled to and fro with sword and claw, tooth and shield. In time
Rworg lay on the ground and Gudny stood with his sword to the telmori's
throat. Rworg swore to pay the ritual tribute and, in the Ralian
way, Gudny laid this geas upon him, "You will loyally serve
me for one turning of the seasons."
And then Gudny
gathered his band, had the healers tend to the wounded and returned
to Dunrigh with the tribute, a mule load of rich pelts and five
thralls - we also carried back the pelts of the wolves we had slain.
Gudny gifted the tribute to King Kocholang before his people and
spoke of the valour of his warband. He spoke eloquently of Lothar's
wolf-killing prowess and described the bravery of several members
of his band. Then the thane Raegan o'Carrekmoore stepped forth and
described the battle between Gudny and the telmori champion. The
people of the clan were greatly impressed with the quest and the
success that Gudny had achieved.
thanked Gudny for his gifts and called for a feast. Two boars were
brought out and roasted while barrels of mead and ale were broken
open and served around. The King sat on his high seat with his ring
to his left. To his right were Gudny and Lothar with the rest of
us victorious thanes below them. Gudny's alynx-companion, Shadowstalker,
curled around his feet and fed well from the scraps that I fed him
- the cat had slain three wolves on his own in the battle.
were at their highest the king stood and shouted down the noise
in the room. "Last week we adopted a new man into our clan
and into my family, Gudny the Stormchaser." We all erupted
into cheering. "Quiet!" shouted the king. "Tonight
I tell you that he is not just my son-by-choice, this man is a champion
in his own right!" To much cheering and acclaim Kocholang gifted
Gudny with a gold-chased, tin armband and a tin torque. Gudny thanked
King Kocholang for his generosity and tried to recite a verse in
praise of the king - but his command of our language failed him.
In the morning
there were several devotees of humath waiting to speak with Lothar,
with them was their priest Lunn Mac Dara, and so Lothar returned
to Ciarglade Temple with them. I learned later that week that Lunn
wished to learn the myths of Lothar's hero, Guandair Wolf-killer,
and that several of the deaththanes asked to follow Lothar back
over the mountains when he went.
Gudny also had
several warriors clamouring to join his band. There was Larkin Wide-Eye,
a Jarl of Bemurok - whom Gudny named Urox - with his styrmen; Laughing-Meallan,
an godyr of Siglaf Cloudcrusher; Fergal the Racer, Niall Ormsbane
and Andraste Mile-Thrower. There were some 40 in all. Not all of
them were thanes but all were hard men who had fought in the front
in a dozen battles. Gudny gave those that did not own mail a byrnie
once we crossed the mountains.
We spent the
next week preparing for the next part in Gudny's quest. We offered
great sacrifices to Alakoring Dragonbreaker and Orvanshagar the
Dragonslayer. We put on the white woad of ormslaying and took up
our swords. Then, led by Gudny and Lothar - once more named Sword
of Lankst - we rode off into Ormsland following the path that Alakoring
took when he went to kill the Inhuman King.
we slew a band of wild scout dragonewts. We rode on through Ciaran's
Ford and ritually defaced the Orm's Plinth that stood there. Then
we came to Victory Plinth where Alakoring slew the Inhuman King
and saw that his bones lay there still. There, drawn by the power
of the ritual, the dragonewts attacked.
The scouts hurled
stones from the tree line. We replied with javelins and crushing
noise. Lothar stood tall and called on Humath, "I call for
your blessings, Humath, Lord of Endings. End this creature's time
on this plane." With that one of the scouts, high in a tree,
fell over dead and his soul sped on its way to thralldon in Humath's
hall . With what sounded like a cry of outrage, a horde of warriors
burst from the trees. They swarmed over Beagan the Karian and crashed
into our shield wall - most seemed intent on reaching Lothar.
It was amazing.
The Sword of
Lankst spun and danced with his blades flashing about him. With
every swipe of his swords another warrior fell dead. Gudny's swordthane,
Vedda the Killer thrust her spear straight through another warrior.
Korbin Gudnysson floated into the air and lashed the swarming ranks
with furious hail. Larkin Wide-Eye, frothing at the lips, clove
his berserk way through the orms. Gudny struck out with his thunderbolt
and slew seven warriors.
Then a noble-orm
strode from the trees. He heroically leapt over the battling warriors
and struck at Lothar with his lightning reflexes - he struck at
Lothar's soul. Lothar turned his death face on the noble and so
startled it that it missed its strike. That was when I saw the very
best display of swordwork I every hope to see. Lothar struck so
fast that I thought he was carrying seven swords. That noble came
apart so fast and into so many pieces that I would not have believed
it had I not seen it.
That was when
the ruler dragonewt flew into the grove and dove at Gudny. The Stormchaser
hurled a silver coin at the orm and leapt into the sky when it flinched.
He struck the distracted ruler with crushing noise and crashing
hail. The orm tried to deflect the energy and reflect the magic
but with little success. Gudny blinded it with storm darkness and
struck it again and again. We all stopped to watch the maelstrom
of magic over our heads: flashing lighting, billowing fire, rolling
thunder, terrible cries and - periodically - falling silver coins.
Well, in time,
Gudny struck the orm down. We cheered ourselves hoarse while the
warriors and scouts fled into the trees. Gudny took up the klanth
from the fallen ruler and claimed as his by right of victory.
It was Borne
Gudnyssman who asked our lord why he hurled coins at the orm. "Orvanshagar
shared the dragonewt's weakness with me. He believed that silver
would poison his soul and would do anything to avoid it. It distracted
him quite nicely." We all cheered him at this and then set
about healing the wounded and counting the dead.
We rode back
to Dunrigh with the skins from 15 scout and warrior dragonewts,
the noble dragonewt and the ruler - we had burned the rest along
with their foul weapons in offering to Alakoring and Orvanshagar.
Gudny greeted King Kocholang well when we returned and proudly displayed
his great klanth. We also carried a boar and a great stag caught
along the way. Well, the king called for another feast to congratulate
us on our feats. Garundyar composed a stirring poem to Lothar's
deadliness and Gudny's valour. Gudny presented half of the skins
to the king as a gift.
In the morning
Lord Lothar bid us all farewell and rode to the east. He took with
him a handful of humathi champions that had sworn to see the Poison
Moon brought down. Before he left, Lothar said that he was riding
for Halikiv where he had more followers, Darkmen, waiting for him.
Once there he planned on crossing the Rockwood Mountains through
Uz-paths and making his way back to his king in Bagnot.
Gudny also announced his intention to return over the mountains.
"As Alakoring did," Gudny said to the king. "I know
that the Empire will continue to plague the Orlanthi until it is
destroyed entirely. I must carry my war to them."
made sure that we all had food enough for our journey, some two
weeks worth we estimated, and warm cloaks to help us fare over the
mountains. Our losses from the dragonewts had been more than made
up for with more warriors coming in from the surrounding clans and
tribes. They had all heard of the Alakoringson, Gudny.
It was nearing
the end of Ernalda's time when I last saw Dunrigh, the gleaming
hall of King Kocholang. There were nearly a hundred of us that followed
Brunjarl and his rider out of the valley - accompanied by a band
of Lightning Knights who would return with our abandoned horses.
We rode from
Vesmonstran and passed into the wild lands of Vustria. We had a
small encounter with a band of broo - with a long hundred of riders
any encounter is small - and then rode into Delela.
In Delela we
stopped at each town that we came to and Gudny named himself Alakoring.
He defeated their champions in ritual combat and accepted tokens
of their submission to the Dragonbreaker. In each town he spoke
of the Evil Empire and his quest - Alakoring's quest - to free the
world of its curse. In each town our warband grew until there were
over 150 of us following the Stormchaser.
It was Clayday
when we reached the stone hill called King's Last Stop. Windsday
began when Elmal retreated from the sky and our ritual began. We
painted the blue woad of the Mover on ourselves and burnt a chariot
in sacrifice. We continued the ritual through the night and when
Elmal returned to his place in the sky we flew to join him.
When night fell
again we were deep into the mountains. We stopped in a barren and
windswept valley on the shoulder of Soren Mountain. As we huddled
in our cloaks Gudny threw off all of his clothes and pranced in
the winds maintaining the ritual. We had a brief encounter with
ice demons but drove them off without loss and without Gudny losing
In the morning
we took to the air again came out of the mountains over Aggar near
Drenth. We landed at King's Rest, the site where Alakoring had landed,
in the temple that crowned the hilltop. I don't think that the priests
there, to Alakoring Rex, knew what to think of us all.
That is, I don't
think that they knew what to think until Gudny recited the ritual
Northron. I am Alakoring, Telmor-victor, Ormsbane and Champion of
Delela. I defeated the Empire in my lands and have brought my host
to help you loose the bonds that they hold you with."
That set them
running about in a tizzy shouting like women. "He's come!"
"It's Alakoring" "Where're my pants?"
the rest of that day and the next speaking with the priests and
godyr of the temple. I was not party to the discussions but I later
learned that he was trying to convince them that he was a hero of
Alakoring and to support his call to arms in Aggar. We made camp
as Alakoring did and Gudny's priests continued the ritual that had
brought us here.
Fate took a hand and the argument ended. Those Sons of the Chaos
Moon, the Lunars, attacked our encampment and the temple.
led by Gudny's companion Shadowstalker had watched the column approach
through Wildday. There were horsemen from the Chiton Lancers and
a warband - Gudny called it a vexilla - of Lunar infantry from some
noble's private army. There were about 350 of them in total.
is that this band had come in pursuit of a group of refugees or
guerrillas. I don't think that they were expecting over a hundred
battle-hardened veterans that were empowered to fight them by the
When the lunars
charged the temple their archers shot down those few priests that
tried to fly. Gudny roared in hatred and charged strait into their
ranks. I would swear that he was utterly fearless of death and didn't
seem to care if he lived or not.
We hurled long
prepared javelins into the teeth of the charging chaos spawn and
formed Bemurok's Bullshead wedge. Larkin Wide-Eye and Tharn Raindancer
- both of them mighty champions who have stood in the front for
more years that I remember - led our charge into the midst of the
lunars. The local Aggari took up spears and warded the temple from
the lunar horsemen.
through the lunar line with his bodythane Borne and his swordthane
Vedda on his heels. He hewed the enemy's banner, slew their captain
with crushing noise and then turned his thunderbolt onto the milling
In 10 minutes
of furious combat the lunars were surrounded and their chaotic attack
As we tended
to our wounded Gudny passed among the men praising a deed there,
congratulating a survivor there.
a few more days speaking with the priests and finally convinced
them to support him if he could finish the Tasks of Alakoring. I
think that the argument that finally convinced them was that he
knew the Fourth Task, one that was a secret of the Alakoring cult.
While we waited
for all of that to be settled we spoke with the Aggari attending
the temple. One of the interesting things that I heard was a tale
I was speaking
to Dreng Hillstalker who came from Billiz. Dreng told me that Lothar
had come down out of the mountains with a large band of trolls and
Ralians and was guesting at Dreng's village before passing on into
of his journey from Dunrigh. He and his half-dozen men rode through
Vustria without trouble. They travelled through Delela and ignored
the warnings of the locals not to ride in the East Wilds on account
of the Galanani curse. "If somebody has a problem with me riding
a horse they can take it up with me personally," retorted Lothar.
Well, to the
east of Istakax a band of Galanani did take it up with Lothar. After
he slew a score of them the rest retreated and shot arrows at him
and his band. In return, the Deathson dismembered one of his pack
horses and told the nomads that he would do more of them if they
didn't stop bothering him. He vowed to track them across the land
and through the forests if they continued to harass him. The power
of his outrage and the strength of his magic caused all of the grass
in a 20 yard circle to wither and die. Three wounded nomads screamed
in pain and passed onto their afterlife on the spot. Faced with
this intimidating vow the Galanani withdrew and Lothar had no further
trouble with them.
Lothar was set upon by a trollish ambush. Thirty trollkin and twenty
dark trolls attacked the seven humathi. The attackers were led by
two Zorak Zoran beserkyr with several zombies. Lothar sent the trollkin
fleeing with a great shout of fear. He summoned the blessings of
Humath and enacted his zombie score feat to slay all of the zombies
in one furious attack. Then he leapt at the beserkyr. The first
one died instantly with his head cut right off of his shoulders.
The second raged at him attacking furiously with his lead mace.
Lothar casually slaughtered several dark trolls that came in reach
while he battled the berserkyr and finally cut the troll in two
through the torso.
continued onto the Castle of Lead having tied two of their wounded
on their horses and carrying before them both berserkyr heads on
spears. Once they passed into Halikiv Lothar was greeted as Gudradsbane
and accorded great honour by the trolls there. The very imminence
of the Deathsson kept all trollkin far from him. Trollish healers
quickly helped with his wounded. Lothar learned that the two berserkyrs
had heard of his approach from hunters and gone to slay him for
having defeated Gudrad on his previous visit.
Lothar was not
allowed to enter the Castle for he was not a troll. He was invited
to become one and remain there as Champion but declined. "That
would be as Arkat had done and Arkat was a traitor to my god."
By this time
news of his arrival had spread through the lands and the band of
trolls that had sworn to wait for him came out to greet him. Following
them was a hulking warrior named Torthug Two-span - for his arms
were twice the length of any other trolls.
at Lothar and said, "These warriors are guardians for their
Mothers. They will not leave with you." Lothar stared back
and replied, "They have chosen Humath and my god will not be
denied. Neither you nor your Mother want to come between the Severer
and those devoted to him." Torthug replied that he was bound
to fight a ritual duel for the Mother's sake but Lothar said that
none of his fights were ritual. "If you can best me Deathsman
I will serve you and worship your god."
the troll could do much more than heft his mace, Lothar had cut
the lead weapon into three pieces, hacked his shield into splinters
and carved Humath's rune into the troll's breastplate. With Severance
pressing between his legs and Deathbringer kissing his neck Torthug
agreed that Lothar was a formidable warrior and worthy of his loyalty.
It took Lothar
another day to find a troll that knew the trollish ways through
the Rockwood Mountains. In that time his new followers gathered
what moveable property that they had and then followed their new
On their first
night in the mountains mutual distrust and disdain flared into fighting
within the camp between the Lanksti and the Halikivi. Lothar moved
among them stopping the fighting and arranging honour duels between
them. He taught the trolls the code of the Humathi and once the
duels were done all had agreed that the others were formidable fighters
in their own ways.
On their fourth
night under the mountains they discovered a nest of chaos living
in the tunnel. Able to see by the Humath-light of their blades and
through their darksenses, the band handily purged the infestation.
After that they
passed uneventfully into Billiz a few days before we arrived at
With the approval
- if not outright support - of the priests, Gudny set out to complete
the Four Tasks.
We rode south
and east through the foothills. Gudny spoke with every clan that
we met and told them of his quest. We learned that all of the highlands
seethed with discontent and were nearing rebellion. Chief's told
us that the High King's tax collectors were travelling with large
warbands to guarantee their safety and to intimidate the highlanders
into paying. Gudny promised that the King's days were numbered.
We crossed the
Soren River at Wuffas Ford where we fell upon a garrison of the
Lunar King's army and put them to the sword. We found a chest with
the collected tolls from the bridge and Gudny gave half of it to
the nearby clans.
At Tall Cedar
Village we met up with Lothar again and Gudny enacted another ritual,
that of Alakoring Tames the Wolfmen. We turned into the mountains
and passed into the Wolf Wilds. Answering the summons of the ritual,
the Telmori elders awaited us at the Great Rock. Gudny spoke with
them for 3 days and in the end proved that he was Alakoring. Gudny
gifted them well and promised more if they would supply a warband
to fight for him in the liberation of Aggar. Lothar, in the roll
of Sword of Alakoring, defeated several Telmori champions and so
the Elders agreed to leave Aggar in peace and provide the ritual
tribute to Gudny. They further agreed to consider his request for
From there Gudny
led his band down the south side of Soren River. Most people were
happy to speak with him and vengeance was taken on many lunar sympathisers
while we were there. Lothar stood in judgement on many and detected
any and all lies told in his presence. Gudny smiled as this was
also as Alakoring had done.
We passed into
the hills around Angry Lake and came to the hall of King Leikan
of the Vandaros Tribe some 10 weeks after Gudny had last been here.
Gudny greeted King Leikan well and the King greeted Gudny with great
with the king of the evils of the lunars and how the highlands could
throw them off. He spoke of the wars in Tarsh, the freeing of Sartar
and the disruption of the Provinces. He spoke of the new Rinliddi
kingdom and the new Carmanian kingdom. "Now is the right time
to rise up and free Orlanth from this tyranny! Let those that teach
these foul ways be cast into the lake and those that have held to
the true ways step forth!" King Leikan agreed to support Gudny
in secret and said that if Gudny could gain the support of the other
kings then he would rise up in the name of Alakoring and do everything
that he could to throw off the hated empire. Then two of them discussed
the politics of the region and Gudny learned much that was useful.
caught a traitor sneaking out of the king's hall that night, going
to tell of the happenings at the high table no-doubt. The traitor
was the King's Knowingman, Gwarthur Gortsson. King Leikan threw
him into the lake with a necklace of stones.
And so Gudny
rode around the lake meeting with each of the Tarkaling kings that
surrounded it. Most replied as King Leikan had, they hated the empire
and the High King. They longed for the freedom from oppression and
just awaited the proper moment and the proper leader to rise in
rebellion. Those said that they would follow Gudny if he could complete
The only trouble
came at Korenston, where the King Harald the Red had his seat. Harald
was the king of the Jonrys Tribe and a devoted convert to the Lunar
Way. Lothar made short work of the King's hearth troops and Gudny
struck the king down as Alakoring had to Bad-King Vurgas. Speaking
with several of the clan chiefs in the Jonrys, Gudny left it to
them to find a new king. Three of the clan chiefs fled their halls
rather than meet with Gudny Alakoringsson.
When Gudny returned
to King Leikan's hall three weeks after leaving it he had tokens
from seven tribes.
Now Gudny took
a boat onto Angry Lake and went to Aerela's Island. He prayed at
the shrine there, enacting the Alakoring Meets Aerela ritual and
then walked into the lake alone.
Gudny told me
later what happened there.
down a set of stairs carved in the side of the island. Below the
frothing waves of the lake he entered a tranquil area and watched
fish swim by. He continued down the stairs and entered Aerelanir,
Aerela's Hall - Aerela being the goddess of the lake. In the hall
Gudny was greeted by the Aerelings. His weapons were taken and stacked
by the door. His armour hung on a rack in the corner and warm towels
brought to refresh him. Aerela sat before her high seat lost in
her well and said, "Kind Aerela, Goddess of the Lake, I know
the cause of your pain and why your lake is forever churned by angry
currents. You loved Alakoring and though he could not stay with
you his life meant much to you."
at him coldly, "You have great courage coming into my lake
and speaking to me of this. What gives you the right?"
"You loved Dead-Alakoring. I am Alakoring-Come. I am here to
buoy your heart once again and calm the waters of the lake."
Then he showed her the tokens from Lankst and Telmoriland; Ormsland
and Delela; the Wolf Wilds and the Tarkaling Kings and gave her
the gift that Alakoring had used to win her heart and her bed -
and he won her heart and her bed.
In return, Aerela
gave him the Water Torque, the symbol of the Alakoring Kings of
When Gudny came
out of the lake the waters were calm and churned no more.
As soon as Gudny
returned from Aerelanir he began his preparations for the fourth
Task - the secret task. It turned out that Alakoring had gone to
the City of 10,000 Magicians and slain their Explorer Dragon-Soul
leaving them with naught but their Introspection Dragon-Soul. With
their interest in the outside world dead, the magicians there were
no longer a threat to him and he went on with his war against the
So Gudny prepared
to embark on Alakoring's second dragonbreaking quest. He spent a
week in preparations and then walked off on his own, sky-clad carrying
naught but a comb and a broken klanth. He flew over the lake and
passed into Forantin Land. In the Laughing Glade he repeated the
ritual words and slew two Scholar-Priests from the city and their
guards. Before Weeping Grotto he slew another. Before the gates
of the city the Explorer Dragon manifested itself as a wizard named
Khorossham the Seeker.
Gudny knew that
Khorossham was an innovative magician and was encouraging the magicians
in the city to cast their eyes beyond the city's walls, for that
was where he felt that new knowledge was to be found and that was
where he felt the ancient dragon magics stirring. As such, Khorossham
embodied the Explorer Dragon reborn and was drawn into Gudny's ritual.
his dragon spells at Gudny, manifesting as the Dragon's breath,
but Gudny caught them and wrapped them in the tines of his comb.
Khorossham cast his fire spells at Gudny, manifesting as a flaming
claw, but Gudny quenched it with his storms. Then Gudny leapt at
the Explorer Dragon and struck it with the broken klanth. He struck
once, twice and finally thrice killing Khorossham before the gates
of his city.
With the death
of their Explorer-Soul, the magicians in the city turned once more
from the world around them and resumed their centuries-long introspection.
to King Leikan's hall with the Explorer's token. Then he gathered
20 of us and rode hard for the Autumn Mountains. He passed into
a high mountain pass and then walked into a hidden valley, a short
world where a great treasure, the horde of Harangot, was kept. He
selected some items from the horde and then rode back to King Leikan's
From the King's
hall Gudny summoned the priests of Alakoring and invited the Tarkaling
kings to meet with him on Aerela's island.
When the kings
and priests had gathered Gudny showed them all the tokens he had
collected and recited the deeds he had done. He made the priests
acknowledge him as Alakoring. He richly gifted each king with powerful
Thunder Spears, marks of defiance against the Empire. He called
on them to withhold their tribute from the Bad-King Rassius and
to hold themselves ready for rebellion - for the time was soon.
The kings all
agreed to ready themselves and to spread the word of the coming
a few more days in Aggar speaking with this king and that champion.
Then, just before he left, he sent a bag of wind to each of the
local Sun Dome temples that he had learned were loyal to Sota Lamplighter.
With each bag was a message that Gudny wished to speak with Sota
and that opening the bag would release an umbroli ready to carry
a message to Gudny from Sota.
With that Gudny
led his band through Ormsgone and journeyed back to Tarsh to rejoin
 King Kocholang's
clan has the ability to breathe fire. [David Dunham's website]
 A dragonewt's soul reincarnates in its egg after death so being
severed from that cycle of birth and rebirth by the magic of Humath
is a terrible thing to do to one.