It came to
pass that Orlanth was away at Yinkinsgrove - mediating a dispute
between Vadrus' Hurts Everything clan and the Earth-Crawlers -
when the news came to Humakt that Korkrendle the Breathless was
bringing an army of the Unbreathing  to the Storm Realm.
was a fearsome foe with a hole where his breath should have been.
He was mad with envy that Orlanth's people had something - breath
- that he did not. The Storm Tribe feared Korkrendle for their
magics were of no use against him. He took them into his breath-hole
and grew stronger.
was afraid of Humakt though, for Death was everyone's master.
This time, Korkrendle was bringing enough force to overwhelm the
Sword and steal the breath from all in the Storm Tribe.
naught for he is death. He gathered an impromptu band of thanes,
carls and cottars to defend the village.
his band to Thunder Barracks and demanded a ring tunic for each.
The warriors scoffed and boasted of their might.
is not given much to boasting but at this time he did. So grim
were his words that some of his new followers quietly left and
the humiliated warriors within quickly provided identical tunics
the entire band.
went to Gustbran and asked for weapons for the band. The Redsmith
was arguing with his apprentice over some missing ore and refused.
Humakt spoke the truth of the matter and Bonesmith provided each
levyman with the same sword . Some couldn't hold the hot-glowing
hilts and dropped them in pain. Humakt left them nursing their
strode into Inginew's forge and asked him to make a battle mask
for each of his followers. Inginew could not, for Eurmal had made
off with his last lump of iron.
Now the Lord
of Death had seen Minlinster ride south that morning and was certain,
as only Death can be, where to find the Trickster. And so he strode
into the Brewmaster's hall and found Eurmal, head-first in a vat
of honey mead. So dark was the Sword's glare that the mead soured
in fear. Eurmal came to the surface with a sputter and a wretch.
he exclaimed. "Come to drink with me?" He moved to a
new vat and pulled a crude iron mug from his cloak. He offered
drinks around and some of those poor souls following Humakt accepted.
and demanded the return of Inginew's ore. So afeared was Eurmal
that he immediately handed over his mug and explained how he had
seen it and thought it would make a good mug.
Humakt and his remaining band gained identical battle masks from
Inginew. Now, Humakt stood with the band and none could tell them
one from another.
And so Humakt
took his band and hid them across the Breathless' trail. One was
hidden on Torvas Hill, one in Baethrin's Gulley, another near
Peni Stream and so on.
approached Blue Oak Valley Humakt stepped from the trees. "You
will not pass," he said. The enemy host shuddered but Korkrendle
laughed. "You cannot stop us all Slayer!"
The host turned
to climb Torvas Hill but another Humakt stepped onto the hillcrest.
That same, grim voice came from behind both masks, "You will
The host turned
to Baethrin's Gulley and a third Humakt stepped from behind a
boulder. "You will not pass," grated three voices.
stopped them at Peni Stream. Five at the Burnt Fir. Six at the
Badger Bank. The host trembled with fear, as more Humakts appeared
to block every path that they tried.
will not pass."
told his followers that there was only one Humakt but his captains
edged back. With a shout of rage the Unbreathing One charged at
the nearest Humakt.
form shuddered and swelled with power. Humakt met the monster
in battle while his followers watched on from behind their masks.
Korkrendle made to take Humakt's Breath but he could not, for
the Death God's Breath came through Havan Vor and the Vale of
Death. His fear conquered his rage and he ran with his host behind