VAdrus Slays the Chieftain
- by Wesley Quadros
- as told by Bodal Kellson,
Lhankor Mhy sage from Boldhome
When Vadrus, brother of Orlanth, came upon the lands of Chief Beli he was greatly impressed with the strength of Beli's warriors and the sturdiness of his keep. Squatting atop a steep sided hill, Belisgra - as the hill fort was known -was surrounded by a great stone wall as tall as three men standing atop each other. Within the walls was enough space to shelter all of Beli's people and their belongings. Astride the hill's peak, was Beli's keep. A massive stone edifice with enough space to house 500 of his fiercest weapon-thegns.
Beli grudgingly granted guesting to Vadrus and led him into his hall. Beli's hall could sit 200 guests and the ceiling was higher than any but the most eagle-eyed could see. Beli sat Vadrus at his right side and had him served with the champion's portion of the feast.
While they ate, Vadrus' idle gaze passed out a nearby window and he spied a such a bull as he had not seen elsewhere but in Orlanth's own herd. Seeing a chance to have something to match his brother with, Vadrus turned to Beli and demanded the bull as a gift. Beli was incensed with this break of his hospitality and removed his blessing of hospitality. He demanded that Vadrus leave immediately.
Seeing the multitude of hard faces staring at him and the many gnarled hands groping for sword and spear, Vadrus strode from the hall and down the hill vowing to own the bull himself.
Knowing Vadrus' temperament, Beli summonded his huscarls to him and bade them keep watch in the night. He then sent the call for his fyrd to gather and defend their land against any evil that Vadrus may get up to.
In the morrow, Vadrus hurled his warband at Belisgra intent on stealing away the bull. Time and again the Vadrudi charged up that hill but every time they crested that great wall, Beli was there to throw them back again.
As night descended, the Vadrudi withdrew to reconsider their attacks. As Vadrus railed against their inability to take the keep a sinister looking little man was lead into his tent.
"I am called Judauhs and was of Belisgra until recently. Beli had me thrown out for not paying his tax." Judauhs was a slight man, with shifty eyes and a nervous twitch. All of this was belittled by the magnitude of the hatred that glowed in his eyes. "I can lead you to Beli's room in that keep" he said, "but I shall require a boon of you ere we part."
"You shall receive your boon and twenty marks in silver for this service!" affirmed Vadrus.
That night, none within Belisgra spied the fleeting shadows passing over their heads as Vadrus and his boon companions flew to the roof of the keep. Judauhs guided them to a spot where they set down with great care lest the alarm be cried. "Here-under lies Good King Beli," sneered Judauhs.
At Vadrus' nodded command, one of his men worked his dagger through the thatch and made an opening in the roof. Vadrus peered through the hole and espied his sleeping quarry. Taking one of his companions, Vadrus teleported next to Beli's bed. The king slept in blissful ignorance of his peril and never did find out as Vadrus had his head of in one mighty sweep of his sword. His companion did for Beli's wife as well.
Placing his trophies in a sack, Vadrus made his way back to the roof and flew off into the night with his band. Belisgra slept on.
In the morning, Beli's men found his decapitated body next to his wife's and a great cry was made around the fortress. Such was the grief at their misfortune that none noticed when Vadrus flew onto the hill and made off with the great bull.