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The Tale of Vastyr's Winter Stead and Morak's Spirit Drum

- by Chris Bell

Vastyr was a chief of the Voronlings. When old man Voron went off to help Vingkot in the wars against the Uz, Vastyr was left to guard the Clan and the Tula. Vastyr was strong, wise and proud, and had taken 100 troll tongues in his time. He beat the solar general Airainus in a truth contest, showing that Orlanth's law was as equally valid as Yelm's (this won the friendship of the Arrowstorm), and devised a sword stroke that shattered the iron shells of the Mostali with a mere bronze blade.

At this time, the world was falling apart. Old Man Voron hadn't come back. Kero Fin, Mountain Mother, was silent. Fennoreth cried every day for the starving people. Ernalda was asleep, and most of the gods were dead. Orlanth had visited all the steads of all the people before he left, to say good bye and to give them hope and strength. Most said that Orlanth and the Lightbringers were dead, but Vastyr said, "Don't loose hope. He hasn't been beaten yet."

The stead was constantly assaulted by gangs of Broos, the children of traitorous Ralzakark. Their leader was Morak, a hideous monster with powerful chaos magic, and a phallus the size of a tree trunk. "If you give me the flying girl, I'll let you live. If you don't, I'll let loose Air Eater, and you'll all suffocate."

Air Eater was a ragged hole in space, which promised the annihilation of Chaos to all storm and wind. Vastyr and the clan held council.

"We'll not let him have you! We'll all die first!" Cried out Danavin two tongues.

As The Flying Girl floated there, here eyes red with tears, she said, "No. I won't have you die for me. But, we need magic to fight this horror, and allies. I need a man to go to the cave of the Ancestress Yarabing. She is a daughter of Kyger Litor, and no doubt knows fell secrets of combating Chaos. Also, I am not so weak that I can't keep that smell broo outside busy for a while. I am a sister of the Storm Bull, after all, and my brother is the King of the Gods!"

"But, who will step forth and go?"

Vastyr laid aside his Torc. He called his shield-thane, Markevi. "Markevi, warden of Elmal, will you guard the Stead, as your Master Elmal guards Orlanth's great Tula? I must take this trip alone, for I will not see the stead lose anyone else it needs for it's defense. Besides, as Chief, I serve all of you, and the weakest amongst us are the most precious."

Markevi took the Chief's shield. "Until you return, I will hold the torc in trust. I will not hold a new election until your voice reaches up from Havan Vor."

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May 1, 2001

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