332, Sea season
The omens for the coming year were bad, and the ring couldn't identify a specific threat. The city seemed to be threatened from all directions, and many people blamed the replacement of Lod-Barntar by Orlanth in the harvest rites.
Sekinmor departed on his quest for Baradom's wife, Redalda.
A boat arrived from Lakrene, carrying 20 men led by Jotasan Good-pledge, emissary of High King Orlmast. He gave Furlam four marks of silver, and asked, on behalf of the High King, if Furlam would lead his men in the campaign against Durleel. Furlam diplomatically declined.
Nallindia saw one of the northern planets cross over the sun. Everyone noticed the sun dim momentarily.
News came that Erilindia had proclaimed herself Queen of the Oslir, and had received the acclaim of the river folk.
In late Sea season, Furlam, Nallindia, Hrothgar, and Oswind took 40 men to the Kastangings, a small nearby clan which had paid tribute to Hestenus the Tyrant. They were brought to King Kaledin the Fox. Kaledin was a short man with red hair. He greeted Furlam as a brother. Furlam convinced Kaledin to swear oaths of friendship and support, rather than continue the previous tributary relationship between the Kastangings and Ernandel. Kaledin agreed to send ten warriors on a raid, and gave Furlam a black arrow. The Kastangings worshipped Odayla as their main god, but also gave worship to Orlanth's other sons.
Concerned that the Orlanteffings would raid, Furlam kept his warriors near the city, and asked Verdun to rebuild the city walls. Verdun left his stead to do so, and soon had the walls stronger than ever. Everyone marvelled at his skill.
While patrolling during Fire season, Oswind and his men spotted 60 horsemen and 300 footmen. King Terumath announced that he was here to accept tribute from Furlam Rich-man's son. "You've brought an awful lot of men for us to feast," replied Oswind. After a few more exchanges, Oswind asked to fight their champion. Terumath refused, since Oswind had nothing to offer. Oswind rode back to Ernandel.
Gulhenth offered a hundred men in defense of the city, fifty of them with true weapons. Furlam gave him a gift, reduced the dues, and granted him the right to counsel the ring.
The Orlanteffings lined up in front of the city, which had managed to put 200 men on the walls, though only 80 of them were seasoned warriors.
Terumath tried to goad Furlam into single combat. As Ernandel's champion, Hrothgar argued that if Terumath would fight anyone, it would be him. Terumath ignored Hrothgar, and began to ritually arm himself. He and the Orlanteffings had clearly been preparing for quite some time. Nallindia realized that Terumath was once again trying to identify himself with Gardar, his clan's founder, and cast Furlam in the role of a lesser rebel chieftain.
The god-talkers consulted hastily. They decided to identify Terumath as Valind, whom Orlanth defeated.
Furlam showed that Terumath wore the Ram's horns, as Valind does. Nallindia showed that he came down from the highlands, as Valind descended from the glacier. Martog showed that Terumath gave her shelter, as Valind had sheltered her troll kin in the Yolp mountains.
Terumath recognized that he had been tricked, and rose up into the air to attack. Cold winds buffeted the city. Taking the role of Orlanth Valind-conqueror, Hrothgar attacked with bolts of lightning. Ignoring the winds, he used his Eight Stroke feat, and Terumath fell, dead. The winds stilled, leaving behind silence and a shocked Orlanteffing fyrd.
The Orlanteffings broke and fled. Hrothgar rallied most of the trained warriors in pursuit. The Ernandel force killed 7 thanes and 20 carls, and took 10 thanes and 40 carls hostage. They took 17 horses, several sets of mail armor, and many weapons. Furlam gave handsome gifts to Hrothgar, and distributed plunder with a free hand.
Once word spread, Kaledin the Fox brought gifts. Furlam gave him arms for ten warriors. Aldeshtarlor of the Sardarkestings, largest clan of the Dara-ni, brought rich gifts, and made bonds of friendship. Both clans were granted trading rights, and the market prospered.
Furlam had Kothar make a fine plow, and gave it to Lanad, the priest of Lod-Barntar.
One day in Fire season, the air was perfectly still, without a single breeze. All storm-worshippers were momentarily short of breath, and Orlanth's statue shed a tear. Later, news came that the High King of the Heortlings had died in battle at that moment. Orlmast and his fliers had been grounded by Erilindia's priestesses, and cut apart. Orlmast had been king for 23 years. There would be a great moot at Grizzley Peak to choose a new king. Many made plans to attend, since this would be a once in a lifetime event.
Foreign merchants brought news from the north: one of the Emperor's warlords had declared himself Emperor. Dara Happa now had two Emperors.
Ernandel had captured the Orlanteffing regalia, including a grizzly bear pelt and a spear made of living bronze. Ten Orlanteffing thanes led by Gananstan Silky-beard came to Ernandel, offering sizable gifts, and requesting the return of their regalia and hostages. The ring released to them all the carls. Gananstan offered to submit disputes to the High Council of Dorastor. Nallindia suggested that the regalia would be given as a gift of friendship to their new king. Gananstan accepted.
The harvest was poor throughout Dara-ni, though Ernandel's was nearly average. Fortunately, no one blamed the Lanisti.
In late Earth season, a 50 man Orlanteffing delegation arrived. Their leader was Guntorl the Warlord of the Orlanteffing, who had been the most valiant in the fight. They were granted hospitality. Furlam gave Guntorl the regalia as a fraternal gift, and Guntorl gave strong pledges of friendship. There was a big feast, and a trade deal was hammered out.
The king of Sylila had received tribute from the city of Laradana. The king of the Kastangings had made an alliance with the king of Kafol.
Dark season came early -- one of the coldest winds in memory blew from the north. Dara Happan refugees came south as well. Sixty ragged refugees were granted cottar status, and proved remarkably servile.
One bitterly cold day, several dozen boats came upriver, hauled by horses and Dara Happan peasants. There were nearly 150 refugees. About a tenth were nobility and over 20 were ill-equipped warriors. Oswind delayed them while the notables came from Ernandel. Their leader was Murhardavu of Vonlath, cousin of Emperor Eridavu, and a descendent of Yelm. They were given guest-rights in Ernandel.
Murhardavu fled when the usurper Mahzanelm took power. Hrothgar, acting as did Kulebras, asked if he had brought the earth goddess, Murhardavu said he was married to a priestess of Naveria. Hrothgar offered to help her in exchange for her blessing, and Murhardavu said that she was pursued by 20 soldiers.
The ring agreed to let the refugees form their own subcommunity, subject to Ernandel.
Gulhenth, the guildmaster, insisted that there be no independent crafters. Furlam agreed that the Dara Happans had to sell through the guild.
Part Five | Part Seven
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