motion rune Kerenath's Saga air rune

1617 (Storm season)

They decided to attack the Lunar Slave Manor in Nymie Valley, hoping not only to liberate some of the thralls, but obtain booty. Yarastral, the Lunar priestess there, was known to have been accepted as an Ernalda priestess as well.

They made a cold, damp camp in the Thunder Hills. The next morning, Aslandar scouted the manor, but was spotted by a horseman. He fled with alynx speed.

Maniski led the raid, trying to emulate Varmand. The battle began poorly, as the hired Orlanthi defenders made the most of their horses. They burst into a hall, which turned out to be full of thralls. Kerenath took out one defender, but he and Kenrik were overwhelmed. One of the weaponthanes nearly defeated all of the Varmandi, but Kjarr finally took him down.

Kjarr then incited the thralls to riot. But the Lunar magicians invoked panic in the attackers, and they fled. Fifteen of the thralls ran with the Varmandi, but two of the wounded Varmandi were left behind.

They regrouped not far to the south. One of the freed thralls was angry and eloquent, with a fancy beard, and named Jarang. Another, named Pendark Irontongue, was an Issaries explorer who had run afoul of his chief. Martalor the Wanderer wore the runes of Mastakos.

One of the Varmandi decided to return home, doubting Maniski's war luck, but the freed thralls decided to accompany the Varmandi.

Kerenath gave his heirloom sword Head-Sharp to Pendark, since he was weaponless.

They continued south, but Pendark began to notice the signs of aldryami. Worse, the path behind had become overgrown by vegetation. Kerenath helped Pendark call upon Issaries to find the path.

They decided not to risk crossing the Stream at Clearwine, and headed east into the hills. They heard horns, and saw four Konthasos horsemen. Kerenath wanted to talk to them, but was convinced not to.

They made a camp, Kerenath calling on Narsendor's magic to make it defensible.

They determined to form a ring. Kerad and Martalor proclaimed their right to act as Orlanth. But Kerad's wind knocked Martalor down. Kerad named Pendark as Guide, Jarang as Lawspeaker, Penene (a Dovildan bandage roller) as Healer, Dorasa as She Who Waits, Aslandar as Flesh Man, and Martalor as Eurmal. But Martalor refused to be the butt of Kerad's jokes. When Maniski said that Martalor would be a fine Eurmali, Martalor challenged him to a duel. Pendark stepped up and volunteered to act as Eurmal, and Martalor was willing to act as Flesh Man, with Aslandar as Guide. The ceremony was not considered a complete success &emdash; everyone said the gods weren't present. Kerenath held a small feast to try to conciliate everyone.

Aslandar and Pendark picked out a path, and the group set off. They neared Alebard's Tower, a stone broch set on a hill, ruled by a famous Humakti. Kerenath rode forward, and was met by a horseman with blackened armor, who announced himself as Issik, Alebard's man. Issik said that anyone who came within range of Alebard's thrown sword feat should consider their life at forfeit. Kerenath befriended Issik, and then negotiated with Alebard, who refused to trade swords but agreed to trade war booty. Kerenath put up most of the wealth, and traded for enough warm clothing, stout caps, shields, and spears for everyone.

As they continued, they spotted a giant two-faced head made of rock. They made camp nearby.

They were attacked just before dawn. Count Julan, a woman dressed as a horse nomad, and Jarn Kalor, the Tarshite noble who had killed Kerenath's father Heorlath, led a group of Tarshite veterans. Aslandar spotted their approach, and Lekengor woke everyone and got them into a shield wall.

Julan told Kerad, "Surrender to the Emperor's justice." Kerad replied, "The Emperor has no justice." Julan answered, "Send your champion. If he loses, you come with me." Kerad refused, and Julan said, "I'm not surprised a murderer is also a coward, with no loyalty to his men." Then he said in Tarshite, "Kill them all."

The Tarshites pressed the attack. Kerenath attacked Jarn Kalor with the Lerith Sword. Jarn Kalor hurled his sharpened shield, but Kerenath knocked it away and gave him a wound. Kerad used winds to defend everyone from the nomad woman's flaming arrows. Julan dodged Lekengor's blow and struck him down. The Varmandi rallied. Kerenath slew Jarn Kalor with the Lerith Sword. Julan killed Kjarr, then retreated in good order with his men. Three of the band besides Kjarr were dead, and five Tarshites other than Jarn Kalor.

Penene saved Lekengor's life, but he was still grievously wounded.

Kerenath took Jarn Kalor's sharp-edged shield, and they looted the bodies. Maniski cut Jarn Kalor's head off. Kerenath made sure all the bodies were collected for a proper funeral, and they continued south to Enjossi lands.

The Enjossi were suspicious, but let Kerenath ride on to meet Wultharin Gravel-Gut. Wultharin's lawspeaker argued that king-slaying was an offense worth death, but Kerenath pointed out how Blackmor had attempted to change the worship of Orlanth. Nonetheless, Wultharin would not have the band cross his tula, though he did allow the burning of the dead. Kerenath left, telling Wultharin, "I do not think our paths will cross again."

They burned the dead, and skirted the Enjossi lands. Aslandar covered their tracks.

Kerenath kept Jarn Kalor's shield and sword, and gave his armor to Lekengor. Kerad distributed the other loot.

Many were worried that they were now being pursued not only by the Colymar tribe, but also by the Lunars.

Glossary | Part 9 | Part 10
Copyright ©1998 David Dunham. Last updated 24 Oct 98.

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