There was discussion of how to mythically align the clan. Another concern was the distribution of cattle. Horselegs proposed that the clan own all cattle, but few wanted to give away the status of cow-owner. Illig, Theya, and Heorl proposed redistributing cattle until everyone had suffered the same loss, and Vargast agreed.
The clan had built seven steads. Vargast, Theya , Heorl, Honey-Elena, ??? were the heads of the households.
The Hiordings and Lonisi continued to consider the Varmandi as trespassers. The Karandoli seemed to accept the Varmandi's presence in Swan Valley. The Malani seemed content with what they'd taken. It was said that the Angry Young Men were violent in Colymar land.
Vargast asked Heorl to take a small group with a gift of four horses to the Karandoli. His retelling of Baranthos's deeds was not well received.
Horselegs and some of the herd boys spotted a group of men led by Leikan, a thane of the Lonisi, who claimed that the Varmandi were grazing on their land, and warned that the next time he wouldn't let them off so easy. Horselegs said, "The first one who throws, dies. I am the brother of Baranthos the Thunderer." After another exchange, Horselegs said, "May we never take you as hostages." As one of them grabbed his javelin, Horselegs shot him with an arrow. Just then, Vargast arrived with reinforcements, and the Lonisi pulled back.
Horselegs and Svar went to the Orlmarth lands and obtained the support they needed to found an Odayla shrine in Varmandi lands.
The harvest was barely adequate. During Ernalda's high holy day, the girls were initiated. Brenna's dead twin was there; she said her name was Shelela, which meant Dead Sister in Earthtongue. She didn't want Brenna to leave, and that by going through the rites of womanhood she would lose something. Brenna said that she would gain the ability to bring new life, and that Dead Sister would be able to experience it through her.
As the young women returned from the earth, a woman nobody had seen was there, dressed in white feathers. She said, "You have taken what was my sons'." Although Theya tried to explain, she continued, "You insult me twice. First for taking it, then for raising shrines to war." Theya said it was the wyrd of the Varmandi. Sofeela replied that she didn't accept it, and left.
At the Kero Fin shrine, Theya opened the grave of Dead Sister, and made an amulet from her hand bones wrapped around a stone from her mother's hearth. She gave this to Brenna.
A Colymar trader showed up with lots of household goods. Onelisin bought two cow's worth of cooking gear, and gave him half a cow to secure a sword. He said that things were getting tense in the south. The older chiefs were getting worried about the Angry Young Men, and had asked the king to do something.
Just before Dark season, King Korlmar sent riders throughout Quivini lands. The king had a message for all free men within three days of Clearwine. He had hidden the Black Spear of the Colymar, and it is available for any man who can follow it.
Darkness spirits were seen at the edge of the tula during the winter. One time Horselegs saw the tracks of a totally unfamiliar beast. Another time along the southeast boundary he saw the largest procession of dark trolls he'd ever seen, but they paid him no mind. Heorl cast a divination, and learned that the apparitions were not a threat. After a week they disappeared.
Storm season brought prodigious storms. Horselegs demanded recognition as a rune lord. He passed the first tests, then Varmand appeared and asked him if he had the heart of a Varmandi. He finally accepted Horselegs, but asked him to swear to three things: to sacrifice himself for the clan, to defend the clan against all enemies, and to avenge him. Varmand told everyone that Horselegs was his runelord, and dedicated to war.
News came from the Colymar that Korlmar found the spear at the same time as 120 men and some women. They founded a new clan, and Korlmar was reacclaimed as king.
Vargast had twin boys.
Part 22 | Part 24
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