1120, Earth Season
Before, I was worried that Talks was a wild barbarian, but now I know Lord Boltho is a wise and powerful leader. What victory! A whole village -- more than a hundred women -- and all the food, too! I went to him and pledged my obedience to him in his struggle for control. Once Lord Boltho owns this valley, I will be his chief overseer. A hundred women! Now I know why Shargash spared me from the Great Killing!
I am building a hidden grain pit, as Lodril the Survivor taught us, to hide food in case we are raided. I am also starting to improve the fortifications. There's a small wooden wall here, but the Great Green Shield it ain't.
One night we awoke to find a granary on fire. I saw a figure dancing in the flames inside. Everyone figured this must be a fire spirit, and Saserna consulted the goddesses and reported that they were unhappy. She knew of Raskela, a girl who fell or was pushed into a fire at a feast, and was now a fire shaman, living off to the south. We set off to beg her help, taking a young bull as a gift. For once, Cowcatcher did good work! He made that bull go just where I wanted.
Ettico found horse tracks coming from further south, almost certainly from Lotarion's stead. We thought they must be hunting. We found Raskela's hut, which was made of stones piled against a small cliff. The door appeared to be covered with apiece of dragon hide, and we didn't dare enter. We gave most respectful greetings, and a voice from above the hut asked us to speak of ourselves. Once we did, Raskela appeared at the base of the cliff, and agreed to help. She must be a powerful shaman!
Raskela announced that the hearth spirits were hungry. When households had been consolidated, they hadn't been maintaining the hearths. I pointed out what was so obvious -- that it really took a man and wife to properly consecrate a hearth! Saserna said she would be happy to act on behalf of any deceased male relatives if we wanted to marry. Volaria doesn't want to marry any of the village men, but most of us men have already found sweethearts here. Khorvash and Ettiko have found about eight each, I think.
Back to the Spirits -- Raskela asked if anyone was holding back the frost demons! As this is man's work, knowledge of the local frost spirits had mostly been lost in the Dragonkill. Between ourselves, we only knew a smattering of several different traditions -- but not enough of any one to do it right. Raskela said while she didn't know this men's magic, she would be able to appease them instead. We asked her to stay the winter. So she sacrificed a goat and read the omens. Praise Khelmal -- she agreed to stay! I'm sure she also wanted to stay around the source of my cider.
A refugee from Imther arrived this week, Hortisor of the Gobindon clan. He is seeking food for his people. They have the same problems as we do here -- although they still had some men left, they were unable to harvest all Ernalda's bounty, and times are very hard. He had brought gifts, but was robbed shortly after leaving home. Dark times, indeed, when Orlanth's laws of Hospitality are regarded so slightly. Mirkhel is keen to return home to starve with his kin, but we convinced him to wait at least until Sea Season. Hortisor will stay too. It will be a very long winter -- I don't think I can stand much more talk of cheese!
Now I am planning the weddings. Mirkhel has sensibly chosen a good cook from a well-kept house. Yaril has fallen for an athletic lass who's fond of dogs. Ettiko found a woman who can ride a horse. Khorvash narrowed his selection down to five, but Saserna and I insisted on tradition! The savage little Pelorian seemed rather angry, but finally agreed on one who is young, energetic, and built like a well fed heifer. I originally thought of making a socially astute marriage from a big bloodline, but Khorvash, with his charming mix of foreign babbling, poor Sairdite, and rude gestures, managed to suggest that I marry Saserna. I suggested the idea to her, but she will only marry someone who passed her tests. What fine Ernaldan tradition! Now I eagerly await her challenge.
The weddings are set for Harmony week, a time auspicious to Halana, the Harmony Mother.
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