Barking Ford

Fords are often sacred spots in East Ralios. They represent a boundary between the two sides of the river. But they're also where water and earth come together. Many saga battles take place at fords, either because they too are a coming together of powers, or simply to control the crossing place.

The most famous ford of all, Lidi Ford, where Orlanth slew Ehilm, is now lost to us (except by heroquesting). The Lankoring sages cannot even agree which river it crossed.

During the Darkness, the Naskori fought against the Triolini, water-folk who lived in Lake Nralar before the lands rose in the north and spilled its waters into Lake Felster. The Naskori preferred to fight from horseback in those days, and the hooves of their herds churned up the clear waters of the streams and aggravated the Triolini.

Palorn Tra was a man from one of the clans who fished the shores of the lake. They had many feuds with the Naskori, who even in the days before Arkat were a knavish and treacherous folk.

Palorn Tra had married a Triolini woman, and so he fought against the Naskori. His boat had a huge spear at the front, and a sail made of seal-skin. He had a wind from Humath that would blow his boat into battle, even on land. His spear Throat-piercer had long points at each end, and even if he was surrounded, he could kill foes behind and in front of him.

Palorn Tra led his men against the Naskori, and they met at what is now called Barking Ford. The Naskori had more men, but Palorn Tra stood in the ford, and swore he would defend it until the last Naskori was slain, and their horses as well. He challenged the Naskori to send their champion. Anador Flintside came to fight. He was known for wounding Triolini, then throwing them in the rocks so that when they died, their blood couldn't flow back to their lake. His shield was named Impassable, and nobody had ever struck a blow past it. He rushed Palorn Tra, holding Impassable in front of him. Palorn Tra did the Rock Skipping Feat, and speared Anador Flintside from behind. Then he cut off his head, and threw the body to the fishes.

Then Alamal One-foot rode forward. Alamal never left his horse, Goldmane, and used an enchanted hoop for a shield. He pulled on the reigns just before Goldmane reached the river, so the horse leaped up to crush Palorn Tra under its hooves. But when it landed, Palorn Tra wasn't there, and both ends of Throat-piercer were drenched in Alamal One-foot's blood. Palorn Tra cut off his head, and threw the body to the fishes.

Morveye the Sacrificer was next. His sister had married Alamal, so he swore vengeance. In a rage, he rushed into the river, seized Palorn Tra, and held him under. He had the strength of his brother-in-law added to his own, so Palorn Tra couldn't break free of his grip. But Palorn Tra could hold his breath for longer than it takes to cook porridge, so being underwater didn't harm him. He had a knife in his boot, so he kicked off his boots, grabbed the knife in his toes, and buried it in Morveye. Then Palorn Tra cut off his head, and threw the body to the fishes.

The three greatest Naskori champions were now food for the trout. No one dared face Palorn Tra. But the Naskori warlord ordered his men to shoot Palorn Tra with arrows. The hero fell, pierced at least twenty times. The Naskori galloped towards the ford, and Palorn Tra's men fled.

But when the horses were halfway across, Palorn Tra's body began to bark. The horses were terrified, rearing up and throwing their riders, many of whom drowned. It was the Naskori's turn to flee before the horrible sound of Palorn Tra's spirit.

Palorn Tra still guards the ford, and his barking shout is still heard any time a rider attempts to cross. To this day, no horse can cross Barking Ford.

Last updated 26 Dec 97 drd

David Dunham Page East Ralios