The Chronicles of Etinerra

A Song of Sects and Violence II: Stirring the Pot
Balto's Journal

The trip to Jakar’s Rest had been peaceful, and I had gloried in the chance to get away from all the tumult of the city. On the way back to Enonia the next day, though, we came upon a man staggering about, clutching his chest.

As my uncle had lamented, I have always been too trusting! I dismounted to aid him, while Willie and Josef kept a wary eye out for any ambush. I gave the traveler water as he clutched at my arm; he declared himself better, remounted his horse, and trotted off, looking a bit nervous. Then I discovered my purse had been untied! There was nothing missing – I must have instinctively jerked away from him while he tried to pick my pockets – but for the principle of the thing, we raised a hue and cry and chased him a few minutes. I took some gentle chiding from Willie and Josef for not recognizing such an obvious ploy, but we were all amused that this lesson cost me nothing but time.

We ate second breakfast in the saddle, but broke for lunch as we met some returning Meesha-followers on the road. We shared our food, they their drink and flowers – and news of further unrest in Enonia. Truly, what trouble is caused by such nonsense as religion! Even those who come closest in their worship to the reverence with which I hold the natural world, by focusing their attention on only an aspect or avatar, blind themselves to the wisdom of others. Mayhap the Meeshans come closest to my views.

At any rate, forewarned we approached the city warily, and checked in at the Mug & Pot. None of our companions were there, so we went next to the Temple of the Light – well-meaning folk there, but they look at only one part of the natural world and put it on a pedestal! As though night must not follow day, winter not give way to spring, hunter and prey not dance with each other. But I digress….

A deacon at the temple told us our party had gone seeking books, perhaps at Parabellum’s so we headed there. Fergus quickly filled us in – Collin, the Duke’s secretary was dead! and a magical double had taken his place. The Temple of the Light and the Marshal had been notified, but the Duke was yet away and unaware. A network of old tunnels linked various of the buildings of Enonia, and Ward was displeased that they were coming to the attention of the authorities. The city had stayed in tumult since the pagan parade, and we could see smoke and hear rioting from the area by the Temple of Tangadorin. We headed there, my hope being to spare the bakery from looting and ruin – I wanted more of Turgon’s Tasty Treats!

On the way, arrows rained down on us from the rooftops. Belaldur was injured, but the archers broke and ran. They descended to the street and headed north, getting closer to the mob. Torrin, Jorann, Pyrea, and Joffrey had headed down to protect the bakery, the pagans, and their temples. The rest of us – Willie, Josef (also hit by an arrow), Fergus, Belaldur, Mazlor, and Itsy – gave chase to our attackers, and several turned to fire at us again, while two started climbing back to the rooftops. I called to some insects in the area and harried one off the wall, then sent the swarm against another who was trying to flee. The rest escaped, calling, “Back to the Eagle!” While Beladur and Fergus trussed up our captive, I went back to heal Josef. Willie and Fergus took him back to the Mug and Pot. Belaldur, Itsy, Mazlor, and I went to the Militiaman & Bawd to check in with Ward.

The pub was closed, but Ward let us in. He identified our prisoner as a worthless rogue named Karl, who’s been hiring men away from Ward’s organization. At Ward’s suggestion, the clerics went out to tend to the wounded. Then Beladur questioned Karl for us, Ward putting a dagger tip beneath a thumbnail for emphasis. Karl had been hired by a Light Bringer priest, Marcus – blond, tall, shiny armor that would make him a focus in any fight. Oh, and Marcus had not just sent Karl’s archers to kill us – other bands, hidden near the pagan district and by the Temple of the Light, had orders to take us down, as well. Karl bore us no ill will – he’s no fanatic, just wanted the gold. His employer and crew, at the Eagle’s Alehouse, he had no particular loyalty to, judging by how quick he gave them up.

Ward told Belaldur of a back way through the tunnels to the Eagle’s Alehouse. Ward offered to lead us there to confront Marcus, but worried we were too few. I went to call back in Mazlor and Itsy, and we all left Karl in Ward’s care as we went back to the bakery to collect the rest of our party, and to snack on the last of the cakes. It was near suppertime, so we went back to the Mug & Pot for dinner and conversation.

A Song of Sects and Violence III: Under the Eagle Alehouse
Balto's Journal

Rabbit stew, a lovely honey bread with butter and jam, and spiced fruit tarts for dinner! After, I meditated in the kitchen garden behind the Mug & Pot. As I finished, a grand ripe peach trembled on the branch above me – I caught it as it fell. Just as I was feeling a bit fashed and ready to look for a bedtime snack!

I was up with the dawn the next day, and I went for water with the cook. He sat me down with a crust of bread and the last of the stew from last night, while he made the morning’s porridge. Willie and Josef and Fergus came downstairs, and we were soon joined by Jorann, Mazlor, Joffrey, and Isty. Pyrea wandered in from the street, accompanied by our old companion Ragar. As the cook set some bacon to sizzling, we realized Belaldur had not come downstairs, but our concern for him was outweighed by the threat to the Duke.

I’d asked Ward to look into the Eagle Alehouse, within and below which it seemed the anti-pagan agitators were organizing. So, just as the town started to stir, we made our way back to the Militiaman & Bawd. A bleary-eyed Ward told us our suspicions had been confirmed by his spy, who’d last night heard much cheering and shouting from the Eagle’s cellar. It sounded to her like a rally.

And more news from Ward: The Lightbringers and their townfolk pawns had been sprung from the keep! The men and women guarding them had all been killed. Those in the town jail, though, were still locked up tight.

So we determined to recruit help at the Temple of the Light, then report to the Marshal, return to the Militiaman and Bawd to pick up a guide, and move through the tunnels to challenge the Lightbringers. No help was found at the Temple; though High Priestess Gazelle was very gracious to her rescuers, Godfrey and Orielt were away helping the Marshal prepare for the Duke’s visit. Gazelle gave Mazlor a couple of healing potions, showed us the Mess Hall (but no second breakfast!), and returned to her healing duties. The Temple was full of the wounded and fearful, so she did have her hands full.

We arrived at the Keep to find security so tight I’d have had trouble sneaking just myself in. And with all the noisy big folk along, well, we just had to submit to disarming and waiting for permission to enter and speak to Roehm. I had my moment of quiet rebellion in not identifying myself as a spellcaster, so at least I was not accompanied by a personal guard.

Roehm told us the escape last night had been done with someone familiar with the tunnels under the city – and one such tunnel led right by his dungeon. He berated himself for not putting men at that secret door. Perhaps a guard had been suborned, but I thought the thieves hired away from Ward would also have known.

We told the Marshal that we, too, hoped to use the tunnels to strike at a gathering of agitants. He offered a company of 10 guards from the Keep. Orielt and Godfrey’d been pestering Roehm and his men, asking for guard schedules, procedures, and protocols in advance of the Duke’s sojourn – so after some discussion we decided not to ask Godfrey to accompany us. And Mazlor advised Roehm to change the rotations, unbeknownst to Orielt, who was not to be trusted.

With nine footmen and Kelly their sergeant, we walked our horses back to Enonia, dropping our horses at the stables by the gate, then headed toward the Militiamen and Bawd. Mazlor hadsergeant to keep her forces a block away so as not to spook Ward. He was still annoyed to have Mazlor there, but signaled to me to take the party to the wine cellar. There he brought forward his spy, a diminutive human female, to be our guide through the tunnels.

Mazlor and Isty went back up to move with the guards and militiamen above ground. The rest of us went into the tunnels. We soon reached a portion of the tunnel that had been hastily floored over, and the spy told us gloomily there were bodies underneath, but it was the fastest way. The floor certainly seemed rickety, but I skipped along the edge of the tunnel with a guide rope and most of us got across. The big folk in bulky armor, though, had trouble finding safe footing, and Willie broke through the floor, fell waist deep, and started yelling that the bodies were trying to claw and bite him. Ragar and Pyrea rushed back and helped him out, but two Damned climbed through the hole Willie had made.

We ran, but the two Damned soon caught up to the rear of the party. The Damned duo were quickly dispatched, but that route is now blocked to us by the rest of the now-alerted Damned. We explored a maze of passages and found a secret door, but I couldn’t work out how to make it open. Meanwhile, in the largest undercellar room, an orator was working a couple dozen townsfolk into a frenzy, before introducing the rioter ringleader, Marcus.

Mazlor and Isty have made their way to join us, and Kelly’s team (minus a few militiamen detailed to hold exits) soon after. As Marcus begins talking, Joffrey blessed our party; Pyrea cast a shield on herself; Jorann cast hold on both guards; Mazlor cast silence on a stone which I slinged just past Marcus.

Marcus and the man who introduced him leapt off the stage into the crowd, trying to escape the realm of silence. We charged into the room, Mazlor ordering the townsfolk to hit the floor or be declared resistors. Well, of course, half the crowd couldn’t hear him, and the rest bleated like sheep in their panic! Further, two Lightbringer fighters burst into the room, causing more consternation. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t use any spells!

Mazlor cast a hold spell on Marcus and his lieutenant, and Pyrea cast a webbing spell on them (and half the crowd besides). Ragar got two arrows into one of the Lightbringer guards; he turned and fled a couple of steps before Pyrea cast hold on the fleeing guard and a group of townsfolk trying to flee past him. I put a sling bullet into the fleeing guard’s brain. The other guard surrendered. The townsfolk caught in the web were screaming bloody murder, so Pyrea cast sleep on most of them, and the others pretended they too were dozing. Kelly cleared all the living and unwebbed Lightbringers out of the way, while I freed a few coins from the dead man’s pouch.

Meanwhile, Marcus spat out angry words and tried to rally his remaining follower. Ragar suggested quiet would be the less painful choice, but he ignores her hint. Ragar and Fergus made a stronger argument with their arrows. I tried a trick shot, hoping to knock a few teeth out, but my stone was caught in the web. Serves me right for trying to show off. Afew more taunts from him greatly challenged Mazlor, but Marcus eventually shut up.

Waiting for the webs to dissipate, I went with Pyrea, Josef, Jorann, and Joffrey to look at the door at the end of the corridor from which the two Lightbringers had sprung. Pyrea heard from behind the door the rattle of chains and a low moan. The room had a pair of cages against the rear wall. One held a man – delerious, ill, and shackled to the ceiling – in a tattered and bloodstained uniform of the Duke’s forces. Joran quickly cast a healing spell and he breathed some easier. I make short work of picking the locks on the cages and chains. Josef looks through a window in the wall behind the other cage and sees a drunk troll and a very nervous militiaman.

We gave the Duke’s man some water, but he was not recovering his wits. We took him to Mazlor, then returned to explore further – one more door, which turned out to be to Marcus’ room. My lockpick snapped as I try to open his chest, so whatever treasures are in there are lost to the Temple of the Light. Pyrea and Jorann gathered up all the papers.

Mazlor had begun to send our troops and prisoners up. I expect this lot would go to the Keep – ought to be some room there now. Joaran kept ministering to the man we rescued. He was more himself now, and thankful he was rescued, but anxious to get a warning out to the Duke.

This man is named Veckstos, and he had been guarding Collin, the Duke’s Secretary. He told a chilling tale of how first Collin, and then the partner of Veckstos, Aschton, had been killed and replaced by a shapeshifting monster. The monster was named Reezus (by the sun and stars, these humans have odd names!) and he is the mastermind behind the plot on the Duke and the anti-pagan furor.

Mazlor left off questioning Marcus and moved to his lieutenant, but to no avail. The web had yet to dissolve, so Joran cast dispel magic, releasing all from its sticky embrace – and cancelling the hold as well. Marcus instantly cast sanctuary on himself, and his lieutenant got ready to fight. Ragar puts an arrow through the orator’s skull. Marcus ran for his room, but Joran and Isty took him out. I suggested Marcus be searched and Mazlor declared anything on his person will be taken to the Temple of the Light. So I shrugged and took the purse from the orator, instead.

Mazlor quickly looked over Marcus’ correspondence, and was shocked to discover that Godfrey had been deep in the plot against the Duke and supporting the Lightbringers for many months. Orielt, too, though of course we had all thought that already.

And it’s midday, and the Duke is due any minute now! I suspect I’ll be missing yet another meal!

A Song of Sects and Violence IV: Bedtime Story
Balto's Journal

After all the fuss, we sorted ourselves out. I didn’t see Pyrea or Ragar, but maybe they were helping the town and keep guards with the prisoners. Or maybe they were hauling Belaldur’s chestnuts out of the fire? I have to confess I was busy with a wedge of cheese set out on the bar upstairs.

The rest of us – let’s see, that was myself, Joran and Joffrey, Itsy and Mazlor, and Fergus, Willie, and Josef, plus Veckstos – dashed across town to the Temple of the Light. Joran joined in healing and aiding the wounded as Mazlor talked to Averin. I looked about and saw a few finely clothed merchant folk, one with his right arm awkwardly cradled in his left. Walmar’d been waiting some time to be tended, but triage had put the many burned and concussed and stabbed and all ahead of him.

And, my, wasn’t his son Kaymar red-faced with impotent rage. His wife Roebuck was there, too – staying calm but wondering why nothing could be done to help her husband. I sidled up and, as Kaymar clutched at his purse, offered my services for a fee. Watched carefully by Roebuck, Fergus resocketed Walmar’s dislocated shoulder. I pulled power from the earth to reknit his broken arm, and made a fuss about mixing together mint and willow (and I told them, ground gemstone) into a tea to ease his pain and soothe him.

I asked and received a royal for the treatment! And Roebuck asked me to visit her in the days ahead to talk of the herb and nature lore I had used. Perhaps I can get back my cloak then – it was all I had to use as a sling, besides the furs in my armor.

As I was finishing up, Mazlor emerged from the back with Gazelle. Averin would stay at the temple, organizing the relief, and Isty would stay with her. Gazelle, grabbing her spell book, joined us in our desperate effort to protect the Duke from the machinations of the Lightbringer faction. We collected our steeds and raced for the Keep.

We got there just as a parade of dignitaries and armed folk were entering it. Joran, Gazelle, and Mazlor muscled through the watching crowd – “In the name of the Light” – and we made the gates. Gazelle demanded, as a Flame, that we all be let through, and we were admitted but told to await the Marshall’s pleasure in the barracks. Fergus objected, but the guards let only Veckstos out, to report to his superior, the Captain of the Duke’s Guard.

After a bit, we were summoned to the Keep library. Gazelle left for the Duke’s welcoming reception; she patted my hand sympathetically and promised to have some food sent in for a late lunch. Once that arrived, we set to with gusto. I put aside a couple pastries for later, and advised Willie and Josef and Fergus to do the same.

The Marshall, looking grim, came into the room. Mazlor, after verifying Roehm’s identity, showed him the papers, one at a time, proving Orielt and Godfrey complicit in the plot on the Duke. We warned him, too, that the skinwalker was still loose. Marshall Roehm declared he would confine Orielt and Godfrey to their quarters, once the fête was over. 20 trusted men would guard the Duke. And Roehm would take some of the papers to prove the conspiracy to the Duke.

After the reception ended, and the crowds passed, Ynnivax came to gives us the news that Godfrey had gone quietly to his room, while Orielt raged and had to be bound. Gazelle took both their magic talismans. The Duke, furious, demanded the right to try them both under the King’s Law. Callista, the Captain of the Duke’s Guard was astonished; clearly Veckstos had failed to brief her before the reception. And Vekstos was nowhere to be found. We all set a password so we could know each other, with a skinwalker on the loose.

Come sundown, we were escorted to the kitchen, a fine place to snag a plate from the foods prepared but not served at the cancelled state dinner. As we made for our rooms for the night, we heard a great commotion, and a Duke’s Guardsman rushed to me, gave the password, and told me, “There is a monster in the Duke’s chamber!”

We ran towards the sounds of battle. The door to the Duke’s room glowed a dark pulsing purple, jolting the guards as they tied to open it. Joran quickly dispelled the magic, and a guard kicked the door open. The Duke was gasping, badly injured, and three beleaguered guards were fighting a viciously animated bed!

Fergus charged at the bed-beast, while Mazlor cast dispel magic at it (to no effect). I summoned insects from the Keep, but the Keep had been scoured so that only centipedes and earwigs and ants responded, and they were too slow to make a difference in the battle. Joran ran to the Duke with a potion, then helped him to the door, where she casts a healing spell on him. Mazlor met them there with two more potions, and the Duke is nearly good as new.

The bed-beast killedone of the guards, and nearly offed Fergus twice, but Fergus hit it a few times, and I got in a good smash with my cudgel before some guards came up and finished it. As the beast perished, Pyrea’s friend Joseph – who turned out to be the Duke’s court wizard – and Marshal Roehm arrived and conferred with us. Joesph wanted the Duke safely back in Rondorin, and he had a way to get him there!

In the basement, Joseph showed us a magical gateway, one of an ancient network that connected all the keeps before the Doom, and swears us all to secrecy. After rotating some stone disks so the right symbols showed (Here Fergus’ strength and my keen eyes were most appreciated) and an elaborate spell, the gateway opened and the Duke and Joseph stepped through, to return in a few days. Roehm would cancel all the Duke’s meetings and parties and tell everyone the Duke is recovering in secured chambers. The Duke charged Roehm to root out the conspiracy and catch the skinwalker – and Roehm turned to us, his troubleshooters.

A clue soon presented itself. That which we thought was Veckstos was actually the skinwalker in his shape. The guard he’d gone off with was slain.

As for the conspiracy, Orielt was dragged to the dungeon and a second holy symbol taken from her. She tried using a word of command but Callista punched her mouth and gagged her. We went to talk to Godfrey in his room as we took him to the dungeon.

And then such a babble of the Light this and the old gods that between Mazlor, Joran, and Godfrey. I mostly tuned it out, but one point stood out. Godfrey was converted to the Lightbringers by a silver-tongued cleric. Mayhap he’d been charmed? Perhaps the kindly Godfrey could be freed of the spell? I must talk to Joran or someone who can dispel magic. Bed first, though – well, perhaps another turn through the kitchen before that.

An Enlightening Visit

The hour was late as Joran arrived at his small home to pray. The outside walls bore evidence of the violence of the past four days – burn marks, broken windows and splashes of paint and rotten vegetables from protesters and thugs. The inside was clean as usual, with Grel and the faithful all having cleaned up. Several were still sleeping in the attic. Grel’s heavy tread could be heard on the floor boards as he moved from window to window, watching for more trouble.

Joran sighed and slipped to her knees, the prayers and chants coming to her mind. “Oh great Tangadorin, All-Seeing…” she began and the crystal that was affixed to the ceiling began to glow. Joran’s prayers faltered; this was not the light of fire, but something else. The light grew brighter, and more bright, and then seemed to detach itself and float down to the ground in front of the kneeling priestess! It grew to human-size and then a glowing body stepped out of it. The light was so bright that Joran had to throw up her arm over her face and look away, but it dimmed a bit and she could glance into it. The light seemed to shine everywhere, and there were no shadows cast. It was soft, and hard at the same time, soothing her wounds from the previous days, and calming to her heart.

A voice spoke – low, melodic. It seemed to drift along the light.

“I … am pleased, Joran. You have done well. You have revealed a darkness that was forming and threatened all that you have worked for in My Name. You have stretched out your hand and removed this darkness and you have even brought My Name to the lips of those who believe in the things that have been created in the name of mortals. Even now, I hear their voices as they talk about Me, wonder about Me, wish to learn more about Me.”

“It is by this, Joran, that you bring Me to Life. Their prayers, their acts, just as your prayers and acts, Grel’s prayers and acts, all these serve to strengthen Me and make Me whole again. They again begin the cycle that brings Me forth and allows Me to share My Knowledge and My Sight. Together, we will continue to shine the True Light forth and reveal all that must be revealed.”

“It is because of this, Joran, that I give you the sight to understand more of My Word as recorded in the book that you have. As you read and learn, you will continue to act for Me, and when you are ready, you will have grown more strong through My strength.”

“Know that I walk with you always. I see you. As you and the others grow stronger, so too will you strengthen those around you. And soon, you will be strong enough to take up the task that is needed… the task that will bring me to the Renewal that you have started. The Renewal of Me.”

“Go forth and see all that is to be seen. Learn all that can be learnt. Do not let the darkness hide the Truth from the hearts of men. Do this in My Name.”

Joran blinks and the light and figure are gone. The tread of Grel can still be heard. Did it happen? Was it just a heartbeat of a dream? Joran rose on shaky legs and walked over to the locked chest that held the holy words. She opened the chest and drew the book out. Flipping open the pages, she turned to a section that had been perplexing her… and it was as if a veil had been lifted, for the words made sense now! With wonder, she began to read, and could tell that she was taking a next step into learning more about Tangadorin and His Plan.

Sermon by Giselle to the people of Enonia - Summer 26, 59AD

Good citizens of Enonia and the midlands of Irecia, my fellow worshipers of the Light, I bid you good morning.

I come before you today as a humble servant of the Light. I come before you as someone who shares your pain, your struggles, your sorrows and your joys. You have suffered especially hard for these past few years – war, disease, uncertainty, loss. You have preservered despite the many challenges before you. Truly, you shine with a Light all of your own, a Light which has lead us in the darkness, a Light which makes us strong and whole.

The Light. We call to it, we pray to it, we do acts in its name, but what is the Light? What does it mean? What does it stand for? Where does it come from and where does it lead us?

I know that as a little girl, I was raised in uncertain times, then in tragic times. I was born in the rubble of the Doom and I was raised during the wars with the Bestials that saw us driven to our knees. In those first few years, we as a race cast about, praying to old gods who did not seem to listen or care. It was a priest of Light who healed me of sickness, who helped us to find shelter… who prayed over my Father’s body when he died. He was always telling us to stand, to be strong, to find the Light within. I did so, in his honor and now in honor of all those who strive to shine Light into this darkness.

I believe that we sometimes forget the most important aspect of the Light… that it is from within. We pray to it, but in reality, we are praying to ourselves and each other. We call to it, but in reality, we are calling to ourselves and each other. We do acts in its name, but in reality, we are doing acts for each other and with the support of each other. The Light shines within you, within me, within all of us. It is our destiny to let that Light shine forth… or not.

Think about sunlight, about the light of a fire, of a lamp or candle. It seeks to shine in all directions, to all corners. Darkness persists when the light is not strong enough, or when it is blocked. You can see the shadows, sometimes clearly, sometimes fuzzy. The light seeks to get around the darkness. When there are multiple candles, lanterns or windows, then the light can reach in all directions and no shadows remain. That is what the Light in us tries to do. Alone, we are one flame. Together, we are brighter than the sun above and no darkness may remain.

There are other things that seek to exist alongside the light. The light still shines. These other things may seek to catch ones eye, but the light still shines. And although a flame or two may not be lit anymore, the light that still shines from other lanterns and candles still shines, still seeks to cast away the shadow and darkness.

There are those who seek to use the Light to their own purposes, to “catch” the Light and bend it, reshape it. They tell you that the Darkness is because of those who do not let their Light out, who rather harness their light within to other purposes, such as praying to the old gods. They seek to make you afraid, to hold that fear as a weapon and to hurt others, to deny others, to drive out others.

Some lights are different colors, different flames, different shapes. The light of candle and of the lantern is different from the light of the torch, the fireplace, the sun, and the stars above. Yet they are all flames, and they drive away the darkness in their own way.

I do not believe in the old gods. Whatever they are, they chose to be silent, to turn their backs on us in our time of greatest need. They showed that they live for us to worship them and that they cannot or will not help us. It was our light within, our belief in ourselves, and the miracles that WE can perform that has saved us from everlasting darkness. This I believe in all of you, that you can open your light and continue to do wonderful, good things because of yourself.

Yet I do not deny the light of those who seek out the old gods. Just as a candle may be removed from a chandelier, and it may be used elsewhere, it still shines. It’s own purpose. So too, I see the pagans. They are us. They are men, women, children of our flesh and blood. Their light may be elsewhere, but we are all still walking the same life, and we all contribute to shining away the Darkness. In time, they may rejoin the Light, the great chandelier, or they may not. None can deny that they have found some power of the divine within. Although I believe it is their misguided light that shines forth in the name of another, it is still divine and it still pushes away that which would overwhelm us.

As of this moment, as High Priestess of the Duchy of Irecia, I declare the group known as the “Lightbringers” to be heretical and unwelcome in our churches, in our homes, in our lives. They seek to pervert the light to a means that darkens the Light and makes us weaker, not stronger. If you are a Lightbringer, I forgive you. Your light has been used, but you may rejoin us, by renouncing the darkness of this group. If you continue to opress the misguided pagans, you are not acting in the Light, you are acting no better than the Bestials who would enslave us. I will not forgive such acts anymore.

To the pagans, I say this – I see your faith and your beliefs and your searching for the truth. To those who believe in the Light and yet still put a cup of water on the window sill for an old god, or put a small flower on the bed to appease an old god, I see that you are hoping for help and guidance from anywhere. Despair and fear are powerful, but be strong and the Light will shine forth for you. I forgive you, I love you and I will not push you aside. I will sit with you, pray with you and we will push away the darkness together. I do not cast you away, but rather walk with you, and welcome you with open arms. I believe in YOU and your Light. Not your god. Rather in YOU.

I know many of you have come here to learn of my intentions for the priests and leaders who have misguided many of us. They will be held accountable and atone for these acts. Those of the Light will be dealt with by me and a council of priests. We will take care of our own and perhaps heal our own. Darkness and despair can damage and harm, but we will seek to heal them and guide them back. Those who are of the Duke or the King must answer to the laws of the Kingdom of Men. I will pray for them and seek to counsel them.

My dear travelers of the road of Life… I pray that the Light comforts you, guides you, shines in darkness and lifts you up. I pray that when you feel weak, or sick, or injured, that you see the Light within and know that we are all connected through it. May the Light shine ever always in your heart and mind.

A slight miscalculation
Grel’s report to Jorann at the Temple

Jorann, it is with a heavy heart that I must report that I have failed your trust in me. When you told me of this awful shape shifter, and confided your belief that the power to sense Chaos, which Tangadorin had bestowed upon me, would be essential in rooting this thing out, I was overjoyed. I was sure that this was an opportunity for me to prove myself to you and to Tangadorin. Yet, I was unworthy. Let me tell you what happened, so that you can properly chastise me.
I reported to the Marshal, as you had instructed me. I went with Beladur, Fergus and Mazlor, along with their faithful servants Wilheim, Josef and Itsy. I brought Joffrey, who seems to be a most sensible fellow. We explained to the Marshal about my ability and how we believed that this creature must be using chaos magic. We came up with the plan to have the Duke’s brother wear his Armor and pretend to be him as he inspected the folk of the keep. The Marshal would make sure that everyone was present and accounted for. I would disguise myself as one of his personal guard, and stay next to him as he walked by everyone in the keep. We made extensive preparations, scattered our friends in strategic locations and set our plan in motion. We walked by everyone, but no one seemed to be of, or using Chaos. However, apparently three guards and one staff member were missing. We had procured a dog to help with our search, so we took it to the staff members quarters and had him follow the scent. It took us down in t the dungeon where The Dame had been kept. Unfortunately, when we told the Marshal to bring everyone out, he had only left two guards on the secret entrance to the tunnels. They were dead, the entrance was unblocked, and the Dame was gone! This is how I have failed you Jorann, I should have been more clear to the marshal that the guards should not be reduced, but I was not.
Godfrey told us that they had decided he was of no further use, and left him. He told us that they were heading south to begin a revolt with Marshal Kelvin. We rushed to the south gate, and I summoned Arion to bear me aloft as I searched for them. Tangadorin drew me to them at once, they were riding hard due south. I tried to signal my friends, but they could not see me. It was clear that they were heading due south and were not going to stop. I barely made it to my friends before Arion was exhausted and disappeared. They had already passed the elvish fort, but I couldn’t pursue them further. We all regrouped at the fort to continue our pursuit. We will get them yet!

A new threat!
Grel’s report

It was the 26th day of Summer, Dame Oriole had escaped and we were unsure what to do next. We decided to go see the Sisters to find out if they had discovered anything about those Chaos towers. So, I set off with Beladur, Pyria, Ragar, Mazlor (and Itsy) and I asked Joffrey to accompany us.
On the way Mazlor was looking for a new helper (Meat shield?) and decided we should check out the nearby convent. All was going well until Beladur decided to go visiting the nuns to see if any were looking for some companionship. Apparently, in the middle of the night, he barged in upon a very agitated woman who promptly struck him, and then attempted to catch and possibly bash him into non existence. Fortunately for him, she was exceptionally clumsy and didn’t catch him before he managed to get back to us.
In the morning, when Mazlor requested an apprentice to journey with him, who do you think volunteered? It was her, Shammel was her name. She seems a stout if overly rigorous individual. Her unfortunate clumsiness is sure to be a problem.
So we continued on our way and visited the Sisters. Who do you think was there? It was our old comrade Boraen. He was much changed. He has become a cleric of Misha!
We had a very pleasant conversation with the sisters. They informed us that the Chaos tower was mysteriously built about 300 years ago, but there were no records of the construction. It also seems that Alfred & Gerald were survivors of a group called the ….
After a pleasant dinner, we spent the night, and decided to go see what was going on there. I decided that this time I would be more straight forward, and declare myself and demand answers. It did not go exactly as planned….I proclaimed myself as a Paladin and demanded answers as to the nature of this Chaos. Gerald said he would expect no less from a Paladin of Tangadorin (I had not proclaimed the name of my God), but refused to answer. He shut the door upon me!
Boraen took a more direct approach. He bashed through the door into Alfred’s home and wrestled him to the ground. Alfred managed to break free. They both charged the tower and ran straight thru the doors, almost pulling Joffrey in with them. Then a hideous demon attacked. I charged it with the full fury of Tangadorin, but it disappeared the moment I struck it.
We searched the buildings and found the keys.
After a bit of experimentation, Boraen opened the door. He and Ragar walked through a portal of complete blackness. They returned very shaken. They told us that inside were demons torturing Alfred and Gerald. They allowed them to question Alfred 7 Gerald. They learnt that there are many towers and that Alfred & Gerald were the attendents of this Tower. The towers are a network for “The Master”. “The Master” and the “Dark Ones” are in conflict to enslave the world. Very soon something very bad is coming and the voice of the Master demanded that we serve them, or be destroyed with everyone else.
Boraen stalled and offered to consider.
We took the keys and left, but shortly after , the keys disappeared. Alfred & Gerald had confirmed that Irecia is home to the Dark ones….perhaps we shook investigate.

The Center Cannot Hold
Balto's Journal

While I’d been following up with Roebuck, the merchant’s wife, on her interest in learning the healing ways of nature, several of my travelling companions had gone North. On visiting the Sisters, they met none other than Boraen, now a cleric of Misha! I’m not as fond of him as I was of Ja’Kar, but they both hew close to my thoughts on nature and the world. After a harrowing visit to see Alfred and Gerald being tortured by demons in their Chaos Tower, they returned to Ennonia just as I was getting restless.

Marshal Roehm was off to the South to bring to heel Dame Orielt and Marshal Kelvin, who had risen in rebellion against the Duke. A theocracy of Lightbringers to the South seems a thing to be avoided; while I as a Littling might be left in peace, humans who also revere only nature would not. I can’t maintain the forest alone – I need to safeguard those humans who would try to help me. And that meant making common cause with the followers of the old gods and the more orthodox clergy of the Light.

We decided to ride for Irecia, to see if we could get into the mages’ library for Pyria and learn more about the Chaos Towers – one of which was surely in Irecia. We stopped for the night in the fort in the woods, hosted by the gracious Captain McCarry. He told us the orcs had stopped trying to get into the woods, but goblins were plaguing travelers.
Emerging from the woods on the Irecian Way, we saw the abandoned orc camp a little way to the south. I noted one tent still standing, so we made our way towards it, only to be ambushed by a group of goblins. As a child, I’d been paid a bounty for slinging at any goblins that tried to steal our apples, so I was quick to dispatch one with a stone. But goblins are good at hiding themselves, and the battle was confused (I think some of the goblins were victims of friendly fire!) so most of them got away. And there was little enough to see in the camp, for all the trouble we took to get to it.

Boraen set the camp on fire, careful that the wind blew the sparks away from the forest. And we headed back to the road, only to be ambushed again. I should note – I was not surprised! But the noise these humans make kept Belaldur from hearing the goblins creep up. I slinged a stone at one, then gave chase with my cudgel out. Pyria cast sleep on a group of them, soon dispatched by Grel, Josef, Talvi, and Boraen. Several of the party were injured. I treated Fergus, hit by a couple of arrows, and we retreated to the fort, Boraen burning the prairie behind us. I was aggrieved at the destruction, but consoled myself with the thought that prairies need an occasional burn to flourish. I was glad the forest seemed safe from fire; I am more attuned to the forest than any other part of the natural world.

McGarry was surprised to see us return, but grimly noted that the goblins had been getting bolder. He invited us to stay and heal and rest a day, which we reluctantly did, but we fed ourselves and our horses so as not to draw down the garrison’s supplies.

The dawning of the 35th day of Summer, Grel said he could hardly sense Tangadorin. I felt an unease, a tension as if the world were teetering on the brink. Boraen sensed a hush over the world, and Talvi was unsettled. Chaos was increasing. If we were to make it to Irecia in time to make a difference, we decided, we needed to gallop through any goblin pinpricks, save our strength for the entry into the city. And we were ambushed and I take a palpable hit, but we kept riding on through the arrow-storm. Fergus, too, was injured. Grel healed me, I healed Fergus and we went on.

Midday, we spied a village a little off the road, and we rode up to check it out. Fat heads of wheat were ripening in the fields around the village, but we also saw a crude wooden platform guarding the lane, and orc soldiers saw us and began mustering. We turned back to the Irecian Way.

Eventually, we came upon the burned-out ruins of a Wayfarer’s Inn at a crossroads. According to a sign in the ditch, the village of Culwyth was to the Northeast – and from that direction, Fergus spotted a wagon with four horses, driven by an orc, and with humans running alongside, chained to the wagon. They fled before us, and I made a difficult sling to stun the driver. Belaldur made a somewhat easier shot with his bow and finished him. The horses slowed, and we caught up to the wagon. Fergus grabbed the reins and stopped the wagon before turning to slay the next enemy. Grel killed one orc himself and helped Pyrea dispatch another – but Grel is an erratic shot at best. Boraen took out three orcs before he was knocked out, weakened by Grel’s arrow in his ass. Talvi and Belaldur killed the last. Talvi then went to Boraen, glaring at Grel. Both Joffrey and I worked to heal Boraen.

We freed the slaves from their shackles, but they told us we must allow them to go back to Culwyth. Their families are hostage, held to ensure their return. We entertained a notion of riding in and liberating the village, but realized there will be guards on the road, and the Culwythians tell us 200 orcs live in their village. We are forced to let the humans go back to slavery, with the orcs’ armor and weapons, and even the cargo of weapons forged in the village south of the Irecian Way. We did make arrangements to come back and free the village at some point in the future, but this is the Time of the Orcs – they have overrun the Irecian Plains.

Boraen awakened with a headache that did nothing to improve his mood. We could not continue to Irecia through an orc-infested country, so we began to make our way back towards Enonia. The dawn of the next day, though, we were awakened by a loud bang and a brilliant flash of purple light to the East – and we saw a roiling mass of clouds and chaos lightning over Irecia. A smaller cloud appeared a little to the south of the road at the edge of the forest. Grel and Joffrey – and as it happened, all clerics of the Light – lost their powers and spells, and those two wailed that Tangdorin could not be felt. I could feel a great disturbance, felt that chaos was rising, that a shift had occurred. I tried to hold the center, but as they day went by, I was exhausted from the effort.

In which Børæn finds purpose
The Chronicle of Børæn

Winter has come to the North.

The darkness has engulfed the land, and the tribes have taken to their valleys to survive the long night.

It is here, in the Valley of the Wolf, the Wolf Tribe that an old man walks through the biting wind, and falling snow. Hunched over he walks as if the weight of the world is carried.Those who know otherwise know that this man is stronger than he appears.

He reaches the Lodge of the Wolf.

It is here that his King has ruled, and it is from here his king has brought change — needed change — to the Wolf Tribe.

He enters, and in his wake follows the cold and snow.

All goes quiet, as the old man walks toward the throne.


With each step, his step sets the rhythm of his walk.


The festivities grow silent.


The children race to the front, as close to the throne as they can. They know what is to come.


As he advances, each warrior bows their head to the Merkitä Muistiin.


The large black wolf lifts his head and seems to smile seeing Orpo.


As he nears, the golden-haired queen smiles and winks at the oldest man of the Wolf.


Orpo reaches the throne and bows deeply. The king, still imposing after all these years, smiles.

“You never need to bow old friend,” Børæn’s deep voice rolls through the room.

“Do not tell me place pup! I will bow if I choose too,” grumbles Oropo. The hall laughs, but with a loud tap of his staff, all grow silence.

“I speak of times long past. Through this, you learn. Through this, the history is kept. Through this, the tribe will never forget.”

The black wolf, whines, as if telling the old man to go on. Unphased Orpo continues:

This is how the would-be king found his purpose. This is is how the would-be king found his way home. Without this, the Wold Tribe would be no more.

Of all the Lore, this is the most important.

See Børæn walk through the countryside with reins in hand and Talvi, as always, trotting next to her human.

Børæn is in thought. He looks around him marveling at the beauty of the world around him. He offers his thanks to Meesha for the blessings she provides and the beauty she creates. It is Meesha who has brought much, but more importantly, it is her words and actions which has brought Børæn much.

When Børæn left the Wolf one step ahead of the Clan that will not be named, Børæn became lost. Lost in thoughts. Lost in his anger. Lost in a quest for vengeance.

Børæn is broken.

Børæn’s anger simmered due to the actions of his father, but that tale is for another time.

Børæn is vexed by another problem.

There is something wrong with the world. Call it evil, chaos, cancer, rot, or decay, it did not matter. What matters is something is eating away at the world and something is harming his goddess. What, Børæn does not know, but something IS wrong.

Before he found his way to Meesha, Børæn had no cares. He lived for the hunt; the next fight; the next threat. He reacted to his desires, and things were good.

Things are different now, Børæn thinks about his goddess, her needs, and her works. Børæn still loves war, but now he is more, he is Meesha’s rage.

Why does the call north pulls Børæn? At this time he did not know. He knew he must go north, and it is north he hoped to find answers, guidance, or even a clue as to what he had become.

There is no shame in saying Børæn is lost. Every hunter becomes lost. Yet it is the great hunter who knows how to find his way back.

Børæn is lost, alone, and more confused than ever.

He does not know his purpose.

“Am I winter?” he asks?

“Am I summer, or spring, or even fall?” the would-be king says aloud.

What Børæn does not know yet is that the call he hears is the one of his destiny. Before all of this, he was a simple tribesman, and his life was straightforward. Fight, drink, fight, drinks; wash-rinse-repeat.

Now he wants to find what his new purpose was so that he could serve the goddess who Børæn brought us.

The snows begin early and the winter matches Børæn’s mood: brutal. Still, Børæn travels, with Talvi at his side. He knows that his people are north and what is to come, soon will be there.

As he walks, his mind is silence. All he thinks about is survival. This winter is a forge, and this forge will make him into what he is to become.

A blizzard hits, and Børæn stops. Quickly he digs in, creating a snow mound, and camps. Man, wolf, and horse shelter.

Tired, he still cares for his two companions. Once done, he sits looking at the feeble fire. The blizzard mirrors his inner turmoil.

Looking into the fire, he thinks to himself: “Meesha, I do not know what you want from me, but I am willing to learn. I need to serve you not just in anger, but in peace. How? I do not know. I am ready to find out.”

As he speaks, the winds howls and the snow swirls around him heavily. As fast as it started it ends and in the wake stands a woman, wearing a dress of frost. Laughing, he touches Børæn’s cheek.

“Boraen… my favorite knight who is so serious and so sure that there is a reason for everything. I do love watching you. You remind me of another who was so serious about life. Now his weapon stands amid my shrine. I do hope you’re not planning on ending up like him.”

As she speaks small winter flowers suddenly emerge from the snow, opening their delicate petals towards her.

“I feel your heart, lovely man. You have touched things that are bigger than yourself, bigger than your conflicts, bigger than the betrayal you felt from your parents. This leaves you unsettled, looking for purpose, looking for structure. And yet here we are, in the middle of something that has no structure, that is part of life, that is simple IS because it is here.” she waves her hands at the snows.

“Lovely, is it not? It just seemed like a good time for some snow. What do you think it is time for, Børæn?”

Looking at the goddess and hearing her words, Børæn is filled with a sense of peace.

The rage that burns, dims and simmers as a pot of water at the edge of a fire.

Though Meesha’s touch is cold, it warms him, and parts the clouds that have covered his mind for so long.

“I am a simple warrior that is all I ever knew,” he says. “I thought of myself as your warrior, but now be your shaman. I might not be the most perfect of choices or even the wisest, but my devotion is true.”

“I have a debt to pay and tasks ahead, but in all of this, you will be within my heart. My faith will be my shield.”

“The world is growing dark, and it needs warriors as well as priests. I will be both.”

Taking his knife and cutting his palm, Børæn squeezes his fist to let the blood flow.

“By my oath, I will honor you and spread your word as best I can. By my oath, I will fight your enemies to my last breath. By my will I will bring you to my people when I save my clan from the evil that festers there.”

“I have no doubts. Granted, I might not understand you, but I have no doubts,” Boraen simply states.

“Oh, my sweet warrior-now-priest, you are never EVER boring. Don’t change, my love, don’t change… I cannot be angry at you when you are just SO SERIOUS!” she laughs and reaches out and touches the drops of blood dripping from your hand. As they hit the ground, they transform into small vines that blossom blood-red flowers. She reaches down and plucks several of them and places them in her hair.

“I will wear these today, they please me so. You are not like the others – you will struggle, my sweet man. You will not find service to me as easily as Turgon does. You will, however, please me with that struggle and you will, in the end, find the reason for your life.”

“Know this, sweet man… gods live through those who worship them, who pledge to them, who sustain their belief through good times and bad. If I am to live again, to breathe again, to be there for you when the pendulum swings deeper into the darkness that comes… you will need to make sure that my name and who I am are near the tongues of all who meet you. Make them remember, Børæn! Make them remember that it is not just good deeds and good words that bring them miracles. That I, and my brothers and sisters, will protect our followers and will be there for them when they are in need. Much as you are, my sweet man.”

She waves an arm and suddenly, the snow ceases to a few flakes that fall from Meesha’s hair and dress.

“You will find the rest of your trip easier, sweet man.”

She bends over and kisses the top of your forehead.

“Now sleep. Go when the sun rises. You will reach your lands without a struggle. I do this to show you that we do take care of our own.”

The clouds that shrouded Børæn’s understanding finally part. Meesha’s words, he realizes, told him he had the answers all along.

“I should have never doubted, or questioned the ways or the whats of this,” Børæn says aloud to no one

Børæn pauses and then smiles. “I do not know if it was by your hand, fate, or some twist of luck that brought me to that monastery, yet something did. Whatever it was that set me upon this path has to lead to you.”

Looking at the axe and dagger of his people, Børæn seems sad and for the first time, his solitude strikes him.

“I have been gone from my people for close to seven years. I fled with barely my life. The taint of evil that has taken root in my father’s heart and tribe sadden me but anger me. I will return there to slay the viper who has poisoned my people. I will travel to the Wold and there, I will cut the black heart from my father and free my people from that evil.”

Børæn’s voice grows angrier as if it is a storm raging during the spring. Suddenly the storm breaks, and the anger that grips Børæn is less.

“If I am too follow you, and tell those of you, I must put these away for a time. I must walk a different path for awhile. Though I am a warrior, I can be one for you, even if it means the axe, the sword, and dagger must be put aside for awhile.”

Laughing Boraen says simply: “I guess I am a priest. I better find myself a weapon then. After all, I cannot be seen spreading your word with just my fists.”

The hush of the hall deepens, as Orpo finishes. Bowing to the king who thinks as his son, the old man smiles. Børæn returns the smile and bows as well. The bond this two share runs deep, and it is because of this bond the Wolf is strong.

Orpo bows to his queen, and she looks at her husband’s oldest friend. Her look is one of love and appreciation.

The wolf looks at the old man, and yawns. Orpo chuckles to himself, “So much like his mother.”

Turning, Orpo’s staff once again taps in rhythm as the old man leaves. Everyone bows with respect to the man, and soon he enters into the night.

Børæn‘ returns home and avenges his honor

Deep winter.

In the north, it is the time of the forever night.

It is the time that the fruit of the labor of spring, summer, and fall is enjoyed.

It is the time of reflection, boasts, and rest.

Warriors who during the warmer months roam the mountain valleys protecting the Valley of the Wolf, spend their time carving, crafting, and even weaving.

“I’ve asked this question many times, but no one answers me,” states a small boy sitting next to his father by the fire. The boy is learning how to carve, but is more interested in listening to the stories his father tells.

“Child, if you spend more time listening your carving of a tree would look like a tree and not a snake,” the father says with a chuckle.

Before he can ask again, a large man approaches the fire. Padding next to him is the large black wolf that never leaves his side.

The boy looks up in awe. Here is the king.

Børæn at the age of 50, still is imposing. His thick muscles show no sign of age, and other than the streaks of grey in his hair and beard, Børæn still looks the same as he did so many year ago.

Sitting near the fire, Børæn looks to the child.

“Ask your question little one, and I will answer them,” Børæn.

The lodge grows quiet and wait to hear their king.

“I am not a Merkitä Muistiin, but I can tell you the lore…”

After Meesha’s words, I saw the goddess was true to her word, the rest of the journey passes quickly.

Within days I reached the winter home of the Wolf Tribe. Instead of the normal look of the tents, the animals gathered around the perimeter, the puffs of smoke rising from the warming fires — that wass all here, but so to were banners hanging from the tents, from poles and cord strung between them. All of them covered in symbols used by the medicine folk, shamans and witches. A great fire burned in the center of the camp, and I saw a ring of people surrounding the fire, meditating. Also in this circle was my mother and father.

I stopped my horse short, and dismounted. I led her back down the hill and told her to wait.

I looked at Talvi, and the bond we shared had her know what would come next: destiny.

We snuck to the top of the hill, and laid flat. Together we laid there, using the tall grass to hide us.

My axe wAs in my hand, and I remember feeling my manger simmer.

Feeling it, Talvi licked my hand as if to tell me, keep things in check. Whatever comes next, she and I will face it.

The chant was unlike anything I ever heard from the various shamen, witches and wise folk that I once interacted with.

The flame dimmed, and suddenly burst with a strange white and green color. The eldest shaman stood, turns and begins intoning to the circle.

One by one, the elders stood, steeping forward and thrust both arms into the fire! As they withdraw their arms, the strange fire remained on their skin, dancing and flickering until they sit back down.

Each shaman and witch did this , and then came my father and step-mother. With defiance they thrust their arms in, and backing away, the flames remained on their arms growing intensit!

The shamen, witches and elders watched impassively at the two writhing on the ground. The flames spread across their bodies, burning their clothes. The two rolled around on the ground, trying to beat the unnatural fire off. This lasted for a few moments and then the flames suddenly disappeared.

The oldest elder, the wise woman stands and pointed at your parents. She said a word and it echoed among the tents… “SATEESE” At that, others echo her word.


“Your old ways don’t interest me!” My father spits at them. “Your trickery won’t change anything, nor take away what is MINE! This tribe is MINE and I say NO. We will NOT join the Increpaytone!”

Seeing the scene below, I am a mix of emotions.

I am angry because I want to be the one to kill my father and step-mother.

I wanted to punish them for their evil.

I am confused because this was something I had not prepared myself for.

I look at Talvi, and we lock eyes. I feel her reassurance and her determination pass into me with that look. 

“Come, Talvi, we have a task to face. Blade and claw. Tooth and fist. Together we face what is to come with Meesha’s name upon our lips, and her words within our hearts.”

I stand.

Instead of my ax or my sword, I draw Lohikäärme Hammas. With this action, my life will be changed forever more.

I walk slowly into the village. I walk with confidence. I walk with purpose. I walk with my faith in Meesha.

As I enter the village I see those who I grew up with. Those who I hunted with. Those who I once had grudges with, but then became fast friends. I look at the ones who I considered my brothers and sisters, only to have them betray me in my moments of need.

As I walk closer to the fire I stand taller. The realization comes to me in a flash: whatever is to come will not be my end. It will be the end of the current path my people are on.

I smile. 

Now is the time I will show my goddess my faith in her, and my love for her.

With dagger in hand, I grip it tightly.

The crowd whispers my name, and my father’s eyes grow wide. Instead of anger in there is only fear.

I look to the viper whose actions poisoned my people. She glares in malevolence as if she wants nothing more than kill me.

I turn looking at the tribe. I speak:

“I am Børæn of the Wolf Tribe.”

“I am Børæn of the Axe.” 

“I am Børæn of the Sword.”

“I am Meesha’s Rage.” 

“I am Meesha’s Warrior.”

I am Meesha’s priest.

With each statement my voice grows louder; stronger. It reverberates around the tribe, and no one speaks."

I raise Lohikäärme Hammas above my head.

“This is Lohikäärme Hammas. This is the dagger of Aapo, the dagger of Elias, the dagger of Aku, the dagger of Jere, the  dagger of Sakarias, the dagger of Valthjof, and now the dagger of Børæn.”

“This is the dagger that has been passed down from one chieftain’s eldest to the next. This is the dagger Aapo used to unite the Wolf Tribe, and it is this dagger which sealed the bonds of leadership and family, and cemented that his line would lead the Wolf till the sun is snuffed out, and the stars are no more.”

Not a sound is heard as I speak. Even the fire seems to have gone silent.

“This marks my claim. This marks my heritage. This marks my lore. Though my clan ties mark my birth, Lohikäärme Hammas marks my right.”

“You are weak and a coward. You are no son of mine. You stole Lohikäärme Hammas because you are nothing more than a thief!” Yells my father.

I spin, with dagger in hand, and plunge Lohikäärme Hammas into my father’s chest. In one swift motion, I remove his heart and hold it in my hand showing it to my father.

“You are not worthy of this tribe. You failed this tribe when you allowed the viper to corrupt you and our tribe. When you killed my mother…” 

Hearing that, the death of his mother and his father’s responsibility for it, the tribe gasps.

“As a coward, you killed her and blamed me for your sins.”

My step-mother goes to speak, but Talvi silences her with a low growl.

“You are no longer of the Wolf. The name Arnbnjog, will be struck from our lore. No longer will Arnbnjorg be part of the roll of kings. Your name will never be spoken again. There is no place for you at Tapio’s fire. In death, you will walk the Lands of Shadow until the stars no longer shine, and worlds no longer exist. You are no longer of the Sword, you are dead to your clan. You are no longer of the Raven.”

Life leaves my father’s eyes as the last words are spoken. Throwing the heart into the fire, I turn to Ingvildr.

For the first time in my life, I see real fear in her eyes.

“Viper. Though my father killed my mother, it was you who gave him the knife. It was your poison that worked its’ way into the Wolf. It is your evil which marked me as a traitor. Your death will be but one step in cleansing my tribe. Your death will have no honor.”

With that, I cut Ingvildr throat and say no more.

“By rights of  Lohikäärme Hammas. I am now king.”

Some try to speak out, but it is apparent that my statement is open not for debate. It is a statement of fact.

“By tradition, I say the following: those of the Raven Clan have safe passage until sunset to leave this tribe. If by the last ray of sun you are still here, you will be killed. No mercy will be given.” 

With that, a few in the crowd begin to leave, and looks are thrown at them by the tribe. Looks of anger. Looks of vengeance.

“Merkitä Muistiin.” I said simply.

As if by magic Orpo appears. Seeing him I smiled.

“I see even you are too stubborn to succumb to age,” I laughed.

Orpo hits me with his staff, and the tribe laughs. With that laugh, all tension seems to lift.

“Be serious, now is not the time for the child,” Orpo stated.

Regaining myself I spoke: “As Merkitä Muistiin, Orpo, you are the keeper of our lore. On this day, you will strike the Raven Clan from our lore. From this day they will be known as the Clan That Will Not Be Named.”

“It will be done my King,” Orpo simply stated.

“From this day forward Arnbnjorg will be removed from the roll of kings. No longer will his name be uttered. Arnbnjorg is now of the Shadow. He walks alone and he has no lodge.”

“It will be done my King,” Orpo stated with a hint of happiness.

I looked around, as if I look at each member of my tribe separately.

“I am your king, and together we will cleanse this tribe of the poison which has festered. Together The Wolf will regain its’ honor. Together we will add to our Lore. Gone is our divisions. Axe, Sword, Boar, Horse, Eagle, and the Rabbit clans will be at peace. We will be united, and we will show all that together The Wolf will not be cowered.”

The crowd’s mood brightens with the naming of the clans.

“Unlike my father, I do not see you as tools to be used. I see you as my brothers and sisters. We are united, and together we will show the world who we are.”

“In Meesha’s name I pledge to you a new day has dawned.”

The room is quiet as Børæn tells his lore. When finished no one knows what to say.

“What happened next?” Asks the child.

Børæn chuckles, patting the child on his shoulder. “You will learn that when you are older. Little one. For now think on what you have heard.”

With that Børæn stands and leaves the fire.