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Continued from...

In Poztar, the wood-built capital of Urd, King Hormerath, friend of Blue Wizards, is dying.  Thingolodh of the Falas waits beside him, cheering his last hour with tales of the Great Sea in the West.  Or so he told us later.  Knowing Thingolodh, I'm not sure exactly how cheering that would be, but no doubt Hormerath was excited about going beyond the Circles of the World and discovering what comes next for Mortal Men, so he probably didn't mind too much.

The lords and notables of Urd come riding into Poztar, in preparation for the meeting of the Wiatt : the body that will choose the next king of Urd.

Hormerath had three sons : Feren, Murat and the youngest, Hidek.  We did not met Hidek, because he was off on a hunting trip.  Now, he returns to Poztar, where he is greeted by an accusation from his brother, Murat.   Murat accuses Hidek of being a skin-changer - indeed, of being the very skin changer  who had devastated the village of Bagu!
Murat also accuses Feren and Hormerath of having covered up Hidek's dark secret.  Tableau!

Suddenly, poor Hormerath died.  Thingolodh was surprised at the speed of it:  he suspected the death had been hurried along with poison.  The Wiatt  was called, and Feren, Murat and Hidek, the sons of the old king,  stood before the assembled multitude as candidates for the kingship.  Feren, a man already in his   sixties, was the candidate of the older generation.  Murat was backed by many of the cavalry riders of Urd, and Hidek was the choice of the younger men.

Murat accused Hidek of being a skin-changer before the whole assembled Wiatt... and Hidek admitted it!  He also told them that he was certainly not responsible for the raid on Bagu village. None the less, political support for Hidek collapsed.  Skin-changers are not popular in Poztar, or indeed, I understand, anywhere in Urd.

At this point, Thorofin came speeding back into Poztar, reporting the success of our mission in Raku and made it clear that the werewolves that attacked the village had certainly come from the uttermost East, not from Poztar, and that Hidek had had nothing to do with it.   Also that they should give him some replacement horses.

 Thorofin was rather blunter about explaining this than the Wiatt felt was quite polite, and when Thingolodh nudged him,  Thorofin said 'I'm Noldor.  I don't have to be diplomatic.'  I see his point, yet that lad does remind me of the lord Caranthir on occasion.   Perhaps I should ask the diplomatic dwarf to give him a few lessons.

Anyway, it ended up that the oldest son, Feren became king, which all seemed very appropriate and in accordance with Elven ways of doing things, and Thorofin got some horses, including a short-legged spotty one for the dwarf,   and came charging back to pick up the rest of us, where he was greeted with a chorus of 'where the hell were you?' from those who could still stand up.  I had been quite badly bitten, so I wasn't one of them, though thankfully Sirithglor was able to use Elf-magic to heal the bites so they did not fester.

Our ferocious wolf-killer Gyula was not well pleased when he discovered that Feren had become king.   He was an influential member of the Murat faction, and his stomping and muttering made it pretty clear that Murat's supporters were not going to meekly accept their new king.  Thrandin the dwarf took him to one side and had a long talk with him, about the serious problems that a civil war could create,  the importance of political stability, and the uses that dark powers could make of instability in Urd.   Gyula had a lot of respect for Thrandin after our adventure, and took his advice very seriously.

We were standing in the wide space before the great hall of Poztar, watching the funeral pyre of King Hormerath burn, when Gyula's head was flung over the wooden palisade.   Murat, it appeared, was not convinced by the argument for peace.  Messengers came bearing news.  Murat was marching on Poztar, with wargs in his train.   He had made an alliance with Raku.

We rallied the remaining Urds under their new king Feren, and rode out to battle.

Here we are with our heroic troops.

And here are the terrible wolf-riders and werewolves of Raku and the rebellious Urdish cavalry under Murat.

The central problem for Murat was that his two sets of forces were extremely suspicious of one another, and did not work together well.  The wolves of Raku were ill-disciplined, and the cavalry of Urd seemed to lack morale, perhaps because they had found themselves confronting their friends and relatives.  Or perhaps it was because Murat had been strongly against skin-changers, and had accused his brother Hidek the skin-changer of terrible crimes, yet now they found themselves allied with savage beasts.

Murat's cavalry did make a brave attempt at an attack, and routed a unit led by the skinchanger Hidek, fighting in support of his brother, King Feren.  But then, facing a charge led by Thorofin charging at full speed, several cavalry units broke and ran, leaving their leader Murat alone on the field.   Murat, abandoned on the battlefield, spurred his horse towards Hidek, who had been dismounted in the earlier charge, and left without a means of escape or defence.

In this desperate strait, Hidek took to his last form of defense. He became an enormous bear, and slew Murat's horse with a swipe of his gigantic claws.   The Hidek-bear's teeth were just about to end his brother's life, when from the sky, a great menacing bat-form came dropping.   It was the monster Gulavar.  He plucked Murat from the jaws of his bear-brother, and flew away with him.

You can see Thorofin galloping about madly in the background there, rallying his Urds.

The wolves, seeing that their allies had given up, bolted and ran, with their leader the werewolf Carangamp in the lead.  We had won!

Our triumph was coloured with sadness for the heroic Gyula, who Thrandin had converted to the cause of peace, and had died for it.   Sirithglor, who is the member of our party best skilled in singing, and Thrandin, who felt guilty, wrote a song about it, and very good it is too. The Song of the Urdish Men.

Before you ask, yes we did also trace his family and made sure that they got Gyula's bag of loot.

You thought that was it?  You thought, how can there be more of this stuff? Well, there is....


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
28th May, 2016 06:54 (UTC)
Once again in the interests of "if we don't write it in this LJ record, we'll entirely forget about it before next year," I should add that some local traditions sing this aditional verse of the Gyula song. Most scholars believe it was never truly part of Gyula's song, but was probably added long ago by some waggish singer in a pub as a local in-joke, but went on to become local tradition, repeated by people long after the original circumstance that had inspired the joke had been forgotten. However, it appears to have an urgent message to tell, one that was clearly important at the time to whoever wrote it.

Long ages hence in Tamar's vale
Not far from Gyula's Lake*,
They'll toast his name with wine and ale
And eat a lot of cake,
And arm themselves with forks so sharp
And quantities absurd
Or cheese - but all will be in vain
Unless they heed these words.

Don't forget the meths!
Make sure a bottle's nigh!
In Gyula's name, and for his death,
The fondue must not die!

* The mention of this place name, in conjunction with the river Tamar, suggests an intriguing new possibility for the origin of a place name that was previously assumed to refer to mining. Were the mines of Cornwall perhaps founded by dwarves who came with their ancient traditions - including this dwarf-written song of Gyula the long-dead hero?
28th May, 2016 08:18 (UTC)
!!! The meths!

I had already forgotten it. Am off to Tavi today, will see if I can track some down.

Have just realised I had endowed Hormerath with a Funeral Pier, which is a pretty epic notion, much more impressive than a mere pyre. :-D
28th May, 2016 11:03 (UTC)
And don't forget to record in this post which cupboard the meths is put it. :-D

I'd have thought the body would have started to whiff a bit by the time a pier had been constructed. Unless it's a very small pier - on at which you dock a coracle, perhaps. Probably best to dispense with the end-of-pier ballrooms and tacky amusement arcades, too.
28th May, 2016 14:26 (UTC)
One in the utility room, one in the cupboard with the fondue sets.

According to the shop we found them in 'old people buy it a lot, I don't know what they do with it'.
30th May, 2016 11:26 (UTC)
T swears he saw a bottle of meths on one of the alcohol shelves at Easter. But he thought vodka would be better anyway as the flame doesn't burn as hot, so would be less likely to burn the bottom of the cheese. He didn't know why we had so much trouble getting & keeping it lit.

Edited at 2016-05-30 11:27 (UTC)
30th May, 2016 11:36 (UTC)
I think he may be getting meths mixed up with the bottle of blue no-rinse pet shampoo, which for some unexplained reason is on the top shelf of that unit. I found that bottle a couple of times when we were looking :-D

I left the two burners out, assuming the contents would evaporate quickly away, as they have in the past, but one of them was very full of liquid and I had to turn it out and give it a good squidge to empty. Dunno if that's relevant to flamability.

We could perhaps try raising the bowls a little higher above the flame next time. Not that I'm objecting to burned cheese, rather the opposite...
13th Jun, 2016 12:32 (UTC)
Your link to LoA's journal for the song is broken. (Yes, I am reading all this, and enjoying it too :-) )
13th Jun, 2016 12:37 (UTC)
Oops, so it was. Now fixed.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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