Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Plains of Llyrian (Pt. 4)

Away at the hall of Llyrian's home, Unnr moved amidst her husband's people, deeply troubled. An illness had swept over them. Great men were brought low. The aged and young were cut down as grass before the scythe. Some had begun to recover, but it was only few of that proud number. So it happened that Llyrian crossed the great river of Amyas at the ford of Janwynne. As Llyrian crossed the bawn, no challenge was cried out. No persons came out to meet the lone rider and demand their name or purpose.

Amazed by this, Llyrian passed on to find the stench of dead flesh heavy in the air as he drew closer to his home. A great pit had been dug between the eastern edge of the spear-wall and the western edge of the fading field of grain that stood along the edge of the river. In that pit was thrown the bodies of the dead, man and beast alike.

Llyrian passed beyond the spear-wall and was met by a young boy. Dressed in ill fitting clothes and dirty, the orphan struck terror into Llyrian's heart. The golden haired wolf of Sigurt dismounted and went into his hall. There he found Unnr at desperate work to soothe the evils of the plague that had come upon them. Weakened men and women shuddered with the grips of fever as others lay groaning. 

Llyrian walked amongst them, staring with horror as he remembered the night his sons were born. He looked at his wife and fell to his knees. He bowed his great head and struck his hands three times against the hard earth, weeping for his folly. Unnr looked past her husband for her sons. She saw no sign of them and looked to her husband, troubled by his demeanor.

“We are undone,” Llyrian groaned, “Ah, forgive me, we are undone.” Unnr gasped as she realized that the curse had come to pass. She looked about the hall and found her mind filled with visions of destruction. With a cry, Unnr fell to the ground dead with grief and horror. Llyrian screamed aloud, gathering the clay cold corpse of his beloved wife to him. Thus it was that Llyrian returned to his hall on the eve of the storm of the Howling Horde.

Night came and with it came the out riders of the Horse Lords. Llyrian moved among his people, desperate for any who had might to take arms. Across the river, the Horse Lords lifted up the standard of war and set to a great noise. All of Janwynne echoed with the din. Slowly, the night crept by. In the dark, away at the marsh to the south, one who had been angered by such cacophony many a year before smiled in the dark, for she knew her revenge was taking shape.

Dawn came. It found Llyrian and five brave souls standing at the gate of the shield wall. The Horse Lords crossed the ford and laughed at the defenders. When noon had come, Janwynne was burning as the Horse Lords turned to ride back to their people. So it happened that the Horse Lords brought death as the spoils of war, but that is a tale for another time. 

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