Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Founding of Gremandir

“Father. Listen to thy son,
and mark this well.
What my brother, Gremus hath done
Is turn to treason. He incites
The common people to rebel,
against you, their sovereign overlord
You must not heed their talk of rights
They seek to put you to the sword!”
Thus, good name by evil twin defiled,
Was Gremus, Prince of Taere exiled.

“Oh my brother! Gromul beware!
I will return.
By mighty Mabegon I swear
I’ll leave no place for you to hide;
You and yours will surely burn.
Know how I yearn to see you dead
For your attempted fratricide!”
Thus saying, Gremus eastward sped
To mighty Castelmar, wherein he sought
The shelter of the Llindaan court.

King Merkh listened to his plight
With passions strong.
“I cannot aid you in your fight.
No troops have I, please understand,
To help you right your grievous wrong.
The Borphyr press us from the north
And soon we must, to save our land,
Leave our defence and sally forth
And fight no matter what the cost.
For if we fall, Llindaan is lost.

“My proposition, if you’ll agree
Perhaps you should.
I offer you a captaincy.
I need new men to lead the ranks.
Though dangerous, the pay is good.
It needs to be, to fast replace
Those fallen by the Sibher’s banks.
What’s your reply? Time moves at pace.
I want your help, I will confess.
All I need - a simple yes.”

By battle’s blaze his glory flamed,
This warrior prince.
Throughout the land his deeds acclaimed,
From mountains sharp to rocky coast.
Llindaan morale was flourishing, since
His assumption of command.
Within a year the Llindaan host
Drove the Borphyr from their land.
Morale increased with each attack,
To Akhna-Vaer they forced them back.

The Borphyr mourned their loss, aggrieved
At this humiliation
This turn of fate was scarce believed
That they, proud warriors faced defeat
From the arms of a backward nation
They plotted, planned. It was agreed
This time revenge would be complete,
Llindaan would fall… But who would lead?
Then into the hall a leader came -
Godwulf Squinteye was his name.

“Give me men! In sixmonth time,
Or maybe four,
I will crush this Llindaan slime!
I’ll bring you Gremus’ head!
We will hold the south once more.
We’ll sack the towns and raze the spires,
Then hack and stack the Llindaan dead,
And light the darkness with their pyres!”
From Akhna-Vaer the Borphyr swarmed,
And down towards the south they stormed.

Now Gremus knew the Borphyr’s plan
He had his spies
He knew their number, to a man
And knew he could not win the fight
And so, to both sides great surprise
He ran. The Borphyr gave pursuit
Jeered and mocked with great delight
But reckoned not the Llindaan’s route
The Borphyr plan was thus perverted
Their thrust against Llindaan diverted.

He led them through the Eastern plain
To far Barrani-Sarq.
And nightly raids left Borphyr slain.
A handful at a time, though few,
They came to fear the coming dark.
In wakeful torment, sleep deprived
It tore their minds, and tempers flew,
When food and arms had not arrived.
For Gremus was a bold tactician
Who fought a battle of attrition.

He brought them through that hellish gash
The Manakh rift.
He planned their numbers there to slash
In fetid swamps he’d bring them down,
The spirits of his troops to lift.
But Gremus, still, was full of doubt.
Many Borphyr didn’t drown,
And options now were running out.
The time for battle was at hand.
Somewhere, he must make a stand.

On Sibher’s banks there is a mound,
An ancient barrow.
Bow-shaped, eighty rods around
From where an archer, shoulders broad
Near half a girdh, can fire an arrow.
Here did Gremus kneel and pray
“Great Mabegon! Oh mighty Lord!
Grant us victory on this day!
I swear that if we win this fight
I’ll build your temple on this site.”

At morning’s break, with fearsome roar,
The armies clashed.
The ground was soon awash with gore.
Formations fell to disarray,
As soldiers hammered, clawed and slashed.
Gremus watched them cruelly die
As, battling grimly through the fray,
Blood streaming from a shattered eye,
He finally stood face to face
With the bestial marshal of the Borphyr race.

“Does your head hurt, little man?”
Godwulf drawled,
The cure for it is in my hand.”
He swung his sword at Gremus’ head,
Who parried - fell - in red mud sprawled.
Twas then the Borphyr saw his chance,
He lunged to kill, but slipped instead
And was impaled on Gremus’ lance.
He watched his blood flow, horrified.
A final laugh and then he died.

Gremus lay there, bruised and battered,
Limbs awry.
His eye was gone, his leg was shattered,
But knew the prize was his to snatch,
So Godwulf's sword he lifted high
And like a wave the murmer spread,
Like fire through a burning thatch,
Became a shouting, “Godwulf’s dead!”
The Borphyr army now broke ranks
And lost the battle of the Sibher’s banks.

This barrow, marking fair Llindaan’s
Most northern point,
For countering the Borphyr’s plans
King Merkh, from here to Manakh mouth
Did Gremus, governor anoint.
He built a sepulchre as vowed
And fortress to defend the south.
With what name would it be endowed?
They asked. Gremus replied with candour,
“After myself, tis called Gremandir.”

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