A Cæbril! That he was no different from the Ramaazanian infidels in Arthaep! Fie, indeed! What had he ever done that would cause Henthil to bring that up? What had that to do with anything? In truth he was a Cæbril, but this was a heritage of which he could be proud! He knew the almost mythic tale of his ancestry; of his ancient grandsire, Grynfrayll, son of Præthian the last Shæmotian king, who through a miraculous, harrowing escape, was brought to the steps of Grevenn harbor by the Merfolk…
His mind wandered as he paced in the cold passage of Grevenn Castle, damp and musty smelling. Flinging his backside upon the hard cold stones, he remembered the childhood tales of his ancestors.
Sadness enveloped his memories as he thought of his father, a noble, principled man whose commitment to the alliance of his forebears had led him to his death in the Battle of Hæwaltuc Ferry. He fought the foes of the Yœd Carlamorr Wyarl œtpyron, the ancient Seelie Covenant between the Cæbrils of Shæmot, and the Sidhe that dwell within the interior of the Gylmærian continent.
The place was real enough; he had been there. He had fought with the færie lords there in the Gegetha War where his father was slain; he had beheld with his own eyes the hideous hobgoblin cavalry that rode upon the vile beasts of the forest. He had seen their cruel arrows fell many good men upon the battlefield, and their brutal axes smite many a brave færie warrior.
Henthil was right, and Boryethan knew it. His lineage was of a different similitude than the men of Frønya, for the Cæbrils were an ancient mystical race. The tales of their beginning were as hoary as the mountains that arose from the sea. For two millennia, they had dwelt in their legendary land of Shæmot, a land in the center of An Domhain within the heart of Gylmær, uniting the men of West, the Iarthar; the East, Esarthul; the South, Arthaep; and all the Sidhe of the Gylmærian hinterland.
The world was a wicked place; and that which was fair and good was betrayed by rapine and perfidy, and the empire of Shæmot met its ruin. Nevertheless, beginning with Dulndyn, the son of Grynfrayll, who came to dwell in the court of Grevenn after the Fall, the precedence for continuing this Seelie Wyarlian Covenant was wrought; for when need was great, he and his sons would travel into the heart of Gylmær, defending the Færie’s lands along the Wyarl. For well nigh a thousand years, the sons of Grynfrayll would travel from the eastern Isle of Frønya, and fulfill the vow of their forefathers to maintain this covenant.
When he was twenty years old the Færie Folk of Gytælor called upon his father and his Uncle Yegenthal to fulfill their allegiance to this covenant. Traveling from Frønya, his father Zæmyth with Boryethan and his brother Bordayn went to Kasega where Yegenthal and his son Eglepel dwelt. It was in that battle that his father, brother and uncle died; and Boryethan witnessed, firsthand, the folly of this Covenant. The alliance faltered, the Færie Host was scattered, and Boryethan and his cousin Eglepel barely escaped alive. All was lost, and hobgoblins consumed the land for which they had fought so dearly. For this cause, Eglepel and Boryethan bade each other farewell, vowing not to continue in the folly of this failed alliance, for they esteemed the covenant worthless, because Gylmær was overrun with wickedness.
There was then a stark contrast between the men of Esiar that dwelt upon the isles and the outer fringes of the continent and the mysterious Sidhe that dwelt within the interior of Gylmær. Boryethan now never spoke of these things. None of his comrades would understand or believe his wild tales. They would only frighten them, ostracizing him from their companionship, which he pined for so dearly now since his father and brother had perished in those mysterious lands.
The loud thudding of the door jarred his thoughts. Quickly turning his head, he saw Omyl, the Paurrosian Ambassador, striding angrily towards the stairwell. Looking at Boryethan with a crimson face, he shook it and spit upon the floor, exclaiming, "Cursed Frønyan filth!" Before Boryethan could react, the man was down the stairs.
Again, the chamber door opened swiftly and one of the godar rushed after Omyl. "My Lord Omyl," he called loudly, his voice echoing through the stone passage as he headed for the stairwell.
Boryethan knew what had happened. Henthil and his truculent Lamdælyn brethren had personally attacked Omyl, as they had done to him just now, making bigoted comments regarding the Paurrosians dwelling upon the continent. As was usual with men of Esiar, they feuded continuously. One island against another; the island dwellers against those upon the mainland; mountain dwellers against the lowland dwellers; It never seemed to end. Yet, they had to unite! They must be made to understand this!
Boryethan’s mind raced as he thought of the imminent danger. Men were the only hope, and it was this hope that was the cause for his continued residence in Frønya. The delusional continental alliance of his forbearers had profited no one; the only hope, the only prayer that anyone had for peace upon An Domhain, was for the Esarthulian brethren to forget their foolish bickering and league together against the foes of the south.
With resolute countenance, he decided to return to the Althing Chamber, humble his pride and pursue reconciliation with Henthil. He must bite his tongue and convince that fool to put aside his bigotry and with prudential fortitude, send his men to fight Ramaazan.
Deep in thought, he rose to his feet not noticing the soft tread of the King walking up to him. Putting an aged arm upon Boryethan’s shoulder, the startled knight spun around and met his kindly face.
"I am sorry for the bitter words of Henthil, my old friend," said Gurthel quietly. You are a most worthy ætheling and a friend worth more than words can express. I…."
He was interrupted by Boryethan’s passionate response, "Your apology is kind, my Lord, and you honor me greatly. Nevertheless, this is no time for discussions regarding one man’s bigotry and another’s heritage. We must return to the godar and convince them to league against Ramaazan. There is hope with the Esarthulian brethren. Let Henthil and the Lamdælyn, call me what they will; there is no harm in that. The only harm will come if we do not strike this Paynimry before the month is finished! And Omyl…"
He looked into Gurthel’s face, and he saw his friend smilingly slyly at him.
"Boryethan your zeal encourages me," he said," and I have news that will gladden it more. There lies to the north, the vast isle of Ostæleth Kiparsh; though I doubt you have traveled there before. Although it is nearly twice the size of Frønya, it is encased by a vast glacier that covers nearly the whole island rendering the coastlines as the only arable areas. Efsven’ic and Lœvep’ic are the two lairds of Kiparsh; Efsven’ic dwells in Drahthe Nahaln on the eastern side, and Lœvep’ic dwells in Musgotts upon the west. Many years I have considered this, for in truth Kiparsh is cardinal to negotiating any treaty with the men of the Northern Isles. It is through these two lairds that an alliance is possible. They can negotiate with the Icemen of Ostæleth Mealdvanna and the unbain fellows of Gar’ves Ligendul effectively, because their kinship is closer than that of ours in Frønya. For if we were to sail into Ve’slof Gottsvit, or Helden Sondent with our galleys, they would view it no different than if a Ramaazanian ship sailed into their harbour asking for shelter."
"All this has been on my mind as of late, especially this past month while you were away. Then something of exigent magnitude came to my attention: The wife of Efsven’ic is the sister german to none other than Henthil’s wife! So now we are united with Kiparsh though kinship; and it was this relationship that I used to reason with that rascal Henthil just now. A rascal he may be, but he has kinship honour, and his wife would never let him hear the end of it if he refused to fight with the men of Kiparsh. There is hope, my dear Boryethan, for he and the lords of the Lamdælyn have agreed to send men!
Boryethan’s response was to smile broadly.
"Yet," Gurthel put up his hand to temper his jubilance. "The only condition is if Ostæleth Kiparsh agrees to send aid."
Boryethan’s smile lessened and he looked puzzled. Gurthel continued. " You and Gæasel, thane of Pateah and your close friend, I deem, have been elected to go to Drahd Nahaln and plea with Efsven’ic to not only join forces with us against these foul Saracens of Arthaep but to implore him to persuade the men of Mealdvanna and Gar’ves Ligendul to unite with us."
"It is customary for this Althing to give a bag of grain to the captain of the first merchant venture of the year, as a token of our friendship to Efsven’ic and his thanes as befitting a coveted trade ally. While Kiparsh has many resources: game, whale, and fish, wheat is dear to them. As an introduction you shall present this gift of grain to Efsven’ic on our behalf as way of introduction."
Scratching his head, Boryethan stared intently at him. Placing both his hands on Boryethan’s shoulders, Gurthel looked him in eye. "If an alliance is achievable, they know you will not fail them. This Althing trusts you. In you, they have placed their hope."
Thus ends the first chapter of Quelvyn's Rede, Book I of the An Domhain Chronicles. If you are interested in reading more of this exciting new series, or wish to be on the mailing list, please click here!