Saturday, February 18, 2017

Holy Books: The Life of Orlandus -- Part 3

See Part 1 and Part 2.

Our Lord Orlandus sought for a blade with which to slay the Weeping King. He knew there was one place where he could find such a sword for certain: Hârnholme. The ancient kingdom of the dwarves was the one place where a man could earn himself a mighty blade, laid with magics that might slay an immortal tyrant like the King of Tears. For three years he worked and lived as a gestr to the dwarves. He abandoned his goodly works and there our lord of Sunhome shoveled coke and pumped the bellows of a forge. He worked as a drover, a carter, and a woodsman. All these things he did without the comfort of a place in the dwarven halls, a worker without a home.

In the deep winter of the third year, the Mountain Smith Magnr Smokebeard came to the rick wherein our lord slept and said, "For three years you have lived on scraps, as less than an apprentice amongst a people who have no love for you. For three years you have toiled in the workshops of my forge, smelting ore and moving fuel. Something must have brought you here. Why have you come?"

And when Orlandus our Lord told Magnr Smokebeard his quest to slay the Weeping King, Magnr brought him into his most intimate workshops, beyond the secret vaulted doors which only the Master Smiths could open; lo, our Lord was was shown the very heart of the Mountain Smiths' forges, where the ancient and mighty keys that are the patrimony of the dwarves must undo the mightiest locks ever devised. And in this place, Magnr Smokebeard told Orlandus, "You will learn to work steel and gold, balglamr and aedr. Only when this is done will we forge your sword."

For ten years, Orlandus studied under Magnr Smokebeard, and he learned only the most meager of the dwarf's secrets, for the Mountain Smiths rarely share their powerful art, and even in the aid of such a worthy cause this Smokebeard would not reveal to Orlandus the most mighty of arts. Yet even so, when the ten years were complete he spent one final year under Smokebeard's tutelage to forge the blade he would carry for the rest of his life; the holy sword, blessed by Haeron the Hammerer, which is called Angurvidal.

So, too, did Magnr Smokebeard forge for Orlandus our Lord a suit of armor in the old Milean fashion which is called Peaceward; a misericord called Heartpiercer; a hammer named Thalmung; and a spear called Atgir. With these weapons and harness, Roland of Sunhome ventured forth to confront the Weeping King.

North, he went, and northward, until at last he came into the Kingdom of Aedeion, within the mist-girdled forests. With him, too, was his sacral destrier, Lightning. As he went, the Weeping King's people flocked to his banner, eager to, at last, overthrow their awful lord. A great battle was joined before the gates of Lakra, the eternal city. The lieutenants of the Weeping King could not give battle or ride forth beneath the blazing sun. Thus, the armies of the vampire-lord were defeated without their leaders, and the city of Lakra was stormed. Hundreds of vile servants were woken from their enchanted slumber, and hundreds more who served willingly driven to the edge of the Red Lake and executed there until the waves ran with blood.

At last, as the sun set, the Weeping King came forth from his palace, flanked by his vampiric children. But our Lord Roland was a knight pure of heart and mighty of arm; seven of the eldest vampiric princes died by his hand in that bloody sunset, and then, at last, with lance, shield, and blade, he brought low the Weeping King.

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