The First Year Scar

Ephemera — The First Year Scar

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In the first year of his search, Indrodar Greydog led his companions deep into the Marsh, on many raids against the dead, and they cremated many corpses, but always they were driven back. Finally, as he walked with them towards the Marsh for a raid, he found a group of pale women, placing a carved standard into the ground, and he called out to them, “You who are here, who do you serve?” and they called as one, “Delecti the Undying,” and as one they surrounded his band.

The sword Wrath flashed out its anger and the blades of his companions were not idle, but soon the beckoning and calling of the women had enchanted half of his band, and their sword-arms fell and the women came forwards to feast. Then from road to the West came hoofbeats, and a rider on a great horse came among them, her sword shining like the sun and her arrows slaying each dancing woman that they touched. When the full sunlight was on them, the pale women had no power, and they fell and retreated.

“Hail to you, our saviour,” called Indrodar, and bowed low, and his companions stood alert around him, but the pale women had fled to the waters.

“I am called Eneera,” said she. “And this my companion is Goldeneye. But although I have saved you, you have not spoken your name.”

Indrodar was admonished, and bowed his head. “I am Indrodar Greydog,” he replied, “Captain of this band, and we search for a single body.”

“I search for six stones,” she replied, “But they are not here. Will you come with me from this place, before Yelm’s great light fades and your enemies return, and we may perhaps find things we seek.”

So although Indrodar knew that his Queen’s wight was not in the dry lands, he went with Eneera, so there were swords about her, and there was sunlight about his band, and they travelled to the City of Clearwine, where they spoke with sages and priestesses of the Earth.

With one such fine woman, Yanioth, they travelled back to the edges of the Marsh. Along the way Havna of the clear eyes paid Yanioth much attention, and by the time they had returned they were very nearly lovers, only Havna dared not ask for a token, but Yanioth loved her nevertheless.

It was Eneera who spotted movement three miles from their camp, with eyes granted hawk-like vision, and she said she saw a standard being raised, where Yanioth said the Rune of Earth was strong. The band rode at speed, but Eneera rode best of all, and Havna stayed back with Yanioth, who rode slowly, and none who saw them complained, but all went to battle.

There it was that Eneera and Indrodar arrived first, and but for the sunlight that Yelm could send they would have been harder pressed, but even so by the time the band arrived Indrodar was wounded across the arm, and Eneera on the thigh where she had blocked a blow meant for her mount. Then Yanioth said there were stones, and she would dance to bring them forth, and the companions set themselves around the high ground.

A dozen times the pale women tried to reclaim their stolen place, and a dozen times they were driven away, until Yanioth said, “It is dawn, and the stones must rise, but they cannot be born into the world without love, for Death was born here. Ernalda will not give the stones to a loveless place.”

Then Havna said, “I love you, and with you will guard this place if you will,” and gave her a love token of plaited hair, and the stones rose. From that day Havna could use no power of Death in the presence of an Earth Priestess, and her later death was caused by her love, but Yanioth stayed with her until that day, and joined the Greydog Clan.

Then the band declared that Eneera had found the six stones, which she called her compass, but is called Indrodar’s Necklace in the land of Sartar, and Havna’s Token by the Ernaldan Priestesses of Greydog.

Indrodar had been wounded by a dagger with many barbs, wielded by the wildest of the pale women, and the cut scarred into a line on his left forearm, and later he called that the wound of the first year, and made many beside it.

Appendix 1: Fieldnotes from Ivanko’s study of Grazelander folklore

From the fieldnotes of famed folklorist, Evegeny Ivanko:

This is a folktale, said to originate circa the mid-14th century. It features a Rune Lord of the Pure Horse People, Eneera, and her allied spirit embodied in her mount, Goldeneye. It is said that Lady Eneera wore the runes of Fire, Movement, and Beast and that she served Yelm throughout her life.

Sheng Seleris had raised a Great Horde, preaching all life is slavery. Over the course of decades, he conquered places like Teshnos, the Kingdom of Ignorance, Prax, and more. Eneera was looking for a way to free her people. A vision sent her on a quest to seek the Bow of Dominion,1Bow of Dominion spell: Duration 15, Initiate, Touch. The spirit of Sagittus is channelled into the caster’s bow, transforming it into a devastating divine weapon for the spell’s Duration. The caster’s Critical range is increased by 2% for every point of Magnitude in the spell. Arrows fired from the bow ignore all mundane and natural armour (magical armour protects as normal). Source: Glorantha:The Second Age and directed her to a ring of stones near the Uplands Marsh that will point her the right way. This fragment of the folktale was recorded in the 18th century, by an unknown ethonographer.

When Eneera of Ironhoof met Greydog

Eneera, the Horse Lord, rode as though her great mount was flying. Goldeneye’s hooves seemed to barely touch the ground. They skirted the Marsh for all knew that it was full of all manner of foulness. But, as she came near to a crossroad she slowed great Goldeneye. There was something wrong with this place. One of the roads disappeared into the marsh, as though it had been swallowed up. In her head, Goldeneye spoke, telling her to listen. Out of sight, somewhere within the marsh, they heard the sounds of people yelling.

Urgent though her errand was, brave Eneera could not pass by those who might be in need. She turned her redoubtable companion towards the sounds of violence, and nocked an arrow on her bow. Three heavily armed warriors stood back to back, mired up to their waists. Surrounding them was a horde of beautiful pale women. Smoke hung over those women and darkness clung like fine gowns.

Eneera knew in her heart that the women were darkness incarnate and a plague upon the marsh. Arrow after arrow she sent flying into those between her and the struggling warriors. As the first of the dancers fell, others turned to her, shifting into nightmares of smoke and dark. They flew at Eneera, faces contorted in rage and hunger.

This was a foe that was beyond her arrows, swift and sure though they flew. In defiance of their darkness, she called out to Yelm. Still they came. Then Goldeneye, her ally and companion, added his voice to hers and together they were strong and the God favoured them. With Yelm’s light shining forth from their bodies, they advanced on the dark women who wailed with impotent rage even as they turned to smoke.

His feet flying over the marsh as though it were solid ground, Goldeneye and his Rider drove the darkness back. They circled the warriors, creating a shield of light. This allowed the warriors to recover their footing and after some argument, they retreated from the marsh with the Horse Lord and her horse guarding the way. Once free of the marsh, the leader of the warriors, powerfully built and wearing the runes of Death, turned on the horsewoman, torn between fury and gratitude. He was not a man accustomed to needing saving. He blustered, but she faced him calmly, certain of the rightness of her act and still lit from within by her god. At last, he admitted his thanks, inviting her to return to the village, where the rest of his warriors waited, and where she might share in food, drink, and hospitality.

Thus, Eneera of Ironhoof met Indrodar Greydog.

Appendix 2: Related fragment of the Eneera of Ironhoof mythic cycle

From the fieldnotes of famed folklorist, Evegeny Ivanko:
The second fragment that I have found relating to Eneera is one that stems from a more traditional mythic cycle. The person who first recorded this text was clearly a Sartarite with a keen interest in Grazelander mythology, as the text seems to emphasise the role of the little known hero, Eneera of Ironhoof. It appears likely that this is a component of a larger mythic cycle, but whether it comes from Eneera’s myth or Indrodar’s is uncertain. Chronologically, it obviously follows the folktale described above, albeit in traditional Heortling mythic style.

Indrodar and his band welcomed the Horse Lord. Eneera told him of her quest for a ring of stones near the marsh, asking if he knew of it. He called upon the Lismelder Sage of Lhankor Mhy, who knew the story of such a place, now lost beneath the earth. He believed that it could be recovered by Ernalda’s hand. Indrodar consulted the priestesses of Ernalda from the village. Yanioth, a priestess strong in the Goddess’ love, offered to help.

The great chieftain gathered his band and they set off in search of the stones. The wisdom of the Sage guided them for three days, scouring the lands outside the marsh, but the ring was well hidden and defied their searching. But, on the third day, as Yelm began his descent, Eneera, who could see further than any other, saw shadows dancing in the distance around a low mound. Eneera, Indrodar, and the war band drove off the dancers and destroyed the rods the women had placed to encourage the growth of the marsh.

Yanioth, Ernalda’s chosen, recognized the ancient holiness of the mound. She called upon some of the warriors to join her dance and others to ward against the darkness. They danced through the night and the day and one more night. During the hours of Yelm’s descent, the Dancers in Darkness returned, but each time they were driven back by the light of Eneera and Goldeneye and the valour of Indrodar and his warriors. As Yanioth and the others danced to Ernalda’s rhythm, their feet on the earth drove away the encroaching water and called the stones from below.

By Yelm’s rise on the final day, six massive stones had risen to form a circle on the mound. As the sun hit the stones, Yelm told Eneera where she must go next to follow her own quest, and thus the Grazelanders know this place in their secret stories as Eneera’s Compass. But in Sartar it becomes known as Indrodar’s necklace, for it is here that he learns how to bring death to Dancers in Darkness.