The Indrodar Cycle

Ephemera — The Indrodar Cycle

????, Dark Season


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I The First Year Scar
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.

[http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/ephemera:the-indrodar-cycle#toc7 See Appendix 1: Fieldnotes]

[http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/ephemera:the-indrodar-cycle#toc9 See Appendix 2: Eneera myth]

II Indrodar’s Mark of Death
At the start of his second year of searching, Indrodar cut a second line on his forearm, rubbing it with charcoal dust and woad to make it scar, and he spent three days and three nights alone, eating nothing, drinking only water, lamenting his Queen.

On the third night, he woke to a pain in his arm and by feeling the scar he learned that it had moved, and what had been two lines running like chariot tracks was two crossing, in the Death Rune.

In his puzzlement he wondered if he had cut it that way, but as Yelm dawned he saw the colour under his skin was where he had rubbed it, and only the scar had moved, and he knew it for an omen.

He returned to his steading and called for his band, and showed them the scar. Some spoke of it in wonder, and others in fear, but Indrodar reassured them, saying it was but Death, which should be welcomed here at the edge of the Marsh, and he swore an oath he would go into the place of his enemy, and bring Death there. So Indrodar walked alone into the Marsh, and heard the howling of ghouls, trapped spirits within stolen bodies. A long time he sought them, knowing that the sounds led him further from the places that he knew, until cunning came upon him, and he turned as if to leave.

Then from the waters came bodies, moving although dead, and Indrodar slew a dozen and a dozen more, and made his way to a tiny island where he planted his sword and rested. The dead dared not approach the shadow of his sword, but they moved about him, at a distance, with the cries and howls of ghouls and dead demons.

While he rested, Indrodar prayed, and the shadow of his sword grew, and it could be seen from a mile away, and the dead fled before it, until a Vampire came on a dark mist, and landed before him in the shape of a woman, and smiled like one in love. Indrodar knew weariness, and for a moment he faltered, but the strength of his god was in him, and he plucked his sword from the ground and as he did so, the pale woman cowered back. He wasted no sword-stroke, but held out the sword as a sign of Death and commanded her to be gone to her rest, and there she crumpled into ash and smoke.

Then Indrodar Greydog walked out of the Marsh, to tell his people the secret of the Death Rune and the Dancers in Darkness, and although few of them could command their deaths as he did, they could drive back the Dancers, thanks to his vision and the strength of his spirit. And when he looked again on his scars, the two marks on his arm lay as chariot tracks, together in amity.

III The Companions of Indrodar
Each year that he searched, Indrodar scarred a mark into his shield arm. So it was that the third year was known as Harmony Year, for there were three lines together.

In the Dark Season of that year, when the Upland Marsh was frozen over and the ice was thick enough to bear a warband, he took a dozen thegns to search out the small bands of undead left above the surface. All were experienced warriors and some had fought Ice Demons.

For a week they searched, and fought, and searched and fought again, until all had wounds, save Indrodar himself, who had been the first to draw a weapon each time, and the most eager to do battle. At length Thegn Imilso said to him, “Lord, we are dying by shadowcat scratches, for between each battle is not enough time to heal. Let us return to our Steads and come again.”

Indrodar replied, “Your wisdom is great, Imilso, but let us go by a different path, for the way back will be watched by dead eyes,” and so saying he lead the way across the ice.

Imilso followed, but he had taken only a single step when Indrodar fell through the ice with a cry, and was dragged under. Havna of the Clear Eyes called that he was being taken away, and bare moments later they saw him struggle up onto an island in the distance, transported far out of the way they knew, and there he lay, and even Havna could not see if he was dead.

Imilso set out onto the ice, going far to the side, but soon felt it creaking beneath him, and Havna called that bodies moved beneath. As they debated how to cross the ice, and not one of them thought of going back, Jang Jargalsson, mighty in war, and a son of a devotee of Babeester Gor, dived shoulder first onto the ice, breaking through it into the water beneath. He was a worshipper of Engizi, and could breathe water as if it was air, when the God was with him, and so he had no fear in the chill waters, but cleared the ice with his axe so that his friends could strike from above, as the death things walked to him.

Havna of the Clear Eyes could see beneath the ice, and stood where the attack was thickest, and beneath the water the son of Jargal slew many, and above those with spears and pikes accounted for more, until Hanva said there was nothing more to come. Then Jang put his axe up, and stout Farharst pulled him up, and he stripped off his clothes and rolled in snow while others scouted the best way across the frozen water, and Aran the Fair swapped clothes with him, so one was cold within, and one cold without, and another man gave up his cloak.

When they reached the island where Indrodar lay, the sword Wrath was beside him, and his hand was clutched around it. He was lying on his side, half frozen, but he roused himself when his followers reached him, and saw the wounds on Jang, and the shivering of half of the band, for all were wet from the battle or the travel, and he said, “I cannot go on. It is–” And he would have given up his oath there and then, and died, but Laisdan Kanlaison emptied out a helmet full of frozen water on him, and he was unable to speak, and so he lived on.

“It is well for you that nobody of my mother’s temple is here,” said Jang, “For Babeester Gor would see you dead if an oath-spirit did not,” and Indrodar replied, “Better dead than trapped in a living death.”

“Well,” asked Imilso, “What of our Queen, who is so trapped? Come, brother – rise and we shall go rest, and once more try this cursed place.”

Indrodar looked at him with eyes more dead than alive, and said, “I have no strength to go on.” But Jang said, “I have strength. If I cannot carry you across the ice, I will carry you below it.”

Indrodar looked at Jang and made reply, “The cold enters my bones, and my heart stops on ice.” It was Aran the Fair who replied, shivering, “We will warm you with our bodies, and you will warm us,” and he lay down beside Indrodar, and beside him Farharst lay down also, and others covered them with cloaks, but nobody touched the sword in his hand.

Then Indrodar said, “A spirit spoke to me, below the ice, and told me that my cause was useless.” Then clever Laisdan asked, “How did it breathe there? Was it a servant of the river, or a dead thing, left to rot and lie?”

Indrodar admitted he did not know, and in doing so he was free of the spirit’s fear, and found himself warmed by his companions and cheered by their loyalty.

Then they made their way back into the Greydog lands, where Indrodar gave his companions rings of gold, and they gave him oaths in return, that they would always follow him.

IV The Ghost of Amsyr
At the start of his fourth year of searching, Indrodar cut a fourth line onto his forearm, to remember the passing of years, and three nights later he found the lines had moved into a Spirit Rune. He asked his companions what it might mean, and none knew.

In the months to follow they were plagued by many minor spirits, but none that could overcome them, until one day they paddled into the Marsh on reed boats, and deep within they found and island that seemed inhabited, for it was well tended with a plot of vegetables and a small thatched cottage. Clever Laisdan warned them away, but curiosity got the better of the band, and besides, they hoped to see someone living, and so they landed, and called out, and walked to the cottage, but Laisdan refused to go.

Mirilip knocked on the door, which opened, and there stood Amsyr, who was the beloved of stout Farharst and had disappeared bare weeks ago. “You are my doom,” said Amsyr, “But you are welcome, as my guests.”

Mirilip drew his sword, but Farhast pushed forward, and fell to his knees before his love, saying that she was found and would return with him. Indrodar asked of Jang, “What is the roof made of?” and Jang replied, “Bones.” Indrodar asked of Imilso, “What grows in this garden,” and Imilso replied, “Gravestones.” Indrodar asked of Aran, “What are the walls of this house?” and Aran replied, “The flesh of the newly dead.” Then Indrodar stepped forward and told Amsyr, “You are dead, I so name you,” for with those three truths her truth could not be hidden.

Amsyr’s body dropped down, but her spirit left her mouth and wrestled with Farhast, who would not fight against his lover, and so she overcame him, so the stout warrior turned against his comrades, and raised his sword against them, and in doing so he broke a geas, and a spirit formed about him that he could not conquer, and struck him down.

Then the ghost came out of Farhast’s body, and in its spirit form it struck at Aran, who had run loyally towards his friend, but Aran knew Death better than he knew Love, and he cast magic upon himself that deflected her strike, but he could not touch her. Amsyr’s ghost flew at Jang, who swung his great axe but could not strike her, and it struck at Indrodar, past the great bronze cross he held.

Then Laisdan called out, “Amsyr, I have a thing for you!” and the ghost heard his voice, and followed it to where Laisdan sat on the reed boat, and she stepped onto it as if it were land, and with a pole he cunningly pushed it away from the land where she was a prisoner. “What do you have for me?” she asked. “A riddle. Where are you?” he replied. “I am on a boat,” she told him. “And where is the boat?” he asked. “In a Marsh,” replied the ghost. “And what can live in the Marsh?” he asked her gently, for they had been friends a long time. “Nothing,” she said, and he picked up his sword and chanted over it words of death, until it could strike her.

Thus Laisdan Kanlaison killed the ghost Amsyr, and they took two bodies back for burial, leaving the island behind them with its tale of blood and bones.

[http:journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/ephemera:the-indrodar-cycle#toc9 Appendix 3: Notice of a small cemetery, containing deposits of cinerary urns ]

V The Rune of Unlife
At the start of the fifth year of his search, Indrodar went into the wilderness to lament for his Queen, and he cut another line on his arm, and at the end of the third night he woke, and saw that the marks had changed to the Rune of Unlife.

Loyal Indrodar fell to his knees in horror, knowing that the mark would set him apart from his Tribe. He set no traps for the next day, but he drew water and purified himself with dust, and prayed for guidance, and at nightfall his companions came to find him. “Friends,” he said, “I cannot return while this mark is on me.”

Jang offered to take off the arm cleanly, but Laisdan said the mark would still be there even if the arm was gone, and that was agreed to be wise.

None of the band thought to strike Indrodar down, but when he said he would go into the Marsh alone, all of them said they would follow if they could not prevent him, and so he waited while they prepared themselves, and then he led them into the shallows and the mudbanks.

Soon a mist came up, and they held close to each other and waited, but it thickened, and Indrodar knew it for a fell working. He ordered a shield wall and put himself between Aran the Fair and Mirilip his brother, for it is a shame for a brother to see his brother die. Indrodar wielded the sword Wrath with two hands, and trusted in his shield companions.

Soon Havna called out that she saw shapes in the mist, and then a moment later there came a terrible attack, broo made into zombies and ghouls, biting and rending at any part of the heroes that they could reach. Mirilip fell beside Indrodar and was dragged away, and the shield wall shrank until Indrodar stood with only three; Havna clear-eyes, clever Laisdan, and great Jang with his axe. Then the greatest of the broo stood forth, half living and half dead, dripping with rot, and Jang screamed a challenge and charged, and cut it in two, but as he did its blood sprayed on him.

Then the others began to panic, for their leader was gone, and they fled into the mist, and the mist lifted, and Indrodar looked on the dying and dead around him, and saw the faces of many friends, and he wept for them as he set the mark of Death on each, but still he set it. But many were wounded only, and magics saved them, so that half the company lived, although they were beset by pain.

“My lord,” said Laisdan, “Things are worse than they appear, for only two Humakti remain to you, and only one child of the river titan.” “Worse even than that,” said Jang, “For I am poisoned, and a shaking begins within me.”

“Then let us press on,” said Indrodar, “For I feel doom upon me.” His companions followed, but Jang slipped into the deepest of the ways they crossed, and was lost to them, as his grip loosened on a stone.

Indrodar found an islet and on it he set up a cross, and waited with his companions, who knew that doom was coming. Finally Havna said, “It is here,” and soon all of them could see a dark figure rising from the waters, and they lamented for they knew it for Jang.

Jang Jargalsson, he of the great Axe, stood thigh deep in the water, and roared a challenge to the band, and Indrodar stood. “I will not kill a friend,” he declared, “But I will lay the dead to rest without further tears.” So saying he stepped into the water, and he and Jang hewed at each other and his helmet was shattered on the cheek guard and his right arm bloodied, and Jang’s great muscled body was cut open and his thigh pierced by a blow from Indrodar, and still they fought.

As they fought the water roiled around them, and lesser beasts came to snap, and Indrodar’s band drove them away from the blood in the water. At the final stroke Indrodar and Jang fell together, but Indrodar rose, and alone dragged the corpse to shore, where he laid great Jang to rest. Then he turned to his companions and said, “I too am poisoned by my friend, and a shaking begins within me. But if I should die, I charge you to take up my task, for my sword’s destiny must be answered.”

Havna knelt beside her lord, and from her pack took out a wooden box in the shape of an earth temple, and slid it apart. From it she spread a green salve onto Indrodar’s wounds, saying, “My wife gave me this, to keep me safe, and I give it to you. If strength of spirit is yours, it will strengthen your body.”

Indrodar passed into a fever then, and Aran would have lain down beside him, but Laisdan said, “The heat of this death would pass from him and save him, but into you.”

Aran replied, “I will do it to save my Lord,” and Laisdan said, “Your Lord would never forgive you, even in death, for giving him such a burden. You are cut about and wounded, and if you die for nothing, we will lose you. We have already lost more than we can afford.”

So Aran stood and sang for his brother, who had been killed by the undead broo, and Indrodar heard the song in his dreams.

Indrodar walked on the Hero Plane, as his body lay shivering, and he fought with the foes of Humakt, and was defeated by nobody, until he came to a statue of a great warrior with an axe and the signs of water and movement on him. There he stopped, and said to the statue, “You seem familiar to me. Are you my friend Jang?”

The statue replied, in a voice like water crashing, “No, I am Engizi, come to take your friend home in honour,” and Indrodar bowed, and the Sky Titan lifted him back up to the Middle World, and took Jang’s spirit down, and Indrodar woke.

Then the scars on his arm were five lines in a row, and he led his companions that still lived out of the Upland Marsh, but he never again wept for a death.


[http:
journeyoftheheroes.wikidot.com/ephemera:the-indrodar-cycle#toc11 See Appendix 4: Archaeologists make grisly discovery]

VI The Durulz Fyrd
Indrodar commanded the Humakti of the Greydog Clan, and through them the Fyrd, and sometimes he raided into the Marsh in numbers, and sometimes he took in a small band.

At the start of the sixth year of his search, Indrodar went into the wilds, and he cut another line into his arm, and lamented for his lost Queen.

On the third night, a pain in his arm woke him, and by the light of Yelm’s dawn he saw that the marks had become the Beast Rune.

When he went back to his steading and called for his companions, Thegn Ismilo told him that the fyrd would no longer come to his call, for they had searched for five years. Indrodar refused despair, and took up anger, demanding their service. Noble Ismilo told him, “It is not me who refuses, but hundreds of spear-bearers.” Then Indrodar swore to face the Marsh without them if he must.

Those of his band swore to follow him as always, but Indrodar bade them stay at home, saying he would bring an army back, and he walked alone to the largest city of the Durulz. There he stood before their gate, his sword tied into its scabbard with bright ribbons that they might see he came in peace.

A bright gaggle of their soldiers came out and escorted him in to a moot, and he spoke, saying, “Were-folk, who walk in the Marsh as hunters of the worst things, who swim in the waters and know no fear. Years ago when my Queen’s body was taken, I came here to beg for peace. Now, I come to beg for war. Come with me, and show the fyrd of humans what honour is.”

The moot of the Durulz cried out their answer, in their savage language, and with two hundred spears at his back, Indrodar walked back to the Greydog lands, and found his companions. They went together into the Upland Marsh, leaving the fyrd of mankind behind them, and a great slaughter of the undead was made, and the pyres burned for two days before they retreated. Then Indrodar feasted his allies and his fyrd with them, and alike they swore to follow him in need, for all knew him as a mighty warrior. Then the scar on Indrodar’s arm was six lines, once more.

VII The Second Temple
At the start of his seventh year of searching, Indrodar went into the wilds alone, and cut a seventh line on his arm, next to those he used to keep count.

Seeing all seven, he said to Humakt, “Lord, Death is mighty. Send it to me soon if you wish, but let me keep my oath.” At the end of the third night he was woken by a pain in his arm and on looking he saw not one rune, but three. The lines made Death, Truth, Death, the full Runes of Humakt.

He returned to his steading and called for his band, and showed them the scar. Some turned from it, for it was not their Rune, while others crowded around him and called him their leader, strong in the understanding of Separation. To those, he said he would go out into the Marsh, and they would come with him, and they would make this venture alone. For those who could not bear the Rune, he called them his friends and bade them farewell, saying he was dead to them, and they should mourn him, and if he should return it would be a man of his name, but not their cousin or their kin. Those of that fellowship held a wake for him, but he took his companions and went into the Marsh, and they called themselves dead, and enacted the Heroquest of the Descent into Darkness to retrieve Death from Styx, and Indrodar was Humakt.

Not all of those who died while they lived were followers of Humakt before that day, but each had visions and some were separated from their families, and some from their lovers, and each heard the voice of Death within them, and they formed the Second Temple, in place of the first, and Indrodar was their captain.

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.

Appendix 3: Notice of a small cemetery, containing deposits of cinerary urns
PSAS 18992This is shamelessly plagiarised from Anderson 1878-79 [https:archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_01313_107_129.pdf PSAS] – honestly, this is plagiarism of the worst sort, as most of it is literally copied and pasted and then edited to make fit!

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF SARTAR 1899
NOTICE OF A SMALL CEMETERY, CONTAINING DEPOSITS OF CINERARY URNS AND BURNT BONES, ON THE FARM OF LASMALDI, IN THE PROVINCE OF SARTAR.

BY A. YRSUDOTTIR, ASSISTANT-SECRETARY AND LBA CURATOR OF THE MUSEUM OF SARTAR.

In the month of November last, John Smith, Esq. of Lasmaldi, a Fellow of the Society, brought to our Treasurer, Mr White, some fragments of cinerary urns which had been discovered in a rabbit burrow on his estate, and kindly offered an opportunity of inspecting the locality of the discovery. I accompanied Mr White to Lasmaldi on the day appointed for the examination of the deposit, which proved to be a group of interments of a most interesting character.

The locality was a very slightly elevated knoll in the wood of Drymmio near the ancient Lysmander Bog, about four miles from Lasmaldi House. The elevation of the knoll was so slight as to be scarcely distinguishable, but its dryness, and the open nature of the soil, arising from its frequent disturbance for purposes of interment after cremation (indicated by the presence of a thick layer of black ashes and charcoal underneath the surface soil), had caused it to be selected by the rabbits as a place for their burrows, by which it was penetrated in all directions. The surrounding land, we were told by Mr Smith, had been all under cultivation till about thirty years ago, but had been then planted with firs which are now of considerable size.

The completeness of the arrangements made by Mr Smith for the necessary excavations left no contingency unprovided for, and, thanks to the energetic superintendence of Mr Rubeus, the gamekeeper (in whose special department the discovery had first occurred), the work was completed in the pleasantest and most expeditious manner, although the position of the interments underneath the roots of a dense plantation necessitated the cutting and removal of a number of trees, and rendered the digging unusually difficult.

Commencing at the spot where the fragments of the first urn had been found, we dug down to the hard subsoil on which there was a deposit of ashes plentifully mixed with fragments of burnt bones which had escaped from the broken urn. We then trenched over the crown of the knoll for about four or five yards on either side of the first excavation. In the course of this operation we found one entire urn, another with a portion of the side broken away, and eight more in fragments. The bed of black ashes we had first met with covered a space of six or seven square yards in the centre of the excavation, and the urns were met with at irregular intervals within it.

The complete urn stood with its mouth downwards, and it will be seen that its interior is perfectly clean for about half the depth from the bottom upwards. I need hardly say that this could not have been the case unless it had been inverted. Engraved into the surface of the urn were three symbols, repeated around the rim in three sets of three: a spiral, an hour glass, and a square. Raising the urn from the soil revealed a hollow space underneath, in which there were a few fragments of burnt bones quite white and free from any admixture of soil. Mixed with the bones was a representation of an animal’s paw, formed in grey clay and baked solid, and a small bronze fibula brooch. Given the historical association of this region of the Lysmander Bog with the ancient Greydog clan, it seems reasonable to assume the shape represents a dog’s paw print.

Immediately next to the first urn, sat a second, so close as to almost touch sides. The second, larger, urn stood mouth upwards. The upper part of the urn was damaged, probably by ploughing, and the lower part was entirely filled with fine black ashes and burnt bones, some of which I have allowed to remain in it. Engraved around the outer surface of the urn are a number of symbols, including spirals, cruciforms, and Y shapes. Within the urn, among the topmost ash layer, was another clay dog paw, a bronze dagger, a small fibula brooch, and a fine bone comb. None of the artefacts shows signs of burning except the fibula, as in the first urn.

Other broken urns lay quite near, and probably also owe their fragmentary condition to the passage of the plough when the land was under cultivation. The burials are all after cremation, and they are likely placed on the spot on which the burning of the bodies took place. The layer of ashes extending over the area on which the urns were found gives probability to this. When the funeral pile had burnt out and cooled down, the fragments of the bones were carefully collected together. In some instances, such as with the first burial mentioned above, the urn was inverted over the remains, and the surrounding ashes and earth heaped over all. In others, it seems likely that as much as possible of the burnt bone was placed within the urn and then ash and earth was used to fill in the top and pack around the base. In each instance, a few grave goods, including clay animal paws, were included amongst the bones, but the placement is impossible to tell because of the damage caused by ploughing. Each urn bears different combinations of symbols, but spirals, cruciforms, and Y shapes occur with the greatest frequency.

The interments were not necessarily all made at one time. The two complete urns sit so closely together that it is most probable that they were buried simultaneously, one upright and the other inverted. The probability is that none of the other urns were absolutely contemporaneous, but there is also nothing to show that any one of them is very much older than any of the others. Perhaps no great length of time may have elapsed between the first and the last. In all probability the period during which this solitary funerary place was used was also the period in which some family of influence and distinction flourished in the neighbourhood.

The occurrence of so many interments of similar character in a single spot suggests that it must have been a family cemetery; and from the ornate character of the urns we may fairly draw the conclusion that it must have been a family of some distinction.
There was no great cairn or mound to be removed in order to permit the ashes of the later members to be placed beside those of their kindred who had gone before. Indeed, this peculiar form of urn and clay paw grave-good combination seems usually associated with burials that are not distinguished externally by cairns or barrows of great size raised over them. I am unable to say whether this difference in the external form of the burial may be due to a difference in time or to difference of customs subsisting at the same time. This is one of those interesting points, which it is impossible to determine in consequence of the imperfection of the record.

It is possible to recognise in this group of burials a specimen of a class of sepulchral deposits which is peculiar in its character. Little local cemeteries, consisting of groups of urns of this special form, inverted over the burnt bones at a slight depth under the surface of the ground, and unprotected by either cists or cairns of stones, have been more frequently recorded near Lysmander than in any other part of Sartar.

Appendix 4: Archaeologists Make Grisly Discovery in Lizmander Bog
Gloranthan Archaeology Magazine, September 2012


Warriors cut down in battle in the Lizmander Bog were decapitated, cremated, and buried on a small island. At least one of the bodies appears to have been a woman. Who were they and why were they buried like this? Dr Tatiana Ivanova reveals her discovery of a grim Heortling mass burial.

Peat cutters working in Lizmander Bog reported a discovery of charred human remains to county archaeologists last year. Dr Tatiana Ivanova of Lizmander University’s Department of Archaeology headed up the project.

As excavations begin to wrap up, archaeologists are finally talking about what they’ve discovered. “It was really weird,” reports Aralee Baker, a postgraduate student studying with Dr Ivanova. “They all had, like, their heads cut off. And they were stacked like firewood. But, it was also exciting because one of the bodies is a woman, so we know Heortling women really were warriors too.”

During the excavations, the cremated bodies of eight warriors came to light. Each person was decapitated shortly after death, but most showed signs of other wounds. Bioarchaeologist, Dr Kay Knights, says that seven of the bodies were male, but one is a female. The youngest warrior was 19 and the oldest was probably around 40, which was especially old for the Bronze Age.

“The dead were placed in two layers of four prior to cremation. As the bodies burned, they collapsed downward, causing the bones to intermingle and this made analysis difficult at first,” Knights admits.

The dead warriors were well armed. Seven swords, seven shields, two spearheads, and one massive axe were all cremated with the bodies. Buried near where the heads should have been, were hundreds of boars’ teeth from ancient helmets.

What happened to their heads? According to Ivanova, we can’t yet be certain, but she proposes they might be among those found at the Stone Compass over a century ago. It might be possible to match DNA from the skulls to the bones, but the fire that burned the bodies 3000 years ago may have destroyed the DNA.

Appendix 5: Bog boffins find HEADLESS CORPSES
Sartar Sun, October 2012


Grave-diggers at the Lizmander University reveal that they have found a mass grave filled with burned, beheaded warriors.

During their big dig in Lizmander Bog, archaeologists found the burned remains of seven men – and a woman!

Each warriors had been ‘killed again’ after death, with their heads cut off and taken away. Most had been stabbed, hacked, and cut before they died.

The excavation team had a special scientist called a bioarchaologist, who said one of the bodies was definitely female. (You can tell by the hips, she said.)

The bio-boffin sent DNA samples for analysis, and she was prepared to talk to us about it. She says she can tell from looking at the skeleton how old they were.

The youngest warrior was only 19, not even old enough to drink in some countries. The oldest was probably 40.

“The dead were placed in two layers of four prior to cremation. As the bodies burned, they collapsed downward, causing the bones to intermingle and this made analysis difficult at first,” Dr Kay Knights said to us.

Stacked like cordwood to be burned? Sounds like one hell of a party!

Dr Kay wonders if the skulls were taken from here to be buried at the nearby Stone Compass, now a hippie pilgrimage site for new-age pagans.

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