Middle Carathan: Book I

An account of the people of Carath, being the period after The Sundering and before the Rise of the Battlemaster.

  • Book I: Retelling the flight from danger, the formation of the Seven Houses, the martyrdom of the daughters of Carath and construction of the Dragon Gate.
  • Book II: Retelling the expansion of the Empire, the construction of Tol Carath, the expulsion and return of Magister Kerezain and the martyrdom of the heirs of Carath.
  • Book III: Retelling the aftermath of Kerezain’s invasion, construction of Tol Nordia and the ascension of the Congregation of the Saints.

After The Sundering

“It is the time of Man!. The Elves are decimated and scattered. The Dwarves have sealed themselves away in fear. The world belongs to us now. Take up your spear and shield. Take up the axe and plow, the hammer and the chisel. We will go forth from this place of ruin. We will fight, we will build, and we will be free!”
– Amadris, Daughter of Carath, Primus of the Seven Angelic Brides.

“And lo the Kingdoms of men were laid to waste. The crops became dust, the wells filled with poison and the mountains spewed ash. And the daughters of Carath came among the people. Amadris, Liann, Fiann, Ordu, Orwen, Rihalla and Ruwen were the names they carried, and with them came the wisdom of Carath. They gathered up the broken and the fallen, tended the sick and weak, fed the hungry. And so the children of Carath became an army”.
– from Chapter V, Book I, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“We were led to this place by Ordu the Singer, Quartus of Carath. It is a place of safety, she sang to us, a place of healing. Her song brought us together as one. We marched like soldiers and camped each night within a ring of spears. There is no doubt that her song is guided by the new spirits of Order.

There are others here, folk from many Houses of many Kingdoms. All have been led by the daughters of Carath to this valley. Where we would have starved and perished alone, they have brought us together and made us a people again. My children laugh and play while I build a new home for my family, a stable for my neighbour, and a temple for the ancestors.”
– from “The Stonemason’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

The First Exodus

“…held the crossing but barely. Had they pushed the attack past dusk I fear the entire western flank would have crumbled. My lady, the men are exhausted and the wounded outnumber the able-bodied. They will do their duty but they cannot hold much longer. My scouts, the few that have returned, confirm my last report. The blackblood numbers increase every day. Soon they will outnumber us a…”
– a fragment of a letter found in the effects of Liann, Daughter of Carath, Secundus of the Seven Angelic Brides.

“Though their shields were cracked, their arrows spent, their blood staining the rivers red, the Spears of Liann held once more. Still it came to pass that the foe was beyond the strength of the people of Carath. Amadris called upon them to raze the towns and salt the fields, and it was done. Fiann called for the chorts to be reformed, and it was so. Ordu and Orwen bade them sing the songs of leaving, and the voices were raised high. Ruwen led the way east, and the people did follow”.
– from Chapter VII, Book I, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Though it has been only a handful of years, our settlements have flourished under the wise leadership of Carath’s daughters. But now we must leave again. The soldiers say that the blackbloods press our holdings in ever increasing numbers and Amadris has ordered our homes razed before we journey once more. No one can tell me where these creatures came from, only that they are a twisted mockery of men – brutish and savage, quick to battle and slow to die.

I have not time to mourn the death of Aderst, my eldest. He grew into a fine man over the few summers we have had, and I remember being proud enough to burst when he earned a commission with the Spears of Liann. The wagon is packed with what belongings we have and I must get my daughters away from this place before they, too, become victims of war.”
– from “The Stonemason’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“Nay, my sisters. The way forward might be hard but we must press on. Rihalla and I have both seen it in our dreams. If we cross the mountains now, in winter, our people will live. All other paths lead to death and ruin.”
– Ruwen, Daughter of Carath, Septus of the Seven Angelic Brides.

“After the stones were laid over the honoured dead, Amadris bade the people to cross the mountains. As it was commanded, so it was done. The children of Carath did ascend the mountain paths in the dark of Winter. Long and treacherous was their flight but the people were bolstered by Amadris.  The Spears of Liann and Fiann protected the people so no violence did come to them. Songs of warmth were sung by Ordu and Orwen. Rihalla carried the weak upon her shoulders when the snows became too deep to pass. Ruwen led the way and guided the people to the safest path. And thus did the children of Carath cross into the East.”
– from Chapter XXI, Book I, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Ancestors be praised! Little Tillen will live. When she caught the frost-fever I was sure that she was now lost to me also. I prayed that Aderst and my beloved Kara would find her after she passed. But then Amadris herself came to our wagon. She told me to be strong, that I was a true son of Carath, and that as long as we followed we would be protected. Rihalla, the healer, laid her hand on Tillen’s brow and the fever broke! The colour returned to her face and she woke up.

If not for the daughters of Carath we would all have perished in those mountains. That so few died is a miracle. I have heard the soldiers talking – Ruwen’s gambit has worked. We are nearly through the mountains and the blackbloods have not dared to follow. Truly we are the chosen people of the spirits of Order.”
– from “The Stonemason’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

Birth of the Empire

“Should Ruwen’s foretelling come to pass then I shall go, to my end, proud of my children and unburdened by doubt. Our people are strong. You, my heirs, are wise and just. The spears of the Tower are ready to protect what we have built. The Ancestors will guide you, my children, and I shall be among them”.
  – Fiann, Daughter of Carath, Tertius of the Seven Angelic Brides.

“The Daughters of Carath did then decree that the old Houses were no more, and that the old Kingdoms were no more. We are one House, they said, one Kingdom, one people. With the power of their words the snows did melt away, and the sun shone down upon them. The daughters took husbands from among the people. Liann and Fiann took ther generals, Ergat and Hrolf the Brave, to wed. Ordu married Fair Allder and Orwen married Denniton the Bard. Rihalla wed the brothers Gerayn and Martyn. Ruwen took Ranil the Huntsman for her consort. Amadris alone remained aloof for she still mourned her lost Mordren. Thus they did beget new Houses and they are to be eternal and good.”
  – from Chapter IX, Book III, Librus Exhortia of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Tillen shivered in the morning air. Even though it was nearly two score winters since the Healing she still felt the cold more keenly than others. Murmuring a plea to the Ancestors, she shook it off. Today was important – not for her but for Mollis. It was the day of Naming, where her daughter would be accepted into the Spears of Fiann. They had stayed awake through the night, Mollis reciting the prayers of the Cant while Tillen tied her daughter’s hair into the ritual braid. She would become a woman today, and a warrior of House Ordu.

Her shivers then were more than just cold. Tillen knew that, in just a few days, the Spears were marching East to claim new lands. While Mollis was brave and stong, Tillen feared for her just the same. There were rumours of Elves and wild savages and worse beyond the frontier. And this was the first time the Spears had marched without a Daughter at their head.”
  – from “A Shieldmaiden’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“The black wings of the foretelling are upon us, my sisters! Take up the spear and song, string your bow and speak the words of power. This is the end! This is the time of fighting! This is the time of our dying!”
  – The Song of Orwen, Daughter of Carath, Quintus of the Seven Angelic Brides.

“With crash of flame the dragons struck, but the Daughters held. The battle raged until day became night, and night became day until the dragons were struck from the sky. When, on the third morning, the soldiers came out of the holds they found the mountains had been smote to ruin. Where the Daughters had stood atop Mount Maladar to face the foe, a great rent now lay, littered with the bones of the enemy. And they saw in the sky a great light as Carath raised his Daughters to his side.”
  – from Chapter XXXIII, Book V, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Mollis shivered in the morning air. She stood shoulder to shoulder with the other mothers as their daughters were accepted in the Spears of Fiann. She was too proud to cry as some did, but she knew their fear. The blackbloods pouring through the pass would only be held back by the blood their children. Her spear arm twitched. She ached to be standing in the shieldwall with her daughter when the battle came.

It may still come to that, she thought, if the Tower Cohorts do not hold. They were the finest spears of all the houses, battle-trained by Liann herself and skilled in the Words and Songs of power as passed on by Orwen and Amadris. But they were untested. Mollis knew full well how the bravery of men and women turned to water when battle was joined. She hugged her youngest a little closer and waited for the songs to begin.”
  – from “A Shieldmaiden’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“It shall be the greatest work of Man since Carath himself forged the Three Pillars. A wall three rods thick and a score high, stretching the full breadth of the pass. A garrison town large enough for ten thousand spears. We shall gird the gates with Order-forged iron. We shall delve deep store rooms and deeper wells. My lords, the Dragon Gate will be impenetrable – a true testament to the strength of our people. A fitting monument to the sacrifice your mothers made.”
  – Aluvar the Architect, speaking before the heirs of Carath, two years after the Ascension of the Seven Angelic Brides.

“The Dragon Gate has not been broken in three thousand years! It will not be broken now. I see no need to send further soldiers to the wall – soldiers that we will have need of should the Emperor not return soon. If you must have more men, send the Younglings of the Tower and bother me no more.”
  – General Gravus ban-Liann, responding to the Assembled Lords of the Empire shortly before the Fall of the Dragon Gate.

“Hallis shivered in the morning air. The arrow wound in her knee from the Battle of Dragon Pass troubled her ever more keenly as the seasons turned. Still, today was important – not for her, but for her son. Today was the ceremony to mark the completion of the last gatehouse in the Dragon Gate – the gatehouse he had designed and built. She was still a little disappointed that he had taken up a stonemason’s hammer – the same hammer his great great grandfather had brought across the mountains – instead of the spears. Perhaps it is a good thing, she reflected, that House Ordu has more need of hammer and chisel than shield and spear.”
– from “A Shieldmaiden’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

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One Response to “Middle Carathan: Book I”

  1. Always the craftsman, beautiful work as always

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