Friday, 5 August 2011

Arguments in the North

“Years, Sereg. Years” he says, pacing in front of the seated captain, “and they call it duty. It is exile.”
“Exile?” the captain questions.
“Or banishment. Or... I don’t know. I don’t have the words for it. I am not Finwe or Lassel. If I were then I would not be here would I? Instead I am. Dismissed. Forgotten.”
“Is this truly how you feel? That you have been sent away? Forbidden from ev...”
“I am not saying that saying that Sereg. Grandmother would never forbid us from the city. From her. Grandmother is not so cruel.”
“Who then? Who has banished us? Exiled us?”
“You know who I...”
“Who is so cruel? Few can give orders to me; a War Captain of House Aditu. Few can force me to summon my Gaesatae, my shield wall, to march North, to bring fire and iron, death and war where they dictate. Is it one of those few you accuse?”
“No! I would not ever...”
“Is it Amren Jelass? The War Marshal? Baradan’s chosen? Or is it First Daughter? The last child? Another? Who do you accuse nan Retan?”
“Let me speak Sereg! You would dig a hole for me to fall into and then...”
“You dig your own grave Retan. Your words are...”
“So let me finish! My words are sense! They are concern! They are the very soul of the Gaesatae!”
“ The Gaesatae? They thi...”
“That we are...”
“Wait. The Gaesatae they...”
“...abandoned! Left to rot!”
"Hold Retan! Remember you place!”
“I... I am sorry nan Sereg. Forgive me. My life to serve.” He kneels, his head bowed.
“And you are forgiven nan Retan.” Briefly, but long enough, his hand rests on the Retan’s head. “Tell me bizema, what do the Gaesatae feel?”
“That we are not wanted.”
“Not wanted?”
“In the city. The court. In the... thing! That Perohnin Aditu becomes.”
“That Aditu becomes? What do you mean my friend? Your words would cut the heart out of me.”
“No Sereg! A thousand deaths before I would harm you.” He seizes the Sereg’s hand, trailing from when it rested upon his head, and presses his forehead to it. “Your heart is the Gaesatae’s heart. Your soul; it’s soul.”
“But it seems my Gaesatae worry? That my brave hunters feel... Well, what do they feel nan Retan?” His hand moves from his Retan’s forehead to the shoulder, his upper arm. He brings the Retan to his feet.

“How long have we been in the North Sereg?”
“We came with Amren. Four warbands; an army to wipe these lands clean. With Lenae, Cabal...”
“And where are those war captains now Sereg? On soft beds.”
“We marched for war! Else I would never have mustered my Gaesatae. Never have roused them but for war.”
“How long Sereg? In the cold North? By ourselves!”
“Years” he mutters, maybe just to himself. “Years.”
“We are dispatched from the city Sereg. Ordered to a frontier far from our borders. A warband deserted, forgotten.”
“We are needed here Retan. A duty is ours to perform.”
“Yes nan Sereg. There is a duty here. A task that only a warband could achieve. But must it be us? For six years we have been here. Six years!”
“A warband must stand here Retan. Aditu must remain.”
“I know nan Sereg. But are we here because we are the right warband to stand here? Or because we are right warband to be absent from the city?”
“True. True nan Retan. We would not easily... fit into the new court.”
“It is the court I worry about nan Sereg! Who is the court? Why is it that the warbands who do not, as you say, fit in the court are those sent away from it? Ithir, Cabal, Y’dar. Those who would distain robes and finery. Those who would instead bear metals and glory.”

He remains silent, lost in thought. The Retan waits patiently, the need to speak now sated and past.
“We are the fortunate ones Retan.”
“Nan Sereg?”
“Consider that we may return to Aquila in weeks should we so choose. What of Y’dar?”
“Aye, the Sereg is far from home.”
“And those that travel with him. Months before they could reach home. Tal, Llofan, Shao. Even Renkin.”
“Ha! I think the city will be barred to him for...”
“None the less. Even the Great Wood is months travel away for poor Renkin.”
“It is as you say Sereg.”
“Even those left with us, Cadfan and his hunters; they may return to Aquila but not as Gaesatae. No triumphant return for Y’dar or his warband yet. No boar standard flying above blood drenched warriors as they return to the city.”
“Aye nan Sereg. When I escorted Y’dar to fair Aquila we were not received as a War Captain returning. Just another Aditu returning to the city.”
“You judge harshly Elohath. Were the Bronze Guard given more notice they would have welcomed Y’dar in a fitting manner. Anlus would have insisted on that.”
“But I worry Sereg. How will the court welcome us when we return? When you return. Ithir Achal, Sereg Amal a Perohnin Aditu. How will the court functionaries receive a son of Baradan, after years spent in the War God’s realm?”
“Ah, now I understand your concern. And I am not worried as you are.”
“No? Are my worries so childish?”
“Not at all nan Retan, but they are no longer relevant. First Daughter has roused herself from the mourning. The functionaries have been blown aside, as leaves in the face of a hurricane. The Miller’s Daughter directs the House again.”
“Why have you not told the Gaesatae this nan Sereg?”
“It is not their concern, my orders are to be followed no matter where they originate.”
“And they would be Sereg, even if you ordered us to walk unarmed and unarmoured into the halls of death. But the needless worry could have been averted.”
“Then spread this news Retan. Let the hunters know that one who knows them, one who understands them, once again directs the might of Aditu.”
“It will be as you say Sereg!”

“But Retan...”
“Yes Sereg?”
“We did not discuss this. I did not entertain your doubts. I did not soothe your fears.”
“Of course nan Sereg. Else you would not be called The Cold.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Like the format of this John. It sweeps you along and then settles you down. Good stuff. Nice links as well if I'm not mistaken.

    Grunts of the warbands untie! ... I mean unite. Oh well. Better in my head.;o)

  3. Ee's a chayse, ee's a vary goood. yays.

  4. Awesome. Except Ithir is the lucky not the cold....

  5. That's what I thought, but i don't like to criticise fuckwits because it might scar their tiny little cretin-like brain stems.