Memorial ballads...

Date: Wed 28 Feb 1996 - 19:11:04 EET

     I am currently blessed to play in a 'traditional' Sartarite vs. the
     Lunars RQ campaign. It is a hard, nasty, even gritty epic which has
     been running for two (RW) years now. It is about 1606 and we're only
     now coming close enough to even dare *hope* of one day becoming Rune
     As is the way in a war torn world, most of the friendly NPC's (and
     quite a few of the PC's) have died along the way. A few weeks ago the
     party's favorite non-player character, Redgrim the alcoholic
     housecarl, died. We were fighting in a precursor to the battle of
     building wall, and the kings entire bodyguard were slaughtered.
     All the players were pretty upset, even more so than when the last PC
     died. I tried my best to talk our GM (Pete) into bringing him back.
     But eventually I conceeded defeat and decided to write a little song
     to mourn his passing. As Redgrim was a Minlinster initiate I made it
     boysterous and amusing, so that we could remember the happier times.
     Then Pete showed me the following song written by his brother. Glenn
     (his brother) had ran a similar campaign (Sartarite vs Lunar) over in
     Ireland for the last four (RW) years. Unfortunately Glenn's campaign
     came to an end in January, as the song will tell.

     His party were tribal heroes, the Enhyl. It was 1592 during the Alda
     Chur war. The Lunars had captured Dangerford and the tribal king
     wanted to retake the town. The Enhyl were sent to secure the gates to
     allow the Sartar army access after they had bypassed the Lunar army
     outside the walls.
     The PC's eventually entered the town, but had a lot of problems
     getting to the gates. By the time they were ready and in position, the
     Sartar army were being defeated by the Lunars. The characters decided
     that it was their fault that their army was being destroyed, and vowed
     to take the gates anyway... as a kind of penance.
     Anyway I read the song and it brought a lump to my throat. So as a
     mark of respect to the GM who wrote it, and the players who played it,
     I have posted the song here.
     Be you Sartarite or not, read this and recognise true bravery.
     Pete Nash
     That Damned Gate
     Four Men, together warriors,
     Stood beneath a wall.
     A king sent them to take it,
     Else Sartar must fall.
     But lo, beneath the gatehouse,
     A solid row of men.
     A Captain with his hoplites,
     They numbered six and ten.
     This did not awe the Enhyl,
     Their courage did not stall.
     For each one was a hero,
     Now I'll tell you of them all.
     First and foremost, Ingard
     Chieftan of the three.
     Two score years a warrior,
     No finer man than he.
     Next, Hornbearer Garthach,
     Windlord of the free.
     None could stand before him,
     No finer man than he.
     Wolf Groffson was the Storm Voice,
     Fought and killed with glee.
     Orlanth stood beside him,
     No finer man than he.
     Last, not least, was Rogan
     The youngest there 'cept me.
     Generous, brave and loyal,
     No finer man than he.
     There were others present.
     Spirits filled the air.
     Although I do not know their names,
     I know that they were there.
     For although I could not see them
     It was clear that they were there,
     As mighty Rune Power magics flashed
     And thundered in the air.
     I did not know and could not see
     Why they had to take that gate.
     I had no grasp of tactics,
     For I was only eight.
     I watched from mother's window,
     As she held me tight and cried.
     An' I just wept in horror
     As I learn't how brave men died.
     Brave men they were and heroes,
     On both sides not one fled,
     Nor asked, nor cried for quarter,
     But rather be they dead.
     With a yell the Enhyl charged,
     It rolled and crashed like thunder.
     When magic smoke and mist had cleared
     The Lunar line was burst asunder.
     The shield wall had been broken,
     The Enhyl burst it wide,
     The Lunar Captain stepped forward
     And alone he turned the tide.
     Words of command he uttered,
     The second rank stood their ground,
     The Enhyl almost faltered,
     As the battle turned around.
     But all four men were heroes,
     Dangerous and fey,
     They charged again, undaunted,
     No finer men than they.
     Shields were smashed and splintered,
     Blood ran from them all,
     But yet again the Enhyl charged
     And again they broke the wall.
     The first man through was Ingard
     The hoplites just held off the rest,
     But the Lunar Captain stepped forwards,
     And rammed his spear through Ingard's breast.
     His life was lost and over,
     Blood gushing from his side,
     Hacking, cutting, slashing
     He fought on as he died.
     The hoplites now were finished.
     The battle almost done.
     Garthach, Wolf and Rogan
     Stood there, three to one.
     But three to one's not certain,
     For the three were all but dead,
     The Captain, fresh and rested,
     And he had not been bled.
     The three they stood and fought him.
     The Captain's spear bit home.
     Through armour, flesh and gristle
     In Garthach to the bone.
     Magic could not save him,
     But by Orlanth Rogan tried.
     Garthach whispered "Finish it."
     He cursed the goddess as he died.
     Rogan's heart was breaking
     As he turned to the attack,
     But while he tended Garthach
     The Captain had crept up to his back.
     The first foul thrust went through him,
     The tip burst from his chest,
     But Rogan was no coward,
     He died at his best.
     To Garthach's body he stumbled
     And lay down by his side,
     His best friend's arms around him,
     He smiled, and then he died.
     Now Wolf was mortally wounded.
     He knew he had not long.
     His lifeblood was gushing out,
     The Captain was still strong.
     But Wolf's strongpoint was courage,
     In this no Enhyl lacks.
     He drew out his iron sword
     And threw away his axe.
     Captain of the guard he was,
     His skill was beyond doubt.
     He left his spear in Wolf's big chest,
     He couldn't pull it out.
     Captain of the guard he was,
     This fight, promotion made.
     His one mistake, to leave his post.
     He went off to find aid.
     I cried as the Captain went off.
     I cursed him with all my hate.
     Then I gasped and gawked, astounded.
     Something moved at the gate.
     Where bodies lay dismembered,
     And lay like butchered meat,
     Right amidst the carnage
     Wolf rose to his feet.
     The man had had his deathwound,
     But death would have to wait,
     The Enhyl still had a job to do -
     Open that damned gate.
     With courage of the Enhyl,
     Through pain and wounds so great,
     He lifted up the crossbar
     And took the thrice damned gate.
     Then taking heed of all the hurts
     And wounds he had been smote,
     He crawled back to his friends sides
     And took the horn from Garthach's throat.
     He blew upon it long and hard
     And charging through the gate
     Came Sartar's finest warriors,
     For the Enhyl it was too late.
     The Enhyl men were traveling
     Through Hell to Orlanth's home,
     Chalana Arroy called them back,
     But only Wolf came back, alone.
     Now Wolf tends a shrine in Dangerford,
     It stands where his friends lay.
     On it this inscription,
     "No finer men than they."
     Glenn H. Seymour
     28th January 1996


End of Glorantha Digest V2 #414

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