Re: The Glorantha Digest V7 #73

From: darvall (madamx@ns2.mikka.net.au)
Date: Wed 08 Sep 1999 - 16:04:41 EEST


I hope this gets through mimeless. Its a new yarn from Amad. Ostensibly a
traditional one brought buy the initial Kasdarni refugees.
The Erdman's Bride

Anwyn was the most beautiful of lass in the Kasdarni. Her hair was full &
long & her figure firm & plump. All this & a mind of her own too. She would
wander long on her own, fearing few & wise to broo & Uz. Come the berrying
she'd go out by herself & return long after the evening bread started
baking, for she knew the local sprites & they were feared of others. But
for all her skill her Granma still feared for her saying "Beware the Erdman
of The Needle. He likes young maidens"
'Twere in the earth season of her initiation year that she stayed out
longer than e're before & returned with few berries. From this time her
manner changed. She was e're stranger & more like to go wandering the high
& hidden places, staying out o'ernight & returning with dawn but seeming
fresh & rested.
Her family feared for her initiation. Would Ernalda take such a wild one?
Or would she be claimed by Tara to become one of the wild Gwydas of the
hills, eventually to be sacrificed on the wild altar? Their fears were for
nought. She was initiated well & her omens were some of the best in years,
promising wealth, long life & happiness mingled with no more than the
ordinary griefs. So the stead made shift to find her a husband. Her omens &
beauty atracted many suitors, all offering fine brideprice. But with each
suitor she found fault. When asked of Venharl, the Chief's Thane & owner of
15 cows she said "He's too old. I'd rather marry the Erdman of The Needle"
Now her Granma hears this & says "Beware of what you wish for girl, You
may get it." And then Golost Fleetfoot son of the Culbrea & but 4 years her
senior is dismissed with "He's so ugly, I'd rather marry the Erdman of The
Needle" & her Granma hears this & says "Beware of what you wish for girl,
You may get it." So it goes with one for this & another for that 'til her
suitor is none other than Joskin Twoday champion of the Maboder & a truly
great man. But Anwyn says "He's so vain I'd rather marry the Erdman of The
Needle". Lucky that only Granma hears & says "Beware of what you wish for
girl, You may get it."
But her father was so incenced when she refuses the tribal champion he says
"If its the Erdman you want its the Erdman you'll get." & goes to Herla
Bedhopper to get help with the wooing of the Erdman. She tells him the
right ways & off he goes. First he takes a cow to The Needle & leaves it
o'ernight in a secret cave. Next morn the cow is gone so he knows the
Erdman is listenning. While he's at this Herself sends a lamb & a cock to
Ernalda. When Himself returns from the cave in the morn he tells Herla to
offer a marriage feast of beer & sticklepick. The Erdman appears & offers
gold & Iron as brideprice. Herla tells Himself of the offer &, so as not to
be shamed, he offers Whisky & sticklepick as the feast. The Erdman offers
Iron & Bronze. Himself offers Whisky & mutton. Erdman offers Silver &
Bronze. Himself offers Whisky & beef. At this last the Erdman says done.
"We will marry on Clayday of Fertility week in Earth season." & so it was
done, but according to the Ernalda rites not the Orlanth ones as the Erdman
is a thane of the Earth Mother & Anwyn her initiate.
Come the marriage day though there was no shy bride nor yet a diffident
groom. Anwyn's absences on the mountains were explained to all when the two
rushed together. Himself near choked on his beer when he realised his
daughter's ruse & herself had a face like pussie's bum. Still an' all the
feasting went off well enough & the couple jumped the rill & went off to
his house.
Life with the Erdman was, it seemed, not all she thought it to be. He took
her to a small, mean, dwelling with rotting thatch & an unswept hearth. The
Erdman says "This is my father's house where we shall have to stay until I
recoup your brideprice. As it is to be our home for some time you can make
it presentable." Her husband was for hunting a chamois for leather & the
pot & left her with bread & cheese for lunch & cabbage & a bit of salt pork
for their dinner. So Anwyn binds up her hair & sets to with broom & water &
spell to clean a place no-one has touched in over a year. While she was
sweeping the stoop a ragged man came by. He begged for a bite to share with
his wife & child as they collected firewood in the waste. Anwyn thought of
the child & what it is to be very little & hungry & gave the stickpicker
her lunch. So she went on though her stomach growled. She penned the
sheep, fed the cows, & watered the pigs & chooks, all as had to be done
before night. Then she went in to her now clean house & started on the
dinner.
The Erdman returns come dark & is mighty pleased with the state of the
house. "You make fine shift with the broom" he says " but why give good
bread & cheese to the lazy & shiftless?"She says "First up it were mine to
give & beside neighbours should support one another. If one base stone
shifts the whole wall may crumble" & the Erdman has to make do with this
answer for Anwyn has the right of it.
The next day Erdman shows her the cheese room with great rounds of cheese,
thick as a man's leg & wide enough to be a table. "Wife" says the Erdman
"None of the cheeses have been turned properly. I'm off down the valley
snaring Eiders for their fat. Make sure the cheeses are well cared for."
Anwyn looked at the cheeses. They were far too big for her on her own to
turn. But for the making of huge cheeses you need huge cheese weights. The
weights were too great, e'en for the Erdman, to lift. So there was a tackle
installed to lift them. Anwyn got a couple of big baling hooks, slid them
under one side of the cheese & tied them to the tackle. Then she lifted
each cheese on its side & wheeled it to its place. Then she went in to make
supper.
 As is usual the sheepdog came to lie before the fire. It had not been
there long when an Alynx stalked in, gave it a swipe & settled into its
spot. "So master Yinkin" says Anwyn "you're as much of a bully as your
brothers" & so saying she took up a broom & drove the Alynx to the other
side of the fire leaving Shep in possession of his warm nook.
The Erdman returns come dark & is mighty pleased with the state of the
cheeses. "But" he asks "why drive the high from the prime spot to make room
for the low." She says "The dog works for his place just as hard as the
cat. Strength & size does not make Urox worth more to the stead than
Mahome."
"Well wife" says the Erdman "You are the lass for me. Hardworking, clever,
generous & just." & so saying he dispels the glamour showing her the
glories of the Hall Of the Thane of the Needle. "Thats all well" says Anwyn
" but shouldn't you have figured that before you wed me?" The Erdman at
least had the grace to look abashed.
Now Anwyn had been with the Erdman for just on a year & had a longing to
see her own folk again. So she went to her husband to say she would go
visiting. He was less than pleased. "This is not the pleasant thing you
think it is wife of mine. You will not find things as you expect. Still if
you must go return within eight days & not look toward your father's house
within a day of leaving it." So Anwyn set out for her father's stead.
Things were not as she remembered. She was greeted & offered hospitality by
the man of the house.The little brother she'd left tending sheep was a
warrior, grown & bearded. She asked how it was that he, not her father, was
man of the house. "Father & both his brothers were killed 5 years gone, &
our older brothers outlawed by their killers." In her grief Anwyn thought
apon the words her husband had said. This was indeed not the pleasant thing
she thought. But e'en then she thought, as women do, on vengance for her
kin.
She sped herself home to her Erdman, not looking back at all. That year she
plauged the clan of her father's killers. Their sheep ran off cliffs,
boulders bounced through their hunting camps & the man who outlawed her
brothers was found alone by the goatkin. Come the year's end she wanted
again to go to her family to see how they fared.So she went to her husband
to say she would go visiting. He was less than pleased. "This is not the
pleasant thing you think it is wife of mine. You will not find things as
you expect. Still if you must go return within eight days & not look toward
your father's house within a day of leaving it." So Anwyn set out for her
father's stead.
Things were not as she remembered. She was greeted this time by her eldest
brother sporting many tatoos & a significant paunch. "These seven years
have been good ones little sister. But that our mother died of the brain
fever all has gone well. Braggi oath-breaker who outlawed our men was taken
by Broo some four years gone & so we came back to the stead. Since then we
have prospered." But the news of her mother was too much for Anwyn. In her
grief Anwyn thought apon the words her husband had said. This was indeed
not the pleasant thing she thought. But e'en then she thought, as women do,
on vengance for her kin.
She sped herself home to her Erdman, not looking back at all.And for a year
Anwyn harrassed the Broo. Rocks fell giving up their ambushes, caves
colapsed burying their shamen, & their Malia Priestess was taken by rival
Thanatari.
Come the Year end she wanted again to see her family steading.So she went
to her husband to say she would go visiting. He was less than pleased.
"This is not the pleasant thing you think it is wife of mine. You will not
find things as you expect. Still if you must go return within eight days &
not look toward your father's house within a day of leaving it." So Anwyn
set out for her father's stead.
Things were not as she remembered. A bearded Stormvoice greeted her as his
older sister. This was the younger brother she left as a mighty thane.
"Well met sister. I took the stead when our brothers were lost to the
Thanatari of the hills but all else has gone well." Anwyn took bread but
the absence of her brothers weighed on her. In her grief Anwyn thought apon
the words her husband had said. This was indeed not the pleasant thing she
thought. But e'en then she thought, as women do, on vengance for her kin.
She sped herself home to her Erdman, not looking back at all.That year she
took vengance on the Thanatari. Their secret places fell in, beasts nested
in their scrolls & the Priderni found their high priest & he was long in
dying.
The year turned & she wanted once more to go to her kin. So she went to her
husband to say she would go visiting. He was less than pleased. "This is
not the pleasant thing you think it is wife of mine. You will not find
things as you expect. Still if you must go return within eight days & not
look toward your father's house within a day of leaving it." So Anwyn set
out for her father's stead.
Things were not as she remembered.The Godi, her brother, was now a man of
large belts & grey hair & the stead was much reduced. "The cursed Priderni
burnt half the stead else all has been well" & Anwyn left greiving for the
deaths of her playmates. In her grief Anwyn thought apon the words her
husband had said. This was indeed not the pleasant thing she thought. But
e'en then she thought, as women do, on vengance for her kin.
She sped herself home to her Erdman, not looking back at all.That year the
Priderni suffered. Their herds were lost in mountain storms. Their raiders
were buried in rockslides & their holy places swallowed by the earth.
Again at years end Anwyn would return to her folk. So she went to her
husband to say she would go visiting. He was less than pleased. "This is
not the pleasant thing you think it is wife of mine. You will not find
things as you expect. Still if you must go return within eight days & not
look toward your father's house within a day of leaving it." So Anwyn set
out for her father's stead.
Things were not as she remembered.She was greeted by a crone. "Two years
gone I laid out your brother, taken by Orlanth he was. Do you not know me?
I was your playmate when we were both young." Anwyn was grieved. Grieved
for the loss of family & friends, grieved for being young when all that
knew her were old or gone.In her grief Anwyn thought apon the words her
husband had said. This was indeed not the pleasant thing she thought.
She sped herself home to her Erdman, not looking back at all.That year
Anwyn gave birth to a healthy son.
She came to show her kin the son of her love for the Erdman but none in the
stead knew her. It is told that as she left she turned back & waved.

Darvall
madamx@mikka.net.au
>From quiet homes & first beginnings
Out to the undicovered ends
Theres nothing worth the wear of winning
But laughter & the love of friends.
Hilare Belloc

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End of The Glorantha Digest V7 #74
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