Excerpt from ‘The History of Vanagard – The Reuniting of the Tribes of Hastur’ by Professor Albert Lynath
The Chronicles of Hastur, taken from verbal story tellings and combined into one written form.
Hastur drew a deep breath, allowing the moment to take over and calm his thoughts.
“Friends” He said, his voice low and deep, “You came when I called, and you came with the free hearts and fierce intentions that make our people feared over the lands of Vanagard.”
He took a sip of the dark ale that was in his cup, none saw that his hand was shaking, he could face anything in combat, yet speaking in front of so many people unnerved him.
“We have a great opportunity to utilise this fear, to bring to the people of the steppe a new respect and power such as we have never dared to dream of. We need to come together now, to stop our petty blood feuds and fighting amongst ourselves.” He continued, the shaking in his hands now stopped as he warmed to this task, knowing exactly what he had to do and what could be the consequences.
“You possibly know what I am about to ask you.” He paused as the murmuring around him grew and then subsided again, Hastur knew that asking them to drop age old blood feuds was not an easy thing for them to swallow, it was part of what made the barbarians who they were, they lived to fight and if it was not outsiders, it was each other! “We need to unite under one ruler.” At this the voices in the tent exploded!
“You cannot ask this!” Shouted one.
“This is not the way of our people; we have never had a single chief,” Shouted another. The noise grew and grew as the gathered clan chiefs started arguing and shouting over the top of each other, most of them shouting at Hastur himself.
“Silence!” Hastur roared. “Are you all fools?” We roam the steppes, we fight at the people at the borders, we raid, we steal… Yet we could do so much more! The thing that has stopped us from doing this all these countless generations, is us! It’s not geography or the weather or one of the many other excuses I have heard over the years, by the gods it is us! Our lack of will to unite and to dominate this region has always been our undoing.” At this the clamour of voices started to ebb and die down, they knew he spoke the truth, as painful as it was to hear.
“One leader is needed to end these endless years of mere existence, we are the people of the plains, the people of the high-mountain passes, and wilderness and we are the people of the sword and axe! We should be the ones pushing for more than just the life we can get here, burning horse-dung to keep warm and eating our prized horses when times are hard, just to survive.” Now the silence in the tent was total, there was no one there that had not experienced the toughest of times and had wanted not to feel hunger gnawing at his or her belly.
“My people, we sit in our tents and look outside our world at those that live in walls of stone, and we know that what they have, we too can and should have. I am not saying that we live like them, no, not one bit of it, we will not become soft and weak like them, but what they have, we can take!” There was shouting of approval now as the bloodlust started to rise in the gathered chiefs, the thought of war always helped their mood.
“So, my brothers and sisters of the axe and sword, I ask you this.” He paused, watching them, every eye in the tent was upon him. “We unite as a giant wave of fighters and reavers and we take what should be ours by the right of conquest. We ride and we burn what does not yield to us. We ride and we slay that which attempts to stand in our path. We ride and we set this world of Vanagard on fire with the heat of our wrath and fury as the weak and soft people of the houses of stone cower behind their walls.” He was shaking again now, but not with fear but with a righteous fury that was building in him.
“And lastly my brothers and sisters, we ride for the gods, as Svarya (1) intended for us to do. We are not meant to sit in our tents and grow old and die, we are meant to die with glory on our lips and the blood of our enemies dripping from our blades.” His voice was almost a whisper as he spoke these words, as sharp as any of their axes, yet everyone could hear him.
But one voice stopped him.
“Are we to assume then Hastur that we just let you just walk in like some figure from the past and take over the whole people of the steppe?” The speaker was a short man, short but powerfully built underneath his furs and armour.
“What is your name?” Hastur asked the man who had spoken.
The man stood straighter, his chin jutting proudly as he spoke. “My name is Chief Namag (2) of the Wolfskin clan.”
“Well, my brother and friend, Namag, you are correct. I am asking you to let me lead you, I am not telling you like some vainglorious overlord sitting on a throne in a hall of gold and marble, I am asking you as a brother in blood and steel, to let me give the tribes what they have needed for so long. Victory and glory!” He stopped and looked around at the faces, gathered in the firelight. He knew this was the pivotal moment and that he had to deal with this correctly.
“I know this is unprecedented in the history of the tribes, but it is also wrong for us to allow our children to go cold and hungry while the people of stone go with plenty. I am asking you to let me have a chance at taking our tribes from many bickering families to one glorious and victorious army of destruction the likes of chich Vanagard has never known before.”
Hastur stopped and looked at Namag, the man, typical of the people of the clans stood and faced him fearlessly. Hastur’s heart swelled with pride, and he walked over to the man and threw his arms about him in a fierce embrace.
“You my friend shall be my general, you alone have shown what is best in our people, bravery and the heart to challenge what is put before you. I do not want to lead people who just blindly follow and do not question.”
“It would be stupidity to just let you walk in and do what you are saying without questioning it, we are not sheep to be lead, but wolves! And yes, every wolf pack needs a leader, but that leader must be strong and act in the best interests of the pack, and not for his or her own personal glory. We need to be sure that you are not just here for the glory Hastur.” Namag said.
“I am here for the glory though; I am here for the glory of this wonderful wolf pack! The people of the steppes need that glory again!” Hastur shouted and his shout was met with shouts of fierce joy and pride from the other chieftains.
“So, my brothers and sisters of axe and sword, who is with me?” Hastur roared!
(1) Svarya, The Hastur Pantheon God of Fire, Crafts and War.
(2) Namag, Chief of the Wolfskin Clan – fabled for his vigilance and defense of his people.