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 telling’s and combined into one written form.
Hastur was almost buffeted by the answering roar of approval from the gathered chieftains. He stood there and nodded with satisfied pride.
“My brothers and sisters of sword and axe, now is the time we must make our plans, but first we must celebrate this momentous occasion, your daughters and sons will know of this moment and they will say of their parents that they were on the right side of history and that they worked for their future.” Hastur pounded his chest with as huge scarred fist.
“We will build our nation with fire, blood and the lives of our enemies…” He paused as the noise around him grew. “But now… Someone fill my drinking horn with ale, all this talking has made my throat as dry as the desert sand!” There was a cheer from the gathered chiefs.
The next day Hastur’s eyes opened slowly, the stabbing pain in his head told him that the night before had been one that they would speak about for years to come. He rolled onto his back and that only made the pain worse.
“By the gods, my throat is dry.” He said, the woman at his side stirred in her sleep. He looked at her, and suddenly recalled more of the night before and smiled with the memory. The night was not just good, it was legendary.
He stood with one swift and supple motion, his naked form a perfect specimen apart from the multitude of scars that covered his body. An observer would note that the vast majority of the scars were on the front of his body, very few on the back. Hastur always faced his enemies.
He pulled his leather leggings on and his linen shirt. His thick leather riding boots slipped onto his feet as comfy to him as silk slippers would be to a city dweller. His weapon belt settled onto his hips the loops for his twin axes empty. He picked up the well worn handles of his axes, “Widow Maker” and “The Departer” and slipped them into the loops, their weight a comfort to him and reminding him of that the events of the night before were only the beginning and that the real hard work was yet to come.
Pushing the flap to the tent open meant that the sun had more power to hurt his already throbbing head.
“I need water and meat!” He called out loudly.
“Ah my friend” Said a voice from the fire in the middle of the circle of tents “You celebrated well last night, but that comes with costs eh?”
“Baltan, you dog, fetch me water and meat and stop your noise, my head is sore enough without having to deal with your yapping.” Hastur grunted.
Baltan grinned as he stood and went to another part of the camp, returning with a large earthenware jug of water and a large chunk of bread with meat piled on it. Hastur poured most of the water down his throat and the rest over his head, it was icy cold, but good. Dripping water he started to chew on the coarse bread, enjoying the nutty flavour of the bread mixed with the rich fatty juices of the meat.
This was the best way to live, the cool air of the morning mixed with the smell of wood smoke from the hundreds of camp fires, the scent of horses and leather, the low murmur of voices as the horde stirred and woke from it’s celebrations, and through all of this was an electric feeling of excitement that something big and momentous was going to happen.
Hastur sat back and looked at the distant mountains, there were clouds covering their peaks and the sky was a steel grey. A lonely eagle spiralled in the early morning thermals.
“Baltan” Hastur spoke “Do you see that eagle?” Hastur motioned with his chin towards the bird miles away. “As much as I long for the freedom of that bird, I would never trade what I have with the tribes for that. This feeling of strength I get from the horde, knowing now that they stand at my back to defend and protect us, that we can now use this might to build a future for our people is priceless. Before each tribe was like that eagle, circling aimlessly in the sky looking for scraps, now we are a wolf pack, a mighty and undefeatable wolfpack. No longer do we need to look for weak prey to kill to survive, we can hunt as a pack now and look for herds, look for stronger meat to feed us.”
Baltan nodded. “I hear you brother, each of us knows and enjoys our freedom, but we can still have that, but as much as it took me a while to understand your ideas and dreams, I am with you now. There is honour to be won, riches to be plundered and legends to be made, more than by sitting in our tribes moving from hunting ground to hunting ground.”
“Can you feel your sword thirsting?” Hastur asked him, pointing at the fearsome thick bladed sword that hung from Batltan’s leather belt.
“Aye, it shrieks for blood! I can feel it rattling in it’s scabbard waiting to get out.” Baltan replied.
“Soon my friend, soon the peace knot that secures it will be loosened and it will feast like never before.” Hastur said “Your father was a good bladesmith, that is a fine weapon and I have seen you use it, you make that thick cleaver look like a city dwellers rapier!”
Baltan laughed. “This, thick cleaver as you call it, will spill plenty of city dweller blood and cleave plenty of skull. Those fancy swords of the city folk wont stand a chance against it, or me!”
Hastur stood and grinned, forgetting the pain in his head and the heaving in his stomach. “Come my friend, we have to go and start the plans, do you know who amongst the horde has the most knowledge of the lay of the land, we must consult them.”
“That would be Sverdoff, the loner”. Baltan replied “That woman has spent most of her adult life wandering the steppes and has had more interaction with the out-dwellers than anyone.”
“Excellent Baltan, go find her and bring her to the meeting tent.”
“Ah, Hastur, you have already met her” Baltan grinned and pointed over to Hastur’s tent as a tall and startlingly attractive woman opened the tent flap and stepped out.
“I would have asked her name, honestly my friend, I may be a man of the tribes, but I am still a gentleman nonetheless!” Hastur smiled, but Baltan was sure there was a tint of colour in the barbarian’s face.
“What are you two dogs looking at” Sverdoff shouted, “What does someone have to do to get food around here?”
The men looked at each other and smiled.
To be continued…