Foreword by the Dowager Countess
Hastur is a decent fellow, well-spoken and polite in that uncultured way of his. During one of my trips to the continent which bears his name, I got to meet and talk with him. He reminded me mightily of the original whose name he bears. It was a delightful trip; I just do not recommend wintering there.
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.
Amongst the people of the wastelands, Hastur is a name spoken with much reverence for in the past there was a warrior of that name, strong in muscle and determination and a man that no one dared speak ill of, at least not to his face. He had few enemies and left none alive.
Now there walks amongst the tribes another of that name, no one knows where he came from, no one knows who his family is, all they know is he appeared in the dead of night in the middle of a raging storm. He sat astride a tough little steppe pony and seemed unaffected by the weather. The tribe he arrived in was small, and they did not know whether to challenge the man or drive him away, but the rule of hospitality meant they had to offer him shelter for the night and food for the next day, this they did.
When they awoke the next morning, he was cutting firewood for the tribe, and they marveled at his obvious and formidable strength. The man was a giant amongst their tribe and when he said his name was Hastur, they were silent, incredulous. When they asked him where he was from, he said he did not know. When the asked him what his tribe was, he said he did not know. When they asked about his family, he said he had none that he remembered.
That first day became a week and the tribe did not see fit to ask him to leave. Hastur helped the best he could, when the tribe saw him training with his twin axes, they asked him to help them train them too, this he did gladly. The week became a month and still the tribe did not ask him to leave, when the tribe heard him speak so wisely at their nightly fireside gatherings, they asked him to speak more and more leading to him eventually speaking for the tribe.
The month became a year, and the tribe grew, under the guidance of Hastur it expanded its area of influence. This once small tribe now had something none of the other local tribes had. The ability to fight combined with the ability to think. He knew when to make deals and pacts rather than just kill and maim. The tribe made him one of their own.
Hastur called his tribe, as it was truly his tribe now, the Bloodthirsters (1) and they lived up to that name when faced with combat. Hastur had instilled in the people a newfound desire for blood and a toughness that even they had not realized they possessed. The newly named Bloodthirsters revelled in their new roll. The conquered where they needed to and made alliances where it was possible to and soon their whole region was under their control.
Hastur called for a council of the tribes, and his call was answered.(2)
A full moon passed since he issued the call (3) and the tribes had been steadily gathering at the ancestral meeting place for that entire time. Groups of hunters went out daily to meet the needs of the hundreds that were gathering. All the food the tribes had been gathering now became communal as all their old differences were put aside for the good of the people.
There were some disagreements and in true barbarian fashion these were dealt with in combat. Some of these combats were to the death if the disagreement was so serious that to the blood was not enough to satisfy the anger. The benefit of this way of settling the arguments was that as soon as the combat was over, the disagreement was finished and forgotten. Never to be mentioned again and certainly not to be carried on by the families or friends of the fighters.
As the time for the meeting of the tribal leaders came closer the activity on the ever-growing camp got more and more festive. There were horse races, wresting competitions, archery competitions and “friendly” trials by combat in arms and with fists. As with all barbarian activities, there was no distinction between the genders, men and women competed on an equal basis. The brute strength of the men often negated by the speed, agility and some would say, cunning the women possessed. But amongst all the competitors, there were none that could match Hastur when it came to the combat trials. He was unequalled and soon when it was known that he was about to compete, the whole camp would stop what it was doing and try to get the best spot to watch his bouts. The competition to get a viewing place was often as fierce as the main fight itself!
Hastur was victorious in all his fights, and there were many of them. It cannot be said that no one managed to hurt him however, or that no one managed to land a telling blow, it is just that he was skilled as well as tough and he wore his scars with a pride that shone, and sooner or later his skill and sheer physical strength prevailed. In time the fighters he beat were known as lucky as they had gotten to test him and yet live to tell of it, their own personal renown grew because of this.
When the day came to start the council itself there was much excitement. There had been rumours around the various tribal campfires ever since Hastur had called for the gathering to take place but no one knew exactly what he wanted, the air around the camp literally sparked with anticipation.
The leaders were all sat around in the great tent that had been erected in the center of the camp, it was huge, easily the biggest structure some of the barbarians had ever and would ever see. The drinking horns were filled, and the meat and salted bread was piled high on the planks of hewn wood that served as trenchers. The noise in the tent died as Hastur took to his feet.
(1) The Bloodthirsters – The now dominant tribe on the continent of Hastur.
(2) Not since the original Hastur had all of the Tribes answered the call of one Chief.
(3) The tribes here do not measure time as like a civilized person, but rather judge it on the cycle of the moon.