Friday, 24 August 2012

The Blancvik Sleepers

Excerpt from M. G. Seiber's 'Lore of the Border Princes'
Having defeated the attackers in the open field, Blancvik gathered his men about him and addressed them in this manner.
"Our foes lie dead or routed and now it is clear to those who lie beyond the World's Edge that Zenres can fend for itself. Many of our fellows lie dead, and I myself am sore wounded and nigh to death. And I have been told by a certain wise man that those upon who the Dark Bull breathed will be stricken with the Corruption of Zharrduk, and that their death will be unquiet.
"Therefore I say to you, let all those who have been so afflicted come with me, and we will go into a place of quiet that I have prepared. And when we are there, let those who are left seal us into the living rock, rather than let the dark corruption of the Dawi Zharr consume us so that we bring dole to our families."
So they went into a certain hill in the East where Blancvik had prepared his place of quiet. And those who had been spared from the Dark Breath bade them farewell, and they went to their place quietly and with good cheer.
Before they left, however, Wenclas, the Lieutenant of Blancvik, who had been spared the Dark Breath, asked one last boon of his liege, saying
"As we are to part, I remind you now of the pact we made when first I took up arms under your banner. Do not forget that you said your sword was not yours, but that it was passed on to you by one who had come before. And that also at that time, you looked on me with favour and said that the sword would not always be with you for all time, but that in times to come, another would bear it. As I am your man and first among your lieutenants, I ask you now to pass the sword to me, that I may wear it proudly and defend our families from the doom beyond the mountains."
And when he was done speaking, Blancvik spoke to him, saying
"Good Wenclas, I do not forget that I said this sword was not mine, but that it was passed on to me by one who had come before. And that also at that time, that I looked on you with favour and said that the sword would not always be with me for all time, but that in times to come, another would bear it. Nor do I unsay that now, at my death.
"But be it known, that other I spoke of was not you, and that as time changes, so do men. The favour I looked on you with has passed since the death of Mronas and your great rage. And although all know you have suffered and done your part to repair that wrong, the darkness now upon me lets me see that there is much also still in you. Therefore I cannot give you this sword, the Sword of Zwickan, that you covet, lest a great harm come to our people from it."
Then Blancvik went into his place of rest with all of his company that had fought the Dark Bull and been afflicted by its breath. And Wenclas went his way also.
So the Company of Blancvik were sealed into their place of rest, and a great many seals and wards were placed on the ways of entry to that place, that they might not ever come forth from it to disturb their people. And his name was sung by the singers at the dances, so that his sacrifice would be remembered.
But Wenclas did not dance or sing at the dances, but returned to the mountain by hidden ways, for his mind was ever on the Sword of Zwickan and how he might take it for himself.
And so he broke the seals and took the sword up from the breast of Blancvik, where he lay in a semblance of death on the cold rock, and then went forth again, rejoicing in his secret deed.
And Blancvik awoke, and found his sword gone and all his company lost to the Corruption of Zhardukk, and waxed full wroth. He took his banner and gathered his host, and lo, where once their banner was bright with colour, now it hung black and deadly upon the spear, and shadows seemed to come forth before and behind it.
And the sleepers came forth from their place of rest seeking the stolen sword, but they could not find it. In lieu of his sword, Blancvik took a great harvest of life, and his cold breath was felt all across the land. And so it continued in this way until the sword was found.

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