Greetings, friends! You’ve read me mention the fantasy series that I am writing. It explores the history of the world of Orrock through novels highlighting the lives of young people at turning points in history. Mostly, it focuses on the nation of Maraiah. The other nations have interesting histories, too, though.
One of those nations (though perhaps “nation” is not the right word–people groups?) is Marah. Everyone knows that the best non-Talking horses come from Marah, but not everyone knows the story of the alliance between two of their clans. I have written it out for you, in classic Anaxiet verse.
It is so long that I’ve decided to break it in half. You can look for Part 2 next Monday.
Away west, there used to be,
Upon the land twixt Aimar and sea
Where plains and rolling hills there be,
The people we call Marah.
Not a realm nor kingdom were they,
Nor bonded either by tongue or fay.
The people of Marah, as they say,
Were like the land: Wild and free.
Themselves they saw as separate clans:
Eighteen spread throughout the lands
Always engaged in bloody stands,
Quick to make and break alliances.
Rhian and Keiran were two of those,
Allies for longer than most were foes.
A threat to their long peace arose
In the tenure of Oldon Chief.
A strange clan Rhian ever was,
Not wandering as any other clan does–
Had an ancient stone city over which to fuss
And guard with half their people.
Unlike as ever was young Keiran.
More still than Keir, their parent clan,
In small family units they roamed the land
Constantly in motion.
These two’s peace, on stone engraved,
Began when Keiran Garvis saved
Oldon Chief’s grandfather: The way was paved
For forging their alliance.
How strong they kept their peace
By this: At Rhian’s annual winter feast
The heir of Garvis would live at least
A month with the chief’s family.
In Oldon’s time, t’was Brielle fair
Of Keiran who would sojourn there.
Close she grew to his young heir,
Tavish the brave and true.
The winter she turned sixteen year,
Like always, she was staying there
When late at night their deepest fear
Came true: Cass attacked.
A devious clan was spiteful Cass,
Enemies with Keiran to the last.
Said Oldon to Tavish, “Get Brielle fast
And take her from our city.”
Through Rhian’s dark streets Tavish ran
For Brielle’s rooms, where he began
To call aloud and squeeze her hand
And wake her from her slumber.
“Awake,” said Tavish, “B’elle, we must go!
The city’s beset by dangerous foe.
To avoid our people’s shared woe,
I must get you safely out.”
She bolted up and grabbed her vest.
“We’ll go as soon as I am dressed.
I’ll follow; you know the city best,”
Fair Brielle said to Tavish.
They left in a moment, just as she said.
By Tavish’s lead, through alleys they sped.
Up to the east wall Tavish led
When foul Cass breached the west.
“There is no gate here,” Brielle cried,
Looking back with eyes stretched wide.
“There’s something better–” Tavish pried
The door from a hidden tunnel.
Into the dark, without a light,
They stepped; the door shut out the night.
“We’ll get out now, however goes the fight,”
Tavish swore, sword still drawn.
Their steps echoed loud on the stone,
Reassurance they were indeed alone.
Still, when at the end the cold moon shone,
They breathed deep in relief.
Too soon did they think all was clear.
When out the end Tavish did peer,
He saw encamped, with horses near,
The enemy clan of Maia!
He gasped, “This sight augers ill.
With Cass and Maia’s combined will,
My city can hardly hope to stand till
Morning’s light has dawned.”
“Then sneak we must,
And get out we may just–
Else wait here till we turn to dust,”
Brielle said with courage.
The moon’s set aided their escape,
Along with Tavish’s dark cape,
With blessing of stealth, their feet didn’t scrape
Upon the least loose gravel.
Through all the rest of night they went,
Running till their strength was spent,
And when the sun o’er moorland sent
Its rays, they saw not the city.
Along toward noon, when they did see
A stranger standing near a tree,
Exhausted, both knelt to plea
For refuge and his mercy.
“Be you refugees of Cass,
Or friends of Maia, who rode past,
Either way, we’ll keep you fast,
For Callum shelters all.”
At that word, B’elle and T’ish smiled.
Though never one an alliance to build,
Callum’s anger was hardly riled
And they offered haven to all.
Inside the camp, they met the chief,
Who feasted them with bread and beef.
But when his son gave Brielle a leaf
Of oak, Tavish grew wary.
At his first chance, Tavish pulled her aside,
Said, “This means he wants you for his bride.
He’ll kill me unless I sit tongue-tied
And smile while you marry.”
Brielle’s eyes flashed with fierce light.
“Not while I have breath or sight.
We’ll throw them off by faking a fight
And leave when they’re not looking.”
Brielle’s plan was good, said T’ish.
That night, during the evening dish,
They declared it was their mutual wish
To have ne’er known each other.
After, the chief’s son was quite gay
And said that long could Tavish stay,
That he could witness B’elle’s wedding day
And wed a Callum girl himself.
Then with great noise and much ado,
A host of horses entered view.
As closer and closer the herd drew,
They saw that it was Enid.
The Enid lord strode up to kneel
Before Callum chief, and said with zeal,
“Some horses for you! We did just steal
The herd from absent Maia.”
That brought our pair some great delight
To know, whatever Rhian’s plight,
Their enemies would see, come light,
The loss of their best steeds.
With this arrival, the Callums forgot
Brielle and Tavish while they haggled and bought.
So the two made haste and got
Themselves away from Callum.
Into the Annon hills they went.
Up and down the craggy land bent.
For days they caught not sight nor scent
Of other living person.
When Annon’s hilly country grew
At least up to a mountain view,
Then they spotted some people few
Upon the River Ely.
T’was clearly Grainne from their clothes,
Friends of Rhian. Tavish chose
To meet and tell them of their woes
And ask for some assistance.
“To the south Brielle must get.”
The people of Grainne said, “Do not fret!
Though winter comes and we can’t let
Your problem much delay us.
“Take this bark and row it down
The Ely to the great Unnoun.
The path there by the Giant’s Crown
Will lead you close to Keiran.”
So B’elle and T’ish rowed, just the two,
Dry inside the Grainne canoe,
Till next day there was something new:
A snowflake fell in ev’ning.
Now colder each day it did grow
The wind blew ever to and fro
And brought with it a hint of snow
Soon to fall in Grainne.
As winter settled heavy in,
Brielle wished for home and kin
And harder rowed the boat within
The river that grew faster.
The Ely sped up, with white spray,
And Tavish feared they’d lost the way.
“We’ve missed the Unnoun,” he did say
Just as the river dropped.
They tumbled down the waterfall
And barely managed out to crawl.
The last thing Tavish did was call
To Brielle ‘fore he fainted.
Do they survive? What happens next? Check back next week to find out 🙂 Also, please take the time to answer the survey below: