Last week, you read the first part of an epic poem about the people of Marah.  To recap, they had just fallen down a waterfall on the River Ely in the middle of winter.  Here is what happened next :)

Next she new, Brielle found

Herself within the warmest mound

Of blankets made from fur and down,

Watched o’er by unknown faces.

“Where is Tavish?” she croaked, throat dry.

“Asleep; I shouldn’t wonder why.

We found you frozen, near to die,

And nursed you back, our cousin.”

Then she knew they were with Keir,

Safe from harm, without a fear.

She felt she could have slept a year

Had she not missed Tavish.

A week they stayed with Keir to rest,

Both treated well, as cousin-guests.

Then their saviors thought it best

To guard them to Keir’s border.

They bid their cousins sad good-bye

And wandered into Nallel dry,

Where winter’s storms all pass on by

And people farm all over.

Nallel like Callum had no ties

To Marah clans, so without lies,

Brielle and Tavish crossed it wide,

Unstopped, till they met Drust.

A normal Nallel boy was Drust,

A farmer, always deep in dust.

Yet he, audacious, looked with lust

On Brielle, and he leered.

They could have made it safely still

If Tavish hadn’t acted ill.

He punched at Drust and fought with skill,

And Nallel’s grace was gone.

Drust’s kin joined in to bash T’ish’s head

Until his nose and mouth free bled.

By Brielle’s strength alone they fled

Into the land of Carys.

When T’ish’s swelling had gone down

They came upon a tented town

While night and rainstorm showered down

And cloaked them all in darkness.

“It isn’t safe,” whispered Brielle.

“They’re enemies, they would promptly tell

You’re Rhian, and then they would sell

Us both to Cass for a mare.”

They huddled together to stay dry

And waited till the storm passed by.

Just as morning was drawing nigh,

They caught a strange disturbance.

The moonlight showed some from Crisant

Stealing Carys’s horses, though they were gaunt.

Said Tavish, “We do not want

Carys to think we’re guilty.”

So the young pair took a chance

And warned Carys of Crissant’s defiance–

Thus they broke the Crissant-Rhian alliance

And forged two new with Carys.

Not long in Carys did they stay,

Both eager to be on their way

Back to Keiran, so one more day

Found them near to Bran.

The air grew warmer as they went

And filled with salty ocean scent.

They came upon a river bent

That headed toward the sea.

A stranger sight did they meet there

Than what they had seen anywhere.

The Lorca clan, with mournful air,

Followed a floating skiff.

Brielle and Tavish, much intrigued,

Followed them for half a league.

Inside the skiff lay a girl, pale-cheeked,

Adorned in lace and flowers.

The procession entered into Bran

And met a crowd, who came to stand

At the dock.  Said Lorca, “Your man

Has treated our girl poorly.

“He wooed her with poems sweet

And promised her a bridal seat,

Yet it was all but a deceit

And he abandoned her.

“Now see what his betrayal did!

She died with tears upon her lid.

Now, you Brans, we Lorcans bid

You all to make amends.”

A Bran head said, “This is a grief,

But all know their romance was brief.

You demand redress like a thief

To steal from us our land.”

Brielle and Tavish could not tell

Who threw first punch or made first yell,

But all around them, people fell

Into a violent brawl.

While Lorca and Bran’s treaty ended,

Tavish and Brielle descended

To the coast, where they wended

Their way further south.

But winter came even to the coast.

It rained and thundered during most

Days until T’ish grew pale as a ghost

And burned with fever hot.

Now in Avice, alone there,

B’elle nursed T’ish with tender care

Until his skin grew not so fair

And fever left his body.

They thought themselves in Avice still

When they climbed atop a frosted hill

And spied below, adorned with quills,

A faction of Lusine.

“At last some friends!” said Brielle, glad.

Lusine greeted them with shouts and pats.

They gave them steeds and cloaks of plaid

Along with some provisions.

“You’re almost home,” quoth one Lusine.

“Still, winter’s winds are deadly mean

And still between lies Iseline,

A threat to you, not Tavish.”

With caution they rode further south

And, passing other Lusines, bowed.

But Brielle frowned and gnawed her mouth

At thoughts of Iseline.

The night before they reached the land,

Tavish reached for Brielle’s hand.

“Fear not,” he said, “I’ve got a plan

To keep you safe all through.”

Next day, when they met a gang

Of Iselines, who on them sprang,

Tavish to the fighters sang

A tale of some great interest.

“I’m Rhian man, your ally true,”

Said Tavish, “Your actions will not do.

If you harm Brielle, we are through,

Because she is my wife.”

The Iselines all looked in askance

At Brielle, whose heart did dance

Within her chest.  She risked a glance

At Tavish, straight beside her.

“It’s true,” she said, and found herself

Bound and led.  The whole group delved

Into the woods.  Before the king himself,

They made them state their purpose.

The king said, “I will trust them both

For all know that to speak an oath

In Iseline, to say in troth,

Is to enjoin in marriage.”

Iseline let them pass on then,

But nothing was the same as when

Our pair entered: For they had been

Friends and now were spouses.

“I’m sorry, Brielle,” Tavish said.

Said Brielle, “T’ish, lift up your head.

If not for you, I would be dead.

Besides, I do not mind it.”

Whenever they met an Iseline band,

They had to show the king’s command.

The last they met in Iseline’s land

Had this foul news for them:

“Much has changed since you departed.

Now in your way lies Elured.

Of Rhian they are not a friend;

Tavish had best be wary.”

Rhian and Elured had more enmity

Than even ‘tween Keiran and Iseline,

Which was now a great pity

As they couldn’t sneak on by.

After long thought, Brielle said, “T’ish,

We’re truly in a deadly pinch.

Though it is far from being my wish,

I think we must do this:”

She bound his hands with horse’s reigns

And covered all his clothes with stains,

Then Tavish himself took great pains

To walk like one dejected.

So all Elured who saw them thought

Tavish was a slave she caught.

They laughed and jibed all while she brought

Him safely to her country.

The hills of Keiran had never seemed

More lovely: Brielle thought she dreamed

When past the River Chalsy streamed

And they met the Caran family.

It took more time to track her own,

For all in Keiran freely roam,

But at least she was safely home

With Tavish safe beside her.

Her family wept when they met.

“We heard that Rhian was beset,

But word of you we could not get.

We feared that you had perished.”

Her father looked at Tavish, fierce,

And said, “Is this how you repay years

Of friendship?  I’ll feed you to the bears

For risking Brielle so.”

Said Brielle, “Pa, I am his bride

And I’ll stay standing by his side.

Long may this peace abide

With Keiran and with Rhian.”

And so it did: The peace stayed strong.

They united all of Marah ‘fore long,

Which, when Anaxiet came along,

Made them that easy to conquer.

Thus is the tale, known by few,

Of Brielle fair and Tavish true,

The cause of the longest peace Marah knew

Between its fearsome clans.

There it is, folks :)  Let me know what you think in the comments!  Also, please take a moment to fill out this survey for me:

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