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: