During Sacred Time, Murhardavu's Buseri cousin Avintus noticed that Shargash's path through the heavens ran into Orlanth's Ring. Nallindia saw the Red Destroyer shatter Orlanth's Ring into several pieces. Trita, priestess of the Erinflarth, dreamed of a red wave coming up the river.
Murhardavu explained that any Emperor could release Shargash, the Red Destroyer, but only just ones could control him.
The Lakreni thanes and the Terarir mercenaries were not fazed at the thought of war with Alkoth. But the aristocracy of Ernandel had forebodings, and the Dara Happan peasants were terrified.
Oswind and Furlam tried to calm their fears, without much success.
Hrothgar announced that he would personally pay the scutage to Erilindia, rather than provide military service. He asked his wife Elerandra to bring the wealth, and let her know about the omens.
Elerandra was one of those who lobbied to have Furlam go to the Council and be appointed Director of Dara-ni.
Furlam gave gifts to the Erinflarth via Trita, and appointed Nemed to take charge of the city, and Verdun to lead the warriors. Using Snapper, they cut two days off the travel time to Dora, despite stops in Voranel and Endeel.
Voranel had prospered, and had over 1500 inhabitants. It was now the leading city of Lakrene. Furlam gave gifts to Kuleneth on behalf of Dara-ni. Kuleneth asked if it was true that they had turned coats. He said that he was no friend of Haradangian, but advised against getting involved in Heortling politics.
Hrothgar and Furlam convinced Kuleneth to raise an army to help defend against the Alkothi.
Nallindia talked to her mother Vornathendra the Priestess-Queen. Vornathendra said that Talasta and the Nine Clans were protected by the Aldryami during the Darkness, until the Aldryami could no longer protect anyone. Then the Nine Clans gathered together under the leadership of Lanist. She said there were ways of singing and speaking to the aldryami, which would remind them of their ancient bonds.
In Endeel, Havaranal the Stout greeted his son-in-law Furlam.
Nallindia spoke with Geranath of the Vargoli. He said he would try to force recognition with High King of the Heortlings, who still refused to consider the Vargdoli a Heortling clan. Nallindia offered help.
Hrothgar gave gifts to the temple of Vyrope.
They continued on to Dokat. They stayed in Faltham's villa.
Hrothgar gave gifts to the temple of Kulebras, and hobnobbed with the priests.
Furlam gave rich gifts to the temple of Hedbeday.
Furlam arranged for an immediate meeting with the council. The council consisted of Saratin Seomale for the aldryami; a mostali; a dragonewt; a hulking Uzuz priestess of Xiola Umbar named Charmilla; Seri-Phy-Ranulf; Rastazar, a young Heortling of the Penentelli tribe; and Speaking Wheel, the Gold Wheel Dancer.
Furlam told them of the omens: the Red Destroyer would again be unleashed on the folk of the Council. He eloquently asked for their help defending against this. Rastazar said that the Heortlings had no reason to support the army that had betrayed them. Furlam answered that Ernandel had broken no oaths to the Council, but Rastazar said that it had broken an oath to a member. Furlam said that he was a Dorastan, and Rastazar asked why then had he participated in the election of the High King.
Hrothgar tried to show that Ernandel was associated with Kulebras, not the Heortlings. Since Oswind tried to sever them from the Heortlings, Nallindia sided with Rastazar. Rastazar told Oswind that his oaths were of no value. He reminded Hrothgar that Kulebras was a Heortling. Since Heort was king of the Orlanthi, the High King had jurisdiction over the Orlanthi of Ernandel. The Council agreed to defer to Rastazar on the question of protecting the Orlanthi of Ernandel. Rastazar said he was not empowered to offer Haradangian's support in military matters.
Undaunted, Furlam then brought up the matter of the aldryami and the Kanakorings. Saratin Seomale repeated that the sun was rising, and the forest must grow. The council, including Rastazar, was receptive to Furlam's arguments, and pronounced that the tula of the Kanakorings should not be part of the forest of Rist.
They returned to Ernandel.
Part Ten | Part Twelve
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