They planned their trip to Old Wind temple to gain a weapon against the Black Rain. Kerad remembered many of the Orlanthi heroes had quested to the Empty Mountain, and gained Storm Age weapons. They would have to defeat guardians, and their prize would lead them to victory, but gain them the enmity of the guardians.
The king of the Hendriki, Owain, died without heir. It was said that much Chaos was in the south.
Vastyr agreed to lend a portion of the clan's support to the quest -- 42 people helped.
Kerad appointed Ellena Finehair as Healer, Kerenath as Speaker, Kjarr as Riddler, Aslandar Mistwalker as Scout, Maniski Head-taker as Knowing Companion, and Lekengor as Watchman. He appointed himself as Chief. Skolli opened a passage to the other side, but remained at the threshold to channel the Varmandi's magic to them. Kerad summoned a wind to carry the group to Empty Mountain.
They landed inside the caldera. Aloramsor, mounted on a flying horse and accompanied by a cloud of hounds, approached. Kerad called up a wind, but could not outrace the hounds. Maniski summoned a mist, and Kerad managed to carry them across the valley floor to Aloramsor's hall. Kerad's storms knocked down one of the hall-thanes, but Lekengor and Maniski had to defend against the other. Nobody could open the door until Kerenath unlocked it.
They entered, and began walking the Path of Silence. They were soon joined by the newly dead. Elena tried to comfor them. Maniski spotted the husk of an alder tree, and turned off the Path. Although he almost lost the path several times, Aslandar followed the Unseen Trail to the River of Swords.
Kerenath bargained with the ferryman, and obtained passage in exhange for Kjarr's ability to drink alcohol.
Once across the river, they rested while Lekengor watched. Out of nowhere, a pack of hounds attacked, but Lekengor leaped up and drove them off.
They continued through the boneyard of the gods, filled with broken deities. The Greater Ungaran loomed out of the gloom. "Children of the Storm, your father wounded me grievously. For that, I will destroy you." Ellena calmed him, but collapsed from the strain when she tried to heal him.
Where the path narrowed through a gorge, a cat-like creature with an eyeless, noseless human head waited. Kjarr was reassured that it was not Chaotic, and accepted its wager. Kjarr asked the answer to the question posed by Rastalulf's Riddler. The Learned Devourer acknowledged that he couldn't answer, and replied that the Testing Grounds were where he'd told Rastalulf's Riddler they were. Kjarr began to have menacing fits of rage, and the Devourer told him the path and left.
At Aloramsor's place of power, Kerad gave the words of challenge, and demanded his right arm-bone. Aloramsor challenged his sacred community, his power to throw, his breath, and the sword.
For his community, Kerad wagered his clan, and that of his companions. Back home, Skolli called forth the spirit of the descendents of Heort.
For his throw, Kerad wagered his lightning, and blasted a nearby hilltop.
For his breath, Kerad wagered his ability to wield the storm. He called up a mighty wind and knocked Aloramsor back.
For the sword, Kerad pledged his heroism. Kerenath, Maniski, and Skolli stood behind him. Aloramsor showed him the doom that would befall all those who fought in the Hero Wars soon to come. Kerad realized that he was not willing to sacrifice everything to be a hero, that his farm and community were too important.
Kerenath stepped forward, and said, "I will accept that bargain." Convinced it was the best deal possible, he pulled the Lerith Sword from Aloramsor's arm, and greeted it as his kin.
Then he realized that his brother Kerad had flown away. He asked Aslandar to find him. Then Maniski called up a wind to carry everyone home.
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