The Conqueror

The Queens of Varr

Song I; lines 1-154

Adapted from Old Language to Contemporary Common by Sir Ignasi at the Maliron University of Arcana


HARK,

Praise and sing to the highest queens of men,

and to the King who made their crown!


Gather about the skald who tells of night

‘fore the cleft mountain of the western range

where serpents roll and play in godstuff;

where young mortals fought in vain as babes

and where power taught its truth.


Hark; hear once more and join

in the song of the queens

and the Conqueror!


MANY chiefs of Varr came one night

in our youngest days

to claim unity, for menaces in the eastern lands

had grown too mighty to go unfeared.

The masters of Varr met at the summit

of the cloven bluff under the western clouds

where the grass, still young,

became trampled beneath the boots of many tribes.


From the East came Askarr, lord of winds;

Sidrunna, lady of horses;

Wilmni, lady of tides;

Haren, lord of stones;

Britkrig, lord of one hundred axes;

Lognar, lord of traitors;

Dirklard, lord of good repair;

and Dutigg, lady of the frost lake.


From the west came Slassor, lord of sunlight;

Fjellik, lord of devotion;

and Glodim, lady of the herd.


Many from the south and the southern isles

sought with greed to claim the cloven bluff,

but a dreadful storm wrecked all save

Frukti, lady of the harvest,

and the rest were lost to the Scholar’s grasp.


These many chiefs and warlords came to the highest stone

and each proclaimed their right to kinghood over Varr,

pledging war against any who would not recognize their rule.

They drew their spears and axes

and cut down their armies

and cut down each other

in droves.

“I am king of Varr and will not be denied!”

cried Britkrig into the sanguine sky

before an arrow from the people of tides stuck him in the eye

and cast him to the rocks below.

So too did many lords and ladies fall to weakness and vanity that even’.


AT last,

when the skies had turned to black

and the grass lay soaked and matted,

Askarr, lord of winds, mounted the shattered stone

and stood tall above the broken legions below.

He said,

“I have conquered this place!

See how your lords and ladies lay broken in my wake!”


The lords and ladies below indeed lay broken,

many dead,

and all with tired and wounded armies.

So in agreement, all the chiefs of Varr

and the soldiers with no lord

knelt before the lord of winds in submission

save for Lognar—who refused, and marched his tattered army to the east.


“I am king!” cried Askarr,

who raised his spear in glory,

and many below—the lordless and those of broken lords—

begrudged their spears skyward as well.


BUT a terrible wind tore o’er the people at the cloven bluff

and wicked the light from their torches

and the strength from their hearts.


The now-night sky was full of stars,

yet in droves they blinked out into darkness

as a tremendous body hurled through the abyss.


A chorus of wails heralded

the titanic serpent

as he made landfall

with wings like the sails of warships

and claws like the swords of giants

and a maw that could devour dreams.


He forced into the sky a great flame from his gullet

to illuminate his visage,

spewing embers of terror and greatness that cast shadows

like shrieking faces

against the midnight clouds.


And the serpent spoke with a voice like burning, writhing knives:

“King?
What a lovely title.

Yet you did not think to petition the King of all mountains

for his favour?

You lovely things are so riddled

with pride and stubbornness.

So unbecoming.

However I am not here to chastise your folly,

but to share with you a lesson and give you hope.

Little king, what gives you might?

Your victory in fair combat?

Righteousness?”


Then came a great thumping in the ground;

an array of black stone spears hailed,

hailed! from the sky

and ran the wind lord through,

leaving him transfix’d to the stone and dirt before

the great dragon.

From the northern mountain, a legion of darkness-clad warriors

descended from secret to the shattered mountain in a great wave,

each bearing the mark of the Conqueror

branded upon their left cheek

and a javelin in their left hand.

At their front marched Lady Irpa and her sister Lady Thorgerdr,

sovereigns of the northern rocks.


The serpent spoke:

“You people of horses and tides and frost lakes and sunlight

gather in fear!

You dread the might amalgamated to the east

who musters armies across its continent

and sweeps a wide scythe o’er its enemies with great brutality!

Let me teach you this:

You are right to fear,

and your pride cannot survive

nor your frailty of heart.

You will break beneath the powers of the east

without knowing the final fact that your

Gods

and [mother]

have spoken.

Many here seek truth to power,

yet ripe with optimism refuse that truth is power is truth!

Your queens will show you this,

and you will bow before them

as they before me

and I before the God Beast,

but all else will be broken beneath the might of Varr!”


IRPA then stepped forward.

She shed her helm and plate to the ground, and with axe in hand

raised a scarred and wickéd fist—wrecked by fire—to the black clouds.

She cried: “Unity!”

Yet was met only with the shuffling of armor

and confused mumblings below.

She cried again: “Unity!” and the

great serpent

let forth a torrent of flame to the stars.

Haren, lord of stones, was the first to reply, and as his vassals and soldiers joined,

so too did the other lords and lordless folk

until Unity! echoed through the mountains and across the plains of Varr.


Lady Thorgerdr stood with her sister and raised a spear to the sky as

the great serpent Iganash

made his final pronouncement:

“Hail to the queens of Varr!”

and though his face glowed only by moon and starlight,

as the cheers grew below,

those closest saw

the serpent’s

awe-full maw

turn upwards in delight.


The Conquerer