Chronicles of Thunormore :: From nomads to nobles


  • House Storm

    From nomads to nobles

    Preface

    The following records were written by Snorri Hornclaw. He lived during these turbulent times and recorded both contemporary events and past events that had been passed up through generations. His contemporary records are a mixture of first hand experiences, and second and third hand information.

    Prologue

    A storm raged outside and the rain drummed on the tent canvas. The tent was crowded with people. In the middle of the tent there was a fire, and twelve chairs surrounded it. Seven chairs on one side, and five on the other. One for each of the seven clan chieftains, and five for the leaders of the bounded men. One of them had been introduced as a duke. Apparently that was the chieftain of the bounded men. When the other four was introduced I first thought they were called “ears”, but I was corrected by my uncle who said it was pronounced with an l as “earls”. Their titles didn’t mean much to me, but I understood that they were high ranking men among the bounded men. They looked wary at the seven chieftains sitting across them, and none of the warriors and courtiers standing behind them looked the slightest comfortable with the situation.

    On this very day, ten years ago, our camp was burned to the ground by these bounded men. Their warriors had stormed into our camp in the middle of the night, lit our tents on fire and murdered those who tried to escape. And as swiftly as they arrived, they disappeared again. Whole families had been wiped out, and our clan’s population more than halved. But today? Today we shared wine with them. And our shelter.

    Part 1

    The green fields spread out below us as far we could see. I was seven years old and sat on my father’s arm looking out on our new home while the caravan passed behind us finding its way down the hill and onto the fields. I was a baby last time the clans halted the trek, but I had no memories of that. My life had been nothing but the trek, I knew of no other life. But that would all change now. It was exciting times.

    White tent canvases decorated with green, red, blue and yellow patters were erected all over the field. For now it was only our clan there, but messengers had been sent out to the others. In a month or two all the clans would be present and would form a city of tents larger than any capital built by bounded men. Our clan, the Hornclaws, was one of the smaller clans counting roughly a mere five hundred tents, but it was still a magnificent sight. The chieftain’s tent, the largest of them all, was erected in the middle of the field. A huge red tent, almost looking like a bonfire. The other tents circulated the red tent and forming two broad lanes crossing at the chieftain’s tent. I had seen this sight plenty of times before, but something was different this time. I don’t know how, but this time the tents looked much more… stationary. Wooden logs were laid out on the broad lanes, and those who found gravel built paths around their tents. In the outskirts of the camp wooden towers were built and poles were struck down in the ground to repel potential attackers. In between tents some people were already digging wells. It was obvious we wouldn’t be moving along any time soon.

    It was a mighty sight when all the seven thunari clans had settled down on the fields. Tents as far the eye could see, and in the middle of it all there was an empty field. Even the best warrior couldn’t throw a spear across the field. Well, it wasn’t completely empty. For in the middle of the field a tent canvas was raised. A tent large enough to provide shelter for no less than two hundred thunarii. We called it the Mothalli, and only the Vala had unrestricted access to the area. Primarily it was used for religious ceremonies and meetings between the clan chieftains. It was a sacred place, and no man or woman were allowed to carry weapons while inside. Despite these rules, it was not a bloodless place.

    The Mothalli was crowded this evening. A strange host of riders had arrived in the outskirts of the camp in the afternoon and had quickly been lead to the Mothalli where they had stayed since not allowed to talk to anyone. One by one the clan chieftains entered the Mothalli, the chieftain of the Ironfists being the last one. What exactly was said in this meeting wasn’t recorded, and none of the chieftains or Vala present ever spoke of it. Whatever the visitors said obviously made some of the chieftains quite angry, because what we do know is that only two of the visitors made it out of the tent alive and were allowed to travel back to wherever they came from. Most likely the visiting riders had brought a message with them from their lord saying they wouldn’t allow us to halt our trek on their land. What they didn’t know was that we thunarii consider any land we halt on our own, and no one may tell us where to halt or not.

    The guards were doubled, and fortifications were strengthened. Everyone expected an attack, but nothing happened. One moon passed. Two moons passed. Nothing happened. It took six moons before bounded men once again approached us, and this time it wasn’t to talk. It was the night after Cynnatag, and we had let our guard down. We thought we were safe. But out of nowhere they stormed our camp from the west. They must have been at least 3000 riders. With fire and death they rode straight into the Hornclaw camp, through it and on into the others. It lasted not more than a half an hour before they turned around and disappeared again. Our warriors drunk and tired, we had no defences. When mother sun once again shined down on us more than 3000 tents had been burnt, among them almost all the Hornclaw tents. Only the Stormborn camp was more or less intact as their camp was located all the way on the eastern side of the field. It was a disaster, and the hatred and anger burned in every single living thunarii.


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