"When we was kids, 'e used ta... well, that's another story for another time," chuckles the lady guard.

Gormann prompts Aidan, "Somethin' about all the merchants arriving without merchandise..."

"Dark beastlin's," chimes in the golden mage.

"And with their kinfolk." says a voice from the other side of the room.

"Aye, aye tha' be right" the warriors nods, continuing from there "So th' traders came wit' thar kin, bearin' tales o' a dark army rollin' o'er all in it's path. Th' Thane decided ta take 'eed o' tha', an' sent th' call out ta th' clans fer all ta gather at th' Karn. For th' first time in any un livin's memory, th' clans were an army agin."

"'e sent a vanguard ta th' south, ta see wha' all th' fuss were about.... A 'andful came back... an' few o' those could put wha' they saw inta sense-makin' words..." he trailed off momentarily, "But, wha' they learned, was tha' thar was indeed a great army o' troll-kin, gublins, an' other vile sorts... An' that army were indeed 'eadin' fer us.. So... we went, an' we fought... and we lost. An' we kept losin'... Th' army did nae seem ta 'ave an end ta it, and fer each troll we killed... somethin' raised up another trice."

"What, exactly, were they after?" inquisted Gormann.

"That musta smelled somethin' fierce." interjects Maryn, wrinkling her nose.

"They were after us... Clan MacBlannaugh, th' Thane, Traigcurt, ... an' me." stated Aidan.

"Cursed, were ye?" asked the guardswoman.

The mage chews his lip and mutters "Or they have something worth takin'..." as Aidan manages to shrug and nod at once.

"Gittin' back ta th' tale at 'and..." he begins again, "Th' warriors o' th' MacMornag fought e'ery step o' th' way, fer th' wood were ours, an' nae creature knew th' Forest better than a clansmen. Yet... e'en when we won, we lost... fer our numbers were nae great... and our magyr were e'en fewer."

"An' fewer still." agreed the mage.

Nodding at Gormann's comment, Aidan keeps on "Th' darklin's... seemed tha' e'ery last un o' 'em was a magyr.. Our warriors were nae able ta fight against thar very selves catchin' aflame..." He stares off into space for a moment, then drains the rest of his ale without pausing.

"E'en worse.. they made our own dead fight against us.." he remembers, going slightly pale, "'tis a 'ard thing ta raise blade against th' brother ye jus' saw die th' las' day."

"That is a cruel, cruel thing ta do." frowns Maryn.

He nods and goes on "An' finally... th' day came... th' armies 'ad backed us all th' way ta th' Karn. Our 'ope was brittle, an' we were all expectin' nae ta survive.

"But th' magyr thought they 'ad come up wit' a plan... Th' Karn were raised and kept by magick, an' they thought they could use tha' magick ta wipe out th' invadin' armies. So, me, my kin, an' th' rest o' th' warriors did our best ta keep th' army out while th' magyr worked."

"Stallin' can be bloody business." noted Maryn


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