[Written] A Hellfury Bedtime Story

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[Written] A Hellfury Bedtime Story

Post  MHowes on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:58 pm


The contest of the brothers was staged for the amusement of the Princess Morwannag, heir to a high elfish throne. Her name was given thus for she lived by a great sea. Her people, although they lived lower than orcs, loved her for her beauty. Stories of the Lady’s beauty had traveled across the land, both near and far. Hers was the beauty of legend.
Many warriors were beguiled into battle for the privilege of claiming her hand. She attracted not only elves, but Dwarves, and small folk, fairies, Fay, and even a few men, who were still looked on with some curiosity. Many battled and many were slain. Morwannag did not let her hand be won. Some she enchanted to die, some she cursed, and some were so overcome by her beauty that they lost their brain for battle.
Before our grandfathers, grandfathers were bearded, two Dwarven brothers heard news of Morwannag and sought her hand. She would become the bride of both brothers, since they would easily defeat any opponents and they vowed to share her rather than fight each other. Their brotherhood was their bond. Not escapable.

“When we get there my brother, we will defeat any foe who vies with us for the Lady’s hand. Let no one stand in the gap between us.” said Primus the Hel-furie. Primus was firstborn to his mother. Primus had the responsibility for his younger brother Secondus even though they were forty years out of their mothers womb. “None shall win the heart of our prize if we have any say in the matter”.
“Aye brother.” Secondus agreed with Primus. It was not his place to dispute his brother in any way. “Disputes are for enemies not brothers.”, their mother had taught them. “Never fight amongst yourselves, do not even disagree. It will bring down defeat upon us.”
Secondus did not argue with his brother. “Aye we will. None shall stand.”
The days of their journey passed in much the same fashion. Primus would make bold statements of the coming victory, and Secondus would agree. (Neither were simpleminded, for their mother had taught them as well as she could.) (Their fathers had both died in a recent battle with orcs, and their mother refused to marry again.) Secondus was the more clever of the two but Primus was the stronger. So Primus was able to lead through strength.
Finally they both arrived at the stronghold of the Lady Morwannag. There were dozens of warriors camped around her fortress, and many more arriving all the time. Primus told Secondus to go forth and demand to know where the contest was being held. Secondus returned several hours later.
“It is being held inside the fortress, brother. I was told that we need but to present ourselves to her household and we will be admitted. I have already done so. I presented myself on your behalf as well, brother. All we need do now is join the fray. You do not need to present yourself to her.”
Primus was angered. “You have beheld her then? Without me by your side? Was she as beautiful as it has been told us?”
“A kingdom may be won or lost for her hand.” Secondus did not see the rage rising in his brothers face. He was too lost in the beauty of the Lady. “And I’ve scouted those who will vie against us for her hand. Non can stand before your strength or my cunning.”
“Cunning?” Primus allowed the rage to engulf him. (He had become jealous of his brother. This was the first time Secondus had achieved anything ahead of Primus. He had become enchanted by the Lady’s beauty.) “Cunning enough to win her for yourself?”
This broke the enchantment. “My brother, I vow that what we win we will win together. And that we will also share. She is only a female. You are my brother. Nothing can break the blood bond that we share. I would not be a Dwarve if I allowed that to happen.”
“You vow?”
“I vow.”
“Let us then go forth and win the Lady.”

The battle for the hand of the Lady Morwannag went as Primus foresaw. None were able to stand before his strength during the fight. He slew many warriors that day and took an eye from every one that he defeated. Secondus too slew many but spared many more, for his heart had not been hardened by battle. (Secondus had always let Primus fight his battles for him.) He also took fingers from his victories rather than eyes. He reasoned that a defeated warrior would hold no grudge against him for a finger. They would still be able to see well enough to go on being warriors. (Secondus did not know that a defeated enemy that is allowed to live becomes more dangerous to the victor than he was. He did not know that a crushed spirit can sometimes take shape again.)
At the end of the day, the trophies of all of the winners were counted by the Lady herself. The two Dwarven brothers placed their trophies together in front of the Lady.
“ The total is 78 for Primus, son of Erlik, and 81 for Secondus son of Rolfe.”
“What does my Lady mean?” asked Primus. “We do not understand such words. My kind is not taught these words.”
“What I mean to say is that Secondus has more trophies than you Primus. Do you understand now?” (At his point you can begin to see that in spite of her beauty, Lady Morwannag did not have any honor within her. She was after all only an elf.)
“More?” cried Primus. “More than me?”
“Yes more than you. And I promised myself to only the greatest warrior. Are you saying that you are the better despite your fewer trophies? I can see only one way to settle this problem. You will fight your brother. The winner is promised my hand.”
Lady Morwannag dismissed host of warriors who came to try for her hand. She made a declaration that she had found two warriors who were worthy of her. Her household began to busy itself with marriage preparations. Excitement filled the air.
The two brothers were led to a healing house to be mended of their wounds, for while they fought bravely and well, they did not always escape unscathed. It became clear to those in the healing house the two were not happy about the outcome of their day’s contest, and they sent for the Lady.
“My Lady”, said Primus, “My brother and I have decided that we will not fight each other for your hand. We both made a vow to share all the spoils of our conquest equally. We will not fight each other for your hand.”
“You must. I cannot let myself be wed by two brothers. You would tear me apart. One of you is sure to become jealous of the time that other spends with me. I have seen it happen before. Each begrudges the time that the other spends with me.”, replied the Lady.
“We have made a vow to each other and to our fathers families. We will not break that vow over a woman. Primus has spoken and I have spoken.”, said Secondus. “WE will not fight each other for you.”
“Then you will both be put to death.”
“It is honorable to die in order to keep a vow. We are not afraid.” The brothers both placed their weapons in the dirt at the Lady’s feet. “We will not fight.”
“ Is it honorable to watch other warriors die?”
“Yes Lady. It is.”
“Then for every day you refuse to fight each other, I will have 100 of the warriors outside killed and roasted for my dogs. 100 means more than you killed today.” The Lady was becoming angry at the pride of the two brothers. “You will be responsible for their deaths.”
“My heart tells me that would not be so Lady. They came here to die at the hands of others, so their death is well prepared for I think.” , said Secondus. They came here ready to die. And all will see that it is your hand, not ours that is delivering death to them. Let your own people see what you are.”
“Let it be so.” And with that she ordered her guards to begin killing all of the warriors within the walls of the fortress. This slaughter went on for days. As the guards removed the dead, more came in to take their place, still hoping to vie for the Lady’s hand.
The killing went on for over a week. The two brothers watched with amusement and went so far as to begin to bet on which single warrior would last the longest.
The Lady Morwannag saw that her plan did not displease the Dwarves. In fact they were entertained by the battle. She was beginning to lose her patients. She also noticed that the number of warriors arriving to win her hand had begun to get smaller and smaller. She realized that stories of her actions were beginning to be told across the land. Finally the next week, the captain of her guards announced that they had killed all of the warriors within the fortress walls.
“We have killed them all, my Lady. What would you have us do now?” asked the captain.
“Stop the killing. Let it be known that the first warrior to come into my house will become my new husband. I cannot wait for those two Dwarves to make up their minds.”, she replied.
“We have her now my brother. We may go and claim her.”, said Primus.
“But she said that she would not marry both of us. She will have no part of this plan.”, said Secondus. “She is trying to split us apart.”
“We will not let that happen, brother. We have both vowed to it. Here is what we shall do. You will go and claim her for your bride. You will tell her that I no longer want her hand. She will then marry you.”, Primus said. “We can then take her home with us and start sharing when we get there.”
“I don’t know if she’ll come with us or not. If not we can tell her that we’ll both leave and you’ll come back with your household. She will have to let you go.” Primus thought it was a very clever plan. He did not know that they were being watched by the servants of the Lady through a small hole in the door.
“I think that she will at least let us leave together, if she thinks that one of us no longer wants her. I will do as you ask, Primus.” Secondus began putting his armor on and armed himself. During this time the servants ran to the Lady and reported all that they had heard at the door of the Dwarves.
“I think I’ll make a plan of my own.”, she said, and told her trusted servants what they needed to do.

“The Dwarven brother Secondus is here to claim your hand my lady.” A servant announced the entrance of the Dwarve. The Lady waited until he had been brought to her throne.
“Where is your brother? Did you break your vow of brotherhood? Has he gone home? Why do you come to me alone?”, she asked.
“We have not broken our vow to each other. We decided that we would not fight for your hand, and we will not. He has decided that I am to have you. He got to remembering our homeland and the women that live there. Primus has had many proposals of marriage, but held back until we both could be wed at the same time. I am here to lay claim to your hand. We will then travel back to our homeland with my brother and be wed among my folk. Please prepare yourself for the journey.” Secondus turned and began walking toward the door of the Lady’s chamber.
“Hold Dwarve. We have yet some things to say. First, I will not leave my kingdom. Second, your brother will accompany us nowhere. He will be put to death for refusing my offered hand. Thirdly, I will not marry you unless you first prove your love for me.” The Lady began speaking in a quiet measured tone. “You will do these things for me because you love me.” The Lady waved her hand at the Dwarve and began chanting very softly.
Secondus stopped at her words and turned to face the Lady. He was coming under the spell she was casting upon him. She continued to speak for a few moments, then she woke him.
“Have you understood all that I have told you, Dwarve?”, she asked?
“I have, Lady Morwannag. I will go and get my brother.”, he replied. Secondus left the room and went directly to where his brother was waiting for him. “It is done my brother. She has consented to be my bride. She does wish to see you first to make sure you are not under the notion that we will ever share her.”
“You did a fine job convincing her then? Good. We will go and see her together.
Do you have everything packed for the journey? No? We’ll let her servants do the packing for us. Bring me to her place.” Primus and Secondus walked together as brothers to the throne hall of the Lady.
“It’s good that you have both come to me.”, Lady Morwannag said. “Close the doors.” Her servants closed and bolted the doors from the outside leaving her alone with the two brothers. She looked at Secondus and said, “Are you ready to have me as your bride? Then fulfill your duty. Kill him.”
Secondus lunged at his brother. He was caught completely off guard by the blow. The stroke was deep into his chest, cutting through his tunic and leather belt. He fell to his knees and vainly tried to hold his guts inside his body. Primus was dying fast.
“Why have you done this, my brother?”, he asked. “She turned you against me, your flesh and blood. I see it is so. Kill me now then brother, with the mercy stroke. But remember me after the enchantment leaves your mind.”
The Lady responded with laughter. “Your brother is under my spell and will never come out of it for as long as he lives. You hope in vain, Primus. Secondus, let him lie there awhile. I have never seen such a warrior as he beg for death. It interests me greatly.”
Secondus looked at her then at his brother. He dropped the sword and stooped to look into his brothers eyes, as if hearing the Lady mention his brothers death put it into mind for him to do so. Primus looked back through the pain. There was pity in his own eyes for Secondus. Primus reached for his brother as if to embrace him a last time. They hugged each other for a moment.
“Stop this at once! Stop it and kill him you fool.”, the Lady cried. It was too late. As Secondus stood, she noticed a dagger in his throat. His brother had killed him. Morwannag watched with horror as Secondus rushed at her with his sword raised above his head. She had never seen anything so enraged. His rage drove him to her. He pierced her own black heart with his weapon and fell dead on the steps of her throne.
As she lay beside him, she heard Primus speak, “You are undone, Lady. Your spells cannot hold sway over my brother forever. He told me so with his eyes. He asked me for this end. Your mistake was allowing him to look into my eyes. We were brothers. We are brothers. We will be brothers together again in the Halls Of The Grandfathers. We have earned our reward.” He said no more.
The Lady lived for many more years with half a heart. It is said that she never again knew the joy of life, love, honor or victory. She still had her beauty, but she ruled with that half heart, oppressing her folk with her lack of joy. She became despised and hated by all her folk. Finally her Kingdom became deserted and desolate.

This is why today we Hel-furies hate all others than Dwarves.
This is why we will never hurt any dwarves.
This is why we never break a vow.
This is why we die rather than be dishonored.
This is why we stay in our own Kingdom.
This is why we are taught to be strong and clever.
This is why speak only the truth.
This is why we are Hel-furies!


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