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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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Hate's Holm

(This is a story I wrote for the World of Glorantha group. It's an account of how rivalries can get carried away and Orlanthi mechamisms to try and limit any damage from this.)

They stood alone in the circle. The two young men. No, they weren't alone for there was a third presence in the circle. The two young men were strong as young men are. They had dreams and hopes and loves that were too big to hold inside. They wanted things as hard as you could want them. They thought they were strong and hard. But they weren't as strong and hard as the naked swords they held in their hands. They still had sides that weren't all sharp edges. They certainly weren't as strong and hard as the third presence in the circle.

The godi stood outside the circle grey ash on his face and in his hair.

"You can still walk away from here. Walk away from this ring. Forget your exile, forget your differences. Return to the tula. Avoid these lonely graves."

Despite themselves the two young men looked over at the lonely, tiny urnfield that marked the graves of those who died here. Looked over past the boundary stones into the tula where their families and friends waited and watched. Looked at the pile of tinder and logs their kin had collected and brought together to this place to try and make an end of things.

"This place is outside the tula and outside our day to day life. What happens here ends here. Bad blood ends here. This is final."

Having said this the godi knew no one truly believed it. This was just one more attempt to keep it from bloodbath, one more step to keep the feuds that ruins clans away. But who knew what was in the hearts of the onlookers? Which young cousin or sibling looking on was doomed to be drawn into the madness. Stern outside, his heart breaking inside he tried once more.

"Will you try another way?"

No answer just the quick flicker of fear on one young face.

"Then so be it. Let the gods witness that we have tried everything legal to man or god. All ways have been examined and yet rejected. So it comes to this. Let this be an end."

And then it was all sharpness and fury and finally heart's blood. And the man who had shown fear was the one who stood bloody-handed watching as his kin carried the other young man away to the waiting pyre. His own family and friends had already turned their backs to him and walked away back to the stead where he was no longer welcome. He stood in the circle not alone as the fire licked at his enemy's bones and waited until everyone else was gone except the third presence. He stood red-handed as the pyre broke and tumbled into embers and ash. He stared as if he could see the third presence in the circle. As if he could see Hate, the hardest, strongest one of all. And he turned and walked away from the tula leaving Hate to his home. 

Last updated October 07, 2016

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