Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Tale of the Haridon

In 1023md, when William of Anglamay declared his independence and set himself up as Count of Anglamay-ot-Neider, all of the other provinces followed suite (see Anglamay). Kleaves was no exception. There, the same family had ruled under the local governors for over a century. The Gunshoff Counts possessed great wealth in land and castles. Count Eurich Gunshoff I held back during the initial days of the rebellion. This led the Imperial Governor, Menmtebno, to mistakenly think that Gunshoff remained loyal to the Empire. He sent orders to the Count to rally all his knights and attack William to the north.

Though well placed to carry out such an attack, Gunshoff had no intention of doing so. He ordered that the Governor and his staff be placed in the castle of Haridon upon the edge of the Great Wall. He informed the Governor that it was for his own protection. The wizard priests of Unklar, always a large presence in Kleaves due to its proximity to the Great Wall, bid Gunshoff to release the Governor and declare himself for Aufstrag or against it. In those days however, the Priests of Unklar were much weakened. Their master failed them, for in truth, Unklar could not answer their prayers, for he was pressed too hard and fought off the attacks of other gods and the Council. When Gunshoff learned of their weaknesses, he ordered the priests to be rounded up and confined with the Governor.

In 1024md, the Crna Ruk, paid by coin from the Governor, stole into the Count’s castle of Let-ot-Lithanian. They slew him and his wife in their bed where they were found the following day. This proved a fatal mistake, for Gunshoff’s son, Eurich II, took up his father’s crown and sword and declared himself, by the Grace of Saint Luther, Count of Kleaves, completely breaking with the Empire.

He ordered his knights to go to Haridon and gather the priests, the Governor and all those within and put them within the inner Keep. Eurich forced them to carry their jewels and monies with them. “You may need these monies to buy your way into hell, for the light of day you shall never see again.” Once done, masons came and sealed all the doors and windows with stone and mortar. There the unfortunates lay in suffering misery. For days their cries and shouts for aid carried across the walls and into the lands about. Many went mad with hunger or fear, tearing at their fellows. The dying agony of those responsible for the assassination sent a clear message to the Empire and all those who pretended overlordship of Kleaves.

Eventually all those within starved to death and their bodies, some half eaten, lay strewn about in heaps and piles. Ever since, the Haridon has been a haunted place. No one came to reclaim its walls and the castle fell into great ruin. Legends speak of ghosts and ghouls stalking the halls and the countryside about, looking for food, all the while calling for aid from their dark master. And there it sits to this day, near to the Great Wall, its walls crumbling, vines covering the whole of it. And the Inner Keep sealed with mortared bricks, is a brooding place, as if possessed of its own soul, watching and waiting.

~The Codex of Aihrde

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