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Fare Thee Well Battle Winds

by Fen Walker

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Blue Crystal Star
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Blue Crystal Star This is an extraordinary, exciting, and epic audio experience! Listen to this album with high quality headphones ( with high bass output) as loud as possible. it really doesn't do it justice otherwise. Favorite track: Twilight Falls 'Pon Cemetery Snow.
mangy_scots_git
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mangy_scots_git Fen Walker continues to be one of the most innovative and creative dungeon synth artists in existence. this album is pure magic. Favorite track: These Woods, Dressed in Robes of Winter.
madhu
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madhu A rich tapestry of orchestral wonder! Beautiful, dynamic, complex point weaving counterpoint. Fantastic release that will undoubtedly insinuate itself into my regular rotation.
jarkovsky
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jarkovsky Really fantastic album. Dynamic tunes that blend all the good stuff and even takes some poppy direction at times.

Read the title, see the artwork, listen to the music and UNDERSTAND what is going on here. Also makes for great D&D music. Favorite track: The Long Hunt.
Evergreen
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Evergreen As usual, Fen Walker brings us a wild journey of an album. This one is full of some heavier percussive moments than past releases. Some of which had my whole body moving on the first listen. Fen Walker is an incredibly unique artist and manages to amaze me even more with each album.
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1.
The dream was forgotten the instant she awoke. A familiar voice had broken through that midnight reverie. Woja lifted her head from a bed of Vyrpa skins and saw glowing in the darkness of the room, her mother. She was dressed in the fineries of those who have passed on in noble death: a gown of silk; a shirt of glimmering mail; a silver circlet upon her brow. Her shining hands gripped the shaft of a spear, yet it bore no deadly point. Woja slid from the bed, careful not to wake her sleeping man and son. She crossed the room and stood before the spirit of the woman she had journeyed long to inter in her well earned resting place some years ago. “Mother,” she said in the old tongue, the dead speak. “My star,” her mother replied with a sad smile. Her eyes shifted down to the sleeping form of Pjorlar and Daeja. “I liked that one,” she said regarding Pjorlar, “one of the few north men who had any decency. A good husband?” “Aye, he is.” “And the boy, Daeja is his name?” “It is.” “A fine name.” “It was your father’s,” Woja said, a tear rolling down her colorless face. Her mother nodded, her expression becoming an enigmatic mix of pride and disappointment. “You know then, that you cannot be Wanderess,” She said. “I chose a different path,” Woja said, turning and looking at her husband and son, illuminated by guttering fire light. “You chose the path of great jeopardy. Not just for you, but for all who dwell in our lands, for our survival now rests on your sisters shoulders, and she is of the enemy.” “She has gone to her home. To her father,” Woja snapped. Her mother shook her head sadly. “Oh no my love, she is here, camped on the northern shores. She has brought an army.” Woja felt her anger melt into disbelief. “To what purpose?” “They wish to claim these lands and their riches for themselves. Soja follows only to impress that wretch of a man I married. Aye, she has come, second only to Warmaster Kyllar.” “Kyllar!” Woja spat. “The people of Ur are not ready for a war. There has not been open conflict on our lands for many generations, the skill and art has been lost to us.” “Then what is to be done?” “Tell my sister and the council of this threat, and then you must leave those you love,” Woja’s mother said as she stepped into the shadows of the room and disappeared, “listen, for I have a task for you.” Woja listened.
2.
After two weeks, she could still feel Daeja’s kiss upon her brow, the weight of Pjorlar’s arms about her, his large warm hands on the small of her back, tokens of their love as they bid her farewell. Now, she sat alone by a small fire, turning the spitted wood eel she had caught that afternoon. Its sizzling flesh smelled delicious, but she had little appetite. She thought about what must be done: the disinterment of an ancient evil, a warrior and a former enemy of her mother. The Council was enraged by her plan and suspicious of her claims of invasion. Woja’s aunt however was the wiser of her counter parts, and had informants far and wide. She too knew of the coming invasion, of the villages burning on the north coast, of the barrows and shrines ransacked for their treasures. “My sister’s child tells the truth and though I too despair at waking that bringer of destruction, it seems our greatest recourse, for how are we to fight this enemy? We no longer know the ways of war. We choose between slavery, or and honorable death. I would choose death.” Aursa’s declaration had brought much argument and a short verbal war commenced between the council members. “How will this woman challenge the Khan?” It was a fair question, and answer was, none could. Not without the aid of a weapon lost to time. Long ago, a Wanderess fell in battle and her weapon, The Tusk was lost. The Tusk was the finest spear point ever crafted for a barrow walker. The Tooth and The Fang, her mother’s points were its lesser siblings. There were fables told of the joining of these three spears and the wonders, or horrors (depending on who was telling the tale) that would take place in their joining. Most agreed such a meeting of these holy artifacts would never take place, for The Tusk would never be found. Woja, thanks to her mother, knew where it was. Woja took the wood eel from the fire and pulled the skin from its flesh. She ate without tasting, thinking of Daeja laughing and his father chased him through their field in spring, of her and Pjorlar hunting Skarg together in winter and then of their lovemaking by the fire amidst winter woods. She tossed the bones of the eel into the darkness, nestled into her cloak of fur and closed her eyes. Sleep did not come easily. The ancient battle field where that time forgotten Wanderess fell to a sorcerer’s minions was covered in a blanket of thick moss. Woja surveyed the area, a plain of green that disappeared into the mists of the surrounding bog, its flatness broken only by the occasional mass. Woja strode quickly to the nearest mass and tore away the moss revealing moldering bones and rusted armor of a long dead warrior. There was an ululation in the distant fog. They were closing in. The people of this region had not taken kindly to the trespass of their land. Clearly this tribe did not heed the ruling of the council: no land was forbidden to any, save for the few well known ceremonial islands. Woja rushed forth, and slipping and tumbling over moss and the remains hidden beneath, she made her way to the center of the battle field where The Tusk would be found. The tree where the Wanderess had been transfixed still stood, a moss shrouded monument to bloodshed. She reached the tree as spears and darts began to land about her. Her assailants were well out of range, affecting their aim, but there was still the chance she would catch one my misfortune. With her spear she cut at the thick moss and tore it away in strips. At the foot of the tree lay a mound of bones and weaponry, all gone black with the countless centuries, above, a partial skeleton hung, a spear piercing tree and breastbone. A dart buried itself into the bark by Woja’s head, it glistened with black venom. One dart to her flesh and her journey would be over. She began to dig down into the bones and armor, flinging helm and femur alike. A spear landed in the skeletal pile not far from her shoulder. She grabbed it and hurled it into the mist. She heard a scream. She felt a deep shame, and hoped she had not killed anyone, she was the invader here. She continued down into the bones. There was the wet padding of quick footfalls on moss then the rattle of bones. Woja moved aside a rusted breast plate and was suddenly blinded by an immense emerald glow. She looked away and saw the three Bog Landers on the bones above her, poised to strike. But they too had seen the light and were looking away from the blinding radiance. Woja took this moment to unsheathe her short blade and struck three times with it pommel. Each strike found its mark, sending her assailants rolling down the pile of bones, clutching groin or knee. Woja knelt to collect what she had long sought and found that its glow had abated. She reached for it and singed her fingers upon its strange metal. Franticly she tore away more moss from the tree and wrapped the spear head. More Bog Landers were scaling the bone pile. Clutching the moss wrapped relic to her chest, Woja un-slung her spear and kept the oncoming war party at bay with sharp thrusts of her weapon as she slowly circled the base of the tree. On the other she found more Bog Landers, she was surrounded. There was suddenly a howl in the mist. It wasn’t the sound of Bog Vyrpa or Taarg, a common enough beast in these lands. It was primal and ancient. It stopped the war party cold, many turning their back on Woja to stare into the mist. There was the sound of a tree being felled, its mass crashing into the bog. Some of the war party fled as that guttural, primeval call sounded again. Woja chose this moment to flee. She slid swiftly down the bones and landing on her feet at the bottom charged into the swift sprint. She heard yells and the whistle of passing darts and spears but soon those sounds were behind her as she dissolved into the mist.
3.
She followed the eastern coast northward, taking the road pilgrims traveled on their way to the barrow lands. The Bog Landers had not followed her past their borders, though she remained watchful, they would not give up their treasure without reprisal. The heavy loom of winter descended as she traveled, the autumn winds turning from its chill bluster to a biting cold. Before long, The Mother rose to reveal a land white with hoarfrost. Upon waking each morning, Woja removed The Tusk from her satchel and hugged its moss covered form to her chest, its warmth radiating into her, giving her strength for what exertions lay before her. She had faired the barrow road and the cross country trek through the frozen peat bogs and pine forests without incident. Early on she had confirmed what she had sensed since of her trek up the barrow road, that she was being followed. Off in the distance she heard that same haunted baying that had sounded in the bogs. The week before, she had watched from atop an escarpment as a patch of distant pines were tossed and felled as something made its way between and around their mighty trunks. After that, she had quickened her pace. Winter was beginning in earnest by the time Woja came upon the wicker gate. She cut into the palm of her left hand and pressed it against the intricate weave of the gate, allowing the blood to drip down its brambles. Many had passed through this threshold to the Totem Wilds, and many had paid the fee: something of themselves. There was the near blackened stain of blood that coated the bottom six feet of the gate, the skulls and bones of family members, rings, weapons, clothes: All payment for passage. There was nothing stopping a person from simply ignoring the gate and walking past it, or simply through it, but all who respected the dead paid their due. Woja, having paid hers, stepped through and into the dark country. She traveled for days amongst funerary platforms, cairns and ancestral idols. Ur had been gouged here and great slabs of her flesh rose up to the darkened, cloud heavy sky. This had been the place of the Great Decision, the war that ushered in the age of refusal, a war where sorcerers grappled in eldritch struggle, their flesh rippling and changing, their humanity falling away while engines of the ancients were brought to bear against each other. Ur was wounded, a contusion so deep her molten blood issued forth from the rent. Soon after, sorcerers were hunted down like Vyrpa. Fortresses of stone were abandoned. The dead were exalted while the living of Ur gave their life to the protection of their lands and ancestors. The engines of the ancients were forgotten to rust and ruin. The Khan had risen forth from the permafrost once Woja had scrapped away the seal with the tip of The Tusk, now affixed to her spear shaft. The ground cracked and he had forced his skeletal form through with little difficulty. He stood well over 3 meters; a massive form twisted and strengthened by forbidden sorcery. He stood and stared down at the woman before him, holding a weapon he had only heard of in myth, a weapon he had even once sought in life and never found. “The girl child of my conqueror, I smell her in your blood,” he said, his voice a deep rasp, “she comes to gloat you know, you mother, for she is free, though I am not.” The skeletal form took a step forth, bones creaking and armor groaning. Woja stood firm, spear point steady. “She told me you would come, and I told her I would not aid you.” “You will, for I know what you desire,” Woja said. “Do you? No doubt your mother has told you what transpired between us.” “She did. It matters not, you will teach my people in the ways of war and lead them in battle, and I will restore you to your rightful resting place.” “My Mausoleum by the sea,” the kingly corpse said. “Perhaps I ask of your spear point in my breast?” “And lay you low?” “Yes, your mother’s punishment was sound. I no longer bear my former ambitions, my rage has fled and my bones are brittle, I only wish now for the eternal sleep.” “Then you will aid us?” Woja said lowering her spear point. There was the creak of bone as the Khan raised his head and looked to the distant Spine with eyeless sockets. “I will.” “Very well, follow, we have long to go,” Woja said, not trusting this skeletal giant, and glad to have The Tusk clutched in her fist.
4.
The Battlemaster of the hegemony wept. She lay huddled under a felled tree; ice and snow had built up about it so that it formed a shallow cave. Through the trees suffused the glow of great fires and the sounds of screams and battle cries. Soja, daughter of the Jarl of the Hegemony, and first woman Battlemaster blubbered in a cave of snow. She had begged her father for the honor. Kyllar, no longer her guardian had risen to the rank of Warmaster. He had vehemently opposed her request, as had many of the high ranking officers of Hegemic Warhost. The Jarl however, citing his daughter’s heroic actions on the battle field of Charn and her quick, decisive maneuvers as acting Seigelord during the forlorn hope of Underwurn, awarded his daughter the title of Battlemaster. She had proven herself worthy of the title as she lead campaign upon campaign against the northern coalitions. Her waking hours were the roar of cannonade and the screams of the dying, the clash of halberd and sword and the hum of airship and the bellow of their deadly freight. But here, in her mother’s home land, this was not warfare. It was genocide. “These animals will not fight, and they will not obey as slave,” Warmaster Kyllar drunkenly mused one night during mess, “it seems the only action is to drive them south!” He banged his flagon upon the table, “Burn them from their hovels!” Another thud of flagon on table and the slosh of ale, “Kill them all!” A final thud and the flagon separated it from its handle. There was a roar of approval from the men. What followed was a campaign of terror along the greater parts of the northern coast. Warmaster Kyllar hated this land and its denizens. His journey through the continent some decade ago had sparked a burning hatred for this strange and pagan wilderness. He spread this hatred to his Warbands who took great pleasure in the rape, torture and murder of the Urish people while Soja looked on in horror and disgust, unable to take any action against the atrocities. Soja wiped the tears from her face and emerged from her hiding place. She could see figures darting between the trees, Urish running into the woods and certain death of exposure, rather than face the horror of the invaders. “Soja!” Kyllar called from the edge of the forest, “where are you!” She could see his armored bulk some yards away, silhouetted by the flaming carnage behind him. The stinking wretch, how she wished she had left him here to die all those years ago. How she wished she had fed him to the lost souls that had chased them through these very woods. “Soja!” She thought on her mother’s final words to her: You are the strongest. For many years these words had aided her in conquering her enemies, urging her on to victory after victory. Now, they simply urged her to walk away. And she did. Pjorlar wept when he saw Woja, standing on a high hill crowned with ancestral totems, the night sky bright shining with stars. For many months they had been parted, and long had he traveled to reach her. With the Hegemic Warhost a confirmed threat, men and woman had been sent to all corners of Ur to muster war bands. Pjorlar, as a former man of the Hegemony, few in the council trusted him. But Aursa saw his value. “He is a fighting man and he knows the ways of the enemy, and he loves his woman, my sister’s daughter. For these reasons, I give credence to this man’s desire to aid us.” Aursa said, and the rest of the council grudgingly gave their assent. Far to the east Pjorlar had traveled, gathering volunteers as he went. By the time he had reached the eastern coast, he had gathered only four hundred and thirty men and woman! Now standing only a hundred strides from his love, he had amassed a war horde behind him, five thousand strong! He strode beneath snow covered branches, limbs dripping with icicles, the din of thousands of boots on snow. Wojar began to descend the high hill, and then recognizing him, broke into a run. Pjorlar, dropping his pack, began to sprint to her. They met and embraced, all the weary leagues of marching, all the cold lonely nights and terror that stalked between the trees melted away. There were no words, just the meeting of lips and taste of tears. A shadow appeared the top of the high hill known as the crown. “Ah, joyful reunion,” the shadow said to itself, “love while you can, for soon you will know only war.”
5.
During the following weeks, more joined them. But while some joined, others deserted. The cold hardships of winter and the rigorous and relentless training of the Khan, forced many to slip away into the night. “You should have them hunted and executed,” The old warlord said one night, “make an example of them.” “That is their ways, not ours,” Pjorlar returned, pointing north where the Hegemony was camped several leagues away. He did not trust the Khan, nobody did. They were all aware of his past, of his attempted conquest of the Western peninsula, of his destruction by the hands of the Wanderess. But Pjorlar was aware that his frightening size and appearance would aid them in the coming battles. And his knowledge of tactics was indispensible, no matter how antiquated. He only wished he knew what the Khan’s plans were. They were simply not to aid the living and then be killed by Woja’s spear, he knew that much. As winter wore one, the war horde slowly learned the ways of war. The Khan was relentless in his training; some had even died under his tutelage. But they learned the use of spear and shield; they had armed themselves from the countless vaults and caches that littered the land and they remained angry, the dead warlord saw to that. He told stories of the atrocities committed by the Hegemony which fueled the fires of their rage, keeping it hot for coming battle. Regardless of this progress, Woja was in a deep gloom. This “army” would be defeated. The hegemony with its arquesbus, cannonade and air ships would defeat them before the morning of the battle was over. “You best be careful sister, there is something evil in the wood,” came a familiar voice from behind her. Woja spun around, her spear poised to strike. Her sister was not alone. She stood among a band of ragged Urish men and woman. “What are you doing here Battlemaster?” she snarled. Soja did not seem phased by her sister’s vehemence, in fact, it had been expected. “We went our own ways, you stayed, I did not. Don’t be angry at me for the way the river of my life flowed,” she said softly. She was thin, haggard. A large scar ran from eye brow to chin. “We’ve been harrying the Hegemonic Warbands for months. Following them south, cutting off their supply lines, sabotaging their weapons,” a man to Soja’s right, clearly Urish, said. “Last week we were ambushed by Kyllars men, then something in the woods— this is all that left of our original two hundred,” Soja said gesturing to the twenty or so Urish gathered. “We’ve brought weapons and supplies, as much as we could carry.” Woja lowered her spear. She heard no treachery in her sister’s voice. “Ask for Pjorlar, he’ll see that you are fed,” she said to Soja’s band. The small ragged group departed and went down the slope to the camp. “Are you going to take this from me?” Woja said when they were alone and held out the spear tipped with the faintly glowing Tusk. Soja shook her head. “Have you a man or a child?” “No.” “Then take it from me, you must, you’re worthy.” “And you can’t? What’s your child’s name?” “Daeja son of Pjorlar.” “Pjorlar,” Soja scoffed, “so he lives, and is leading this army?” “A dead man leads the army.” Woja said. Soja walked to her sisters side. They looked down on the army as it went through its afternoon training. “Kyllar will be furious.” “Good,” Woja said and they laughed.
6.
The army gathered in the valley of the funeral aeries. The Hegemic Warbands would gather there in the morning, and would find their opposition waiting. None of the Urish would have normally set foot in this valley. This was a place reserved for the ignoble dead, those who had led evil lives. Their bodies left to the elements in niches set into the funeral aeries, spirits trapped and unable to wander free. The Khan was in a pleasant mood, he had picked this place as the battle field. Woja didn’t like it. No one living did. Soja and her band were met with suspicion and at times open hostility. Though once the promised provisions were salvaged from the forest, the view of the small band had softened some, there had only been a fortnight before the planned battle would take place, not enough time to properly train one hundred men in the use of the arquebus that were stolen from the enemy, and no ammunition or powder to spare for target practice. They were put through their paces by Soja herself, dry firing and speed loading with pebbles instead of iron shot. These trained men and woman were hidden in various places throughout the valley as snipers. Everyone knew they wouldn’t last long. With the war parties assembled and in position, they waited through the night. No fires were lit. All prayed to Urshith and Urshana for safety or a good death while The Khan made a prayer of his own. In one of the niches of a funeral aerie, a skeleton twitched.
7.
The smell of blood was strong, unbearably so. It was drawn by the blood, yet repulsed by the presence of The Tusk, the thing it both feared and desired. How much easier it had been when it had been buried under bones, where it could look at its beautiful glow at its leisure, and then leave to hunt in the bogs. Now it was a weapon, a weapon that could kill, that could cut its strange flesh. It surged through the woods. Unknown ounds came to its senses and it neared the place of blood. In the small human part of its mind, it remembered the sounds of war from long ago. The scent of battle was so familiar now that it could recollect its components: blood, sweat and steel. Soon the trees thinned and it stopped at a cliff edge. Bellow a seething, confused mass churned. White puffs of smoke appeared here and there. A large explosion brought a tall pillar of stone down, crushing those in its path. Men fell, and after a time, got back up again, different somehow than before. The thing smelled sorcery then, and it became truly intrigued. “Bastard!” Woja screamed, slashing at the Khan who stepped clear of the stroke with surprising speed. The morose, self defacing Khan was no more. The NecroKhan had returned, and with a simple phrase had conjured an army all of his own. The battle between the Urish and Hegemony had been vicious and well matched at first, but the Hegemony’s superior training and numbers were slowly winning the day. Now with the dead returning to life from both the funeral aeries and the battleground, The Urish were truly doomed. “Maybe so, but your fate was known to me from the start. Though the dead avoid me, I hear much, I surmised the power of the north. But they are no equal to the power of the dead. They shall defeat your army, and that of the Hegemony. Ur shall be preserved.” “And what of the rest of the living!” “Only the dead shall dwell in these lands,” the Khan said and moved in to strike. Soja dragged herself from the rubble of the fallen funeral aerie. A well aimed cannon shot had brought the crumbling stone pillar down. Soja had been in fighting in its shadow and had barely dived out from under the mass of falling stone and human remains, only to be showed by the debris as it crashed into the frozen ground. A man’s shadow fell upon her, she lifted her broad sword just in time to block a stroke from a halberd, she turned the weapon aside and ran the warrior through the groin, the man fell gibbering to the ground. Soja stood and surveyed her surroundings. All around her was the turmoil of battle, the men and woman of Ur fighting and doing much of the dying, while the Hegemonic warriors fought with skill and the love for battle. She wandered dazed through the carnage, running a man through, turning aside a blade, severing a hand. She was so tired. Suddenly she was knocked down by an immense explosion from behind her. She rolled over in time to watch a flaming airship slowly drift down and burn anyone beneath it alive. It was beyond the flames that Soja saw her sister fall from a blow delivered by the Khan, their supposed ally. Following this she saw the first of his new army: A man without a head stumbling by, swinging his sword blindly back and forth, hoping to find living flesh. There was a wild shriek to her left and she looked to see a warrior of the Hegemony held down by several skeletons while another drew forth the living mans entrails. Soja leapt to her feet and charged to her sister’s aid. “So you live?” Kyllar said. Pjorlar only nodded. He was exhausted, wounded. Kyllar looked as if he had only now joined the battle. “I thought of you like a son you know. When I thought you had died here all those years ago, I mourned you.” “I offer no apology. If I die here today, I bear no regrets. I lived a good life on these shores,” Pjorlar said and then was forced to the ground as something massive barreled into the back of him. Kyllar was suddenly above, sword in a downward arc. Pjorlar block the stroke and turned it aside while bringing his knee up, driving it into Kyllar’s groin. Kyllar staggered back vomiting. It stank of ale. Pjorlar had no doubt his former mentor was drunk. Pjorlar gained his feet and knelt by the now gasping Warmaster of the Hegemony. “You’re a fat, pathetic old man Kyllar. Stop this and go home,” he said, and walked away knowing that he would do no such thing. Shortly after Pjorlar left him, the recovering Kyllar suddenly found himself within a mouth lined with teeth. Teeth and stars. It had joined the fray. It enjoyed chasing these warriors about the battle field, playing with them. Some it simply knocked aside, watching them tumble. Others it snatched, biting their limbs off so only a head and torso remained. Some it stalked through the fog, letting them escape for a while only to be caught up and devoured. And how it howled with laughter as they tried to wound its flesh with their exploding weapons, and sharpened blades. But soon the entertainment wore, and the hunger for blood and flesh was sated. It was time to collect what was taken from it. The Khan had Woja by the throat when Soja took up The Tusk and felt its power surge through her. She knew at that moment her true purpose, and that she had been denying it all her life. The Tusk had not wounded the Khan when brandished by her sister, but in the hands of Soja, the first strike severed both of the Khans arms from his body. The Khan staggered and screamed! “Pain? Pain?” He bellowed in disbelief. Woja detached the Khans severed arms from her neck and staggered to her sister’s side. “Yes, pain, and there is more to come,” Soja screamed, and drove the point of The Tusk, now emanating a blinding radiance into the Khans armored chest with no resistance. The Khans howls of pain ceased, and he crumbled to the stones. There was a silence then, an unearthly quietude where there had once been the din of war. Then it was broken by a familiar roar, a demoniac bellow from a nightmare. A dark shaped formed in the haze of smoke and snow before them, and then it broke through, all teeth, eyes, twisted flesh and sinew. It made a new sound, a vile and unthinkably strange chuckling that came from the depths of its raw, tooth lined gullet that faded into a void of stars. “Mine,” it said in a voice all too human. It reached for the spear with an appendage that seemed to shift and flow like a swift river stream of stars and flesh. Soja struck, The Tusk severed the spindly talons of that grotesque arm. The creature reared back screaming, its cosmic blood splashing upon the snow, revealing puddles of stars before those cosmic windows collapsed in on themselves. The creature struck back, the blow missed Soja but caught her sister, flinger her aside. Soja leaped forth but another smaller limb wrapped around her leg and threw her to the ground. From the creatures fleshy body emerged a long bone blade on a twitching, shuddering stalk. This poised to strike, but was suddenly cut down, as was the limb holding Soja who rolled to her feet while the creature thrashed in rage and pain. Her mother stood there, spear in hand. “Mother!” “I’m here, where is your sister?” “Here,” Woja said stumbling to them, clutching her chest which dripped with blood. “We must act quickly,” Their mother said, “we must do what has not been done in an age, take up your spears, quickly!” The little humans had hurt it. They had caused it pain! There would be no more pain; they would feed the immensity of what was within it. It stopped thrashing and advanced, it’s great mouth open, ready for flesh, blood and screams. There were three of them now, each holding a spear. The human part of it seemed to remember this somehow, something from long ago. Then it heard the great roar of a horn, and it knew its doom had come. The great mouth advanced closer, the stars and nebulae within it nearing, the light blinding. But the mother and her daughters paid no mind. They each held a spear, The Tooth, The Fang and the Tusk, the tips forming a pyramid. Then there was an immense din, so loud that it brought all on the battlefield to their knees. The creature reeled back with a scream and folded in on itself, ceasing to be.
8.
After the great horn blast, many couldn’t decide if they had been deafened, or if the simple quietude after a day of raging battle resembled such. For long after, the survivors wandered about the battle field in a daze, searching the corpse strewn snow for surviving friends, or foes who would receive the end of a spear. Before long there were screams of every kind echoing through the valley: screams of joy as friends reunited; screams of the wounded; screams as small hegemonic survivors were dispatched by vengeful Urish. Woja and her sister had stood looking into the sky their ears ringing. What had the transpired? What had the meeting of the three spears set into motion, other than the warding of a monster and a deafening noise? Their mother had vanished; the spear tipped with The Tooth lay upon the rubble. Woja knelt to pick it up, but staggered and collapsed. “Sister!” Soja screamed. A small group, lead by Pjorlar rushed up the rubble of aerie. “What’s happened?” Pjorlar said kneeling at his wife’s side. There was blood spreading across her chest. Pjorlar ripped her jerkin apart, revealing the great wound beneath, given to her by the Jortuuk’s rending claws. “Pjorlar,” Woja said, calmly, as if there was no pain, and there had been no war. As if they were sitting by a warm fire in their dwelling after a long hunt, “I love you.” Then she died. A wind came then; a wind stronger than any of those in the valley had ever remembered. And it swept Pjorlar‘s cries of anguish to every corner of the valley.
9.
They burned the bodies of the resurrected and Hegemony in great funeral pyres. Pyres burned for a week, filling the valley with ash, melting the snow and ice down to the stony ground beneath. They spent the remainder of the winter building stone barrows for the men. The women were preserved in snow, until they could be carried to the burial place of the all mothers. Pjorlar spent the end of each day with Woja, uncovering her face of snow and stroking her hair and kissing her forehead, weeping softly. Soja would appear occasionally, watching from a distance. There was resentment against her, despite all she had done. Even as a Wanderess, she was view with some suspicion, even contempt. When he had finished his time with his wife, he would cover his her face with snow once more and set out to his camp fire. It was early spring when Daeja arrived with Aursa. The boy was ten years old now and carried a long knife at his side. He had known of his mother’s death for some time and had no tears left for her. Together, Pjorlar and Daeja uncovered Woja from the quickly melting snow and wrapped her body in cloth, sealing the wrappings with wax. They placed her on a litter, and made their way north, with a procession of mourners. It was on the third day when Pjorlar placed his end of the litter on the ground and shouted into the woods. He knew she had been following them for some time, too afraid to let herself be known to the procession. “Soja, come out!” There was a long pause, and they listened to the sound of wood eels singing in the grass and rustle of new leaves. Pjorlar shook his head in defeat, picked up his end of the litter and carried on. It was wasn’t long before he felt Woja’s weight grow lighter, it had been his son’s duty to carry his mother, but it had been slow and heavy going for Pjorlar. Pjorlar looked over his should to see that Soja had take his sons place with Daeja walking close beside. She was weeping. He smiled at her and they continued. Then Pjorlar took up a song, it was a song well known to Soja. She and her sister sung it once many years ago on an occasion much like this. It had been long since Soja had sung anything but battle hymns, regardless, she added her high clear voice to Pjorlar. Together they sang.

about

Ur is under invasion by the technologically advanced forces of the Hegemony. Woja, a woman who has embraced the traditions of her mother's people, despite her hegemonic upbringing, must go on a quest to find an ancient treasure and form a war pact with the long-dead and villainous NecroKhan.

Soja, a woman shaken to her core by her past experiences on the island, must return as Battlemaster of the Hegemonic war host. This time to conquer her mother's people and prove her worth to her father, the Jarl of the Hegemony.

Will sisters spill each other's blood into the snow? Will the newly risen NecroKhan hold true to his word? Will the power-hungry war host of the north be driven back?

credits

released November 5, 2021

Wayfarer-orchestration
Arianna Mahsayeh- Cello on "Twilight Falls 'Pon Cemetery Snow"
Sophia Butler- Spoken word on "The Language of the Dead"

Cover art by Brendan Elliott
instagram.com/brendanelliott.art

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Fen Walker Portland, Oregon

The music of the barbaric and sorcery scarred lands of Ur.

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