Greg Stafford

Near the end of the third century after the Dawn a man named Jotorang returned from war in Ralios, across the mountains past Dorastor, with three wagon groaning with riches hauled by a battalion of slaves. He was well received, though he was only one among many men so laden with glory and treasure. He did not deign to remain there in Dorastor, but he did leave his only son there, with a good family who was happy to have such a connection even with a warrior from far Talastar. So it was that Ingkarthor was fostered in Dorastor, where clever men can learn of things other than war. Ingkarthor was one of those clever men, and he returned when his ailing father called him home to share his last years. He brought a wife, several good friends and a book of spells which he alone could read. And even though Jotorang was good with swords but bad at farming he had managed to retain enough of his plunder to give it to his son’s keeping.

Old Jotorang died shortly after his son returned, and Ingkarthor was thereafter called Wealthy, to set him apart from the other Hagolings. And so when his wife bore him a son the boy was named Jotorang, to keep the lucky name within the family.

Ingkarthor was popular and successful among the Hagolings. His friends did no antagonize their new neighbors, but were models of good Orlanthi house carls. Ingkarthor did not ignore local talent either, but fostered friendship and relations with his neighbors.

He was of the Listening Clan. When the Red Fern clan killed a cousin then Ingkarthor blessed his war band from his book, and none of them were killed in the reprisals which brought the Red Fern so low that they became slaves afterwards. Ingkarthor had a dispute with the tribal king, but instead of fighting he was instated as a member of the king’s own council. The Listening Clan was brought high that way. And when the Hagolings wanted to take all the fishing rights for the Fanrith River then Ingkarthor blessed the tribal war band the same way. A few men were killed in that war, and many were wounded but Ingkarthor said it was because they were not good Orlanthi, and everyone believed him. Thus the Listening clan got a good section of the river to fish in, second only to the king’s own clan.

And through all that Ingkarthor was careful to point out the ways and results to his growing son. Perhaps it was that instruction that made Jotorang so blessed, or it was his father’s aged grandfather, who lived in one of the family steads and taught him sword and spear play that had made Jotorang’s grandfather glorious. Or maybe it was just his own good luck. In any case, when it was time for the youth to be made into a man his blessings came forth like a new wind. Indeed, it was a new wind that came forth.

The founder of the clan, Hederl the Listener, had lived before the Darkness. When the sacred ways were opened then Orlanth introduced them, and Hederl sent Jotorang flying to the top of Mount Umatum, which others call Mount Matu, which is the southernmost of the Great Mountains of Yolp. There Jotorang was subject to a test which was intended to kill him, but instead he returned with an ally who he called Bearded Wind.

In those days there was much war in Talastar. Jotorang was well outfitted, with good armor and a wonderful sword that his grandfather had borne in Ralios. Many young men came to his band, as was the custom, eager to attach themselves to opportunity and wealth. They reckoned that this was a lucky man, and everyone admired his great wind. They rode with the king’s war band.

Two years later Bearded Storm made snow fall on the midsummer High Holy Day of the Sun God, which so terrified the men of Sylila that they turned and fled. Another time Jotorang and Barastal were riding the borders of their lands when they saw an entire herd of the king’s cattle beign stolen. The wind blasted them all flat to the ground, and Jotorang and Barastal got the credit for saving them until the war band came up. Later that year, when a regiment of men from dread Alkoth ambushed the army of Dorastor it was the Bearded Wind that knocked them down like cattle, and to counter attack. In that bloody battle Jotorang was surrounded by his foes, standing atop their corpses but surely destined to die even with his Bearded Wind howling about him. It was the young man named Barastal who leapt atop the enemy leader, skewering him with a sword thrust through the chest, that saved Jotorang. It was that deed that convinced Jotorang to always count on the help of men, not just the gods. And it was that deed that made Barastal to be Jotorang’s spear man, to stand always at his right side in the place of trust and honor.

Jotorang also got a wife. She was Dorwitha, the daughter of a cousin of the king of the Hagolings. She was good looking and knew her accounts, and had a friendly way with the households so the folk worked hard with few complaints. Jotorang was happy to leave her with the management while he acquired fame and glory.

After a year of marriage, though, he considered getting a new wife, for no child was borne from her womb despite their avid attempts to make one. On the second year she took a journey to the Ernalda temple in Dorastor, and although she vowed she would go all the way to the Great Mother Mountain, in Kerofinela, if she had to so that she would be fertile. But she came home after a month. On the third year of their marriage a son was born, and on the fourth a daughter, and on the fifth another son. Their names were Swenith, Dorelema and Valarstans, all lucky names from the family of Jotorang. The father took great delight with them on the winters when he was at home. In the summers he continued his quest towards glory.

“You will be as great as Heort,” the flatterers would say.

“I want to be as great as Orlanth,” he would say, in the boastful way of young men everywhere.

Greg's Contest Question

Greg Stafford is offering a copy of History of the Heortling People, shipped anywhere in the world, to the person who answers the following question first:

"By what name was Jotorang later known?"

Send your answers to The Editor The winner will be announced in Issue 4 (due May 1), along with all the submissions.