The Dweghom

Character Portrait: Raegh Theurodhin of Ghleulgas

There are many Memories carved in the Halls of Ghleulgas.

Their Hold is considered one of the oldest and best constructions of their people. Its founding Memory involves the death of not one, but two of the strongest Dragons to have fallen after the Shattering. A score of armies, Life-Binders, Body-Twisters, humans and even a host of Dweghom, have been destroyed throughout history before the Hold’s walls. More Drakes than in any other Hold have been broken and tamed, utterly and completely, to serve at the whim of their masters. And, as if all this was not enough, a Living Enemy of Earth lies imprisoned there still, chained and bound in all ways possible, one eye hooked open for eternity to witness its progeny stumble pathetically like beasts of burden, dim and dull before the might and glory of its former slaves.

Still, despite all those Memories, the Dweghom of Ghleulgas are even prouder of their Raegh.

He is called many things; Old Mountain, for he has been Raegh for over a millennium, unmoving from his throne and unchallenged but by those who are now dead; Aghmehn, the One of Aghm, as if he was sculpted by pure worth or as if his Aghm defined the very concept; Mhûlvhest he is also called, the Maulfisted, undefeated in brawl, the Memories say, since he was just a Thane, but for another reason too. But, if anyone ever asked the Dweghom of Ghleulgas who their Raegh is, there is only one answer, one name: Theurodhin. He is the blood of Theurdraghd the Wielder of Dragons’ Death, and while blood is said to matter not, all Remember this for their Raegh for only against his ancestor who fell two Dragons could Theurodhin’s Aghm be compared to.

What millennia of captivity never achieved, he did. What endless abuse and even torture failed to do, he managed. What a history of ridicule, derision and insults never produced, he delivered to his people. For despite its condition, the Enemy never surrendered, never gave up, never yielded. Its body may have been captured but its spirit, petty and hateful as it is, never broke. Until, that is, the Raegh spoke to it. Until he punched it. Until Theurodhin made the Dragon shed a tear.

Even without this one, greatest of Memories, Theurodhin would be a Raegh worthy of his crown. It is Remembered that as a youth, centuries before the fall, he left the Hold. He returned with no Aghm, no name, no rights and only a maul of simple stone. Since then, he has ever gained Aghm and lost only once. Many tried to best him, in brawls, in combat and in wit, but failed. Many tried to take the crown from him, as is the Dweghom way but none has come close to achieving it.

Now, the Old Mountain sits on his throne, solemn, silent, unmoving, gray hair and beard crowning a face scarred by countless combats and dark eyes falling on his council as they take their places before him. The elders of the Ardent and the Tempered throw challenges at each other, supported by those in the Clan who favor one or the other. It is a scene he has witnessed countless times before, a scene he will no doubt witness again. He knows where it will lead; if not during this Council, then the Council after or the Council after that. Still, he moves not; not even when two Thanes brawl before him, ready to prove their Aghm and win his approval in their choice of spouse. He Remembers a similar battle of his youth; he Remembers them all. He sees who will win and he approves. He is more worthy. So he nods when the combat is over and acknowledges the victor and that is the most he moves even as the challenges around him resume.

Thanes, Dragonslayers, Sorcerers and Kerawegh now scream at each other. He listens absentmindedly to them, eyes turned to the Dragon; its eye hooked open, forced to see the strength of any and all in the Raegh’s council, their readiness, their will, their Aghm. But the Dragon looks not at them but back at him, a stare of will between two old foes. Insults are now spat between the members of his council, openly, defiantly, as the King remains unmoving and his inaction is considered an approval. Hands reach for weapons, as a threat at first, as a statement immediately after. His lie next to him untouched and unsought for: the simplest of stone mauls and the best of axes, the Draegbhrud of his ancestor. It will be in this Council after all. Battle will be joined, the Halls will be painted crimson. Only the worthy will prevail, strengthened in mind and body and the Hold will be the better for it, as is the Dweghom way, as has been done since the First War. And the Dragon will lie there, its eye open, forced to see its enemies stronger. One of the youngest in the council screams “Moaghm Dorh”, the two words that drive all Dweghom. Others follow.

“Enough” he says. It is a hoarse whisper almost but it is heard. Silence falls. All movement stops.

“I know where a Dragon hides” he adds. “Prepare the Clan. The Hold will March.” He gets up, as shocked silence gives way to yells and cheers.

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