The Hold of Orobduho

The Shattering saw most Elder Dragons destroyed, their deep investment and involvement in the Making of War’s prison proving their undoing. But that in no way meant that all great threats were removed from the fight with the first blow. Ghisghigamosh, whose form glittered in all variations of his element of Water, was one of the greatest adversaries of the Dweghom during the First War. Its undoing proved its very power, as the Fire and Earth wielded combined by the Dweghom proved, in the end, fatal. Still, such was the might of the deed and the extent of sacrifice it required, that its fall birthed not one, but three Clans, one for each of the three Forefathers that led the fight. Enh, founder of His Clan, proved a master tactician, channeling the sorcerous ingenuity of Dhinsha, founder of Her Clan, and the undying zeal of Aghenidh, founder of His Clan, to Ghisghigamosh’s destruction. Upon the melting corpse of their adversary, all three stood before the Mnemancers and all three were asked how they would lead their Clans. In the end, they were all deemed worthy to found a Hold on the corpse and Rook of their defeated foe, each to rule and lead according to their words.

Thus it came to be that once the First War was over, Enh was named Raegh of Orobdhuo, situated on today’s further northern shores of the Russ lands, ever seeking the advice of an Ardent Kerawegh and a Tempered Sorcerer. To ensure the balance of power between the two castes, he decreed that while control of the Automata recovered from the Rook of Ghisghigamosh would be given to the Tempered, their use in battle would be decided by the Ardent. This, indeed, guaranteed that this devastating weapon would not be used in any… disputes within the Hold. Alas, however, Enh would not enjoy the prosperity of his own Hold, for he met his old companions once more.

During the harshest and most brutal times of the Memory Wars, Enh, Dhinsha and Aghenidh fought and killed each other, ordering their Clans to observe but not engage and live by the words spoken before the Mnemancers. Clan before Creed is what is written above the entrance of Orobdhuo and it is more than a motto, for the Dweghom dislike tall, empty words. Enh’s words are the soul and identity of his Hold. Even the most fanatical of Ardent or the most resolute of the Tempered would not forget this.

The Memory of the Three could seem too… soft, almost peaceful a tale for Dweghom Clan founders but it is a testament to the influence of Memories on Dweghom lives. To this day, Orobdhuo abides to the Memory and Enh’s words and among the variations of Dweghom society that exist in different Holds, Orobdhuo houses perhaps the most comprehensible to outsiders. It revolves around an almost unprecedented stability in the balances of power between its castes, with a Raegh ruling over Clan and Hold, while the Ardent and the Tempered advise, even as they struggle for influence.

From a Mnemancer’s (or historian’s) point of view, this stability is evident and clear but a Mnemancer would never confuse stability for peace. The tunnels and great halls of Orobdhuo have not seen less conflict, their stones have not been wetted by less Dweghom blood, than those of other Holds. From simple duels among rivals and skirmishes between their followings to the castes expressing strongly their ideological disagreements dragging the entire Hold with them, Orobdhuo has known war un-ending since its founding.

If anything, the equal presence and influence of both Ardent and Tempered has ensured that their different points of view and philosophies are being represented on the field at all times. Neither has ever stopped vying for influence over the Raegh or the hearts and minds of Clansmen and the only way Dweghom hearts and minds are moved is through massive gains of Aghm. Interestingly, however, neither caste has ever actively tried to usurp the Raegh’s power or undermine his authority, even as Raeghs have on more than one occassion been dethroned, with axe, hammer or fire. All parties involved have accepted this way of living: a Raegh must rule the Hold with both Ardent and Tempered advisors. This is not some abstract understanding or concept of social structure but rather the founding principle and core belief of the Hold itself.

This very principle was put at stake, for the Hold recently stood before an unprecedented precipice. On the shores far below the Hold, a bay among the fjord-like cliffs the Dweghom call “The Jaw of Ghisghigamosh”, Nord longboats have laid anchor, with more boats arriving every now and then. Even as some voices were raised immediately that it would be “good practice” to throw their bodies back to the Deep Water, Raegh Adeildh, adopting the advice of the Tempered Sorcerer Eonegdh, ordered for the Northmen to be observed but nothing else, believing it the beginning of a raid on Tall Men lands. But as the longboats and their men stayed on the Jaw, the aggressive voices grew louder. That is the site of the Memory of Three, they said, and the Northmen’s presence insult its Mnemantic Monument. While the Nords never attacked or defaced the Monument –and in fact seemed to treat it as if it were the entrance to the Hold itself – more ships have been arriving every month and a proper army had begun to form. Once a sizeable force had gathered, every day their leader started climbing before the gates of the Hold and yelled in their tongue. While few speak the tongue of Northmen, one word was understood: “Draegbhrud”. According to the Mnemancers, the Northmen demanded that a stolen Dragonslaying weapon was returned to their rightful owners but they named those not.

With this insult spat from the lips of a Tall Man, any Tall Man, Raegh Adeildh sees his council of advisors divided more than ever. Voiced by the Kerawegh Ishkish, many in the Hold demand that the insult is answered, the Northmen slain and their Aghm, for all its worth, added to their slayers. Sorcerer Enoegdh, on the other hand, a powerful Magma wielder and leader of the Tempered caste under their elusive Steelshaper, refuses to agree. Should the Nords dare attack, Enoegdh advises, destroy them. But to respond to the insult is to acknowledge it while much like no Aghm is to be gained from killing a simpleton, less Aghm would be gained from killing an imbecile like the Northman leader.

While Ishkish and his Ardent froth at this, Enoegdh’s control of the Automata and the Raegh’s decision that the Hold will only March if they all agree, the situation remains as is, even as more Nord ships reach the Jaw. The stalemate however is sure to be broken soon, for another Memory was revealed by the Raegh’s Mnemancer:

It is remembered that three Clans are marching here. They are small, from the Hold of Ghe’Domn, where their Memories are strange and many lesser clans exist within the Hold’s Clan, led by their Thanes. One such Dhaen now leads three clans here. He is called Alekhaneros but they call him Azdhaen. Flame Berserkers are his following above all else and he is looking for a lost Draegbhrud.”

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