Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Tale of Princess Aleriane

From Legends of the White Ocean, Erasmet von Adderborn, Rattenhof, YE 899

In the early days of the ancient Skythian Empire, the shores of the White Sea were plagued by terrible pirates. These wolfs of the ocean mists would strike without warning, and vanish without trace -- leaving only death and ruin behind.

The worst of these ravagers were the Zarduki, the Reavers, a tribe from the Dark East, all worshippers of a dark and terrible god. Their ships were shaped like horrible monsters from the abbyss, and the horror they inflicted on their victims were beyond words. The mere rumor of their coming could make staunch men flee with their families, abandoning their homes and their possessions.

The worst of the Zarduki was a man called Smyiewitch. When his ship hit the shores, those who were killed were the lucky ones. There are many tales of people flayed alive and things so horrid I will not put it in ink. For years and year this foul beast and his vicious dogs struck at will, killing scores, and carrying scores again off to their home beyond the Eastern Shore.

Written in the margin, in faded ink, is the following: Smyiewitch means Son of the Wyrm.

Amongst the peoples who made their home on the Southern Shore there was at that time a tribe of men called the Aneredi. They were a fair and proud people, although their martial might lay already then lost in days long gone. The Aneredi were particularly tormented by Smyiewitch and his evil men, perhaps because, as one story tells, because the daughter of Rethror, their king. The princess, Aleriane, was said to be fair as a summers morn, and the Lord of the Reavers was enthralled by her the very minute he saw her.

Smyiewitch vowed to wipe out her entire people unless the princess gave herself to him, and for twelve years the beastly ships of the Reavers tormented the villages of the Aneredi. At last her father gave in to the demands of the dark lord, and chained his beautiful daughter to a rock by the seashore. This stone still stands, and the spot is to this day called Aleriane's Grief.

The princess was left thus fettered for three days, until finally she could see the dark sails coming out of the mist. At this moment she called out to all the gods, and such was her beauty and her grief that the gods themselves were moved. She cursed her father, and she cursed the Lord of the Reavers, and with a shard of flint she had found on the shore she took her own life.

At that moment a great storm came upon the White Ocean, scattering the ships and breaking them upon the rocks. Smyiewitch was swept out to the great depths; his men were thrown overboard and his ship was battered by wind and waves.

The story now tells us, by what authority I am unaware, that as death was finally upon him, Smyiewitch cursed the gods and gave his soul to the Things of the Deep.

The fate of king Rethror was that of seeing his sons killed in battle, his people conquered, his lands divided amongst his neighbours, and finally to himself to die of old age, alone and forgotten.

Written in the margin, in red ink, is the following: Is this legend of Captain Radoslav the Defiler?

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