History of the Ords – Origins (Quest of Fire Friday)

Map of routes taken to Mawrmynydd by Ordumair I and Orthall II
The routes taken by Ordumair I and Orthall II from their people’s chief city of Aaegen to the slopes of Mawrmynydd, later renamed Fior-struthain.

In the 905th year of the Middle Era, the painted warriors of the north, or the Bogiáboreia, colluded into a motley group under a chieftain of meager authority.  His name was Orthall, and he had twin sons who proved to be equally capable prospects for assuming rule of their people at the end of Orthall’s life.  One, Orthall II, was a great archer and a skilled poet; he beguiled the hearts of his people through stirring accounts of battles and the heroes who won them for the tribes.  Ordumair, was, on the other hand, a capable wielder of the sword and a great speaker.  The two were seldom of one accord from their birth on.

Orthall I’s life was one of struggle.  He constantly was at war with not only outside bands of men but faced the continual possibility of dissolution of his people as the traditional tribal elders squabbled.  If he was to preserve the unity of the tribes, he had to name his successor and do so in such manner that none could question his decision.

Unable to make the choice between his beloved children, and being unwilling to see the nation he had spent his life forging splinter over their rivalry; he chose to offer his sons a challenge.  The heart of the dwarfs growing territory lay a few miles south of a massive peak called Mawrmynydd. None of the Bogiáboreia had ever reached the mount’s summit. The nearest to accomplishing this feat had been Orthall I himself, who had planted his banner at a lower peak in his youth.  In seeking a challenge to prove which son should rule, Orthall I decided the son who reached the flag, claimed it, and planted his own would become the next Chieftain.

Each brother set out in complete confidence of his own impending success.  Orthall II, being more prudent and patient climbed the same path, from the Northeast, their father had taken.

Ordumair, more daring and adventurous, chose to climb the treacherous, but quicker Southern route.  The decision proved to be a perilous one.  The ascent past the half way point of the trek took all the day’s light to accomplish and in the night a terrible storm ravaged the mountainside.  The sheer sides and jagged outcroppings which allowed a direct, if dangerous, climb in the bright hours of day, now appeared certain signs of doom for him.  The squall turned icy and soon the young dwarf found himself freezing, trapped where he was.

The wind howled mercilessly and into its roaring he cried out for aid from anyone who could save him from the grisly and frigid fate that awaited him.  In the midst of the icy squalor he heard a voice call out to him.  Sweet as honey, more fierce than the storm. Ordumair was told to look ahead to an alcove that had appeared only a shallow depression in the mountain side.  Within it he could weather the storm and survive to emerge victorious in the contest.

Ordumair fell upon this opportunity with little question.  He struggled through the drifts of snow and rock to the alcove, which proved to be a passage into the heart of the mountain.  Within he discovered a phenomenal peculiarity.  In the midst of a wide chamber, at the end of the tunnel in the mountain, was a spring.

Ordumair could feel the heat radiating from the spray which bubbled gently from somewhere deeper within the mountain.  The dwarf quickly submersed himself within the frothy, churning waters.  The hot spring within the mountain thus kept his body warm and soothed the aches and injuries of the treacherous climb.  When at last he felt himself thoroughly invigorated, he climbed out of the life-saving pool to rest.  In the morning’s pale light, he was able to see clearly enough the truly unique attribute of the chamber to be its duality.

A second collection of water, this one from a gentle trickle somewhere above, had created a pool which shimmered slightly even in the feeble glow entering the room.  He drank deeply from the collected waters and discovered them to be cool and refreshing.  Ordumair found his strength returning to him, and ventured out of the precious cavern.

Without, the storm had passed, and Ordumair could see clearly the way he must take to reach his goal.  Fueled by the discovery of the fountain, he surged forward and came to claim the coveted marker.  He affixed his own still higher and rushed back down to deliver it to his father.

Upon his arrival at his father’s manor in Aaegen (a village that had long been ruled by Orthall’s ancestors), Ordumair’s father proclaimed him his successor and the next Chieftain of the tribes.  Orthall II returned some days later and reluctantly accepted the outcome.

The night following Ordumair’s accession to the place of Chieftain, he had a dream, a vision in fact, of himself wearing armor which burned like the sun even though he stood in the midst of a great darkness.  He bore a sword, unlike any he had ever seen before, which spoke searing words of wisdom to him.  When the dream occurred three more times, he awoke early that morn to seek out amongst his people one who could explain the scene which came to him that night.  None could.  Only a foreigner, a Knight from the land of Ecthelowall offered its source. He told Ordumair of the High King of All, and showed him the fiery implements of his Order.

Astonished, the dwarf withdrew from the Knight to contemplate all he had learned.  It was then he received the vision of the High King, whose voice was sweet like honey, but more fierce than any storm.  That day Chief Ordumair I pledged his fealty and the unending support of his people to the High King.  He became a Knight, and under the tutelage of the Knight Errant from Ecthelowall, led his people on to become zealous servants of the High King.

His people prospered, and their borders expanded greatly.  At the closing of Ordumair’s life, he began construction of a town at the base of the mountain he had climbed in his youth.  He created a modest hall for Knights within the cavern bearing the two pools and lavishly adorned it with ornately carved fountain’s to hold their waters. He renamed the mountain Fior-sruthain, “pure streams”.

Statue of a Ambiorix, a Gallic chieftain, which looks like Ordumair I from Quest of Fire
Statue of Ambiorix, who looks much as I imagine Chief Ordumair I of the Bogiáboreia, or Ords as they’re known by the events of the Quest of Fire saga’s start.

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