~Chapter 7~ FAIRHOLD

Fairhold stood in the center of the region of the Bregolad, just west of the river Galduin; whose headwaters began beneath Hor Darradh and the cataracts of Ibrel-seres. Having developed from one of the first mannish settlements established south of the Granfell after the landing of Vaskar, Fairhold had grown over the centuries to become a fortified hold. It was built atop a hill men called the Giant’s Brow (Joatbroon), by virtue of it sloping down gently to the plain in the south, but was sheer white rock on the north facing side. The walls of the hold marched up to the very northern edge of the hill and were built into the rocks in places.

 Fairhold was easily defensible. The formation of the walls resembled that of a half star with six points radiating outward. In this way, an invading army would be forced into a narrow lanes with ramparts and keen arches upon either side. From its high ramparts, one might see for leagues upon leagues in all directions. Over the years, many had tried to assail the hold; succeeding once, and for a time short lived. In days past, the walls and towers had been gleaming white, but of late had fallen into disrepair. Here and there, the plaster had fallen away in great sheets, exposing the dark grey rock beneath. Only a single gilded window set high in the great tower seemed to be cared for still. In the light of the sun or moon, it shone like a beacon among its neglected surroundings.

 In days past, the line of # had ruled the Bregolad for generations, until the late king, #, was slain by a dragon, leaving no heir. It was during this time that Bergron slew the dragon in turn and won the kingship and the hearts of the people and became known as the Drekelver. The Dreklever was decended from the Hithriddaran by way of Forgron and Sithla, who escapred the destruction of the Fjording in years past. Drekelver’s son, Vigmod, now ruled; taking up kingship after his father disappeared during a battle with a goblin tribe.

 The region about Fairhold was rolling plains for several leagues all around. The road followed the Ibrel-seres from the feet of the Granfell in the north for several leagues through forests and grasslands until near the Joatbroon it diverged south and west. Eomund took the westbourne road - Harthorn and Ragny in tow. # had fashioned heraldry for Eomund before he departed Holkneer. She had said that it was not fit for a warrior of the Hithriddaran to be bereft of livery when calling upon a king.

The road wound its way up slowly toward Fairhold, skirting its way around the eastern side of the Giant’s Brow. Soon the sight of the rock face was lost from view and the road sloped steadily upward, turning wide southward before circling back north to Fairhold.

Coming to the ramparts, they passed between them until they reached the gate. here they were hemmed in on both sides by walls of stone.  They were utterly at the mercy of their hosts. Stopping about ten passed from the gate they saw that it was open and the portcullis raised. Two guards stood at the threshold and now lowered their spears in defense.

Presently a voice resounded from above the gate, “The markets opened several hours ago. I do no see any manner of wears among you. What business have you here?”

Eomund looked up and saw the face of a man protruding from the a small window above the gate. Eomund answered the porter saying, “I am Eomund, son of Beomund, previously of the Fielding. I come on behalf of the king’s own people at Holkneer. We come to beg the king’s aid in a matter of defense.”

“Wait here a moment,” commanded the porter before disappearing and leaving the wooden shutter to slam close over the window.

The three riders sat for a long while in uncomfortable silence as the wind whistled over the ramparts. After a time, the shutter opened again and the porter’s face appeared once more.

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