Chapter Thirteen: Lady Coldfarrow.
They came in the night, the attack was quick, and brutal. She had thought the snows would have delayed them, but she was obviously wrong. She knew she would face some deep, dark wrath, but then she knew that when she claimed herself as Lady of the Farrow when her father died, even though Kanewell had insisted his General, Farwright have the title.
They stormed into her throne room, she knew she would face defeat, and she had she had prepared for it. She had been seated in the throne room with her baby and her younger sister. She rose from her throne and then knelt. What would come next she did not know.
“Sit back in your chair, bitch”, the leading man said. Once she was seated, he turned to two of his men and commanded, “Tie her to it. Grab the younger girl. Pull the babe from her arms!”
The man closest to her grabbed the baby from her. She screamed and tried to take her back but failed. The man handed the baby to his commander.
“Ahh, so this is your child”, he said. He placed the babe onto the floor and raised his foot over it.
“NO! Please don…”
She screamed with horror. Her only child killed. She burst into tears and tried to wriggle free from her bonds, but to no avail.
“That girl in crying the corner” said the commander as he pointed to her. “You can each have your way with her”
“NO! Not her. LEAVE HER ALONE!”
She had been thrown into a cell, probably to wait for Hallodor Kanewell to deal with her personally. She knew this would have happened, but she had to do something. Her father had died of fever, and a week later a letter was received via eagle from the capital. Kanewell had proclaimed General Farwright Lord of the Farrow. She could not accept that. She was the rightful leader of the people of the Farrow, not just in name. The people of her lordship adored her. At least his time as lord will not be easy for him, so many people will be out to defy him.
This had by far been the worst night of her entire life, she had watched her only child be quite literally crushed under the foot of Kanewell’s oppression. And her younger sister raped to her death. She had lost everything, and all she could feel was guilt. If she had not openly defied Kanewell, and let Farwright be Lord instead of her, this would have never happened. Now her son and sister are dead, and she will be rotting away in a cell until the Duke of Death would come for her.
She had been kept in the most horrendous conditions. The only person she had contact with was the gaoler, who would occasionally bring food for her, but that contact was little and infrequent. When she would try and ask him of the things happening outside her cell, he would just beat her and tell her to shut up.
Two weeks she had been there when one night she heard her door slam open. She woke abruptly and saw a hooded figure looming over her. He slowly raised his hand and opened it to her. “I am here to save you, come with me and you will have your vengeance”.
“Who are you?” she asked, perplexed by the mystery that was this man.
“That is not of your concern, what is, is that you need to be away from this city, and soon”, he told her, “Now, follow me, and be quick”.
Why does he have to be so elusive? She thought as she followed him out the door. That bought them to a long passageway, with cells on either side. They walked down the passageway for around a hundred meters when they came to some stairs, on the first door on the right of the top of the stairs he stopped.
“This is the gaoler’s office”
“I know” he said as he opened the door and stepped inside.
She followed behind him. She immediately saw a bulk of a man impaled by several crossbow bolts laying on the floor. The damn gaoler she thought.
Her rescuer walked over to a fireplace on the far side of the room. He bent down and started fiddling with the ashes, when suddenly they all fell down into a hole. She walked over and saw a ladder going to the bottom of the hole. A secret passage she thought.
“This will lead to just outside the north walls of the city, you will make your way due north from there, just 4 miles and you will find a farmers hut. The people that reside there will help you. But there is something you need to know first”, he said.
“What is it?” she asked back.
“I was with your father as he passing. He said ‘she will rule’, I believe he may have been talking of you”
“Who are you sir?”
“I am the savoir” he replied, “Oh and one more thing, don’t tell people of me, now go”.
She was cast out beyond the city walls. She had to have her revenge. She had seen her baby child crushed under the commander’s feet, and her younger sister raped and killed. It was the in that moment she got herself up and out of the snow that she vowed to herself that she would kill the commander who stormed the city. She would kill Lord Farwright, whom the commander had conquered the city for. She would kill the tyrant Kanewell. She would kill all those who had wronged her and her family. And, and she would find out who her savoir was.
She rose, and brushed herself off. She cried all her tiers away, and was ready to start taking her revenge. She immediately started walking north, to the farmer’s hut the man had told her of. If his plan wold not work the, she had heard rumours of a secret city, far to the north, where they rode mammoths, beasts that have long since gone form this world. The city was rumoured to be almost completely encircled by tall mountains, and built upon hot springs. She would try to find the city, and seek refuge there. Until she is able to trade refuge for vengeance.
She walked on, luckily the snow had subsided, but the walk was still long and full of peril.
She had been walking for three hours when the snows started coming again, and she found herself in a horrendous blizzard. But still she pressed onward.
Another hour she walked when she heard a howl, immediately scared by the sound, she sprinted out ahead, barely seeing three feet in front of her, when suddenly, THUMP, she had ran into a stone brick wall, and immediately got knocked unconscious.
“She’s waking up”, the little girl said, “Mother, Lady Coldfarrow is waking up!”
“Well move away then, give her space!”
“Who are you?” she asked, as she went to reach the bump on her forehead.
“My name is Milda, you’re currently in our farmhouse. We found you unconscious outside. You should be more careful, if we hadn’t have found you, others may have, and then you certainly would have perished”, the woman said, “Now, Anna, go and get your father and brother in here.”
“How did you know who I was?” Lady Coldfarrow asked.
“I saw you once in Coldfarrow hold, when your father was crowned, I was in the crowd watching onwards. You were quite a bit younger, but I still recognised you.”
“I need to get out of Kaginvale, north. I need to go north”, she said, “To Baidoa, I must gat to Baidoa. The people there have no love for Kanewell, they will help me”.
“We know, and you must go there”, a man said as he entered the room, “the time is ripe for them to march to war against him, he has half his men in Maskasay. And there is rumours in the markets of an invasion to the east, he can’t fight a war from three sides. When we are ready, we will travel to Baidoa. You are lucky you were found by us, for I know the way there. You and I will then try to persuade the exiled king to help us in our cause.”
“Who are you? And who is the exiled King?” Coldfarrow asked him.
“The Exiled king is the rightful Emperor of the Kaginvale Empire, he is the older brother of Hallodor Kanewell, but he was sent away by his father when he was born. He was then secretly fostered by your Father, but when Hallodor took the throne, he travelled north to try and receive help from Baidoa to retake his throne. Your father helped him travel there. Your Father was no fan of Hallodor, and would rather have Ach’oro, the exiled king, on the throne. Since arriving in the city he has now made himself their king, but is hesitant to retake his rightful throne, as he has one city on his side, whereas Hallodor has an entire Empire. Oh and I’m Andijan, one of the three Brothers of the Order”, he said, “but you won’t have heard of the Order, so it doesn’t really matter much”.
“My father was secretly conspiring against Hallodor this whole time?”
“Yes, Hallodor’s father was wrong to trust in your father to foster his first child”.
“But why didn’t Highton Kanewell wan’t this exiled king as his heir?”
“Kanewell was visiting the crones of Old Anguish, who hail from a volcano just north of the city. They are wicked bird like women who make their trade by slavery, the reason for Highton to be there. They gave him a prophecy, as is custom for all their customers. They told him, ‘the first son will not be what you wish, but the second will fill your legacy’. However, I was with Kanewell when this happened, and I told him I needed to stay in Old Anguish to meet with an old friend from across the ocean, when in fact I stayed to make a purchase from the crones, not slaves but something else, something far more valuable. But I also needed my prophecy. They told me, ‘the first born will take the legacy from the second, and change that legacy from bad to good.’”.
“You were in league with Highton Kanewell?!”
“I acted like I was in league, along with my brother, Andorian.”
“Why did you act in league?”
“To manipulate him into not doing anything too evil. However we failed. I don’t know where my other two brothers are, but I will try my best to correct our mistake, you have my word on that”, he assured her, “Now get rest, we leave for Baidoa in weeks’ time”.
“How exactly will we be getting there?” she asked him on the morning they were prepped to leave.
“We will be riding the sled past the village just a mile from here, then we will be far away from normal civilization for around 180 miles, then we will be well over the border, we would then be approaching a small Eskimo village, where we will resupply, and another 150 miles north we will meet with a member of the order. He has several mammoths in his little outpost, we will take one and ride it for around another 60 miles. Then we will come across a large mountain range with a small path that will lead us through to Baidoa”.
Any other time she would have been extremely excited by the prospect of riding a mammoth, but she was still extremely in mourning for her sister and only child.
“Oh” was all she said as she climbed onto the sled, and then they were off.
Within an hour they were passing the village, but still had around 20 miles until they reached the Eskimo village.
After around 8 hours of solid riding, they stopped to set up camp. They slept through the night and in the morning they woke up almost completely buried in snow, but they dug their selves out and moved north to the Eskimo village.
They rode on for around 4 hours before they sighted the igloos. She had seen one before as a child when she, her father, and his men went investigate a few Eskimos who migrated far more south than usual one especially bad winter. That winter had wiped out around 10% of Coldhaven, and was one people weren’t likely to forget. However she had only seen a couple of igloos that time, this time she saw around 300.
“I never knew the Eskimo’s were in such large numbers” she said to Andijan as they were approaching the village.
“This is one of the larger villages, but they number at around 45,000 people. The villages are small, but plenty. This particular village will welcome you with open, you are the descendant of Gallof the Unifier, who unified all the Eskimo tribes and invaded the farrow. He was the first Coldfarrow lord. They will aid you in taking your country back. But you must unify the 13 other tribes also, just as Gallof the unifier did”.
“How will I unify people I know nothing about?”
“They worship the ice lords as their gods. They despise tyranny and murder of any kind. You tell them what Kanewell does to his people. What he did to your sister and son. They will help your cause then”.
“How long will we be staying here?” she asked Andijan as they were tying the dogs to a post just outside the village.
“About 2 days” he replied, “follow me”.
He turned and started walking into the village. The people of the village were walking around in large furs to keep warm. They all looked as she went past. She then saw a very large igloo ahead of her. Large enough to house 100 men. They walked in and saw it was mostly empty except for a throne at the end of the room, in which a large old man sat.
“Who is this?”
“I am Lara Coldfarrow. Rightful lord of the Farrow, I am here to ask of your assistance. I have been forced from my home from the tyrant that now rules my land, and the many other regions he rules. He is a tyrannical brute, who enslaves the weak and lets his people starve. His men murdered my only son, raped and killed my sister. They were the only family I had left. Now I seek to unify the 14 tribes of the north, and bend Baidoa to my will. I will do all that my ancestor Gallof the Unifier did and more. I will retake the lands that were usurped from me, I will liberate the people of his empire, abolish slavery, and bring peace to the world. But I need your help to do it!”
“I am sorry for the loss of your family. The good Ice Lords teach us that murder, tyranny, rape, slavery, are all wrong, and that we should do our best to uphold our defiance against such things. However I cannot march my men to their deaths. If, you can unify the other tribes, and muscle Baidoa to your cause, then we will help you take back your lands”, he said, “that I will promise you now”.
“You have our thanks friend”, Andijan said as he stepped forward.
“Andijan, I didn’t notice you. I must have been preoccupied with this this Lady of the Farrow”. He said as he addressed Andijan, “will you be staying with us long?”
“Unfortunately not. We will be gone in two days. I trust you will allow us to resupply here?”
“Of course my friend. Where will you be going next, the star tribe?”
“No, we will be going straight to Baidoa” he replied.
“Ahh, you would be better of going to the other tribes first. They will swear fealty to your Lady, and the Baidoa will be more likely to do the same.”
“Trust me Balgrook, we are making the right move. The king of Baidoa is secretly Kanewell’s older brother.”
“That cannot be” he replied in disbelief.
“It is, I was there when he was born, and I was the one who made the arrangements to save him from being killed by Highton Kanewell”.
“Well aren’t you full of revelations” he said as he rose from his throne. “Young Queen, take a walk with me”.
“Queen?” she asked, surprised, she was not a queen, just a Lady.
“Yes, Queen, the Cold farrows were monarchs of the farrow for centuries, until the young Highton Kanewell beat your grandfather and the farrow was surrendered to the Kanewell family. Now you are in open defiance against them you are now a queen. A Queen with no people to rule, but a Queen none the less.” He said as they excited the igloo, “you are rather lucky you came at this time you know”.
“Oh, and why is that, Balgrook, was it?”
“Ha, yes. The wise woman of our tribe will be returning tonight. Each tribe has one that lives in that tribe’s main village, however every year they spend a few months traveling round all the smaller villages to see how the lower crones of the church of the Ice Lords are doing. Tonight she returns. If you are lucky she may give your prophecy”.
“Could you tell me of your religion? I hate to admit that I’m not quite so educated on the topic”.
“We believe there are many different gods, but only two types. The Ice Lords, and the fire lords. Each group has both good and bad gods. We in the north only worship the Ice Lords, as those are the only ones that have effect here. Although we do have a service to one of the Fire Lords every year to keep us all warm. The Fire Lords usually tend to be worshipped by more southern people who live where it is hotter. However very few southern people follow the religion anymore. We are probably its largest group of followers now”.
“It sounds interesting” she replied as they talked into the evening.
Lara and Andijan were within the main igloo with the chief and a vast amount of tribesman. Various naked men were performing sacred religious rites in preparation for the wise woman’s arrival. Lara and Andijan both had seats either side of the chief.
Before long the wise woman entered the door at the end of igloo. As Lara was observing how old the old crone looked, Balgrook turned and said, “She is 106 years of age, and yet still makes the travels and gets back safe and sound.”
The wise old woman approached the chief, and said “Who is this newcomer in our village?”
“I am Lady Lara Coldfarrow, the last of my line. I seek refuge here as I have been forced from the lands I no longer rule. I seek to unify the tribes, and establish an allegiance with Baidoa, and take back the lands that are rightfully mine. I seek to kill Hallodor Kanewell. I seek to liberate his people.”
“Ah”, the crone said, “And why do you seek to do this?”
“His men murdered my son. They raped and killed my sister. They enslaved my people. He rapes and pillages, and would see the world burn if he could. He must be stopped. I am the one to do it.”
“Come outside with me girl. I will speak with you”, the crone said as she signalled towards the door of the igloo.
“As you wish”.
When they were outside, the woman turned to Lara and said, “So, how is it you wish to kill Hallodor Kanewell?”
“I just told you when we were in the igloo.”
“You think the tribes and the armies of Baidoa are a match for Hallodor Kanewell?”
“Not normally, no, but they are at war with Maskasay and Galingale also. Even Hallodor Kanewell can’t fight a war on three borders.”
“You honestly think he has no other people fighting for him? He has half the city states of the Allendale Sea in his pockets. In terms of nations he would be outnumbered three to one. In terms of real numbers he outnumbers us, and nine out of ten of the time, numbers win wars. We need more aid. Once the tribes are unified we can send an envoy across to water. The Cradwell isles have come to our aid before. Not only that, you have a relative there.”
“What do you mean, a relative? My whole family are dead”
“When I was much younger, only a little older that you, before I became the wise woman, I spent a year in Coldfarrow. I was one of your grandfathers most trusted advisors. One day however, the day young Highton Kanewell’s army had conquered the Farrow, your father sent his second son away to Cradwell, so the Coldfarrow name would live on if Kanewell was to kill you all. He was still a babe in arms. They claimed to the people he died of fever. Once he arrived in Cradwell, he was groomed to become the Sealord, which he now is.”
This had given a whole new hope, she now has lost family that can be found. She is no longer alone in this world. She was now the happiest she had been since before her father died.
“Why did my father never tell me this?”
“He never knew, only your Grandparents, and myself.”
“Then I should do to Cradwell myself, I want to meet him.”
“No, you must go to Baidoa. You will win the heart of King Ach’oro, and that is not prediction but prophecy, you will meet your uncle yet, but winning the heart of this king is more important. Most of your family are gone, but there is still a family to be made”.
“Are you saying I will have more children?”
“I am saying you will have millions if you do this whole war right”.
She had returned back to the party inside the igloo. When she had noticed Andijan was missing, along with the wise woman, so she walked outside to see if she could find them. She had been walking around the village for a few minutes when she heard the wise woman’s voice.
“Andijan, my daughter wants to know if you have any leads on your brother.”
She leaned against the ice wall of an igloo so they couldn’t see her.
“No, I know just as much as I did before, he is south of the Allendale Sea. He probably wants to find her as much she wants to find him. They have been fifty years apart, yet they still long for each other, they’re love will prevail”
One of his brothers, he had talked of them when we at the farmhouse, she thought.
“Just find him Andijan, here heart has been broken for fifty long years, don’t leave it broken any longer”.
“I won’t” he said as he left the wise woman.
It was then that Lara realised, the order, the wise woman, Andijan and his brothers, the man who saved her, there were masterminds at work in Gila, and she had two helping her.