scroll02

Scroll of the Hirogen (Part 02)
by E. L. Zimmerman 
PART TWO

Ch’thyr’kahh R’ Hirogen
Translated (Starfleet Standard [SFS]): Scroll of the Hirogen

Renarr 
Translated (SFS): Anuloxx

Having seen with their own eyes 
The danger, 
The damage, 
The bloodshed 
Inflicted upon the K’rta Beasts by 
Remoor, one of their own, 
The Irro had escaped into the Wild.

Having heard the words of Gratta, 
He Who Governs, 
They knew that they were the next 
To fall victim to the Powerful One’s 
Joyful wishes.

Having breathed the winds of Etutheria and 
Having found an appreciation for their 
Own existence, 
The Irro fled deeper and deeper into the Wild, 
Farther than any of the beasts had ever been. 
They passed the plains of Fyrntl, and 
They climbed the rocks of Wasterbrook, and 
They crossed the rivers at Podderym. 
For many risings and settings of Etu, 
They continued their journey until 
They, at last, came to the Shanklands, 
Where the trees grew thickest and 
The grass grew taller than in all of Etutheria.

For, in the Shanklands, 
The Irro believed they would find peace. 
They believed they would find happiness 
In the shape of a new Garden. 
They believed they were out of reach of 
Remoor, the Hirogen.

However, He Who Governs saw everything, and 
He shared what he had seen with Remoor.

‘You must brave the Shanklands,’ 
Gratta said. 
‘I have looked upon the world, and 
I have seen the beasts hiding, 
Hiding in fear of your hand, 
Hiding in fear of what you must do 
Should you and your true brethren 
Wish to survive. 
Go, Remoor, 
Go and now hunt the Irro.’

In the days that the Irro traveled, 
Remoor spent his efforts training the Hirogen 
To make weapons from that which the Wild provided, 
To use the lances in speechless acts of tyranny, 
To hunt any and all types of Prey 
Living on Etutheria.

He did not do so without a conscience. 
Remoor hated Himself for what He had already done 
To the K’rta Beasts for the Courage in their blood 
Flowed in his own.

However, 
Remoor knew that He could not best Gratta 
In any match of wits nor 
Any match of strength. 
After all, 
Gratta governed all things, and 
Remoor was a lowly freakling. 
How could a Hirogen stand against a God? 
He couldn’t, and 
Remoor couldn’t risk His demise 
When a new people, the race of Hirogen, 
Needed Him most.

Hunting Irro He would go, 
But He would not risk His life alone.

From his new brethren, 
He chose Hunters.

Remoor named and chose Thurn 
For the strength of the trees. 
‘You have the strength of many, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Next, Remoor named and chose Taxiss 
For the rage of the river of the same. 
‘You have the power to shape rock, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Next, Remoor named and chose Skousen 
For the swiftness of the wind. 
‘You will be our speed, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Next, Remoor named and chose Sachar 
For his skillful handling of his lance. 
‘You will be our weapon, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Next, Remoor named and chose Kuhn 
For his hearing, as nothing escaped 
The Hirogen’s ears. 
‘You will find the Irro where they lay, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Next, Remoor named and chose Averell 
For the width of his back. 
‘You will carry the dead back to N’noka, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Last, Remoor named and chose Barent 
For his skepticism. 
‘We have been given this quest by Gratta, 
He Who Governs. 
I do not trust the Powerful One, and, 
For that reason, I would like a strong Hirogen 
Taking up the rear as we march into the Wild. 
As you question all things, 
You are perfectly suited for this task. 
You will guard our rear, and 
You will join me on the Hunt,’ 
He said.

Finished, Remoor lifted Thunder, and 
He gouged a mighty line in Etutheria’s 
Thick soil.

‘Today, I wound the very world that gave me life 
For the last time,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘I was given life by each and all of the beasts 
As well as each and all of the plants 
As well as each and every thing growing 
In the Garden of Etutheria. 
I have already rid the world of the K’rta, and 
I fear this hunt will rid the world of the Irro.’

Remoor glanced around at the race Gratta, 
He Who Governs, 
Had given Him.

‘Let this wound stand as the last 
I will inflict on this world,’ 
The Hirogen said. 
‘Should I be tasked to inflict any other 
Beyond destroying the Irro, 
I demand that you, my new brothers, 
Rise up and stop me. 
I demand that no more of Etutheria 
Be taken by the hand of any Hirogen. 
Should Gratta, 
He Who Governs, 
Ask more of me, 
Then I demand that all of you 
Rise up and 
Take my life as penance for 
Such a deed.’

Slowly, the Hirogen agreed, and 
Thus began the Final Hunt of Remoor.

Ch’thyr’kahh R’ Hirogen 
Translated (Starfleet Standard [SFS]): Scroll of the Hirogen

Remett 
Translated (SFS): Seven

Into the Wild, 
Remoor the First led His council.

They had spoken after leaving N’noka, and 
They had agreed that, at the words of Taxiss, 
The Hunters would be known throughout 
All of Etutheria as 
The ‘Brotherhood of Remoor.’

Time was short, 
As Gratta was waiting.

Remoor was most interested in two 
Of His brethren, 
Thurn and Taxiss.

In Thurn, 
Remoor saw the strength of many Hirogen. 
Thurn was cunning 
For Remoor could see it in his eyes 
When he looked into the Wild. 
Thurn was agile 
For Remoor could see it in his movement. 
In so few risings alive, 
Remoor knew that Thurn had already smelled 
The Scent of Prey in the Hunt.

In Taxiss, 
Remoor saw the leadership of coming days. 
Taxiss was intelligent 
For Remoor had heard it in his words. 
In so few risings alive, 
Taxiss knew all of the names of 
Etutheria’s places, beasts, and growths. 
Taxiss was outspoken 
For Remoor had seen him keeping the peace 
Amongst the Hirogen.

In the Wild, 
Remoor guided the two to a secret place, 
The Grove of Portellion 
(A red flower heavily populating the stretch), 
And He spoke to His special brethren 
Under the quiet trees.

‘Brothers,’ 
He said. 
‘You must hear my words privately 
In the Grove, and 
They must become your own 
For the days after today, 
And the days long beyond tomorrow, 
Will belong to the likes of 
Thurn and Taxiss.’

‘The Hirogen have spoken, and 
Remoor the First will ever preside 
Over the Brotherhood,’ 
Taxiss said.

Remoor’s heart was heavy. 
‘The people Hirogen were given to me 
By Gratta, 
But I have no desire to possess 
A world of Hunters.’

‘Remoor shall lead us into tomorrow,’ 
Thurn insisted.

‘My days with the Brotherhood will be few,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘Hear me, and know that it is the wish 
Of Remoor the First that these words 
Become your own counsel. 
My days will be few, but 
They will serve purpose. 
Beginning, 
I will guide the two of you 
In the Ways of the Hunt 
As, even today, the two of you 
Are showing greater understanding 
Than so many of your brethren.’

‘I will not hear this,’ 
Thurn insisted. 
‘Remoor will always lead the Brotherhood.’

‘My days will the Brotherhood will be short,’ 
He said. 
‘Mighty Thurn, still your tongue 
For I have no doubt that 
Gratta, He Who Governs, 
Will see to my death, 
As I have no intention of Hunting 
All of the Irro.’

‘The Hirogen will not allow 
The Way of Gratta 
To bring harm to Remoor the First,’ 
Thurn said. 
‘The Brotherhood of Remoor 
Will stand in His way. 
He will find no land to govern here.’

‘But, Remoor,’ 
Taxiss reasoned, as he had shown the skills, 
‘Gratta has demanded the Irro of you. 
What He Who Governs asks of Remoor, 
He Who Governs asks of the Hirogen.’

Remoor agreed. 
‘What would you do, thoughtful Taxiss, 
Should Gratta ask that you 
Hunt your brethren until they are no more?’

Silence fell over Thurn and Taxiss.

‘To defy He Who Governs was never in my mind,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘An Irro will be hunted. 
Thoughtful Taxiss, each of us has a path 
Placed before him 
In the Wild. 
Each must study the road before traveling. 
Each must see the turns in the route. 
Each must caution the rise and fall of the soil 
So that he knows whether or not he can pass. 
In the end, each must choose whether to 
Enter the path 
Or to stay his feet.’

Enraged, Thurn turned away. 
‘You have chosen to stay your feet,’ 
The Hirogen said. 
‘You ignore the Hunt.’

READ  episode3x22c

‘I ignore He Who Governs,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘Mighty Thurn, 
Gratta did not breath life unto my mouth. 
Still, 
I have granted him penance for the deed. 
Gratta did not embrace all of the Wild, 
But I have given my allegiance to Him 
As if N’noka itself were His idea. 
In My haste, 
I have forsaken Etutheria, 
My Lifebringer and yours.’

‘In doing so, you must ignore the Hunt,’ 
Thurn said. 
‘There is no other way.’

‘As I have said, 
The Wild has many paths. 
Brother, I am Hirogen,’ 
Remoor said, His words stronger this time, 
Causing His brethren to face Him. 
‘In my nose, I smell the Prey. 
In my mind, I see the path. 
In my blood flows the Hunt.’

A stillness came from the Wild, 
As Etutheria itself 
Was shaken.

‘Mighty Thurn, stay your feet,’ 
Remoor ordered. 
‘I give you my word. 
I will not ignore the call, 
But I will not Hunt the Irro. 
You shall, 
And you will stay your hand after a single kill.’

‘Remoor, you must teach us the way,’ 
Taxiss said.

‘We have many risings of Etu,’ 
He said. 
Remoor smiled, 
The heaviness of His thought 
Finally lifted from His breast.

‘First, we must discuss 
The fate of Gratta.’

Hidden away in the 
Grove of Portellion, 
Secreted away from the rest 
Of the Brethren, 
Remoor the First, 
Thurn and Taxiss 
Spoke at length 
Of the events yet to come.

‘As sure as blood flows 
Through all of me, 
I fear that 
Etutheria will find no lasting peace 
So long has Gratta lives,’ 
Remoor said.

Their heads bowed, 
Thurn and Taxiss agreed.

‘He Who Governs did not create Etutheria,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘Nor did he create the K’rta, 
The loving K’rta, 
That he had me destroy. 
Nor did he create the Irro, 
The graceful Irro, 
That He would have us 
Feast upon 
Until the very last drop of blood 
From the very last Irro alive 
Was spilled in the Shanklands.’

Their heads bowed, 
Thurn and Taxiss agreed.

‘My brothers, 
Ours is a world without blessing,’ 
Remoor concluded. 
‘Through a darkness so foul, 
So dense, 
We must together find our way.’

‘What would you have us do?’ 
Thurn asked, 
His head raised, 
His eyes fixed. 
‘Remoor, 
What would have of me?’

Pleased, 
Remoor nodded. 
He knew that his choice 
To trust Thurn, 
To trust Taxiss, 
Was full of the wisdom 
Granted and 
Blessed 
By Etutheria’s light, 
Etu itself.

‘Mighty Thurn, 
Your part in this Hunt will be simple,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘Of it, 
I have already spoken. 
When Etu is fixed 
At the precise moment 
In the sky, 
You will kill 
A single Irro. 
No more, 
No less, 
But a single Irro.’

‘Remoor the First, 
Have you lost your 
Scent for the Hunt?’ 
Taxiss asked.

‘My intentions are plain, 
Thoughtful Taxiss, 
As I have already 
Made them so. 
The same desire for freedom 
That flows in 
Your Hirogen blood 
Flows in mine,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘As for this Hunt, 
I will take one life. 
Be it my own, 
I accept the Cruel Fates. 
Be it another, 
I accept the leadership 
Of the Brethren.’

Remoor saw 
That Taxiss and Thurn 
Looked at him 
With their eyes 
Full of curiosity.

‘Thoughtful Taxiss,’ 
Remoor said, 
‘This Hunt may cost 
Nothing less, 
Nothing more 
Than my very breath.’

Rising from his perch 
On a stone in the 
Grove of Portellion, 
Thurn placed his hand 
On Remoor’s shoulder. 
‘By my blood, 
I will not allow it,’ 
He said.

Remoor touched Thurn’s hand, and 
He nodded. 
‘You speak with force, 
Mighty Thurn, 
But a choice in this Hunt 
You may not have. 
Indeed, 
My thoughts tell me 
That I have little choice,’ 
Remoor said.

Thurn’s gaze turned 
From anger to hopeful. 
‘Then, Remoor the First, 
That is the Hunt for me! 
You have witnessed my strength! 
You have seen me yield 
A weapon 
Such as Your Thunder, 
Unyielding Thunder, 
With the same grace! 
The same ease! 
The same desire! 
This Hunt you speak of 
Is mine! 
One Hunt that defies my success 
Is all a Hunter can ever hope for 
In the length of his risings!’

‘This Hunt, 
Mighty Thurn, 
Is not your concern,’ 
Remoor said.

‘Instead, you would have me 
Waste a swing at a halfling Irro?’

‘No, Thurn,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘As I have proclaimed, 
The part you are to play 
In the Hunt 
Has already been decided.’ 
The Hirogen leader turned 
To face the second brother 
Gathered at the secret meeting. 
‘It is Taxiss who now desires to know 
What role 
He will play in this Hunt.’

‘It have been in my thoughts, 
Remoor the First,’ 
Taxiss agreed.

Remoor sighed, 
As he had grown weary. 
The scent of Portellion 
Eased his pain, and 
He found the strength to 
Continue.

‘Mighty Thurn and Thoughtful Taxiss, 
What I confess to you today 
In the Grove of Portellion 
I do so of my own freedom,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘I share it with you freely, and 
I only ask of you to keep your tongue 
About that which I am to share. 
For … 
I fear I am nearing 
The last of my days 
On Etutheria. 
I have disgraced her. 
I have abandoned her. 
I have dishonored her. 
She owes me no allegiance, and 
I have wrongfully 
And mistakenly 
Pledged mine to 
He Who Governs. 
If this Hunt is to be my last, 
Then I, 
With heavy heart but bright hope, 
Do bequeath 
The Leadership of the Brethren 
To you, Thoughtful Taxiss, 
And I would have Thurn 
Serve 
As the master to your counsel. 
You are but two halves of a whole, 
The whole of the Hirogen, and 
The Brethren will need your spirit 
To survive, 
To understand, 
To endure 
The long days to come.’

‘To me?’ 
Taxiss asked, 
His hand trembling 
On his breast. 
‘Remoor, you would have me 
Lead our Brethren? 
What know I of running a world?’

Remoor the First had anticipated 
Taxiss’s fear, as He realized 
That, 
In the beginning, 
Remoor himself had felt the same 
Disease.

‘As the Cruel Fates would have it, 
Thoughtful Taxiss, 
You know as much as I 
When I inherited the position from 
Etutheria herself, no less,’ 
Remoor said. 
‘Mind you, that is not a curse. 
It is a gift, and 
I give it to you freely. 
To question oneself is 
To question life itself. 
To doubt oneself is 
To doubt only your worthiness. 
But, 
Thoughtful Taxiss, 
I have seen your thoughts 
Placed into actions, and 
I know of no Hirogen 
Finer suited 
For the challenge 
Of what lay ahead. 
Fear and doubt 
Are the ways of all good Hirogen, 
Ones who will one day 
Inherit the role of the First 
From you 
In the days to come.’

Thurn took his hand from Remoor, and 
He placed it on Taxiss. 
‘Thoughtful Taxiss, 
I would be honored 
To serve you 
In my life and, 
If need be, 
By my death.’

‘It is decided,’ 
Remoor the First concluded. 
‘Now, 
We must speak of darker affairs.’

After many long words 
With Remoor the First and Thurn, 
Taxiss agreed that it was he 
Who should take the message 
For peace 
To the Irro.

So, 
Remoor sent word 
Into the wild that 
Counsel would take place 
Between Taxiss and Bandur, 
The head of the Irro, 
Near the edge of the Shanklands.

When the time was right and 
Etu was high in the sky, 
Taxiss stepped into the clearing 
And saw the lone creature 
Awaiting his arrival.

Bandur of the Irro 
Met Taxiss, the Hirogen, 
On the border of the Shanklands.

‘As you well know, 
The Irro have nothing 
To say to you 
Or your Brethren,’ 
Bandur said.

Trying to appear at ease 
For his own sake 
And for Bandur, 
Taxiss sat upon a rock.

‘I would still 
Have words with you, Bandur,’ 
He said. 
‘If we do not, 
You and your kind 
May face a doom 
Greater than that which befell the K’rta.’

Bandur reared its head, 
Its six limbs clutching 
The soil 
Under their nails. 
‘A fate crueler than the K’rta?’ 
It asked, 
The fur on its neck quivering. 
‘What trickery is this, Taxiss? 
Do you jest for only my ears? 
As Etu rises in the sky, 
The K’rta are no more, and 
As Etu rests on the ground, 
The Hirogen are to blame. 
Still, 
You would call me into counsel 
With the threat of a greater evil? 
I can only laugh as I ask 
What greater evil there may be 
Than the death of an entire kind?’

‘You are wise, Bandur,’ 
Taxiss reasoned, 
As he had shown the skill. 
‘In truth, 
There can be only 
One greater evil, and that, 
My wise friend, 
Would be the death of Etutheria, 
Herself.’

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Bundar raised his head, 
The mane of his strong neck 
Trembling even greater 
Than before.

‘You think me a rock!’ 
It shouted. 
‘You think me the lifeless stone 
If you expect I would believe the words 
Of the betraying Hirogen! 
Your Brethren are mighty, but 
You are not mightier than a world itself!’

‘Bandur, 
You are wrong in thinking 
That the Hirogen feel 
Less of you 
Than we do of ourselves 
Or for our world,’ 
Taxiss said, 
Showing his open hand 
To the Irro 
As a sign of kinship. 
‘Remoor the First was of the same blood, and 
I am of the Blood of Remoor, 
Meaning that you and the First 
Are bound. 
So am I bound to you. 
Still, 
There is a greater evil, 
One the Cruel Fates have 
Set for Etutheria.’

‘What is worse than 
The death of a kind?’

‘The death of Etutheria,’ 
Taxiss said again. 
‘If Etutheria were to die, 
Then all of us would follow. 
But, 
It is not the Hirogen 
Who would make this happen. 
It is no less than Gratta, 
He Who Governs.’

The Irro clutched the ground, and 
Taxiss opened his second hand as a 
Greater sign of kinship.

‘Hear me, 
Gracious Bandur, 
And then I will let you 
And your kind 
Reason for yourselves,’ 
Taxiss insisted. 
‘You know Remoor. 
Indeed, 
The First tells me that you were present 
On his Birthing Day. 
That would mean that you, 
The Irro, 
Know him far long than I, 
Know him far better than I, 
Know him far greater than I. 
Think with your blood, 
Gracious Bandur, 
Not with your mind! 
Would Remoor have willingly 
Hunted the K’rta to death? 
Would Remoor have willingly 
Slain those who were his first brethren? 
That which I know of him 
Tells me that it could not happen, 
It would not happen. 
As the First has spoken plain 
To me and to Thurn, the Mighty, 
He was given no other choice 
But to commit the deed. 
It was Gratta’s command. 
If Remoor failed or if Remoor refused, 
He Who Governs 
Would have demanded even greater 
Sacrifices from Etutheria herself!’

The Irro eased his talons 
From loving Etu’s soil.

‘And now?’ 
Bandur asked.

‘Now, 
He Who Governs would have 
Remoor and the Brotherhood 
Slay 
Every last Irro as food,’ 
Taxiss said.

‘Am I to be the first?’ 
Bandur asked.

Taxiss breathed, 
Knowing that the 
Fate of a world 
Had been placed in his hands.

‘You are to be the only,’ 
He reasoned, 
As he had shown the skill.

‘The only?’

‘If you would have it so, 
Remoor is willing to present Gratta, 
He Who Governs, 
With a single slain Irro,’ 
Taxiss said.

‘The God will be incensed!’

‘If the Cruel Fates agree, 
There is little that Remoor 
Or you 
Or I 
Or any of the kinds of Etutheria 
Can do to stop Gratta,’ 
Taxiss said. 
‘Even now, I feel it in my blood.’

‘Then why would I agree?’ 
Bandur asked.

‘Remoor wishes it to be a challenge to Gratta,’ 
Taxiss explained. 
‘The weight that would come from the challenge 
Would be mighty if the single slain creature were 
A dead Bandur, leader of the Irro, 
Brother to Remoor the First. 
The weight of the challenge 
Might sway He Who Governs to hear our reason.’

‘If not?’ 
Bandur asked.

‘In the words of Remoor, 
So long as Gratta governs, 
Etutheria will never be free,’ 
Taxiss said. 
He looked around the plains 
And deep into the Shanklands, 
Wondering how such beauty could be 
Lost 
At the whim of an angry God. 
‘In the fire that is the galaxy, 
Dousing the flame of a single star 
Would mean nothing 
Unless the Galaxy itself 
Is willing to risk all stars, 
Large and small, 
In growing cold. 
If you would be our star, 
Gracious Bandur, 
Etutheria may become its own galaxy.’

In the calm of the Shanklands, 
Bandur felt the winds of Etu 
Lift the hairs on the back of his neck. 
Peacefully, 
Quietly, 
Bandur stretched, its mind in thought, and 
It sat on the rock beside Taxiss, the Hirogen.

‘Thoughtful Taxiss, 
Let me ask a single question of you,’ 
It said. 
‘You are indeed a reasoning creature, and 
Your wisdom will lead me down the path 
Into the Wild 
Should you choose your words wisely.’

Bandur looked at the Hirogen.

‘Should you not choose your words wisely 
As you have done this far, 
I will lead the Irro further 
Into the Shanklands, 
Further into the Great Beyond. 
I will lead them so far that 
None of your Hirogen brothers 
Will ever scent them again. 
You and your kind will be left 
To deal with the vengeful wrath 
Of an angry Gratta, and 
He Who Governs will punish you 
For your disobedience. 
For, if you are here 
With the blessings of Remoor, 
Then you will choose 
Your words 
Wisely.’

The Hirogen lowered his hands and 
Sat firmly on the rock.

‘I await your question, Bandur,’ 
Taxiss said.

‘If I allow my end 
To come at the hands of a Hirogen, 
Who will protect the Irro?’ 
It asked. 
‘They will be without leadership. 
They will be without so much that 
Has come before. 
They will be stranded in the Shanklands 
With no idea of the slaughter that 
Is yet to come.’

Taxiss breathed. 
He looked up at the sky, 
Thinking for a time 
Before venturing to speak.

‘Bandur,’ 
He finally said. 
‘I will speak plain. 
I have no desire 
To mislead you 
Or any of the Irro. 
I am here, in your counsel, 
For peace, not the Hunt. 
Remoor the First has confided in me that, 
Should he fail or should he succeed 
In this endeavor, 
He is doomed.’

‘Doomed?’ 
It asked.

Taxiss looked at the Irro 
Instead of the blue sky. 
‘While you might escape 
The Cold of Death now, 
It would only arrive later 
By Gratta’s hand, 
In an act of anger, 
As Remoor believes will be his Fate. 
Whether you consent or decline, 
Remoor believes he is doomed. 
His challenge to Gratta will 
Spell it clean. 
One death today 
May mean life for the Irro, 
The Hirogen, and 
All of Etutheria tomorrow, 
But I fear this affair 
Will end in more than 
A single freakling growing cold.’

‘You fear?’ 
It asked. 
‘You are Hirogen. 
You know no fear.’

‘You have said yourself, 
Bandur, 
That I choose my words wisely,’ 
Taxiss said. 
‘Fear is not beyond 
My being. 
Fear is part of my Blood. 
It is part of the Brotherhood. 
It is part of the Hunt. 
It will forever be, sadly, 
A part of life, 
With or without the governance of 
Gratta. 
Still, 
A road is safer traveled 
Than merely tested, 
For without the journey 
We will neither know nor speak 
Of the evil 
That awaits us.’

Bandur rose.

‘Remoor is plain,’ 
It said. 
‘He is the Irro Salvin.’

Confused, 
Taxiss looked to the creature. 
‘I do not know this word, Salvin.’

It walked in a small circle, 
Considering whether an answer 
Was safe. 
‘Since our brethren, the K’rta, 
Were slaughtered, 
My kind have taken to following 
A call other than the one 
From Etutheria. 
Some choose to name the call nothing, but 
Others have called it Salvin. 
Remoor has earned the title 
Of Salvin for the Irro 
In my mind.’

‘Thank you, Bandur,’ 
Taxiss said. 
‘Remoor the First will be pleased 
To learn that he still holds your respect.’

‘Gratta will be displeased,’ 
It said. 
‘My only happiness in the Cold 
Will come from knowing that the 
Expression on Gratta’s face 
As he looks upon 
My flesh growing to dust was 
The fate I chose, 
Not He Who Governs.’

Bandur looked to the nearby hills. 
‘What of the Irro?’

‘Remoor has said 
That they are to head 
Upwards of the Path of Etu in the Sky, 
Into the lands of Woolenly,’ 
Taxiss explained.

‘Ah, Woolenly,’ 
It said. 
‘The ground is green at Woolenly, 
I have heard it said 
Among my brothers.’

‘There, 
The Irro will be protected by myself, and 
Thurn, and the Brotherhood of Remoor,’ 
Taxiss said. 
‘By my Blood, 
I give you my oath that 
No harm will come of them.’

‘Then bring your lance,’ 
Bandur said, 
Sitting on the ground, 
His claws relaxed. 
‘I wish to rid 
Myself of this news. 
I wish to rid myself 
Of this burden 
At once. 
If this is the role I am to play, 
Then I wish it to begin at once.’

Taxiss rose, and 
He opened both palms in a show 
Of kinship. 
‘I will summon Thurn, 
Brave Bandur, and 
I give you my word 
That he will be swift.’


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