pretentious cosmic picture

~OSYNARLANS, stories of the Emperors~

4. Vranagri

Vranagri was the son of Lirna, and was beloved by practically all who knew him. As a child, he had visited high Chialta with his mother, and Klaschi himself had given him a present, a harp that played by itself the most beautiful music. The harp became a hierloom of the royal house of Titan.

Vranagri grew tall, largest of all the giants thus far. Giants range between twelve and eighteen feet tall, but he was a giant among giants, about twenty-two feet tall. A great woodsman, he was not comfortable in buildings and palaces. He had a sister he loved, Surtde, whom was married into the rulers of one of the farther cities, along the Hymion. Her husband, seeing that Vranagri was yet unmarried and childless, held Surtde captive to bind her to his will, and plotted the death of Vranagri. His minions waited along the hunting path that Vranagri took. They attacked, a dozen armed assassins against Branagri and the two servants with him. One of the servants had a hunting griffin in leash, however, and the griffin was turned loose on the attackers. All but one of the assassins died under the weapons of the three, but Vranagri's companions were slain also. Vranagri took the griffin in leash in one hand, and the surviving assassin in the other, and dragged them back to his home. The assassin was given the choice of having his eyes fed to the griffin or talking, so he chose to talk.

His brother-in-law woke up one morning to find his home completely surrounded by Vranagri's men. His wife, Surtde, was freed from her captivity and shown to all, as was the son she bore, now age four. To keep from making an orphan of his son, Vranagri spared his brother-in-law's life, and decreed that Surtde and her son would come home to Vranagri's lands.

Pretending to accede, the brother-in-law proposed a great feast for all. The dish he prepared for Vranagri, however, was laced with mantichore venom, for which there was no cure. His son observed him doing that, unknown to the brother-in-law.

When Vranagri started to eat, his nephrew, Surtde's son ran and asked him not to eat. He rumbled, "It would be an insult to your father not to taste it," and he did.

Within minutes, he was screaming in rage and pain. Weapons had been put to one side in the feast, but the brother-in-law, Eganirll, had his own men secretely hide weapons under their long benches they were eating with. So they came out and tried to slaughter the King's men. But there were eating knives and other implements that Vranagri's men used to defend themselves, and even on Eganirll's home ground, they had the numerical advantage. Vranagri himself grabbed his brother-in-law and killed him with his bare hands. But Vranagri was in such pain from the poison that he begged his followers to kill him.

At his request, after their death, they buried the body but cut off the head, and Vranagri's head was buried in the site of the town which wouuld become Titays. It was said as long as Vranagri's head was buried there, Tesut and the giants would be secure. The head was dug up in later years, in the generation before Tesut was drowned, because the Emperor was too proud to feel he needed such a charm.

At the funeral, Linfal, Edonarter, and Klaschi also attended, the Kaanho visiting Tesut. Zaer, it is said, freed the ka of Vranarsi to walk the lands of Tesut and to show up in times of crisis to warn the people he loved. It is said the ka followed the giants after Tesut was drowned and is sometimes still seen in Setitays.

Surtde served as regent for her son, who hoped people would not hold his father's acts against him. Yet the fact that he tried to warn his uncle against the poison that killed him was a great point in his favor.

"Vranarsi's ghost!" was a traditional exclamation of giant cultures, or "Vranarsi's head!".

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Copyright © 1997 Al Schroeder