Lore:Redguards, Their History and Their Heroes
Notes on the Redguards, their history and their heroes.
This is a publishers proof of the initial draft of my book, REDGUARDS, THEIR HISTORY AND THEIR HEROES.
The following is a collection of the tales, myths and history of the Redguards. Much of their history is shrouded in mystery and in the mists of time. It is hard to distinguish between myths, and real history.
Below are the first chapters of the draft by Destri Melarg
Author's note as translated into the Modern Tongue of Hammerfell:
Frandar Hunding was born in 2356 in the old way of reckoning in our beloved deserts of the old land. The traditional rule of emperors had been overthrown in 2012, and although each successive emperor remained the figurehead of the empire, his powers were very much reduced. Since that time, our people saw three hundred years of almost continuous civil war between the provincial lords, warrior monks, and brigands, all fighting each other for land and power. Our people were once artisans, poets, and scholars, but the ever-evolving strife made the way of the sword inevitable. The song of the blade through the air, through flesh and bone, its ring against armor—it was an answer to our prayers.
In the time of Lord Frandar the first Warrior Prince, lords called Yokeda built huge stone castles to protect themselves and their lands, and castle towns outside the walls begin to grow up. In 2245, however, Mansel Sesnit came to the fore. He became the Elden Yokeda, or military dictator, and for eight years succeeded in gaining control of almost the whole empire. When Sesnit was assassinated in commoner took over the government. Randic Torn continued the work of unifying the empire that Sesnit had begun, ruthlessly putting down any traces of insurrection. He revived the old gulf between the warriors—the sword singers—and the commoners by introducing restrictions on the wearing of swords. "Torn's Sword-Hunt", as it was known, meant that only the singers were allowed to wear swords, which distinguished them from the rest of the population.
Although Torn did much to settle the empire into its pre-strife ways, by the time of his death in 2373 internal disturbances still had not been completely eliminated. Upon his death, civil war broke out in earnest; war that made the prior three hundred year turmoil pale in comparison. It was in this period that Frandar Hunding grew up.
Hunding belonged to the sword-singers. This element of empire society grew from the desert artisans and was initially recruited from the young sons and daughters of the high families. They built the first temple to the unknown gods of war and built a training hall, "The Hall of the Virtues of War." Within a few generations the way of the sword—the "song of the blade"—had become their life. The people of the blade kept their poetry and artistry in building beautiful swords woven with magic and powers from the unknown gods. The greatest among them became known as Ansei, or "Saints of the Sword." Each of these began their own training schools teaching their individual way of the sword. Ansei of the highest virtue wandered the countryside engaging in battle, righting wrongs, and seeking to end the strife.
To sum it up: Hunding was a sword-singer, a master, a Master Ansei at a time when the peak of the strife was reborn out of the chaos of Torn's death. Many singers put up their swords and became artists, for the pull of the artisan heritage was strong. Others, like Hunding, pursued the ideal of the warrior searching for enlightenment through the perilous paths of the Sword. Duels of revenge and tests of skill were commonplace, and fencing schools multiplied.
Frandar do Hunding Hel Ansei No Shira or, as he is commonly known, Frandar Hunding, was born in the far desert marches in the province of High Desert. "Hunding" is the name of the High Desert region near where he was born. "No Shira" means "noble person" or "person of noble birth" and "Hel Ansei" is his title of Sword Sainthood.
Hunding's ancestors reach back to the beginning of recorded time in the high desert, living as artisans and mystics. His grandfather was a retainer of the Elden Yokeda, Mansel Sesnit, and led many of the battles of unification prior to Sesnit's assassination.
When he was 14, Hunding's father died in the one of the many insurrections, and he was left to support his mother and four brothers. His prowess with the sword, however, made his life both difficult and easy. It was easy in that his services came in great demand as a guardian and escort. It was hard in that his reputation preceded him, and many awaited their turn to face him in battle, hoping to gain instant fame through his defeat.
By the time Hunding was thirty, he had fought and won more than ninety duels, killing all his opponents. He became virtually invincible with the sword, gaining such skill and mastery that he finally stopped using the real swords created through the artistry of his people and began using the Shehai or "way of the spirit sword."
All sword-singers learn through their intense training and devotion to the gods of war and way of the sword, the forms of discipline that allow the creation of the spirit sword. This is a simple form of magic or mind mastery whereby a image of a sword is formed from pure thought. The sword singer forms the sword by concentrating, and it takes shape in his hand. It is usually a pale thing of light, misty and insubstantial, a thing of beauty perhaps, or a symbol of devotion to the Way and the gods, but no weapon. However, those Ansei of the highest level and sensitivity and those with talent in magic can in times of stress form a spirit sword: a Shehai that is far more than light and air. It is an unstoppable weapon of great might, a weapon that can never be taken from the owner without also taking his mind.
The Shehai became Hunding's weapon, and with this, he killed bands of brigands and wandering monsters infesting the land. Finally upon finishing his ninetieth duel, defeating the evil Lord Janic and his seven lich followers, he was satisfied that he was indeed invincible. Hunding then turned to formulating his philosophy of the "Way of the Sword". He wrote his learnings down in the Book of Circles while living as a hermit in a cave in the mountains of the high desert in his sixtieth year.
In that year Hunding having enlisted in the many battles of the empire, and having defeated all opponents, had thought himself ready for death. He retired to his cave to capture his strategy and mystical visions to share with other sword-singers. It was after his completion of the scroll of the Circle that the singers found him composing his death poem and preparing to join the gods of war in final rest.
At sixty, he was a vigorous man who thought himself through with life, but his people, the sword-singers, needed him. They needed him as never before.
Torn's Sword Hunt had separated the Singers from the common people, and the rise of the Last Emperor began the last great strife of the desert empire: the Emperor and his consort Elisa's final effort to wrest control of the empire from the people by destroying the sword-singers. Hira vowed to search out every Singer with his Brigand army composed of Orcs and castoffs of the wars of the empire, and to scourge them from the face of the planet.
The sword-singers were never a numerous people. The harsh desert kept the births few, and growing up in the unforgiving wastes eliminated all but those of iron spirit and will. Thus the final strife, which became known as the "War of the Singers," found the people of the sword unprepared and unready to join together their individually great skills into an army that could defend their homes and lives.
Frandar Hunding was sought out, his death poem interrupted, and unceremoniously command of the singers was thrust upon him. To the unknown gods of war great thanks is owed that Hunding had the time in his cave to write down his years of accumulated wisdom, of strategy, of the way of the Shehai. The singers fled from their camps up into the desert hills and mountains, fled to the foot of Hattu, "the Father of Mountains," where Hunding had gone to write in peace and to die. There those remnants formed into the Army of the Circle—they learned Hunding's Way, his strategies, his tactics, and the final great vision for a master stroke.
Hunding devised a plan of seven battles, leading the Armies of Hira further and further into the wilderness to the foot of Hattu, where the final battle could be fought. Hunding called his plan the "Hammer and the Anvil." With each battle Hunding's Singers would further learn his strategies and tactics, grow strong in the use of the Shehai, and be ready to defeat their opponents in the seventh battle. And thus it was, the six first battles were waged, each neither victory or defeat, each leading to the next. The larger armies of Hira following the small army of Hunding. Outnumbered thirty to one, the singers never faltered from the Way. The stage was set: Hira and his army maneuvered to the base of Hattu Mountain, where the hammer blow was delivered. The battle was pitched, and many singers fell that day. Hunding knew that the singers who lived would be few, but Hira and his empire of evil would not live—and so it went.
At the end Hunding and less that twenty thousand singers survived the day, but no army of evil was left to pillage and murder—more than three hundred thousand fell that day on Hattu. Of those who were left to run and live, all were scattered to the four winds, an organized force no more.
The singers packed their lives, folded their tents, mourned their dead, and followed Hunding to the great port city of Arch, in the province of Seawind. There Hunding had a flotilla of ships waiting. The singers left their desert for a new land. No longer welcome in the desert empire, they left to be sung about and spoken of in legend. The final great warrior, the singers of Shehai, the Book of Circles, all leaving that land where their virtue was unappreciated. Red, red with blood they were in the eyes of the gentle citizenry, never mind that they had saved them from a great evil.
The singers vowed to learn new ways as they traveled across the great ocean to their new land. To adopt a new name, but to honor the past. In honor of their final battle, they named their new land Hammerfell and adopted the name Redguards.
In honor to Hunding the great warrior prince, each household in Hammerfell has a place by the hearth, an alcove really, just a niche, big enough to hold the scroll: The Book of Circles.