The lore behind our county's founding
In the fields of the north west, within the lower montane forests, the men of a small village were driving their cattle to field. It was summer in Elyria. The birds sang in the scattered trees that surrounded the fields, hunting insects that chirruped from their hidden sanctums in earth and wood. The sky bore no sign of rain this day, as sunlight cut through the atmosphere like an arrow, striking the ground, and everything on it, with its warmth. A soft wind blew from the south east, drawing with it the humidity of the nearby lake. Aided by several dogs, which nipped at the heels of errant beasts, and circled the herd in lopping strides, the men quickly brought the cattle to a lush spot bordering the the forest to the east of their village, near a large lake.
The men were lightly armed with spears, pitchforks, and axes. Wolves roamed these lands, and a man was not likely to bite harder than they, but with a proper tool, one might survive, if with a few scars. The men took in the area, scanning the treeline for any sign of trouble, and after confirming the relative peace of the area, let their charges roam. Some sat in the lush grass as the beasts chewed around them, leaving nothing but the cushioning blades of vegetation beneath the men. Others fidgeted with their arms, or played with the dogs which frolicked through the short, dense green that spanned the men's eyesight. One stood out, a mann known locally as "Raberre".
Raberre was a large Neran man. A leader not only in mind, but in form. Framed like a stone home, he was was easily 2 to 3 inches taller than his fellows. His muscles were coiled tightly to his skeleton like a large snake suffocating its prey, and bulged slightly beneath his tanned skin, toned by years of time spent moving stubborn animals, and even more stubborn earth.
He was the leader of these menn, and bore the title of village elder, even being a mann of only 40. This area was lightly settled, and those who were strong enough to live without the comforts of civilization often rose to such a position. His arms and face showed the scars of this burden, as did his shaved head and large beard. A person unfamiliar with him may have confused him for a Brudvir, far from home.
Raberre slowly snatched a long blade of grass before it was eaten, and contemplated it. A drop of dew clung to the broad of it, and in the pliable and dark green blade, the health of the land was heralded. He raised the grass to his bearded face, and blew on the edge as he held it in place. A high whistle issued forth, and he enjoyed the jaunty whine it played with so little effort. His father had taught him that trick, and it was always a fun distraction, yet another gift this land had given him.
Yet, there was no relaxation in this mann's form. His muscles were as a drawn bow string, and his face bore no smile, only a slight grimace. These were troubled times. In recent months, a group of brigands had entered the area, and this was what held his thoughts. They had seized on the relatively unsettled area as a haven from the law and restriction of more populous area, fancying themselves the lords of this territory, as they were strong, and as such, made the rules. Several young women had been taken from the varying villages, and no shortage of theft and highway robbery had been noted on the trails of the land.
As Raberre thought on these issues, a glint of metal caught his eye from the south west. As he peered across the receding sea of green and past the cattle, he bore witness to what appeared to be a young woman. She was certainly a sight, with fiery hair so long it reached the back of her knees, and a large braid bordering the right side of a serious face. That face knew conflict, Raberre could tell. Her jaw was set, her eyes alert, regarding the men and their beasts. She wore impressive armor, though Raberre was not a military man, and neither were his peers. It clanked heavily, as did that of her hangers on, who trailed behind her like holy men following the steps of their prophet. Unexpectedly though, the touch of humannity was to be found in this woman, as she knelt to regard a herding dog which found interest in this strange procession. She gently stroked the canine's head, and for a short period, a fine smile could be seen, before she was on her path again.
A woman such as this was certainly not common, and after conferring with his men, Raberre's suspicions were confirmed. This was the southern exile, Sancta. A true upstart, the lords of the south had made clear. A peasant who demanded much, a parasite that ate at the table of others by virtue of the glory of others. This was all hearsay of course, and Raberre was a man of the soil, not of the courts. Yet her bearing spoke much of experience, and among the men that gazed, not one could help but question the statement that she had not earned her glory. Word had it that she made for the north, to find refuge with some ally there.
The men of both parties eyed each other with some curiosity as the travelers grew near, but no words were spoken, only nods given between two groups who were consumed with their own business. Shortly after, the travelers had made their way to the north, where the path entered a small patch of forest. The nearby land sloped upwards, and while the path twisted up the hillside, the group would like be visible when they had come to the north edge of the forest along the dirt road.
The menn of the village continued their relaxed vigil over the herd of large beasts that lazily wandered the area, stomachs laden with the vegetation they had pilfered from the now semibarren surroundings. As the cattle slowed their eating, and the men called back their dogs from play, Raberre cast his brown eyes back towards the patch of trees that the strangers had entered. Though time passed strangely for a mann lost in the nature of the area and the warmth of a fine day, he was certain that they should have been through by now. No silver shine had called the menn's attention as they exited, and this, Raberre reasoned, was enough oddity to warrant investigation.
Calling together the menn under his charge, he instructed the younger to remain with the cattle, lest their lose valuable beasts to a lapse in attention. With the older herders behind him and several dogs close to their sides, the men quickly stole through the grass towards the dense thickets and trees. They entered the forest low, with tools and weapons held firmly, and peered about. With some time, they came upon the issue.
A rough conference was being held on the path a moderate distance into the trees, between two very opposed sides, as Raberre's menn approached quietly through the bushes that surrounded the trail, trying to ascertain the current disposition of the opposing sides. Nearest to the hidden observers stood the upstart swordmaiden and her followers, and north of them and blocking the trail, stood a semi circle of rough looking vagabonds. These were the so called lords of the area, ruffians of all tribes.
The tension clearly visible in their stances and faces spoke of the situation clearly. A pack of hungry scavengers had found outnumbered prey weary from travel, and had figured them as easy to set upon. No action had been taken yet, likely due to the bandit troops preference to threaten first, Raberre observed. As Raberre peered from the bushes, a large Brudvir walked towards the woman's group with a swagger belonging to one of solid standing and spoke aloud for all to hear while making crude gestures. This one was a clear leader. His words were not audible to the group still obscured in the foliage, but their vulgarity was obvious.
Laughter rang out from the highwaymenn, raucous and unrestrained, as the Brudvir hulk finished his speech, now standing toe to toe and a head above the scarlet haired valkyrie. He grinned a wolfish grin as he whispered something towards her stony face, and cast his gaze down the line of her followers that had fanned to her left and right. As he turned his head as he shifted his vision from one end to another, he made it back to the woman before the back of her clenched fist hammered into the side of his head, staggering the behemoth of a mann, who wobbled back a few steps, shaking his head like a flea bitten hound.
The ragged bandits quickly drew ill cared for weapons, likely looted from past victims, as their chief recovered his footing and bore his teeth in a grin yet again, though this grin was decidedly different. This one was far more predatory. The armored group quickly followed their leader in widening their stances as their harassers drew close, semi circle condensing to a more solid line to wash over and break the outnumbered defenders.
In the cover of the dense undergrowth, Raberre's menn gestured quickly to one another and whispered with quick suggestions as the clash of metal rang out. On the path, the lines had met. Crude weapon hammered loudly on the more well equipped of the parties as the woman in the center kept the enemy at bay with a long spear, stabbing with quick thrusts as she held her ground with a solid stance. She was certainly quick, even in her armor, yet she could not duck even swing, nor parry even thrust that came toward her from the milling mass of hungry menn that even now set upon her contingent.
Several men had been cut, or simply hammered down now, and though both sides had suffered losses in the first minutes of battle, the knightly procession was showing its lack of mannpower. The bandits had backed off slightly, licking wounds and enjoying their numerical superiority, casting cruel jibes towards their harried prey as they encircled those that remained.
Rabarre was no hero. No military time had left its mark on him, only a harsh yet fair life had scarred him. He knew little of higher affairs in the land. This was not his fight. He could live as easily as before if he simply crept away. However the teachings of the Vitori that sometimes visited his village throughout his life came to him, and it spoke thusly. The time for Justice to show itself was nigh, and the time for Patience was over.
As the large Brudvir mann came around to show his back to where the hidden group lay, Raberre dug his hands and feet into the moist earth, and with a bellow like an angered bear, propelled himself from concealment. Leaving his fellows scrambling in his wake to match his fervor, he barreled forward, broad shoulders leveled as he flew across the path, launching himself into the stomach of the bandit leader as his quarry turned to see the source of the ruckus that had suddenly sprang up.
As their forms met, Raberre's legs strained to lift the weight put on them as he speared into the Brudvir's massive bulk, carrying them both into the dirt. The element of surprise been spent, but had bought time for his men to engage the nearest vagabonds, and the melee was renewed as the exhausted defenders lent themselves to the aid of their unlikely saviors. Tools and weaponry flashed all around as wild arcs were cut into the opposing forces.
Raberre grappled with the large beast of a mann beneath him, striking downwards with clenched fists and heavy elbows as he sought to subdue his enemy. The Brudvir in turn hammered upwards with fists as large and solid as granite paving stones, striking Raberre in the chest and face as the two rolled and struggled in the dirt of the path. As Raberre struck downwards again, the Brudvir caught his wrist, and wrenching it down, bit deeply into his right forearm. Raberre loosed a pained yowl as the sharp canines scraped bone, and dug his left thumb into his opponent's eye. Before his grip tightened, he was struck sharply over the head from behind. Dazed, Raberre felt himself thrown back by a sharp kick to the stomach as the Brudvir capitalized on his luck.
As the large Neran rolled over onto his hands and knees, he retched into the soil with the force of the blow and struggled to right his senses. The beaten wolfmann slowly rose to his feet, wiping the soil from his form as he assessed himself. Seeing his prey before him, and cocksure in his presumed victory, the bandit chief began his slow approach towards the Neran mann who knelt on hand and knee before him, face to the earth below him. Then he heard a sharp whistle.
As the Brudvir realized the whistle came from his target, a large dog broke from the bushes in a dead sprint. Before his reaction could save him, the angry beast ran up the broad surface of Raberre's back, and with hind legs braced on his bull-like shoulders, launched itself into the Brudvir, latching sharp teeth into his lower jaw and upper neck. Other canines raced out behind it to begin their assault on the surviving bandits who aggrieved their masters.
With a long roar, Raberre sprang forward again to where the Brudvir wildly struggled with the large hound hanging from him, and with the last strength left in his form, wrapped his arms around the larger mann's hips from behind. The hound released the bite it held as Raberre swung the man in a wild circle before hoisting him as high as he could, and then slammed himself backwards, driving the bandit leader's skull into the ground with all the force of Haven's split from Elyria. A loud, wet crunch heralded the splintering of the vertebrae below that skull, and all who remained standing turned to face the noise.
A beaten Neran extracted himself from the ruined form of his opponent with a growl, bloodied and ragged. The remaining bandits, seeing this revenant of a mann leaving their strongest in a broken heap, cried out as one, and ran for the woods, leaving their dead and dying to bleed to death as they scrambled to survive. Rabarre saw this, then he fell to his knees with the weakness that came to him as adrenaline faded, and his remaining men rushed to support him. With his men holding him, he bade the survivors to follow.
As the bloody survivors limped into the village, wives and children rushed to their aid, as shouts of alarm rang out from the homes and streets at the sight of their men. The younger cattle-herds put the cows away, and those who had been in the battle sought aid for their wounds. Raberre called for a fine cow to be brought as he conferred with the remaining knights who were tending to their own wounded and dead. When it was brought, he spoke with the voice of authority proven on pain of death. This victory was truly a gift from the Virtues, and demanded celebration.
A shout of agreement went up, and a bonfire built as he led the cow to the center of the village. With words of thanks, he drew a knife across the beasts wide neck, and comforting the beast in its death throes, declared for all to hear, the story of what transpired. As the beast was hauled away to be prepared for the fire, he sought the wild haired woman who led her people through the fight. He found her tending to her men, preparing already for travel ahead. Raberre inquired as to her purpose, and hearing of her intent to take these lands for the betterment of the common mann, knelt as he had heard was proper, to ask her to accept his support and that of the willing, at least in these lands, and such was agreed. That he would be raised to a high position on such a day that she assumed the position above that, and that he would lead his own men, a unit named Raberre's Relief, and he demanded that he wished the land to be named after them and their deed as well. So it would be, in time, that the name of both was the same, and the village where he ruled wisely, worked diligently, rested in his old age, and died, would come to be known as Raberre's Rest.