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Codex entry: Two Marked in Battle

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Codex text

In a hold past our own, there were two men. One was born Ivatt Jovsen, the other Rekkas Hildsen. When word came lowlanders marched on Ivatt's hold, he searched for them. He found the lowlanders in a valley, and his heart was grieved, for they wore mail, and spoke eagerly of battling Avvar, and came in great numbers. But clever Ivatt studied the rock above the lowlanders. When they camped for the night, he climbed up to the tallest peak, and rolled a great boulder to the edge, aiming for the light of their fires. The boulder slid with other rocks into a mighty wave of dirt and stone. More than half their numbers were crushed, and the others fled in terror to the lowlands.

Ivatt's hold held a great feast to celebrate and said the songs would now call him Ivatt Stone-Thunder. Rekkas Hildsen grew jealous. Did he not shoot better than Ivatt? Did he not run faster than Ivatt? A great monster lived at the top of the mountain by the hold. It had feathers of gold, and taloned claws, and stole their game from the valley. Rekkas swore he would kill the beast to make his own legend-mark and went hunting on the mountain.

The first night, Rekkas found and killed a ram. The second night, Rekkas found and killed a hart. The third night, Rekkas found the nest of the feathered monster, and it was empty. The hunter laid the hart and the ram on the nest, then climbed above it. When dawn broke, the monster returned. It greedily tore open the meat. While it was distracted, Rekkas leapt down and plunged his sword into its back.

The monster screamed, but its hide was thick, and the sword stuck. The beast took off into the sky with the terrified Rekkas still on its back. The monster twisted and looped to shake him off, and the sword dropped into the deep valley. Desperate, Rekkas held on to the feathers on the monster's neck. He saw the beast would soon fly over his home, where all his friends and kin were gathered in astonishment at the sight above them. Rekkas threw his weight, trying to force the monster closer to the ground. It worked, and when the beast soared over the hold, Rekkas twisted and threw himself off. The gods were kind, and as the beast flew off, Rekkas landed on a midden heap, torn feathers floating about him.

Rekkas was humble the rest of his days, never again letting jealousy take his head. The hunter knew, in the end, his legend mark could have been far worse than "Rekkas Feather-Fall."

—From Stories of the Wild South: A Collection of Tales of the Barbarian Nations of Ferelden by Lady Susanna Ashwell of Ansburg

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