Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N is for Night of the Fire Arrows

As one travels the Empire he will encounter the veneration of minor deities--often quietly and with great subterfuge as not to worry friends or a passing Sigmarite--and the celebration of local festivals for what might be seen as just another day elsewhere in the Empire.

The Night of the Fire Arrows is one such event. Held on the 25th of Sigmarzeit, the night commemorates the defense of Halstedt, Stirland from a horde of undead some 500 years ago. Crossing the plains of the Haunted Hills an "army of zombies, skeletons, wights, necromancers, and vampire counts" sought to overrun the village and march deeper into the Empire. The village reinforced its walls with trees and new palings and ditches. The force was delayed, but the village would not last another night if it was not for the sheriff. "Finding a stash spirits," the sheriff was able to muster a new defense on the second night of the attack. Under the sheriff's leadership the town "produced 3500 straight and true Halstedt arrows with spirit soaked wool." Every man and boy capable of wielding a bow was put on the battlements. The tale told at the festival is that the sky "caught fire" as the archers repelled the second night's attacks.

Today, Halstedt has turned the quincentennial event into a night of archery contests that attracts champion archers from around the Empire in a grand tourney before a reenactment of the Night of the Fire Arrows. In the last 250 years a wide swath of arable land was set aside for the festivities by an act of the Elector Count, much to the protest of nobles losing land rent. Protests aside, too many farmhouses and crops would be damaged or destroyed before the set-aside. 

Historians don't doubt the veracity of the story save for many of the details. The debate is constantly renewed every couple of years as some detail or minor mention of the event is uncovered in the libraries of Altdorf and Nuln or found in diary passing through a Veneran temple. Last year a witch hunter burned a Verenan Investigator that was found asking questions about the 500 year old event. He reportedly possessed a "book of necromancy" that "reportedly belonged to the then mayor of Halstedt in 2015" and "contained definitive proof" that the "army of undead" was "no more than 25 recently buried members of the community" raised in a ritual that had gone awry.

The book was lost with investigator, used as kindling in his pyre.

Posted by caffeinated at 7:43 PM in d10

 

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Comment: Gwen Gardner at Tue, 16 Apr 9:02 PM

Ooooh *shivers* I necromancy for my N word today - such a creepy word.

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