Half-Hold

And so it came to pass, just as Elum had seen in his vision, that Andal was not challenged on the Great Bridge by the guards there. Instead, he was hailed and escorted forthwith to the Hold of Delroy. Therein, the Betrayer, whose half-hold had driven Andal to madness and flight, took power over Andal’s tongue, to drive all to ruin. He told Delroy that Elum the woodsman was the Betrayer in disguise, that he had hold of his daughter Delrin, and was coming to kill him.

It was of course untrue. The Betrayer had instead half-hold over Andal, and still somewhere deep in the Great Forest, whole-hold (or nearly) over Ayad. He had been partway through the incantation of binding over Andal, and had not yet completed the Ritual of Transfer, when Elum appeared, and in combat was rendered unconscious by him via a blow to the head.

This indirect physical contact is what triggered the deception which appeared to Elum, and which was actually born out after in truth. The deception was, then, in the early knowledge, the needless pre-awareness of a darkness and suffering to come, which humans did not ordinarily have to bear so keenly. Thus the suffering would be doubled, or trebled over the passing of time. Unless it was not all truth and it could in some way be thwarted, or diverted, the flowing course of time. Or so ran Elum’s thoughts as they traversed that wood.

On stage, the scene of Andal’s enchantment, and Ayad and Elum’s fight was portrayed using two Betrayers. Benda Betrayer as lead, who touched the actor Tendar Trustless (playing Ayad), who fell down in a crumple, as Benda stepped into his place, turning to face Garth Al Elum, the actor playing Andal, and the orchestra struck up the notes of dark conjuration. He reached out to Andal, touched him heavy on the shoulder, and he too fell down as though dead. And as Benda Betrayer jumped into his traces, another nameless dark-robed Betrayer appeared behind him on stage, to take his place in Ayad’s stead. The two figures turned to look at one another, startled, and the audience let out an uproarious laugh in this moment of high dramatic tension. It was soon shattered by the quick fight with Elum, and the second back-up Betrayer being rendered unconscious.

Rendered thus unconscious in the body of poor Ayad, Second of the Best Men of Delroy, the Betrayer sought release from this useless form. Had he been killed by Elum, he could have transferred fully to the body of Andal, and brought ruin direct, rather than circuitously on the House of Delroy. But as such was trapped in unconsciousness. The Betrayer tried to betray the body itself, parasite against host, causing it to rise up against itself in violent convulsions. And while the owl Lux flew off in search of help among the Forest People, the Betrayer fought a deep internal struggle with that part of Ayad which still remained buried within.

And far away now, where Delrin and Elum exited the Great Forest, the watchers of Morbat the magician stirred, rose up, and sent word along to their Master. His bride-to-be awaits.

--

--

Non-Profitable Organization Dedicated to Preserving Folklore & History of Ancient Quatria

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store