KÓG SILAWA - A TALE OF SILAWA
É inanemd búrzmór kwe méd... It was a dark night and a wet one for Húla the Wombát to be drunk out on the moors north of Smórg, but he didn't have a choice, not really. He had to be at his ovens early in the morning, every morning, if he wanted to earn a steady living. Húla was a baker, and he looked like a baker. He was large about the middle, which showed that he was probably a good baker because he enjoyed his work, but he was also deceptively strong from heaving the sacks of flour which he turned into bread, muffins and buns for the people of the hamlet of Smórg, which is south west of Tilinggást, across the moors. It's a snug sort of place, nestled in the foothills at the edge of the Southern Woods, but the moors open away to the north and northwest, and so the autumn winds that come sweeping in from that direction are felt keenly. When the wind is up, folks tend to stay by their fire. It was just such an autumn night that Húla was trying to find his way back home across the moors.
It had been a pretty good party though, he had to admit. It had been held at, (let's face it, he thought as he stumbled along in the dark, it's still being held,) at the large estate of one of his best customers, the wealthy and prosperous farmer called Bund. Every year farmer Bund hosted a blowout round about the time of Spundlmass to honor the broaching of his casks of new medh. This was not an event to be missed, since, as everybody in Smórg and its surroundings knew, mead of the Bund mark was the finest on the moors. Nor was it an event often well remembered, for much the same reasons. All pleasures aside, though, Húla knew he had to start the Spundlemuffins early the next morning to meet the holiday demand, which was why he had left the party at about midnight, just as it was getting good.
Húla reflected on this as he trudged along the ill defined path that skirted the base of the foothills. At intervals, paths broke off to the left up into the forested glens in the hills where villagers gathered firewood or hunted, and a few hardy charcoal burners and the like dwelt permanently. Better them than me, thought Húla, as he passed one, peering off into the gloom. The stars were bright between the scudding clouds, but there was just a sliver of a moon, so the gloom was as thick as potato soup. The wind howled across the moor, keening eerily over the ridges studded with ancient standing stones, some stilled scored on their leeward sides with forgotten symbols. Because of the wind, Húla only heard the unmistakable sounds of hurried footsteps clattering down the path from the glen until they were almost upon him, and it was far too late to react.
More out of surprise than fear (he was drunk, after all), he flung himself to the ground. And suddenly, out of the gloom thundered a huge form, brandishing a sword in front of it!