The Translated Works of Tosmorn, III

Author (in-game): Vateshran Tosmorn, Xandier Edette (translator)

Second Fragment

[Editor’s Note: The second of Xandier Edette’s translated poetic fragments will likely appear familiar to scholars and enthusiasts of vateshran performances. Gwyna, Chief Rowolan, the demigoddess Dearola, and the Horn-Stride Clan frequently appear in oral tales, though their depictions vary wildly from work to work, as Edette notes. As a point of fact, Edette leans on Vateshran Tosmorn’s clout and reputation to suggest what follows is the definitive portrayal of these classic characters.]

Translator Xandier Edette’s Preface

The Song of Gwyna can still be heard today, if a vateshran finds themselves besides a fire on a cold spring evening. In translating and recording Tosmorn’s version of the song, I was surprised to find this arrangement of the popular subjects within. In his telling of the song, Gwyna is kindred to Chief Rowolan and his clan, and not a hunter of the Horn-Stride clan. As in modern depictions, Rowolan’s near-mythical prowess in battle is attributed to his descent from the demigoddess Dearola, herself a child of Hircine.

Frustratingly, the manuscripts I collected fail to explain the action that precipitated Rowolan’s fall to the Horn-Stride. A vateshran of Tosmorn’s status would undoubtedly be able to settle if it was treachery on the part of Rowolan’s seventh daughter (a particularly popular variant I’ve heard), or his failure to observe the omen of the white hart (another popular variant), or from some hitherto unproposed cause.

* * *
Once this was a quiet wood
Now it echoes with dirges
I can hear the sound of mattocks
Raking earth away to make
A home for our solemn dead

The battle is over and won
The Horn-Stride clan is gone
Banished to the dark below the crag

We have sung our victory
We have shouted our strength
We have whispered our sorrow

Now the bodies of my clan
Are planted in the soil here
What will grow from them?
Nothing but tales of glory
The earth will remain barren
We will keep it so

And when we clear flower and grass
We will recount the names of those
That died for the sake of our clan

Chief Rowolan lies dead
Arrow-blinded, breath stilled within
His sons and daughters all around him
As leaves around a mighty oak

The massive bough is now fallen
The leaves are fallen with him
So ends the line of Rowolan
His was the blood of Dearola
Daughter of Hircine

The Horn-Stride was beaten back
But our heart was cut from us
We smile to one another in victory
The season will pass on to winter
And by next spring we will be gone
As fog in the light of day

We must strike with speed
Before the strength leaves our clan
Others will learn of Rowolan’s death
And the crows will gather

Before our bones are clean
We must strike at the City of Stone
And the king below the rock

I go now to the witchmen
In the copse of rotted yew
Their draughts are bitter
They rot us from inside
But we must take this poison, kin
To stand against Markarth’s arrows

There will be no graves dug for us
For if we take the stone walls
We will not live to hold them

We seek no spoils from Markarth
Rowolan sought to kill a king
And free a people
His cause is ours

We will burn our blood with witchman’s fire
And overrun the city

We will storm the keep below the stone
And dash the crown upon the floor

We will rake the throat of the king
With sharpened flint and hunter’s claws

We will die, but will not care
Rowolan’s dream will be done
The clan I love is doomed
This season or the next
It ought not die alone

Scroll to Top