Folk & Filk, Song & Poem – A Heortling Miscellany

Folk & Filk, Song & Poem – A Heortling Miscellany

Now Kallyr is coming, and Argrath’s quite cross, So rally together, ‘s if you give a toss…

Raise the Tribes for Starbrow! | Cold Wind Over Sartar

The Twelve Plays of Trollball | The Thunder Song (Rhinestone Ploughboy)

The Young Lunar Squaddie | Harvest of the Sword

Harried Heortling’s Guide to Identifying Babeester Gori.

A growing collection of Heortling folk songs, filk songs, poems and chants.

Raise the Tribes for Starbrow

With the news out of Boldhome and all the rumours and counter-rumours, I am also hearing a new boasting song sung round the sweat lodges and in the cattle pens, a song about the Kheldon Queen Starbrow and all that is happening in the south. It seems I have heard it, or at least a song like it, sometime in the past, before my father died. But the singers do not admit this: nor will they speak of Kallyr Starbrow’s first rebellion, or what happened afterwards.

Redwheel the trader has also heard this new song. I spoke to him this evening as he packed up his wares. He had made a thane’s ransom trading henna and whetting stones, but wanted to return early to Ironspike, not even going on to BearWalk as originally planned. For some reason he would not even stay for the clan weapontake called for tonight, even though I know he loves the cuk fighting that usually occurs afterwards. Redwheel said that the song is ironic, especially the lines, “the battle thanes have given their word”, and “swear the clans will never forsake”. He is always using strange words, and I am not sure what he means. Perhaps he means it has magic in it, like the other songs the warriors sing.

Redwheel said he had first heard the song sung locally by a Vingan, the woman called Cradledaughter. The words were different then, and she sang it as a cult song. He said that some of the people in the song were allies of Starbrow, and that different tribes had different verses, or changed the words. He did not seem pleased that there was a new verse about Harvar Ironfist. I wanted to ask him more, but he left in a great hurry.

Here is the song…
Sartar’s sons, lift up your face,
Stop brooding o’er the old disgrace
When the Red Shields stormed your place
And drove you to the highlands.

Sartar’s daughters, bind your breasts,
‘Tis not the time to weep nor rest,
The Kheldon Queen has set us the test:
Take up your spears and follow!

Sons of Air!
Loose your hair!
Heroes do what heroes dare;
Fiends and traitors, have a care
Darkened is your Moon now!

The wind is free, the storm will break;
The godis at the weapontake
Swear the clans will ne’er forsake
Kallyr in her quarrel.

Thunder crack!
Storm will roar!
Soon the kingdom we’ll secure:
Crush on hill and plain and moor
Chaos’ cursed army.

Swing the swords of Sartar red!
Wreak vengeance for our noble dead,
As on we march from town and stead
To join King Broyan’s army.

Hear the winds of freedom call
We gather true from heroes hall
The Red Moon from the sky will fall
The White Bull swiftly follows!

Up with spear and out with sword!
On we’ll go, by Orlanth Lord,
The battle thanes have given the word,
Raise the tribes for Starbrow!

Now from Boldhome to Duck Moor
Flows a stream of Lunar gore
Great is Vinga’s Daughter pure
Defeating Lunar powers!

The traitors and the taxers dead:
Now for Fist-of-Iron’s head!
We shall raise it dripping red
Above his glassy towers.

[Declaim]
Rooster of a fighting stock
Would you let some Lunar cock
Perch upon a Sartar rock?
Fly up and teach him manners!
[/Declaim]

Up with spear and out with sword!
On we’ll go, for by the Storm!
The battle thanes have given the word:
Raise the tribes for Starbrow!

Tune: Follow Me Up To Carlow.

Words: John Hughes.

Improvements: Nick Brooke & Massed Red Army Choir.

Note: I’ve found several MP3 versions of the tune ‘Follow Me Up To Carlow’ on the web in MP3 and midi format, ranging from diddly-diddly Irish flute an energetic but misguided heavy metal version. It is a brisk (pipe) march, though personally, I just chant it to a percussion beat. By far the most inspiring version is by that great Canadian singer/songwriter James Keelaghan, on his album ‘Timelines’.

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Cold Wind Over Sartar

This enduring (though banned) Sartarite rebel ballad was first mentioned by MOB in The Garhound Contest. When laying out the scenario for Tales of the Reaching Moon, I quoted a few lines from the song. It was later printed in full in the Rough Guide To Boldhome.

Cold Wind over Sartar is adapted from Only Our Rivers Run Free, a ballad written by Michael MacConnell. It has been recorded by Planxty and Christy Moore, among others.

Silverquill, Grey Sage of the Tower by the Pond at Alda Chur, reports that this ballad gained sudden popularity among Orlanthi loyalists after it was sung before the Pavis Governor at a Praxian Harvest Ritual. Her allied power, a particularly vexatious spirit named Aristophanes, claims that the song originated as an Esrolian dirge from the Lesser Darkness. It is a slow, maudlin ballad in a minor key, usually sung late at night when the fire is low and the mead tankards empty. It exhibits that typically Sartarite sentimentality so difficult for outsiders to comprehend.

Silverquill marks it as especially significant because of it is a hearth ballad, a traditional form normally employed only by housemothers and teachers of the young – in effect a song for women who had not chosen the spear path. It stands in stark contrast to the long, winding boastful sagas more typical of the fighting castes. For Orlanthi warriors to accept such a song as their own marked a seachange in their view of the struggle and the role of the Sartarite resistance. In effect, the warriors simultaneously debased themselves and uplifted the common people by their acceptance of the ballad. They identified their resistance with the land itself, and saw Sartar as belonging to all the people rather than just the warriors and chiefs. The warriors of Orlanth present themselves as mothers of the old/new kingdom yet unborn. It represents a universalisation of the struggle, a call for all to share in Sartar’s debasement and freedom.

The popularity of the song had profound effects on the hero plane, where it laid ritual foundations for many of the female and child heroquesters who lived and died for Sartar during the Hero Wars. Helena Truespear, who successfully heroquested to retrieve a part of Sheng Seleris from the keeping of Gorgorma, reported her first liberation after hearing the song sung from the depths of an Ironspike jail compound.

When Voria blooms in the darkness
Her blossoms swing light from each tree
When dragon awakes and spreads fire
Its then that our land will be free.

I wander her hills and her valleys
And still through my sorrow I see
A land that has forsaken freedom
Where only her rivers run free.

I drink to her sons and her daughters
Those ones who would rather have died
Than to live in the cold chains of bondage
To bring back the rites we’re denied.

Where are you know when we need you,
What thunders where storm used to be?
All gone, like the rains of last season
And only our rivers run free.

How sweet is life but we’re crying
How mellow the mead but we’re dry
How fragrant the grape but its dying
How gentle the wind but its ice.

What good is a manhood in thralldom
What joy is an eye that can’t see
When there’s sorrow in storm, wind and shower
And still only our rivers run free.

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The Twelve Plays of Trollball

(The Bhagwhan Song)

Uz are intrinsically musical, a race of night clubbers always ready to give you a good drumming. I am pleased to share the infamous trollball chant of Bhagwhan’s Broobashers, who aren’t a hero band, but should be. “Come the night, Bhagwhan fight! We smash those Sazdorf Wackers And Tacklers any time…”

To the tune (and I use the term loosely) of The Twelve Days of Christmas. And I defy anyone to get to the end without stumbling.

On the first play of trollball, the giant referee,
Kicked a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the second play of trollball, the giant referee,
Kicked two scrawny enlo, and a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

Okay, even a stoopid hooman should get the idea. But since we’re dark trolls, I’ll continue to spell it out…

On the third play of trollball, the giant referee,
Kicked three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the fourth play of trollball, the giant referee,
Kicked four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the fifth play of trollball, the giant referee kicked
“I thought we won?”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

Now pay attention ladies. This new line gets changed a lot each time it’s sung, so be careful. You can improvise, like youse always do in a big fight. Just remember, no one eats before they chants the song all the way through, and proper like, no mumblin’…

On the sixth play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked six homboboboms…
“What’s, there to eat?”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the seventh play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked seven trollkin burgers, six homboboboms…
“Bladger, my axe!”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the eighth play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked eight jars of POWZIE, seven trollkin burgers, six homboboboms…
“Say, something here!”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the ninth play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked nine spi-der masters, eight jars of POWZIE,
Seven trollkin burgers, six homboboboms…
“Do I, say it now?”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the tenth play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked ten gi-ant maggots, nine spi-der masters, eight jars of POWZIE,
Seven trollkin burgers, six homboboboms…
“Live trollkin please!”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the ‘leventh play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked ‘leven Umbar mindlinks, ten gi-ant maggots, nine spi-der masters,
Eight jars of POWZIE, seven trollkin burgers, six homboboboms…
“Who’s clubbing now?”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

On the twelfth play of trollball, the giant referee
Kicked twelve Sons of Karg, ‘leven Umbar mindlinks, ten gi-ant maggots,
Nine spi-der masters, eight jars of POWZIE, seven trollkin burgers,
Six homboboboms…
“I’ve lost my place!”
Four Gor-a-kiki, three uzko blockers, two scrawny enlo,
And a ber-serk Zorak Zorani!

Trollball. Find the true poetry that dwells in the heart of an Uz, give it a good bashing, then eat it.

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The Thunder Song

(Rhinestone Ploughboy)

 

I been ploughin’ these fields so long,
For Barntar keeps me strong,
I know every sod in these earthy fields of my homestead.
Where I struggle my herds to tame,
Where seedlings get washed away by the snow and the rain.

There will be no compromising,
With that demon moon that’s rising,
For I’m gonna plough where the gods, they blow down on me…

I’m a truestone ploughboy! (BOOM! BOOM!)
Walking out to the fields with my scythe and my tools to hoe.
Yes a rune-grown cow boy! (BOOM! BOOM!)
Fighting mud, fighting bugs, fighting lunes, fighting every foe,

Pausing for an ale as I go…

Well I really don’t mind the rain,
And the sun, it swells the grain,
But those Rotroots they come and they raid, they take all my herds ‘way.
And the chief takes his cut too,
And the temple, the taxers, the Lunars, well what can I do?

There’s no end of compromising,
And my kin, their hunger’s rising,
So I’m gonna plough where the grain, the grain it grows free.

I’m a truestone ploughboy! (BOOM! BOOM!)
Walking out to the fields with my scythe and my tools to hoe.
Yes a rune-grown cow boy! (BOOM! BOOM!)
Fighting mud, fighting bugs, fighting lunes, fighting every foe,
Pausing for an ale as I go…

I been watching the winds so long,
Now the signs, the signs are strong,
So by thunder we’ll rise and we’ll fight, to free up our homestead.
We will stand with our spears for fame,
And the moon it will flee through the clouds and the wind and the rain.

There’ll be an end to compromising,
Cause the Storm, the Storm is rising,
And the thunder will crack, and we’ll roar, all wind-swept and free…

Cause we’re storm-son ploughboys! (BOOM! BOOM!)
Marching out from the moot with our spears and our shields in a row.
Yes we’re wind-blown cow boys! (BOOM! BOOM!)
And we’ll fight for the right to be free yes we’ll thunder the foe,
Pausing for an ale as we go…

[Very loudly]
Cause we’re truestone ploughboys! (BOOM! BOOM!)
Getting rocks and missiles from people we don’t even know…
Yes, we’re rune-grown cow boys! (BOOM! BOOM!)
So let’s hurry to finish the battle I’ve got fields to sow…
Pausing for an ale as we go…

[ad lib and fade. Or just stop. Whatever.]

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The Young Lunar Squaddie

(as suggested by Peter Metcalfe – with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

When the half-made squaddie, she goes to the East
Where she acts like a lune and she drinks like a beast,
And she wonders because she is frequent deceased
If she’s fit for to serve as a soldier.

Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier of the Moon!

Now all of you squaddies what’s drafted to-day,
You shut up your whingein’ and hark to my lay,
An’ I’ll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what’s fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear of those Uz grogging huts,
For they’ll sell you Powzie that rots out your guts –
A drink that would eat the raw bronze from your butts –
Its no good for the brave Lunar soldier.

Good, good, good for the soldier . . .

Now the worst o’ your foes is the folk of the hills:
Theys scream from the heights so’s to give you the chills:
Then attack you with long spears and other bronze thrills,
An’ you’ll die like a fool of a soldier.

Die, die, die like soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, be careful, take care –
For the men in the camps are of wind and of air,
And when you most need `em they’ll never be there!,
And love ain’t enough for a soldier.
‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier . . .

And if hubbie go off with yerr squadmate, be loath
To cut when you catch ’em — you’ll swing, by my oath! —
Make her take him and keep him: that’s hell! for them both,
And you’re shut of the curse of a soldier.

Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first in the fray an’ you’re wishful to duck,
Don’t look nor take heed at yer squadmate who’s struck,
Be thankful you’re living, and trust to your luck
And keep your shield high like a soldier.

High, high, high like a soldier . . .

When half of your squadies fall down in the ditch,
Don’t call your old deco a cross-eyed chill bitch;
She’s loyal as you are — you treat her as sich,
An’ she’ll save you, the brave Lunar soldier.

Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

Your priestess’s dead and the decos look white,
Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:
So take up close order, lock shields, and stand tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.

Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

Now Kallyr is coming, and Argrath’s quite cross
So rally together, ‘sif you give a toss
Defiant and calm, so at least in your loss –
You will fall like a good Lunar soldier.

Fall, fall, like a soldier…

When you’re wounded and left in the hills of Sartar,
And the tribesmen come out to spread entrails afar,
Just lift up yer dagger and slice yer neck hard
And praise the God-dess like a soldier.

Praise, praise, praise like a soldier,
Praise, praise, praise like a soldier,
Praise, praise, praise like a soldier,

So-oldier of the Moon!

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Harvest of the Sword

‘The women of the White Bear make loud cries in the moot for peace. The
hills have ears. For the good of the kingdom, despatch them. Do it quickly.’

Lay by your pleading, custom lies a-bleeding
Burn all your harvests down, throw away your weaving.
Small power our words now, and can afford us
Not so half as much, privilege as the sword does!

No curse or its caster could plaster disaster
More quickly ruin kin as when sword is master!
It ventures, it enters, it seeks and it centres
Ever the upper hand, never a dissenter.

Cruel iron bearer, whither do you wander?
– Gone to the subborning of Argrath the Reaver
Kallyr, oh Kallyr-a, tear our clan asunder
Women cry for food and all the children call in fear-a!

Sword talks of small things, it sets up all things
Sword’ll master silver, though silver masters all things!
It is not the season, to talk of reason
Never call it loyal when the sword says treason!

Subtle deceiver, turns calm to fever
See the freedom talker slay the freedom-breather!
It’ll turn a stickpick, to weapon thane and take-quick
He’ll hold up the sun for silver and its lamp wick!

Conquers the clan too, chieftain and king woo
Set you up a stead, but it’ll pull it down too.
No moot can guide it, no law decide it
In Alda Chur or Boldhome ’til the sword sanctify it!

A peace clan chant from the hills of Sartar. The inspiration is an English
Civil War roundhead ballad called Dominion of the Sword.

“He that can tower o’er him that is lower,
Would be but thought a Fool to put away his Power;
Take Books and rent ‘um, who would invent ‘um,
When as the Sword replyes, Negatur argumentum?”

Dominion has been updated and recorded several times by Martin Carthy. My
version is definitely for chanting. Its another of those songs that the
scribes of the Liberator seldom bother to record.

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Identifying Babeester Gori – Helpful Hints for Harried Heortlings

A Questlines Guide for Heortling Men

1. Is it a woman? This is always a good preliminary indicator. If yes, go to 2. Men with axes are merely confused, undergoing a mid life crisis, or Uroxi, and that’s an entirely different table.

2. Is the woman drunk? If she is and you are too, and you’re both outside the feasting hall, you may be safe. If she’s foaming at the lips with blood beer, possibly not. Go to 3.

3. Is she screaming at you, or otherwise hissing and spitting? Yes? If she’s using your first name, its probably your wife or sister. Relax, unless your sister is a known associate of homicidal axe maniacs. Otherwise, run away very quickly, or go to 4.

4. Is the ground trembling and shaking? Yes? Relax, its only a Maran Gori, very large troll, thunder beast stampede, or the fall of the red moon. Check again to make sure its not just your knees rattling. If all is quiet, run away very very quickly, or go to 5. (If the moon has fallen, have a drink on me.)

5. Is she carrying a big copper axe? Yes? Oh dear. And is the axe festooned with a collection of castrated goolies? It is? Here’s hoping you’ve got a Movement feat. Whatever you do, don’t call her ‘Babs’. Even ‘BB’ is a big no no. ‘Sweet green woman, look at me…’ is way out. Run away very very very quickly, convert immediately to Nandan, or go to 6.

6. Is she painted? Check the wing decals (tats and body paint) as you cower behind your shield. You don’t have a shield? You really should have learned that ‘Imitate Shrubbery’ feat.

Now if she is painted, you may want to skip the entire section and imitate the wind, preferably a brisk southerly. However, if you want to die with a knowing look on your face, concentrate on the details.

If she’s painted white on the right and green on the left, it means you’re relatively safe, unless you’re dead already. She’s killing spirits.

Red hands and feet with black arms and legs means you and all your male buddies are in for it. It’s an “I don’t like men” night.

Red and yellow face with yellow and red stripes along the arms and legs means your entire bloodline or clan is for it, so you won’t die alone.

Any other colour scheme is probably a cult secret, and fatal if you ask about it. Questions like, “My left side or hers?” also tend to result in grievous AP negatives and random limb separations.

Have a nice massacre.

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