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This is the third chapter of Battle Realm's original history.

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Chapter 3: The Founding of a Clan

Tarrant the Younger stood on the High Plateau, looking north, while his guardsmen stood by. The Breaking of the World was two months gone, and he had much thinking to do. He gazed out across the channel where the Great Dragon had struck, turning the southern tip of their continent into an island. Jagged cliffs attested to the unthinkable force and violence of that strike, which had cut through massive strata of rock, all the way down through what had been a high plateau, to reach sea level. The water still churned with strange currents and eddies -- it would never be easy to navigate. Thousands and thousands of Hordelings had died in the cataclysm, but it was safe to assume that some of them had survived, and were gathered on the opposite shore, still looking southward. Tarrant knew they would someday find a way to cross the water and that day there would be a reckoning. But there were more immediate worries. His father had led the Dragon Clan and refugees from half a dozen other clans south after the Horde had decimate their ranks. His father, who had known lore and history of the Dragon Clan that he never had time to teach his sons in the final days. They had thought he would live for years, but he had died – when last they saw him, he was in a clearing, standing on a slab of shale holding the Serpent Orb, the ancient artifact that would somehow allow him to summon the dragon. Now where that clearing had been there was ocean, his father was gone, and the Serpent Orb was missing.

Scattered, humbled, their knowledge and talisman lost, they could no longer call themselves the Dragon at all. In the days following the breaking he had decided on this, and set certain weavers and dyers to work in secret, creating the banners they would ride under. The refugees were even beginning to disperse from the rough camp they had set up, riding out farther and farther to hunt or look for fertile land, separating out along old Clan lines. He spoke in secret to the ad hoc leaders of all the fragmentary groups, and made his arguments -- they could not continue to be a confused band of co-refugees. The Breaking had happened and that could not be undone. They could scatter and bicker or they could begin to rebuild and create a nation. Once they had given their consent he gathered all the peoples and in a great ceremony he had proclaimed them a single people united by fate.

One people -- or at least they were supposed to be. Already fighting had broken out twice between members of former rival clans, Eagle and Heron. He had settled the Heron people on the Lowland Coast in the far south where they could fish the coast and the streams that fed a river named the Talon. The Yak people on the other hand, have settled within a great mountain facing the lowlands. Eagle clansmen had gone to the fertile valley near the Dragonsteps, and in time he hoped they would forget and become one people in truth. Other clans, Dragon and Tiger and Monkey, had scattered to homestead wherever they found lands that resembled their own, whether swampy or mountainous or grassy.

In the meantime Tarrant the Younger was not idle. Construction had begun on a great keep at the tip of the bay. Most of the original Dragon Clan had camped there, and he had been fortunate to find one or two or five builders from the Eagle people as well the Yak people had survived the retreat. An ancient man called only named StoneBridge was directing the keep's construction -- it would be called Serpentholm, and its walls would overlook the river Coil for generations to come...he hoped.

While he remained at Serpentholm, he set his younger brother Ozaku the task of surveying the realm. Tarrant had always been calm and sober, knowing that the future of the Clan lay on his shoulders, Ozaku was his fiery opposite -- restless, quick to anger, and a warrior whose daring in the field had already made his name among the peasantry. He had grown up knowing he was the expendable one, and seemed to relish the lack of responsibility, drinking, whoring, and leading troops into battle. It would not do to have Ozaku sitting idle at Serpentholm -- better to let him ride and act, and let the people see their leadership.

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