Back to top

Skargja the Wise

Before even the Great Grey Lord slew Suerlji, the Great Serpent, before the men were victorious over the Pradejalkri, Sarajin sat in his hall at Talagaad, surrounded by his closest advisors, planning for the battles that lay ahead. During one particular discussion (there were many such before the Grey Lord's victory on the peak of Mount Ilbenvaal), the council was unable to come to a decision regarding an important matter of battle planning.

One of the members if the council spoke, saying, "Great Lord, we are at an impasse as surely as the winter snows choke the mountain passes in winter." The Grey Lord grew tired of the debate and was angry at his council, and said unto them, "if you lack the wisdom to serve me, then find me one who does not lack that wisdom." The men and Elkyri trembled, fearing their master's wrath, and said that his will would be done. And so it was that Sarajin's closest followers cast about their lands for the wisest man, that they could present him to their Lord.

Now Skargja was a young man, tender in years, but with a wisdom that belied his smallish age. His reputation as always having the wisest answer to whatever was placed before him brought young Skargja to the notice of Sarajin's head men. They brought Skargja to their Lord, and said unto Sarajin, "Great Lord, this is the wisest man in all our realms. Surely he can help us."

But Sarajin scoffed. "Him? He is just a boy. He has not yet begun to shave! Do you all seek to thwart me, or are you all besotted by drink?" The men tried to explain that young Skargja was wise beyond his years, but Sarajin would not listen. "What can one such as he advise us on in matters of battle? This whelp would not know one end of a wench from the other, and wouldn't know what to do with her once he figured it out. Take him from my sight."

But Skargja, summoning all his courage, stepped forth, and said, "My Lord, if you deem me unwise now, tell me only what I must do to gain it in your eyes." Sarajin, impressed with Skargja's courage but feeling the effects of his drink said bitingly, "Find thee a wife, such that she may take care of you. Perhaps when she has shaven you, we might speak again." He laughed uproariously, and Skargja left in shame.

Having naught in the way of bridesgild with which to pay a brideprice, Skargja was faced with no other choice but to follow along when next his Great Lord went into battle. And in this battle, which was his first, Skargja fought bravely and well. And with his share of booty, he paid brideprice for Byrna, who shaved him such that he may appear before Sarajin again.

And so it was that Skargja, trying only to do service to his Lord, returned to the halls of Talagaad, freshly shaven by his newlywed wife. He stood before his Lord, and said, "Great Lord, I have done as you asked. I am wed now. How may I serve you?"

Sarajin looked upon him and frowned. The boy had changed since Sarajin had last seen him, being both broader and taller. But the Grey Lord was still doubtful of young Skargja. Thinking to be clever, Sarajin said, "So now you think yourself wise enough to advise me, do you? Let us see how wise you are. Let us see how you handle not one woman, but two. Surely such trouble as two women in the same house would put any man's wisdom to the test. Return to me when you have *two* wives. Then we shall see how wise you feel."

So Skargja left a second time. With no more money to buy a second bride, Skargja again followed his Lord into battle, and was again victorious. Again, he meant to pay brideprice for his second bride, Tjalla. But Byrna grew jealous and possessive, and spent all of young Skargja's money on frivolities, such that he could not afford Tjalla. But Skargja truly was wise, and so offered his service and loyalty to Tjalla's father in exchange for her hand in marriage. Tjalla's father agreed, and so it was that Skargja got his second wife, and came to be present before the Grey Slayer once more.

Again Sarajin noted that Skargja looked changed. But Sarajin was still doubtful. "Surely you are wise. But how wise is a man whose enemy lives under his own roof? Be gone and return to me when you have taken a warbride. Surely that will test your wisdom as well." And with a frown, he bade Skargja off again.

So, for a third time, young Skargja followed his Lord into battle. This time, he fought valiantly and well, and for a warbride took Rhondrynn, the daughter of one of the most powerful Pradejalkri in the land. He brought her back to his home, and bade her live with him, and serve him as a wife was meant. This she did, and so it was that Skargja entered Talagaad for a third time.

And this time, he stood before Sarajin, proud and tall, full of beard, distinguished in battle and possessed of great courage. That he had taken all of the Great Lord's jests to heart and fulfilled them honourably impressed Sarajin. And thus, Sarajin spoke to his council. "This truly is a wise man. You have done well in bringing him to me. Let him now serve as an example for all men. Let it be from now on that all men without three brides be men not at all, and have no voice in matters of wisdom and experience."

And so it came to pass that Skargja the Wise became the first of the Grey Lord's Thrangaad, and his example was set forth for man and god alike to follow.

Marc Renouf