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The Cauldron Bound: The Bronze Age clans, #1

The Cauldron Bound: The Bronze Age clans, #1

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The Cauldron Bound: The Bronze Age clans, #1

106 pages
1 hour
Nov 18, 2015


Travel back to the war torn Dhurian bronze age, in this  25 000 words long prequel novella.

A war weary warrior...

For centuries, the dark elves clans have been at war with each other, leaving the ties of trade and trust in shreds. When Aodh of the Creek clan is sent by his chieftain to find out the source of the Portal Clan's unrelenting strength, he has no idea the obstacles he and his friends will face. As they  journey through the war torn land, meeting wary warriors and canny chieftains, Aodh slowly realize a foul magic is spreading through the land.

A cranky old seer....

When the war started centuries ago, Moirin of the Valley retreated into the mountain, not wanting to be a pawn in the hands of chieftains. She has been happy in her valley, seeing few people. Until now. When her goddess sends her a vision warning her of a taint spreading through the realms, Moirin realize she will have to leave her valley.

….will have to work together to save the clans

Aodh and Moirin are unlikely allies, but they agree that they will have to collaborate if they are to stop the spreading taint, and to find out who is behind it. As they work to stop the plans, the Portal Clan are watching from the shadows, planning to strike when they least expect it.

Nov 18, 2015

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The Cauldron Bound - Mikaela Lind

Chapter 1

As he walked through the settlement in the early morning sunshine, Aodh was glad for his fur tunic. The day might be sunny, but the air still carried a bite of winter. The settlement was quiet around him. There was no smoke coming from the smoke holes, no animals braying, no children playing, and the fact that it was early was only part of the reason. Most of the silence stemmed from the heavy toll the war had taken.

He nodded to a yawning man that was stumbling in the direction of the jakes. As he approached the chieftain's roundhouse in the center of the settlement, he tried to figure out why he had been summoned.

Bradach might be fond of me, he thought, but I am young for a warband leader. Too young, according to some people.

Before the war began, he hadn't planned to become a warrior, but a smith. Like the rest of his clan, the war had changed his life.

He pushed away those thoughts, and opened the gate in the wicker fence around the Chieftain's roundhouse. He stepped inside, closing the gate before any of the precious hens or goats could escape, and walked down the path leading to the door and knocked. Surprise filled him when the door opened and the Chieftain stood in the doorway. Normally opening the door was a duty assigned to children.

Come in. Let's break fast and talk, Bradach rumbled.

Aodh nodded and stepped into the large room. Unease filled him when he saw that the only ones awake in the room were him, the Chieftain and his wife, Dairine. Normally, all the warband leaders were at present at meetings with the Chieftain. This was the first time he had been summoned alone.

Where are the other warband leaders, he asked, struggling to keep the wariness from his voice.

The Chieftain and his wife glanced at each other.

They will not join us. Sit. Bradach gestured at a low bench.

Aodh shook off the urge to run and hide. You haven't done anything wrong, he told himself, and sank down at the bench. A couple of moments later, Bradach and Dairine sank down on the other side of the table. Aodh frowned when the Chieftain gave his wife an uncertain look. Odd, he could count on his fingers the number of times he had seen Bradach at a loss for words.

Dairine sighed and looked back at Aodh. The war is taking a toll on the clan. On all clans. Last night, the Goddess came to me in a dream. She told me the war has to stop.

The Goddess is not wrong. I have heard... rumors, that the Portal Clan has too many warriors. More than they should have, considering how long and ugly the war has been, Bradach added.

Aodh shuddered. His clan was located far enough to the east that they didn't bear the brunt of the Portal Clan's attacks, but they hadn't gone entirely unscathed. During the last Portal Clan raid Aodh could have sworn he fought the same warriors he had maimed in the last skirmish.

We want to find out why. Are they getting support from another realm? Are they forcing the mountain clans to join their raids? Bradach continued.

Or are they dabbling in foul magic, Dairine finished.

Bradach looked at his wife. She calmly looked back. Something passed between them. Aodh watched them and wondered if it was true that some Priestesses could speak mind to mind with each other, as well as with loved ones.

I don't want to find out, he decided. He liked his thoughts to be private.

The Chieftain sighed. This is why we are sending you, and your war-band, to find out why their forces are not diminishing. And, if you find out why, we want you to stop it.

Aodh gulped. Why me?

The Chieftain looked at him. Because you are young.

Aodh considered the Chieftain's response. It made sense. The other war-band leaders had more experience, but they were getting slower in battle.

I'll do anything for peace, he said.

He thought longingly of the peaceful times when he could spend his days in the forge. Now the forge was stripped of its metals but, if his mission was successful, one day soon he would be able to return to it. For that alone, he would have accepted the Chieftain's Quest.

Aodh rose. If there isn't anything else, I will go and inform Meallan and Finn.

The Chieftain waved. Go.

Aodh bowed before striding towards to the door. Once outside, he exhaled. He wasn't certain what he had expected when the Chieftain summoned him, but it hadn't been that.

Either I'll be known at the hero who stopped the war, he thought wryly, or the fool who was caught by Portal Clan. He knew that if the Portal Clan caught his warband snooping, they wouldn't stop until his clan was annihilated. Bile rose up in his throat at the thought, but he choked it down. Don't think about what ifs. Focus on the task ahead.

He glanced at the sky and was surprised that sun wasn't higher. It felt as though he had spent at least half the morning in the Chieftain's house.

Maybe we will be able to leave today. The thought echoed in his head as he hurried toward the wattle and daub hut that he shared with his fellow warriors. Around him, the settlement was coming to life. Dogs were barking, men were walking toward the palisade. He heard a woman singing softly at a wailing child.

The sounds faded as he walked toward the outskirts of the settlement. Before the war, this area had contained goat pens. When the war began the old Chieftain had decided to build huts for warriors here instead. He pushed aside the door flap made of elk skin and ducked inside. Relief filled him when he saw that Finn and Meallan were up, if not entirely dressed. He didn't glance toward the empty beds that always reminded him of the ones that hadn't returned.

Meallan spotted him.

Aodh! What did Bradach want?

Aodh sank down on his bed and looked at his friends. Part of him had hoped for a longer break before the fighting resumed. It was a foolish dream, he knew, but sometimes all you had were dreams.

He wants us to find out why the Portal Clan can send fresh warriors, unscathed warriors, to their battles.

Finn and Meallan glanced at each other. Aodh held his breath, waiting for them to speak.

He wants us to spy on them, Meallan stated flatly.

Aodh shook his head. More a scouting mission. But if we succeed, the war will end soon. If we fail, the clan will probably be annihilated.

I'm in. I'd much prefer dying with the knowledge that I have tried to stop the war, over dying in a meaningless skirmish, Finn said.

Me too, Meallan chimed in.

Aodh swallowed a relieved sigh. He had been afraid that Finn and Meallan would have said no. Which had been a possibility, since he didn't want to force them to do something. If they had said no, he would have done the mission on his own. For a scouting mission like this he wanted warriors he could trust.

I will be glad to have you by my side, he told them.

Meallan snorted. As if we would have let you get all the glory.

Aodh smiled, and shook his head. Start packing. We are leaving as soon as we can, he told them.

Aodh adjusted the carrying basket's shoulder straps. The basket was heavy, but not heavier than the baskets he carried during the clan’s hunting trips. He glanced at the crowd that had gathered, and hid a grimace. Aodh had hoped to leave without any attention, but the preparations had

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