Volume 4 – Firemane Clan
Chapter #159 – Troubled Times (5) : The Grove Of Kyne!
The assault of the Bloodsails and the Blackrocks was a very rude and reckless aggression, the damage that they caused in Eastmarch by making the mammoths go berserk will surely have a harsh consequence if they can’t defeat the Firemanes once and for all and make the victor claim as the one who was provoked and all that.
It is hard to make such a claim but no one was a pushover to join such a reckless fight even though a Holy Ground that is called the ‘Grove of Kyne’ or ‘Kynesgrove’ may face some damage. The final say, however, is for the Firemanes as long as they are the victors.
In Kynesgrove, a small and peaceful holy order dedicated to honoring the Goddess of the Storms, Kyne, existed for a long time and called themselves the ‘Keepers of the Grove’. They were also the same cult that Jon encountered one of their priestesses early in his first travel when he entered the Eldergleam Sanctuary.
This priestess was standing with Patriarch Tormund and was discussing how to defend the holy place from harm by the coming aggressors.
Meanwhile, Jon and his party arrived at Kynesgrove after they joined up with the Firemane reinforcement led by a woman.
She is one of the most elegant ladies known among the clans. Her black hair and red dress that were always in the clothing style of her mother clan, the Moonblade, as well as her iconic moon sabers were all there. Her appearance and Alina’s resembled each other a lot.
Once she reached her husband while being followed by Jon’s party, that got new additions such as Wulfur and Nefertiti, she greeted the priestess.
“Sister Danica, fancy seeing you.”
“Matriarch Jenna! It is my pleasure.”
“So… what did I interrupt?”
“We were discussing a plan to face the Bloodsails before they reach Kynesgrove. It would be a disaster if the Shrine of Kyne got harmed.” Tormund said.
“It indeed is! We, the Firemanes, always take pride at being a part of the Keepers ever since we arrived here. We will surely protect the grove.” Jenna assured Danica.
There was someone outside the discussion that completely lagged when he saw Danica. It was Wulfur.
“Jon, isn’t that the priestess from that day in the Sanctuary?”
Jon looked closely and the name Danica hit a strong bell in his mind. He suddenly grabbed one of the Firemanes that was close to him and confirmed something.
That was Danica Pure-Spring, one of the game’s characters and the priestess of the Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun. And as it seemed, she is part of the order the of the Keepers. He knew it from the start that the order of the Keepers is surely connected to both the temple of Kynareth and the Eldergleam Sanctuary. Not that it matters to him anyway but it was a good encounter and extra knowledge that may serve him in the future.
After a long discussion between the elders and the representative of the Keepers. It was finally decided that the main force of the Firemanes will move outside Kynesgrove to face the Bloodsails and secondary force will have to protect the village from any rear attack. There will be a third force that will go into the grove itself and protect it alongside the priests and the acolytes from the Keepers of the Grove.
The third force will have two leaders and they are Vladimir and Jon who have enough experience in leading troops than anyone else between the younger generation. Jon, of course, was introduced as Jon Dare, the Thane of Winterhold.
The preparations were all complete and the teams started taking positions.
The night has passed and the second day arrived. After dawn, the bright sun illuminated the world and it was another magical morning.
Following Jon was his team usual team that included Alina, Jull, Wulfur, Bjorna, Ragnar and some other youngsters and Clan Troops that witnessed Jon’s abilities on many occasions.
Alina was walking with Danica who started talking how awesome and blessed Alina is as one of the favored by Kyne and offered as it seemed that the two are close. Jon also discovered that the Keepers of the Grove is an order made of Druids and a lot of Firemanes joined it throughout the generations. It was also the order that guided Ve and Tormund Firemane to the new land that they occupied as their home after driving out a cult of Hircine and some Hagravens that plagued the area. That makes the order a long life friend to the clan.
One more interesting thing that he managed to understand that the order has a lot of Druidism techniques that fit someone with the talents of Alina. Nurina and Jon would most certainly encourage her to pursue the path if he found it as interesting as it sounded. His hunting teacher always spoke of Druids and it was something he always wanted to see himself. Still, Nurina decided to stay in Kynesgrove and provide support to the second team that will defend the village as it is was the team with the least chance to get in any battle and she wasn’t interested anyway.
As the third team of Jon and Vladimir moved into the grove, they arrived at a small area where standing stones and a beautiful alter that were all made by the people who lived there, these were the priesthood from the ‘Keepers of the Grove’ order. In that place, the party offered prayers to a shrine in an altar made of branches and it was dedicated to the goddess Kyne.
Alina acted as the leader of the prayer and hurriedly offered her prayers in a devoted manner then touched the shrine. A sparkling light came from the shrine and embraced Alina who glowed for a second and returned to normal in a second.
“Amazing! She got a blessing! Kyne is with us.”
Ragnar, who was mostly silent, was greatly moved. Jull, Bjorna and some other girls all surrounded Alina and started around of talking and congratulations in a girly way that was just all of them speaking at the same time.
Jon was smiling as well and didn’t say anything. A blessing in this world wasn’t as common and as easy to get in the game for anyone in this world. However, when it comes to Jon, things get rather a little strange as he himself is aware of it. Jon wasn’t a believer of any of the pantheons of this world but he had a favorable impression of Kyne (aka Kynareth), Ysmir (aka Talos), and Shor (Aka Shezarr aka Lorkhan). So all he did was to pretend to be praying then touching the shrine as the others did before him.
Without any expectations whatsoever, the shrine gave the same sparkles and Jon started glowing more than Alina herself who was called a ‘favored child by Kyne’.
‘Damn it! I never prayed for anything and I always get a blessing! Every damn time.’ Jon thought to himself.
The others weren’t really expecting to come across another blessing on the same day and lagged for a second.
“As expected from Senior!” Alina reacted first and seemed to be excited.
“Yeah yeah! Thanks for the blessing.”
Jon always gets annoyed because every time he gets to pretend to pray for gods he doesn’t even worship and gets a blessing anyway. Happened with Talos, Mara, Kyne and every time he gets to touch a shrine. The reason was probably that he recognized the existence of the Et’Ada who are viewed as gods to the mortals or maybe a privlige for the damn Dragonborn.
Anyway, each time he causes an uproar but it may be useful for the moral of the men this time so he just reacted with a smile and was seen in a more favorable impression by the ones around.
After he managed to calm down the fanatics around him, he started sending patrols and managing the area he was appointed to calmly. He spread a lot of Familiars to monitor the situation and talked with the priests to show him around.
As he was accompanied by a young acolyte, he saw the beauty of the place from its the rolling hills, to its the majestic trees. The lake filled with cool, clear water. The sun seemed to paint the area with highlights of brilliant gold, the shrine was breathtaking, sitting upon a rise and dominated by many standing stones carved with holy runes. The place truly seems to have been kissed by Kyne’s icy breath with the beautiful mix of Spring and Winter all in one place.
“If we had a normal grove like that in Winterhold… Sigh! No one would have suffered in the winter for food and wood.” Jon spoke his thoughts out.
“It is forbidden to seek harm to any tree in the grove while the fruits that grow here are free for anyone within reason of course.” The acolyte said. “But you can ask Sister Dancia to spare some of the seeds if you want to grow a grove by the place you live. The Firemanes take some seeds from time to time.”
“Seriously? I will have to trouble you then.”
“No problem, truly.”
It seemed like an opportunity for Jon to make a new project and he wouldn’t miss that out. The seeds that would be given from this grove are mostly blessed and will have a strong energy to grow normally in a harsh place like Winterhold.
After some time, Jull came running with her patrol members.
“Jon, there is an update on the situation!”
“Some of the scouts reported movements. It seemed that the fight has started at the front.”
“After a bloody while. Have the enemies sent any force to attack anywhere near our area?”
“Not yet I suppose. You, call for Vladimir and tell the others to get be on standby. And Jull, I want you on a Flame Atronach Hawk to watch the north.”
Jon started giving a series of orders to the clan soldiers with him and to Jull.
If the Bloodsails so much decided to attack the Firemanes from the back or a send a small unit to wreak havoc from behind, he will be there waiting for them to mess up, he and Vladimir had around 50 Foot Soldiers and 8 Mages so it was a good chance to show off his commanding skills.
The true fight will soon begin.