The Story of how the Ardchreag Standard was Lost, and of how it was Found Again
Stewart, November A.S. XXXVI
Not so long ago a great celebration was held in the Canton of der Welfengeu. People from all corners of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, and some from beyond, travelled tot he Land of the Ram to attend. Many folk from the Canton of Ardchreag attended, partaking in various activities and having a jolly time. When it became time to serve feast, the Chreaggers departed, for there were no free seats in the Hall.
As it was the birthday of one of their number, the pilgrims decided to stop at the Inn of the Jackass to celebrate. They loaded their wagons and set off down the highways towards Kytchener, where said inn was located.
Upon arriving, the members of the lead wagon were informed by the others that something had fallen from their load. The others, afraid of becoming seperated if they stopped to investigate, had left the object lying on the road.
Searching their wagon, the Chreaggers found that their standard, and a metal joint from its pole, was missing.
Not wanting the lost standard to stop the birthday celebrations, Stephen Scrymgeour and Thorfinna gra’feldr volunteered to go back in search. The others went into the inn and ordered food and drink, Colyne Stewart nervously pulling at his beard.
The road was dark and deserted as the Scot and Norse woman made their way back towards the Hall. They spent the time in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. When they got close to their destination they stepped down from their wagon, swinging torches left and right, one searching each side of the road.
The ground was muddy, and a mist was rising, making their search difficult. To make matters worse, they could hear howling in the trees nearby.
Going still, Stephen called out to Thorfinna, and she ran to his side. Sitting ten feet away at the edge of the woods, the standard in its jaws, was a tygre. It growled at them, then turned intot he woods and ran. Not hesitating a second, the two Chreaggers charged after it, Stephen freeing his dirk, Thorfinna clutching her axe.
Brambles and thorns ripped at their legs, and Stephen was thankful he had not worn a kilt that day. After a long chase, they treed the tygre, who growled from its perch, shaking the tree as if daring them to climb up after it. Putting his dirk between his teeth, Stephen, who was wise in the ways of lumbermen, began to do just that.
When he got close to the creature he could hear howling from below the tree, but he did not dare take his eyes from the tygre to see what was transpiring. He slowly advanced on the tygre, careful of where he placed his feet, taking the blade from his mouth. The tygre sat still, not moving, not seeming even to breath, until suddenly it lunged.
Stephen whipped up the dirk as the beast crashed into him. They both tumbled fromt he tree, crashing through the branches, and Stephen managed to turn himself so when they hit the ground, he landed on top of the great cat. His breath was knocked from his lungs, and he gasped painfully as he laboured to breath. Hands grabbed him and hauled him to his feet and he discovered that the tygre had been slain. Looking about he saw the carcasses of many garwolves. When he looked questioningly at Thorfinna, the Norse just smiled.
Bending down, Stephen freed the standard from the tygre’s jaws. Other than a fray of two, the standrard was fine, though the force of the tygre’s jaws had bent the metal joint.
Returning triumphantly tot he inn, they proudly displayed the standard tot hei fellows who were all greatly relieved (especially Colyne). The celebrations that followed went long into the night.
(This story, like so many tales, is based in fact. It is true that after Scotchtoberfest on Nov. 3, 2001, many members of the populace of Ardchreag stopped at Kitchener to celebrate a birthday at Jack Astor’s. Upon arriving they did indeed discover that the canton’s standard had been left on top of tone of the vehicles and had fallen off somewhere long the way. Food having already been ordered, Stephen and Thorfinna went back alone to look for it, and di indeed recover it. It had been run over by a car, but the metal joint that it had been packed with had saved it, taking the brunt of the punishment upon itself.)