Legends of Venârivè — The Târensten and the Weirding Wood

A great megalith called the Târensten crowns the south end of a great hill just across the Shârl River from Zýna, in northwestern Lédenheim. It stands about thirty feet high. In attendance about its base are four smaller standing stones, each standing just a bit taller than a man.

The great stone's name was given by the Ivínians who first immigrated into the area in the TR390s and means either 'kings' stone' or 'royal stone'. This name may stem from the faint rings of light which are faintly visible about its crest on clear nights of the new moon. The rings are at their brightest on the 30th of Savôr, the Long Night.

It is possible, though, that the name is simply a translation from an older Yârla tribal name, in which case it might refer to an ancient ruler of the region who caused the five stones to be erected atop the Long Hill. It is likely that centuries ago there was a hill fort located where Zýna now stands, although any evidence of its existence was long ago destroyed during the construction and subsequent reconstructions of the thran and its wallhouse.

Zýna's Sárajinian burial grounds are also located on the east side of the Shârl, lying between the riverside woods and the northwest slopes of the Long Hill on which the Târensten stands. Spread about the south end of the hill close by the Târensten are the remnants of a score or more of small Járind burial mounds. These older graves are in poor shape, all apparently plundered at one time or another during the past several centuries.

The modern burial ground first saw use in TR472 when clan Médren repulsed an attack by Quârphic tribesmen. The barbarians had already attacked and burned the settlements downstream at Synhøjen and at Skôrmédren less than a league to the east, and then camped at this site as darkness set in. In the middle of the night, Khóèn Médren led 50 men across the ford and attacked the Quârph, most of whom had been drinking since before sunset. Fighting was fierce for almost an hour, the scene ghastly illuminated as tents went up in flames, before the Quârph were routed. But Khóèn himself had suffered a mortal wound to the abdomen and died before dawn. Twelve score years later, his burial mound remains the largest at the site.

The inhabitants of Zýna seem long enured to the sight of the great stone looming across the river, barely noticing it except when something out of the ordinary occurs. However, except for when a Sárajinian burial ritual requires it, they generally avoid the area because of the woods. Called the 'Weirding Wood', the trees there can somehow seem oddly quiet and threatening at the same time, even when the wind is brisk. The undergrowth is thick, as few people come here to collect fire wood. Some Zýnans claim to have seen spirits walk here at twilight, and the scene is widely considered to be haunted.

For all its eerie reputation, there have been a few events which would seem to merit the Weirding Wood's name. The most recent odd tale that bears any resemblance to reality is the story of the fur trapper Kôri Píndelar, who died on the Long Night during the winter of 683 under mysterious circumstances. Kôri was last seen alive at the popular Seven Otters inn, where he was heard to curse the name of Sárajìn for his lousy run of luck at collecting pelts, and then he walked out into the frigid night. Two months later, during the spring thaw, his body was found frozen solid and pinned to a tree in the Wood by a spear engraved with an ancient style of runes. The spear itself is now locked away in the bowels of Zýna castle.

Third in an occasional series of myths, tavern tales and even some truths from the realms of northwest Lýthia. Previous entries in the series include:
· The Long Night in Bélda
· The Centaurs of Lánkor