Here on these pages is one recorded account of a local legend of Garresh, Bryden the Earthsmasher. These events take place during the Lords’ War, some forty years past as of the common year 1016.
During the great War of Secession against the Hazon Dynasty waged by the Houses Thorn, Kran, Dranir, the Knights of the Peak, and the Library of Arn in 966 Common Era, there was a man who lived in southern Garresh named Bryden, a man of great strength and size who spent his days lumbering wood and lived peacefully with his family until the war broke out and the local garrison of Hazon soldiers burnt them alive when Bryden would refuse to fight for the Emperor.
Bryden, formerly a man of peace and understanding, was turnt towards rage upon the loss of his family and as he looked upon his burning cottage, Bryden grabbed the nearest weapon he could find: a large gnarled cudgel formed of petrified wood. It is said that Bryden’s Fist, so it came to be called, was so heavy that only one as strong as Bryden could wield it, but could be brought down with such force that it could cause an earthquake. With this weapon Bryden slew all the Hazon who had murdered his family and swore an oath to never rest until the Hazon Dynasty’s defeat was assured.
After this time, it is said that Bryden gathered the local fighters within southern Garresh to form a resistance against the Hazon forces. General Alakim Narshaddar of the Hazon Third Legion led his forces in a burning swath through southern Garresh, in an effort to cut off the Thorn supply lines from their agricultural hubs, which would have crippled the rebellion.
One of the towns in Narshaddar’s path was a trading post known as Pont Azur, which lay upon the southern side of the great lake. He required the boats there to transport his army across the lake to attack the Thorn forces from the rear. Many of the civilians and refugees from the region were attempting to escape north across the lake to where Thorn’s forces held a strong defensive position. However, the Hazon soldiers were almost upon Pont Azur and the escapees, which would have surely meant their imminent deaths, when Bryden and his warriors arrived to cover their escape.
General Narshaddar expected Pont Azur to fall in less than an hour to one of his forward regiments, numbering three hundred Hazon regulars. Yet when the column of Hazons marched through the forest to Pont Azur, they were met with an unexpected resistance of eighty-seven Garresh freedom fighters, led by mighty Bryden. Accounts say that upon seeing them he struck the ground with all his might so that the earth was torn asunder, ripping trees from their roots and crashing rocks upon the Hazon ranks.
The first regiment of Hazon were defeated after two hours of fighting, with many of the Hazons fleeing in terror from Bryden’s fury. Though they had won for the moment, the Garresh fighters lost many in the battle and there were hundreds more refugees boarding the remaining boats. General Narshaddar was angered by his loss and sent two more regiments along with his best champion, Sir Therien Dalforte of Maribor, who was considered to be the best swordsman in Garresh.
As the last civilians boarded the boats, Bryden’s resistance fought to the last man against overwhelming numbers. Sir Dalforte cut down many a man of Garresh as he advanced towards the pier, where the last refugees were. Only Bryden blocked his path.
The battle between Bryden the Earthsmasher and Sir Dalforte of Maribor was said to be a legendary fight! The land was churned and buildings were broken as their fight raged on. Yet despite Bryden’s great strength, Dalforte’s sword technique was second to none, and so Bryden was felled by a strike through his heart. Yet as he fell, Bryden’s Fist caught Dalforte’s sword arm, mangling it so that he may never fight again.
The Hazon eventually won that day against Bryden in Pont Azur, but not before all of the Garresh folk made their escape across the lake safely. As they left, they saw Bryden the Earthsmasher strike down many a Hazon soldier in their defense. So after the war, when the people returned, they renamed Pont Azur to Bryden’s Ferry in his honor.
Bryden is remembered as one of many heroes in the great War of Secession. Shortly after his death, General Narshaddar was forced to march his army up around the lake, where the Thorn army caught the Hazons in a flanking maneuver, forcing Narshaddar to surrender to Lord Thorn himself.
Without Bryden and his freedom fighters, General Narshaddar would certainly have used the boats at Pont Azur to destroy the Thorns and any chance they had at winning the War of Secession. But because of Bryden the Earthsmasher, the lives of hundreds, and hope for the rebellion, were saved.
He is buried in what is now the town of Bryden’s Ferry. It is said that his spirit haunts the land, still unfulfilled in his vengeance against the Hazon Dynasty, as he promised that he would not rest until the Empire fell.