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They ran wild up in the hills, hunting and roaming and raiding and roaring their lives away, trading blows between clans in petty wars fought by petty kings and singing brave, stirring songs to the memories of the fallen.

That's how the lowlanders put it, while thier own lives were counted in copper and silver as they wiled their days away bickering and haggeling and growing fat from the makings of better men.

His father would grumble in his cups, the drink bringing to surface all the little furies that simmered in him. At his knee Carnut had learned of the grudges of ages past, of betrayal and broken words, and of a promise that lay at the heart of all his father's hopes.