It was war. But then it was always war for Orlanth and his kin and their enemies. This time it was the Bats. The Rockwoods were infested by giant bats who had returned from the Underworld bearing Death. They had unleashed Death on their enemies among the birds and members of the Storm Tribe alike. Now cottars and shepherds were coming to Orlanth's stead with reports of children and calves being borne off by the Bats. Using the night as cover they swooped down and carried people and animals off with impunity. Orlanth could not let this stand so filling his quiver with winds, Thunderstones and lightning he set off to hunt the Bats. A long time he wandered the Rockwoods looking for the Bats. He searched high and low but he could not find them. He was about to return to his stead in defeat when he heard a tiny voice. He looked around and saw a tiny moth. The moth addressed him saying, "I know of your great quest to seek the Bats and I can help you." It paused. "But, you must grant me one boon no matter what in return." Orlanth frowned at this request but finally swore an oath in agreement. The moth led Orlanth down into the mountain where he had hesitated to go before and led him to the cavern where the Bats were hiding deep within the mountain. High on the walls they hung and laughed at Orlanth down below. They chattered and mocked him thinking themselves safe up high where they were. But Orlanth was not amused. He threw lightning bolts at the Bats which dazzled their weak eyes. He hurled Thunderstones to deafen their ears and silence their ceaseless chattering. He sent winds against them to knock them from their perches. As they lay stunned on the cavern floors he walked among them preparing to kill them. As he reached down to kill the first one a tiny voice spoke up saying, "I will take my boon now. I ask for you to spare the Bat's lives." Orlanth protested at this and demanded that the moth choose another boon but the moth was insistent. Orlanth would not break this oath. So instead of killing them he just stooped over each Bat tearing the mighty muscles from their chests. Thus were the once mighty Bats left too weak to carry off anything but the smallest of prey. Satisfied Orlanth returned to his stead.
The Bats however were not happy. They went to their Mother to complain and asked for vengeance. She was fearful of Orlanth though and instead went to one of her kin, Mighty Artia. Black Artia heard her pleas and descended from the heavens where he lived. He swore to do as much damage as possible before facing Orlanth himself. He fell upon the Storm Tula and wreaked mighty havoc wherever he went. No one saw him coming in the dark and he was strong enough to carry off even the heaviest bull or warrior. News soon reached Orlanth's ears and he prepared himself for battle. Again he girt himself for war and went out to seek the Bat. He wandered throughout the Storm Stead but he could not find the black monster anywhere. He returned in anger to the Stead where he brooded on his throne. No one could find Artia anywhere, neither Ohorlanth, nor Vinga, nor Odayla. Fuming he sat upon his throne. Reports were coming in of entire longhouses being destroyed and all the inhabitants being carried off by the monster. In fury he swore a mighty oath. "Can no one find this Bat for me? I will grant them whatever boon they wish if only they can find me this monster." And a small voice was again heard whispering that he could lead Orlanth to Artia. Orlanth looked down and saw the tiny moth again. He was determined not to take the moth's help this time but Ernalda whispered in his ear and he was forced to agree. Once again arming himself he set off following the moth. The tiny moth led Orlanth to a small stead that was still undamaged. There the moth told him to disguise himself as a cottar and wait for his return. Orlanth did as the moth said and waited for him to return. Soon he saw the distant thrones of the Sky Princes obscured by something. Down swooped Artia to destroy the stead, before him fluttering the moth. Orlanth cast off his disguise and hurled his weapons. As with his smaller kin the lightning blinded the monster, Thunderstones deafened it and the winds battered it to the ground. Orlanth was poised to leap upon it and finish it off when the moth interceded for Artia's life. Orlanth was outraged but again he had no choice. Grabbing Artia by the snout he tore his skin off saying. "Never again shall you attack unseen out of the darkness." Saying this he then took Crimson Artia and fixed him in the sky using the muscles he had ripped from the bats. This was so people would always now where he was. But every Sacred Time the muscles holding Artia in place weaken and he manages to escape their bonds and travels unseen paths. Once Orlanth was finished with the monster he turned to the moth. "Twice you have helped me and twice you have thwarted me. Now it is time for your reward." Moving quicker than thought he snatched the moth from the air. He pressed his thumb into the moth's body leaving the mark of Death there so all would know how treacherous the moth had been. Having done this he threw the moth into the air and went back home to his wife.
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