|Chapter 13: The Rock Gardens of the Maerl|
Beyond the Maerl was the region where the Lords concentrated their efforts to heal the ravages of Desecration and war.
Trothgard had borne the name Kurash Plenethor, Stricken Stone, from the last years of Kevin Landwaster until it was rechristened when the new Lords first swore their oath of service after the Desecration. At that time, the region had been completely blasted and barren. The last great battle between the Lords and the Despiser had taken place there, and had left it burned, ruined, soaked in scorched blood, almost soilless. Some of the old tales said that Kurash Plenethor had smoked and groaned for a hundred years after that last battle. And forty years ago the Maerl River had still run thick with eroded and unfertile mud.
But now there was only a trace of silt left in the current. For all the limitations of their comprehension, the Lords had learned much about the nurturing of damaged earth from the Second Ward, and on this day the Maerl carried only a slight haze of impurity. Because of centuries of past erosion, it lay in a ravine like a crack across the land. But the sides of the ravine were gentle with deep-rooted grasses and shrubs, and healthy trees lifted their boughs high out of the gully.
The Maerl was a vital river again.
Looking down into it from the edge of the ravine, the company paused for a moment of gladness. Together, Elena, Mhoram, and Amatin sang softly part of the Lords' oath. Then they galloped down the slope and across the road ford, so that the hooves of the Ranyhyn and the horses made a gay, loud splashing as they passed into Trothgard.