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Brynjar Witch-Breaker

A grizzled old viking and a wanderer of the northern ice fields. Wreathed in mystery, he stares from behind a white beard with eyes as blue as the sky.

0 · 383 views · located in Dark Age Europe

a character in “On Icy Shores”, as played by LordTalbot

Description

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Full Name: Brynjar Witch-Breaker
Title(Mr./Mrs./Lord/Lady/Sir/): Radningar
Nickname(s): The Bear

Sex: Male

Age(and how old they look): Looks to be in his 70s, but who knows how old he really is.
Orientation/Sexual preference: Straight

Height: 6'5
Weight: 17 st

Eye color(s): Ice blue


Body build(slim, muscular, etc.): Hulking and muscular, however his age is getting to him.
Body abnormalities(Cleft lip etc.): None


Hair color(s): White, flecked with brown.
Hair length: Shoulder length.
Hair style: Loose, with a braid down the back.


Complexion: Weathered, with many wrinkles and small scars.
Scars: He has many across his arms and chest, some big some small.
Birthmarks(and what they are/were): None
Tattoos(what they are and where): He has the norse rune for Odin on his right arm.

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Piercings(what they are and where): None
Dress: Brynjar wears a motley of animal skins, chain mail and thick woolen layers. Most of the cloth coloured black, he blends into his surroundings with ease. He carries a two-handed daneaxe alongside a sword and saexe. On his back is an old shield, covered in cuts and splinters. He wears no helmet, allowing his hair to blow in the breeze, but his fur-lined cloak has a hood he often wears.

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Personality: Quiet and imposing, Brynjar is a mysterious figure. He speaks very little, and when he does he gives very little away. He knows a lot about the world, and more than most men. He keeps himself to himself, preferring the company of animals and the wilds to other people. When roused Brynjar can be a ferocious warrior, ignoring pain and fighting with the strength of a bear, hence his nickname. His eyes see everything, and his gaze can make people uncomfortable. He also has an uncanny ability to know when people are lying.
Most prominent personality trait: Silence. He moves and speaks very quietly for a man of his size.
Best traits of their personality: Brynjar will always help those in need, though often in ways they didn't think they needed to be. He also has a constant soft spot for animals.
Worst traits of their personality: Quick to anger when provoked, Brynjar will lash out at all he sees responsible, often hunting people down across great distances and even great lengths of time.

Current faith(religion): Norse pagan
Current superstitions/quirks: He has a particular reverence for ravens, keeping many feathers on the inside of his cloak.

Alignment(good, evil, etc.): It is difficult to say. Some call him either. He is on nobody's side.

Marital status(Single, married, dating, etc.): Single.


Special skills(Not meaning powers): Aside from his clairvoyance and impressive fighting skills, he has a strange immunity to the cold, able to withstand icy winds and deep snows better than most men.

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Brynjar's past is as mysterious as his current self. Many believe that he was an old chief, lost on his return from a raid. As his men died around him from cold or starvation, Brynjar made a deal with Odin, promising to serve him in life on Midgard. Now the stories say Brynjar wanders the lands of the ice-giants, fighting in the name of the Aesir, in the hopes of entering Valhalla with a glorious death.

These days Brynjar stays around the mountains, never venturing near the coastal regions, and rarely to the temple at Uppsala. When he is seen it is with a mixture of suspicion and fear. When our story comes to him, Brynjar moves with a new purpose, his age and wounds forgotten. The story of our heroes will surely take the interest of the gods.

So begins...

Brynjar Witch-Breaker's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Lady Arlette Character Portrait: Lord Landry Character Portrait: Ekkhart Dumont Character Portrait: Gunnar Eriksson Character Portrait: Kotah Character Portrait: Aethelstan of Lincoln
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Stormy seas and frozen fields greet the start of our story. It is February, not long since the death of Charles the Great, and Europe lies in turmoil. The sons of the dead emperor tear at the spoils left behind, leaving the back door to their kingdoms unguarded. Saxon England, reeling from another summer of raids by the Vikings, turns upon itself, the rising power of Wessex challenging the older kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. Across the North Sea the Norsemen of Scandinavia winter their longships in triumph. Yet another successful year. However, power struggles at home leave the Vikings in need of yet more wealth.

It is in this time of chaos and violence that out story begins in two very different places; Winchester, the capital of the kingdom of Wessex, and Uppsala, the principal holy site of the Norse faith in Svithjod. Our characters are as of yet unawares of the great task they will be called upon to achieve. They will face danger, death, and the fickle nature of gods and creatures old and forgotten. What is their task? Who can say, but that whoever completes it first will change the course of history forever.

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Two moons have passed since the Yule festival, but the land still cowers in the grip of winter. Snow lies heavy on the ground, and icy winds whistle through the dense forests around Uppsala. A place where no man rules. A place where the gods alone reign. The skies are heavy with rolling clouds, threatening another heavy snowfall, even as the winter light fades quickly. Wolves prowl these forests, their howls echoing across the hills and hidden valleys. Only the strong survive here. This is a land of warriors, chosen by the gods for glory and conquest.

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A small settlement lies along the river Mälaren, smoke rising from a few crouching huts. The only sounds as the long dark approaches are the occasional bark of a dog, and the crunching snow as some of the people move about the buildings. The huts themselves are simple wooden affairs, aged and insulated with sod. One structure stands taller than the rest, a small hall, from which the sounds of singing can be heard. Though not as grand as some other halls, this one appears homely. Going down to the shoreline, a small dock pushes out into the icy waters of the Mälaren. A few fishing boats have been dragged up onto the bank, and two longships sit tied to the dock, their dragon-headed prows silent and imposing in the gathering dark. Just outside the main village, there is a ring of standing stones. Some of these stones are carved with intricate runes, telling tales of warriors long dead, and gods long distant from the realms of men. More stones lead away from the circle, and along a well-beaten track into the forest.

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High above the river and the settlement, sits the ancient temple of Uppsala. In all the world, no other place can bring someone closer to the gods. The forest around the temple is eerily quiet, and approaching the temple is in itself a task, as you always feel as if you are being watched by unseen eyes. Tokens, and offerings to the gods litter the trees, some as simple as wicker symbols, some forming small piles of bones. Even as the more grisly offerings are covered in a layer of snow, the empty sockets of skulls still bear an oppressive quality to any prospective worshiper. The temple itself is a tall, wooden structure, its eaves decorated with images of the gods. Small braziers flicker outside the doors, the flames flickering in the cold wind. Inside the temple the light is dim, the interior lit only with a multitude of candles. Statues of the gods loom out of the shadows, in places with solitary worshippers knelt in front of them. A woman, her flaxen hair in two long braids, kneels in front of a statue of Freyja, her belly showing the early signs of pregnancy even through her cloak and furs. An old man stands before a statue of Odin, his once strong hands shaking as he holds them raised to the heavens.

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High above the waters of the English channel, sits a great, stone-walled town. Above the wall can be seen the tower of a cathedral, and myriad rooftops made of everything from thatch to tiles. The ruins of some ancient Roman buildings are evident outside the wall, and the great stone roads leading to and from the gates are obviously from the same time. The guards on the walls huddle round braziers, as cruel winter winds whip along the ramparts. As night closes in the gates are sealed, great wooden cross-beams laid in place to hold them shut. But despite this the town is still lively. Many people go about the streets, and light spills onto the muddy streets from houses and taverns. The sounds of a busy town fill the air, but louder than most is the sound of blacksmiths’ hammers. Working hard into the night, the smiths labour to produce hundreds of swords, and the heads of spears. Wessex is preparing for war.

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Close to the center of town is the palace, home to the kings of Wessex. Once a Roman villa, the palace has been expended by generations of Saxon kings, though the hypocaust remains intact. The halls are richly decked out with tapestries and oak furniture, carpets and furs covering the stone floors. In the main hall, a throne sits on a raised dais, looking down across two long tables leading to the main door. A group of housecarls sits drinking at one of the tables, their conversation often interrupted with raucous laughter. Fires burn brightly in the fireplaces dotted around the palace, and servants scurry along the corridors. In a chapel, attached to the royal chambers, a richly dressed man kneels before an ornate altar. King Egbert prays for guidance. His recent wars against the Welsh have seen Wessex soar in prominence and wealth, but now he faces opposition from the king of Mercia, the largest landholder in England.

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The setting changes from dark-age-europe to Uppsala

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker
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The old man sat near the great temple, a little ways down the track. In the dwindling light he was very nearly invisible in his black cloak. A little steam rose from his mouth, though the rest of his face was shaded in the cowl of his cloak. The furs on his shoulders sparkled a little with flecks of snow, and the shield on his back gleamed with white streaks. He had sat there for a while, a raven on his shoulder, gazing into nothingness, listening to the sounds of the wild.

Brynjar had only just returned to this temple, a pilgrimage he made every year. He felt closer to the gods when he was out in the wilds, but this place still seemed the appropriate place to make his offerings. Though what more could he offer? His body and soul belonged to the gods. Carrying out their will in this world was the only duty that stood between him and seeking out a glorious death to join his brothers in Valhalla. This visit was different though, he could feel it. Something had drawn him here. As he waited for whatever it was, the raven had sat with him. It's jet black eye pierced his own and he grimly heard the messanger of Odin.

Straining his ears, Brynjar could just hear sounds from the village below. They were fighting again. It seemed a constant circle of events. Feasts, fights, and living. Especially in winter this was true. However, he could hear something else. Someone, no... two things were approaching. One walked with the gait of a human, the other he was not sure about. Resting his hand on the worn handle of his daneaxe he waited to see who it was. He doubted they would notice him before he saw them. No one save the gods had seen him for years.

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah
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The tigress moved slowly as she followed behind the warrior. Her muscles were wound tightly under her skin as though ready to pounce. She wanted nothing but to surge forward, not to attack the warrior but to push her faster towards destiny. She could feel it welling up, like a child preparing to be born. Something important was going to happen at the temple. She bared her teeth silently. The human was too slow and it was not her right to quicken fate. All she could do was wait patiently and follow slowly behind. She calmed herself with the knowledge that fate would be fulfilled in due time and took in the beauty of her surroundings. Soon.

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah
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#, as written by DBN006
As Vilhjalma finally reached the top of the trail she paused to look up and admire the temple built here. A place of the Gods if ever there was one. Unaware of her stalker and the man in the dark cloak she pressed forward, shaking snow from her cloak as she advanced. She even paused for a moment to warm herself at the flickering braziers on the outside.

She pulled down her hood and shook her hair loose before pushing the doors open and stepping inside. She lingered in the entrance long enough to let her eyes adjust to the dim light before heading in further. Her eyes lingered over the different statues as she passed them, stopping to bow her head at the statues of Thor and Modi. In the end her destination was The All-Father, Odin. Paying little mind to anyone else there she fell to her knees at the statue's feet, Dane's axe laid out in front of her as she reached out to offer the leather gloves she'd brought with her. "May this meager offering please the All-Father. I would have used them myself but you have seen fit to take away one of my arms. Still, my axe and I serve."

The setting changes from uppsala to Dark Age Europe

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah
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The setting changes from dark-age-europe to Uppsala

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah
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The tigress waited, seated just outside the front entrance to the temple, that sense of fate building. She did not sense the man nearby, even if she could she wouldn't have bothered acknowledging him. Her focus was upon the building and the warrior within. The human place of worship had little meaning for one such as her. The gods were not hers and she was not theirs. She did not think they would act upon her intrusion into the temple, but it was best not to push. As she waited she felt the need to change looming. She had been following the warrior since before she could even be called a warrior, silently avoiding her sight for so long. This moment filled her with great apprehension, it was finally time to reveal herself to Vilhjalma. Were she male, this kind of revelation would come at a great price for her charge. Seeing a fate spirit could mean bad luck. However, Kotah knew that this meeting would bring nothing but good fortune. Her warrior was a major piece in the game of destiny and she would guide her to the greatness that she would become.

The setting changes from uppsala to Dark Age Europe

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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#, as written by Alator
Erak inhaled the fresh and chilling air as he emerged from the Temple. He was in a spectacular good mood, felt closer to the Gods than he'd done in years, and overall he felt alive. He had always enjoyed to visit Uppsala, yet in the months before he would unleash his plans, he felt that the support of the Gods was of severe importance.

Four of his Huscarls sat on small logs around a fire outside the Temple, not that he needed them. The fierce and loyal warriors was merely a show of power. He stretched his arms under the thick cloak and looked out over the surrounding lands. It was dusk, and the light was quickly dwindling. The woods around Uppsala and the waters of Mälaren was illuminated by the gloomy orange light.

Although many was still moving among the trees back and forth from the Temple, many had headed down to the village. As was evident by the sound of fighting that crowding has an ability to cause. Turning his gaze to the left, he spotted an old and grizzled warrior sitting by himself, with a black cloak swept around him. Walking over and leaning himself against the wall next to the old man, Erak said "One is never alone, least of all here. The Gods are with us, always and forever."

Slowly turning his head and looking down on the old man, he asked "Tell me, what do you pray for?"

The setting changes from dark-age-europe to Uppsala

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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Brynjar cast an eye over the well dressed man. He had little time for luxuries, but he would indulge the figure whilst he was here. The light had finally faded totally, and a pitch black surrounded the temple, only penetrated by the fingers of light cast by the braziers. In the distance he howls of wolves sounded, Brynjar's fingertips prickling in anticipation. He did not know why the gods wanted him here, but he felt he would soon know.

Shaking the snow off his shoulders, Brynjar fingered the blade of his axe, the carefully oiled and honed weapon glinting in the firelight he sat on the edge of. "I have little need of prayer these days Erak. Prayers are usually for those who need something or anger the gods. For those who speak to them regularly it is of little consequence." He knew the man. He'd known since he set foot off his longship and began the ascent. Brynjar had watched him enter the temple, and the one armed warrior close behind. The creature that followed the woman was still here, but a whisper from the raven that perched in the tree above him told him it was none of his concern.

Brynjar sighed. "Cold winters fast approach and leave slowly. This land is in the grip of giants." The sounds of fighting carried up to his ears and made him scowl. More important things were necessary now. Drunken brawls were wastes of everything that should be held dear.

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Kotah Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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#, as written by Alator
"And mighty beasts it seems." Erak replied, spotting a great White tiger sitting calmly outside the Temple, suprised that he had missed it.

Turning back to Brynjar he said "The giants grip it, then relents and let it go. Only to try again. The day they succeed will be the day when we lose faith. Myself, I have other concerns." Taking a seat next to Brynjar on the wooden bench, Erak stared out into the darkness. "I trust that you have heard of how my brother Ragnar has become a Jarl in Northvegr? He was always restless, even as a lad. And I trust he will keep venturing west with renewed force, possibly he vies for the crown of Northvegr itself. Not only that, things are stirring in Scandinavia. Only a mere year ago, the late king Gudfred of Danmark was murdered. Horik Gudfredsson, his son, was forced to flee when King Harald Klak siezed Power. He is somewhere in Götaland as we speak, trying to rouse support."

Erak sighed and turned to Brynjar "I pray for that the sons of the North will not succumb to greed and spill eachother's blood. But right now, it looks like I will be sorely disappointed... And as for myself... With the great Charlemagne now gone, the West is in disarray. There has never been a better time to let the longships sail." He added the last part with a crooked smile.

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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"I hear many things Erak. And there is no need for the history lesson. I know the people." Brynjar scowled, most people were wary around him. Usually they were unsure of who he was, but his great bearing and wild appearance kept them at bay. The raven cawed again and Brynjar looked up. Pushing his hood back he shook out his white hair as he stood. The cold invigorated him and he dreaded having to go down into the village. He would do what the gods ordered, but he hated being amongst people, who only seemed to care about what was right in front of them. The gods had a greater plan.

"There is a son of Norvegr in the village. He arrived on a longship from Trondelag." Brynjar reached into a pouch hanging on his belt, clearing the snow from the hard ground with his other hand. Crouching down, the shield on his back slipping a little, he cast his hand over the space. Knuckle bones rolled on the hard ground, the etched runes on them flashing in the firelight from the brazier. Brynjar examined how they fell, then scooped them up and placed them back in the pouch. "Would that I had now what I had yesterday, find out what it was; mankind it mars, speech it hinders, yet speech it will inspire."

The setting changes from uppsala to Dark Age Europe

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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#, as written by Alator
The bluntness of the man made Erak smile the small crooked smile again. It was a nice change from the many lickspittles that tends to flock around people with power. Though hearing about the man from Trondelag did not bother him, Trondelag was of little concern, far away, and no enemies of his. Erak would spend the night in Uppsala before setting sail towards Birca, he was assembling eighteen longships to pay a small visit to England. By the time he would return it shouldnt be long before all the preparations were finished. He was eager to see the land for himself, and what sorts of defences it would have against a larger force.

Erak rose aswell, turning his gaze upon Brynjar and saying "I have need of capable warriors, join me on my journey to the West, you will not regret it."

The setting changes from dark-age-europe to Uppsala

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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Brynjar stared long and hard at the king. He had felt something in his bones, only compounded by the words from the gods he had received, and the predictions of the knuckle bones. But he was yet to understand the meaning of the messages. He stayed silent and looked away into the darkness. His fingers traced the blade of his axe. "Harshly he clangs, on hard paths treading which he has fared before. Two mouths he has, and mightily kisses, and on gold alone he goes." The riddle would have to do. Brynjar was cast adrift on the will of the gods.

The wind howled and small flakes of snow began to fall, hissing when they hit the fire. A blizzard was coming.

The setting changes from uppsala to Dark Age Europe

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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#, as written by Alator
The man interested Erak, yet he had no more time to spend here. Night had already fallen and he would be leaving tomorrow. After gazing up on the skies, Erak turned back to Brynjar with the reply "I will be setting sail for Birca on the morrow, seek me out in the morning or in the city, should you happen to have a change of heart." Erak added the last part with a crooked smile and started to walk down to the village. He was eager to have something warm to eat, as refreshing as the air was, it was still chilling.

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Kotah Character Portrait: Konungr Erak Sigurdsson
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As she waited for Vilhjalma, Kotah took in her surroundings. The men took notice of her, but since she made no moves towards them they did not attack. That was good, she did not want there to be bloodshed on this day, it was too important of a day. She waited while a man came out from the temple and asked another, one she had not noticed before, if he would join him in battle. Instead of a yes or no, the only answer he received was a riddle. The man left without answering and took his warriors with him.

She mulled it over after they had gone. "Why not go with them?" Her voice was an breathy echo coming from a mouth that did not move. "Or at least give a straight answer...What does a goldsmith's hammer have to do with joining a battle anyways?"

The setting changes from dark-age-europe to Uppsala

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Kotah
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He did not look up, continuing to stroke his axe absent-mindedly. "The point is not the hammer itself. More so what the hammer represents." Stepping forward, Brynjar stood over the brazier Erak's men had vacated. The lines on his weathered face showed even more deeply in the shadowed orange light. "A goldsmith may make many things of beauty, of intricacy. None but him know the truth of the matter. Those who hold what he creates only see one thing, which they fight over mercilessly." Shrugging his shoulder, Brynjar pulled the shield off his back and leaned it against a post, slinging his daneaxe and warming his hands over the fire.

After a long moment, he turned to the creature, silouhetted and huge against the firelight. His shadow dancing on the snow covered ground. Fixing the creature with an icy gaze, he paused before speaking. "The one you follow. If I have read the signs properly, she is of some significance." Touching his hand to his forearm, then to his forehead, Brynjar closed his eyes a moment, as if searching memory. The messages of the gods had been loud of late, and he struggled to understand them all.

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah
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#, as written by DBN006
With tribute paid and prayers made, the crippled berserker got to her feet with some assistance from her axe. Her remaining arm was stronger than ever but her core muscles were still adjusting to the missing weight on her left. A good thing it did not deminish her ability to slaughter opponents. "I will earn my way into Valhalla yet," she swore to the statue of the All-Father before turning her back to it.

As she made her way out of the temple she stopped to pay brief but sincere respects to the representations of Thor and Modi. She even blew a kiss at the statue of Freyja. If she somehow ended up in Fólkvangr rather than Valhalla, being loved by a goddess for eternity might not be so bad. Not so ideal as endless the feasts and battles of Valhalla though. All better options than an peaceful death in bed followed by the cold grip of Hel.

With hand and shoulder Vilhjalma pushed open the temple doors and let herself back out into the cold. The weather had taken a turn for the worse apparently. "Not a good sign."

The setting changes from uppsala to Dark Age Europe

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Character Portrait: Brynjar Witch-Breaker Character Portrait: Vilhjalma Litsdottir Character Portrait: Kotah
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The tigress nodded as her charge exited the temple. The man seemed wiser than most, he seemed to understand the flow of fate and fortune however much he talked in pointless riddles. She would speak more to him, but now was not the time for that. She stood, her fur ruffling in the cold wind and approached the one armed warrior.

The crippled Berserker was ready to start down the temple's meager stairs when she stopped. She'd missed it at first, white fur blending in so well with the snow. She had no excuse for missing the dark stripes. Despite having no idea just what a tiger was she was still certain seeing such a creature was significant.

The creature stretched as if bowing and then moved backwards to rise onto its hind legs. Slowly it shrank, giant, clawed paws becoming frail looking hands. Powerful furred muscles became lithe, smooth skin. And the deadly muzzle became a smiling female face. She stood there for a moment, smiling as her white gown flapped gracefully in the wind. She closed her eyes and hummed enjoying the sensation of being in a human form. Then she opened her eyes, the same brilliant silver as the tiger's. "Hello, Vilhjama."

Even the blonde warrior knew that the supernatural was not something to mess with and a shapechanger knowing her name brought the trickster Loki immediately to mind. She took half a step back and changed her stance. "You have business with me, spirit?"

She nodded, seeming unpleased by Vilhjalma's change in stance. "I have had for a very long time. But now is when we finally talk, face to face."

"What could you possibly want from me, and why now?" She wasn't openly hostile but there was something to be said for being suspicious. Few would accuse Vilhjalma of having a smooth personality.

"The only thing I want is for you to fulfill your destiny and for me to be there when you do. And now? Times are changing, something big is coming. Now is the time for us to meet, there was no other way."

Hearing the spirit's purpose suddenly made her feel uneasy. Destiny. It was said that even the Gods could not escape or change their destiny, Ragnarok. What if her destiny was something she wanted no part in? She would have no hope of changing it. "Destiny you say...is mine so important?"

"I would not be here otherwise."

"Do you have a name?" She stood up straight once more, Dane's axe resting against her shoulder. No sense asking about this important destiny of hers. Oh it was tempting, but was it better knowing? Maybe one day she would regret not asking.

She nodded, smiling again. "I am called Kotah." She was happy to see her acceptance so readily. She had not known what to expect, so this was a pleasant surprise.

"Kotah, right." The woman sighed. "You already know my name. Introducing you to my traveling companion may be...tricky." Einar, still waiting for her down at the great hall. He was going to think she was mad.

"I can remain hidden, or in the form of a tiger, if you wish."

"That...is up to you, spirit. Kotah." She finally descended the stairs and passed by her newest companion, asking "Aren't you cold?" over her shoulder.

"Tigers do not mind the cold. But being like this...is somehow more freeing." She shrugs then turns back towards the old man. "It was nice talking to you."