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Erik Thorvaldsson

They call me Erik the Red.

0 · 152 views · located in Colossa

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Sigurd_Hring

Groups

The Empyrean Norsemen have a well established space-faring kingdom on an isolated island in the Empyrean High Seas, originating on planet Gaia in the Milky Way and waving a dragon banner.

Description

Erik the Red is the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson and the father of Leif the Lucky, Thorvald Eriksson, Thorstein Eriksson and Freydis Eriksdottir, and the husband of Thodhilda Jorundsdottir.

So begins...

Erik Thorvaldsson's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Maegan Davenport Character Portrait: Robbie Wings Character Portrait: Jess Thresher Character Portrait: "Spaniard" Character Portrait: Toh Shirong Character Portrait: Axinn Sparkcross Character Portrait: Yoshiaki Saito Character Portrait: Sayanne Grace Hurra Character Portrait: Huernn Blorb Character Portrait: Emys'i Character Portrait: Duri Golzar Character Portrait: Thad Mulchrone Character Portrait: Isla the Tribble Character Portrait: Mokou Character Portrait: Sora Uchiha Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Lord Bandos Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: LONELY
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One fateful day while combing the beach for Murex rock snails, a predatory sea snail which produces a purple inky substance known as imperial dye or royal purple, Snorri Jonasson the skald stumbled upon something interesting buried beneath the sands. As he hit the object with his walking stick, he heard a tinkering sound. There was something hard and metal hidden in the sand. He bent down and dug up what appeared to be a metal helmet. It was a warrior's helmet of some kind, of an almost Roman-like design, embroidered with thin linings of silver and gold. The front of the helmet featured the symbol of a bull in full body with horns and a tail. Despite a small dent on the side of the helmet, it appeared to be in remarkably pristine condition.

But there was more...

Nearby, he also found some curious looking metal pellets or small round lead balls which had also been scattered along the beach. But these were not fishing sinkers, for they had no holes or grooves in them for which to hook a line. Snorri Jonasson picked up a small handful of them, placing them into his hanging satchel along with the helmet he had found. But he was not prepared for what he would find next, for there in the sand, sticking out on the shore like an ancient lost relic, was a polymer advanced alloy pistol, the likes of which Snorri the Skald had never seen before. He would reach down and pull it out of the ground, brushing the sand off of it to examine it more closely. There was an inscription on the side of it which said M5, and Snorri knew right away that he had discovered a treasure that was simply not of the beach, or of Gaia, but had to have come from out of this world, from a people who had visited from the stars.

Snorri Jonasson suddenly forgot all about his snail combing expedition. He placed the gun in his pocket and quickly left the beach, going back to the ring fortress to inform King Halfdan of his discoveries. As he opened his satchel and placed the items on the table in the king's hall in front of him, King Halfdan and Prince Logan admired the shining helmet with fascination. It had not rusted over the last 250 years or so, but was still glimmering as if the gods themselves had crafted it. At first, King Halfdan even mistook it for one of the Sea Elf's own helmets, but after consulting the Sjóálfar, the young Prince Logan assured his adopted godfather King Halfdan that this was not one of their makings. It must have belonged to someone else who lived a long time ago.

"And you say you just found these items laying on the beach? All this time, in plain sight?" Fudørn Auricsson asked doubtedly.

"Ay my Lord, they were in the sand. Buried," the skald answered his jarl, who was sitting at the left hand of the king next to Rufus and Thorvald, opposite the prince.

"And what of these little balls here? What do you make of them? If they are not sinkers, then what are they?" inquired Rufus, the king's champion, as he fumbled with one of the tiny metal pellets before dropping it back on the table.

"I'm not sure..." the king answered. Everyone else fell silent for a moment, looking around the table at one another. Snorri then nodded quietly.

"There is something else," Snorri Jonasson said as he pulled the M5 pistol out of his pocket and slid it across the table. King Halfdan would glance at Snorri for a moment before picking up the small handgun and examining it.

"It has a trigger, like our crossbows, and a barrel... I think, whatever that is, it fired these" Snorri suggested, causing the others to nod quietly in deep contemplation. King Halfdan passed the M5 pistol around before picking up the helmet and examining it again. He studied the bull insignia more carefully, making a mental note of it in his mind. "Remarkable..." Halfdan whispered.

King Halfdan ordered the items to be set on display, high up on one of the shelves within the king's hall so that he could always gaze at them and wonder. He was about to send Thorvald Asvaldsson and Rufus the Bald on their quest to Iskjerne Bay, when just then, the doors swung open and two of the king's guards entered, holding a young man with a knapsack over his head by his arms who was fighting and struggling to get free. They were accompanied by the tavern keeper.

"Your Grace, sorry to disturb you, but we have a problem," one of the guards informed him. The king nodded to the guards, who nodded to the tavern keeper as he stepped forward.

"Your Grace, this young man here just killed one of my best customers during a game of hnefltafl and refused to pay for his drinks," the tavern keeper pleaded.

"He lies! I was cheated!" the young man yelled from under the bag over his head. "Silence you thief," one of the guards said while hitting the young man hard in the stomach with the butt end of his club. The masked criminal slumped over silently in pain, having the wind temporarily knocked out of him. King Halfdan rolled his eyes and looked over at the tavern keeper.

"How much does he owe you for the drinks?" King Halfdan asked calmly. "Sixty fennings your Grace," the tavern keeper answered humbly, removing his hat. The king nodded and with a snap of his fingers, Fudørn Auricsson would bring him a money chest. "I will double it for your troubles. One hundred and twenty fennings, and not a penda more," the king said as he counted out 120 pennies and placed them in a bag, tossing it to the tavern keeper, who caught it in his hat.

"Thank you so much your Grace, you truly are a great King," the tavern keeper said, bowing his head before turning and leaving. Everyone else's focus was now on the masked murderer before them as King Halfdan handed the treasure chest back to his jarl, scratching his chin.

"As for you boy, murder is a crime in my kingdom. Punishable by death. I could have you beheaded, and your lifeless body hanged on my display," King Halfdan said, ordering his guards to bring the criminal forward so that he could have a better look at the accused, and decide what to do with him.

"Do you understand the accusations against you?" King Halfdan piped up rhetorically with a bit of sternness and anger in his voice. "Do you deny that you killed one of your fellowmen?" he immediately followed through.

"... I do... And I don't..." the young man answered.

"Good, you will save me a trial then," the king said as he poured himself a glass of mead. "Guards, if you would do me the honor of please removing his mask so I can see his face... What is your name young man?" King Halfdan asked calmly.

The guards would remove the knapsack from over the young man's head, revealing a Norseman with long bright red hair and hazel green eyes. Everyone else in the king's hall would pause to gaze at the murderer before them. Thorvald Asvaldsson's eyes lit up with terror at what he was now witnessing, as Rufus the Bald turned to look at him, then back at the young man before him with a gaping jaw. The young man would shake the hair out of his face before gazing up at the king with remorseless hatred in his expression as he made eye contact.

"I am Erik, son of Thorvald Asvaldsson," he answered.

King Halfdan blinked, glancing beside himself to Thorvald before looking forward again at the admitted murderer directly before him. Thorvald Asvaldsson had widened eyes and a look of horror on his face. King Halfdan the Great was nearly speechless himself as he stared into Erik's eyes, before chuckling at the irony of it all while taking a swig from his glass of mead.

The setting changes from Empyrean Sea Beach to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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The burial mound beneath Queen Aslaug would tremble and move, like a pregnant mother with groaning pains as suddenly, the dirt and grass began to shift. Soon, fingers emerged from beneath the soil. But these were not skeletal fingers, nor the blueish pale rotten appendages of a Draugr, rather they were of pinkish lively hue and covered with living flesh and nails.

Moments later, a whole arm would emerge from beneath the dark black rich fertile soil, and soon an entire man would dig his way out from the earth, his head and torso emerging to reveal a living human being, as if Gaia herself had just given birth.

The man would immediately gasp for air as he coughed up a mouth full of dirt, inhaling and exhaling as if it was his first time breathing fresh air. Soon he pulled his whole body out from beneath the fertile mound and rolled over on to his back, breathing heavily, exhausted and without any energy. He was a Norseman with dirty hair and mud stained clothes. His face, his shirt, his entire body was covered with brown mud and black dirt. He wore shaggy trousers, completely devoid of any shoes or armour. His feet and nails were dirty, and to everyone else nearby who could witness this spectacle, he looked like one of the goblins or uruk-hai who had been fashioned from earth.

But this was no orc or goblin, as soon they would see, for as he opened his eyelids to stare up at the skies, his eyes were bright blue and full of life. The man who had just crawled out from underground was a human, and not just any human. It was the long lost son of Sigurd Hring, who had been presumed dead for a very long time. The now very weak, very vulnerable man who was sprawled out on the ground in Iskjerne Bay was none other than Ragnar Lothbrok, the Ghost of England, a legendary Viking from whom many a Norseman, both in Iskjerne Bay and surrounding counties were all descended and had written many poems about.

It was as if Sigurd the Ringtaker himself had returned. But this was not King Sigurd, nor was he a god with divine powers. This was a man of flesh and blood, a mortal being in dire need of food, drink, and medical conditioning.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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As the beaten, dirty and fatigued Ragnar "Lothbrok" Sigurdsson lay helpless on the dirt mound, lacking all wits, senses and energy, two Norsemen would walk up and grab him by his arms, dragging him down the grassy slope and over towards a mule wagon, where they lifted him up and tossed him into the back of it on a pile of matted hay. Thorvald Asvaldsson and his branded son, Erik the Red, glanced at each other quietly for a moment before climbing back into the wagon and driving away, heading towards the battered village and beyond it to the gated entrance of the Iskjerne Ring Fort, where they were hoping to find some food and rest, and maybe a little help for the stranger they had just picked up.

Thorvald Asvaldsson was but a poor old farmer and exile who had been sent on an errand from King Halfdan Svensson the Great, the sovereign of the distant Empyrean Norse Kingdom over the Weargtooth Mountains to the south, acting as an ambassador from the Empyrean High Seas, charged with gathering information for his king. The tropical Empyrean Sea Beach settlement was remarkably similar to the Norse colony at Iskjerne Bay, only much more advanced. Iskjerne Bay was also much colder, located on the main continent of Ellaria along the northernmost coastal mountain range, whereas Thorvald "Bloodyfist" Asvaldsson had come from a large warmer island in the sea. The journey to Iskjerne Bay was long and treacherous, about three and a half weeks long according to his calendar, having taken the much longer but safer route by land around the sandy, rocky coastline of Ellaria rather than daring the sea, or going up the central mainland over the mountains as most others would.

King Halfdan had provided the karvi, a small boat to get Thorvald Bloodyfist across the water, but he was required to bring a slow-moving mule cart and continue his own journey from there. It had also been a twofold mission for Asvaldsson, for he had also brought his son Erik with him. Erik the Red, following in his father's footsteps, was also an exile and convicted murderer. Only unlike his father Thorvald who had found sanctuary at the Empyrean Norse Kingdom and was allowed, as well as expected to return with news of the condition of the northern settlement, Erik the Red had been banished from the Empyrean Sea Beach and was forbidden to return to the southern settlement for three years, lest he face the harsher punishment of death at the hands of the Empyrean king.

Erik Thorvaldsson would just have to settle at Iskjerne Bay instead, the only other place in Ellaria that was still home to the Norsemen and their kinfolk. But he would soon realize that Iskjerne Bay was not nearly as comfortable or as easygoing as the Empyrean Sea Beach, for as their wagon came around the bend and over the hills looking out at the village, Erik would glance up at his father before looking ahead, to a ravaged and war-torn settlement with archaic-styled medieval structures and open sheep pens, to frost covered rooftops and icey walls that had spiking ice sickles growing off of them. Apart from the nobles, of which there were very few if any, most of the local villagers and Norse settlers appeared to be malnourished, cold, hungry and impoverished. A curse or plague had struck their land, and many of the farmers and villagers were left to fend for themselves.

Thorvald Bloodyfist would snap the reigns lightly, causing his mule cart to speed up as the wagon went around the serpentine dirt road through the open village, passing the gated entrance to the ring fortress. Erik gazed up at the two large statues that flanked the entrance to the outer wall, his eyes rather enlarged with both nervousness and awe. His father also glanced over at the statues, taking note of one of them which seemed to be standing tall and proud, made of solid stone, while the other statue was split in half vertically, made of hard wood which had partially fallen over with its face in the moat and had been left there to rot. Just as they were coming through the main gate, Thorvald and Erik noticed another smaller group of people who did not look like typical Norsemen exiting Iskjerne Bay at the same time as they were arriving, led by a single woman.

Thorvald Asvaldsson was surprised to see something quite familiar about Livia the Legata and her Praetorian guards as they marched passed them out of the second gates, heading in the opposite direction. He immediately recognized the insignia of the bull, and the style of their helmets, as well as the unique weapons they were carrying with them. They had been eirily similar to the helmet and firearm that Thorvald Bloodyfist had seen back at the other kingdom. Were these Praetorians some kind of elite Viking mercenaries hired to guard the Iskjerne Kingdom? Just then, something else caught Thorvald's attention as his son smacked his arm and pointed up in the air before him to the giant castle on the other side of the third stone wall, heading up the drawbridge to the raised mound at the center of the large ring fortress. It wasn't very elaborate or fancy, more like a thick stone cube, but still it was marvelous enough to merit Thorvald's attention.

Next they were greeted by a rabble of filthy guards with the likeness of berserkers. Thorvald and Erik had seen these types of men before, but never so many of them concentrated in one place. Berserker cults had long been outlawed in their Norwegian homeland, but here at Iskjerne Bay it seemed that the berserkers were still in active service to their Viking lords. But they did not say much, neither smiling nor even paying Thorvald and his son much attention as they passed through the final spiked gate and ascended towards the castle. Little did either of them know what all had happened in Iskjerne Bay over the past few years or so, nor were they even aware of the significant time change, or the injured passenger they were carrying with them in the back of their mule wagon who was also looking around.

The setting changes from Iskjerne Bay to Empyrean Sea Beach

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Maegan Davenport Character Portrait: Jess Thresher Character Portrait: Axinn Sparkcross Character Portrait: Yoshiaki Saito Character Portrait: Sayanne Grace Hurra Character Portrait: Huernn Blorb Character Portrait: Emys'i Character Portrait: Duri Golzar Character Portrait: Thad Mulchrone Character Portrait: Isla the Tribble Character Portrait: Mokou Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Karvi-3 Character Portrait: Alruna Halfdansdottir Character Portrait: Stjornkona Character Portrait: Rufus the Bald Character Portrait: Logan Haakonsson
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King Halfdan Svensson considered what to do with the murderer Erik Thorvaldsson as he consulted with Erik's father. King Halfdan needed to gather information about the Iskjerne Kingdom on the northern continent of Ellaria, but he couldn't just execute Thorvald Bloodyfist's son and risk having his ambassador to the north turn against him by joining his enemies. After some careful consideration, Halfdan the Great decided to exile the young man instead for three years, and sent him with his father Thorvald to the continent of Ellaria after branding him. Halfdan's guards pinned the murderer down and burned his cheek with the flat side of a white hot knife before casting him off of the Empyrean Sea Beach for a period of three years, warning him that if he returned before his sentence was finished, he would be executed.

Thorvald Asvaldsson and his branded son, now dubbed Erik the Red, then boarded a small karve boat and sailed off into the sea, heading for Iskjerne Bay, while King Halfdan and his champion Rufus the Bald watched from the shore. The Empyrean Norse Kingdom continued to prosper over the next few weeks while Thorvald and Erik were gone. Prince Logan Haakonsson taught his godfather how to speak and write in elvish tongue, and in turn, King Halfdan Svensson gave his adopted son his own daughter, a virgin maiden who had recently turned 14-years-old and, upon having her first menstrual cycle, was now ready to become a woman.

"Come my boy, I want you to meet someone. This is my daughter, Alruna, who is about your age now. She is ready to become a princess. I want you to marry her, and give me some grandchildren," King Halfdan said prudently.

Alruna would curtsey before the prince and smile with shyness in her expression. She was wearing a pastel blue dress with a white flower tiara. Her dress matched her blue eyes, and her blonde long hair had been braided specifically for this special occasion. Prince Logan would look up to King Halfdan nervously, before turning to gaze at the young pretty girl before him. He stood up from his chair and stepped over to her, flinging his cape behind him as he bowed to her respectfully.

"My lady," He said softly before standing upright to look into her eyes. "It's an honor to meet you, your grace, I have heard so much about you," Alruna responded, kissing the prince's ring as he extended his hand. It was obvious that this was a formal arrangement by King Halfdan, rather than a legitimate act of love and affection. But the two youngsters did indeed look very good together, and perhaps that love and affection would be kindled afterall as Prince Logan invited her to dance with him in the king's hall. That night, the two nobles were married and a great public feast would take place to honor their engagement. There was much drinking, dancing, music and eating as Norsemen came from miles away to offer gifts and service to the both of them as loyal vassals.

Many wedding games were played at the drunken festival, from board games like chess and hnefatafl, to maypole dancing and toga-honk. Children would pretend to duel with wooden swords. Men competed in drinking games of strength and wits, while the women competed in fast paced dancing competitions, all while getting drunk on mead, cisers, beer, vodka and other strong beverages such as grog and ale. King Halfdan also ordered a large black ibex to be sacrificed by having its throat slit with a dagger. The blood of the ibex was collected into a large golden bowl or dish, and with the branch from an evergreen tree, the blood was sprinkled over the statues of the gods and goddesses inside the sacred hóf.

At the end of the celebration, all the priestesses in the surrounding village, both young and old, would lead the prince and his princess to the hóf where Logan and Alruna were then stripped naked, and began to make love in the middle of the pagan circle as all of the priestesses watched to make sure that everything went according to plan. This very public, very crude display of Empyrean Norse revelry was not as barbaric or as savage and uncivilized as it may have seemed, for the priestesses were there to ensure that the prince was fertile and able to perform, and that the princess became pregnant. The oldest oracle among them would even be able to tell if the future infant would be a boy or a girl, judging by the young couple's love making positions and the way they reacted.

At the third dawn as the party died down and everyone fell asleep, or returned home, and all the fires had died out, Alruna suddenly woke up and sat up out of a dead sleep as if startled by a nightmare. Prince Logan was still snoring beside her, sleeping naked and face down in a pile of grass. She placed a bear-hide blanket over him and covered her own nakedness with a white linen sheet as she stood up and looked at the circle of statues gazing down at her before walking out of the hóf, squinting her eyes as she gazed out over the land. She was hungover, dazed and confused. Life itself now seemed so surreal to her as she stumbled down the hillside back towards the great hall, unaware at the moment that she was no longer a common maiden but now a royal princess with authority to rule.

The setting changes from Empyrean Sea Beach to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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Livia had assembled her guards to leave, and were well on the way to doing so until they passed a mule cart. The Praetorians had been marching in formation as they left the settlement. Though they didn't seem to pay any heed to it as they all marched. However, Livia had caught the wounded man in the back of the cart, and she stopped then, and there in the moment. She didn't know what compelled her to help, but she figured if she was going to start digging up burial mounds, she would have to earn these people's trust.

She held up her hand, and made a fist, causing her Praetorians to stop in their tracks as well, their armor making a clanking sound as they abruptly stopped, and the men clenched their weapons closely.

"Julius, fetch the medical kit from our cart." Livia instructed. The Praetorian offered a sharp nod, before starting off towards what was left of the stables, and the Argosian mule cart, which had been guarded by two vigilant Praetorians since Ivar's fall.

Livia turned to face the Mule Cart, before she called out to it. "Hætta!" Livia called out, moving swiftly after the mule cart, towards it even, though her nordic words were twisted by a Latin style accent, the word itself was clear, and the moment Livia managed to catch up to the mule cart, was the moment that the Praetorian returned with a large white briefcase, that had a large red cross emblazoned on it. The Praetorian looked around, confused for a moment as he handed it towards the Legata, another Praetorian approaching with a large bidon of water, which sloshed inside the plastic container.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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Thorvald Asvaldsson and his son Erik Thorvaldsson were just about to enter the final spiked gate and approach the Iskjerne Castle in their slow moving mule wagon when suddenly they heard someone call out behind them.

"Hætta!" Livia commanded as she quickly started to approach the back of the stopping cart. Erik would discreetly move his hand towards his waistline to grab his small curved seax, but his father Thorvald would seize his arm and stop him, glancing at him quietly for a brief moment before turning around to look at Livia the Legata and her approaching guards. "Let me handle this," he whispered to his son. Thorvald Asvaldsson would remove his hat and nod quietly to the Praetorians, without making any sudden moves. Erik followed suit, easing up and and bowing his head quietly.

Erik watched distrustfully but curiously as one of the Praetorians walked up to Livia with a large white briefcase with a bright red cross on it, gazing at the wounded passenger in the back of the hay wagon before looking around. Soon another Praetorian approached the mule cart with a plastic water container. Thorvald and Erik glanced at one another silently before turning to look again at the Praetorian guards and their female leader. They understood Livia just fine, but they did not recognize her Latinized accent. Thorvald decided to try and speak to her and find out what she wanted as he looked down at the injured person in the back of his wagon before looking at her.

"Kveðja sómakona mín. Ég er Þorvaldur, sonur Asvalds víðs vegar um haf, og þetta er sonur minn Erik, sem er að ferðast mér við hlið. Þekkir þú þennan mann aftan í kerrunni? Við fundum hann á einni hæðinni, eins og hann er núna. Við vitum ekki hvernig hann komst á þennan hátt. En ég get fullvissað þig um að það vorum ekki við sem rændum hann. Við ætluðum bara að koma honum í musterið og skilja hann eftir. Við erum bara fátækir bændur, eins og þú sérð. Við höfum enga peninga en þér er velkomið að líta í kringum þig og taka það sem þú vilt. Vinsamlegast vinsamlegast ekki meiða okkur." the fifty-year-old man said, still holding his hat in his hands.

Thorvald's accent was just as bad as Livia's accent, it seemed, and although he had the appearance and makings of a true Norseman, and could speak fluently, it was apparent to the sharply tuned ears that Thorvald Bloodyfist was not a native to this northernmost part of the land. Nor was Erik, for they both had redder skin than the Iskjerne Vikings, as if they had been traveling for a very long time in the hot sun. Thorvald and Erik watched quietly with widened eyes, obviously very alert and aware of their surroundings, if not a little intimidated and confused by the well dressed Praetorians who outnumbered them considerably. What did they want with two poor farmers and a wounded man? Were they planning to highjack the wagon? Thorvald swallowed and lowered his head, making himself appear as humble as possible while hoping not to offend Livia and her guards as they examined the wagon.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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Livia quietly reached out to Ragnar in the back of the cart, she was trying to take a look at his wounds, and unlike the beserkers, and the other impoverished inhabitants of this village, Livia's hands would be clean, her fingernails well manicured, and slightly polished, her hands were calloused not from labor, but from years of battle, it was clear she knew how to wield a sword. She looked up and over towards Thorvald, and then back towards one of the Praetorians who was not otherwise occupied.

"Claudius, revertetur per viam portae, non potest dicere Generalis Hama reversus cum hospite." She instructed in Argosian, which sounded a great deal like ancient Latin, the same Latin spoken by the Romans.

"Etiam, Legata." The Praetorian said, bringing his hand across his chest, and bowing briefly. He turned swiftly, and began to move up towards the mountain, his footfalls heavy, and carefully disciplined.

After giving her instructions, Livia reached a slender hand out towards the back of the mule cart, and she placed an armored boot on the back to pull herself up and into the back of the cart, while turning her head towards Thorvald.

"Ég er Livia, fyrsta Legate. Ég vil ekki hlutina þína, ég vil hjálpa þessum manni." She said, her words once more being twisted by her accent, while she directed her attention to Ragnar, grimacing at the wounds he sustained while the Praetorian tossed the white briefcase into the back of the cart, and the second hefted the jug of water up into the back of the cart as well.

"Ef við komumst hann ekki læknishjálp, hann mun deyja." Livia added, this strange language which she had spent the latter part of her time here studying was broken, and difficult to pronounce but she kept trying. She looked over Ragnar, and noted the wounds covering his body, several puncture wounds of different types, lacerations, and he appeared to be succumbing to the effects of some kind of toxin. Livia was no doctor, but she had attended classes offered by the Taiyou in first aid techniques. If she could stabilize him, they could take him to Niihama to receive medical attention. She reached down to her waist, and pulled a pugio from it's sheath, the shiny, clean blade glinted in the sunlight, while Livia started to cut away at the leather straps, or fabric that held Ragnar's shirt on, if he had one. The blade sliced through the shirt fabric almost effortlessly, and Livia noted the wounds were packed with dirt, and festering.

She opened the white briefcase, which revealed dozens of stainless steel tools of various types, scalpels, forceps, scissors, hemostats, bandage scissors, and all manner of different tools, which glimmered in the sunlight.

Livia opened a bottle of a clear liquid which had some unusual symbols on it, a bottle of alcohol disinfectant printed in Taiyou. Once Livia opened it up, the strong smell permeated the back of the cart. She first doused her Spatha with it, and then her hands, rubbing the alcohol before rinsing with the water container. Once dry, she pulled a pair of latex gloves from the kit, snapping them onto her hands, she started with the larger, more obvious wounds.

She worked the spear wounds first, digging the dirt and mud from the deep lacerations, and then flushing them with alcohol, which stung, and then water, until the wounds appeared clean, Two of the Praetorians moved into the back of the cart to restrain Ragnar if necessary.

The Legata worked quickly, flushing the wound clean, and then packing it with gauze, with the larger wounds stabilized, Livia moved to the smaller wounds, flushing with water to clean the dirt from them, and then disinfecting them with the alcohol. Some of the smaller cuts, Livia began to take some thread, and a curved needle, and suture them closed.

"What happened to this man?" She remarked at first in English, and then she stopped herself. "Hvað gerðist"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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Ragnar Sigurdsson suddenly jumped as Livia reached out to touch him. The wide icey blue gaze of his one good eye stared at her with a look of hatred and madness, not just at her but at the whole entire world in general. His other eye had been swollen shut. His forehead had an open gash in it, in the shape of a cross, and there was blood running down his face. His left side had been pierced with a sharp object, causing a trail of blood which soaked his tattered brown shirt and trousers. His right hand was swelled up from being bitten by a viper. He had bare feet with dirty toenails, and his left foot, also swollen, had two puncture wounds on it from snake's fangs. His neck was also bruised, as if he had been choked or strangled by a large python. The whole back of his shirt had been ripped open by being whipped constantly, and there were several lashings on his backside. Both of his wrists and ankles were scraped up and lacerated from being shackled, and from the holes in his hands and feet, it seemed that at some point in time, Ragnar had been crucified. He had been through hell and back, and had every right to be skittish and jumpy at the stranger before him.

But as she slowly lifted his sticky shirt up to examine the gash in his side, Ragnar stared at Livia quietly, his face void of expression as he tried to relax. Even in this horrible state, Ragnar still had the gaze of a very fierce and strong individual. There was hardly any fear in him at all, only a deep sense of hatred and contempt for those who had placed him in his current condition. It was amazing he was even still alive at all, but the badly injured Danish Viking showed no sign of remorse or weakness as he winced in pain, gritting his teeth as Livia examined his many wounds. She would also notice many scars and other former injuries which had healed over time. It appeared that Ragnar had not only been beaten, robbed and left for dead, but had been brutally tortured for many days, perhaps even weeks. Yet his resilience still held. Clearly he was no ordinary human being, as he stared fiercely at the Praetorians who were carrying out their orders from the Argosian commander.

"Claudius, revertetur per viam portae, non potest dicere Generalis Hama reversus cum hospite." She instructed in her native language. Thorvald Asvaldsson and his son didn't understand a single word of it, but Ragnar Lothbrok understood the gist of it, having learned some English and stylized Latin from a Christian priest he had once captured and made friends with long ago.

Ragnar laid there quietly with his head propped up against the back of the wagon seat as Livia climbed up into the mule cart next to him. He didn't say anything, only gritting in pain while hiding his agony and refusing to show fear as she spoke to Thorvald in a language all four of them could understand. "I'm Livia, the first Legate. I do not want your things, I want to help this man." She said, once again with her strangely delicate accent. Thorvald Asvaldsson just nodded quietly.

The Norsemen watched helplessly as the two Praetorian Guards tossed the white medical field kit into the back of the parked mule cart along with the jug of water that Livia had requested. "If we do not get him medical help, he will die." She said, as she began to examine Ragnar's injuries more closely, using her pugio to cut his shirt open and expose the festering dirt covered wounds. The young man Erik would grimace at the sight of so much blood and pain. He had never seen someone so badly injured before, and it surprised him that Ragnar wasn't crying or screaming for mercy.

Thorvald Bloodyfist and Erik the Red watched silently as Livia opened the white briefcase, exposing an array of shining tools and medical equipment. Ragnar just glanced for a second at the tool kit before looking into Livia's eyes again, as if gazing into her soul as she snapped on her latex gloves and proceeded to clean out his wounds. He winced in pain as the alcohol touched his skin, but he made no efforts to stop her. In fact, he seemed more curious and interested in what Livia was doing, as if he was almost taking mental notes in his mind and learning from it as she flushed his injuries with water and alcohol before stitching him up. Ragnar remained somewhat conscious throughout the entire process, but the viper's venom was still slowly taking effect as his vision started to go blurry from the snake bites.

"What happened to this man?" She asked, a bit alarmed it would seem that Ragnar was still breathing. She then repeated herself in their native language. Thorvald and Erik, just like Ragnar, had understood both East Anglish and Old Norse, so Thorvald decided to respond in the Empyrean English dialect instead to make it slightly easier for Livia, seeing as she appeared to be struggling with their more Nordic pronunciations.

"I don't know. Like I said, we just found him like this," the old man answered, speaking directly to the Legata now as his red-haired son continued to examine the shining tools and equipment inside the white briefcase. "Vipera berus," the injured patient suddenly chimed in Latin before closing his eyes and falling limp. He was still breathing slowly, but he was starting to lose consciousness. Thorvald and Erik looked at one another ackwardly, confused again by the strange words before turning to gaze at Livia and the Iskjerne Viking in the back of the wagon who was fading quickly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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Livia took brief notes of the ligature marks on the wrists, and the legs, and she took brief note of the cross etched into his forehead. Livia did not move to flush this wound with alcohol, as she didn’t want to risk injury to the eyes, rather she reached up slowly to flush the cross shaped gash with some water.

“Hold still.” She said slowly, dabbing at the gash with a piece of gauze, cleaning the dirt from it, and slowly, and carefully moving to suture the wound close. This close, the faint floral smell of perfume wafted from the heavy armor, and verdant indigo cape that the woman was wearing, her arms were slender, and lacked many of the scars that someone of her stature should have. Of course, not being cut was part of her skill.

When Ragnar gazed into Livia’s piercing blue eyes, he would see the soul of a cunning warrior, a brilliant strategist, and a woman who was wise beyond her years, touring the galaxy and representing her people on the council afforded her knowledge beyond what a simple primitive could ever hope to attain. Her service to both her own country, and the Taiyou allowed her to see battles that were beyond comprehension. She had the weathered look of a great general, or king, someone who had been used to leading their people in battle.

“I’m going to take him with me.” Livia answered, while she began to fish around inside the briefcase, reaching in to pull out a small box that contained a small syringe. The text on this box was printed in a different alien language, one that resembled a cross between runic, and cuneiform. Livia inspected the vial of dark purple liquid and then the label which was printed in Taiyou. The label stated the chemical was only to be used in case of extreme emergency, and that it was highly addictive. Fortunately, she didn’t use it, rather she fished around inside the box, digging deep until she pulled out another small box, this one had a picture of a stylized rattlesnake on it. The rattlesnake had a helmet on it with a red cross, and the text was typed in some strange eastern language.

Livia figured it was worth a try as she drew the yellowish liquid into a needle, she made sure to look at the correct dosage from the instructions, and using the instructions as a reference point, she slid the needle into Ragnar’s deltoid muscle, and pushed the plunger to inject the contents, a potent polyvalent antivenin that was designed to counteract the venoms of vipers and their related species. Livia didn’t know if it would work, as the Taiyou engineered the antivenin from snake species they knew of, but she figured it couldn’t hurt.

Once the needle was empty, she capped it and placed it in a small red plastic sharps box, just at the moment the Praetorians returned with their own mule cart.

“General Hama is expecting us, he said there is an ambulance standing by.” One of the Praetorians remarked in an English dialect this time, while Livia nodded, reaching into a leather pouch and producing a small handful of silver denarius coins, passing them to Thorvald.

“There is a cave in the mountains north of here, can you take us there? I will pay you for your trouble.” Livia asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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Thorvald Asvaldsson took the small handful of silver denarius coins in the palm of his hand, looking down at them before looking back up at Livia for a moment. He then turned and handed the silver coins to his son Erik the Red, who picked up one of the coins and bit into it to see if it was real. Thorvald then rested his hand on Erik's shoulder.

"Thank you kindly Your Grace, but this old man has already sworn his allegiances to another. Besides, I will only slow your haste. These old bones have been traveling for many weeks, and I am in need of some rest. I will send my son with you instead, he can take you to the mountains." Thorvald said, squeezing his son's shoulder gently before patting him on the shoulder and climbing down out of the mule wagon.

The red-headed young man stared at his father quietly before nodding and placing the silver denarii into his belt pouch and grabbing the reigns. Thorvald nodded respectfully to Livia and her Praetorian guards before putting his hat back on and slapping the mule's ass with his open hand. "Go now my boy, and be quick." Thorvald said as the four-wheeled cart started moving.

Erik the Red nodded and whipped the reigns, shouting loudly. "Yah!!" He yelled as the wagon started to pull away, gaining speed with Livia and Ragnar in the back of it as he carried out the Legata's wishes, taking her north towards the mountains. Ragnar began fading in and out at that moment, talking nonsensically in a way that was incomprehensible to both Livia and Erik.

"Aethelstan... Aethelstan don't leave me." Ragnar said weakly as he squinted his one good eye open and reached out to Thorvald, but the old man was already beginning to walk back towards the castle. Ragnar would blink slightly, beginning to feel nauseated and dizzy from the polyvalent antivenin Livia had injected into his shoulder. He tried to squint and blink, turning his head to look up at Livia again. With his blurry vision, he thought for a moment that she was a valkyrie. The sun's rays cascading over her head and shoulders with brilliant rainbow colors appeared to him like a halo, winged helmet or like the wings of an angel as he smiled very slightly at Livia before laying his head back and closing his eyes again. "Eir, beloved Eir, don't let my wife find out that I'm dead or she'll kill me." Ragnar muttered softly before losing consciousness and passing out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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About a week later, give or take...

One day while Thorvald "Bloodyfist" Asvaldsson was playing a game of tossing his cork bottle plug into his empty cow horn drinking cup while sitting in the public mead hall deep in the center of Iskjerne Bay's old viking ring fortress on the natural dirt floor on top of a thin cloth butt cushion in front of the open fire pit, three distinguished characters walked through the door into the mead hall, gaining attention from everyone at the mead gathering. Thorvald would mind his own business while listening to all the gossip in and around the village.

The setting changes from Iskjerne Bay to Iskjerne Mead Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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Thorvald was playing a game involving a small cork bottle plug and a cow horn drinking glass, sitting inside the public mead hall on the floor before an open fire when Hrafn-Floki suddenly stepped inside the mead hall, accompanied by a dozen or so ulfhednar and half a dozen berserkers, causing everyone in the mead hall to pause for a moment in order to look at Floki the raven master, his appearance unmistakable and wild looking as ever with his thin crow's peak hair style, black eyeliner and curling fingers, a man of more modest size among the Iskjerne Vikings who stood in the arch doorway to either side of him.

Floki had scurvy and was shaking badly as he approached the campfire with his gang of champions and sat down. Floki was wrapped in a thick fur blanket and only his red slightly frost bitten face and frozen beard were exposed, but everyone could tell it was Floki by his walk and attitude as he started giggling nonsensically and wavering his way through the silence. The entire crowd was filled with silence, having all heard of the exploits and deeds of the reputable shipbuilder, adventurer, runemaster, and ghost pirate slaying naval leader who had once served the deceased King Sigurd Hring, and was now a very vain wiseman and holy leader. Floki had parched bleeding lips and dry red eyes, and skin cold and pale, but he smiled and chuckled once he got comfortable, wiggling his fingers in front of the flames.

Just then another familar old face would walk into the mead hall, standing in the doorway with a handful of well uniformed Frankish-styled armed guards with uniquely curved shields and green and blue uniforms with nanosteel armour and weapons, holding Ellarian crossbows, looking rather out of place for the setting. These highly disciplined archers were not Iskjerne Vikings, they were Ellarian Soldiers, and they were being led by a very tall dark haired Nordic man in a red silk robe with a bright blue dog fur cape and a finely trimmed beard. It was Robert I of Ellaria, the crown duke. But in former years, this noble familiar looking Frenchman had another name.

"That's Rollo the Walker," someone whispered quietly from the crowd that was standing back around the walls, putting distance between themselves and the foreign Ellarian soldiers.

"... It's Prince Hrollaug, son of Sigurd Hring." another voice whispered. The already silent crowd began to gasp at the amazing arrival of two well known Iskjerne Vikings who had been gone for several years, but who had once played prominent leadership roles during Sigurd's dynasty.

Just then, another distinguished figure entered the mead hall and upon seeing the Ellarian soldiers and the reaction of the Iskjerne Vikings, the young man slowly walked around the crowd away from everybody and made his way towards the back of the mead hall. His fine bright red blazing hair and stubbly chin were easy to pick out in the crowd as Thorvald Bloodyfist glanced over to him and smiled. It was Erik the Red, his grown son, having just returned from his quest to escort Livia and Ragnar to the cave system to the north. Livia would pay Erik the Red a good bit of silver for his troubles, but little did Livia or Erik realize at the moment just how much wealthier the Empyrean Norse exile had become. Erik soon approached his father and sat down next to him.

"She said he'll live." Erik whispered quietly to his father Thorvald before looking up at Hrafn-Floki in front of him, and Robert I of Ellaria, also called the Duke Rollo, standing at the entrance.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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"Hello Floki," Duke Robert nodded with a slight smile, relieved to see an old friend and familar face in the mead hall.

"Hello Rollo," Hrafn-Floki responded with a vain tone and disgusted look on his face, obviously not approving of Duke Robert's choice of foreign clothing, or the Frankish cross necklace medallion around his neck. Robert I of Ellaria, known to the Iskjerne Vikings as Prince Hrollaug or Rollo the Walker, would frown slightly.

People would gossip and whisper amongst themselves in the public gathering hall. Rumour had spread that Prince Hrollaug was dead, a rumor apparently spread by his own nephews. Ivar the Boneless, who had sought to takeover his grandfather Sigurd's kingdom, had claimed that the spirit of his uncle Rollo the Walker had given him insightful visions inside his dreams. Of course, Ivar had also made many other fanciful claims, even once declaring himself as a god. His invincibility and godhood was proven untrue however as the true gods had shown, causing an earthquake which had shaken the mead hall and thrown the young crippled prince from the throne. Ivar the Boneless, having suffered from fragile bones since the day he was born, did not survive the ill-will and bad orlog brought on by the spirit of his angry ancestors. There, in the corner of the mead hall was a small wooden boat-shaped casket, inside which the dead Prince Ivar lay as if asleep, lifeless and pale, adorned with yellow and white flowers and perfumes.

Ivar the Boneless was dead.

Robert I of Ellaria, the Duke of the Empyrean Normans, would walk over to Ivar's casket and pay his respects to his dead nephew before gathering with his Frankish guards and drawing a crowd of Iskjerne Vikings to the far side of the mead hall to feast. Many of the Vikings would welcome him home and toast to his honor. Hrollaug recounted his exploits across the Weargtooth Mountains and around the Empyrean High Seas, recalling his adventures all around Ellaria, and the continent of Siv'en to the far south. Prince Hrollaug had been gone for what seemed like many years, and it came as a shock to him to hear that his adopted father King Sigurd was dead, along with the others who had served him, including Rollo's biological father Kettil Flatnose, his mistress Gwyneth the Shield-maiden, and many others. The Duke was filled with grief, but he maintained his composure and promised to help the Iskjerne Vikings recover.

But not everyone was so happy to see his return. A lot of the Vikings would separate themselves from Duke Rollo and gather around Floki by the fire pit instead. Hrafn-Floki would spend the next few days recovering from scurvy and frostbite in the mead hall along with the survivors of his fleet. They drank mead, participated in the feasting and discussed their own plans on what to do now that Iskjerne Bay was without a konung to lead them. Floki's wife Helga would feed him potatoes, broccoli and strawberries, giving him apples to consume and help to treat his scurvy. She informed him that their daughter had died during the winter, having starved to death from the famine during Ivar's short reign. Floki was heart broken, and would pardon himself from the feast to go see the burial mounds.

Thorvald Asvaldsson and his son Erik Thorvaldsson would hear of Duke Rollo's adventures and rise to fame. They also overhead some of the svinfylking, skogkattr, vulpinni, uglarii, odrarii and others recount Floki the Vitki's conquest along the Ellarian Empyrean Coast, and how his leidang of 1,000 seafaring Vikings had fought off an invasion of ghostly phantoms led by pirate Robert the Butcher, a draugr or zombie-like vassal of Gro'chal Deathweaver the necromancer. It seemed that both Duke Robert I of Ellaria, and Hrafn-Floki the raven master, were both very famous now, and would split the kingdom, causing a division between those who were loyal to one side of the feasting hall, and those who would be loyal to the other.

Thorvald Bloodyfist Asvaldsson would also learn that one of the queens of Iskjerne Bay, the former shield-maiden Lagertha, had murdered Ivar's mother, the other queen known as Aslaug Kraka, a powerful völva and seeress among the Vikings who had great power and influence. It had been Aslaug who had poisoned Ivar's head with evil thoughts and fictitious ideas, something which Queen Lagertha and her sons, Bjorn and Ubbe, felt needed to be dealt with. Lagertha expressed love for her sons and said that she missed her beloved husband, the great King Ragnar Lothbrok, son of King Sigurd, whom she had not seen in many years since his departure for East Anglia on another world. Lagertha had hoped that one day, Ragnar might return to claim his father's pagan throne, but she had her doubts. Presuming her first husband to be dead and lost at sea, Lagertha had remarried, this time to King Harald Finehair who also had support from a third of the Iskjerne Vikings.

After gathering all of the news and information he could about Iskjerne Bay, the elder Thorvald Bloodyfist decided it was time to return to the Empyrean Norse Kingdom and inform King Halfdan of the situation. Thorvald hugged his son Erik the Red before giving him some sound advice and climbing back into the mule wagon. Erik Thorvaldsson would be on his own now from here on out, and would be forced to choose between one of the three gathering Viking clans inside the mead hall as his father said farewell and departed home, along the same route that had brought them there.

The setting changes from Iskjerne Mead Hall to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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Iskjerne Bay...

About two weeks later...



Iskjerne Bay, a once marvelous Viking kingdom far in the frozen north, which despite its tiny size had been for a time one of the most powerful terrestrial kingdoms in the universe, having rebuilt itself from war after war, was now nothing more than a kingless shattered settlement once again. The once vibrant and powerful kingdom of Sigurd Hring, and his predecessor King Egil who had established its first colony at least a century before that, was now in turmoil.

Sigurd Hring had expanded greatly upon the establishment of Iskjerne Bay, along with his grandson Ivar the Boneless, and the once broken Aether Docks, the only remnant left of the original settlement, had now grown into a mighty city with a village, shipyard, mead hall, arena, watch tower, sawmill, forge, and even a castle. Iskjerne Bay's ring fortress featured a motte and bailey structure with a concentrical ring of circular wooden and stone walls surrounded by large moats, and reinforced with battlements, draw bridges and boobytraps. The magically endowed divine statue of Sigurd Hring still guarded one side of the gateway, while the broken wooden statue of Ivar the Boneless, still split down the middle with one side laying facedown on the ground, was still partially standing on the other side of the gateway, so that both statues towered above the main entrance, flanking anyone who crossed through the Younger Futhark rune-inscripted gates.

At first glance, Iskjerne Bay appeared to still be holding strong, as most of the structures, despite being partially damaged by many battles, foreign raiders and earthquakes, were still standing and for the most part remained inhabitable or occupied. But the outskirts and suburban landscape outside the once great settlement were now riddled with many burial mounds which looked like a cluster of wavering hills. Once again, winter fell upon the land just as it had in previous years. Iskjerne Bay was especially cold and dark, having no sun at all for an entire week of nightshade as the aurora provided its only light, streaming with colorful hues of green, blue, purple and violet. Gaia's moons and stars would shimmer like diamonds in the sky, appearing closer to the residents of Iskjerne Bay than anywhere else in Ellaria, and the heavens above would seem surreal to them at this time of the year. But the land at their feet told quite a different story, as the thick white snowcaps covered the stone walls, houses, halls, fences, mountains and dead forest. Iskjerne Bay was beginning to turn snow white again, but this year brought gloom and sadness, famine, plague and death.

There was a shortage of useful wood in Iskjerne Bay, which would greatly devastate the economy. This meant no wood for ship building, woodworking, earthen home improvements and repairs. No wood also meant no sustainable forest, causing a decline in the natural animals who had once flourished but had now migrated away, which resulted in a scarcity of food and furs for which to make clothing and provide other needs for the winter. To make matters worse, a bubonic plague had started to sweep across Iskjerne Bay, slowly and silently like a thief in the night, caused by lice and fleas and brought upon by all the wars and rotten corpses who had now laid buried all over the land. It would be easy to think that the mass suicide of the Iskjerne Vikings under Sigurd Hring, or the arrogance and neglect of Ivar the Boneless, had been the cause of Iskjerne Bay's misfortune. But the sad fact of the matter was that it had been the alfar, dvergar, ljosalfar, sjoalfar, svartalfar, dokkalfar, dissir, einherjar, gnomes, faeries, dragons and landvaettir which had abandoned the Viking kingdom and went elsewhere.

The Iskjerne residents had all gathered in the public mead hall. The days following the full week of darkness would return to the normal endless days of sunlight, cast by Gaia's three local stars, but in this remote region of the north, horseshoed by the Weargtooth Mountains, winters were still just as cold and relentless as they had been in previous years. Iskjerne Bay was located in the arctic northern region of Ellaria, where the winters had seemed almost like a small medieval Ice Age.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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Hrollaug the Walker, now dubbed Duke Robert I of the Tartarean Normans, a vassal and earl of the Tartarean Kingdom of Ellaria, had gathered an army of Frankish Christian warriors of mixed descent. Hrollaug had married a Tartarean princess, who had refused to marry the Iskjerne Viking savage unless he turned from his heathen ways, learned to speak French, and convert to Christianity, something which Duke Rollo surprisingly consented to. This would alienate him from his Iskjerne Viking fellowmen, but it also brought him great power and wealth, and his influence in Iskjerne Bay remained strong. He was, after all, the son of Sigurd Hring, the greatest king the Iskjerne Vikings had ever known.

But Robert I of Ellaria was not there to just recruit new heads for his growing Norman army. He had vowed to restore Iskjerne Bay to its former glory. He was there to take the throne, and remodel the kingdom according to his own strategy. This would not sit well with Hrafn-Floki and his leidang, for they had not risked their lives at sea to watch the Iskjerne Kingdom fall into Norman hands. The kingdom was split between both jarls, with Robert I, the former Vikingr prince, gaining the upper hand as more and more people flocked to his side.

During the midst of this political chaos, the ambitious King Harald Fairhair had also risen to prominence. While the bulk of the Vikings seemed more eager to join Rollo, the greatest and most powerful people among them had decided to support King Harald instead. This included Queen Lagertha, the former wife and widow of Ragnar Lothbrok, who was now married to King Harald, and Lagertha's sons Bjorn Ironside, and Ubbe Ragnarsson were now devoted to their cause, preferring a Norse pagan ruler over a Norman monotheistic one. King Harald would consult with Duke Rollo and discuss business, attempting to persuade him back to his corner. They shared drinks together and engaged in civil conversation, but Rollo refused to join the pagans.

Afterwards, the Norwegian king would meet up with Floki at the burial mounds, where he had been silently weeping by himself at the gravesite of his young deceased daughter. Harald Finehair would glance over the burial mounds, taking note of the presence of the Argosians who had come to collect their own dead and take them back to their homeland. Indeed, it seemed that Iskjerne Bay was not at all the place it had once been. Harald placed his hand on Floki's shoulder and consulted him, sympathizing with his loss. But his true purpose for reaching out to Floki was to inform him of Rollo's intentions in hopes of bringing Floki and his leidang to the other side. King Harald knew that Hrafn-Floki would be more apt to join the Norse pagan Vikings, and with his help, he was hoping to establish a large enough army to expel the foreigners from the kingdom, both Norman and Argosian alike.

"I don't want to stay here anymore, King Harald, this is no longer my home," Floki said, gazing up at him. Harald Finehair would scoff a smirk, glancing around them again before looking back down at him.

"Where will you go?" Finehair asked him, his voice overtoned by a deep Norwegian accent. Floki chuckled, wept, wiped his nose on his shirt sleeve and stood up, looking at him with black eyeliner trailing down his cheeks.

"I want to go there," Floki said, pointing up at one of the moons of Gaia with his index finger. King Harald would glance up at Colossa, the small red glowing moon, before quirking a brow in confusion just as King Harald's brother Halfdan "the Black" Halfdansson approached them, accompanied by Erik "the Red" Thorvaldsson from the mead hall.

"And how will you get there, Floki? We have no boats that can fly. We have no technology, everything has been destroyed or stolen." King Harald reminded him. But Floki just giggled, looking around cautiously before showing him the small transparent milky white sunstone in his pocket.

"I don't need boats that can fly, King Harald, I have the gods, and I have this" Floki smiled, placing the small sunstone crystal back into his pocket. It was the easily overlooked sunstone that Sigurd Hring and his predecessors had once used to locate the sun on cloudy days, and which did not have the same magical abilities as the pinkish purple crystals which had enabled the Empyrean Norsemen to fly their ships, but it was apparent that Floki knew something that the others did not as he chuckled lightly, looking at the ground as if lost in his thoughts.

"So that's it then. You're just going to leave on some dangerous god-fearing quest for the moon. You plan to go alone on this journey?" Harald asked, a hint of obvious doubt in his voice, beginning to think that Hrafn-Floki was starting to lose his mind and his wits over the loss of his daughter. Floki always was a bit overly superstitious and crazy in his way of thinking. But suddenly, Harald's brother stepped forward.

"Nay, he's not alone..." Halfdan Halfdansson said with a pause, looking at his brother King Harald before turning and nodding to Floki. "I will go with you," Halfdan the Black said confidently. At that moment, Erik Thorvaldsson would also step forward, nodding his head in affirmation.

"Aye... I will go too," Erik the Red followed, stepping beside Hrafn-Floki before looking at King Harald with a bold expression on his face. Harald Finehair would snicker a brief laugh before looking at his own brother, then nodding quietly. What could he say or do to stop them? They were all freemen after all, and in their hearts, Harald, Halfdan, Hrafn-Floki and Erik knew that Iskjerne Bay could only have one king. There was no need for any of them to fight, especially since all of them were Norse pagans, related in some way or another with a common enemy.

That evening, Hrafn-Floki and his small leidang would get ready to leave again. They were accompanied by Halfdan Halfdansson, Erik Thorvaldsson and Hrafn-Floki's loyal wife Helga, along with a small crew of Iskjerne Vikings as they packed their bags and prepared to set sail, heading for the Crystal Nexus of Gaia, the only other place that Floki knew of that could take him to Colossa, or anywhere else his accomplices wanted to go from there.

The setting changes from Iskjerne Bay to Crystal Nexus

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: The Leystone Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Zyriah Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Arch-Demon Gaelwing Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Prince Kurln Highmourne
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  1. Please edit post to reflect entrance requirements as outlaid in the very first post of this location!

    by Remæus

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After many days of traveling from the frigid northern Viking kingdom at Iskjerne Bay, over the icey snow-capped Weargtooth Mountains, battling the frozen dangers and unknown threats on the continent of Ellaria, and the wider world of Gaia, the small gang of Viking explorers led by Hrafn-Floki, Halfdan the Black and Erik the Red finally reached their destination: the Crystal Nexus of Gaia.

There had been other, easier ways to get off the planet, but those options were limited to the gods and spirits, and to people who had the capability of space-faring ships. The only way for Hrafn-Floki and his gang to get to the red moon was to take the harder, longer, more treacherous journey by land and sea in hopes of reaching the Nexus, where Floki the Vitki had a plan. It was a long shot in the dark, but worth a try, as Floki the raven master and his band of hardened Vikings arrived at the Nexus, being led by their gods and the spirits of their dead ancestors, guided by the titans and celestial beings like Sigurd Hring, and motivated by their own will-power and determination. The journey was tough, the weather was harsh and the terrain was rugged. But the Vikings arrived, nevertheless, conquering the trials before them just as they had done time and time again in their distant past.

Once they reached the portal at the top of the highest mountain peak, the gang would all but collapse, taking a moment to sit on the rocks and rest their wearisome feet, regaining their breaths. Each of them had provisions, walking sticks and backpacks or knapsacks which they set beside them as they sat in a circle, planning their next move. It was winter time again. For veterans like Hrafn-Floki, this would be their third consecutive winter on the planet. For others like Halfdan Halfdansson, this would be their second winter. But for the newcomer, Erik Thorvaldsson, this would be his first winter, and he would have to rely heavily on the wisdom and experience of the gang's leader Floki in order to survive on Gaia during these perilous and desperate times.

This small band of diehard Viking pagans had a dream, and were inspired by a blind faith in the belief that there would be something greater in store for them on the red moon. Hrafn-Floki had served Sigurd the Ringtaker with loyalty and honor, right up until the day that the great king and founder of Iskjerne Kingdom had died. Floki had fought in dozens of battles; against the Christian crusaders under Erling Snake, against spectral Deathweaver ghost pirates led by Robert the Butcher, against the Taiyou Empire and their emperor Shimizu Takayama, against the towering jotunn Asvith Thrym, and even against his own Norse Pagan fellowmen. Hrafn-Floki was now a legend in his own right, having lost his only daughter Angrboda to the freezing cold pestilence at Iskjerne Bay under the neglectful but temporary rule of Ivar the Boneless, who had also succumbed to the wrath of the titans and eventually died.

So much death, so much pain, so many memories lingered in Floki's mind as he sat on the rocks, looking out over the mountaintop to all of the lands below. This was not the same place he remembered. Everything just looked so gloomy to him now, and Floki couldn't wait to leave Gaia and make a new home for himself elsewhere, with his faithful wife Helga, starting a fresh slate and perhaps, just maybe, having more children before they got too old. Hrafn-Floki fiddled with the small milky white transparent sunstone in his pocket, contemplating whether or not it would work, as his small group started to setup camp, pitch their weatherproof portable tents in a circle and build a small fire pit within a ring of stones.

Halfdan the Black was on another mission. His brother, Harald Finehair, had been married to the former shield-maiden Queen Lagertha and was now competing against Duke Rollo for control of Iskjerne Bay, following the death of Ivar the Boneless, and the consequential raid of Thorvald the Great and Fulgor's leidang. Halfdan the Black had fought beside Ivar the Boneless against many foreign powers involving elves, vampires, werewolves and other human races. Halfdan was also a good friend of Floki, and at one time he had been friends with Hrollaug the Walker, before Duke Rollo had converted to Christendom and been baptized. This political and religious division among the Iskjerne Vikings was more than Halfdan could bear. So rather than butting heads with his old friend Duke Rollo, or with his own brother King Harald, he had decided to join Floki the Ghostslayer's expedition instead, and was planning to part ways with him once they reached their destination on Colossa, the red moon.

Erik Thorvaldsson, similar to Halfdan Halfdansson, had his own personal ambitions. Unlike the others around him who had been former Iskjerne Vikings, however, this young red-headed exile had come from somewhere else across the sea. Erik the Red had been banished to Iskjerne Bay on the continent of Ellaria by the Empyrean Norse konung, King Halfdan Svensson, the ruler of the Empyrean Sea Beach to the far south of Iskjerne Kingdom across the open waters. Erik the Red had killed one of his fellowmen at the local tavern over a board game, and would have been sentenced to hang if it had not been for the fact that Erik's father, Thorvald Asvaldsson had been on good terms with the king and delivered errands for him. Erik's father Thorvald Bloodyfist was also a convicted murderer who had been exiled to the Empyrean Norse Kingdom when Erik was just a boy. Thorvald settled down eventually and became a farmer, and a respectable member of Empyrean Norse society.

Following in his father's footsteps, however, Erik the Red had gotten himself banned from the flourishing tropical golden kingdom, and upon arriving at the plagued and freezing cold political disarray in Iskjerne Bay, the red-headed Empyrean outcast had decided to follow Hrafn-Floki and make a new name for himself. Erik knew that if he could start his own colony somewhere else, then he could regain the respect of the Empyrean Norsemen, and perhaps even return some day to conquer the throne for himself. Erik the Red was a very ambitious young man, filled to the bones with hatred, fury and suppressed hidden agendas. He found himself in good company, though, as a young Gaelic girl named Thódhilda seemed to be taking a liking to the foreign red-haired exile.

Thódhilda was a thrall, a Celtic Irish servant girl who had been captured by Halfdan the Black during the time of Ivar the Boneless, and was now a sort of slave or paid servant who was hoping to earn back her freedom by serving her master well. Thódhilda gathered wooden sticks for the camp, going up and down the mountain, accompanied by a small clique of 3-5 other thralls that Hrafn-Floki and his party had brought with them. Floki himself was opposed to slavery, and had promised to free his own servants once they had reached the moon. Halfdan the Black, however, had made no such promises, and was actually hoping to make a profit by selling Thódhilda and the other thralls to someone else who could afford them once they reached their destination. Erik the Red, having already accumulated a handsome sum of silver dinarii from Livia the Argosian Legata, was already beginning to think about buying Halfdan's thralls to aid him on his own quest after they had arrived on the red moon.

Even now, in the midst of the small Viking gang of travelers at the Crystal Nexus, far away from the politics of the Iskjerne Viking Kingdom, and the expansion of the Empyrean Norse Kingdom, even here there was a lot of ambitious behavior, and much to be left to their imaginations as they all sat around the camp fire, enjoying each other's food and company, passing the mead horn around while talking and telling stories, getting to know each other better. It wasn't very often when any of them were able to sit in one place for very long. The Vikings were always traveling, always raiding or fighting, it seemed, and although Hrafn-Floki and Halfdan had been familiar with each other for many years, they had never really spoken much with each other until now. It was a great opportunity for them to get to know each other better, and to discuss their individual plans and ideas with one another. Thódhilda sat next to Erik the Red after her chores were finished, smiling to him silently as Erik listened to the former jarl's conversations over the crackling and sizzling campfire.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: The Leystone Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Zyriah Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Arch-Demon Gaelwing Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Prince Kurln Highmourne
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The following morning, the Vikings awoke from their slumbers and arose from their tents near the campfire, which by now had died, leaving behind only a pile of burnt charcoal and ash. Floki collected some of the charcoal fragments in a glass jar, mixing it with animal dung and a handful of salt before adding some water from the melting ice and dew drops collected from his tent. He then opened a different jar of deep Prussian Blue powder he made using iron, copper, crushed rock salts and other natural minerals which he then added into the first jar. He closed the lid on his jar and shook it up, mixing all of the contents together, creating some nasty dark blueish green mixture. Erik watched curiously, not entirely sure what Floki was doing, but he wasn't about to ask or question anything as the weird thin eye-shadow wearing war veteran poured the contents on to a metal plate and set it out in the sun to dry. It seemed he had a plan.

"So now what?" Halfdan asked as he stretched and yawned, blowing his nose and washing his face in a wooden bowl of water before handing it over to the next person in line.

"Now we go there," Floki said, pointing to a set of archways arranged in a particular pattern almost like Stone Henge, each one actually containing a hidden portal to another location.

This was the Crystal Nexus, a place that Floki had only ever heard tales about. He was very excited to see it in person for the first time, and he couldn't wait to figure out if it still worked. Hrafn-Floki fumbled with the small transparent sunstone in his pouch pocket before gazing up at the peak of the mountain just in front of him, and at the magnificent archways which rose above it in a circle. It was absolutely beautiful, he thought to himself, but he also knew that the journey wasn't finished yet. There were other obstacles his band had to overcome in order to make it work.

But, being undaunted, Floki had a plan. He gathered everyone up at the top of the mountain for a small meeting after breakfast to explain the situation, and the strategy he had invented to overcome the challenges ahead. Because the Vikings were so few in number, getting all of them in at one time wouldn't be a problem. But Floki only had one crystal, and secretly he knew that all of the Norsemen were going to need their own crystals if he was to get all of them through the portal and into the other side. Suddenly this became a major problem for the diehard spiritual leader.

Or did it? As the clever Floki started discussing his plans with the camp, it became clear to Erik Thorvaldsson what Floki had been doing with the plate of blueish green charcoal clumps. Apparently, he had somehow discovered a way to grow his own crystals using charcoal, salt, animal dung and a metallic blue colloidal powder he had used to make ink and dye. Although he wasn't entirely sure how it worked, what Floki didn't know yet is that the animal waste contained ammonia, a key ingredient used to synthesize rock crystals. He was already ahead of the game, but it would take a little bit of patience before the others caught on.

As the days passed, slowly the crystals began to form. All the while, they had been left outside and exposed to the elements, being charged naturally by Gaia's suns and the bright red moon, a process which helped the synthetic crystals to grow faster. To the others who followed Floki, it must have seemed like wizardry, but the clever old fool wasn't done yet. He still had to trick the system, somehow, and re-direct the portal from one location to another if he was going to get his party on to the surface of the red moon Colossa, a destination that the Crystal Nexus wasn't entirely designed to take them. Once again, it seemed that the Vikings were faced with a major problem.

But once again, Hrafn-Floki the Ghostslayer had a clever trick up his sleeve. His former king, Sigurd Hring, who had long ascended and was now One with Gaia, was certainly aware of everything that Floki and his Viking explorers were up to. Sigurd had taught Floki how to use a sunstone, and how to bend light through a prism to form a rainbow. In life, Sigurd had taught Floki that if there was a will, then there must be a way. Floki just had to think deeply, and discover it. Floki the Vitki slowly scratched his partially bald head, standing before the archways and studying their alignment intently. He started to wonder if he couldn't somehow bend the space within the portal, just as he had once bent the sunlight through a prism to form multiple other pathways and colors of light.

"That's it!" He shouted. Floki just couldn't control himself, as his fingers and muscles twitched, causing him to spasm with excitement as he let out a childish chuckle, smiling as he gritted his teeth and looked again.

"Floki you fool. Why didn't you see this before?" He criticised himself before walking over to one of the archways and examining it more closely. Slowly, clouds started to block the sunlight. After a moment of staring at the gate, he chuckled again softly, then walked through the archway and around it, studying every inch of its design before looking up at the overcast skies.

It was at that moment that Hrafn-Floki figured out what he was going to do. He would bend space-time, and re-direct the portal's wormhole from one destination to another by arranging the crystals in a certain way that would trick the mechanism into sending his party to the moon. But in order for his plan to work, his Vikings were going to need some kind of divine assistance from their gods. He began to call out quietly to Sigurd Hring, and to the great mother Gaia herself, asking for a sign.

At that moment, as if by pure coincidence, there was a break in the clouds. A single ray of sunlight beamed down over the mountain, lighting up a small area within the center of the archways. Floki watched silently for a moment, awestruck at what he was seeing. He took it as an answer from the gods, and soon, Floki was yelling at everyone else in the camp to hurry up and join him as he bit down on the knuckle of his index finger to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Halfdan the Black, Erik the Red, Floki's wife Helga, Thodhilda and the others hurried up to the peak of the mountain where Hrafn-Floki was standing, gazing with wide eyes.

He walked over to where the beam of sunlight was shining and stood in the golden light. He started fumbling with the sunstone in his pouch pocket again, waving his other hand and coaxing everybody else to hurry up and join him. The small band of Vikings quickly walked over and stood in the middle of the lit circle with him. All in all, seven Vikings stood together in a tight group as Floki told them all to pull out their blueish green crystals and hold them up to the light. As they did this, Floki pulled out his transparent clear sunstone and held it out in front of them so that the light from the sun would bend, transversing through the sunstone and forming a prism, shooting different hues of rainbow colored light beams to the other stones in everyone's hands. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet beams of light projected over the Viking's seven faces, and suddenly all of the archways lit up as the many different portals became activated. Floki's plan was beginning to work as it started to get windy, and the gateways started to spin and twist with bright blinding white swirls of shimmering light.

A vortex began to form in the middle of the clouds where the sunlight was emanating from, and soon it started to tunnel down around Floki and his Viking explorers until it touched the mountain top, directly in the center around the ring of glowing archways, creating a dark flowing curtain around them. The wind was intense as the powerful vortex spun counterclockwise, slowly distorting the time and space around the gateways. But while it started to look dark and gloomy outside the vortex, inside it was glowing with bright colorful lights so powerfully intense that the Vikings were forced to close their eyes and cover their faces to stop from going blind. Only Floki managed to keep his eyes open, for he could not seem to pull his attention away from such intense power and absolute beauty. It was like a merry-go-round that he had never seen before, proof that the old gods were indeed a very real force and presence in their daily lives. He simply had to watch it all transpire.

The vortex got stronger and stronger, becoming faster and faster before the spinning white lights inside each gate started to get sucked inward towards the spinning vacuum. There was lightning and thunder, booming and crackling electricity, and for a moment it seemed as if the Vikings had been standing in the very center of a super dangerous nuclear reactor. And then suddenly, without warning, it just stopped. The lightning and thunder ceased, the winds dispersed, the lights started to fade and the vortex slowly disappeared, retreating back into the sky from which it came. The Crystal Nexus returned to its original normal deactivated state, and everything went silent.

Floki and his Vikings were gone...

They had disappeared entirely without a trace.

The setting changes from Crystal Nexus to Colossa

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Lil' Valojelea Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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Vikings from the Crystal Nexus suddenly materialize on Colossa, appearing from out of a red tornado-like vortex or wormhole. Hrafn-Floki, Halfdan the Black, Erik the Red, Floki's wife Helga, a Gaelic Irish slave girl named Thodhilda, and two other Viking thralls from Gaia appeared out of nowhere as the vortex receded into the dark red clouds before disappearing. It seemed that Floki's plan had been a success. Everybody had made it to the red moon together, alive and in one piece. Or mostly everybody, anyway. Floki lifted his head and looked around with wide eyes. But he couldn't see anything at all, only being aware that all of the wind, lightning and thunder had stopped and that everything had gone silent. It was at that moment that Floki's wife Helga noticed that Floki's eyes had turned completely white. He had no pupils or irises at all. His eyes were solid white. Although Floki wasn't quite aware yet, he was blind. He had stared into the bright lights for too long, and had damaged his retinas, maybe even permanently. Everyone else, however, could see the area around them. It was the great red moon they had been hoping for. And just as they had all suspected, it was brilliant red, with similar hues of orange, brown and yellow caused by the moon's minerals and composition. Their journey had been a success.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Lil' Valojelea Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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"Helga... Helga I can't see!" Hrafn-Floki the Vitki said panickly while looking around with pure white eyes. As he fell to his knees, Helga quickly knelt beside him, throwing a dark grey hooded cloak over his shoulders before lifting his chin up to examine his face.

"Floki, your eyes have changed!" Helga exclaimed, a bit shocked to see that her husband no longer had bright blue irises. Instead, his eyes were milky white and had no irises or noticeable pupils at all. Just solid white, with no discolored rings or red veins which could be seen. Floki had failed to close his eyes during the teleportation to Colossa, his curiosity getting the better of him as he was now completely blind, perhaps even permanently. It was a small price to pay however, for the clever Floki had gained a wisdom and knowledge that very few others possessed. He had witnessed the wormhole, and the distortion of space-time firsthand with his own two eyes as he peered into the bright spectrum of rainbow colored white blinding light before going through it.

Helga looked around the immediate area, searching for something useful. She found a very old petrified piece of smooth salt dried driftwood which looked like it had once been washed ashore by the waves. But there was not an inch of water in sight, as the oddly curved stick appeared to just be laying out in the open on a vast barren desert of bright red, orange, brown, white and black sand that was so fine and dry that it seemed like powder or dust. Helga quickly picked up the driftwood and brought it to Floki, placing it into one of his hands as a walking stick before helping him to stand up. Floki appeared much different now, with his white eyes, long crooked shepherd staff and dark grey hooded cloak, which was already turning orange from the collecting red dust.

"Tell me Helga, what does it look like? Was I right or wrong about this place?" Floki the Ghostslayer asked curiously, staring off into the distance at the great void of space, unable to see a thing. All the aging middle aged partially balding auburn haired Viking leader could see was a bright white blinding light surrounded by a circle of rainbow colored rays, like stained glass or a crystal prism of sorts resembling a halo or ring. It was like looking directly into the sun itself.

Helga looked out over the horizon. There was nothing to see at first glance. There was no forest, no grasses, no rivers or lakes. Just a vast bright red desert of mixed dust with deep red mountains and low laying wavy red hills of sand. There were no signs of intelligent life, if life even existed at all. The surface of Colossa was very similar to Mars, apart from having a breathable atmosphere capable of supporting carbon-based lifeforms, and perhaps even more obscure alien species. But there was nothing. The sky was thick and orangish brown, with purplish red clouds and windy dust storms. It looked like a desolate wasteland.

"It's... amazing. It's absolutely gorgeous. The most beautiful landscape I've ever seen," Helga reassured Floki before glancing at the others around them and motioning for them to play along. Erik the Red wasn't scathed at all however as he knelt down and picked up a handful of the red dust, letting it sift through his fingers. He sniffed the sand and tasted it with the tip of his tongue before nodding quietly. He was not from Iskjerne Bay, but from the Empyrean Norse Empire, and his advanced knowledge would prove to be a great asset on this unremarkable red moon.

"The soil is rich with salt, iron, and black powder. I think it contains quartz, charcoal, sulphur, gold, zinc, and sandstone as well." Erik "the Red" Thorvaldsson explained. Of course, there was much to be learned from the moon's mostly uncharted surface. As he drew his name in the sand using Futhark runic script, the young red haired outlaw noticed very fine small reflective particles of gold and other elements which he knew could be exploited with a little bit of knowledge and industrial mining. It was very fine though, and Erik knew from his father and grandfather before him what it would take to separate all of the elements and make something of it. But he was sure he could do it. He just needed some time to setup shop and get things going.

Meanwhile, Halfdan the Black didn't even know it yet, but his brother Harald Finehair had just become the legitimate King of Iskjerne Bay, following through with his plan to defeat Duke Rollo, eliminate all foreign influence and restore the Iskjerne Viking Kingdom to its original Norse Pagan independence and glory. Halfdan was now directly akin to the most famous Viking chieftain since Sigurd Hring, and unbeknownst to him, Halfdan the Black was now in danger of being powerful. He wasted no time in trying to establish a moon colony for his new comrades, as he began barking orders to Thodhilda and the other thralls.

There wasn't much to work with, but between the Empyrean Norseman and the Iskjerne Vikings, they would find a way to survive on this desolate Mars-like landscape and thrive by any means necessary, even if it meant they had to improvise by building an earthware settlement and terraforming their own backyards. It didn't take long for them to come up with a plan. They were Nordic peoples, after all, and had learned to survive in some of the harshest lands imaginable. It didn't matter much where the Vikings had landed. They were warriors by nature, and extremely resilient for what limited technology they had. It only took a week for Floki the Blind's group of seven diehard explorers to build a ring fortress out of nothing at all but natural sand.

A sand castle? A life-size replica. Was it even possible? Hrafn-Floki was blind, but not deaf, mute or stupid. As soon as the project was presented to him, Floki began to contemplate a way. Floki had no limitations apart from his own imagination, which had helped him succeed in times long since forgotten. Within a few days, Floki had Halfdan working on building a sustainable development. With no sign of an oceanic presence, Halfdan the Black started using Norse magic and science to make Floki's dream a reality.

The Vikings were already aware that the air itself was breathable. Halfdan the Black experimented with alchemy and studied Colossa's natural resources, while Erik the Red led the expedition party, surveying the area and determining the proper location of the first settlement. Floki himself, although blind, would orchestrate the whole project and he was very keen in doing so. Since there were no obvious natural resources like wood and water, the Vikings instead began studying the soil and red dust beneath their feet.

The red dust, although insignificant to many other nations in the history of the Multiverse, turned out to be quite fertile and full of natural elements which the Vikings themselves took full advantage of. Two weeks or so after their arrival on the red moon, the Vikings were already developing artificial structures and technology. Sigurd Hring the Titan had already controlled the planet Gaia herself. He had sworn to protect Gaia, and now, as nothing less than a god himself who had somehow merged and became One with Gaia, the great Sigurd Hring, known officially as the "Ringtaker", had already subjectated himself to a higher power.

There were many Titans on Gaia in those days. Even the gods themselves were not immune to Gaia's divine council. It had seemed that, despite the power of the Titans, the gods of the solar system still operated under a Council Republic where freedom was preserved, and Medieval Paganism was still the main authority. This meant Freedom, or what was left of it, as the gods themselves operated semi-democratically, with understandable limitations. Sigurd Hring had ascended completely to godhood. But by his own words, he was still limited and unable to leave the planet, bound by an unwritten, unspoken code of honour. The Vikings on the red moon Colossa did not have his direct presence, for the godhood that had been Sigurd Hring could never leave Gaia, and could only observe from Gaia's exosphere.

Hrafn-Floki had taken the Vikings above and beyond Gaia, to a very foreign place within the cosmos. Colossa was a very underestimated, very uninhabited red moon. There were flying translucent jellyfish on Colossa, but no sign at all of Intelligent life. That is, until the Vikings arrived. Two weeks in, Hrafn-Floki and his new gang had accomplished what Hethel Svensson had accomplished years before. Despite being as blind as an Earthworm, the great Raven Floki had established a colony on the red moon.

The moon. A natural satellite for Gaia, one of the overlooked main forces which had driven the gravity, and controlled the tides of Gaia itself, had now been colonized by none other than Iskjerne Vikings, led by a blind prophet. Floki no doubt had concerns for Iskjerne Bay, and despite having only partial awareness of King Harald Finehair's plans to perform a cultural ethnic cleansing of the planet, Hrafn-Floki was intelligent enough at least to put some thought and effort into protecting his homeland and furthering Gaia's security.

Floki the Blind considered every option in his free time, as most of the work on terraforming had been left in the hands of his subservient followers and thralls, or slaves, who worked tirelessly for over a week or two to turn his dreams into a reality. It was at that time that Floki the Ghostslayer developed a secret colony, naturally camouflaged by the red landscape, and a secret weapon designed specifically for the protection of the planet Gaia herself, from the Viking base on Gaia's insignificant red moon.

The Vikings were ready...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Lil' Valojelea Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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Or so they thought...

The Vikings tried to build a sand castle, but after a half day of digging they realized that Floki's plan didn't work as the structure caved in. Gathering the information he heard from everyone, Floki realized that he needed a more stable shelter. But without any trees, rain or grass, he would need a replacement for wood and water. So to compensate for their time, Floki proposed that they keep digging and use the rocks and stones on the ground to build an earthdome over the top of the dirtpool, using the red and black dust beneath their feet to support the earthdome like underground walls, giving them a temporary underground shelter which, once covered in the red dust, looked just like another hill on the sandy desert.

This worked, for a time, allowing Floki to think about his options. They couldn't go back. Their transport crystals were only good for a one way trip. He needed to formulate another plan. The following day, the Vikings left the earth lodge to explore the moon further. Floki learned that the sky was black with a red haze during the day, the stars were bright, the 3 suns were further away, and that Gaia itself looked absolutely stunning, a magical glowing blue and green sphere which looked huge from the moon's surface. Floki listened quietly and walked with his 6 followers for miles, but they never found anything other than rocks, salty metallic tasting sand and scarce bits and pieces of driftwood, which they collected anyway. But after a while, and many more attempts, Floki was about to give up.

On the third day, things were starting to get worse. The moon was starting to get windy, and reddish orange dust storms covered the horizon. Floki and his team were too far from their shelter to return in time. They needed another plan, and quickly. Floki led them towards the large fallen rockpile at the base of the mountains and hoped for the best. Time was running out. The Vikings were tired, dehydrated and getting sore. They needed water, and Floki prayed to his dark gods that the large rockpile would be able to shelter them from the incoming red dust storm before they got sand blasted.

But as they got to the rockface, they didn't find any of the large fallen boulders which resembled a shelter. Floki sat on a rock and lowered his head. He failed. He knew it. He understood why Helga deceived him. It was because she loved him. But he knew in his mind that he had given up. He cursed himself and threw his walking stick on the ground, palming himself in the forehead while cursing. But all of a sudden, he heard a yell.

"Floki, come! Come quickly! There is a cave." Helga shouted. A cave? Floki contemplated. If large enough to hold seven people, a cave would be an even better shelter than a rockpile. The Vikings quickly headed into the cave as Helga and Thodhilda prevented the blind leader from falling. But as they entered the small tunnel and headed deeper, the cave started to open up and get bigger. But there were no other passageways. It just went straight back and expanded into a large dark empty chamber. They used the gear they had brought with them to lite candles, and at first they didn't see any particularly interesting shadows. But the chamber had another small tunnel going down even further into the cave, hidden by it's own size, shape and color, both by the darkness, and by the shadow of its reflection. Halfdan almost didn't see it, until he stepped into a hole and fell through, twisting his ankle.

The cave seemed to go on forever, and they still saw no sign of life anywhere. Erik the Red helped Halfdan to his feet while Floki gave up his walking stick so Halfdan could support himself. Now the Vikings were really in trouble. They kept walking slowly deeper into the cave tunnel until finally, like a miracle, they started to notice something different. It sounded like thunder and rushing water behind the cave wall. They traveled further, going around the cavebend, but they didn't expect what they were about to see. For right there at the very end of the cave, was a massive subterranean ecosystem which was blue and green, and had been untouched by anyone until now. It was lit up by the crystalline stalactite and stalagmite formations which formed what looked like an open jaw entrance through a sinister looking smile with sharp pointy teeth for pillars. This seemed to be the only way in or out of the enormous breath-taking underground environment. The light seemed to be originating from the candle lights they were holding, as if the crystalline structures had been some sort of magical amplifiers that made the innermost rigidly dome-shaped part of the cave lite up. Whatever this place was, it had some type of force field around it. It seemed to be protected from outside interferences by some form or manner. Was it technology? Was it anti-technology? Or was it Gaia's magic? If so, the implications were interesting as the inner cave seemed to nullify teleportation, wormholes, time traveling and other strange phenomena. Whatever it was, the hidden gem in the cave was like an underground oasis or paradise with waterfalls, hazey mists, forest jungles and rocky steps up a miniature mountain deep down inside the hollow red moon. They had found water.

The Vikings weren't done yet...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Lil' Valojelea Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
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#, as written by Sigurd
Hrafn-Floki and his 6 companions had discovered a new subterranean world, an unknown, hidden gem on the otherwise unexplored moon, a place like the mythical underground kingdom of Agartha, a continent that existed beneath the ocean which contained its own atmosphere, ecosystem and biodiversity.

"Floki you old fool... you did it," Harald Fairhair's brother, Haldan the Black, said slowly, marveling at the large Eden-like oasis before them as a flock of birds flew over the double rainbow bridge that projected from white misty waterfalls over the densely green mountain.

"We did it..." Floki said with a smile, leaning on his walking stick as he listened to the flow of the nearby creeks and rivers. Floki was still blind in both eyes, but he could just tell by the sounds of nature and the smell of the jungle that Helga had located the paradise he had always imagined.

"Oh Floki it's beautiful," Helga said, hugging Floki over his grey hooded cloak and causing him to chuckle. Helga and Thodhilda continued to accompany Floki across the rocky river as he used his walking stick to navigate. Eric the Red meanwhile stayed with Haldan the Black and helped him to get across the river with a twisted ankle.

The group traveled slow, but they weren't in any hurry as they crossed the river and stopped to rest on the rocky shore. Eric the Red, Thodhilda and the other thrall would gather sticks and firewood, and materials to make rope and thread. Haldan fashioned a splint for his leg to help keep his ankle straight as he twisted his foot back into place with a sharp pop, causing him to cringe and moan with pain.

Floki was given a blindfold or cloth to wrap his head and cover his eyes now that they were useless. After a few days on the rocky shore, the six companions traveled deeper into the jungle and started to explore around. They found a place that was teaming with life and full of useful materials. There were bananas, mangoes, grapes, pineapples, strawberries, peaches, pear trees and all kinds of other edible plants, nuts and berries. They found wild corn, wheat, cereal, seed and grain. They even spotted some of the other local wildlife.

They counted no less than twenty species of birds on the warm mountainside, and thought that there must have been at least 100 different species of animals living on the continent if not more. To their surprise, however, there was no hemlock, no belladonna, no moonwart or any other poisonous ivy or plant that they could find, and very few natural predators. It was like a dreamland of sorts, a place that couldn't be much more perfect for a settlement. After about a month, Floki and his gang built a small permanent settlement on top of the mountain inside the caldera at its peak, which had long turned grassy green over time.

After a while, Eric the Red purchased Thodhilda from Hrafn-Floki and set her free before asking her to marry him. Thodhilda agreed to marry Eric the Red, and soon they started living together in the same house. Floki and his wife Helga lived in the house across from them, along with Floki's servant, while Haldan lived in the 3rd small wooden cabin next to Floki's cabin, and diagonal from Eric's cabin. All three cabins faced inwards towards a round circle made of stones, and inside the circle stood the large, life-sized upright runestone that Floki the Blind carved himself as a little monument and guidestone for their settlement.

The setting changes from Colossa to Great Ellarian Forest

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Urakena Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Stripe Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Stjornhestr Character Portrait: Hermann der Cherusker Character Portrait: David Baxter
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As the sound of the battle in the forest valley became louder, David Baxter gripped his rifle and tried to run away in the opposite direction. But the sound carried through the forest, echoing off the trees, and it was difficult to tell which direction he was running, or where the clashing noises were coming from. David was still wearing his oxygen mask, unsure whether or not the air on this new planet was even breathable to him yet as he ran through the forest, gasping through his mask as he breathed. Little did he know at the time, but the air around him was not only breathable, it was magical and full of hidden unseen energies or forces that were already beginning to take effect on him.

Or rather, on his equipment...

Although his oxygen tank continued to work just fine, at least for now, what David probably didn't notice was that his M1-30 Carbine rifle was already starting to malfunction. The Gods of Gaia, known to the Ellarian people as the Titans, had sensed the newcomer's presence on their planet. One of those invisible spirits was none other than Sigurd Hring, who had become one with Gaia and had transcended beyond the mortal realms. Sigurd Hring had swore an oath to defend and protect Gaia from the advanced technologies brought into the medieval planet's atmosphere by foreign invaders and space-faring nations. David Baxter didn't know it yet, but Sigurd Hring was watching him carefully and preparing him for the long road ahead. The gunpowder in his 7.62×33mm round bullet casings suddenly became useless, nullified by the powers that be, along with any batteries or electrical equipment that Baxter had brought with him.

Meanwhile on one of Gaia's moons, the red moon Colossus, someone was peering through a powerful telescope and had witnessed the Silver Dawn as it ascended above Gaia's surface after dropping off its passenger. Erik the Red relayed his observations to Hrafn-Floki the Blind, who had taken a handful of Vikings to the moon where they had since then established a small isolated colony, far away from the happenings on Gaia's war ridden surface. Floki had gone into a sort of self-induced exile after the death of his daughter, and the Empyrean outlaw Erik Thorvaldsson had apparently gone with him to the bright red moon to start over.

Far down below on Gaia, on the continent of Ellaria, in the great forest which took up much of the continent, many new and chaotic things were starting to take place. The Argosians, led by Livia Caesarius the Legata and her new legion had set the Great Ellarian Forest on fire, shooting through the trees with their magically imbued cannons as they leveled a path into the forest from which to bring in their seige weapons, looking to head north through the Weargtooth Mountains, where Livia had planned to challenge King Harald Finehair of Iskjerne Bay to a duel. By now, the billowing smoke had risen so high that the Vikings of Iskjerne Bay could now see the rising black smoke over the mountains, alerting the natives that the Argosians had arrived, and were just a few day's journey away on the other side of the mountains. The smoke cloud was so large and thick that it could be seen from miles and miles away, even appearing visible to ships off the coast of the Empyrean High Seas, and to the Empyrean Norsemen in their own tropical kingdom to the far west. King Halfdan Svensson would notice the thin line of rising smoke on the horizon from his castle on the Empyrean Sea Beach.

"SHIELD WALL!!!" Bjorn shouted, his deep loud voice echoing off the nearby rocks inside the valley. Ironside's roar was so loud that David Baxter could hear it as he kept on running, trying to get away. He noticed the battle for a moment as he peered through a clearing into the open valley below. There were berserkers and barbarians locked in combat, and the bloodshed was too much for the foreign stranger as he hid in the bushes and started walking backwards away from the clambering skirmish, his wide eyes traumatized and fixed on the battle. As he kept walking backwards, however, David suddenly bumped into something which felt like a tree behind him. But as the lost man turned around to look at what it was, there before him stood a very old man who was not looking at David at all, but rather, looking over David's shoulder at the same distant battle in the valley before. David Baxter didn't know it yet, but he had just bumped into Lord Bruce of Essex, an Anglish Norse viking who had once served King Sigurd in life, but had vanished into the wilderness long long ago and was presumed dead.

Lord Bruce looked much different now from the time when he had saved Takao Eguchi's life many years ago. Due to the time flux on the region, Bruce was now a very old man with dark thick skin, wild and wavey white hair and a long unkempt peppery white beard. His clothing was ragged and dirty, and he looked like a hobo or homeless drifter who must have lived in the forest for decades. Bruce of Essex had been there all along, since the death of King Sigurd, since the rise and fall of Prince Ivar, when the Empyrean Norse Kingdom was founded, when that noble sea dragon Urakena appeared and the Stjornhestr first set sail through the stars on its way to Dracos Valley on the lost continent of Xamoyos, far across the galaxy. Lord Bruce stared at the young man in front of him for a moment, his eyes still as blue as the ocean waves as he studied the strange new foreigner silently.

Meanwhile, the berserkers and barbarians kept fighting, completely unaware of David and Bruce's presence in the forest above. For a brief moment between killing people, Bjorn Ironside raised his axe and pointed it at the rider on the hill. It was as if he was challenging him or her to personal combat. The equestrian in the iron mask was unmoved by this display of bravery, however, merely turning their horse around and walking away from the ridgeline, disappearing from the berserker's view as more barbarians descended into the valley upon them. By now, Arminius had entered a trance-like state of consciousness and was preparing to confront the Iskjerne Berserkers face to face, when all of a sudden, as if by pure chance, the wind direction abruptly changed, sending the blazing forest fire towards the barbarians in the back of the line. The Germanic tribes began panicking as people began yelling and shouting for the front lines to move forward. But those at the front of the line were halted by Bjorn Ironside and his bear-skinned juggernauts, who were putting up more of a fight than Arminius had expected or anticipated. It was time to pull back and rethink his strategy as the equestrian in the iron mask blew into their curling sheep horn and gave the order for the barbarians to withdraw. They kept fighting as they started to pull back over the ridge, while those still down in the valley were left to their fate at the hands of the Vikings.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Urakena Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Stripe Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Stjornhestr Character Portrait: Hermann der Cherusker Character Portrait: David Baxter
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Baxter jumps back from the older looking man, quickly turning and taking a couple steps back.

He quickly questions, "Hello, do you mean me harm?"
He continues to spread distance between himself and the man, not being too casual with the way he does it. He lowers his rifle slowly, the bayonet on the end glinting in the light.

"I don't want any trouble."