1
followers
follow

Ivar the Boneless

Ivar the Boneless is the crippled son of Ragnar Lothbrok, and the grandson of the legendary viking Sigurd Hring.

0 · 219 views · located in Aether Dock

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Ivar the Boneless

Groups

Titans of the North, with a line of ancient kings going back for centuries to the time of the Trojan War.

Description

Ivar the Boneless is the second youngest son of Ragnar Lothbrok, born of Ragnar's own half-sister Queen Aslaug just before his younger brother Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, who Ivar killed in a dispute over a knife their father made. Ivar's half-brothers are Bjorn Ironside and Ubbe Ragnarsson, by King Ragnar's first wife Queen Lagertha the shield-maiden. Prince Ivar is the grandson of Sigurd Hring, on both his mother's and father's side of the family. As a result, Ivar the Boneless was born crippled with brittle bones. Ivar's ankles and knees were weak and fragile, so Ragnar abandoned him in the forest as a newborn, but later had a change of heart and went back to get him. When he did, he found baby Ivar guarded by a venomous snake. Ragnar Lothbrok was able to distract the viper while rescuing his son. Queen Aslaug was a powerful seeress, and warned Ragnar that they should wait to sleep together until they were married, otherwise their sons would have the curse of the dragon. Ragnar had ignored the prophecy however, and so their illegitimate children were all born with abnormalities. Ivar was forced to crawl on his elbows and drag himself along on his belly like a snake. This didn't stop him from becoming a great viking leader, though. Ivar struggled independently, proving both his bravery and his skills in battle, earning him the nickname Ivar the Boneless.

Prince Ivar is now the commander of 1,000 vikings and 5 longships. His leidang includes 500 hestahars, 50 ulfhednar, 50 berserkar, 50 svinfylking, 50 kattrfylking, 50 hornuglar, 50 ljosalfar, 50 svartalfar, 50 hrafnfylking and 100 thralls.

So begins...

Ivar the Boneless's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless

0.00 INK

Planet Gaia, year unknown...
Iskjerne Bay, during the midst of a cold spell...


The World Spirit of Gaia had only recently awoken, but channeled the life force she received from the light dragon into Iskjerne Bay. Gaia called to Sigurd and his fellow vikings of noble heart, reaching deep into their slumbers of death before they fully crossed to another side. Should they hear her and accept her call, they would find a second life on Gaia. Not as mortals, not as zombies, but as true Children of Gaia. A piece of Gaia would forever be anchored in their hearts. Alas, few were of noble heart amongst the vikings. Only one out of all of them had heard the calling of Gaia, only one would receive her message. King Sigurd turned with a smile of utter bliss and joyfulness. There standing before him was the anthropomorphic beauty of Gaia herself. She was bathed in light, so bright that Sigurd could only stand in it and admire. Upon seeing her womanly figure face to face, Sigurd's legs gave way, and he started to kneel before her. She told him to rise and offered to give him a second chance at life. Sigurd smiled peacefully. The offer was very tempting. All he ever wanted to do is appease Gaia, who to the vikings was known as Frigg, Jord, Jeorth, Earth or Gerd among other names. She was the queen of the gods, and she was more beautiful than the Norse myths ever described. To be adopted by her as a son would be a great honor, and Sigurd was very humbled. "But why?" Sigurd questioned. "Why have a piece of myself become a part of you?" He asked, stepping closer to her. "Why do that, when I can put all of myself into you?" Sigurd smiled and hugged her gently, kissing Gaia's cheek before slowly dissipating into a bright flash of white sunrays, brighter than even before. Sigurd Hring had respectfully declined the Great Mother's offer, his body descending to become part of the earth. His spirit, however, would move on.

Planet Earth... 9th century...
Kattegat, somewhere between Sweden and Denmark...


Ragnar Lodbrok had not gone with his father Sigurd Hring on his sea voyage. He stayed on Earth instead, and became a famous viking ruler. Ragnar's wife Lagertha was a legendary shield-maiden. Lagertha gave Ragnar a son named Bjorn, who would grow up to earn the nickname Bjorn Ironside, a viking leader in his own right. Ragnar's other wife was Aslaug, a powerful witch or seeress descended from Brynhilda the valkyrie. Aslaug gave Ragnar another son, Ivar the Boneless, who was born a cripple. Ivar had brittle bones, and it was foretold that if his eyes were bloodshot, that he would be in danger of breaking a bone. Ivar's legs did not work properly, which caused him to slither on his belly like a snake. This disability did not stop him, however, from becoming a great viking leader. After the death of his father Ragnar at the hands of Christians, the spirits of his grandfather Sigurd Hring and his uncle Rollo the Walker appeared to him in a dream. They showed him horrible things, and great things. Ivar awoke with the ambitious intentions to find out what happened to the people in his dreams, to reclaim the land, to fulfill his grandfather's diplomatic oaths, and to receive the benefits that were promised to the Norse people by their neighbors. Ivar declared himself a god. He reclaimed Kattegat from his mother's enemies before conquering Ireland, Scotland and the Hebrides islands. Ivar the God was now a legend. There were whispers in the wind that he had special powers, that he was part serpent or dragon, that he was really the reborn king Sigurd Hring himself. Others claimed that Ivar was a god and one of Odin's descendants. He formed the Great Heathen Army, the largest invading force of vikings and shield-maidens in history. But Ivar's fame and reputation was about to spread even more. He set his eyes towards his dreams, and started following his grandfather's spirit back to the place where he had died. Having a special valkyrie-prowed longship built called the Seamaiden, he took his fleet with him, setting sail from the coast of Ireland into the Atlantic Ocean on a voyage into the unknown, unaware that his destination was actually millions and millions of miles away on a different planet in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The setting changes from iskjerne-bay to Ellarian Tartarean Coast

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Urakena Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: The Turqoise Dove Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir

0.00 INK

From out of the fog of the deep sea, the prow of a viking longship appeared, heading inland towards the coast. At the front of the ship was the wooden carving of a mermaid in battle dress, hand over her brows, her gaze scanning everything before her. The sail was black, and there was a white raven banner flying above it. Along both narrow sides of the low decked vessel was a row of cross-colorful round shields, painted with the colors of Nordic flags. Blue and yellow, red and white, blue and white, green and black, green and white, blue and red, etc. There were 200 interlocking shields in all, 100 on each side of the ship. Each shield also had the full body of an animal painted on it. There were black ravens, white rabbits, black wolves, bown stags, brown bears, yellow leopards, red foxes, white deer, green tortoises, black boars, white owls and red eagles. 75 thin long oars aligned both sides of the longship for a total of 150 rowers altogether. Sitting on the raised platform at the front of this ship was the crippled viking prince, Ivar the Boneless, paralyzed from the waist down and unable to swim, yet still dressed in full body armor with a helmet and chestplate, hugging the wooden mermaid's waist from behind while peering out over the open waves. Standing on the low deck behind him was his older brother, Bjorn Ironside, who held a different, larger non-painted bronze colored shield in his hand and was lightly armored with no helmet, instead having his face painted with claw marks.

On the back of the ship was a woman in a black featered cloak wearing a blue catskin dress with bright reddish orange hair and bright blue eyes. This was Queen Aslaug, who wore no armor at all but instead held a 33-inch Nordic bugle made from the horn of a large bovine. Leaning against the mast of the ship in the center of the deck was King Harald, wearing light chain-mail and padded leather armor with half of his face tattooed with blue tribal vine-knots, casually picking his teeth, using a small thin fish bone as a toothpick. Standing beside him was Queen Lagertha, the legendary shield-maiden and widow of Ragnar Lothbrok, wearing similar armor with her silvery blonde hair flowing freely in the wind. She held her spear in one hand, a blue and white shield in the other. Sitting against the mast on the other side of King Harald was Ivar's brother, Ubbe Ragnarsson, and the shipbuilder Hrafn-Floki who was wearing a bulky black hooded cloak with black coal eyeliner and a rune painted on his forehead. The name of this massive viking vessel was the Seamaiden, and it was the largest most flexible boat that Floki had ever designed. All around them were several others, dozens of vikings who were already dressed and battle ready, all of them looking quite similar in fashion, but very different in their individual styles, haircuts, tattoos, armor and choices of weaponry.

But they were not alone in Ellaria's deep oceans, for as the Seamaiden drew closer, more viking longships appeared out of the mist behind it. 49 other ships to be exact, an entire fleet of viking ships, each one carrying 200 vikings ready for war. The entire fleet was heading inland together in a triangular wedge formation with the Seamaiden in the lead. Each ship kept rowing at a steady speed, kept in unison by the sound of beating leather battle drums, the low bass rumbling with each smack of 50 large padded drumsticks hitting the open air like an approaching thunderstorm. The fleet was spread out over the waves, but still close enough for each ship to view its neighbors and communicate with the echoing sound of horns and drums if necessary. This was the Great Heathen Army, led by Ivar the Boneless himself, with the help of his brothers. Ivar had somehow found a way to teleport his fleet to Gaia, following the instructions given to him by the spirit of his dead uncle Rollo the Walker, who revealed to him the secrets of the Atlantic Ocean and the whereabouts of the Bermuda Triangle, but nature is unpredictable and ghosts are demanding. Rollo left him riddles and clues, but it was Ivar himself who used his clever wit to discover the time window and enter the portal at the right spot, during the precise moment for such an event to transpire. Prince Ivar was indeed clever, for unlike his predecessors before him, Ivar's fleet had brought an extra ship with them, setting it adrift with nobody on it. As the Great Heathen Army's fleet suddenly teleported into Gaia's ocean, a single vessel would be left behind. By watching the ghost ship suddenly vanish right before their very eyes, Ivar's fleet would be aware that they had transversed space-time and had crossed into Gaia's waters. No other viking leader had ever done this before, and the success of such a tact only boosted Ivar's morale, and his growing reputation as the son of a god.

The setting changes from ellarian-tartarean-coast to Aether Dock

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair

0.50 INK

Fifty viking longships drifted in unison around Ellaria's watery coastline, each one spaced out in a triangular wedge formation, the Seamaiden taking the lead with Ivar the Boneless as the fleet commander. Aboard each ship was a horn-blower and an animal-skin drummer, but only the drums were sounding as the rowers rowed together, every beat of the 50 thundering drums creating the rhythm and tempo of the oars as the Great Heathen Army made its way towards the mouth of Iskjerne Bay, moving around the rocky mountains and inland towards the place of Aether Dock, where the late chieftain Sigurd Hring had built a new shipyard. The ships arrived swiftly and quietly, appearing through the foggy mist as the vikings rowed their way inland. The beating drums would be the only warning of Prince Ivar's arrival. He turned and looked behind him towards his older brother Bjorn, who stood there ready to make landfall at any moment.

The air was cooler in the bay area, with salty rime and frost forming thin layers against the ship's hulls and prows, breaking through the ice sheets as they drifted into the harbour. Prince Ivar was wearing full body armor with his helmet already fastened, hugging the wooden mermaid-carving at the prow of the ship while sitting on the raised platform above the low deck. Ivar Ragnarsson turned to look at his brother Bjorn Ironside, nodding quietly. Bjorn nodded back before lifting his giant bronze metal shield to the side of his head and yelling into it. "OOOOODINNN!!! his deep low voice carrying over the waves and disappearing into the fog, providing an echolocation for the Seamaiden as Ivar signalled for the drums to cease. As the drummers stopped drumming, the rowers also stopped, lifting their oars above the water and holding them there. "OOOOOOODIIIINNNNN!!! repeated the large brother with the black painted claw marks on his face. As his voice echoed, Ivar turned to look at Bjorn again, smirking quietly. Bjorn smiled and nodded slightly before turning to look back at one of the archers. Prince Bjorn snapped his fingers, and the archer immediately lit one of his flaming arrows and fired it over Bjorn and Ivar's shoulders into the dense cold fog. After a brief second, they could hear the feint sizzling of the flaming arrow as it was extinguished beneath the open water. "OOOOOOODIIIINNNNN!!! Bjorn shouted again, using the large disc-shaped bronze shield to throw his voice and direct the echo. He motioned again to the archer, who quickly fired another flaming arrow into the air.

This time there was no sizzling sound afterwards. The arrow struck a muddy bank, extinguishing itself in the frozen wet moss. Bjorn lowered his shield and looked up to Prince Ivar, who grinned devilishly. "LAAANND!!!" Bjorn shouted, pointing to the beach with his axe. Ivar the Boneless quickly plopped down on to the ship's shallow deck and slithered his way through the rowers on his elbows, dragging his useless legs behind him. Hrafn-Floki would start climbing up the mast of the Seamaiden, lowering his black hood to reveal his crow-like face paint with coal eyeshadow and rune painted forehead, giggling with excitement. Ubbe Ragnarsson would stand up beside him, his bright blue eyes glimmering with hope. Queen Lagertha and King Harald didn't react much, both of them already resolved from the beginning. Lagertha would glance over to him silently, a look of concern in her eyes. King Harald looked at her and smiled, a look of confidence on his face. Ivar opened a treasure chest and grabbed his new invention, a pair of armored leg supports. He glanced up to Ubbe with a sarcastic smirk while sliding one of the leg supports around his ankle and fastening the 3 straps, two below the knee and one above to hold his leg straight. As the Seamaiden neared the empty shipyard, Bjorn turned to face the 150 rowers, standing in the center aisle between them, signalling for the 75 oarsmen on the right side to backpaddle. This caused the Seamaiden to turn sideways while entering the shallows parallel to one of the docks.

With her left side out, the 75 dually colored round shields which formed the Seamaiden's shield-wall flank were already in place. Prince Ivar grabbed his crutch, his long dagger and his throwing axe, propping himself up to sit on top of the treasure chest as a row of specialized archers took up defensive positions around him at the side deck overlooking the empty shipyard. Harald Finehair flicked his fish-bone toothpick overboard into the water before tightening his sword sheath and his glove straps. He nodded to the oarsmen in front of him, who retracted their oars back into the boat, tightening the shield-wall. As the longship drifted slowly closer to the available dock, Harald unsheathed his sword and pointed it at the small metal pulley system. "Drop the ramp!!!" He shouted, and suddenly the whole side of the Seamaiden opened up like a draw-bridge, forming a large ramp which opened on to the dock, allowing the vikings to storm out quickly in large numbers as the ship was anchored down and tied off to keep it from drifting away. A row of 15 vikings rushed out, shoulder to shoulder, shield to shield, roaring with fury and the lust for battle. This was followed by another 15, and another, as they quickly stormed the docks, rushing the whole entire shipyard within a few minutes, only to find it empty and deserted. Prince Ivar sat aboard the vessel and watched as the heathen army swept the frozen beach, finding only a few unfrozen vodka bottles, old tackle, tools and miscellaneous items scattered around the small uninhabited island. As they returned to the longship, Ubbe looked up over the ship's shield-wall to Ivar, smiling.

"The place is empty. There's no one here," Ubbe said with disbelief. Ivar just smirked, pointing his crutch out over the horizon past the shipyard, to the foggy white landmass past the icebridge on the other side of the docks. "We have to go to the other side," Ivar said. "The ice is either too thick, or not thick enough. Do we risk sinking the ships? Or risk ourselves?" Prince Ubbe asked rhetorically. Ivar sighed deeply as two archers guided a horse drawn war chariot over to the ramp. "I have a plan," he said as he propped himself to his feet and leaned into his crutch, dragging himself over to the chariot with stiff legs before climbing up to sit in it. "Go," he said, appearing to be perfectly relaxed with his legs sprawled out. The charioteer fwipped the reigns and soon the 2 horses pulling the chariot would descend down the ramp and over the dock on to the muddy shore. Ubbe rolled his eyes and turned to look down at Ivar this time, shouting to him. "Well, what is your plan?!" he threw his arms up. Prince Ivar smiled, but said nothing as the war chariot slowly rode away.

The setting changes from aether-dock to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair

0.00 INK

Arriving from the North...
Across the frozen bay's icebridge between the Shipyard and Iskjerne...


From out of the dense white mist, a massive viking army appeared with shields and torches. Ivar the Boneless rode out in front of them on his horse-drawn war chariot, being the first person to cross over the beach and ride up the icey snow-capped banks. Others soon followed him, and although the vikings were slow and hesitant about crossing the frozen icebridge, they started running quickly once they reached the other side, making their way up the snowy hillside towards the higher ground where they could see. The air was surprisingly dry, and a thick blanket of falling white snow and glimmering snowflakes restricted their visibility, casting a blueish grey background over the large white mass, as everything appeared to be eerily silent and devoid of sound. As they walked inland in several formations, Ivar noticed a small farm village straight ahead of him which appeared to be undefended. He looked to his left, noticing the rocky edge of the stone quarry at the base of the tall white mountains, forming a large wall of snow and ice which reached up to the clouds. To his right, he noticed the feint outline of a round wall which was also covered in snow and set upon a raised hill or mound which appeared to him to be artificial or man-made. "I want 50 men to search the village. I want 100 men to search that hill, and destroy that wall if you have to. Find out what's behind it. I want 25 men to take the beach. Go right and report back to me what you find. I want scouts along the mountains. Send riders to the west and search everything. I want a full survey of this entire land by sunset," Prince Ivar commanded.

Ivar Ragnarsson had brought 10,000 vikings with him, the largest viking army Iskjerne Bay had ever seen. It took little time for Prince Ivar to get a full detailed exploration of the entire settlement. He was disappointed to learn that the place had undergone a cold spell and was recently abandoned. However, his brother Ubbe Ragnarsson was quite relieved, and convinced Ivar to take advantage of the situation. Prince Ivar claimed all of Iskjerne Bay as his kingdom and decided that he should finish what his grandfather had started, by building an even greater settlement on top of it. Ivar's great heathen army had brought 50 ships with them, and all the supplies, weapons, tools and gear they needed to plan a long-term conquest. Working together, they quickly built their camps and camp fires, pitching their tents in the snow. For most people, the frigid arctic environment at this point, in the midst of an intense cold spell, would have likely been too unbearable and life-threatening. But the vikings were almost magically accustomed to it, these powerful Northmen being genetically built to deal with it. By now, most of the dead bodies in Iskjerne Bay before Ivar's arrival had been buried in the ice and snow, beneath thickets of mud and dirt, never to be seen again unless their remains were dug up. Ivar's Army was quick to start rebuilding everything, using the maps his scouts had drawn up to get a full picture of his future kingdom.

Unlike his brothers, Ivar the Boneless was not very strong despite his size. Ivar was crippled, with brittle bones and weak legs. His father Ragnar Lothbrok had left newborn Ivar to the wolves, but later had a change of heart and went back to rescue him. Ragnar raised young Ivar, despite his disability, convincing the boy that his disability was actually a gift which made him unique. Ivar the Boneless was part serpent, part dragon, a god amongst the vikings. He used his arms to drag himself along, enabling Ivar to hurl an axe with might and precision, but still he was crippled and weaker than others. Ivar was forced to be smarter, to think clever, and use his wit. He used the maps to design a new settlement, changing the entire layout of the terrain and everything. Or at least he started to, until his slave diggers ran into the statue of King Sigurd and realized they couldn't destroy it. Ivar's messengers reported the news to him, so Ivar changed his plans and decided to incorporate the natural landscape into his design, utilizing some of the architecture that King Sigurd already created. Prince Ivar's scouts would explore the village, the boat-shaped mead hall, the stone forge, the shipyard, the forest, the coastlines and beaches, the stone watchtower dungeon and the rock quarry. However, as the scout's horses explored the mountainside, by pure chance, the scout's hunting dogs did not detect the hidden cave entrance. The scouts rode right by it slowly, but they never took a closer look.

Prince Ivar sat inside the mead hall around the central fireplace, drawing something on a rabbit skin with a sharpened twig using woad, a blueish-green pigment used by Scottish raiders, normally to paint their faces. "What are you doing?" One of the vikings at the fire asked curiously, having never seen anyone draw before. "I'm building a castle," Ivar said with a grin. The viking just shook his head in confusion. "What is a castle?" Prince Ivar showed him the drawing of a Norman viking styled motte-and-bailey ring fortress.

"Iskjerne Castle has a circular motte or canal encircling a raised ditch around which sits a round wooden palisade made of thick upright vertical spiked planks and logs, forming a tall perfectly round wall around an open bailey or courtyard. Towards the back of the open bailey is a raised scarp or mound that is encompassed by a thick stone wall. On top of the scarp sits the mead hall, which is connected to the keep and the inner temple. Inside the dark mound below the keep is a wine cellar, a treasure vault and a dungeon. A flying bridge or suspension bridge ramps down from the large metal arched double gates connected to the stone wall at the top of the scarp to the open bailey below, where it melds into a hardened dirt crossroads with paths leading to the outer temple, the school or library, the forge or blacksmith, the workshop or sawmill, the barracks, the stables, the tavern or innkeep, and the training field which turns into an archery range or circus arena for shows, performances, or contests. The statue of Iskjerne's founder Sigurd the Ringtaker and the statue of Iskjerne's architect Ivar the Boneless stand as pillars to the arena's entrance."

Bjorn and Ubbe looked over at Ivar quietly, unimpressed expressions on their faces. "What?" Ivar asked snarlishly. Bjorn stood up, but Ubbe remained seated. "Okay Ivar, you build your castle. I will help you build it. But it's going to require a lot of strength," Ubbe reminded him. Bjorn folded his arms and stood there quietly, still unimpressed. "So what else?" Ubbe asked, almost as if to suggest that he could do anything. Ivar snickered and pointed to his rabbit skin design.

"Other dirt paths lead into the farmers village where you'll find houses, barns, farms, granaries, windmills, wells, meaderies, breweries, haystacks, spinning wheels and small pickett fences for vines, crops and livestock. The farmers village leads away from the scarp and slopes down over shallow hills towards the tall wooden main gate connected by a pair of wooden towers that connect to the circular wooden palisade which encompasses the entire village and the mead hall, forming a motte-and-bailey castle. The gate has a drawbridge which folds down over the motte to regulate traffic. The drawbridge ends at another dirt road, which travels away from Iskjerne Castle into the outer outskirts, mostly open country and farmland. A third, large outer fence encircles the outer farmlands, made from another tall wooden palisade with 4 gates positioned at the north, south, east and west. Each gate has a drawbridge which goes over another motte surrounding the third palisade. The 4 drawbridges end at long dirt roads through open fields into the wilderness.

The north road veers northeast to a fixed wooden bridge which crosses the shallow fjord to a small island, upon which are boat docks and Iskjerne's Shipyard, where longships are made. The east road goes straight for about one mile, then splits into a forked road, with one path leading into a small unprotected farming village, or campground, and the other path leading into the stone quarry and the rocky terrain going up into the eastern Weargtooth mountainside. This rocky path also splits halfway, with one path slithering up to the stone watchtower dungeon built into the mountainface, while the other path serpentines downwards into more rocky terrain where there is a hidden cave entrance. Going back to the outer palisade wall, the western road goes straight for miles over open grasslands and coastal terrain, with a small dirt road branching off of it, heading southwest into a small forest and into the southwestern Weargtooth mountainside, where it melds into a long carved stone stairway climbing up to a large forge hidden at the top of the mountain. The southern road from Iskjerne Castle's outer palisade goes seemingly nowhere, straight south over open hills ending at the Weargtooth Mountains, where there is a large open cemetery with boat-shaped burial mounds, with giant runestones and upright boulders carved with runes."
Prince Ivar looked over at his two half-brothers. Bjorn just nodded quietly and then walked away. Ubbe nodded, then smiled to Ivar, accepting the challenge. Before long, the great heathen army started their reconstruction of Iskjerne Bay, burying the old walls and building new ones, creating artificial earth mounds and digging out a motte-and-bailey ring fortress.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair

0.00 INK

Prince Ivar remained at the mead hall, which was defended by one thousand snake whispering and raven handling followers of Odin and Thor, a sinister cult of ghost warriors and cavaliers who brought their own horses. These vikings were skilled in falconry, espionage and hit-and-run guerilla tactics. They were led by Prince Ivar himself, who sat by the fire looking at his maps. Bjorn Ironside and his 1000 berserkers would help unload the ships before breaking into small dens, spreading out and going their separate ways into the mountains. Bjorn himself would take 100 bear-skinned warriors with him up to the hidden stone watchtower, while others started their own journey to the forge, accompanied by Volund the Smith and 1000 expert craftsmen devoted to the alfar. Some of them went into the forest to collect wood, while others immediately set to work by making things at the forge.

Ubbe Ragnarsson, the youngest of the 3 brothers, would divide his 1000 ulfhednar into smaller packs and have them spread out across the hills and through the forest. These ulfhednar were specialized in tracking, hunting, scouting and raiding. King Harald was the leader of the 1000 svinfylking, Ivar's main fighting force. These boar-skinned warriors followed either Freyr or Odin, and were heavily armored or extremely powerful. Harald Fairhair and his small army patrolled the countryside, digging for deeper knowledge as they took a closer survey of everything around them. Ivaldi the Archer and his 1000 miners would explore the rock quarry, gathering any precious stones or metals they could find and having them hauled off to the many different construction sites in reindeer sleighs and horse drawn sleds where Ivar planned the building of new structures. Some of Ivaldi's sons would build another small temporary forge inside the mines where they started crafting tools and weapons. Hrafn-Floki and his own 1000 vikings returned to the shipyard, where they started repairing Ivar's fifty longships. Floki himself pulled out his seax and started carving magical runes into the hull of the Seamaiden, enchanting the seed-oil polished vessel with a powerful spell of protection whilst calling upon Loki, Aegir and the jotnar for guidance.

Queen Aslaug had her own cult as well, made up of 1000 völvur and female archers devoted to the Norse goddess Freyja and the valkyries. These powerful women were clad in catskin dresses with raven feathered cloaks, and were versed in all different kinds of magic charms and spells. They were particularly fond of seidr magic, necromancy, prophecy and divination, but they also specialized in magical songs, poems and incantations as well. Aslaug's witches were healers with knowledge of the sacred herbs and remedies. Aslaug's son was Ivar the Boneless, meaning that he too, like her, was a medium for the gods who was born with special abilities. Queen Lagertha on the other hand was dedicated to Frigg and the dissir. Lagertha's army consisted of 1000 shield-maidens, an elite task force of all-female warriors armed with spears, shields and swords. Lagertha had a snowy owl which she fed mice to and kept as a pet. Lagertha's cult explored the frozen farm village, patrolling the open fields. This left 1000 thralls, workers, builders, farmers, hunters, fishermen and slaves to do most of the heavy work around the settlement. They wasted no time in starting to reconstruct Iskjerne Bay according to Ivar's new layout. They formed assembly lines, dug a motte, built a scarp hill and started repairing the broken walls with stone. Using strength in numbers and a well organized operation managed by Prince Ivar himself, the great heathen army started building even stronger structures and ramifications in half the time it took King Sigurd's fleet.

As the demolition crews started building muddy ditches and artificial earth mounds, the farmers and gardeners would walk around sprinkling Irish grass seed and planting flowers for the future spring. The vikings were thinking ahead, planning their very future as they prayed to Sigurd for prosperity and sang songs of his achievements in life. King Sigurd's army was gone, extinct, but their legacy lived on through the remarkable architecture and artwork they left behind. Almost everything the Iskjerne Vikings constructed had been carved with runes. Some of these runes had magical purposes, but a great many of them were actually used as writing to tell a story which Prince Ivar's fleet soon translated. Despite their primitive and uncivilized appearance, Iskjerne Bay's undefeated vikings were actually very advanced in some ways, because the entire settlement was hiding a vast library of runic writings that other vikings would understand and be able to translate, as if King Sigurd's people had been looking towards the future all along. "Look at these runes that I have carved, that Egil Skjalsson has carved into the pillars he raised when Sigurd was king of Iskjerne," Prince Ivar's runemaster read aloud quietly, looking at the runic inscriptions on one of the large wooden support beams inside the mead hall. Prince Ivar grinned.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair

0.00 INK

High in the sky there was a rumble, the sound of a thunderclap, and the strange rolling of the clouds above. The ornately constructed Mizuho shifted, slowly gaining altitude, and disappearing from view.

The setting changes from iskjerne-bay to Aether Dock

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heion Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim

0.00 INK

#, as written by Remæus
Fulgar Thornheim landed on the dock, his boots thudding heavily with a clop as they pressed into the stone docks underfoot. His travel from the north had been swift, the call of the horn having been heard far and wide. Along his side were his great brothers, each adorned with the trophies of their conquests, fur and bone draped across their massive, muscular frames.

Where to first?
asked one of them of Fulgar, who stared sternly into the icy landscape with glowing azure eyes. He was to see the leader of this land, but much had transpired since he last heard news of the kingdom to the south.

To the great hall.
he commanded, before setting out in a steady march for the heart of the settlement.

The setting changes from aether-dock to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim

0.00 INK

Hundreds of vikings paused from their labours and looked up towards the skies just in time to witness a very strange phenomenon. Thick heavy clouds rolled across the snowy winter sky, followed by a low rumbling sound which sounded like thunder. There was a loud thunderclap, followed by a feint flash of light which looked very similar to heat lightning when viewed from Gaia's surface. But the great heathen army was never aware of the Mizuho's presence high above, and were oblivious to its existence. To the vikings, it seemed like a more natural phenomenon or weather occurrence, and one that most of them were actually already quite familiar with. The vikings soon went back to work as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary. In fact, they started working faster and harder now that it seemed there might be a possible storm approaching. Prince Ivar was sitting on King Sigurd's throne inside the mead hall, listening to the musical melody of the tagelharpa over the skaldic poetry and mythical songs recited by his court poets. There was a large central fire in the middle of the mead hall, which kept everyone inside warm and toasty while they filled their horns with mead and danced in celebration of Prince Ivar's successful voyage.

Just outside the great hall, however, thousands of Norsemen were hard at work, constructing new walls and ramifications for the old ring fortress. Ivar's engineers had already narrowed the scarp or hill that the mead hall rested upon, and had started to build around it, adding the foundation of a temple and a keep, with temporary ramps and bridges setup to allow traffic in and out as the new stone wall was being built. A few paths were cleared out with plows and shovels, but otherwise it was extremely cold outside, with mounds of thick and heavy snow which were knee-high and difficult to tread through. Still, it was not enough to stop the hardened vikings as they worked together like thousands of ants in assembly, using their superior strength and numbers to accomplish great things even during the midst of a cold spell. Queen Aslaug stood alone on top of a frozen burial mound, watching Fulgar Thornheim and his crew as they approached the mainland. Aslaug was in plain sight, standing still as a statue whilst still holding the horn bugle in one hand, while clutching her long elmwood walking stick with the other. Her long blue catskin dress and black feathered cloak would wave and flow with the chilly wind, her wavey red hair and almost otherworldly bright blue eyes staring silently at the strangers in the distance, no doubt noticeable to Fulgar's crew. At the base of the mound, a circle of hooded women were gathered around and huddled together in a circle, spinning and weaving threads and making spindles of yarn to be used for future purposes.

By now, many of the workers and slaves in the open fields had already started to find and collect small artifacts left behind by the warring parties and viking nations from the previous settlement. Arrowheads, broken spear-heads, silver coins, bone beads and other trinkets. Lagertha's shield-maidens patrolled the area and kept a watchful eye on the slaves and thralls to make sure they didn't steal anything, or covet any weapons they might find. Ubbe Ragnarsson and his ulfhednar were still patrolling Iskjerne Forest when they stumbled upon a certain ash tree which seemed to have a bearded man's face carved into it. There were a set of 3 nooses hanging from the branches of this sacred ash tree, and someone had painstakingly taken the time to carve runes into its trunk. Ubbe examined the markings while scratching his neck. "What do you suppose it means?" one of the ulfhedinns asked him. "I'm not sure. Copy them down, my brother will know what it means" Ubbe said, before walking away to go look at some of the other trees in the forest.

Meanwhile, the berserkers had made some new discoveries as well. One of the sons of Ivaldi came running up from the mines to inform his father of a certain small hole in the ground, which upon further inspection appeared to be some kind of hidden cave entrance. Ivaldi reported the find to Bjorn Ironside and his small den of berserkers at the watch tower. Bjorn in turn sent a rider to the mead hall to go inform Prince Ivar, who was still drinking and feasting and having a good time. Bjorn Ironside also summoned more of his own personal guards to the watch tower, deeming it to be a great point from which to conduct a nearly aerial survey of the kingdom below. Prince Bjorn had seen Fulgar Thornheim's vessel arriving from the north, even before they had reached the docks, such was the view from high up in the watch tower. Again, however, the berserkers thought little about it. After all, it was only a small crew, not exactly an entire army. The vikings were no strangers to having visitors back home, and so there was very little need for any of them to feel alarmed now that they had found new land. On the other side of the small inlet of Iskjerne Bay, however, Volund the Smith had made some interesting discoveries as well. At the top of the long stone carved stairway into the mountains, where Iskjerne Forge was located, Volund found the broken remnants of some strange foreign inventions and dazzling purple crystals. All of the round egg-shaped stones were cracked, save for one of the crystals which had a very feint pinkish glow to it. "Well that's interesting," Volund said, sticking the crystal into his pocket.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless

0.75 INK

A scroll appeared in front of Ivar the Boneless without warning. It materialized with a puff of fire and smoke, and it bore a glowing red and gold seal of a lion's head surrounded by strange runes. The scroll floated in the air before him until it would be claimed. A subtle hum of magic surrounded the scroll, and within was a letter written with a flowing well-practiced script in Ivar's native tongue.

----

From the desk of Archmage Sheodin Thundermane, Chief Ambassador of the Khroniktan Alliance;

To Whom It May Concern,

Greetings, sovereign leaders of Gaia. May the Everlasting Flame of Ha’Ari, the King of Kings and Father of Creation, light your path and grant you the wisdom of Heaven. The prayers of our people have uplifted you during this trying time, and the upheaval of your world, caused by the wrath of Eras and its titans, has been felt by us despite the few short years we have walked on your soil and looked upon your skies.

It troubles us that the echoes of the All Consuming Darkness have been felt even here on these shores. Eyes born from the blackness between the stars have settled upon your world and have disrupted the delicate balance of power, and ancient malevolence has awoken that seeks to place you in eternal bondage. Take solace, though, that Ha’Ari has stretched out His mighty hand and offers you protection. It is through His power, and the might of the Khroniktan Alliance, that Eras’s wrath was abated and the formidable colossus Ni’Thorne met its demise.

We warmly invite you or a representative of your nation-state to visit our colony New Ketajhi, located in the region known as the Royale Prairies of Siv’en, in order to open diplomatic relations. Food and lodging will be provided.

Sincerely,

Archmage Sheodin Thundermane, Chief Ambassador of the Khroniktan Alliance

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
Uhtred strides forward, placing a comforting hand on Indisla's shoulder. "My lady, the battlefield is no place for a shield-maiden unwilling to draw blood. You may withdraw to the Fort if you so wish it, otherwise prepare yourself for blood-shed. Uhtred hungers and his hunger will not be delayed. Let the Gods lament our arrival"

With a nod, several of his berserker units joined Uhtred in preparation for battle, and a murder of crows alighted in preparation for the feast he would provide.

The setting changes from iskjerne-bay to Aether Dock

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heion Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Alyssia Patel Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great

0.00 INK

#, as written by Remæus
Thorvald the Great skidded up to the docks, where the rest of Fulgar's men had finished unloading their supplies.

Fulgar calls for our arrival!
he roared, grabbing the axes from their custom-made scabbards across his back. The men howled, rumbling into a mob of madness heading towards the main settlement.

The setting changes from aether-dock to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar

0.00 INK

As the small contingent of Argosians and Iskjerne Bay's new Great Heathen Army stood in formations overlooking a small white plain covered in frozen grass and snow, Ivar the Boneless watched silently, leaning forward over his war chariot while folding his arms and resting his elbows. As the Argosian soldiers opened up, and Livia stepped forward, removing her silver and gold helmet, Ivar the Boneless gazed into her eyes, which were exactly the same as his.

"What color are my eyes?"

Ivar the Boneless calmly asked his troops. Bjorn Ironside would turn to look over his shoulder, with a confused look on his face. "What?" he raised an eyebrow at the sudden irrelevant question. "What color are my eyes?" insisted Ivar, as he kept his gaze on Livia, staring down at her from the top of the raised earth. Bjorn would glance up at Ivar before looking back at the praetorians. "Your eyes are bright blue," responded Bjorn, as a smile formed upon Ivar's lips. "Good," he replied. "What's it matter?" Bjorn inquired, still looking at the Argosian guards. "Father said that if my eyes were red, that I was in danger of breaking a bone" Ivar the Boneless said before lightly fwipping the reigns and riding his chariot forward. The vikings would move aside as Prince Ivar rode out to the front of the shield wall to get a closer look at the woman with the auburn flowing hair. Livia was holding her helmet under her arm.

Lagertha watched quietly from behind the shield wall, her pastel blue dress also flowing with the cold chilly breeze as she kept a grip on her spear. It was a long wooden spear with a metal spade-shaped spear head, having a spike on one side and a hook on the other. In her other hand, she held a greenish blue linden round shield with a conical pointed round metal boss at its centre. The shield had a black owl painted on the front in some elaborate Jellinge style tribal design, and she gripped the metal boss from the handle on its backside with additional support from the two leather straps which went around her arm when she needed to reposition herself. Bjorn would spit on the ground beside him, gripping his large bearded axe with both hands as Livia approached.

"Salve." Livia said, inclining her head respectfully. The berserkers and shield-maidens would glance at one another briefly, unsure of what Livia had said, for she was using a different lingo, albeit in their own Nordic language.

"I am Livia, first Legata of the Caesarian Legion, of the Argosian Empire. I bid you fair greetings, and good fortune." The Legata said, looking back up towards Ivar's chariot. Her words translated by the spell into fluent words the Vikings could understand in their own native tongues, yet she was also using a lingo that the Vikings were not familiar with. They had no concept of a Legata, or a Legion, but most of what Livia was saying, Ivar and his vikings understood.

"I beg your leave, and safe passage into your settlement so that I may retrieve one of our sisters who has fallen in battle, so that she may be returned to her people for an honorable burial, in accordance with their traditions. I humbly apologize for the intrusion, I did not expect this place to be inhabited." Livia added, keeping her gaze lowered as a sign of respect, and to display that she was not a threat.

Ivar the Boneless had suddenly lost his lust for battle, and was now just staring blankly at the beautiful older woman in front of him. Bjorn Ironside glanced down at his mother, Lagertha, who stood still in thought. "It could be a trap," Bjorn leaned over and whispered quietly into his mother's ear. Lagertha nodded quietly before stepping forward.

"Greetings and blessings First Legata, I am Queen Lagertha," she said as she gestured to her son and to her son-in-law. "These are the sons of King Ragnar, known as Bjorn and Ivar" she included. Ivar brought three fingers to his forehead and respectfully saluted Livia, nodding slightly with a smirk. Bjorn just stood there silently.

"We were not expecting an errand in this trying weather, we thought you might have been raiders. Our village will be quite gladdened to accomodate you and your company. Our fires will keep you warm. But you can not stay too long. We do not have much space in the great hall at the moment. Our settlement is currently undergoing construction," Lagertha informed her, looking back at her son.

Bjorn Ironside nodded, then waved all of his berserkers back to their stations. As the bear-skinned warriors walked away, Lagertha ordered her shield-maidens to part ways so that Livia and her company could pass.

"I am Ivar the Boneless," Ivar commented as he rode up next to Livia, obviously boasting about himself. He smiled down to her, admiring Livia's beauty and her fancy armor. Lagertha and her shield-maidens would wait patiently for them to join the vikings back to the innangard.

The setting changes from iskjerne-bay to Aether Dock

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heion Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Alyssia Patel Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking

0.00 INK

#, as written by Remæus
Thorvald the Great stood fast as the men roared past, catching sight of the docking vessels. These men seemed more of the same, maybe even warriors joining him on the quest to find Sigurd. He hefted an axe in the air, signifying battle, and ran off after the men, stepping in behind the very last man.

The setting changes from aether-dock to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar

0.00 INK

The tense moment was slowly beginning to fleet away, as each Argosian praetorian maintained his position with an almost precision like demeanor. None of them showed any expression, they were faceless legionaries that formed a cohesive contubernia. They moved only with orders from either Livia herself, or their Decanus.

Livia's eyes caught the cripple on the chariot, and like his, hers were a piercing blue, but they were more than that, they were the eyes of a woman who knew nothing but war, of a woman who had been fighting since she was a child, and she had the scars, hidden under the many layers of hide, armor, and fabric to prove it. She looked up to Ivar, her gaze meeting his.

Livia then directed her gaze over to Queen Lagertha, as she stepped forward before slowly getting on one knee before the Queen, it was an act of respect, out of deference to the sovereign of a foreign land. Inclining her head in a respectful bow, she returned to her feet. "I am Honored, Your Majesty." She returned Ivar's salute with one of her own, bringing her right hand into a fist, across her chest.

With one simple gesture, the Praetorians relaxed in unison, letting their shields move to their sides, they split up some, but remained in formation. The Decanus called out, and the Praetorians began to move forward, with purpose, but not so suddenly that they would spook anyone.

"These men are my Praetorian Guard, I hand selected them for their loyalty, and their prowess in combat, while we are guests of your settlement, they are at your disposal should you require their aid." Livia said, nodding back to the Praetorians. "And I assure you, once we have retrieved our fallen charge, we will vacate your settlement in peace, and with all due haste." The Legata replied, gesturing to one of the servants with two fingers, he nodded, and reached into one of the leather pouches belonging to the pack mule.

He produced a glass bottle from the pack mule, and with his head held low, he passed the bottle to Livia, and she uncorked the bottle, and took the first drink to show her new friends that the whatever it was, was not poison. Purple liquid dripped slightly from the corner of her mouth, as she wiped the edge of her mouth clean. She offered the bottle first to Lagertha, and then Bjorn and Ivar. If they took a drink, they would find it sweet, much like mead, but made from dark grapes rather than honey.

When Ivar rode up next to her, and introduced himself as she began to walk towards the Settlement, her Praetorians behind her, Livia offered him a soft smile. "Ivar the Boneless, you may call me Livia." Livia said, as she unfurled a small laminated map. Strange symbols adorned the edges of the map, and labeled notable regions of northern Ellaria. The map looked like a picture taken from high above.

There were red symbols that were unique, they highlighted a specific spot in the settlement, where Kayabuki had fallen.

"The city looks like it will be grand." The Legata commented. The confused looks on the Viking's faces with some of her words were not lost on her either, so she tried to explain to Ivar as he rode next to her.

"A Legatus is what you would call a war chief, or a General, I serve my Emperor, my King, in charge of his armies." Livia explained. "These men are my Praetorian Guard, skilled warriors who dedicate their lives to their king.

While they were walking, the Decanus caught up to them. "Domine, the air is frigid, and the ground frozen solid, it will take at least a day of digging to recover the body, depending on how deeply she is buried."

Livia nodded. "All the more opportunity to get to know our new friends?" She said to the Decanus, his feathered helmet fluttering in the frigid cold.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar

0.00 INK

The tense moment was slowly beginning to fleet away, as each Argosian praetorian maintained his position with an almost precision like demeanor. None of them showed any expression, they were faceless legionaries that formed a cohesive contubernia. They moved only with orders from either Livia herself, or their Decanus.

Prince Ivar the Boneless seemed to barely notice the well-trained Praetorian Guard, showing almost no interest in them at all. Bjorn Ironside was still standing by the newly constructed outer wall, watching quietly and cautiously as his berserkers withdrew back to their posts. He took a silent mental note of how the Argosian legionaries marched, spoke and dressed. He was quite curious about them. Livia would glance at Prince Ivar, and for a brief moment he thought they had made a connection.

Livia then directed her gaze over to Queen Lagertha, as she stepped forward before slowly getting on one knee before the Queen, as an act of respect. This made Ivar snarl silently, his eyes narrowing in on his mother-in-law Lagertha for a second with utter hatred and contempt. Or was it jealously? Lagertha furrowed her brows, completely confused as to why Livia would take a knee. It was a custom the vikings were not used to, but she understood that it was a sign of respect, and stood there quietly waiting for her to rise.

"I am Honored, Your Majesty." Livia said before looking again at the crippled war leader. She returned Ivar's salute with one of her own, bringing her right hand into a fist, across her chest. Ivar the Boneless smiled quietly, concealing the fact that he was now mildly offended. Ivar would turn around and wave for his equestrians to stand down. The hestahars on horseback would nod, casually turning their horses around and withdrawing back to the newly built stables.

"These men are my Praetorian Guard, I hand selected them for their loyalty, and their prowess in combat, while we are guests of your settlement, they are at your disposal should you require their aid." Livia said, nodding back to the praetorians. "And I assure you, once we have retrieved our fallen charge, we will vacate your settlement in peace, and with all due haste." The Legata assured, gesturing to one of the servants with two fingers. He nodded, and reached into one of the leather pouches belonging to the pack mule.

Lagertha would hand her shield and spear over to one of her fellow shield-maidens, nodding to her before approaching Livia and standing in front of her. Lagertha still had her sword sheathed at her side, but seemed quite calm and uneager to use it as she placed a hand on the side of Ivar's war chariot, her fingers trailing gently over the intricate metal designs as she passed him by and approached the legata. Ivar and Bjorn just watched silently. "Praetorians you say. A fine guard indeed. I'm sure their presence at our settlement will be much appreciated." Queen Lagertha smiled softly, her northern accent showing mildly as she turned her attention first to the Praetorians, then to Livia's servant. Her expression was warm, motherly and un-threatening.

Livia's servant soon produced a glass bottle from the pack mule, and with his head held low, he passed the bottle to Livia, and she uncorked the bottle, and took the first drink to show her new friends that the whatever it was, was not poison. Purple liquid dripped slightly from the corner of her mouth, as she wiped the edge of her mouth clean. She offered the bottle first to Lagertha, and then Bjorn and Ivar. If they took a drink, they would find it sweet, much like mead, but made from dark grapes rather than honey.

Lagertha smiled again, nodding slightly as she was offered the bottle of wine. Ivar the Boneless watched with discontent as the shield-maiden took a swig of the purplish red sustenance, before handing it back. "Mmm," she groaned, obviously liking the taste of it. But as Livia then tried to offer the bottle to Bjorn Ironside, she was suddenly met with a different reaction. Bjorn did not approach Livia, or say anything. He just folded his arms quietly, still holding his axe, and spat on the ground without moving. He apparently had no interest in the wine at all, so Livia then offered the bottle to Ivar instead. Prince Ivar would approach Livia, taking the bottle in both hands and looking at it. He would take a swig before handing the bottle back to Livia and wiping his mouth on his sleeve. He scrunched his eyebrows, unsure of the new taste in his mouth, but seemed more curious than displeased.

When Ivar rode up next to her, and introduced himself as she began to walk towards the Settlement, her Praetorians behind her, Livia offered him a soft smile. "Ivar the Boneless, you may call me Livia." Livia said, as she unfurled a small laminated map. Strange symbols adorned the edges of the map, and labeled notable regions of northern Ellaria. The map looked like a picture taken from high above. Ivar furrowed his brows again, looking down at the map as their small group walked through the open aisle created by two flanks of shield-maidens and their human shield wall creating a pathway up to the outer gate. Lagertha and Ivar travelled beside Livia.

"The city looks like it will be grand." The Legata commented. The confused looks on the Viking's faces with some of her words were not lost on her either, so she tried to explain to Ivar as he rode next to her. "A Legatus is what you would call a war chief, or a General, I serve my Emperor, my King, in charge of his armies." Livia explained. "These men are my Praetorian Guard, skilled warriors who dedicate their lives to their king." Lagertha and Ivar listened quietly, both showing interest in what she was saying. Ivar seemed somewhat angry, but given his demeanor and appearance, it was difficult to tell whether he was always angry or if he just appeared to look that way.

Lagertha smiled softly, looking down at her own feet as she walked slowly and casually, escorting the Legata past the first wall into the outer settlement. "Ivar's father was a king," Lagertha said, smiling up to her son-in-law. Ivar just kept looking at the red symbols on the unfolded map. "Unfortunately he is no longer with us, so Prince Ivar here was chosen by lots to lead our current expedition." Lagertha explained as they made their way on to the first draw-bridge over the outer motte. Queen Aslaug watched from the mound in the distance, never budging from her position as the hornuglar waited for the dozen or so Praetorians and legionaries to cross the motte with their mule cart. Afterwards, the shield-maidens would close the aisle they had created by repositioning themselves into a square box formation, following behind everyone as the last to cross the bridge, staying several paces behind the mule cart.

"Domine, the air is frigid, and the ground frozen solid, it will take at least a day of digging to recover the body, depending on how deeply she is buried." Livia nodded at the sudden announcement. "All the more opportunity to get to know our new friends?" She said to the Decanus, his feathered helmet fluttering in the frigid cold. Queen Lagertha smiled again warmly, stopping before the second narrower gate by the wooden palisade to allow Ivar's chariot and the mule cart to enter first. There was still one more motte, crossed via second draw-bridge past a third palisade into the open bailey within. Then the raised scarp hill, a steep incline requiring them to walk up the suspension bridge to the last stone wall, behind which Livia and her Argosians would find the great hall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar

0.00 INK

When Livia returned to her feet, she was visibly confused at the reaction, she had been simply kneeling before a monarch, as a sign of respect, and deference. These barbarians certainly had some strange customs, and they served all the more to make the Legata uneasy. Although she did well not to show it.

She didn't react to Bjorn when he refused her drink, and spat on the ground. While she didn't openly react to it, she had made a mental note to watch Bjorn closely, it was a quiet mental note, and something that didn't visibly show on the Legata's face as they walked.

The Praetorians behind her walked with synchronized steps, their movements like one, their footfalls echoing through the entirety of the settlement.

Livia looked to the map as she walked with the group through the fortifications. Though she appeared interested in the map, her mind was sharp, and her eyes occasionally moved throughout the internal structure of the city's defenses. She was making mental notes of each, analyzing their construction, which siege engines would be required to defeat them. She didn't trust barbarians, especially after her contact with the barbarians on that ship, they fought savagely, but those that challenged her were put down like animals.

Livia's mind wandered a moment, to the acrid smell of gunpowder, and the raging calls of viking warriors, and the crack of muskets.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the Decanus, who reached over to touch the map. "I'm glad the Taiyou took the care to mark where the woman is buried." He said, glancing back at the servant, whom was rummaging through the mule, making sure the shovels, and pickaxes were ready for use. He checked their polymer handles, to make sure they weren't brittle in this cold, then he checked the shovels.

Livia looked up from the map The Praetorians stepped aside to allow the pack mule to overtake their formation, and cross the last bridge first, once they resumed their formation, they marched in step behind Livia, the great Hall up ahead. The Legata was anticipating a hot meal, and an even hotter bath after today, something to warm her bones, as she was unused to the cold. Argos was a fairly warm moon, where Livia had been raised warmer still. She furrowed her brow at the ice crystals forming in between the plates of her lorica armor. The cold was seeping through the heavy Paenula she had been wearing, so she pulled the fabric closer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar

0.00 INK

Ivar the Boneless would suddenly see a flash of blinding white light which nobody else could see. It seemed like a flash of white lightning to Ivar, and suddenly he would see flashing images of the past, present and future. Sigurd's ghost would give Ivar the Boneless insight into things that only he could see, and only he would know.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar

0.00 INK

Queen Lagertha smiled again warmly, stopping before the second narrower gate by the wooden palisade to allow Ivar's chariot and the mule cart to enter first. Livia looked up from the map. The Praetorians stepped aside to allow the pack mule to overtake their formation, and pass through the narrower gate, before resuming their formation. Ivar rode ahead of everyone through the narrow gate, before whipping his reigns and taking off towards the second draw-bridge over another icey motte. His double horse-drawn war chariot was quite faster than the mule cart, and those who walked on foot behind it. As he rode uphill along the snow-ploughed dirt path past the third wall into the open bailey, Ivar caught up to Bjorn's troops and passed them up, going over the suspension bridge to the fourth and final wall on top of the raised scarf.

Just then, and without warning, Ivar the Boneless would suddenly see a flash of blinding white light which nobody else could see. It seemed like a flash of white lightning to Ivar, and suddenly he would see flashing images of the past, present and future. Sigurd's ghost would give Ivar the Boneless insight into things that only he could see, and only he would know. Prince Ivar suddenly stopped his chariot in front of the much taller, much thicker arched double-doors of his newly constructed mead hall. The Praetorians continued to march in step behind Livia, the great hall up ahead just through the narrow gate, according to her map anyway. The Legata was anticipating a hot meal, and an even hotter bath after today, something to warm her bones, only to find out that she still had one more small incline, an open bailey, a steep hill with a suspension bridge, and one more stone wall with a fortified metal spiked gate to go through before she even got to the mead hall. It seemed that Ivar had steepened the raised mound to form a scarp, and had added more walls to the Iskjerne Viking settlement in the Bay, giving it better defenses with 4 concentric ring walls instead of 3, with 2 drawbridges instead of 1, and 2 mottes instead of none.

Ivar the Boneless grabbed his crutch and swung himself around, sliding himself off of the chariot and on to his feet as his thralls led the horses away. He limped into the Great Hall, leaning on his crutch before taking a seat on the throne again. Before long, his older half-brother Bjorn Ironside would also enter the hall. "Why are you sitting in our grandfather's chair? Get up," Bjorn said as he walked over to the long thick wooden table, which had been fashionably hand-crafted from a single solid tree. "No, this is my chair" Ivar argued as he set his long walking crutch down next to him. "No if anything, it should be our father's chair" Bjorn argued back. "Father would have wanted me to have it," Ivar retorted calmly, slowly reaching under the table for his knife.

Meanwhile as Lagertha walked beside Livia, with both of their small companies following behind them through the bailey and over the suspension bridge up the scarp to the last stone wall, Lagertha chatted away to keep her entertained by giving Livia a semi-tour of the settlement, explaining some of Ivar's new construction plans with her, but never so much as to give away Iskjerne's newly planned secret defenses. "This is the marketplace we're at now. The keep and the great hall are just up ahead passed this bridge," she said happily, still smiling warmly. Lagertha didn't get to interact much with other women outside of her community. Usually the only other women she made arrangements with were her enemies. She was hoping that Livia was different, as she led the Argosians up to the spiked metal gate before stopping. "Well, here we are. Our great hall is just behind this wall here. We don't allow foreign animals past this point so the mule cart will have to stop here. The rest of you can come inside. Come," Lagertha smiled as she waved everyone else to join her through the spiked gate.

Lagertha's hornuglar and shield-maidens would stop at the foot of the bridge behind Livia's praetorians and legionaries and take up guarding positions, watching everything with sharp eyes as Lagertha commanded them to wait outside and defend the bridge, before she then escorted Livia and her guards to follow her through the gate and passed the berserkers into Iskjerne's Mead Hall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

As they moved through the gates, Livia continued to closely observe the defenses, and how the city was set up. She made a mental note of the positions of every man in the city, their weapons and equipment, and their general demeanor.

"We'll start digging tomorrow at first light." Livia commented, as she moved into the great mead hall, her eyes on the Decanus behind her.

Livia turned her attention to Lagertha, and offered a nod, before she turned to her Decanus. "Have the men unload the cart, stage the tools at the dig site, and bring in a sled to carry the body out. See to it the mule is kept warm at a stable or something, I don't want it to freeze to death out here in the cold."

The Decanus nodded, and turned back to relay the orders to his men, They would find a place, or be shown a place to store the mule cart, before they began to unload the tools to bring inside.

Once inside the mead hall, Livia smiled at the warmth, and she nodded to one of the Legionaries that came inside with her. She held her arms out to her side, and the Legionary began to undo the fasteners that secured her Paenula, pulling the plush, velvety red cloak off of the Legata, revealing her Lorica armor, which shimmered in the orange flame. The Lorica armor was worn over a heavy red, and white tunica, which extended down to the mid thigh, protected by armored strips of leather. Livia also had her sword, which was encased in a silver, gold imbued scabbard that bore ornate geometric designs. There was another strange weapon holstered on Livia's back. It was a flintlock pistol, with an engraved wooden handle with poured gold inlaid designs.

There was a dagger sheathed in Livia's left boot, and a second weapon holstered in her right boot. This weapon was even stranger in appearance from the weapon holstered at her back. Sheathed in a black kydex holster, the Seburo BoBson Centennial edition semi-automatic pistol was secured snugly in her boot.

The Legionary took her Paenula cloak, and began to delicately fold it up, as Livia took a step forward. She was somewhat lithe in build, but years of combat gave her a toned appearance that was evidenced in the muscles of her arms, and legs.

She dared not take a seat, or do anything else that might offend those before her. So she inclined her head.

"Such a magnificent hall, and warm too. Thank you for your hospitality." Livia said. "If it's not too much trouble, is there somewhere I can have my legionaries draw me a warm bath? I'm not used to the cold, here."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

Iskjerne Bay, year unknown...
Inside the Ring Fort, just outside the Mead Hall...


As the troops continued to march through the gates, Lagertha's shield-maidens kept a sharp eye on Livia the Legata and her small band of Praetorians, stopping at the foot of the bridge as the Argosians made their way up the large suspended ramp to the innermost stone wall. Livia would look around, observing the positions of every man in the city, as the guards near the wooden palisade stared back at her silently, taking a mental note of Livia and her legionaries as well. The berserkers at the head of the suspension bridge would part ways and make a path for Lagertha and her guests as they started to make their way through the spiked metal gate.

"Who are they? And why does that one there keep looking over here?" one of the workers asked the guards beside him as he shoveled snow and dirt away from the place where Ivar's Keep was being built. "I have no idea who they are, friends of Queen Lagertha I assume," the guard answered. "She looks oftly interested in our defenses," another guard commented. "What should we do?" another one of the shirtless workers asked, his hands and face dirty from digging trenches all day. "I'll take care of it. Just keep your teeth together and go back to work," the guard said, before walking casually back to the Mead Hall.

"We'll start digging tomorrow at first light." Livia commented, as she moved into the great mead hall, her eyes on the Decanus behind her. Livia turned her attention to Lagertha, and offered a nod, before she turned to her Decanus. "Have the men unload the cart, stage the tools at the dig site, and bring in a sled to carry the body out. See to it the mule is kept warm at a stable or something, I don't want it to freeze to death out here in the cold." Livia's words did not fall on deaf ears. "I will have one of my maid-servants show you the way," Lagertha said, nodding to one of the young slave girls who was standing nearby. The Decanus nodded, and turned back to relay the orders to his men. The young girl would show them to the stables, pointing to a place inside where they could store their mule cart, before the Argosians began to unload the tools to bring them inside. The young girl just stood there quietly by the doorway, watching them with curiosity and a hint of fear or shyness. She couldn't be more than 12-years-old, with blue eyes, blonde hair and a dirty face.

As the legata and her crew stepped out of the freezing cold and into Iskjerne's large Mead Hall, the berserkers closed the spiked metal gate at the stone wall behind them, stopping all traffic to and from the suspension bridge. A small band of hornuglars would guard the foot of the bridge below the scarp, while the small band of berserkers would take up positions outside the Mead Hall, guarding the spiked metal gate. All the while, Queen Aslaug was still standing on the earth mound outside the ring fortress, gazing into the distance with a blank expression, never moving an inch as the kattrfylking sitting on the ground below her continued to spin their threads and weave spindles of yarn to be used in the future.


Iskjerne Bay, moments later...
Just as a single guard was leaving the Mead Hall...


"Listen here little brother, you were chosen by runes to be the commander of this expedition, but I am still older than you. Don't forget that" Bjorn Ironside said calmly, looking down at Prince Ivar who was smiling patiently. "Is that why our father left you in Kattegat, and took me raiding with him instead?" Ivar the Boneless grinned, still gripping the knife he had concealed under the table. Bjorn Ironside leaned forward, suddenly slamming his fist down on the table, and was about to grab Prince Ivar by his neck when suddenly the Mead Hall doors opened up and Queen Lagertha stepped in, accompanied by Livia and her most personal guards. Bjorn stared sternly at Ivar for a brief moment before regaining his composure. Ivar smirked quietly, putting his knife away before anyone could see it. Bjorn would crink his neck and shoulders, relaxing his nerves and loosening up before turning around to greet his mother and their guests, all of whom oblivious to the tensions between the two legendary viking brothers. Ivar just kept smiling, his eyes trailing over to the legata as his very tall and very large brother breathed deeply and turned to greet everyone while being calm and maintaining his resolve.

"Well? Welcome to our mead hall" Bjorn said impatiently, raising his hands at his sides with his palms open before taking a seat next to Ivar. Lagertha smiled softly and walked over to to her son, placing her hand gently on his shoulder before taking her place on the queen's throne beside Prince Ivar, looking at her guests.

Once inside the mead hall, Livia smiled at the warmth, and she nodded to one of the legionaries that came inside with her. She held her arms out to her side, and the legionary began to undo the fasteners that secured her red cloak, revealing her lorica, which was worn over a red and white tunic, protected by armored strips of leather. Livia also had her sword, which was encased in a silver, gold imbued scabbard that bore ornate geometrical designs. There was another strange weapon holstered on her back. It was a flintlock pistol, with an engraved wooden handle with poured gold inlaid designs. There was a dagger sheathed in Livia's left boot, and a second weapon holstered in her right boot. This weapon was even stranger in appearance from the weapon holstered at her back. Sheathed in a black kydex holster, the Seburo BoBson Centennial edition semi-automatic pistol was secured snugly in her boot as she stepped forward. She dared not take a seat, or do anything else that might offend those before her. So she just inclined her head instead.

"Such a magnificent hall, and warm too. Thank you for your hospitality." Livia said. Ivar the Boneless just kept smiling quietly, glancing over to Bjorn Ironside, who kept his composure and his thoughts to himself. "Please, come on in, take a seat" Prince Ivar said, motioning for everyone to gather around the long heavy wooden table carved from a single tree. "If it's not too much trouble, is there somewhere I can have my legionaries draw me a warm bath? I'm not used to the cold, here." Livia added. Bjorn just gritted his teeth. "Why of course," Queen Lagertha assured her with a smile. "What? Do they not know what tomorrow is?" Bjorn Ironside asked his mother. Queen Lagertha scorned him silently with her eyes before smiling again to Livia and her guards. "It will be Bath Day very shortly. By the time we're done eating, your bath will be ready. In the meantime, sit down and warm yourself by the fire. Eat. Drink. Enjoy." the viking prince Ivar the Boneless insisted as his slaves suddenly started walking in with plates and dishes, food and mead horns already filled and ready to be served.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

Nobody at Iskjerne Bay was aware of it yet, but Sigurd Hring was watching. His spirit moved across the waters, over the mounds and hills, the prayers of his descendants being heard from down beneath the earth. Sigurd Hring had become One with Gaia, and now looked down upon Iskjerne Bay as a titan and a god. The Spirit of Sigurd swept over the Weargtooth Mountains, a cold swift breeze sweeping through the viking settlement. All non-magical, non-medieval technology was instantly disabled without any sign, indication or warning, and would be permanently disabled at Iskjerne Bay forever, or until the gods decided to change their minds.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

Livia slowly lowered herself at the table with the other Vikings, her Decanus taking a position directly behind her. But something else was on the Legata's mind as she surveyed the demeanor of the inhabitants.

She looked to the food that was set out before her. Was it poisoned? Livia regarded the plates before her with narrowed eyes, before she reached for a piece of fowl, pulling some of the meat off of the bone, she passed it back to her Decanus, who took the meat from her hands, and placed it in his mouth, chewing on it thoughtfully.

He leaned forward, and whispered something in her ear, and at that moment, Livia took the food, and began to pile it onto her plate. Her trek across the vast gulf of space, and her journey here from the gateway left her, and her men famished, having subsisted on MRE's given to them by the Taiyou Military, along with their own pickled fish paste, and hard tack bread.

After finishing her portion of savory meat, Livia once again gestured for her Decanus' ear, where she quietly whispered.

"I do not trust these savages, send a messenger to Argos with all haste, deliver this to Admiral Lanius." She whispered in the Decanus' ear, while passing him a small rolled piece of paper from a leather pouch on her tunica. The small message indicated the current time, and date, and instructed Admiral Lanius to begin his operation if Livia did not contact the Taiyou in four days.

The Decanus slid the rolled piece of paper into his own armored leather pouch on his belt, and secured it to deliver to the messenger. He quietly remained at Livia's side as she politely ate her meal. She was civilized, and her mannerisms showed it. Her eyes seemed to watch the room though. Quietly, the Decanus passed the note to one of the Indigo robed Praetorians, who turned to leave the mead hall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

As the Legata narrowed her eyes at the food in front of her, Ivar the Boneless just smiled quietly. Lagertha patiently waited for the wine servants to finish pouring mead for everyone before picking up her own drinking horn and smiling to Livia, and her praetorians. Bjorn wasn't even paying any attention to any of them. Bjorn Ironside was hungry, as he leaned over everybody in the path between him and the potatoes. The other vikings at the table didn't seem to mind, however, or mind their own manners much either, but Bjorn stood out among them, perhaps because he was just bigger than most of the other people in the mead hall. He had a better reach, his large skull-crushing hands equal to his pig-eating appetite as he ambidextrously reached for the red apple in the pork's mouth and plucked it out with his other hand, biting into the apple with his own teeth. Ivar the Boneless just grinned.

As the vikings in the mead hall started loading their plates with food, never bothering to wait for their guests, Lagertha suddenly raised her drinking horn, and her voice so that everyone could hear her inside the hall. "I want to give a toast," she said loudly, causing a majority of the vikings to simmer down and raise their drinking vessels as well. But as they did, Livia would notice that all of the viking's many different dishes and silverwear were highly unusual and very stylistic, as if each plate and bowl had come from a different market rather than all from the same set. These were not primitive savages like the many smaller tribes and clans that had proceeded them. Ivar's Army was a highly culturalized, highly civilized force. Prince Ivar had brought actual expert Vikings on his voyage, men who were vikings by profession, not just by title or stereotype. These were people who made a living by raiding other people. Every silver spoon, cast iron pan, golden chalice, bronze plate, tin cup, and steel knife was very diverse in shape and design, some more expensive and valuable than others.

Nobody at the feast even noticed that Livia's decanus had handed a small scroll to one of the praetorians. They were all too focused on the mead and festivities, as Lagertha called for a toast. Prince Ivar tapped a metal spoon against his crystal goblet lightly a few times, helping Lagertha to get everyone's attention at the large wooden table that had been carved from a single giant tree, before picking up his own glass of wine. "To Frigg the All-Mother, may she bless this feast... And to our guests, may she bring us all much peace and prosperity while you are here." Lagertha smiled, raising her drinking horn into the air. "SKAL!!" Bjorn Ironside bellowed, quickly chugging his large metal tankard of ale with foam running down his beard. "Skal!" others soon echoed over one another as they took a swig of whatever was poured. "Skal," Lagertha said, calmly and more quietly as she smiled to Livia and her crew, raising her drinking horn again while nodding to Livia with respect.

Livia's praetorian messenger in the night blue robes would leave the mead hall discreetly and quietly. It wasn't even so much that the vikings at the table didn't notice him leave. They just didn't seem to care. They were all more lost in the moment, focusing on the red wine, the golden mead, the amber ale, the freshly cooked ham and cow steak with steaming hot carrots, onions and sliced potatoes. All except for Ivar the Boneless, he was still grinning silently, twirling his spoon on the table while looking at Livia, staring at her quietly from the king's throne. As the praetorian messenger left the mead hall and walked outside into the chilly snow, he would notice that the spiked gate attached to the stone wall was now locked and closed, and there were large bear-skinned berserkers blocking all traffic to and from the suspension bridge, for reasons unknown. These were tall, built warriors with painted faces and bodies, carrying large heavy weapons, full fledged bear-hides flung over their heads, backs and shoulders, keeping them nice and warm as they stared at the indigo robed messenger quietly, waiting to see if he would approach the wall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

The moment the Praetorian slipped out of the mead hall, while everyone seemed to be focused on their own revelry, Livia reached into her velvet red tunica, and slid it into a small cloth pocket that was fastened securely under her lorica armor. She grasped her slender fingers around something, and slowly she pulled it out. She held it up, and the other Vikings would see a unique piece of brass jewelry, almost like a pendant with a small silver chain that was fastened securely to the woman's steel armor strap, affixed to a small metal loop that was riveted into the armor segment.

Curiously, with her thumb, she flipped the pendant open, to reveal a white facing with numbers all around it, and small pointers that seemed to point towards different numbers. She put her thumb, and index finger around a small knob near the top chain, and began to twist, the strange piece making a winding sound with each twist of her fingers. Once she finished, the strange pendant made a soft, rhythmic, but rapid ticking sound, that was drowned out by the revelry of the mead hall.

She felt eyes on her, but she didn't react right away, rather she turned her attention over to Lagertha, and raised her own glass. She called out the word. "Bibe!" As she raised her own, taking a drink of the liquid inside. Livia returned her own respectful nod to Lagertha, the timepiece still held snugly in her hand, as her eyes moved back to the face of the timepiece that had been softly ticking away, mechanical gears powered by a tightly wound mainspring, it was fine Taiyou craftsmanship, a gift from Prime Minister Kayabuki during one of the many peace summits that Livia had attended in the past.

She stared at the brass timepiece, before she flipped the cover closed over the face, sliding it back into it's pouch as her steely eyes rose up to meet Ivar's.

Livia's own eyes narrowed suspiciously as she seemed to engage in a staring contest with Ivar, who would flinch first? Livia had multiple contingencies, which were upon contingencies, and contingencies. Twenty four hours was what she had given General Hama back at the gate, if she didn't contact him in twenty four hours, he was going to send a rescue party, and Livia knew that would further inflame an already tense situation. She had left an entire Evocati cohort back on Niihama, armed with some of the best equipment that Argosian denarii could buy.

---

Outside in the chilly air, the lone Praetorian rubbed his hands, trying to garner some warmth in the frigid bay. He took a quick survey of his surroundings, they had the gate shut, and the doors locked with bearskin warriors guarding it. The Praetorian guardsman grimaced, and then quietly shook his head. He opted to make no further disruption, and return to the mead hall.

He opened the door just wide enough to let himself in, and if unobstructed, would return to Livia's side, leaning forward to whisper quietly in her ear.

Livia didn't seem to react, rather she took a piece of venison from a nearby plate, before dismissing the Praetorian back to his post.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Fulgar Thornheim Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Thorvald the Great Character Portrait: Fulgar's Forward Force Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black

0.00 INK

Sigurd Hring was dead.

He had been dead for two generations, yet his legacy had lived on long after he was gone. Sigurd had become One with Gaia, and had transcended the physical realm. He was more than just a man. To the native inhabitants, he was now a Titan, and to his viking descendants in Iskjerne Bay, he was now a god. He was the founder and first patriarch of the greatest viking settlement in the universe, the seed from which all the rest had blossomed. All he ever wanted was to live in peace, to create a free society, and help to cultivate the land which loved him so dearly. He had fought tooth and nail to establish a sanctuary where people would be treated equally, where they would have the freedom of religion, the freedom to change their social status and role in society, where they would have the opportunity to make a difference, rather than being slaves.

Sigurd Hring had a dream, and he had spent his entire life fighting for it, all the way up to the time of his death. Sigurd's son had a similar dream, a similar goal in mind. Ragnar was captured, or rather, had willingly turned himself in, for reasons unknown. Ragnar was not spared from torture and torment. He had been bound and chained, humiliated, prodded with spears and whips, his flesh burned and marked, his face disfigured, his body disgarded into a chamber of serpents, so that Ragnar's own sons could hardly recognize him. Oh how the little piggies would squeel when they heard how the old boar had suffered. Never before in history would Vikings be so wrathful and eager for revenge. Ragnar Lothbrok was a legend, and he still is to this very day, just like his father and their fathers before them.

But even Ragnar was not as great as his predecessor King Sigurd, the Ringtaker, the man who married Ragnar's mother. Sigurd Hring, slayer of dragons, giants and dwarfs alike, successor to his own uncle Harald Wartooth, whom he had battled honorably and killed at King Harald's own request. King Sigurd was a legend from the very beginning, a legend which grew over time as he defeated one rival after another, facing monsters and demons, and gods greater than himself, never once surrendering or bowing a knee.

Who wants to be King?

Sigurd Hring was sick of fighting. He wanted only to retire peacefully, to create a marvel for all the worlds to see. He was not so much interested in fame, as he was in glory. Sigurd did not care about riches, wealth, or great expansion. He had no intentions of building an empire, or creating a magnificent army. Sigurd was more interested in the black earth, and fertile soil. He planted a farm, and built a fortified ring around his kingdom where Vikings and pagans could coexist together and find sanctuary. Iskjerne Bay was to be a remote safe haven, far away from all the wars, violence, torture, rape, death and crucifixions that Sigurd Hring and his family had experienced for centuries. His intentions were great, and his dreams were greater, but his timing was off and his fate was fixed. It was only a matter of time before this undefeated rebel met his inevitable doom.

Emperor Shimizu of the Taiyou Empire was not a friend of the Norse kings. Sigurd Hring had a run-in with the Taiyou, and what started as a peaceful encounter soon was wrought with confusion and misunderstanding which escalated into violent warfare between them. The Taiyou Empire, and their fear-driven galactic technology. The greatest civilization that ever lived, heh. Sigurd Hring would put their reputation to the test. Never before in the history of the cosmos had a rebellion been so adamant and strong willed. Never before would such a tiny primitive civilization make such a dramatic impact. Sigurd's army not only fought the Taiyou back, off of their own land, but had dared to attack the Taiyou on their own soil, with enough success that King Sigurd would warrant a visit from the Taiyou Emperor himself.

It wasn't enough. King Sigurd slaughtered the Emperor's army, killed one his advising mages, and sent the emperor crawling home with broken legs and injuries. It was a defeat the Taiyou Empire simply could not allow to go public. They amassed a great space army, and would be hell-bent on taking revenge. Sigurd's actions had endangered the entire planet of Gaia, and his fate was now fixed. It was only a matter of time before the Taiyou returned to make his life miserable.

Sigurd Hring looked around at the kingdom he had established. Women, children, vary a man between 15 and 50, good paganfolk who were not deserving of such ill-fated tyranny. His heart grieved with great sorrow, for he knew the future, and the horrible things that would happen to his people once their enemies had returned. He wept silently by himself, before re-gathering his composure and going out to face his kingdom. King Sigurd was a just and honest man. He told the Vikings what had happened, and what would happen as a result. But the people did not hate him for it. They praised him, erecting a magical permanent statue of King Sigurd from enchanted stone, and worshipping him as a living god. He promised them, that whoever came to him and called on his name, and followed him in death, would be with him in paradise.

The entire viking settlement had committed suicide, following Sigurd Hring in death, and sparing themselves from capture or torture in the hands of their enemies. Adding insult to injury, the Taiyou ships had wasted their journey. The Taiyou Empire was robbed of its chance at revenge, as King Sigurd and his loyal subjects took their own lives, leaving nothing but their memories. It was the ultimate act of defiance, an act of selflessness that would inspire rebels for generations to come.

Many years later, Ivar the Boneless, the son of King Ragnar and grandson of King Sigurd would arrive in Iskjerne Bay, influenced by Norse mythology and Taiyou propaganda, and driven by the spirits of his own ancestors. Sigurd Hring's ghost would come to Prince Ivar in his dreams, giving him spiritual advice and guidance, and instructions on how to rebuild the kingdom. But the young man was too bold and arrogant. He had inherited the same thick headedness as his father and grandfather. Ivar had not followed Sigurd's instructions, but had set his heart towards greed and selfishness. He had formed the Great Heathen Army and had plunged the Norse civilization into endless warfare, perverting everything that his grandfather King Sigurd had held sacred for decades.

That was a mistake...

Suddenly the ground in Iskjerne Bay would shake and tremble as bodies tossed and turned in their graves. Everyone in the great Hall, Viking and Argosian alike, would feel the earth tremble beneath their feet. At that moment, an invisible force seemed to unseat the crippled prince as he was suddenly thrown from the throne, with such force that if he did not catch himself, his bones would surely shatter. Meanwhile, the material wooden statue of Prince Ivar would be uprooted and split in half vertically, so that one half remained standing while the other half fell to the ground. Queen Aslaug would feel the mound below her start to tremble as well. The moment she had been waiting for had arrived.

Sigurd Hring had returned.