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Lagertha

Lagertha is Ragnar Lothbrok's wife and a famous shield-maiden.

0 · 79 views · located in Iskjerne Bay

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

So begins...

Lagertha's Story

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: 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

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High up on the stone watchtower to the east, a brief tiny glare was spotted over the horizon by one of those who was on guard duty. Bjorn Ironside felt a smack on his shoulder, causing him to turn around. There on the distant horizon, on the ridge of one of the mountains, Bjorn saw the reflective glare of what he could only presume was someone's telescope. Were they being watched? Bjorn ordered his berserkers to keep a sharp lookout while he gathered some of his crew together to form a small fighting force, prepared to defend the settlement if needed. Meanwhile, Fulgar Thornheim marched into the ring fort, which was still currently undergoing construction, and burst into the mead hall. Ivar the Boneless grabbed his crutch and pushed himself to his feet.

"Where's Sigurd? I demand his audience immediately!"

All of the vikings in the mead hall stopped what they were doing as the music died. Sigurd who? Fulgar had not specified which Sigurd, as there were several vikings named Sigurd in Ivar's settlement. The vikings just laughed and bellowed with laughter as the music started playing again. Prince Ivar chuckled and sat back down, picking up his mead horn and taking a drink. As the strange joker and his small crew scoffed and left the great hall, looking eagerly disappointed, the tagelharpa started playing again. Indisla The Beautiful was still outside looking around, unfamiliar with anything she was seeing for the first time. She overheard the women in the black hoods talking about her and scoffed, continuing to look around, unsure if she should continue walking or just stand there. Fulgar Thornheim stormed angrily out of the Ring Fort, eager to see what the commotion in the town was about, when he suddenly noticed Indisla standing there.

"Hey! You over there! What's going on here?

Fulgar demanded of the woman, Indisla, who was clearly minding her own business as if things were all well in the bay. The sound of the cornu horn cutting through the thick fog was enough to alert the vikings. Lagertha and some of her shield-maidens would gather together, approaching the area where Fulgar's crew was standing. Lagertha had a look of growing concern in her eyes, her blonde hair braided and ready for battle. Queen Aslaug was still standing still on the raised hill, never moving as she kept the sheep horn bugle at her side, clutching her walking stick whilst staring off into the distance. Fulgar Thornheim gripped his axe, the uncertainty unappealing as he still hadn't found Sigurd. Battle seemed eminent, and his warriors sensed the same.

"Well then, scurry back into your hut. No telling what these raiders will bring." Fulgar dismissed, hoping this town had more than maidens to deal with invaders. Queen Lagertha and her shield-maidens would glance at them quietly before walking by, heading slowly towards the sound of the cornu horn. Lagertha did not even seem overly nervous, for some reason, and there was no sign of fear in this elite band of women as they casually went to investigate, carrying their large round shields and long spears with them. The shield-maidens would make their way to the outer wall of the settlement, forming a phalanx of shields as the Argosians approached. The bay slowly came into sight, Uhtred at the helm of the frontmost ship as the bay slowly came into view.

"Good, the fort still stands, we are not too late." The horn-caller behind Uhtred let out a soft grunt as he pursed his lips and sounded the horn to announce their arrival. The sound of the second horn caught Ivar's attention, so he sent his scouts to see what all the noise was about. But when the errand returned with news of an impending raid, Ivar the Boneless snarled angrily and threw his mead horn aside, spilling wine everywhere before he slammed his fist down on the table. Uhtred's boat crunched as it beached itself on the sand, his men getting out to pull the boat the rest of the way onto shore.

"Where is the feckless mother who demanded we crawl all the way out here, and when can I get a flagon of something to wet my throat?" Behind Uhtred, the army quickly finished beaching their skips and began pouring into the Fort and surrounding settlement. Uhtred cast an eye towards Fulgar and Indisila. Something about Fulgar's grip on his axe screamed battle was imminent, so Uhtred turned to him.

"I didn't miss the fun?"

Suddenly 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. The vikings in the great hall would stare in awe, most of them frozen with shock at how such a scroll could just seem to magically appear out of nowhere. Ivar the Boneless slowly reached out and took the scroll, breaking the gold seal and unrolling it. He then proceeded to read it.

---

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


---

Prince Ivar would slowly re-roll the fancy magical scroll and place it into a small lock box, before sending one of the riders to go inform Hrafn-Floki, who was still at the shipyard. Ivar then gripped his crutch and dragged his stiff-legged feet from around the tables, walking slowly towards the main hall's arched double doors while holding his helmet. His guards would fetch Ivar's horse-drawn war chariot as the lone rider galloped quickly to the docks to tell Floki about his crew's upcoming voyage to Siv'en, all this taking place as Livia and her army approached the ring fort.

Uhtred would stride forward, placing a comforting hand on Indisla's shoulder and consoling her just as Bjorn Ironside and his band of berserkers walked by. Bjorn looked furious, and ready for battle as well, with black claw-marks painted on his face and thick heavy bearskin cloak covering his broad muscular shoulders. Bjorn's berserkers would soon walk up and join Lagertha's shield-maidens at the outer gate. Bjorn hugged his mother Lagertha, who kissed him on the cheek, before their combined forces stood together on the hill, gazing at the Argosians who stood 100 feet across from them, holding a particular olive branch.

"What are they doing?" the large 6'5" berserker leader would ask his mother. "I'm not entirely sure," Lagertha responded prudently, standing considerably shorter than her giant son. The vikings at the outer wall of the settlement would stand there quietly, motionlesssly, holding their positions and formations. Within moments, Bjorn's younger half-brother Ivar the Boneless arrived, riding up in his chariot while accompanied by a band of riders on horseback. Ivar was smiling with anticipation, a look of hatred in his eyes as he peered over the viking troops in front of him to Livia and the Argosian company on the other side. The cornu horn had not gone unheard in the distance, yet Ubbe and his ulfhednar were nowhere to be found. All the while, the lady with the red hair never moved an inch. Aslaug was still standing on the earth mound holding her bugle and her walking stick, her face completely void of all expression or emotion as she watched all the happenings going on in the distance.

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: 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

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#, as written by Remæus
Fulgar Thornheim stepped back as Indisla unexpectedly reached out to grab Uhtred.

What in Thor's name...
he puzzled, wondering why the woman was attacking the man. This quest was already wearing thin on him, all sorts of things being out of order.

Head back to the docks, summon the rest of the men.
he commanded, with one of his fellow warriors grunting and turning to sprint back to carry out Fulgar's order.

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: 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

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#, as written by Sepokku
Uhtred exhales in mild surprise as he's hefted over Indisla's shoulder. "I like my women forward, but this is a bit much. Put me down, there is yet carnage to wreak." With a flick of his wrist, Uhtred signals his men to ready themselves and retrieve their armaments from the skiffs.

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: 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

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It seemed, like clockwork that the settlement's defenses started to come to life, as Viking warriors slowly started to come forward to face the approaching party. They were outmatched, and outnumbered, and while this was a concern to the Legata, she had no intention of fighting them in any protracted battle. Rather she had already pre-determined her avenues of escape back to the cavern. The interlocking plates of her lorica armor shifted slightly with her subtle movements, she took her hand off the pommel of her blade, and moved over to the leather symbology gauntlet on her shield arm.

She muttered a brief incantation, and touched the symbol, casting a simple translation spell on herself to allow herself to percieve their words, and for them to hear her words in their own native tongue. She knew these warriors spoke a different language, and wasn't about to let that detract from this encounter.

She cast a brief gaze to her Vexillarius who kept both the banner of the Divine Argosian Empire of Man, and the olive branch raised high enough to be easily seen.

"Steady, hold your position." The Decanus ordered sternly, the ten-man formation of Praetorian guard did just that, forming a shield wall by standing closely as they stared off with the opposing Viking army.

"That must be their leader." The Decanus whispered to Livia as he spotted Ivar The Boneless approaching on chariot.

Livia nodded quietly, undoing the tight leather straps that fastened her arm to her large, rectangular scutum, which bore a proud golden bull emblazoned in poured gold on the front, with arrows, and thunderbolts coming out of it, on a brilliant scarlet background. This stood out against the muted, indigo background of the Praetorian Guard, and their silver bull motifs emblazoned in poured silver upon their shields, which appeared to be excellently crafted.

Each Argosian shield and sword was not made by hand, but precision manufactured by the many mega-corporations of the Taiyou Empire. Their swords were made from metals stronger than any Argosian forge could make, and honed to a razor's edge, each Argosian shield was deceptive, excellent against melee attacks, arrows, and even bullets, with their composite structure of enameled nanosteel skin, and Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene backing with pre-impregnated aramid fibers. They were lightweight, and strong.

Moving away from the Decanus, Livia let her shield rest against his side.

The Argosian soldiers opened up, and Livia stepped forward, the first thing she did was remove her helmet, which was an intricately crafted gallic style helmet with silver, gold, and indigo plumage, which matched her heavy outfit that consisted of haevy long sleeved tunic, hide trousers, and a long sagum that billowed in the frigid wind.

With her helmet off, her auburn colored hair flowed down on her shoulders, fluttering in the wind as she watched Ivar with piercing blue eyes. She didn't step too far forward, instead she held her helmet under her right arm.

"Salve." Livia said, inclining her head respectfully. "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 the Chariot. Her words translated by the spell into fluent words the Vikings could understand in their own native tongues.

"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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.