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Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson

Ragnar Lothbrok is the son of Sigurd Hring.

0 · 121 views · located in Takayama University of Niihama

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

Groups

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

Description

Ragnarr Loðbrók, "Ragnar shaggy breeches", is the son of legendary Swedish king Sigurd the Ringtaker, the once sovereign of Iskjerne Bay's notorious Norse Kingdom who ascended to divine status as a Gaian titan and deity. Ragnar has several wives including Queen Aslaug Kraka the Volva, a witch and seeress descended from valkyries. By her, Ragnar Lothbrok is the father of Ivar the Boneless and Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye among others. Ragnar also was married to Queen Lagertha the Shield-maiden, who bore him Bjorn Ironside, Hvitserk, Halfdan and Ubbe Ragnarsson, each of them becoming members of the Great Heathen Army following Ragnar Lothbrok's death at the hands of King Aella the Christian, who cast him into a pit of poisonous serpents. Ragnar Lothbrok was presumed dead.

Until now...

Ragnar first killed a giant snake, or dragon, that guarded the abode of the East Geatic jarl's daughter Thora Borgarhjort, thereby winning her as his wife. The unusual protective clothes that Ragnar wore, when attacking the serpent, earned him the nickname Lodbrok ("shaggy breeches"). His sons with Thora were Erik and Agnar, who remained in obscurity. Ragnar Lothbrok united the Swedish and Danish kingdoms and became the prototype for many Viking konungs who followed his footsteps. He promised to capture England with a single longship, but failed when his ship capsized and he was captured. Ragnar was tortured, whipped, caged, crucified like Christ as an insult to his Norse Pagan faith. Then, adding salt to his injuries, he was cast into a pit of snakes and the lid to his tomb was sealed shut. Ragnar Lothbrok was presumed dead. When given the opportunity to repent and ask for forgiveness, Ragnar responded with: "Oh how the little piggies will squeel when they hear how the old boar suffered." This of course was a prophecy foretelling of the coming of Ragnar's sons and the Great Heathen Army.

But the Great Heathen Army never came. Instead, they ended up lost at sea and teleported to Iskjerne Bay on Gaia, brought there by the same Bermuda Triangle that had led so many of them astray. Instead, they ended up at Ragnar's father's kingdom, a land that had been ravaged with wars and tyranny. Ragnar Lothbrok was all alone. King Aella carved a cross into Ragnar's forehead with a dagger and asked if he had any final words. Ragnar's response became immortalized forever as he said: “It gladdens me to know that Odin prepares for a feast. Soon I shall be drinking ale from curved horns. This hero that comes into Valhalla does not lament his death! I shall not enter Odin’s hall with fear. There I shall wait for my sons to join me. And when they do, I will bask in their tales of triumph. The Aesir will welcome me! My death comes without apology! And I welcome the valkyries to summon me home!“

Ragnar's words would not go unheard by the gods. As he was dropped into the pit of snakes, and the lid closed over what was to become his dark and lonely grave, suddenly Ragnar Lothbrok was teleported to Iskjerne Bay, beneath the high mounds. His father, Sigurd Hring, had heard his prayers. As predicted, the valkyries had heard of his torment, his courage and his deeds, and they had indeed summoned him home. Thus begins a new journey, and a new resurrection for the Ghost of England, about a man who has long been presumed dead. What you are about to read is an alternate version of Ragnar Saga, one based not on the whims of historicity, but on the dark corridors of the fantastic imagination, about a Swedo-Danish king who exists in a parallel universe within an alternate reality. This is the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok as it has never been told before.

Thus begins the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok...

So begins...

Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrook Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
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Planet Earth... 770 CE.
Kattegat, somewhere between Sweden and Denmark...


Everything was dark and quiet for a moment. Then the screeching sound of a metal lock could be heard followed by the sound of a wooden plank being slid to the side just before the large oakwood arched twin doors opened. In walked the silhouette of a 20-year-old prince named Ragnar Sigurdsson, known as Ragnar Lodbrok to the people of Kattegat, a powerful jarl and second in line to the throne of the Dano-Swedish kingdom. As he entered the Great Hall at Kattegat, his average height and stocky frame could be seen cascaded by the sunlight as he entered the doorway. Inside the Great Hall was empty apart from there being three other people. Ragnar's wife, the renouned Princess Lagertha, seemed quite surprised to see him. She was walking around the Great Hall, cradling their newborn son by the central fireplace and nursing him on her nipple while her house servant Hermala added wood to the fire. Hermala's apron was covered in blood and there was a pile of wet blankets next to a water bucket beside one of the straw covered wooden beds. Lagertha had just recently went into labor, and Hermala had delivered the baby just minutes before Ragnar walked in.

"Lagertha, I thought you would be in bed" Ragnar said with amazement. The beautiful blonde haired princess would walk over to him slowly, still nursing the baby in her arms with a straight expression. "Back so soon Ragnar? I thought you would be in Iceland by now" she replied with a bit of sarcasm, before showing him their new baby boy. Ragnar's eyes lit up as he placed his large calloused hand on the infant's forehead. "He has your eyes," Lagertha said with a slight smile. Ragnar's eyes would tear up for a moment as he stroked his thumb over the newborn's cheek. "Can I...?" Ragnar seemed speechless as Lagertha smiled, handing the baby over to her husband. Ragnar would cradle the infant in his arms, making baby noises as the tiny child giggled and reached up to touch his beard. "What will you call him?" Hermala asked as she continued to clean up, unfolding a clean fur blanket and draping it over the bed. Lagertha would look up to Ragnar for an answer, but Ragnar kept his eyes on his son, smiling in a way that the princess had never seen before. After a moment, Lagertha turned to answer her house servant. "Bjorn," she said with a smile. "His name is Bjorn..."

Jarl Ragnar played with his son some more before handing baby Bjorn back to his mother. "So what happened? Where is your brother?" Lagertha asked inquisitively. "I don't know," the young prince responded. "There were thirteen ships, only eight of them returned," he explained. "We travelled west, but got lost in a storm. The last I saw, my brother's ship had drifted south. I tried to stay in sight of him but the waves were too big," he said quietly, sitting down by the fireplace while looking into the flames. "Well, your brother is a great warrior, I'm sure he will find his way home" Lagertha assured as she wrapped her baby in warm blankets and set him into a straw basket to fall asleep. "My father went with him," Ragnar added, causing the princess to sharpen her eyebrows. "To Iceland?!" she asked rhetorically, heightening her voice with confusion. "Aye, one of Jarl Skjal's boys was with us too" he continued. "Oh and I suppose you were just going to leave me here to run Kattegat all by myself?" Largetha placed her hands on her hips angrily. "I thought you wanted to be queen," he said sarcastically. "Not if you are dead," she retorted back.

"I am here now my love," Ragnar said as he stood up to hug and kiss her. But the princess stepped back and scoffed at him. "Only because you got lost," she said, walking back over to the bed and sitting down on the edge of it next to the baby's basket. "Besides, I don't need your help Ragnar, I have Bjorn now." Ragnar would roll his eyes, looking up to the domed ceiling before looking back down at her. "She is a shield-maiden," Hermala butted in, coming to Lagertha's defense. Ragnar bit his lip and walked over to Lagertha, sitting down next to her on the edge of the bed. "I know you are my love. You are the best fighter in Kattegat," he assured her. "Maybe not as good as you," she said with a smile before kissing his cheek, then suddenly grabbing his testicles firmly. "But if you ever leave me like that again I will cut your balls off... Understood?" Lagertha's tone was flirtatious, quiet and sweet, but not unthreatening. Ragnar gasped and swallowed, nodding silently to show her that he understood. "Good," she said with a smile, letting go of his nuts before kissing him again, this time on his lips.

Meanwhile...
Planet Gaia, year unknown...
Iskjerne Bay, south of the cave entrance...


It was winter time, and the Jol holidays were coming to an end. There was a blizzard sweeping through the Arctic circle which would cover the realm with frost and pale snowfall as it headed north to south, originating in the frigid most region before dissipating as it ventured south into warmer climates. A thick mist of icey rain provided little visibility for those outside at the Norse settlement, with temperatures dropping to -20 degrees below zero, enough to freeze a man's lungs or cause frostbite. The rivers were frozen solid, and even the salty waves leading to the sea were slowly beginning to freeze. Thin ice sheets covered the whole bay area, creating a barricade to prevent all sea vessels from going in or out. The Norsemen were now landlocked, with large glaciers and icesheets forming all around their settlement. There was no easy way into or out of Iskjerne now, as all the roads and passages had been blocked off by towering ice walls, some as tall and as thick as mountains as the blizzard pressed on, the only protection from its rime ironically being those very same mountains and ice walls. But all was not lost, for deep within the heart of the storm was a Norse settlement that was built to deal with the cold weather.

As Prince Hrollaug and Takao Eguchi rode their winterbred horses through the thick snow trail heading back to the settlement, Hrollaug would glance up and point to the fortress, still holding the fading glowstick in his hand. "Look, there it is" he said as they approached the gate, their horses tolting out of the blinding fog. There before them was a tall wooden fence standing 20 feet off the ground, made of upright wooden poles which had been buried vertically side by side going 10 feet into the dirt below them. The fence was large and round, each pole being roughly 24 inches in diameter, curving on both sides of the large wooden gateway entrance to form a wooden circle around the entire village. The gateway itself was flanked on either side by tall wooden towers, each one having a flagpole and waving the white Raven Banner, its flapping cloths in the wind giving the raven logos an almost alive feel as Hrollaug and Takao approached the gate.

The gate itself was made of wooden spikes, fashioned simply using thick ropes as a pully system to keep the spikes raised when the gate was closed. This helped to protect the entrance from charging cavalry, or from any unwanted predators that may wish to enter. As the gate was lowered, it doubled into a ramp, allowing Hrollaug and Takao to pass through unharmed.

As they entered the village, the gatekeepers and some of the guards posted in the towers would shoot ackward glances at Takao, and to the faded glowing object in Hrollaug's hand. But nobody dared to question them as Prince Hrollaug pointed to the stable, motioning for Takao to follow him there. The stable was also of a simple construct, all-natural made from wooden beams, piled rocks and earth. There was a feeder where the horses could eat, a well where they could drink, and several straw-filled horsebeds where they could be groomed and find protection from the snow. The stable's rooftop was thatched together using grass and straw, while the stone walls that supported it were further reinforced with earth and mud to keep it insulated. Despite being very simple in their appearance, the Norsemen were apparently excellent builders and craftsmen both economically and architecturally. Takao may have even noticed that the wooden framed open entrance to the stable was finely crafted and had been carved by hand, depicting a sort of Jelling style artwork showing many horse-like figures and other animals hidden within the leafy knotwork, vinework and serpentine 3-dimensional designs which could have only been carved by an expert woodsmith. Next to the stable was a wooden manger with horned woolly sheep, bearded goats, pigs and other livestock which the Norsemen had brought with them on their ships. Just outside of the manger was a herd of reindeer which, despite the frigid weather, seemed unaffected by the temperature as they walked around freely and grazed on the moss or whatever mushrooms they could find buried beneath the snow.

As the large prince dismounted his golden brown horse, he noticed that the light from the glowstick had died out. He tried to shake it up again, but to no avail. Finally, he tried to snap it like Takao had done. Hrollaug underestimated his own strength, however, snapping the plastic canister in half with ease. The clear liquid would spill out on to the ground, causing Hrollaug to sniff his fingertips and taste them. "Ptew!" he spat on the ground, before looping the horse's reigns over one of the posts. "We will be safe here," Hrollaug told Takao before pointing up the hill to another circular wall-like structure. On the next tier ahead of them was an inner wall, this time made of bricks and stone. This wall was not as tall as the first wall, only about six feet high, but it was much thicker with an area big enough to ride a wagon on. There were many stations setup along the wall where troops could garrison incase of an attack, and just as before there was a spiked wooden gateway with two flanking stone towers bearing white triangular flags waving the raven banner. There seemed to always be two flags posted together, or two ravens flying over each entrance to the Norse settlement, in any given location. "Huginn and Munnin," Hrollaug said to Takao, pointing up to the raven banners as they walked up the pathway towards the inner-gate.

As the gate was lowered, Hrollaug would lead Takao beyond the circular stone wall into the interior settlement where all the Norse houses and finer buildings were located. There were four different farmsteads neatly organized with an arrangment of four houses per square, all of them located off to the side of the road around a third interior wall-like structure. It seemed that the Norsemen had designed their settlement in the shape of many concentric rings, each level being built on tiered ground which their workers had lifted up using the dirt that was already there to begin with. In just a couple month's time, the Norse had created an artificial landscape, turning the largest hill at Iskjerne Bay into a decent sized ring-fortress, which Takao and Hrollaug were now entering. There were twenty homes in all on the second tier, but they were longer and larger than what Takao was probably expecting. Each house could accomodate up to 50 people, including the Norsemen's pets and slaves. The rooftops were peaked sharply all the way to the ground so that any snowfall would not collect on top of them, but instead build up around the base of the houses to help keep them insulated. This gave the front of each house a triangular look, and each one had a wooden frame made from two planks which peaked at the rooftop and crossed at both ends. Both ends were hand-crafted and carved to look like two ravens facing opposite directions. It was obvious that the symbol of the two ravens everywhere in the settlement were somehow significant to the Norsemen's belief system.

Moving along up towards the third tier where another wall had been constructed, Hrollaug stopped and turned to look at Takao, speaking directly to him. "My father started building this wall two months ago, using stones from the mountains up ahead," he said, motioning for Takao to approach the guards at the gateway. "Beyond the wall, you will see the great hall, the biggest building we have. Everyone is already inside," the prince told him as he signalled for the guards to open the gate. "And this is where I leave you," Hrollaug said. "King Sigurd is waiting for you in the hall. There you will find warmth and plenty to drink. Today is a holiday for us so there will be feasting," he said. With that, Hrollaug would breathe heavily, steam elevating from his visor as he turned to look at Takao one last time. He would rest his giant heavy hand on Takao's shoulder, nodding to him. "Thank you Tako of the Sun," he said before walking away with his large bison-hide cloak draping behind him.

Iskjerne Cavern...
Somewhere in the cave tunnels...


Jarl Evan Skjalsson and fifteen of his best warriors were standing in a very dimly lit tunnel, painting themselves with charcoal and a clay mixture of lanturn oil and black ash. They covered their weapons, their shields, their armour, their faces, their hair, their beards, their helmets, everything from their head to their toes. Jarl Evan's small leidang were cammoflaging themselves specifically to deal with the Taiyou's bright lights. Jarl Omar One-Eye and the other fifteen Norse warriors had descended into a different tunnel and were doing the same thing, only they were slightly faster in getting ready. They had killed the flames on their torches, and were sitting in a perfect circle, passing around a leather drinking bag filled with a magical sustenance made from the same mushrooms that the reindeer at the settlement were eating. As the scarry eyed chieftain drew a character similar to the letter "F" on his face using black clay, Jarl Evan ordered his leidang to turn off the lanturn. Both crews would spread out through the tunnels and go their seperate ways.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair 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 Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Livia had assembled her guards to leave, and were well on the way to doing so until they passed a mule cart. The Praetorians had been marching in formation as they left the settlement. Though they didn't seem to pay any heed to it as they all marched. However, Livia had caught the wounded man in the back of the cart, and she stopped then, and there in the moment. She didn't know what compelled her to help, but she figured if she was going to start digging up burial mounds, she would have to earn these people's trust.

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair 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 Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Thorvald Asvaldsson and his son Erik Thorvaldsson were just about to enter the final spiked gate and approach the Iskjerne Castle in their slow moving mule wagon when suddenly they heard someone call out behind them.

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair 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 Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Livia quietly reached out to Ragnar in the back of the cart, she was trying to take a look at his wounds, and unlike the beserkers, and the other impoverished inhabitants of this village, Livia's hands would be clean, her fingernails well manicured, and slightly polished, her hands were calloused not from labor, but from years of battle, it was clear she knew how to wield a sword. She looked up and over towards Thorvald, and then back towards one of the Praetorians who was not otherwise occupied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair 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 Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Livia took brief notes of the ligature marks on the wrists, and the legs, and she took brief note of the cross etched into his forehead. Livia did not move to flush this wound with alcohol, as she didn’t want to risk injury to the eyes, rather she reached up slowly to flush the cross shaped gash with some water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair 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 Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Thorvald Asvaldsson took the small handful of silver denarius coins in the palm of his hand, looking down at them before looking back up at Livia for a moment. He then turned and handed the silver coins to his son Erik the Red, who picked up one of the coins and bit into it to see if it was real. Thorvald then rested his hand on Erik's shoulder.

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair 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 Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
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About a week later, give or take...

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

The setting changes from iskjerne-bay to Takayama University of Niihama

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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His Imperial Majesty Nobuo Takayama Medical Center
Recovery Wing
A week later.



The first flurries of snow danced delicately outside the window, and the sounds of the city were muffled by the sounds of medical equipment. It had been a long trek from Gaia, through the caves, and to Niihama. Livia's charge had undergone multiple surgical procedures, and had been placed in a coma and intubated until the serpent venom wore off, and the body could heal. The soft hum of the television, which was playing some variety show offered background noise, and Livia was seated in one of the chairs, looking at a tablet.

She had shed her armor, and tunica for a soft white tank top, denim jacket, and jeans, with her hair pulled into a ponytail. She definitely looked a lot different than she did during her expedition on Gaia. She swiped on the tablet, and cast a glance over to the man she had rescued, as General Hama's words rang through her head.

"We will hold you responsible for any incidents that may arise from bringing him here."

So Livia had ensured that Ragnar had been restrained, his wrists, neck and ankles bound with stout leather restraints that had been affixed to the bed, and Livia didn't stop there, she recruited two armed ISSP officers, one stood directly outside the room, and the other stood down the hallway, while Livia herself opted to stay inside the room to watch her charge. Fortunately she was informed that Hama was planning another operation to recover the bodies earlier in the week.

The door chimed, and a young nurse wearing all white, trimmed with red, and a simple white paper hate with a red cross emblazoned on the front stepped into the room. Her face was hidden by a white surgical mask, and only wisps of black hair framed two eyes, which were adorned with a fairly nice pair of glasses.

"Kon'nichiwa!" The nurse said to Livia with a smile. "Kare no baitarusain o shirabemasu.." The nurse said with a nod. Livia nodded in reply, gesturing to the man in the bed. "Dōzo." She answered, and slowly went back to her tablet.

It was at that moment that consciousness would return for Ragnar Sigurdsson as the sedatives wore off, jolted into the land of the conscious by a bright pen light that the nurse shined into each of his eyes, after pulling his eyelids open. The Nurse listened to his heartbeat, and checked over his wounds, one by one, ruffling the teal blue fabric of the hospital gown he was now wearing.

"Kare no kizu wa umaku naotte imasu, watashi wa kanarazu isha ni shirasemasu." The nurse said with a smile, notating something in his medical charts.

Slowly Livia stood up, and looked him over, definitely looked a lot better than the day she found him, sophisticated Taiyou medicine had ensured his survival, and he could help her make the case to dig up the bodies of the people killed by Sigurd Hring.

Livia crept up behind the nurse, and looked down on Ragnar, they had just changed his many bandages, and even the cross on his forehead had been sutured, and bandaged. Of course Livia's crude sutures had been removed, and replaced by a doctor's steady hand.

Livia grimaced slightly, and then smiled at the nurse, before looking back down to Ragnar.

"Kare wa me o samashite iru yō ni miemasu." Livia said to the nurse, whom replied to the affirmative with a nod of her head. "Hai! Isha ni ikimasu!"

Livia smiled slightly, before greeting Ragnar in english.

"Welcome back to the land of the living."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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The first thing to return to Ragnar Lothbrok after being in a comatose state for six days was his hearing. He could hear the door chime open as tapping footsteps approached his bed rest. As he opened his eyes slowly, he squinted. His vision was still blurry, and the lighting in the room only added to the Swedo-Danish man's blindness. He could faintly hear two women's voices, speaking something in a language he didn't understand. It had sounded almost like the voices of the Chinese medicine woman he had once murdered, only the Taiyou dialect was also very different and less tingy, more bold and completely foreign to him.

As the sedatives wore off and his eyes adjusted to the light in the room, Ragnar slowly regained his eyesight, just in time to have a small Asiatic woman lift his eyelids open and shine a small pen flashlight into his eyes. His eyes were icey blue like the sky under the flashing light as his dark black pupils became small and dilated. He followed the pen light with his eyes before glancing down to see the Taiyou nurse checking his heartbeat with a strange metal instrument. His pulse and breathing had returned to normal.

The nurse then proceeded to check on his wounds and see how he was fairing. Ragnar was healing quickly, much faster than he would have possibly recovered back at Iskjerne Bay, though he had completely lost his sense of direction, where he was, and the time and date. His body was still numb and recovering from his loss of physical feeling. The surgeons had done a fine job of cleaning all the dirt and blood off of him and stitching his wounds. The scars left behind by his injuries would be very fine and thin, and would likely fade over time. Soon, he would be back to his normal self again.

At that moment, Livia would creep up behind the nurse and look down at him. Ragnar did not recognize her, even for a moment as she examined the stitchings on his forehead. What she would have noticed from him was a weariness and weakness that few Norsemen ever showed, yet there was also a fury, madness and crudeness in his bold blue eyes, the likeness of which Livia and her Taiyou nurses had never seen before. Was he a very angry individual, or was that just his natural facial expression? It was hard to tell with someone like Ragnar Lothbrok, and she must have wondered where he had come from, and how he came to be in the condition he was in now. Surely someone or something had meant to kill this man, but had failed thanks to her helping hands.

"Welcome back to the land of the living," Livia greeted him with a straight face, smiling slightly.

At that moment, Ragnar's feeling slowly started to come back to him. He tried to sit up, but something was stopping him. Ragnar could suddenly feel the leather restraints around his neck, wrists and ankles as he wiggled around for a moment before looking up at Livia from his hospital bed. He peered into her own eyes quietly before speaking.

"Where am I?" he asked softly, his deep mellow voice clearly not matching his expression. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Ragnar still thought he was dead. Was this the Christian heaven? Or their hell? He wondered quietly, taking a mental note of the bright red cross on the nurse's hat as he glanced over at the tablet and everything else in his view point.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Livia continued to stare down, her eyes blue like river stones, a more muted shade of blue, framed by her auburn colored hair, and modern clothes.

"I found you in the back of a wagon clinging to life, some townspeople found you." She answered, while the nurse nodded, and turned to leave, the door chiming with her departure as she went to go get the doctor, and let him know that Ragnar was awake. "I brought you here, you're in a hospital - a house of healing." Livia said, the modern english like dialect muddled by a somewhat latinized accent. "Your wounds were grave, this was the only place I knew of that could treat them." Livia answered as best as she could. "I am Livia." She said, holding her hand to her chest, to introduce herself.

The Machines in the room let off a soft whine, with the occasional intermittent beeping sound, a soft whir, and a soft hiss could also be heard coming from the machinery in the room, much of which had been disconnected for some time. At that moment an orderly stepped into the room with a cart that had an assortment of containers, the Orderly greeted Livia in Taiyou for a moment, before moving a cover tray over to a small extendable table that swiveled around, and could hold various things in front of the patient.

Livia looked down as the orderly removed the cover, grilled squid, rice, with a fried egg over it, a bowl of Miso soup, and natto served with soy sauce. The meal had been expertly prepared, and was piping hot, which the doctor had already removed the nutrient IV lines when Ragnar's breathing tubes were removed so they could bring him out of the coma. Everything was planned according to a strict regimen. The Doctor believed enough time had lapsed that he could try solid food.

The tray was placed down on the table, and the table moved in front of Ragnar as Livia moved to unfasten one of the restraints. "I'm going to undo your restraints, please don't do anything rash." The Legata pleaded as she began to unfasten the restraint binding Ragnar's right arm.

Livia looked down to the tray, which also had a glass of ramune soda, with ice and straw to be drank with the meal.

"Can you eat? Are you hungry? Can you tell me what happened to you?"

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett
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"I found you in the back of a wagon clinging to life, some townspeople found you." Livia answered him, causing Ragnar to raise his eyebrows and widen his eyes at her while pouting his lip in astonishment for a moment, as if he was surprised to hear that. He took a mental note of her blue eyes and auburn hair color, as well as her Latinized English accent, all things that Ragnar Lothbrok would take into account as he continued to listen to the door chime, clicking, hissing and other sounds around him caused by the machines.

"Hospital?" He repeated with a strong Swedo-Danish English accent. He was familiar with the Latin term hospes, and the Anglo word hostel, but he did not imagine he would be waking up in one. His eyes continued to trail around the room as he listened to Livia's words over the feint beeping and other strange noises. There was a lot for him to process as he glanced at the lights on the ceiling and the medical table and life support machines against the wall beside his headrest. This was nothing at all like the hospitals Ragnar had seen.

"I am Livia," the casually dressed Legata would inform him, placing her hand over her chest. He took note of her white tank top and denim jacket, a clothing style which seemed very new and foreign to the former medieval chieftain, who was now wearing nothing at all apart from a teal blue hospital gown. Besides being thinner and more ruffly than what he was used to, the gown actually wasn't too much different from some of the long robes and tunicas he had seen back home.

As the door chimed again, Ragnar tried to glance over Livia to see who it was. When the orderly brought the cart around and moved the swiveling extendable tray in front of him, Ragnar would glance over at the containers with a bit of paranoia in his eyes. He could hear the squeeking small cart wheels rolling across the hard floor, and he didn't understand a lick of Taiyou as the orderly greeted Livia in the native tongue. But as the lids on the containers were removed, revealing a small entrée of strange and foreign foods, Ragnar became less tense and squinted a very light smile that seemed more apparent in his eyes than on his face.

"I'm going to undo your restraints, please don't do anything rash." The Legata pleaded as she began to unfasten the restraint binding Ragnar's right arm. Ragnar would rotate his wrist for a moment, regaining some of the feeling and blood flow back in his arm as he tried to sit up again, forgetting about the leather restraint around his neck. He could barely wait to be free again. He waited patiently for Livia to undo the strap around his neck, before reaching around her hands with his freehand and rubbing his throat with a grimacing sigh of relief.

There were knobs and buttons on the arm of his hospital bed which could be used to make the bed recline forward, helping him to sit up. Ragnar Lothbrok wasn't aware of this technology yet, however, so he just sat up on his own instead. At that moment, he got a slight head rush, but he would just squeeze his eyes closed for a moment and shake it off before opening his eyes again. For the first time since his arrival at Emperor Nobuo Takayama's Medical Center, he could look around and see everything clearly.

He glanced over beside himself to the wooden nightstand with opening drawers and the television set on top of it, the large rectangular clear glass window with open grey curtains flanking it, the solid white hard tile floor, the wooden furniture and baseboards, the white walls, wooden cabinets and wall decor. There were picture frames, and medical charts, medical machines with tubes, valves and buttons on them. He took notice of his grey framed medical recliner, and the teal blue gown that he was now wearing. He also noticed the door from where all the chiming sounds had kept coming from, and the denim jeans that Livia was wearing which matched her jacket. He then looked down at his food tray, to the steaming contents in front of him, some of which he was already familiar with, and some of which he didn't know what to make of.

"Can you eat? Are you hungry? Can you tell me what happened to you?" Livia asked curiously.

He picked up the glass of ramune soda and tried to peer down into its straw with one eye, not sure what to think. He listened to the fizzling liquid within, holding the glass up to his ear before taking a swig straight from the glass, ignoring the straw. He tried to swallow, but he couldn't. The soda would tickle his nose and fizz against his tongue. Ragnar would turn his head away from Livia and spit it out, spraying soda all over the wooden cabinet beside him. He turned and cringed, looking at Livia disgustedly before setting the glass of icey soda back down on the tray.

Next he looked at the entrée, a steaming hot dish with squid, rice and fried egg, with a bowl of strange looking soup, and natto served with soy sauce. The only thing that looked even remotely familiar to him was the squid. He cringed again for a moment, picking up a piece of fried tentacle before dropping it back on the plate again. He then picked up the bowl of miso soup and sniffed it, allowing the vapors to touch his nostrils. He glanced back up at Livia the Legata for a moment, before testing the soup with the tip of his tongue. He blinked and smiled at the taste of the soup before suddenly chugging down the whole entire thing with a few large gulps, spilling some of it down his dirty-blonde short bearded chin and on to the front of his gown, before setting the empty bowl down on the food tray and wiping his mouth with his arm sleeve, looking up at Livia.

"I am Regnerus, called Ragnar... Lothbrok..." he said softly, looking over her shoulder to his reflection in the mirror behind her, noticing the gauze bandage on his forehead.

"I was captured by King Aella of Northumbria on my way to Jorvik... yick," he cringed again while picking at his food, obviously not interested in eating whatever the heck it was that the Taiyou doctors had on their menu.

"The King wanted me to convert to his White Christ and repent for my sins... But I refused," he smiled unremorsefully, ripping the gauze bandage off of his forehead to reveal the cross-shaped stitches and scars underneath before picking up a tiny grain of rice with his fingertips and finally nibbling at it curiously, clicking his teeth against his tongue as he tasted it. This too he would spit on the floor beside him before pushing the swiveling food table away from himself, no longer interested in what they had to offer.

"I was whipped, chained, beaten with staffs and clubs, prodded with spears, hung from a tree in a cage, starved for several days and made to walk on hot stones, but still I would not squeel. So the king had me branded and crucified, but still I would not repent. So he let me hang again up in the tree for a few more days, allowing the ravens and crows to peck at my wounds. Then finally, he let me fall into a pit of vipers and other snakes before closing and sealing the door to my earthy grave. With my last bit of strength, I prayed to the gods and my ancestors and tried to claw my way out of the earth. I remember seeing my Christian friend, and for a moment I thought I was in heaven. But then I saw one of the valkyries, and I knew I must have been stuck somewhere in-between... That's all I really remember. Now I'm here," he said before flexing his other arm and snapping his other leather wrist restraint with remarkable ease, despite its thickness and his healing wrist wounds.

Ragnar tried to bend and stretch forward to remove his ankle straps as well, but he quickly winced in pain and laid back down on his hospital bed, having forgotten about the lacerations on his back and the spear wound on his side. He would breathe heavily for a moment, relaxing and regaining his composure before looking back up at Livia the Legata with a look of humour and a slightly perked smile, feeling an increase in his appetite.

"So... what's for dessert?" He asked.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson
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Livia quietly listened, moving back as she watched him pick at the food, she grimaced as he spit the soda out, someone would eventually be by to clean it up, but she frowned. “I thought it was strange the first time I tasted it too.” Livia remarked in english once more, seemingly the common language they both spoke, though the language was strange, and foreign to her, since she mostly spoke either Argosian, or Taiyou in affairs in the Galaxy. “They call it ‘Ramune’ (rah-moon-ay), I remember tasting it the first time I came here.” Livia remarked with a slight smile.

“The food here takes some getting used to, too.” Livia added, gesturing down to the squid. The orderly that brought them their food had already departed, but Livia could call down to the food court to have something else brought up that might be more palatable to the medieval viking.

Quietly, Livia listened to his story, and she didn’t react visibly when he managed to snap the other restraint before she could undo it, the leather made a popping sound as it separated from the bed, and to that sound, a figure in dark blue, and black stepped into the room from outside, carrying a strange looking weapon holstered at his hip, the man had on a ballcap that had strange symbols emblazoned in white on the front, dark blue BDU shirt, and pants, with a dark gray vest worn over it, the vest sported a series of white symbols across it, latinized english letters that read ISSP, and Taiyou characters under it that read “Special Police Unit.” The man rested his hand on the sidearm holstered at his hip, but made no threatening gestures. Quickly, Livia signalled with her hand that all was safe, and the man nodded, before returning to the hallway. By his body language, and demeanor, he was clearly a guard of some kind, posted outside the room to make sure everything was safe.

Livia was familiar with crucifixions, she had presided over thousands of them, and she knew how brutal they could be, but this brutality was beyond even what the Argosians usually did unless they opted to make a point, and the extent of the man’s wounds meant whoever this King Aella was less than merciful.

“Well, this King cannot reach you here.” Livia commented, walking around the bed, and opening the window to let some of the natural light in, the clouds had blown away to reveal a vast cityscape, towering glass skyscrapers stretched into the cloud layer, among white puffy clouds, and the entire cityscape had a white sheen of freshly laid snow. Livia also reached for the remote, to turn the television set on, the news anchor speaking in Taiyou, as strange text scrolled on the bottom of the screen. They were talking about a young man, an image of the young man flashed across the screen, a snake-like arrogance played on his face. The image was brief as the man delivered a short statement in Taiyou to a small crowd of reporters, the television then shifted to a variety show of some kind.

“You’ll probably be stuck here a few more days, so I’ll try my best to answer any questions you have. You’re in a place called Niihama, it’s very far away from where I found you.” Livia said, trying to figure out how to best explain space travel. She knew a little bit about Viking lore from her previous encounters, so she pondered a moment, and then she picked up the phone, saying something briefly in Taiyou.

A moment passed, and the door chimed again, this time a middle aged man in all white walked in. He wore white pants, a white laboratory coat, along with a white surgical mask covering his face, and a white surgical cap that covered his salt and pepper hair, of which only the sideburns could be seen. The man also wore a simple, but stylish set of glasses, and had a stethoscope around his neck, and a nametag. Unlike the nurse, he did not have a cross on his outfit, but a simple Kana symbol embroidered above the right breast pocket, and the university’s logo.

“Hello.” He said in heavily accented english. “I am Doctor Takanaka.” He said, introducing himself. “I am the surgeon that attended to you, I see you are healing nicely.” He said with a hint of pride as he approached the bed.

“How are you feeling?” The doctor asked. Livia offered a smile as well, explaining something to the doctor in Taiyou, causing the doctor to simply nod.

“Your wounds were very serious, but I think you make full recovery.” Dr. Takanaka added.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett
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"So... what's for dessert?" Ragnar asked curiously out of the clear blue. Livia paused, a little caught off guard by the sudden random question and by Ragnar's total disregard for his own injuries.

But before she could clear her throat to respond, they were suddenly interrupted by a Taiyou police officer of sorts as he opened the door and entered the room, placing his hand on the pistol grip of his holstered sidearm. Livia had quickly signalled to him that everything was okay, and the officer nodded before turning around and leaving the room again. But not before Ragnar Lothbrok had gotten a good look at the ISSP officer, scanning him over front and back quietly and taking note of the brazened man in uniform. The medieval Dano-Swede gathered that he must have been a guard of some kind, for although he was not at all familiar with the people, the setting, or many of the objects in the room, Ragnar had a very keen observation for most people's voices, voice tones, confidence, body postures, military discipline and body language. Ragnar casually glanced at his leather ankle straps before looking at Livia's eyes again silently.

"Well, this King cannot reach you here.” Livia Caesarius commented after turning to look back down at him, having listened to Ragnar's story, a bit taken in by the suffering he had just endured. It was amazing that he was even still alive to tell the tale.

The Argosian Legata walked over to the window and opened it to let some airflow and light into the room. But because he was still partially restrained to the hospital bed and laying down, Ragnar Lothbrok was unable to see much of the cityscape below. What he did notice, however, as his eyes quietly followed Livia's movement to the window and opened it, were the snow-sprinkled rooftops of a few rectangular buildings which had windows on them and appeared to be rather tall. Little did he know at the time just how big that city was, or just how tall those skyscrapers actually were.

He then watched Livia Caesarius grab the remote and turn on the TV, two things that the long lost medieval chieftain had never seen before. Ragnar's face became blank and void of expression as he watched with unblinking eyes, staring at the television screen for a moment before looking back at her with a slightly distrustful look of concern, unsure what to make of it.

"You’re in a place called Niihama, it’s very far away from where I found you.” she informed him. "Nee-ha-ma", he repeated back to her slowly, making sure he got it right.

The door chimed again, only this time a Taiyou doctor entered the patient's room, wearing a white surgical mask and glasses with a stethoscope draped around his neck. He stepped closer and looked directly down at Ragnar before introducing himself.

"Hello... I am Doctor Takanaka," the doctor said, having a very strong Taiyou accent that was much different than Livia's accent, or the patient's accent for that matter. It was quite obvious that English was not really any of their native languages, and yet it was one of the most common tongues that all three of them seemed to understand. Ragnar gave him a feint smile and a slight nod.

“I am the surgeon that attended to you, I see you are healing nicely.” He said with a hint of pride as he approached the bed. As the doctor spoke, Ragnar would glance at the man's name tag and the university logo on his breast pocket, clearly absorbing everything for the first time with a sort of curiosity that seemed to be quite common among Iskjerne Vikings, only there was something very different about Ragnar Lothbrok that was difficult to pinpoint, probably because he seemed more light-hearted at the moment and wasn't acting very suspicious or violent like the other heathens that the Argosians and Taiyou had encountered on numerous other occasions in the past. This, of course, only added to the mystery of who he was. Clearly, he was not like all the others.

"How are you feeling?” Dr. Takanaka asked him.

"I feel like shit," Ragnar smiled jokingly, his bright blue eyes trailing over to the window again before looking back at the doctor. At that moment, Livia also smiled and mumbled something to the surgeon which the Swedish Dane couldn't understand, and which had sounded to him like the same language the nurse had spoken earlier. Dr. Takanaka nodded before looking back down at Ragnar Lothbrok, his squinted eyes hinting that behind his surgical mask, he was still smiling.

“Your wounds were very serious, but I think you make full recovery.” Dr. Takanaka said, causing Ragnar to make a sort of duck-lipped nod. He then did something that neither Livia and her Praetorians, or the Taiyou had ever seen before from the Vikings they had encountered in the past.

"Thank you" he said, giving the doctor a light-hearted grin, nodding once again with a quiet sense of humility before turning his head to glance up at Livia the Legata with a more serious expression.

"Where exactly -did- you find me?" he asked suddenly, showing that despite his silent and humble demeanor, and their informal small talk, Ragnar Lothbrok had been listening intently the whole entire time while he had been observing.

The setting changes from takayama-university-of-niihama to Iskjerne Bay

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

About two weeks later...



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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from iskjerne-bay to Takayama University of Niihama

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett
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The Doctor squinted out another smile, and offered a nod to Livia. "You're quite welcome." He replied. "We'll keep you for another couple of days for observation, and then I think you'll be okay for discharge." He said, turning to Livia as they exchanged a few more brief words in Taiyou, having some kind of discussion, or even a polite argument. Livia offered a nod to the parting doctor as he started out the door to the room, leaving the two alone, save for the ISSP Special Response officer that was standing just outside the door.

The Doctor acknowledged the policeman briefly, before slipping past him, letting Livia focus her entire attention on Ragnar Lothbrok. "I found you in the back of a wagon in a place called Iskjerne Bay, on the planet Gaia." Livia replied, letting her attention drift up to a large portrait in particular, one of an older man wearing a silk white kamishimo, and hakama pants. On both sides of the kamishimo's chest, were the chrysanthemum emblem. The man appeared dignified, even regal, the hilt of a Katana jutting out from the Hakama he was wearing.

Livia turned back to Ragnar and offered a frown. "Unfortunately, beyond that, I don't know what to say, you were already in someone's wagon when I found you."

At that moment the door chimed again, this time an older man with greying hair stepped in. He was wearing attire that was vastly different from the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff that had come into the room. He was wearing a purple tunic, adorned with a few golden medallions, and in the crook of his arm was a polished helmet, with a plume of purple, black, and white feathers that spanned in a wide arc across the helmet.

"Ave, Legata." He said, bringing his fist to his chest. "Et hoc paratus est incipiunt altera Generalis operatio. Iskjerne malum ego adduco ab nuntio, quamquam."

"Hrollaug saevus quae reddidit." The man mentioned solemly.

Livia nodded and bore a grimace on her face as she nodded. "Gratias centurio."

Livia muttered a few words in Argosian as the purple clad man offered a brief nod, and bow, he moved to leave the room as quickly as he entered, stopping briefly to move past the officer in the doorway, while Livia briefly thumbed her chin in thought.

"It will probably be a week or so before you are healed." She said to Ragnar. "I have an apartment here, we can stay there until you are strong enough to return to your people." Livia remarked.

"If that's alright with you, unfortunately these people will not allow you to roam freely, and have placed me under responsibility for your welfare." Livia commented, as a Nurse came into the room with a small covered bowl, placing it on the tray in front of Ragnar, this time it was something more familiar, fresh strawberries, and a few slices of oranges, with cherries, and small dollop of sweet whipped cream.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett
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"Unfortunately, beyond that, I don't know what to say, you were already in someone's wagon when I found you." Livia said with a slight frown, causing Ragnar to stare down blankly at the crack beneath the closed hospital door, contemplating her response quietly as the shadow of someone's feet approached the door from outside.

At that moment the door chimed again, and Ragnar was surprised to see an older man walk into the room who appeared to be dressed in more recognizable attire. Ragnar scanned him over with his eyes, still laying back somewhat sprawled out on the hospital bed while gazing up at Livia and the centurion as he introduced himself, bringing his fist up to his chest just as Ragnar had seen Livia do. He gathered that it must have been some way these foreign people used as a sort of salute. Ragnar fiddled with the switches and buttons on the arm rest attached to his bed. After a moment of tinkering with the controls, he discovered that he could cause the bed to recline back and forth. He would begin to play with the tiny joystick, listening to the legata and her centurion as he then, looking rather silly, started to move the bed up and down, making it exaggerate all the way back so that his back was arched humorously and he could glance at the wall behind him, before pushing the joystick forward again and sitting upright as he heard the centurion mention a familiar name.

The Legata and the Centurion had begun talking in Argosian, and although some of their words were hard for him to understand, given the difference in Latinization between their formal dialect and the more stylized one that he had learned from the English priest, Ragnar still managed to understand the gist of their conversation. He understood certain key words like Legata, Iskjerne, Hrollaug, and gracias centurio. In just a few short sentences, Ragnar Lothbrok had gained a great deal of knowledge already, and his brows would sink as the slightly angry, slightly concerned thought of Hrollaug the Walker crossed his mind at that moment.

As Livia spoke with the centurion for a moment, Ragnar regained his thoughts and glanced over to the TV screen, poking at the moving image with his finger tip before looking at the portrait on the wall again, studying the old Asiatic man's hakama trousers, the emblem on his kamishimo winged jacket and the shape of his katana sword. Ragnar looked amused, and was not very impressed at all with the small size, short length and thinness of the slightly curved pommelless single-bladed sword, or the saya that it was in. To the Viking leader, it looked more like a knife than a sword. What peculiar people, he thought silently.

"It will probably be a week or so before you are healed." Livia said after rubbing her chin for a second and looking back down at him. "I have an apartment here, we can stay there until you are strong enough to return to your people." She added, causing him to gaze back up at her.

"Apart...ment?" He repeated back to her, a little confused as to what she meant as he sat back up on his recliner to look at her. But anywhere would be better than the hospital, he figured, before giving a half-nod. "If that's alright with you, unfortunately these people will not allow you to roam freely, and have placed me under responsib--" Ragnar suddenly interrupted her, changing the subject as he motioned one of his bandaged hands towards the portrait on the wall beside him.

"Who is he?" the Viking leader asked as another nurse entered the room, placing a dessert tray down on the bed table in front of him. Ragnar would look down at the mixed fruit entree and smile, nodding humbly to the nurse, appearing more pleased with the items this time. He quickly picked up one of the cherries by the thin stem, swiped it through the dab of whipped cream and sniffed it before popping it into his mouth. Like a savage, he began filling his cheek with the delicious fruit slices, looking up at Livia with a grin. Ragnar didn't seem to be too worried about anything else at all at that moment, and he certainly didn't appear to be the dangerous, menacing figure that many people had thought he would be. Despite his silliness and strange mannerisms, for a man who had nearly perished from his injuries a couple weeks ago, Ragnar actually looked surprisingly comfortable, and perhaps even a little too calm. It was obvious that he had no fear at all, despite the fact that he was still experiencing a minor pain in his side and had his ankles strapped to the bed. Was this really the man that other Vikings feared and told stories about? It was hard to believe.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett Character Portrait: Minori Okiumura
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I sat on the bench, watching the chaos unfold around me, looking up from a book. "honestly. these people and their mannerisms." I got up, quite agitated at the fact that people were fighting over such trivial matters.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett Character Portrait: Minori Okiumura
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Livia turned her attention to the portrait after she had been interrupted by Ragnar's inquiry. "That is His Imperial Majesty, Nobuo Takayama." The legata answered, with a modicum of respect for him it seemed as her eyes fell onto the portrait at the end of the room. "He was the Emperor of this place, until his death just recently. His Son, Shimizu, is the current ruling monarch, but this Hospital was named after Nobuo because he was the greatest donor." Livia explained. "He is what you might call a great king who oversees this place, Niihama, which is his kingdom." Livia took great care to explain thing in terms the norseman could understand.

Her gaze moved to the television set, which showed a young man with long black hair combed, and frayed to the side, he was slender, wearing a suit and tie, and was addressing a crowd of reporters in a language similar to the one used by Livia, and the doctors. The man was speaking with an arrogant tone, demeaning whoever he was speaking about, Livia grimaced slightly. "That is the current ruling monarch, Shimizu." Livia said nothing further on the matter, rather she opted to explain a few other things.

"An Apartment is like a house, a large building where there are many houses, we have them on Argos, where many families can share one roof, pooling their money into a shared pot to pay for the property." Livia said, trying her best to explain the communal housing, but instead moved to the curtains, and pulled them aside to let a lot more light into the room, and give Ragnar a better look to the city outside.

"Lots of those buildings are apartments." Livia explained. "Mine is in another part of the city, close to the Imperial Palace."

She watched him eat quietly for a moment, taking time to move around the room, looking at all the equipment, the Doctors had left them alone for a time, but Livia figured she would try to at least get him out of the bed, and moving around. So she opted for the wheelchair that was sitting outside of the hospital room. With one smooth movement, and the scuffling of her shoes on the polished linoleum floor, she grabbed the wheelchair, and slowly started to wheel it into the room. The ISSP officer standing just outside the room paid them no heed, and Livia rolled the wheelchair over by the bathroom, which contained a shower, toilet with bidet, and some sanitary supplies.

Livia rested her gaze back on Ragnar, he was a curious man, unusually calm for the situation they found themselves in, from her previous encounter with men like him, it resulted in battle, and it resulted in conflict for the Taiyou. The Taiyou were especially apprehensive about having another one of their number on Niihama, but Livia had assured them that she would not allow anything to happen.

"You seem to be taking this surprisingly well." Livia remarked, with a slight smile. "You took it a lot better than I did when I found out about this place."

----

Outside, along a bench in one of the hospital's many cooridors, people went about their business paying no heed to the girl seated on the bench, the hospital was afterall a busy place.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett Character Portrait: Minori Okiumura
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Ragnar "Lothbrok" Sigurdsson would glance over at the television screen once again, his lips forming a slight half-smirk at the young man Shimizu, obviously not impressed with his noisiness and arrogant demeanor. What a tiny fellow, he thought quietly, before listening to Livia Caesarius' explanation of an apartment. He would gaze out the window again as she opened the curtains further, nodding slowly as she explained to him that the buildings outside were apartment buildings. To the Viking Age chieftain, however, they looked more like castles without walls or fortifications, something he contemplated silently without interrupting. Imperial majesty? Imperial palace? Emperor? He thought quietly to himself, listening to everything Livia was saying. Ragnar had only ever heard of one empire in his lifetime, and it was a very powerful empire far to the east.

Being inside the recovery room, Ragnar was scarcely aware of the people outside in the waiting rooms and lobbies. He was not aware of Tori Scarlett's presence, or Minori Okiumura's presence as she got up from one of the benches, obviously disgruntled about something which neither Ragnar nor Livia could see or hear from the other side of the doorway to the patient's room. Ragnar was still laying on his hospital bed, recovering from his injuries, as Livia tried to explain things to him.

He would soon finish devouring the fruit slices and whipped cream, savoring the flavor, vitamins and nutrients provided by his hosts. It was apparent that he had enjoyed the entrée, as his face glowed with satisfaction. He watched with widened eyes as Livia then fetched the wheelchair, another strange apparatus that the Dano-Swedish barbarian had never seen before. At that moment, he was suddenly reminded of his crippled son Ivar, and how his brothers used to tow him around in a small wooden wagon when they were younger. Ragnar secretly missed his wives, and his sons, but he suppressed his feelings as Livia finally unfastened his ankle restraints, giving Ragnar Lothbrok the freedom he so patiently desired.

Alas, he was able to move around. Ragnar would sit up again, doing a few neck rotations and shoulder rotations before turning and lowering his legs off the side of the hospital bed, placing his bare feet on the cold white tile floor. He dangled, curled and wiggled his toes, allowing the blood to flow back into his feet. At that moment, a sinister smile formed on Ragnar's face as he humorously stared down at his own feet, wiggling his toes. His retinaculum was still bandaged with gauze and tape which wrapped around the tarsals and archs of his feet from where he had been crucified. He had lost partial feeling in his toes from nerve damage, but given enough time and opportunity, this strong and independent follower of Odin would be able to walk again. Perhaps sooner than later, it seemed, as he placed his hands on the edge of the bed and struggled to push himself up.

Ragnar would stand up slowly, and at that moment, the Argosian Legata would see just how big he really was. For even though his back was slightly arched and he was still slumped over, Ragnar was still considerably taller than she was, and Livia would find herself having to look up just to make eye contact with him. Ragnar Lothbrok was over six feet tall with broad shoulders and lean, powerful muscles, a trait that was quite common among the Vikings due to their rough lifestyle and harsh environment. With his neck bent downward and his shoulders slouched, he continued to stare at his own bare feet for a moment before turning his head to look at Livia with cold blue eyes.

He let out a slight wince and gasp, doing his best to conceal his aches and pains as he turned his body slowly and limped towards her, keeping one hand on the edge of the bed for balance and support. It was obvious that Ragnar was a poker faced, independent, masculine individual who didn't really like being helped, and probably wasn't very used to it either. Even now, in this weakened state, he appeared quite hardened and strong. He moved slowly, dragging one foot in front of the other, taking small baby steps towards Livia, appearing more powerful, bold and daring with each step he took. Even now, the hatred and hardness in his cold gaze had never quite left, and it had seemed as though he was masking his pain behind an expression of anger and fury. Ragnar was a brick, and he had sought to portray that undaunted persona as he limped over to the bathroom, resting one hand on the door frame while nurturing the bandaged spear wound on his side with the other.

Once he reached the bathroom doorway, he would breathe heavily and lower his head again, bending forward slightly to move the hand that was on his side over to the wheelchair, only to let it rest there instead. He would stand there quietly, pausing for a moment to regain his composure again, for his face had turned red and it was clear from his heavy breathing that he was in pain. A small tear of blood started to seep through the wrist bandage on the hand against the bathroom door frame, running down his arm, caused by the loosening of a stitch when he had previously snapped his leather wrist restraint on the hospital bed. But this minor injury paled in comparison to the pain in his side, or the wounds on the bottom of his feet as he lifted his head to gaze up at Livia, suddenly asking a very unpredictable and untimely question.

"Where... are my shoes?" he asked abruptly, wincing in pain. Until now, Ragnar had been wearing absolutely nothing but a simple hospital gown, and was completely naked underneath. Yet apparently, despite everything that had happened to him, the only thing he wanted at that particular moment, was something to wear.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett Character Portrait: Minori Okiumura
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Livia could only watch in what was described as a mix of awe, and intrigue as Ragnar pushed himself out of the hospital bed, over towards her. She didn't move from where she stood, only watched him closely, and it seemed the closer he got, the bigger he got until he was towering over her, staring down to her with his cold blue eyes, contrasting to her own pale blue eyes.

The Legata stood at a demure five foot five inches, so the viking towered almost an entire head over her. Though Livia appeared much smaller in frame, there was evidence she was quite strong, the toned musculature under her skin made that evident, as someone who had endured countless battles. Though she wore modern clothing, faint scars were evident on her skin.

She watched him closely as he moved to make his way over to the bathroom, her face emotionless as her eyes followed his movements across the room.

"You don't have to prove anything to me." She commented as he leaned against the wheelchair. "You're not ready to leave yet, not until the doctors believe you're healed up enough."

She grimaced slightly as she took a step over towards the door. Shimizu was still talking on the television, his haughty, arrogant demeanor was obvious as he addressed what was a crowd of reporters, his face smug, as he detailed some plot to overthrow the government, and how the plot was foiled.

Quickly, she moved over towards him, she placed a firm hand on his forearm, and another one to support him on his lower back, despite her small size, it was obvious she was quite strong, she was trying to help him back over to the bed.

"Let's get you back into the bed, we'll have the doctor check you out, and then we'll leave, okay? I don't want you hurting yourself."

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett Character Portrait: Minori Okiumura
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Livia Caesarius watched Ragnar Lothbrok with caution, but remained motionless as he walked towards her. Once he reached the bathroom doorway, she would approach him, placing one hand on his forearm and the other on his lower back. His arm must have felt like solid iron, such was the Viking chieftain's strength and musculature from years and years of power development and hardened labor. She tried to coax him back into the hospital bed, but Ragnar wasn't going to have any of that. He was feeling naked and vulnerable, and a bit uncomfortable to say the least. But not in a physical way, for he was fighting his own mentality and trying to absorb everything around him. As she placed her other hand on his back, Ragnar stood upright, appearing even more taller than he had been before.

"I'm alright..." He said reassuringly, though obviously still hiding the pain.

He pulled the wheelchair away from the doorway with one hand while supporting himself against the bathroom doorframe with the other as he slowly shuffled his way into the small patient bathroom, looking around. He noticed a sink and mirror, a bathtub with a showerhead and a porcelain toilet. It wasn't much, but to the medieval warrior, it had been the fanciest most elegant setup he had ever seen before in his life. Surely, the emperor was a very wealthy man, he thought to himself as he stood in the bathroom doorway, admiring its inner workings. He scanned the small bathroom, looking up at the ceiling and the tacky wallpaper. To the Argosian Legata, it wasn't very fancy at all. But Ragnar Lothbrok had fought and killed men for less money than it must have cost to build the place, as he picked up the bar of soap next to the sink faucet and brought it to his nose, sniffing it.

Once again, there was an awkward moment of out of place humour, for anyone who peered into the patient's room would find Ragnar standing in the bathroom doorway wearing nothing but a cheap pastel blue hospital gown which left his backside completely exposed and naked. There were many thin striped scars on his back, some more faded than others, from the hundreds of lashings he must have received at the hands of his enemy captors. He would scratch his ass for a moment before leaning forward and looking at his own reflection in the mirror. He grazed his fingertips over the cross-shaped stitches on his forehead, examining the tight, neatly worked threading. It was far superior to any kind of stitches he would have received back home, and he was amazed at the surgeon's craftiness in sewing him up.

After a moment, Ragnar lifted the front of his gown and suddenly started urinating into the bathroom sink, apparently mistaking it for the toilet. Livia could tell right away that it was going to take some time to civilize the medieval barbarian as he shook his little snake and belched loudly before slowly making his way over to the bathtub. He seemed to display no shame at all as he stepped into the bathtub and dropped his gown, not even bothering to close the door or curtains. He seemed to have no concept of privacy, as he stood completely naked in the shower, trying to figure out how to turn the water on. He fumbled with the showerhead for a second before playing with the knobs. After a moment, he figured out how to turn the water on as a hot stream suddenly shot out and hit him in the face, catching Ragnar off guard.

Perhaps as a natural reflex, he immediately slapped the showerhead away from his face as if defending himself from the unperceived threat. At that instant, the metal cord connected to the showerhead was knocked off of the hook and hit the bathtub with a loud scratching clunk that could be heard in the hallway outside the patient's room. Ragnar just stood there quietly, looking rather embarrassed as the bathtub slowly began to fill up with water around his feet. He wasn't used to this sort of setup, but he was observant as he looked down and studied the fixture. He toyed with the shower knobs again and turned the water off, before turning it back on. He then turned it off, and turned it back on. He turned it off again, and then turned the other knob. This time the water that jetted out of the showerhead was cold. Very cold, but for some odd reason he seemed to enjoy it as he began wiggling his toes again before slowly taking a seat and sprawling out in the tub, draping his arms over the side while resting his head back as if he were laying in an open spring.

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Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Tori Scarlett Character Portrait: Minori Okiumura
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Livia grimaced, but otherwise loosened her grip, and took a step away from the persistent Viking warrior, she watched him as he moved into the bathroom, with mild curiosity, but also to make sure he did not fall or otherwise hurt himself. She watched silently as the Charge Nurse stepped into the room, spotted what was going down, and then politely turned to leave, deciding it was perhaps best to summon the doctor.

Livia's grimace turned to a look of bemusement as she watched him survey the interior of the bathroom, she watched him pick up the soap, and sniff it. Was the concept of soap lost on the man? Even before contact with the Taiyou, Livia remembered how the soapmaker in her village would use wood ash, olive oil, lavender, and various other ingredients to craft a fragrant soap that her people used to bathe with. The Argosians had things like baths, and even rudimentary plumbing with lead pipes even before the Taiyou came into the picture.

The moment he lifted his gown and started urinating into the sink, Livia gasped slightly at the sight of such savagery, she even stepped forward to try and stop him. "Ragnar!" She called out, pointing to the toilet beside him. "Thats not for... thats, people wash their hands in that!" She cried out, gesturing to the sink in bemusement, and disgust. "That is where you do your business." She added, pointing to the toilet, moving over to flush it to show that's how you dealt with business in that front. But it was too late, the towering Viking warrior was already moving into the shower. So Livia heaved a slight frustrated sigh, and promptly buried her head in her hands, massaging her brow in frustration as the sound of running water filled the interior of the room. He was making a mess, as he batted the shower head. She even tried to stifle a chuckle, but figured she would leave him to his devices, but not before moving towards a cabinet, and grasping a bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and a bar of soap.

Ragnar's lack of shame, and modesty didn't faze the hardened Legata, as she moved over to the bathtub, first pointing to the knob with the red sticker. "This is hot water." She said, pointing to the knob with the blue sticker, that he managed to figure out. "This is cold, you turn the two knobs until the water is the right temperature." She commented, before grabbing the bar of soap, and dunking it in the water.

"This is soap." She said, dunking her arm in the water, and running the soap across it. "You wash yourself with this." She placed the soap on the side of the bathtub, and then took the shampoo. "You wash your hair, and your beard with this, do not get it in your eyes, it will sting." Livia added, setting the bottle on the bathtub, only to be interrupted by a loud chirp, like the sound of birds chirping incessantly, loudly. Livia stopped, and reached into her jeans pocket, and pulled out her flip phone, and promptly opened it up.

"MoshiMoshi." She said, and then frowned deeply. "I see... Yes he's here... I'll be there as soon as I can." Livia then snapped the phone closed, and looked towards Ragnar. "I'll leave you to get cleaned up, the doctor will check you over, and we'll get you some clothes." She said, stepping up to stand, and make her way out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her to give Ragnar some privacy.