Announcements: Universe of the Month! » Finding Universes to Join (and making yours more visible!) » Guide To Universes On RPG » Starter Locations & Prompts for Newbies » RPG Chat — the official app » USERNAME CHANGES » Suggestions & Requests: THE MASTER THREAD »

Latest Discussions: Natural Kinds » I have a funny idea » Life in the 21st century. » Song of the Runes » Plato’s Beard » Clues » Nihilism » Strange Tales From Hadean » Art Gulag [ Come get this Commish! ] » Visibility of Private Universes & Profile Customisation » Presuppositionalism » Aphantasia » Skill Trees - Good, Bad & Ugly » In-Game Gods & Gameplay Impact » Cunningham's Law » The Tribalism of Religion » Lost Library » Game Theory » The Hidden Void » Removing CS From an Indy Universe : Solution »

Players Wanted: 18+ Writing Partner [Fantasy, Romance, Etc.] » 18+, Multi-Para to Novella Writers please! » Looking for roleplayers » Fun tale full of angels, demons, and humans » Looking for roleplayers » A Fairytale World in Need of Heroes & Villains! » Are You a Crime Addict? » Wuxia RP » Looking for roleplayers » New Realistic Roleplay - Small World Life ٩( ´・ш・)و » Mentors Wanted » MV Recruiting Drive: sci-fi players wanted! » Veilbrand: The Revolution » Gonna do this anyway. » Looking for Kamen Rider Players » Elysium » Looking for roleplayers for a dystopian past! » Revamping Fantasy Adventure RPG, need new players » Here, At the End of the World (supernatural mystery drama) » Seeking Role Players for a TOG Based RP »

0
followers
follow

Robert I of Ellaria

Hrollaug Sigurdsson, formerly the Norse prince of Iskjerne Bay and a prominent leader of the Vikings, now a French nobleman.

0 · 149 views · located in Iskjerne Bay

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

Rollo the Walker, son of Sigurd Hring and heir to the throne of Iskjerne Kingdom, left as a leader among the Norse Vikings, and came back to Iskjerne Bay as the French speaking Duke of Ellaria and a magnificent Frankish-styled Army of Ellarian soldiers.

So begins...

Robert I of Ellaria's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
It was a fair day for seafaring as the dawn's blue morning sky appeared over the rine covered mountains and hilltops. A thick blanket of fog swirled over the salty sea, caused by the rapid temperature change as the first golden ray of sunlight pierced the frigid air. The air was cold and stiff, but there was an absence of wind in the bay area which made the air feel warmer. Apart from light blue skies and dark aquamarine colored waters, everything else was white. The clouds formed like perfect cotton balls up above. The receding fog was also white, grey and wispy as it snaked around the mountains and valleys into the sea. All of the mountains were blue and grey with white caps, while the hills and lowlands were covered with a thick blanket of snow several inches deep. There was very little green vegetation, hardly any trees and almost no sign of any wildlife. Only the beach area was free of snow, instead being riddled with small black stones that had been rounded smooth from centuries of natural polishing and tumbling at the mercy of the waves.

There was no sign of life in the Iskjerne Bay, apart from a few rare white birds on the shore. They were similar to seagulls but smaller and better adapted to the extreme cold climate. Inside the bay were tiny silver fish and the occassionally larger fish which would jump out of the water only to dive back in, perhaps trying to escape from a hungry whale or whatever other giant monsters lay hidden in the deep. Up on the shore was an old wooden dock or port which was rotted and water logged from neglect and had not been used for a very long time, given that there were no ships present and some of the dock had collapsed into the water. There were ruins from an old settlement on one of the snow covered hills which had also fallen apart or decayed from many years of abandonment. It was clear that Iskjerne was on the edge of a frontier into a land that had not been navigated for quite some time. All that was about to change.

From out of the fog, a viking longboat appeared. Like an apparition, the large ship drifted calmly and quietly through the fog, a wooden dragon's head carved at the bow like a monster emerging from the sea. There was a decent sized crew aboard the vessel, but they were all silent. No oars were rowing, no voices were chattering away. There were no waves crashing against the front of the ship, no wades or other noises to stop the peace and calm of silence as the boat drifted into the bay and reached the shore. As the crew approached the land, the crew's leader King Sigurd would listen carefully while looking out over the water to the horizon. "There is no ice beneath our boots. The water below the boat is shallow enough to walk on," he said before gazing out at Aether Dock, or what was left of it. "There are people here," one of the crew mates said with alarm in his voice. "No, they are gone, look" Sigurd replied calmly while pointing to the abandoned settlement on the hill. The crew would stare all around them with awe and amazement. After sailing over trecherous oceans and iceberg mazing seas for almost two and a half months, finally the vikings had reached a new land. It was enough to bring joyful laughter and a smile to their bearded faces as the longship drifted slowly up to the rocky beach.

The air was frigid and cold, but the Weargtooth Mountains had created a landlocked slightly warmer oasis which stopped the wind from being too breezy or unbearable along the beach. Sigurd Hring sniffed the cold air and squinted his eyes towards the hills, allowing his senses to take in everything his crew was experiencing for the first time. Although there was no sign of life anywhere this far north, Sigurd was unfamiliar with the arctic northernmost regions of Ellaria and he knew there could still be hidden dangers lurking in the snow. Their band had pushed their way to the extremes in search of new lands, exhausting food and resources along the way. With their rations and supplies running dangerously low, he knew that his gang would not last at sea much longer. They needed to camp, and the remote fjords at Iskjerne Bay provided a suitable place to do so. It was very cold and there wasn't much to offer, but the vikings were well adapted to such extremes and found no problems with the adjustment.

Within a few minutes, the ship was anchored to the shore and all of the different Northmen would jump out into the shallow waters, working together as a team to push and pull, dragging the large vessel up on to the rocky shore. The smooth black stones acted almost like wheels and round balls to help slide the ship up on to the beach. It was a tactic they had used hundreds of times before with great success. Once the boat was up on shore, the crew then immediately went about dividing the work between them. Some of them would start unloading the ship while King Sigurd and two of his best warriors walked up the bank to the ruined old settlement on the hill to look for the inhabitants. Once he reached the top of the hill, Sigurd was not surprised to see that all of the inhabitants were gone. There were no skeletons, no graves, no signs of human habitation anywhere that he could find. It seemed as though they had all just disappeared without leaving much behind. Sigurd and his two best warriors approached the old wooden longhouse cautiously, looking at the broken stone rockwall around it. "Hello?!" Sigurd shouted, drawing his sword and using it to nudge the swinging door open. The door was partially unhinged from rusting away and it creaked eerily as he peaked inside. Seeing no one present, he turned to look at his guards. "Open it," he commanded. The two large vikings would pick the broken door up and remove it to create a suitable opening. The three of them then stepped into the longhouse and looked around. Immediately the temperature was warmer as they stepped inside, and they could recognize the familiarity of the long open hall with its viking flags still hanging above the now open doorway. It was a Norse settlement, belonging to a viking colony that had disappeared mysteriously without a trace.

"Where did they all go?" one of Sigurd's guards asked curiously. "I don't know," he said, providing the most honest answer he could think of. It didn't matter now, however, for it would soon be inhabited again. Sigurd Hring was not alone on his journey. He was accompanied by a decent sized band of pioneers and explorers in search of new land. Some of them were craftsmen. Some of them were farmers. All of them were seafaring vikings and arctic warriors who knew how to survive in the wild, even on lands as infertile as this. "Keep scouting, let me know if you find anything" Sigurd said before leaving the longhouse and walking back down to the beach. The vikings had wasted no time in unloading and setting up camp. They had already assembled a tripod with a water filtration system and had dug out a small round pit for a fire. Sigurd gazed out at the water again before looking into the sky. The sun was shining yellow and the weather seemed just about perfect for the occasion. The viking ship had just about all the goods they needed to survive, including a few horses and some dry logs to make firewood. Noticing the lack of nearby trees and fauna, however, King Sigurd knew that he would have to think of a plan quickly if he wanted his crew to survive for another week on the ice.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
After about a week or so, the surrounding landscape would change. The vikings had ventured out in search of flora, and finding a few large evergreen trees riddled about the northern slopes, they would use some long logs they cut to roll their longboat up the slope to the top of the hill. They had removed the ship's mast and then flipped the boat over to create a domed rooftop shelter. Leaving nothing to waste, the vikings had turned their vessel into a long hall, accessible through an opening in the side of the capsized longship that originally was used as a docking ramp, but now acted as the hall's entrance. Inside the hall, all the ice and snow had been dug out and replaced by a flattened carpet of moss. The crew had used clay mudbrick they fashioned and hardened from the bay area and used it to build a central fireplace inside the long hall. Using the benches they had brought with them, they created two large wooden tables inside the hall and placed the benches around them on both sides of the central firepit. Then they setup a tripod with a cauldren for boiling and cooking, and placed all of their kitchen supplies inside the hall.

Just outside the hall was another firepit, this one encased in a cone of clay that was being used as a local forge. Two of the vikings, the blacksmiths, were fanning the fire and working their anvils to produce the tools their settlement would need to make life easier. Down on the beach, some of the women had found another use for the smooth black stones and were using the stones for different purposes like washing clothes and grinding seeds or wheat grains. The vikings had sacrificed one of the horses they brought with them and offered a portion of it to their gods. The meat they used for cooking. The bone they used for making tools. The sinew they used to make thread and wire, and from the horse's hide they made waterproof leather fabrics. The bay's new settlers were very busy. Some of them had been fishermen, and had fashioned fishing poles using some of the tiny silver shore fish as bait. They had also re-used the longship's net for fishing purposes, stretching it from one side of the small inlet strait to the other. This net served a double purpose, not only for fishing but also for defense against any unwanted vessels that might drift into the bay. The net was submerged and hidden under the water, but would rise once tightened on both sides to act as a large whaling net, or as a suitable trap for ships.

As there wasn't much sustenance on the land, the crew looked instead towards the bay. Fishing would be their main commodity, and most of their food and resources would be gathered directly from the shores. They used fish oil and blubber to make different soaps and lanturns for providing light. They used bones to fashion hooks and harpoons or spear tips. They used snails and shells to mix pigments and dyes. Mixing ink with clay, they created a strong blue pigment which they used for multiple purposes. Some of the vikings had also discovered trace amounts of gold on the beach and were sifting the sands for any other metals they could find. King Sigurd walked around the growing viking village, overseeing the large construction of their new settlement. His two guards accompanied him up the hill to a high point at the foot of the mountains. This gave him a slightly more aerial view of the landscape, allowing him to better survey the area. As they walked around, King Sigurd explained to them where he wanted to build a stone wall and discussed the architectural designs with them. It was during this conversation when they by chance happened to stumble upon a cove with a cave going down into the rockface at the foot of the mountains.

"My lord, there's a cave here" said one of the guards. King Sigurd and the other guard would casually approach the rockface, looking down into the cave entrance. "It's hidden by the rocks," the other guard said. Sigurd glanced down at the hidden rockface before turning to look back at the village. "I wonder what lives in there," Sigurd said while turning his head skyward to look at the giant mountain. "It's close enough to the village that we could use it," the other guard said. Sigurd nodded quietly. "Do we explore it, or die trying?" King Sigurd looked down at the cave entrance, then nodded again. "Try it," he said before placing his hand on the rockface and stepping down on to the narrow slope. His guards turned to look at one another, shrugging to themselves before following close behind him. Stepping down into the cave entrance, they would pull out their handy ropes and ignite their oil lamps while King Sigurd unsheathed his sword. Looking into the cave, he noticed that it was darker and deeper than he had thought. Although they had to crouch to get through the entrance, inside the cave was large and hollow with different tunnels leading to different passages. There were a few rock carvings and cave paintings on the walls and ceilings, but there was no sign of life at the entrance of the cave. A few human skeletons had been carefully placed near the back wall of the cave, and Sigurd could tell that they had been undisturbed for at least a hundred years, if not longer.

"This must be where they buried their dead," one of the guards said. Sigurd nodded in agreement, grabbing the lanturn and examining the skeletons. One of them had a bronze arm band and there were silver coins in the dirt beside him. Sigurd would pick up one of the coins, wiping it with his thumb before studying it. "Norwegians," he said while tossing the coin to his guard. "Ay, that's King Egil's currency, I haven't seen this type of stamping since I was a young boy," the guard explained. "King Egil disappeared at sea over one hundred years ago. Could it be?" The suggestion was hint enough. Sigurd Hring had found the long lost resting place of Egil Skurljasson, a legendary Norwegian king who lived long before his time. "They must have built this settlement," the guard said. "Or built over it," Sigurd added before looking around at the cave walls. The rock carvings told a pictographic story which Sigurd pieced together. King Egil apparently had got lost at sea after a successful naval battle and in a desperate attempt to save his people, decided to build the old settlement. It wasn't enough, for the settlers appeared to have died or moved on after some time, probably dying from sickness or starvation. The last remaining Norwegian settlers, in an act of empathy, had buried their king in this cave before abandoning the region. This was a humbling sight for King Sigurd, who would turn and walk back towards the cave entrance. "Come, do not disturb them" he said before all three of them climbed out of the cave and back into the cove. "What now?" one of the guards asked as they walked back to the long hall. Sigurd sheathed his sword and handed the oil lamp back to his guard. "Take five men, and explore the cave. Bring back to me word of its condition," Sigurd said as he approached the hall. "Ay my lord, will do" the guard said before carrying out his king's order. "And watch for animals," King Sigurd commanded before opening the door and walking into the warm long hall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Within a month or two, the small viking settlement would gradually take the size of a decent sized ring fort having three tiers with stone walls going all around each tier in concentric circles. The earth around the great hall was additionally raised up to form an artificial hill with an earthen mound at the top, so that the vikings entered the hall by going through a thick wooden entrance into the earth mound. Once inside, the thick smokey air and heat of the warm fire provided a sharp contrast to the arctic weather outside. The earth was now acting as a buffer to insulate the great hall, and would keep it nice and toasty for everyone inside. They didn't even feel like they were in the cold, such was the extreme difference in temperature. The wooden beamed entrance was the only means of ventilation for which the smoke could escape, and the natural random fog helped to mask the smoke and provide an exceptionally good camouflage for such a moderately sized settlement. The vikings used all the local natural resources for just about everything, rather than travelling great distances in search of the ones they were used to. This enabled them to conserve energy and work more efficiently and productively in a shorter timespan. By the end of the second month, King Sigurd had built a hidden watchtower at the base of the mountain with a stone stairway sloping down a ridge into the snowy hills. In the middle of the hills was a thick frozen river which the vikings navigated with ease using sleds and skis. So adept were they at skiing that they would hunt snow fox and large hares while skiing down the hills.

There were a couple of reindeer herds which the vikings put to good use, as their large bodies helped to carry larger loads across the thick frozen landscape. The bay area also provided King Sigurd with something of even more value. The vikings discovered hundreds of different species of fishlife in the arctic waters, and a variety of sea monsters also. They hunted whales and narwhales, sea birds and seals. They caught massive sharks, huge oisters and large giant squid beneath the frozen ice. They also gathered nuts and green lichen from the ground beneath the snow, various plant roots and sea grasses which they used for cooking food or medicine. Some of Sigurd's crew members had developed scurvy from being out on the sea, but were already beginning to make a quick recovery. Life was not bad for Sigurd Hring and his vikings. What started out as a struggle for survival was now turning into a life of thriving luxury. Sigurd had his doubts before, but was now thinking that they could all easily survive the winter with no problem. This sudden realization caused him to ponder the reason why the previous settlement had been abandoned. He theorized that perhaps the previous settlers had exhausted their food supply, suggesting that after they disappeared, the sparse and very rare wildlife gradually returned within a hundred years. He warned his people not to make the same mistake and suggested that they should all be mindful of their own growing population while inhabiting the settlement.

By now, the secret nearby cave had been explored most of the way and its many tunnels were being used as underground mining chambers. Inside the cave, the vikings found freshwater streams with vast sparkling traces of gold and silver. Inside the caverns they discovered more human skeletons and a horde of hidden treasures. They were also able to mine various gems and crystals from the rocks. Deeper into the cave they found stalagtites and other strange or beautiful rock formations, hot springs and salty gas chambers formed slowly over millions of years with nobody around to witness them. Apart from finding one animal family living in the cave, the vikings instead encountered several species of animals who dwelled in different areas around the large underground labyrinth. There were large white bats, cave spiders, beetles and other rare insects who lived their entire existence inside the cave. These critters shared the sunless habitat with olms and salamanders, raccoons and even cave bears, which the vikings both hunted and showed great reverence for. Some of the bears were even captured alive and trained or traded as pets. King Sigurd himself was gifted by his explorers with two white polar bear cubs, which he intended to keep and train as they got bigger.

After another month rolled by, the viking settlement at Iskjerne Bay had grown into a small permanent kingdom that was truly wonderful to look upon. The fort had grown considerably and there was now an added stone wall enclosure circling a small remote village made of earth homes and skin tents. Some attempts had been made at farming, but so far there was no success as the climate was too harsh. But the vikings had figured out a way to irrigate the land and create a clean energy efficient environment in which to live. They had a primitive plumbing system, but it was effective, and the hygienic practices among the settlers prevented an outbreak of any parasitic insects, illnesses, plagues or diseases which might infest their lands. The subzero temperatures also helped to cut back on the spread of any viruses or germs, allowing the vikings to become quite strong and healthy. After a while, Sigurd Hring would gain a little weight from staying at the new settlement. His beard grew dense and long, while his clothing became layered and thick. His bearskin coat was large and hairy, its thick hide offering him protection from weapons and weather alike. He sat on his wooden throne inside the great hall, listening to the music provided by bone flutes and leather drums. At least one hundred people were gathered in the hall with him, feasting while enjoying the last barrels of mead they had brought with them on their journey. Once the mead was gone, they would have to resort to drinking the malt beverages they invented using the local roots and tree nuts. Although it was still good, the local beer was not as preferable as the mead they had grown to love back home. It was much stronger, however, and so the vikings often got drunk and hammered during the long winter storms and blizzards when everybody was confined to the great hall. During such times they would dance and tell stories, then after the blizzard they would go back to their normal lives. King Sigurd gazed around the great hall at all the cheerful faces before him. Once again, he had succeeded in founding a viking colony, one he was hoping would not soon be destroyed.

Just then, one of the large cave explorers walked past the builders into the great hall where people were partying. He would bow to King Sigurd from across the open room, and Sigurd would motion for the explorer to join him at the nearest table. Making his way around the benches full of people, the man approached King Sigurd and whispered something into his ear before taking a seat. Sigurd would glance up to him with a look of great interest before sliding him a drink. It seemed that the miners had discovered yet another set of remains inside one of the chambers, only these remains were different from all the other ones they had found previously. They were not Nordic, but from a people they had never seen before. They were also much better preserved, perhaps from being in a more remote part of the cave which wasn't exposed to so many elements or scavengers. King Sigurd decided that he would go visit the discovery for himself once the chamber had been deemed safe enough for further investigation. The vikings were no strangers to caves or the dangers that could be hiding within them. Half a week prior to making the discovery, a few of the miners almost died after unknowingly starting work in one of the chambers that had gas pockets in it. The miners accidentally struck a gas pocket while mining, releasing an invisible cloud of tasteless, scentless poisonous gas into the chamber they were working in. Luckily, they managed to escape with only minor headaches, but the workers weren't about to take any more chances. Sigurd instructed his men to catch some of the cave dwelling mice and release them into the deeper cave tunnels as a safety precaution. By doing so, any dead mice they found in the various chambers would be a sign that there was a possibility for the presence of gas. It was a simple tactic, but one that King Sigurd hoped would work by lowering the chances of any of his people dying.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
As the day grew longer, the vikings of Iskjerne Bay were busy at work. The fishers were fishing. The hunters were hunting. The miners were mining. The sailors were getting ready to sail on their next expedition. Jarl Evan Skjalsson had recruited a gang of explorers to go with him on his seafaring mission to the south. He knew what was expected from him, even if his king did not specify. Jarl Evan was expected to survey the southern coastline and lead his crew inland for further exploration. They were in a new foreign region afterall, and were not yet familiar with the entire landscape or of its inhabitants. Little did they know that their king and all of his people had sailed through another oceanic portal to get to the bay area. Unknowingly, they entered the Bermuda Triangle and by some strange Earthly phenomenon had teleported from one body of water to another. As far as Sigurd Hring's kingdom was concerned, they were still on planet Earth, they just weren't exactly sure of their location. Their crossover had been so subtle to them that it didn't even occur to them that they were in a different solar system. To the late great Sigurd Hring, it was still the Viking Age.

As the legendary hero stood in an empty cave chamber examining the strange drawings on the wall, suddenly the earth began to tremble. There was a loud and unexpected explosion, one which would rumble and echo through the corridors. Nobody outside the cave would hear the explosion as it was muffled by the towering mountain, but everything else inside the cave would immediately be alarmed, including several tiny rodents and animals which quickly scattered or took to hiding. Several miners were just behind the wall when it exploded, being blown backwards and injured by the debri. King Sigurd himself would stumble over and fall as the earth shook and small bits of rock came tumbling down from the ceiling. As he looked up at the cracks in the cave wall, his mind suddenly raced as to what all could have caused it. Was it Thor's mighty hammer? Or was it a giant snoring? Sigurd briefly recalled from his childhood how his father had told him about the earthquakes he encountered during his voyages. His father had told him that the trickster god Loki had offended the Aesir gods at Aegir's party, and had been chained to a rock deep within the earth as a punishment for his many offenses. The goddess Skadi placed a venomous serpent with Loki to torment him for all eternity. Each time the serpent's venom dripped on to Loki's head, the god would roar in agony. "And every time the giant's son roars in agony my boy, that's when the ground is said to shake" his father King Randver used to say.

Within a few moments, the vikings in the cave had regained their composure. The miners immediately stopped what they were doing, and were now checking on their injured coworkers or else running through the tunnels towards the corridor where the explosion had come from. King Sigurd would stand up and readjust his crown before also going towards the corridor. Once the dust cleared, several of the injured laymen looked up to see a hole in the wall surrounded by a smooth stone doorway. Just on the other side of the doorway they saw something even more astonishing; another group of miners, but not their own. These were strange looking people in brown uniforms, having smaller statures and different facial features. They were standing on the other side of the open corridor, mumbling and whispering amongst themselves in a completely foreign language which the viking miners did not know or even recognize. Were they dwarves, gods, or demons? The sudden encounter sent the vikings into a fierce frenzy and immediately the miners would take fighting stances, gripping their hammers, shovels and metal pickaxes just as they would any other weapon with a long staff behind it. For although they were miners, they were also vikings, being large and exceptionally strong warriors. One of them, the leader of their mining crew, stepped forward with his giant sledgehammer and issued his command. "Raise arms!" he shouted, assuming their colony was under attack. The crew quickly responded and was just about to counterattack when suddenly they heard another roar thundering through a nearby cave tunnel. "Hold!" someone shouted. Just then, King Sigurd walked into the corridor where everyone else was located.

"You will disregard that order!" Sigurd shouted with authority as he stepped through the gathering crowd to the front of the line. By now, he was fully prepared to lead the miners into battle, but he wanted to see for himself first what all the commotion was about. Stepping forward with his hand on the sheath of his precious sword, Sigurd looked to see a large doorway with many people standing on the other side of it. To his surprise, many of them did not appear to be wearing any armor, and most of them were holding shovels and similar tools to the ones his miners were using. But they weren't vikings. These were different people, from a race that Sigurd had never encountered before. This left him confused and nearly speechless as he clenched his sword hilt, looking at the Taiyou workers with bewilderment. Seconds passed, but it seemed longer as the two different crews stared at one another from opposite sides of the cavern, the Taiyou workers on one side and the Viking miners on the other. The tensions were high and everyone was caught off guard, unprepared for whatever might happen next.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Sigurd Hring stood in front of the hollowed out gateway, looking puzzled as he cocked his head and watched as several of the foreigners suddenly backed away from him in fear as he stepped forward. The miners on the Viking side of the doorway were also standing back, perhaps cowering behind their king, none of them saying anything. They didn't have to. Their swift gazes and widened eyes, along with their concerned head turns towards one another made it quite obvious that they were scared. The only one who wasn't frightened was Sigurd, whose expression showed more curiosity and confusion than anything. As he looked over the Taiyou crew in front of him, he heard a loud mechanical noise and suddenly found himself standing in the dim spotlight. As the yellow orangish beam shined over to his side of the cave, the viking miners behind him would split off and back further away to both flanks of the doorway, trying to avoid the mysterious light as if it was magically dangerous. Sigurd himself would raise his free arm to shield his face as the light got brighter, but continued to gaze through the doorway with squinted eyes. After a brief moment, he saw an elongated giant shadow emerge from the brightly lit corridor. As the shadow got smaller, soon Musume Kobitsu would appear holding a lanturn.

By now, a few of the viking workers had fled the cave and returned to the surface, informing the guards of their situation. One of the guards at the cave entrance would turn and give a hand signal to the guards on top of the watch tower. One of those guards in turn would hit the large gong with his hammer, causing a loud bell-like sound which was low pitched, long and drawn out. It's ring echoed for miles in every direction, alerting everyone on the entire settlement. Fishers, sailers, hunters, gatherers, farmers, shamans, everyone would pause and look up towards the tower, listening carefully. Once the gong rang a second time, everyone immediately stopped what they were doing and ran back towards the ring fort. Panic mode was initiated, as some of the women and children started crying or screaming. As all the workers in the fields hustled to enter the ring fort, a well armored, well orchestraded line of armed viking soldiers would emerge from the great hall and make their way towards the battlements. As that was happening, a handful of guards would descend from the watchtower and make their way towards the cave entrance.

There were thirteen jarls who ruled directly under the konung, King Sigurd the Ringtaker, only five of which were at the arctic settlement in Iskjerne Bay, and of those five, all but one was in the great hall. Jarl Evan was the exception, as he was down at the shipyard scraping ice off the side of a longboat with about a dozen others who had agreed to venture south with him. Each jarl commanded about 45 karls or freemen, and about half a dozen thralls or slaves. As the warning gong alerted those vikings in the shipyard, Jarl Evan would drop his scraper and run up the hills towards the great hall with all the others. Without knowledge of the king's condition, control of the settlement would fall to the table of the five jarls, who would immediately gather together and discuss their plans as a democratic collective. Lots would usually then be drawn or chosen as to which great warrior would go save their king, but as Hrollaug was the king's son, Prince Hrollaug immediately volunteered to go first. This act of bravery inspired the vikings, who cheered for him as his servant brought forth his shield and armour. Hrollaug was an ox of a warrior with broad shoulders, bigger and taller than most of the others. His arms and legs were strong, and he had developed a reputation for once wrestling a bull to death with his bare hands. With calluses on his fingers and toes and the bull's black hide on his back, Hrollaug dropped the visor on his uniquely horned helmet and began walking towards the great hall's exit, followed by others who were rooting for him and boosting his morale.

Sigurd wasn't in need of assistance though. Not yet anyway, as he stared at Takao Eguchi for quite a while without saying anything. As the supervisor's assistant approached the doorway slowly, Sigurd sniffed the air and fixed his gaze on Eguchi, scanning him from head to toe with his squinted eyes. "Det er en ond dæmon, min konge, vi skulle trække tilbage" one of the vikings standing to the king's flank would say lowly with fear in his tone. Sigurd continued to stare at the Taiyou assistant before stepping closer. "Det är möjligt," Sigurd responded casually before approaching the gateway. Takao looked up at Sigurd as the large king approached. Sigurd's frame was tall and built, judging by the thickness of his arms and neck, as the rest of his body was concealed beneath crimson red robes and a thick animal fur coat which looked to be made from a large wholly creature of some kind, perhaps a buffalo or small mammoth if such animals still existed in the far north. Sigurd wore many rings and a silver armband engraved in the liking of a large feline, possibly a forest cat or cave lion. His black leather belt held a similar black scabbard in which his jeweled sword was sheathed. This was his only visible weapon besides the seax on his hip, but concealed behind the king's back on the back of his belt were also two throwing axes. His pants were hard to see beneath his long red fluffy robe, but he was also wearing wool pants with furry snow boots and thick socks to keep his legs and feet warm. The bulkiness of his costume made it apparent that he was from a colder region and that hidden beneath his robe was likely some form of heavy body armor, while the crown on his head made it obvious that he held a high rank in viking society.

"Takao," the Taiyou assistant said while holding his hand to his chest. Sigurd watched carefully and listened as Eguchi moved slowly and gestured to the workers behind him. "Taiyou," he said directly, looking towards the viking leader. "Mugai," he said with a smile. "Yûjin," he said unmenacingly, hoping the vikings wouldn't attack suddenly. "Hvad siger han?" one of the viking miners would ask. "Hvad siger han?" he asked again being panicky. "Vara tyst," Sigurd said calmly before looking over Eguchi's shoulder to the Taiyou workers behind him. There was a brief moment of silence before Eguchi spoke again. "Anatahadare?" he asked while deliberately pointing to Sigurd himself. Sigurd looked at Eguchi's tool belt before turning to face him directly, now placing his free hand on his own chest. "Ég er Sigurður, sonur Randver" he said boldly, with humility and wisdom in his tone. His voice was loud and deep but somehow still calm and peaceful. "Jeg stoler ikke på det, min herre, hva drømmer han om? De er demoner, vi burde drepe dem," another one of the viking miners said, this time coming from the king's other flank. "Om han är en demon, varför talar han så här?" Sigurd asked, still gazing at Takao Eguchi without moving. "Sigurður, ég er Sigurður" he said, tapping on his chest. "Norðurmaður" he said calmly, just as the handful of guards from the watchtower were arriving. Seeing their king standing face to face with a strange foreigner, they stopped in the tunnel behind him, keeping a fair distance away from the king's conversation. They held their large round shields in front of them, each guard holding a long handled atgeir similar to a glaive or poleaxe. Unlike the viking workers, these guards were wearing hornless visored helmets which completely shrouded their faces, with chainmail coats of armour beneath their dark blue robes, each robe decorated with the symbol of two ravens intertwined, matching the larger black raven symbol on their shields.

Although there were only seven of them, the Norse guards still were stronger and larger than any of the Taiyou workers on the other side of the gate that they could see, and appeared bigger than the Norse miners as well, if only because they were wearing armor instead of working shirtless, armed only with shovels, pickaxes and wheel barrels. Sigurd would tilt his head slightly while looking at Eguchi with estranged curiousity. Was he a dwarf? Was he a king? Perhaps he was a goblin, or maybe a god or giant in disguise. Sigurd Hring had thought that Takao Eguchi said that his name was Takao Taiyou, and that two of the workers behind him were named Mugai and Yûjin, but his misunderstanding was of no consequence. He got the gist of what the Taiyou assistant was saying, as the viking miners slowly began to pull back, helping their wounded coworkers and taking them to safety. Luckily, none of them had been seriously injured, just a few bumps and scrapes, and maybe a few broken bones at most. With some medical care they would be back to work in no time. But before anyone else could do anything, they needed to find out more about these strange visitors and what had really happened in the cave chamber. This responsibility belonged to Sigurd Hring, who stood there looking at Takao silently, wondering what the Taiyou work crew would do next.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Sigurd Hring watched closely as Takao moved, gripping the hilt of his imported crucible steel viking sword as Takao slowly raised his hand. "Denkiwokesu," he called out, and as the Yunboro's orangish light was shut off, Sigurd took a small step back. His guards would take a small step forward, each of them locking their shields together to form a tight shield wall, while the viking cave workers stayed to the flanks of the hole in their cave wall, some of them poking their heads around the hole to catch a glimpse of Takao, only to duck back skittishly as soon as he tried to look at them. "Vad händer?" one of the vikings asked. "Vilka är dom?" another one questioned. Seeing the multiple headlamps from the Taiyou worker's helmets as they moved about and shined over him, Sigurd sniffed the air again before examining the hole in the wall. He glanced at Takao's lanturn, mentally noting the similarities and differences between his own lanturns and Takao's lanturn. The viking lanturns were similar in shape and practicality, but were probably much bulkier and heavier, made of crafted iron and brass, fitted with transparent crystals and fueled by fish oil to produce a long lasting, albeit dimmer greenish light. The viking lanturns were used for finding diamonds, gold and other gemstones however, moreso for detecting precious metals than with providing sufficient light to see in. For visibility in the dark, the vikings still relied heavily on candles and torches.

"Jag tror att han berättade för dem att dämpa ljuset," Sigurd said quietly, his necklaces jingling as he moved. "Berätta för alla att lämna tunnlarna," he said calmly, keeping his eyes fixed on the Taiyou in front of him. "Hvað um konunginn?" one of the workers asked. "Du hörde honom, lämna" one of the guards responded. With that, more armoured warriors walked into the chamber, proceeding Prince Hrollaug, and took up positions beside the handful of guards in the center, forming two more shield walls as the viking miners pulled back from the flanks and stepped behind the shield walls before leaving the cave chamber. Sigurd Hring was now surrounded by a C-shaped wall of viking shields which covered his back and flanks as he stood in the middle of the chamber between them, his crown, sword and jewelry shimmering with each passing beam of light from the Taiyou headlamps. He listened to Takao Eguchi as the man tried to pronounce the Nordic language, but the translation was horrible and Sigurd only managed to learn the man's name. "Far, hvem snakker du med?" Prince Hrollaug would call out, stepping forward from behind the shield wall. "Håll dig tillbaka Rollo," the king said, causing the guards to pull Hrollaug back again behind the shield wall. "Han heter Takao säger han. De bakom honom heter Muginn och Eugene" he said just as another voice called out. "Watashi wa anata ga kanari mitsukeru koto o sanshō shite kudasai."

At that moment, Seno Miyagi walked up from behind Takao Eguchi and looked through the doorway at Sigurd Hring and his silent wall of shields, drawing a cigarette while ignoring the fact that Sigurd's troops were confused and anxious. Takao would grimace, holding his hand to Miyagi's chest while introducing him. Sigurd would try to pronounce Miyagi's name as he pulled out a chrome device. "Senna," was all he managed to say before Seno Miyagi flicked his butane liter, causing a spark and small flame which sent the vikings into a frenzy. Suddenly, the whole cave chamber would fill up with the deafening sound of several highly alarmed vikings in a state of panic. Hrollaug readied his small throwing axe as the shield wall closed in on the king. But Sigurd just raised his hand in the air, haulting their advance. He watched quietly as Miyagi drew the flame to his lips and lit the cigarette. The vikings watched in awe and fear as Seno took a drag before holding up another cigarette and offering it to Sigurd.

The Geatish warrior king showed no fear of Takao or Miyagi, but was cautious about stepping closer as he kept his hand on the hilt of his sword. "Shigaretto," the security director said slowly as he exhaled a puff of smoke. Sigurd would sniff the air again, recognizing the smell of tobacco. The vikings were no strangers to hemp and tobacco, and Sigurd himself often hit the smoking pipe. But none of them had ever seen a rolled cigarette before, or a butane liter. Sigurd cautiously reached out and slowly took the cigarette from Seno Miyagi, sniffing it before tasting it with the tip of his tongue. Sigurd would then touch the end of the cylinder to his lips, looking at Miyagi's body movements carefully. Sigurd would not say much, instead watching and listening to everything around them. Slowly, more vikings started to form in the tunnels outside the cave chamber. Evan Skjalsson and his leidang had arrived and were not in the cave chamber, but just outside in one of the mining tunnels where nobody could see them.

King Sigurd took a moment to analyze the situation before turning his focus on Miyagi specifically. He gazed over Seno's slacks and dark jacket, taking note of the man's strange tie and glasses. Watching as Miyagi hit his lit cigarette a couple more times, Sigurd finally stuck the unlit cigarette between his lips and held it there loosely before reaching for Seno's glasses. His action was slow and deliberate, but perhaps also somewhat crude and inconsiderate. He didn't ask for permission or say anything to Seno, instead stepping forward and blatantly trying to take Seno's glasses so as to try them on for himself. The vikings had never seen eyeglasses before, and King Sigurd was curious. At that moment, Prince Hrollaug stepped forward again, lowering his axe as he approached Takao, Miyagi and his father with an ambitious confidence in his step. "Hvað er þetta? Leyfðu mér að sjá," Hrollaug said as he walked up to his father and tried to snatch the cigarette from his lips. Sigurd would cock his head to the side, evading his son's attempt to snatch the cigarette before smacking him lightly on the back of his head. "Rör inte vid!" Sigurd shouted, smiling before turning to look at Miyagi again. Hrollaug smiled too before stepping closer to Takao and Miyagi, standing over them with his giant stature, ox-hide coat and horned helmet. Hrollaug would reach out to grab the elbow of Miyagi's jacket and tug at it, before grabbing the open collar near Seno's shoulder and tugging at it gently. "Það er fínt kápu, hvar fékkstu það?" Hrollaug asked, obviously taking an interest in the man's choice of clothing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Seno Miyagi watched the viking king's reactions with his son before holding up the liter again. As he hit the button to ignite the flame, Sigurd and Hrollaug took a step back. Hrollaug raised his axe again, while the guards behind him raised their large round wooden shields to protect themselves. Miyagi demonstrated how to use the liter again before offering it to the king, who was still holding Seno's eyeglasses. Sigurd looked around himself, throwing caution to the wind before taking a step forward. Hrollaug held up the jacket that Seno handed over to him. He flipped the jacket around, examining it before realizing it was too small. He sniffed the Taiyou's jacket before tossing it to the vikings behind him. A few of the Norsemen immediately began fighting for its possession, tugging at it as if it was some precious magical relic that would give them power. "Det er min!" one of the guards shouted. "Nei, slipp, det tilhører meg!" another one shouted. Sigurd set the glasses on the crown above his head before reaching out and accepting the butane liter. He fumbled with it in the palm of his hand before opening the cap and flicking the button with his thumb. It sparked a couple of times before he figured it out. Once the flame appeared, Hrollaug and the others stood there motionlessly as if hypnotized by the small chrome device in Sigurd's hand.

Sigurd would stare at the open flame for a moment, waving the liter back and forth with a slight smile on his face. "Det er magisk," Hrollaug whispered calmly, staring at the flame. "Se, han holder ild i hånden!" one of the guards shouted, letting go of the jacket he was tugging on, perhaps losing interest for something of greater value. Sigurd Hring turned to face his guards, waving the liter in front of them with a smile. The vikings jumped back in fright for a moment, fearing their king's new power. "Det brinner inte mig," Sigurd said before liting his cigarette. He would take a drag slowly before exhaling a puff of smoke, nodding his head with acceptance of the taste. Sigurd smiled, examining the cigarette before hitting it again. "Bra smak," he said while handing the cigarette to Hrollaug so that he could taste it.

Sigurd would next try on the director's eyeglasses. He placed the glasses on his face and peered through them. His vision was slightly blurred by the prescription, and Sigurd waved his hand in front of himself as if trying to reach out and touch the image in front of him. " "Yunboro no raito o mōichido on ni shimasu," Miyagi said and soon the bright spotlights from the giant machine would kick back on. This caused all the vikings to shield their eyes, including Hrollaug who raised his arm up to protect his face. Sigurd alone seemed to be unaffected as the glasses darkened and the lenses became tinted. He squinted through the lenses, adjusting the glasses while trying to peer through them. "Det är som att titta genom dunkelt vatten," he said, confused as to the purpose of such an accessory. But as he went to remove the glasses, he suddenly became aware to the Yunboro's extremely bright lights and quickly held the lenses to his eyes again. He noticed that the glasses made it easier to see Miyagi's form even with the bright light surrounding him. "Ooo," he said with newfound curiosity. "Ljuset, det lyser inte så klart genom glaset," Sigurd said with an amazed tone of voice. Sigurd would slowly unsheathe his sword and wave it in front of him, poking at the untouchable light with uncertainty before removing the glasses again.

"Du kan se in i solen?" Sigurd asked Seno while sheathing his sword again and handing the unfolded glasses back to Seno as the Yunboro's lights turned back off. "Do you understand these words?" Seno suddenly said in English, a language that the vikings were familiar with from their many relations with England and the westlands. Hrollaug stopped and hit the cigarette again before handing it back to his father. "You speak Anglish," Hrollaug answered while his father looked up towards Miyagi without speaking to him directly. "I am called Rollo," Hrollaug said calmly, tapping his fingers to his own breastplate. "This is my father, King Sigurd" he said while motioning to the crowned king beside him. King Sigurd took another drag off the cigarette, exhaling slowly.

Evan Skjalsson and a dozen of his best warriors would casually enter the cave chamber, taking up positions behind the C-shaped shield wall with their stringed yew bows, iron-tipped arrows, metal axes and throwing spears. All of them wore deep blue robes bearing the white raven symbol on their chests. Most of them were wearing blue turbans or snow caps. All of them wore dome-shaped visored helmets with chainmail masks which covered their faces. Some of them were holding lit torches, but none of them were holding shields. Jarl Evan himself was instead dual wielding a pair of one-handed war axes which he gripped tightly while getting into a ready position behind the wall. "We are Northmen," Hrollaug said calmly, talking to Seno while motioning to himself and the shield wall behind him. Sigurd Hring would listen quietly, still smoking the cigarette while twiddling the butane liter between his fingers without saying anything. "You do not look like Angles," Hrollaug said with affirmation. "Are you from Serkland?" He asked with heeding interest.

"Hvad siger de?" one of the vikings behind the wall asked frighteningly. "Hvorfor angreb de os?" another one whispered quietly. "De angreb os ikke, hulen skal have kollapset på sig selv," a third viking chimed in. "De er demoner, vi burde drepe dem" one of them suggested. "Du kan ikke drepe en demon," another one retorted back. Soon the chamber became filled with undistinguishable whispers and chatter amongst themselves. "La kongen bestemme hvem de er," Evan commanded, causing King Sigurd to turn his head towards the jarl. Hrollaug would look at his father nervously before turning to Miyagi again, swallowing behind his mask. King Sigurd would finish his cigarette, flicking it to the ground before stomping it out with his fur trimmed snow boot. "Ge mig stenen," Sigurd said quietly. Hrollaug reached into his belt pouch and pulled out a small transparent clear sunstone, handing it to his father. Sigurd stuck the butane liter into his own belt pouch before stepping towards Seno again slowly. "Ge honom tillbaka sin rocka," Sigurd said calmly. "Men han gav bort det, han ville inte ha det" one of the guards responded. "Nu!" Sigurd shouted, spitting on the ground. The guard would step forward, offering the Taiyou jacket back to Seno with caution before stepping quickly back into formation.

Hrollaug watched with confusion and uncertainty as his father contemplated silently to himself for a moment before holding up the sunstone and offering it to Seno in exchange for the liter he had pocketed. Hrollaug looked at his father, then to Seno again before speaking. "The Northmen call it a sunstone," Hrollaug said. "On a cloudy day, hold this stone up to the sky, and you will always see the sun." Hrollaug demonstrated with his imagination using one hand, forming a circle with his fingers and peering through them towards the cave ceiling. At that moment, Jarl Evan called to King Sigurd from behind the shield wall. "Hvad nu min konge?" he asked. "De kan ha sjukdomar!" someone shouted from the far back. King Sigurd thought quietly again for a moment before answering. "Om de var demoner skulle vi vara döda redan," he said calmly. "Evan," Sigurd called out. "Vill du fortfarande hjälpa vårt folk?" the king asked quietly. "Hej min konung," the jarl answered. "Bra, för jag har en ny strävan efter dig" King Sigurd Hring explained in his own native tongue. Rollo looked behind him to Evan before looking back at his father confusedly. Sigurd would turn and wink to Hrollaug silently before looking to Miyagi again with a smile. "Berätta för honom att vi vill fynda," Sigurd said. Hrollaug nodded before hooking his axe to his belt and stepping forward between Seno Miyagi and Sigurd Hring, touching his father Sigurd's shoulder with one hand and Seno's shoulder with the other. "The king says he wishes to make peace with your people," the large prince explained. "He says he is willing to trade..." Hrollaug stopped, looking to the king. "Handel vad?" Hrollaug asked. "Krigare," the Geatish king answered. Hrollaug nodded then translated his father's words into English. "He is willing to give your people strong workers in exchange for warmer clothes and dryer wood," Hrollaug said slowly, making sure to speak clearly so that Miyagi could understand him. "There is much splendor down here," he said while stepping back and motioning to the gemstones and precious metals that sparkled like tiny dust all around them before stepping closer. "He will share it all with you, in exchange for strong medicine" Hrollaug said calmly, looking down at Seno while breathing deeply through his metal visor and chainmail faceguard.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
The weather was freezing cold in Iskjerne Bay, the whole land covered in a thick blanket of snow as the blizzard pressed on, bringing with it the frigid winds and subzero temperatures. There were only about fifty vikings down in the northern cave. Another one hundred or so were inside the great hall where it was much warmer. Another twenty five guards had taken positions just outside the wooden beams supporting the hidden cave entrance, with some of them taking posts along the watch tower to provide the guards with an aerial view of the cave entrance from above. Yet another seventy five vikings took up positions inside the ring fort surrounding the great hall, all of them wearing thick furs and padded body armour to protect them from the extremely cold weather. Of the thirteen jarls serving King Sigurd, three of them resided in the great hall while two of them, including Jarl Evan himself, was in the cave chamber.

Evan Skjarlsson was an exceptional warrior with strong arms and a thick neck. He was not as tall as Rollo, or as muscular, but still larger than most of the vikings around him. Evan had a mix of fair and pale skin with long red hair and a braided beard. He wore a long bright blue fur robe with cotton white trim which was folded over and tied around his waist with a thick brown sash. The sash itself was overlapped by a thin black leather belt with a large triquetra-shaped silver belt buckle. His left hip featured a long seax in sheath, while his right hip dangled a black leather belt pouch. His white wool trimmed fur boots too were also black, as were his similarly fashioned gloves. Only his mouth and beard was exposed behind his reinforced metal visored helmet, which concealed his nose and upper face. He wore a throat protector wrapped by a heavy red scarf which draped down, and a blue snow cap or turban under which was concealed his long red hair and head. In each hand, Jarl Evan was holding the short arm-lengthed handle of a viking throwing axe. Although he was a noble lord equivalent to the status of a high ranking Earl, it was apparent that Jarl Evan no less shared the same obligations and hardships of those around him.

As the snowfall increased, optical visibility in the area became more difficult. A white haze made it nearly impossible to see anything beyond a few meters away. From the ring fort's location on the hill, not even the giant mountains could be seen. There was nothing above or below, only a bright white curtain as far as one could see. The earth mound protecting the great long hall was virtually invisible during the snow storm, blending in and appearing almost as part of the white hill itself. The weather was brutal even for the vikings, but it was also providing a natural cammoflauge that the Northmen were quite aware of. The walls around the ring fort were being buried and hidden with fresh snow, but inside the toasty oasis within the great hall, the viking settlers were still scrambling and being very active, preparing themselves for the worst. As the bay and rivers continued to freeze and solidify, the time for boating became narrow. Soon, no sea vessels would have access to or from the bay area. The vikings were landlocked, and would be forced to stay in Iskjerne for the remaining winter. King Sigurd had prepared his people for such an event, but had not planned on staying in Iskjerne for that long. The unexpected arrival of the Taiyou party would delay their exploration for at least another month.

But the Norsemen under Sigurd's rule had become highly adaptive and were not idle in figuring out a way to use their time wisely. Without the king's presence to rule them, the three jarls in the great hall were already pre-appointed by King Sigurd to form a temporary democracy until either Prince Hrollaug or the king himself returned to lead them. But that was not the only thing King Sigurd had taken into consideration and prepared them for. The jarl, Evan Skjalsson, was also being tested. Evan's brother King Erling had betrayed King Sigurd and had started to establish a Christianized viking society in Norway, leading many heathens to turn against King Sigurd and the old gods of their forefathers and ancestors. This resulted in a lot of distrust from King Sigurd, who now sought to test Jarl Evan's intentions. Evan had requested to take a leidang and explore the southern coastal region on a quest for help, hoping to find better resources. The sudden presence of the Taiyou, however, had now provided King Sigurd with an even better opportunity for testing the jarl's loyalty. He was offering to lend them Jarl Evan and his crew in exchange for the Taiyou's help. Just as always, Evan would be expected to learn and gather as much information as he could about everything he encountered during such an important mission.

Prince Hrollaug wanted to protest against his father's suggestion, but he couldn't. Sigurd Hring was the sovereign and leader of their whole establishment, and he knew better than to put his own son at risk in the hands of foreign people, especially from a civilization as alien to him as Seno Miyagi himself. Just like the mice Sigurd had released into the cave tunnels to test the chambers for deadly gas, he was now using Jarl Evan as a guineas pig to test the foreigners for anything that might pose a threat to his people. That is, if the Taiyou were willing to accept his offer.

Seno considered his response, before he offered a slight nod, bringing up his hand to stroke his dark beard. "We are the people of the sun. We are called Taiyou" he said. Sigurd would reach into his pouch and fumble with the liter again, his imagination running wild as he tried to consider the meaning of Miyagi's words. Could it be? Were the Taiyou actually demigods, descendants of Mundilfari, the one who moved according to the times? Sigurd recalled how his own father King Randver had once told him how their cosmology worked. "Mundilfari had a son called Máni, and a daughter called Sól or Sunna, most beautiful among the goddesses with radiant gold hair. Together they drive the sun and moon in chariots across the sky, forever being chased by two monstrous shadowy wolves called Hati and Sköll." Sigurd's father had relayed to him before he died that the Sun was married to a being named Glenr, and that they had a daughter who was one day destined to continue with her mother's course across the sky. Sigurd was now beginning to think that his father was telling the truth, for directly there in front of him was the proof of such a race. With their bright LED flashlights, Yunboro spotlights, reflective work clothes, chrysanthemum symbols and the ability to harness fire at their fingertips, the Taiyou certainly did appear to the vikings to be a people of the sun.

"I am a scholar, and a shaman for my people" Seno Miyagi said. "I help give them strong medicine, but I also help their warriors grow strong through special alchemy." Hrollaug listened carefully as Seno spoke, this time in a language that he could understand. As the security director motioned for the personnel behind him to relax, Sigurd offered him the sunstone. Miyagi accepted it, nodding with approval. "Before we can trade, my king will wish to meet you." Seno explained. "Do your people live under here in these caverns? We would like to see your settlement, of course; if you can tolerate the sunlight I would show you the surface?" Up to that moment, King Sigurd had still not spoken in a language Seno could understand, instead continuing to speak in his own native tongue. He did not answer Seno, instead leaving his oldest son Rollo to do the talking. Hrollaug would look to his father again before turning to address Seno's questions. "No," the prince answered directly. "We come from the surface," Rollo explained. "Our workers were just mining the cave tunnels when suddenly the earth opened up and then you appeared," Prince Hrollaug said, obviously still baffled by the explosion which opened up a new chamber the vikings had not discovered and still had yet to explore. Little did they know that the Taiyou had actually opened up a portal to another dimension of time-space parallel to their own. They couldn't see the portal, for it was invisible or transparent. To the men in the rocky chamber, it appeared to be just another opening in the cave wall. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to anyone from down inside the tunnel. Everything appeared to be the same on both sides of the gateway. It wouldn't be apparent to them that they were in two different worlds until after they had reached the surface.

"Your majesty, your offers of strong workers is fair, but it is not strong workers we require, we wish to learn your people's ways, how you hunt, how you fish, how you govern your kingdom." The Taiyou man's words were respectful, slowly spoken and clearly understandable. "For this we will trade strong medicine, strong weapons to defeat your enemies, teach your warriors great skills, and teach your people our ways." Hrollaug listened to the offer before turning to look at his father again, hoping he might be able to advise him on what to say. But the king just scratched his beard quietly and kept staring through the cave opening, gazing at all the Taiyou headlamps on the other side with growing curiosity. "Hva skal jeg fortelle dem?" Hrollaug asked while looking at his father. Just then, the sound of the elevator shaft screeching and its metal doors opening would disturb their train of thought. A group of men in green and tan uniforms would step out of the elevator and approach the area where Seno and the vikings were trying to negotiate. Sigurd sensed trouble, but he kept his thoughts to himself as he watched the armed soldiers approach.

Soon the Taiyou would stop and engage in an indistinguishable argument amongst themselves. It was apparent to the king and prince that Seno was not happy about something, but the Taiyou's words were too fast and in a language that the viking leaders didn't understand. King Sigurd would glance down at one of the strange god-like weapons the Taiyou troops were carrying. For a moment he thought it looked vaguely reminiscent of an item he had seen among the skeletons in one of the burial chambers several days earlier. He started to wonder about the object's purpose and function, knowing only that it must have been a weapon of some kind judging by the soldier's demeanor and how he was handling it. While the Taiyou were briefly preoccupied with arguing amongst themselves, Hrollaug managed to casually slip past Seno and step through the hole in the wall to the Taiyou side of the gateway. "Psst, hej! Vad gör du? Kom tillbaka hit," King Sigurd whispered loudly, but Hrollaug ignored his father's advice and stepped over to the other side, wondering how many other Taiyou foreigners the negotiator had brought with him. "Wow, se på hvor stor denne inngangen er. Den er enorm," Hrollaug said with heightened amazement just before he was stopped by one of the Taiyou's security personnel. Hrollaug would pause quietly, but his large towering frame enabled him to see over the security officer's head to all the other personnel and heavy machinery they had behind them. He saw the Yunboro sitting idly in the cave tunnel, the metal elevator shaft, and the faces of several Taiyou workers and soldiers, none of them looking the way he had imagined the people of the sun to look.

Just a few yards away on the Viking side of the gateway, King Sigurd's forces kept their shields locked together and maintained their positions. Jarl Evan used a silent hand signal motioning for his leidang to ready their weapons. At that moment, the archers behind the shield wall would notch their bows and draw back on their bowstrings. Such quietly subtle movements took place behind the shield wall where nobody could see, being hidden by the curtain of interlocking shields in front of them. King Sigurd decided to take a step back away from the hole in the cave wall, feeling slightly uncomfortable with the Taiyou's conversation amongst themselves, while Prince Hrollaug himself continued to look around, unaffected by their jibberish conversations. He was unaware of the severe danger he was in, for the people of the sun appeared small to him and insignificantly weak. Their weapons were smaller and more compact, and from Hrollaug's point of view the Taiyou soldiers appeared to not be wearing any armor at all. He was completely oblivious to the fact that the Taiyou were more advanced, his own bulky armor and heavy weapons probably looking quite primitive and equally strange to them.

After a minute or two, Seno finished talking to the Taiyou commander and would turn to address Prince Hrollaug once again. "These men are our kingdom's warriors, tell your people not to spook them... I will try to straighten this matter out." Hrollaug turned to look at the Taiyou commander that Seno was talking to before looking back at his father. Sigurd looked rather angry and disappointed with him as he tried to hiss at Rollo to rejoin the others on their side of the cave chamber. At that moment, Hrollaug would slowly and casually step back through the opening in the cave wall and silently take his place again at the king's side, only for his father to smack him upside the head again for being stupid. "Okunnig dåre, försöker du bli dödad?" Sigurd whispered before turning to look at the Taiyou soldiers in front of them. Sigurd would fold his arms quietly as Rollo stepped behind him, watching Seno Miyagi and the Taiyou soldiers carefully without making any sudden movements which might alarm them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Takao Eguchi offered several short bows to King Sigurd, while rapidly repeating something in his own native language that the king did not quite understand. Sigurd got the gist of it however from Takao's body language, being a keen observer and deep thinker whose only concern was the well-being of his people. Hrollaug would look past Takao Eguchi to the security director and Self-Defense personnel, his own mind also absorbing the experiences and events that were taking place. "Jeg liker ikke det," Prince Hrollaug said quietly, talking next to his father's ear. "Oroa dig inte, jag klarar det," King Sigurd responded quietly before smiling to Eguchi and bowing slightly. He would smack Hrollaug's breastplate with the back of his hand before bowing again. Hrollaug would look at Eguchi and then try to copy him by bowing slightly. The Norsemen's movements were very rigid compared to Takao's however as none of the vikings were used to bowing to people. They barely ever bent a knee for their own king, much less for outsiders or foreign visitors. "Gör bara vad de gör," Sigurd said before smiling again, returning a bow to Takao for every bow that Takao gave to him. Hrollaug was slower to respond, but he tried to keep the pace as he too bowed to Takao, his large frame making it somewhat difficult for someone of Hrollaug's tall stature to do quickly, and so it became a game for them like Monkey See Monkey Do.

After a while of Sigurd and Takao bowing to one another, Sigurd would look over to Seno again, his widened smile slowly fading to a serious expression as he nodded his head in agreement. "Vi accepterar," the king said. Rollo would stop and look at the king before turning to address Seno Miyagi in the common language they both understood. "He says he will accept your offer," the prince translated. King Sigurd then turned around completely and started walking towards the center of the C-shaped shield wall behind them. "Komma," the king said before waving a hand at the viking guards and motioning for them to step aside so that he could walk between them. "He says to follow him," Prince Hrollaug translated to Takao Eguchi before motioning for him to follow. With that being said, Hrollaug would take one last look at the Taiyou officer who had yelled at him and pointed his weapon at his face. Hrollaug nodded quietly to the soldier and then to the alchemist Seno Miyagi again before turning around and following behind his father. Hrollaug wasn't so sure about leading the Taiyou ambassador to their establishment, but he knew that his father was a smart man and would not do anything to endanger their settlement. As the prince followed shortly behind King Sigurd through the dark cave tunnel, a million questions and thoughts of uncertainty ran through his mind.

Meanwhile, the two jarls ordered the Norse guards to hold their positions until the king and the prince were safely out of the cave chamber. The vikings had formed an opening or walkway for King Sigurd and his guests, but otherwise were still holding their shields up to form a defensive curtain, guarding the gateway between their cave chamber and the next one over. Just like the Taiyou's self-defense response units, the Norse guards were also on edge and very quick to spook. As the viking's highest authorities left the chamber, followed by a handful of warriors who followed behind the prince, Jarl Evan now had the responsibility of taking command over the Norse phalanx. The task was actually quite simple. All he had to do was make sure that the Taiyou didn't do anything stupid, like try and attack the king. For this they would selflessly give their lives like bees protecting their hives from an imminent danger. Jarl Omar was also in the chamber with Evan, and together they maintained the order and kept the viking troops organized while on high alert during their Taiyou encounters.

As the king started heading back towards Iskjerne's cave entrance, he stopped at one of the empty cave chambers. It was the spot where his explorers had discovered the remains of many human skeletons several weeks earlier. Hrollaug crouched down, entering the small open doorway into the cave chamber, followed by the handful of guards he had brought with him. A few of the guards would hold out their torches, as King Sigurd worked to brush away the hanging cobwebs which drifted in front of them. He pointed to the five skeletons sitting on the ground against the cave walls. "Se, de liknar dem där inne" Sigurd said, causing Hrollaug and the others to step forward and take a look. Sure enough, the skeletons bore a remarkable resemblance to the Taiyou soldiers they had just encountered, albeit with some slight differences. Hrollaug squated down and took a mental note of the rusted weapon that was resting against a corpse's chest, tucked under his boney arms. Although slightly different, it looked very similar to the triggered device that was pointed at him by the Taiyou self-defense team. Hrollaug then noticed the rusted metal casings on the ground next to him and, noticing the ooze coming out of one, decided to dip the tip of his finger into it and taste it. "Eck! Ptew! Svovel," he said while spitting on the rock wall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrook
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
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: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Image



Takao Eguchi would knock on the heavy oakwood doors and open them, being greeted by a large guard who stared him over for a moment as Takao removed his shoes. The guard gave him an ackward gaze before turning and shrugging his shoulders, lazily motioning for Takao to enter. Once inside the Great Hall, the Taiyou ambassador would immediately feel the relief of the warm dwelling. The hall was exceptionally large, crafted from a single longship that the Norsemen had flipped upside down. Takao would smell the smokey air and cooked meat roasting over the open log fire. There were wooden benches and tables set about, with over a hundred or more people sitting down or walking around inside. Some of them had musical instruments and were chanting, singing and dancing merrily inside the great hall. If he would look up towards the ceiling, Takao would notice mistletoe hanging from the rafters above his head. Just then, two beautiful bare breasted shirtless blonde women would walk over to Takao and grab hold of him, leaning up against him and kissing him on both cheeks. Sigurd was sitting on his throne at the opposite side of the great long hall, surrounded by others who were laughing, drinking and having a good time. Seeing this, Sigurd would laugh and smile, waving Takao over to join him.

The Norsemen were a rowdy bunch. There was little distance between them, if any, as a hundred or more settlers gathered around the festivities. There in the middle before them was a banquet fit for a king, as Sigurd stood up at the far head of a long table and raised his mug. He yelled something loudly, before laughing and sitting back down on the throne. A small group of people around him would laugh at the apparent joke, but nobody else seemed to even be interested or paying attention, lost in their own jokes and conversations. The background noise from all the gossiping, laughter and music made it difficult for Takao to hear over the crowd of Heathen ruffians, who didn't seem to be paying him any mind at all. Every one of them seemed to be lost in their own world. There were lit candles, holly wreathes and tinsel, and little glass orb-like decorations everywhere. It was Yule time, a winter holiday for the Northmen, and Takao had just walked into a party. This particular occassion was a very special party, one which served a quadruple purpose and therefore was extra special. One of the shorter, less brawny Norse workers would bump shoulders with Takao, eyeing him hatefully as he walked by. "Takku, komma. Setjið með okkur. Fáðu þér drykk," the king shouted, motioning for Takao to sit with him while offering the Taiyou a large double-pint tankard of wine and an empty seat at the table. Everyone else at the table was already gorging on turkey legs and roasted ham, enjoying the mead and festivities.

After a moment, one of the large men sitting beside King Sigurd would stand up, gripping his steak knife tightly and suddenly lunging towards the king, intending to cut Sigurd's throat. The king was quick to react, however, deflecting the blade with his mug before picking up his own steak knife and thrusting it into the assassin's abdomen, hugging him tightly as he slid the sharp steel blade deep into the Northman's stomach. The man would choke and cough, blood oozing from his mouth as Sigurd let go of him, allowing his large body to hit the ground with a loud thud. King Sigurd would glance at Takao briefly before sitting back down and finishing his meal as if nothing had even happened. The noise never stopped, even for a minute as the rowdy settlers continued to party and play their daunty music. Two slaves would drag the dead man's body out of the hall, while a third servant walked over to Sigurd and refilled his mug before turning to offer Takao some more wine. Sigurd nodded quietly to Takao, waving for him to eat. There was no shortage of mead and food in the king's hall, and the rest of the Norsemen seemed delighted to have him as their leader. Sigurd himself was pleased to have Takao as his guest as he raised his mug in the air and nodded to the Taiyou ambassador, giving him cheers. "Skál," he said before taking a swig of the homemade Danish brew.

Omar the One-Eye, formerly known as Omar Finnsson, was standing in the darkness of one of the many cave tunnels which formed a network of different underground chambers sort of like a rocky labyrinth, all connecting in some way or another and leading to a single entrance. Jarl Omar was a middle aged Norseman of Scandinavian descent with shoulder-length dirty blonde hair and one aquamarine colored green eye. He was six feet tall with a large muscular frame and thick bronze skin, squared stubby chin and chiseled features. He was beardless, clean shaven and ready for the task at hand. Omar's nickname came from the scar over one of his eyes, seered shut with a hot iron many years ago after being shot by an arrow which pierced his skull, leaving another small circular scar marked by a tiny bald spot where the arrow had gone through to the back of his head straight out the other side. Omar lost an eye, but he miraculously survived and went on to become a jarl and a great warrior. Jarl Omar and his group of fifteen Norse ghost warriors had painted their entire bodies black with ashes from head to toe. Omar presented his group with three small mysterious clay canisters and a cloth bag. They were about to attempt an infiltration of the Taiyou gateway using whatever means these tools could provide to help them avenge their injured comrades, who were now undergoing traditional medical treatment back at the Iskjerne settlement. King Sigurd was not aware of the jarl's intentions, but Omar took it upon himself to be a hero for his people. As the drinking horn was passed to him, Omar took a sip of the magical shroom juice before passing it around the circle.

Afterwards, one of the vikings would step forward holding two dogs on a leash, with another small bag which the jarl opened before pulling out another live animal. It was a small black bird which squawed and flapped its wings, trying to escape. Omar would snap the bird's neck, before draining its blood onto the rocky cave floor. "Accept this offering," he said quietly as the bird's blood was absorbed by the ground. This was done to appease the Norse gods, and to prevent the goddess Hel from allowing any of her draugirs or ghosts to interrupt their mission while they maneuvered through her shadowy dark realm deep underground. Afterwards, he placed the bird's carcass on a smooth stone altar with its wings spread over it. After this, Omar the One-Eye and his ghost warriors would seperate into pairs and spread out through different tunnels while the jarl himself took a handful of them down deeper into the cave, nearing closer to the chamber where the Taiyou gateway was located. This group of six would bring with them the dogs on a leash, the three clay jars and the small cloth bag as they approached the empty chamber, remaining hidden in the dark tunnel just around the corner from the gateway. The other ten ghost warriors would part ways, taking up secret positions inside the many winding tunnels where they hid in the darkness, blending in with the natural texture of the rocky caves.

Meanwhile, the other sixteen vikings led by Evan Skjalsson had dispersed throughout the caves, seperating into four bands of four. Jarl Evan was another six foot tall Norseman of Norwegian descent. Him and his brother Erling had been sons of Skjal Olofsson of Norway and through many years of diplomacy and war, had managed to take up high positions in Norse society. Skjal was killed in a naval battle, but his older son Erling Snake became the King of Norway while the younger one, Evan, became one of Sigurd Hring's jarls after the war. Evan was tall and built tough with broad shoulders and strong muscles. He had icey blue eyes and a shaved bald head with blue tattoos. He also had a bright orangish red beard which hung down loosely to his neck. Jarl Evan was just slightly younger than Jarl Omar, but no less intimidating to look upon. His thick animal fur robes concealed his chainmail tunic and padded leather body armor as he and three of his kinsmen took up their own positions inside the Iskjerne caverns, aided by their heavy helmets and large round shields.

Jarl Omar would glance around the corner to the lit up gateway, then look to the five warriors beside him, nodding silently. One of the ghost warriors nodded back before suddenly tossing one of the clay jars into the Iskjerne cave chamber. As the jar shattered near the open rockwall, a thick black stream of billowing smoke rose up before the Taiyou gateway. Within a few seconds, the whole chamber would be smothered in a cloudy mass, obscuring the Jarl's next move. The ghost warriors would try to step around the corner, but Omar held them back. "Wait," he said, allowing the smoke cloud to thicken while waiting to see the Taiyou's reaction. If the Taiyou would fire their weapons into the smoke, the one-eyed chieftain would see to it that they hit only rocks and nothing more. After a moment, however, if there was no gunfire Omar would give the signal for one of his men to turn the corner and walk low towards the flank of the gateway, using his hands on the wall to guide him through the smoke cloud. As he neared the open hole in the rockwall, he crouched down and opened the small cloth bag, tossing the whole sack around the corner into the Taiyou chamber. The bag landed in the middle of the ground, and instantly a thousand honey bees came buzzing out of the bag in a pissed off angry storm, looking to sting anyone and anything inside the Taiyou chamber. The thick smoke cloud on the Iskjerne side of the portal would prevent the bees from flying through the gateway, so instead they would swarm around the Taiyou soldiers and the mounted machine gunner.

As the bees kept the Taiyou busy, Omar turned and signalled for the man beside him to unleash the dogs. The man nodded before setting the hungry canids loose. The dogs darted around the corner and through the smoke curtain into the open gateway, barking and lunging at the nearest Taiyou officers in their sights. The battle had begun, and with that the Norse ghost warriors made their move. All six of them emerged from out of the smoke with weapons in both hands. The smell of smoke on their skins would prevent the bees from stinging the Norsemen as they entered. As they entered the Taiyou chamber, one of the viking ghost warriors would hurl his spear at one of the Taiyou officers before charging at the others with his sword and seax. Another one of the vikings would throw his axe at the Taiyou before charging at them with his sword. Yet another would emerge with a large club staff and begin swinging it around in a circle, aiming at the Taiyou soldiers to both his left and right with little to no hesitation. A couple of the Taiyou security personnel would raise their weapons to fire upon Omar's gang, but would themselves be greeted instead by a pair of arrows flying from out of the smoke as two other vikings entered the gateway holding stringed bows. Finally the one-eyed jarl emerged, smiling deviously, holding a pair of bearded axes in both hands. Jarl Omar would hack his way over to the Yunboro in an attempt to shatter its most brightest light source with the head of one of his axes. "Die demon!" he roared, apparently viewing the Yunboro as something other than a machine.

Jarl Omar knew that King Sigurd would not approve of his actions, but it was in the hands of the gods now as he let out a beckoning laughter, the magical shroom juice in his system taking its effect on him. Omar the One-Eye and his five companions were now fearless and impervious to pain as they took on the couple dozen Taiyou officers all by themselves, hacking and slashing mercilessly with the combined support of their two attack dogs and stinging bees. Their roars and battlecries would echo through the cave tunnels. Jarl Evan would order his own three companions to stop and be silent. "Shhh, do you hear that?" he whispered. "Sounds like fighting," one of the Norse warriors responded. Jarl Evan grimaced, knowing it could only mean one thing. "Ivan," he said quietly. "Go inform the guards that we have a situation." With these words spoken, one of Evan's comrades would nod, raising a closed fist to his own chestplate before turning and heading back towards the surface. "The rest of you, follow me" Jarl Evan said as he started to walk down further into the cave.

The setting changes from Iskjerne Bay to Weargtooth Mountains

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Weargtooth Mountains...
The range south of Iskjerne Bay...


A few days after Jól, some of the Norse settlers from Iskjerne Bay would set out on their own adventures. A few of them went over the hills into the eastern mountain range, while several families decided to sail west into the North Ellarian Gulf and into the Empyrian High Seas where the Göthic prince Úlfric Ellrulfsson and his leidang of Úlfhéðnar had ventured long before them on the Ormbátur, a famous dragon-headed longship which disappeared into those very same bluegreen waves. King Sigurd had killed Prince Úlfric's father Ellrulf Trygvirsson after being wounded by him during the Battle of Bravellir, when King Ellrulf was already very old. Now that Sigurd Hring was the King of the Geats, he would saction one of his own longships to explore the islands again, hoping for better luck than the kings before him. He sent a familar vessel into the high seas, the Nuörmbátur and its familar crew of vikings. Furdørn Ivansson, Engöll Corysson, Stryder Alvirsson, and the new earl, Hethel Svensson, all of whom had previously served Prince Úlfric and Jarl Hürgor the Archer during their victory against the Argosians, and who now served the House of Munso following Sigurd's victory over the previously reigning House of Ellrulf, were now heading back into open waters once again.

Prince Hrollaug would lead his own small party of Norse explorers on horseback down through the southern range of the Weargtooth Mountains, looking for other suitable lands to explore and settle. This mountain range was difficult to navigate, being full of narrow passages and steep rocks. But after a week or so, Prince Hrollaug's band reached the highest peak and peered out over the entire Gaian continent of Ellaria, catching a glimpse of the new world in all of its splendor and beauty. Winter Solstice had ended and now that the weather was getting warmer, Hrollaug gazed up towards the vast blue sky only to see something like a parahelion. There in the sky above were 3 suns, something that Hrollaug was not a stranger too. "Sun Dogs" he said, pointing up at the three suns as the horsemen continued on, descending down the mountain into Kadota Peaks through a rainbow waterfall and towards the Ellarian Empyrian Coast.

The setting changes from Weargtooth Mountains to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
After about a week or so, the weather in Iskjerne Bay slowly started to get warmer, causing the snow to melt and the icesheets to thaw out. King Sigurd would sanction a dragon-headed longship headed by a new earl named Hethel Svensson to set out an explore the sea, as Prince Hrollaug took another small band with him on horseback into the southern mountain ranges to search for greener land. Takao Eguchi was allowed to wander and roam freely around the viking settlement to study and take notes of everything as he saw fit, so long as he did not interfere with their progress and development. King Sigurd would keep his distance from Takao during this time, mostly just watching him quietly from time to time and checking up on his well-being. King Sigurd had appointed Bruce of Essex to accompany Takao as a guide, translater and bodyguard during his two week stay. Lord Bruce was quite a bit different from some of the other vikings Takao had seen at the ringfort. He was sophisticated, well-spoken, mannerly and cleaner than most. Bruce was an Anglo-Saxon linguist from a little town north of the River Thames in East Albion, and although he didn't understand Taiyou, he was able to communicate with young Takao Eguchi through patience and understanding. Over the next five days or so, Lord Bruce would give young Takao a basic tour of their settlement. They would talk for hours about Norse religion, medicine, sustenance and legal traditions.

Lord Bruce would teach the young Taiyou about the Norse social classes and how they worked. He explained to Takao that most of the hard work in Iskjerne was undertaken by thralls, most of whom were fellow vikings who had been conquered or captured from other lands, working for their freedoms and a second chance to live. Lord Bruce also explained the significance of the old woman they called the angel of death. He told him all about the social taboos and warned him carefully about trying his best to fit in, as the Norsemen were a very superstitious people and easily frightened by anything they were not accustomed to. Lord Bruce explained to Takao that only the women in Iskjerne were permitted to practice magic, and that the oldest woman in the village was held with the utmost highest respect. This was the Old Mother, the one the vikings refered to as the angel of death. He also told Takao about the Norsemen's warrior culture and ancestor worship, recalling to him great songs and poems pertaining to the old gods like one-eyed Odin, handsome Freyr, magical Freyja, Tyr the one-handed and Thor the thunderer.

Then one sunny morning, King Sigurd would approach Takao slowly and for the first time since his visit, the king spoke to him in the English language. "You can draw sounds," King Sigurd said slowly and directly, showing an interest in Takao's ability to read and write. "You can teach me this?" he asked quietly. Bruce smiled and nodded, standing at attention off to the side. He had never left Takao's side, guarding the Asianic ambassador's tent even as he slept. Bruce never appeared to sleep. He never seemed to get offended or angry. He was always happy and well respected by everyone else around him, even the king himself as he nodded back. Just then however, Brunnard the Blacksmith would walk through the ringfort's outer gate followed by four armed guards. He was holding a rectangular canvas kitbag made from hemp, and one of the four guards was pulling Kraiger Nallesson behind him, shackled, collared and chained with cast iron.

The guards at the gate tower blew their horns. King Sigurd and everyone around him would stop to listen. "Make way! Make way I say!" a voice could be heard shouting in the distance. "I better go check it out," Bruce said before nodding again and walking away. Takao would notice that Lord Bruce never bowed or saluted to King Sigurd, but he wouldn't question it at that moment. Instead, he looked over to King Sigurd whose gaze was still fixed on Takao's books.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: I AM Z
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
And so it had begun. Dark clouds hovered over Iskjerne Bay between the Weargtooth Mountains, bolts of lightning of various types and colors. First red and purple heat lightning. Then a loud white lightning bolt, followed by a green lightning web. To the vikings, it seemed like Ragnarok had arrived. To the knights, it seemed like the Apocalypse was occurring. But as the King of Iskjerne stepped shirtless out of the great hall and into the wispy cold, he had a wide grin and an evil fury in his gaze. He was just about to order an attack on the Taiyou, but just then a Christian knight came out of nowhere and tried to tackle him. This was a bad move, however, as Sigurd quickly reacted, sidestepping the knight's lunge whilst bringing his expensive sword blade up against his neck. Before he could even react, Sigurd beheaded the knight, his twitching body hitting the ground as his head fell, rolling down his shoulder and off to the side of the king's path.

Lord Bruce watched in terror as Emperor Shimizu cut down the knights before him. He kept his guard up, staring at Shimizu with unwavering eye contact. "Takao, do you know this man?" he asked calmly, gripping the hilt of his sword at shoulder level. By this time, Erling Snake had made his way past the second wall and was looking up the hill towards the ringfort. "Burn everything! Spare no one!" He shouted, walking up to one of the viking captives and impaling him with his longsword. More knights entered the breached gateway behind him, met by a wall of shields and spears as the Vikings charged at them. Sigurd Hring felt the enchanting power of the runic spells and the blood magic ritual covering him like a bearskin. His eyes twitched and flickered. His face became contorted. He would snarl, growl and huff lowly, hatefully glaring down the hill towards Erling Snake, who snickered back to him.

Suddenly, another large object could be seen approaching from the distance. From out of the great chill came what looked like an avalanche from the mountains. A huge cloudy mist started to close in on the viking settlement as a large blanket of snow started to cover the area. As it approached the viking village, suddenly a dragon's head appeared from out of the mist. Then the dragon's neck, and finally the Taiyou and the Vikings would see the whole creature. It was a dragon ship, the largest one the vikings had ever built. Hrollaug had daringly sailed it down the mountainside and towards the bay area. As the ship slid across the blanket of snow, one could make out a crew of about a hundred or more vikings. They were being led by Hrollaug, and by Gwyneth the shield-maiden, who shot a whistling arrow towards the invading knights, jumping on to the tower as soon as the large sailing vessel ploughed into Iskjerne's outer wall.

Sigurd's reinforcements had arrived..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: I AM Z
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Slowly, the viking settlers of Iskjerne Bay would start to experience a change of luck. The arrival of the Rainstorm Dragonship struck fear into the hearts of Erling's knights. The Christians started to withdraw, fighting their way back in the direction they came. The gjallahorn blew loudly, echoing for miles, a newfound boost of morale as the vikings pushed forward, roaring sounds of victory or Valhöll, giving Sigurd Hring a chance to duel with Erling Snake more personally. The two former comrades gazed at one another with hatred, both of them walking slowly towards one another with their swords already prepared to strike. Sigurd would dodge a throwing axe as it flew past him, his eyes still focussing on the opponent in front of him.

"This ends here Snake," the king said as he approached the traitor. "Nice kingdom you have here. Took me a minute to find you!" King Erling lashed out, swinging his blade towards Sigurd's chest. The pagan king would respond by deflecting the blade with his own before trying to cut Erling's arm. Erling was fast however, and managed to evade Sigurd's steel before chuckling quietly. "You should have stayed in Iceland," Sigurd said calmly. "Aw, but don't you want to know how I got here?" Snake asked sarcastically, this time going in for an upward slash to Sigurd's chin. Sigurd would lean back, blocking the swing and redirecting it away from himself with his hand guard. Metal scraped metal, screeching with a small array of sparks from the force of their blows.

Sir Hadrid was walking around setting fire to the viking tents when suddenly an arrow whistled past his head. Looking up, he could see Gwyneth peering down at him from one of the wall towers. She quickly notched another arrow to her bow, but Sir Hadrid was undaunted. He would approach the tower as she fired arrows at him, one after another. He used his kite shield to stop one of the arrows before he tossed the lit torch into the wall tower. The wood was cold and dry, allowing the straw thatches to catch fire rather quickly. Within moments, Gwyneth would find herself trapped in a smoking tower. Sir Hadrid would gaze up at her and laugh loudly, only to be hit in the back of the head by Hrollaug's axe. There was a loud thud, followed by another as Hrollaug ripped the blade out and drove it into his spine. Sir Hadrid fell forward, dead before he could even hit the ground.

Sigurd Hring and Erling Snake continued their duel on the edge of the hill, swords clanking and clashing together with each passing swing. Meanwhile, Lord Bruce of Essex was still inside the tent with Takao and the Emperor, and confusion ensued between the Anglish Norse pagan and the Taiyou autokrator. Bruce wasn't sure what he should do, so he just kept his guard up and prepared to die mentally as he waited for the Emperor to attack him, or else state his case. Gwyneth scrambled to find a way down from the wall tower, which was slowly going up in flames. She gagged and coughed from the smoke billowing around her as she climbed to the outside of the tower and looked around. Seeing a rope attached to the warning bell, she slid her yew wooden bow over the rope, grabbing it with both hands while clenching an arrow between her teeth.

Just then, the outer wall of the viking ringfort started to crumble. Warriors pushed and shoved to get out of the way as the wall came crashing down near the entrance, a loud boom followed by a crashing wave of bricks and dust, forming a cloud which knocked Sigurd and Erling off of their feet. Sigurd's head started pounding. He felt dizzy as he sat up, being temporarily deafened by the loud crash of heavy logs and stones. As he sat up, he noticed people running around in mass hysteria. Dogs were barking. Women were panicking. There was a young child hiding under a table near one of the food tents, plugging their ears and crying in shock. There was ash and cinder, and rubble everywhere. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion as Sigurd staggered back to his feet slowly, ears still ringing. He tried to look around again for Erling Snake, but the Christian warlord had managed to slip away.

Back at the fallen gate, the vikings were holding strong. Gwyneth ziplined down the rope from the wall tower with her bow, landing gracefully on the ground as the Christian raiders continued to withdraw. By now they were retreating, and their flags waved on the wall, signalling them to fall back to the shore. At that moment, Gwyneth and Prince Hrollaug approached Sigurd and stood beside him on the edge of the hill, watching as the Christians retreated to their ship. It was one more victory for the king, but this time it would be short lived. The Soja was still orbiting up above the planet, prowling the skies like a shadowy wolf.

To make matters worse, other strange forces were now at work, and just then a viking herald rode up to the king on horseback. "My Lord Sigurd, I bring a message from the caves. The foreigners have returned. They have powerful weapons, and Jarl Evan is with them," the herald said before Sigurd nodded, waving a hand for him to go away. "Gwyneth," he mumbled. "Yes my king?" she answered. "Are you okay?" he asked. "Yes," she responded. "I have a new plan. Go fetch Kraiger, bring him before me. Our guests will no doubt wish to see us in person," Sigurd commented while sheathing his sword. Gwyneth nodded and quickly turned to go carry out her orders. Hrollaug placed his hand on Sigurd's shoulder and sighed, offering him a drinking horn filled with mead. Sigurd nodded quietly and took a sip, before staring out silently over the ravaged buildings before him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Sword Tenchi hummed as the shimmering blue blade cast a blue light on the ground, and their surroundings. Sigurd kept a watchful eye on Shimizu, looking for any sudden aggression which might cause him to react. Lord Bruce of Essex and by now, probably even Takao Eguchi himself were still gazing at the sky. They looked towards the shadowy cloud which hovered over the mountains, and witnessed the sailing of the Hregg Drekki by Prince Hrollaug down the snowslide avalanche into Iskjerne Bay, feeling a sense that something was up. But soon they and everyone else would be distracted by Shimizu and Sigurd, as people started gathering around them. Bruce kept an eye on what looked to him like a thin white ribbon in the sky which ended in the Ellarian forest to the south. He started to get a strange feeling, and the glow above the horizon started to urge his curiosity.

As Miyagi, Kayabuki, and Yukiko took up spots near Emperor Shimizu and King Sigurd, the outnumbering vikings would take up theirs, forming a firm shield wall all the way around the gathering. Hrollaug, Gwyneth, and Evan stood inside the inner circle with their king, all of them watching the Taiyou director of science, prime minister and royal princess with extreme caution. King Sigurd himself kept his eyes on Emperor Shimizu, giving him a slight grin. Just then, the Taiyou started whispering talking amongst themselves, so Prince Hrollaug leaned over to whisper into his king's ear. "After we kill them all, I want those eye scopes" he whispered. King Sigurd kept his shield in front of him and whispered back. "Try to spare the girl if you can," he said, smiling now to Yukiko as she glared at the vikings with a crude resolve.

The Taiyou emperor then looked over to Azaka, who held up his ornate, wooden staff so that everyone could all understand each-other despite speaking their own native languages. After this subtle gesture, Shimizu took a step forward, Tenchi-Ken still firmly grasped in his hands. "What is the meaning of this?" he said. "You send soldiers to attack my world, and then when that fails you try to offer this pathetic man as a meager attempt to placate me? I should burn this entire world to ashes for your insolence!" Shimizu challenged. "Listen boy," the king commanded. "I don't know who you are but I didn't order any attack on your world..... He did," Sigurd said, doing a slight hand gesture just before Gwyneth kicked Kreiger in the back of the knee, causing him to kneel. "Kneel before your king!" she shouted as she forced him to his knees. Not surprisingly, her hate resounding voice was even more terrible than the emperor's, like the sound of a lesbian serial killer.

"Nevertheless. I am Shimizu Takayama, I rule the Taiyou Empire of Greater Niihama as it's Emperor" the young man said. King Sigurd raised his chin, his peppered beard and rough reddish skin showing prime age and lots of wisdom. Sigurd kept a firm grip on the hilt of his rune-engraved sword, noticing that Shimizu's own sword was beginning to act strangely. "I am Sigurd Hring, called the Ringtaker. I am the son of Randver, son of Radbard from the House of Munso. I am the King of Iskjerne" he said proudly, looking over to Azaka as the emperor cast his gaze over to Kraiger with a scowl. "Explain yourselves." Shimizu demanded. Meanwhile, Lord Bruce of Essex was still over by the tents gazing up at the occurances in the sky as Hrollaug Sigurdsson stared at Yoko Kayabuki whilst twirling an axe, Gwyneth herself now focussing on Princess Yukiko.

The tensions were high, and the silence was deafening....

Suddenly, Gwyneth would kick Kraiger in the jaw as hard as she could in an attempt to snap his neck. "Speak!" she screamed. Kraiger would topple over, spitting out blood and teeth as he groaned in agony. "I told you, I did it to avenge our kingdom!" the suffering viking shouted before pleading for mercy. "Please! King Sigurd, please forgive me lord, please have mercy" Kreiger begged, reaching out to King Sigurd with both hands open. Sigurd glanced down at his most loyal servant/prisoner for a brief moment before looking back into Shimizu's eyes. The grin had never left Sigurd's face as he stood there quietly, waiting for someone else to chime in. Just as he expected, the Iskjerne settlers would soon voice their own opinions. "These people attacked our village!" a woman shouted from the shield wall. "Ay, they injured our miners. They attacked us first!" someone else shouted. "They broke my arm!" yet another one yelled out. "Ah but it was Kreiger Njalsson who brought these savages to our village," another viking said, echoing from behind the shield wall. This was followed by an escalation of sounds and noises from the peanut gallery as the vikings openly started arguing and gossiping amongst themselves.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Eras Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Image


As the Taiyou Emperor went about giving orders, King Sigurd thought long and hard about what he should do. He wanted to cut down Shimizu Takayama right then and there, but there were complications. Sigurd still had his entire kingdom to consider. His people; men, women, children, elders, slaves, cattle and livestock. Standing behind him was Prince Hrollaug, his son, still twirling his axe around whilst keeping a sharp eye on Azaka and Kamidake, and their fancy staffs. By now, Sigurd had started to tune out Shimizu's speech and was instead focussing on his next move. All the while, Gwyneth was watching Princess Yukiko like a hawk, keeping her bow lowered with an arrow already notched and ready to go. She watched as Yukiko quietly reached into her pocket. Upon seeing this, Gwyneth instantly raised her bow to point the arrow at Yukiko threateningly, but didn't release it just yet. Yukiko pulled out a red gemstone tiara at that moment, something which caught Gwyneth's eye but did not appear to be a weapon or anything which might cause her to suddenly pluck her bowstring. Still, the shield-maiden was on high alert and ready for anything.

King Sigurd himself did not overlook the strange flickering of the Tenchi sword, or of his own glowing gemstones as they started to lose their illumination. Something was disrupting their power, something beyond the will of the norns. But the Norse konung said nothing, instead keeping his shield in front of him for protection as Shimizu shouted his intentions to everyone. "Or you, and your people can die like ants before our mighty Empire," the emperor ranted. King Sigurd was listening vaguely, but he was even more intent on watching and observing Shimizu's every move. He paid keen attention to Shimizu's posture and the way he gripped his Tenchi-ken as he turned his attention towards Kraiger Nallesson, the viking prisoner on his hands and knees.

"As for you; you will enjoy a public execution. And I will ensure the executioner is slow, and draws it out as long as he can," Shimizu said looking to Kraiger with disgust. Jarl Evan Skjalsson would look over between Azaka and Rollo, sensing the tensions between the Taiyou guardians and the Norse vikings. By now, Evan's own squad of Harii ghost warriors was beginning to form around him. They were still painted black from head to toe, so that even their weapons and shields were painted black, save for the white raven logo. The jarl would raise his hand silently and motion for his squad to hold their positions. "Wait," he whispered, stopping the Harii from moving in. Dozens of other vikings were still gathering around or arriving from the towers and broken gate. Many of them had typical round viking shields and metal armour. Some had spears. Some had axes. Many of them carried atgeirs and seaxes. But only a few of them were rich enough to own a horse and a sword. They were as varying in height, style and hair color as anyone might expect. Hundreds of Norsemen were approaching the hill where King Sigurd stood at arms, trying to decide what to do. Should he submit to the emperor's demands? Or should he buck the tiger and start a full-scale war?

Just then, Lord Bruce of Essex would suddenly push his way through the shieldwall, still injured but capable of limping slowly as he staggered up from behind King Sigurd between two shields, keeping a hand over his bandaged shoulder as he limped. He appeared to be holding something in his hand like a rosary necklace with black and white beads. He would take a stand behind Sigurd and Hrollaug, listening and watching quietly. Hrollaug slowly unsheathed his second Danish throwing axe with his other hand, dual wielding both axes now as he twirled them around slowly, growing eager with anticipation. King Sigurd was still contemplating as yet another small squad appeared from the deck aboard the Hregg Drekki, this time a row of archers, completely female with their bows drawn downward at the Taiyou emperor. These were the shield-maidens that Hrollaug had brought with him, all of them trained to hunt with a bow since they were little girls.

Next were the common folk, thralls and freemen, farmers with pitchforks, javelins, clubs or other farm tools and crude weapons who couldn't afford shields or heavy armour. These hardened settlers would form behind the solid shieldwalls and add to the number of heads in Sigurd's army. Then finally behind all of them were the volvas, a circle of Norse pagan witches and seeresses in long black dresses whose faces remained hidden beneath thin black veils. All of them were carrying simple wooden staffs, and a few of them were holding mysterious small black cat-skin pouches containing magical bones imbedded with runes carved in human and animal blood using Younger Futhark.

Only the oldest and youngest would withdraw to the safety of their great hall, protected by young maidens and grandmothers armed only with kitchen utensils as a last means of defense. Should the Taiyou get past Sigurd's ranks, the thick heavy doors on the great hall would be their only hope. King Sigurd would think long and hard on what to do next, but he had to act quickly. As a drop of sweat ran down his forehead, Sigurd Hring made his decision. It would be his final decision. Looking up towards the emperor, he stepped forward slowly, sword and shield still in hand as he prepared to give his own speech.

"Emperor Shimizu Takayama, your words are strong and fair. We are but simple folk, no match for the likes of your powerful mightiness. You wish to execute this man, Kraiger, for attacking your empire. It is a just decision. I will release him into your custody. You may return to Niihama and do with him whatever is good by your laws. I wash my hands of his blood," the Norse ruler said with a heavy heart, still gazing at Shimizu and his Tenchi sword as he took a short breath. "As a guest in my kingdom, you and your companions shall be offered hot food, warm clothes, and plenty of silver to take back with you to your empire. You will be given safe passage through our lands, and military aide should you require it," he offered, hoping that the Taiyou emperor might accept his offer and leave the Iskjerne Vikings in peace.

"However," he raised his voice now so that everyone around them could hear him. "I have worked very hard to build this settlement and protect this land from foreign invaders. This is our homeland, and I am the rightful king of these good people. I can neither surrender, nor kneel to your dominion. Should you choose to wage a war with Iskjerne, we will have no choice but to kill you right here where you stand." King Sigurd's words were bold and deep, unrelenting and undiscouraged as several vikings locked their shields together, pointing spears at Shimizu and his handful of guardians. "I am Sigurd Hring!!!" he roared, the calm soft expression on his face contorting to anger and rage before he took another deep breath, calming down again. "And you...," he pointed his sword towards the emperor with a slight smirk. "You are in no position to give orders here," King Sigurd said, gritting his teeth at the younger man's blind arrogance. "Accept my generosity and go in peace, as friends, or else my blade will run with Taiyou blood today, and you will all sing my name." The viking king had spoken. His words were final. He would not bow to Shimizu, nor order his army to stand down. There would be no further negotiations with the empire. Either the Emperor would take his people and go, or they would taste the fury of the Norse king. Lightning crackled over Iskjerne Bay, as thunder clammered over the distant Weargtooth Mountains.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Eras Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.25 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
It had been several months since Sigurðr "Ringtaker" Randvérsson had been visited by the Norse angel of death, the one whom the Iskjerne settlers refered to as the Olde Mother, a very old blind woman who had foretold the future of their kingdom. Olde Mother had made several predictions, many of which it seemed were now coming to pass. "I see your destiny, Great King Sigurd" she had told him. "I see wonders that no king before you has ever laid eyes upon" she said more intently. She would fumble with the rune some more. "I see a castle, and the great hall in which the throne sits, larger than this very room" the creepy old woman added. "I see that you have been favored by the gods," she paused for a moment to catch her breath, after dropping the rune on the table. "I see your doom, Great King Sigurd" she said quietly. "I see ashes and giants, nightmares and terrors that your fathers never spoke of" the creepy woman continued. "You will have a great choice to make," she said. "Depending on what you do, it could be your last" she prophesied, before collecting all of her bone runes and putting them back in her bag.

The oracle was wise beyond belief, and now seven months later, her words were coming to pass. King Sigurd contemplated silently as Azaka and Kamidake quietly kept their defensive stances, watching as everyone began to assemble around them. Yukiko made her next move too, sliding the wooden tiara onto her head, threading it through her hair, and adjusting it so it sat securely like a crown around her head. This provided her a mental link to the royal tree Mizuho. Yukiko quietly prayed to it, pleaded with it to come and help. Status symbols flicked across her field of vision, a HUD moving through her ocular cortex and becoming superimposed into her field of vision. The hybrid ship would arrive in due time. They only had to hold out long enough, it's weapons were more than enough to vaporize the entire settlement. Or so they believed.

But the gods did indeed favor the Geatish konung, just as the oracle had foretold. Though it wasn't exactly the way Sigurd Hring had imagined. For the gods were indiscriminate it seemed, as Eras continued to slowly drain the Lands of Gaia of their energy, disabling any and all incompatible technology, both foreign and domestic. "So much as a drop of my blood gets spilled here..." Shimizu warned, pointing to the sky as his Tenchi-ken continued to flicker and weaken with every word. "That thing up there, that is the Sõja, it is my personal flagship" Shimizu said, slowly stepping forward, almost challenging King Sigurd as he looked up briefly towards the sky. But there was more than just the Soja up ahead, and King Sigurd took note of all the happenings in the clouds above.

"So much as a drop of Taiyou blood gets spilled..." Shimizu continued to speak, but by now the Norsemen had began to notice an even greater threat up above. For there in the distance, over the horizon, some of the Weargtooth Mountains had began to move. The great pastel blue silhouette of Asvith Thrym could be seen towering over the sky from miles and miles away, his colossal humanoid jotunn form standing out like a distant tornado reaching from earth to sky. But the late great King of Iskjerne Bay would never say a word, instead allowing Emperor Shimizu to figure things out on his own. "Everything you have worked so hard to build destroyed! With so much as a push of a button," Shimizu continued on, completely oblivious to the whole situation and also to his immediate surroundings.

Just then and without warning, Emperor Shimizu turned and stepped in towards King Sigurd, preparing to strike him down with the Tenchi blade, but before he could follow through, Shimizu would suddenly feel a hand on his shoulder, pulling him back. "Stop," Princess Yukiko urged her younger brother, her words still audible to the vikings who surrounded them. It all seemed to happen so fast as Gwyneth the Shield-maiden kept her arrow notched and aimed at Yukiko's torso with every move she made. Sigurd would stand perfectly still, keeping his round viking shield in front of him as he braced himself for combat. As this was happening, some of the women in the black veils started chanting, while Hrollaug held up both axes menacingly, gazing at Azaka and Kamidake from behind his father's shield. The guardian's were correct in their own thought process. This wasn't going to end well for either of them. For despite their alleged power, King Sigurd had the advantage, something which Emperor Shimizu failed to acknowledge.

Another crack of thunder filled the bay...

"Shimizu, please... let's go home." Yukiko pleaded. Shimizu kept his gaze locked with Sigurd, before he extinguished Tenchi and whipped around. He shoved Yukiko aside, knocking her to the ground as he stormed towards Kayabuki, grabbing the middle aged woman by the collar, and pulling her close to him. King Sigurd gritted his teeth. Hrollaug suddenly tried stepping forward to put an end to the tyranny, but Sigurd pushed him back, keeping his son from getting involved just yet. "Wait," he said quietly, his angry eyes gazing at Emperor Shimizu with contempt. "I want an army commissioned, equipped, and trained to fight on this world." The Emperor hissed. "These people will be made to pay for their impudence" he added. King Sigurd briefly glanced over to Jarl Evan and Jarl Ivan, gesturing them to move into position, before turning his attention back to Shimizu.

Just then, the Taiyou emperor would shove Kayabuki away from him, causing her to stumble backwards several paces before Azaka moved to catch her. Hrollaug kept his attention on both of them, but now his hatred was turning into pity. What kind of a coward would treat his women with such disrespect? Surely, he would pay for his tyranny and for his personal behavior. Emperor Shimizu raised Tenchi in the air again, and used it to mentally call out to his flagship. A spherical portal opened up several paces away from Shimizu, crackling, and hissing, it took several moments to stabilize. Shimizu began to walk towards it, leaving Kraiger Nallesson where he sat. But as the Taiyou emperor went to leave, a large group of Northmen would gather into position, stepping in between Emperor Shimizu and his escape route, blocking his pathway to the portal.

It was Jarl Ivan and Jarl Evan, along with their gangs. The standing viking army would form yet another wall, locking their shields together to prevent Shimizu's escape. "Shimizu Takayama!!!" King Sigurd shouted, tossing his shield aside before stepping forward behind him slowly. Gwyneth never lowered her bow for even one second as she pointed her arrow at the guardians, motioning for them to step back as King Sigurd stepped forward. Hrollaug would look over to Azaka and Kayabuki as he too stepped forward, but now they could see that his expression towards them had changed considerably. Deep down in his stomach, the prince almost felt sad for them. Although he was still prepared to kill them at a moment's notice, the prince had eased up in his aggression. It was clear that he did not really want to fight them. The real enemy here was Shimizu, but Prince Rollo the Walker still kept a watchful eye on the guardians, taking note of their fancy staffs and of their every move.

Lord Bruce of Essex would glance back at Takao Eguchi, who was still helping the wounded, before turning his gaze upon Seno Miyagi, never allowing either of them to leave his sights. King Sigurd would gaze down at Princess Yukiko quietly, fury in his eyes as he gritted his teeth, gazing down over her with his viking sword. At that moment, it appeared he had the perfect opportunity to strike her dead. He waved his sword in front of her eyes, the runic inscriptions on the blade reflecting off her face as he gazed down at the fallen princess in the wet snowy mud. He would touch the tip of his blade to her chin, lifting her chin up, before gently trailing his blade up her cheek along the side of her face. To her surprise, the blade was slightly dull and cold to the touch. Sigurd's hand was gentle, however, his movements slow as he drew his blade along the side of Yukiko's face, never even so much as scratching her skin as he peered down into her eyes.

With the tip of his sword, Sigurd would slowly loop the wooden tiara around his blade and remove it from Yukiko's hair. He gazed down at her briefly, dangling the wooden gem incrested tiara on the tip of his blade in front of her eyes before lifting it away from her reach. As he lifted his sword, the tiara would slide down the blade towards his hand guard. He had no idea about the magic qualities of the tiara, nor did he care. But the gemstone was fascinating to him, and the intricately carved tiara would make a lovely gift for his daughter, who was also a princess. Sigurd handed the tiara over to Lord Bruce before removing one of his gloves. Then without warning, King Sigurd did the unthinkable. He extended his free hand, offering to help Princess Yukiko back to her feet.

Afterwards, he turned his hateful gaze again towards Shimizu, who was still being prevented from escape by the king's jarls and their leidangs. A slight smirk formed upon the Norse king's face as he pointed the tip of his sword again, this time at Shimizu himself as Gwyneth kept her focus on Yukiko for even the slightest hint of an attack. This time it was personal. Jarl Evan and his Harii warriors gazed at Emperor Shimizu menacingly, as Sigurd Hring waited patiently for the emperor to address him. All the while, other forces around them continued to be at play. There was magic in the air, unseen and unfelt, but very much alive and active as the women in the black veils continued chanting softly behind the shieldwalls.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Eras Character Portrait: The World Spirit Of Gaia Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
Prince Hrollaug paced back and forth behind his foster father King Sigurd, walking an invisible line side to side while watching the guardians closely with anticipation. Azaka suddenly activated his blue gem encrusted ornate wooden staff and pointed it at the Geatish king, the gem pommel on its decorated wooden shaft becoming electrified with blue surges of electrical charges as it crackled and sizzled with heated energy. This would trigger an instant response from Hrollaug the Walker, who suddenly hurled one of his small bearded throwing axes into the air at that very moment.

He had practiced throwing axes since he was first able to lift one properly as a young boy. The axe spiralled through the air swiftly along a straight trajectory with incredible speed and accuracy, sticking deeply into the thick wooden support beam on one of the grass-roofed houses roughly twenty five feet directly diagonal behind Azaka before anyone could even blink. If successful, it would sore directly towards Azaka's staff, hitting the wooden shaft and hooking it precisely at mid-range with enough force to rip the staff out of Azaka's raised hand without even injuring Azaka himself at all in the process before sticking inches into the support beam.

Princess Yukiko swallowed deeply at that moment, sensing her own death approaching. As she gazed silently at the sword in her face, her slanted brown eyes would follow the length of the two edged blade. The runic inscriptions on the blade reflected the glare of the light around them, their images glinting off of Yukiko's face with their simple reflections betraying the inscription's meaning. The runes on the blade read: "Ég er Balmung og Nothung, kallað Hildetand, morðingi Fafnis, allir dvergar og drekar varast" (I am Balmung and Nothung, called Hildetand, slayer of Fafnir, all dwarves and dragons beware). King Sigurd's richly decorated viking sword it seemed was none other than the Aesir king Odin's former sword Gramr itself, which had been broken during Volsung's battle with Lyngvi, but was later repaired by a dwarven smith named Regin before eventually finding itself fated in the possession of King Sigurd. 

Princess Yukiko watched with a look of trepidation on her face as Great King Sigurd the Ringtaker took her wooden gem encrusted tiara, the master key to the royal tree Mizuho, and handed it off to Lord Bruce of Essex before helping Yukiko back to her feet. Takao Eguchi's throat became suddenly dry as Lord Bruce turned and handed the modestly appearing relic to Logan the treasure keeper, who placed the tiara into his satchel as Sigurd was helping Yukiko to her feet. But just as he did this, there was an air of magic as a tiny harmless whirl of glittering sparkles twirled around the tiara and the sword, almost simultaneously and without warning, both objects resonating with light.

Just then and again without warning, the Konung of Northern Ellaria began to feel slightly feint and dizzy. His stomache churned, and he was left with a strong gut feeling followed by a metallic taste in his mouth. Sigurd would squint and blink with almost an exaggeration before shaking his head rapidly to rid himself of the feintness. He would glance down over at the princess again at that time, looking into her eyes with confusion as if something was amiss. He said nothing of it however, regaining his senses and keeping his calling from unseen forces to himself before turning again at the sound of Shimizu once again igniting Tenchi-ken.

“You wish to die today?” Shimizu called out, his energy blade sizzling as he dragged the tip of his sword through the muddy snow beside him, moisture from the ground being vaporized with trails of steam and neon blue energy. “Order your men aside so that I may leave, or I will have my guardians strike them down.” The man’s voice was much calmer than it was earlier. He had regained his composure, and had still been somewhat unaware of his strange surroundings. It was at that moment that the feintly glowing dragon's eye encrusted gemstone decorating Sigurd's gold and silver embroidered sword hilt would completely go dark, the power of the gemstone finally being faded and drained completely by the rebirthing of Eras.

Hildetand had lost some of its greater powers and special properties at that point, yet the glimmering runes carved into the length of its blade were still radiating with white light, still reflecting and unchanged, as if the pull of Eras had no effect on their power at all. This was in part due to the fact that Odin's wisdom had gone into the making of the metal alloy, while the runes had been engraved and blooded during the sword's re-forging process using powerful dwarven magic, not by the energy of the planet, sun or moon, but by the power of the dragon Fafnir's blood itself. Hildetand had been enchanted and protected using Regin's own Dverger blood-magic from Svartalfheimr, giving the Gramr's blade specially hidden qualities that were known only to King Sigurd himself and a select few members of his immediate family.

Lord Bruce of Essex kept his gaze on Seno Miyagi and Takao Eguchi as their Taiyou emperor still tried to intimidate the Viking warlord with body language, words and threats, but King Sigurd just smirked. Prince Hrollaug continued to keep his eyes on Azaka and Kamidake the entire time, still holding his other axe ready in one hand while twirling it in circles with his wrist. Gwyneth was still watching Yukiko for any hint of foul play as King Sigurd stepped forward again, his viking army once more advancing forward with him as dozens of spear points were pointed at the emperor's guardians, warning them to stand back. Sigurd Ringtaker would then take a stance, gripping the hilt of his two edged sword with both hands while staring at Shimizu.

"Emperor Takayama, you have violated the laws of my kingdom. You have broken the peace and brought war to my country. That was your first mistake. You broke the truce, withheld your people's promises and threatened to destroy our civilization. That was your second mistake..." Sigurd said prudently, gripping his hilt even tighter with both hands while digging the toe of his boot forward into the snow. "... Then, adding to your list of insults in Iskjerne Bay, you dare to strike a princess in my presence? One who is trying to help you? And one of your own guardians at that!" the Norse king grinned maliciously, narrowing his eyes on the emperor. "That was your final mistake, he reassured him. "Vikings!!! the furious king's face suddenly reddened, veins protruding from his forehead as he shouted. "Kill anyone who moves!!!!" he roared, gritting his teeth again as he prepared to execute Emperor Shimizu publicly in front of everyone, including his own guardians this time. He gave his blade one good twirl in the air before raising his hilt at ear level with both hands, the blade directly vertical, allowing Shimizu to come to him with Tenchi-ken.

With that said and done, Sigurd Ringtaker glanced over Shimizu's shoulder to Jarl Evan and his gang, giving a very subtle nod, as if nodding to Shimizu himself. Just then, a pair of javelins would fly out from the midst of the Harii ghost warriors that were blocking the portal. Their two spear-points soared through the air on a slightly curved trajectory, aiming for the back of Shimizu's legs. If the javelins were successful, they would hit their mark, piercing the back of Shimizu's knees with enough force to immobilize the emperor completely, disabling his ability to walk, much less his ability to stand and fight.

As this was happening, something else also occurred. There was a loud drawn out bellow from up above, a dark shadow cast over the entire Kingdom of Iskjerne as the jotunn Asvith Thrym began to groan and move. The ground beneath Sigurd's feet began to tremble, causing small stones and fallen weapons and shields to shake and move. King Sigurd would glance up towards the sky as the ancient giant stepped over the ringfort, towering high above their settlement for a moment as it moved forward from out of the Weargtooth Mountains and headed east. It was an epic sight to behold, Sigurd thought, before turning his gaze once again to Shimizu with contempt. The act of war had officially been declared. The Taiyou emperor had finally tried to bully the wrong civilization into submission, a primitive people who would not bend or fold to the intimidation and technology of the Taiyou empire. The vikings were not budging.


Sigurd Hring was ready....

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Eras Character Portrait: The World Spirit Of Gaia Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
There was more than just the Soja and the Mizuho up ahead, and King Sigurd took note of all the happenings in the clouds above. Some of the strange occurances in the sky were being caused by Eras and the spirit of Gaia itself, while others were being caused by other unforseen forces as a result of the vikings themselves. But the late great King of Iskjerne Bay would never say a word, instead allowing Emperor Shimizu to figure things out on his own. Shimizu continued on, completely oblivious to the whole situation and also to his immediate surroundings. Apparently, his guardians were also completely oblivious to the air of magic that was already brewing around them. The guardians were correct in their own thought process. This wasn't going to end well for either of them. For despite their alleged power, King Sigurd had the advantage, something which Emperor Shimizu failed to acknowledge.

Another crack of thunder filled the bay...

All the while, other forces around them continued to be at play. There was magic in the air, unseen and unfelt, but very much alive and active as the women in the black veils continued chanting softly behind the shieldwalls. These völvas, these witches, versed in all sorts of perverted black magic, would not have been present for nothing that day. For while the tensions between the Taiyou and the Norsemen were heating up, these priestesses and seeresses were already at work, tampering with the forces of nature. Little did any of Shimizu's guardians know that Sigurd's witches had been creating an invisible forcefield around Iskjerne Bay the whole entire time, one that would not only protect the vikings from the Taiyou's sudden spontaneous tricks, but would also nullify the guardian's abilities to use the same tactics on a random whim.

How long did these foreign invaders expect to defy the native gods with their technology? Gaia was growing impatient as Eras continued to drain the gemstones of their power, from both the guardian's staffs, and from the emperor's sword. All of their patience and energy would count for nothing. They were growing weaker with every breath, something that all of the Taiyou were apparently oblivious to. Sigurd Hring kept his thoughts to himself, using his own secrets to his advantage as the circle of Norse witches with their simple wooden staffs and mysterious small black cat-skin pouches continued to work their powerful magic, not individually but as a single unit, chanting phrases in Old Norse, causing the spell to become stronger and stronger with each passing moment.

The instant the bearded axe went sailing through the air was not lost on Azaka as he watched it in what he percieved as slow motion. The axe sailed from Hrollaug’s hand and began to twirl through the air, Azaka’s mind acted swiftly, and he followed his years of training to the letter. He anticipated where the axe would strike, where it would rebound and it’s course intersecting his staff. This instant was played out dozens of times in Azaka’s mind by the time the axe made it mere feet on it’s trajectory. The mind’s influence acted, the momentum of the axe began to slow, until gravity took it’s inevitable hold on the bearded axe, and it fell harmlessly roughly a few feet from Azaka’s feet, clattering in the snow, and the mud. At this precise moment, it was the only action Azaka would take, and likely his last, for just then the guardian's gemstone staffs, and the Tenchi-ken, would lose their power completely.

"Vikings!!! Kill anyone that moves!"

Kamidake made his move in that instant. His only objective now was to protect his emperor. His mind exerted it’s razor honed will upon his surroundings. This culminated into what sounded like a rubberband had snapped, and a shockwave fired out in all directions from the guardian. But to his dismay, nothing happened. The witches' combined efforts would nullify the shockwave, its 10,000 tons of dynamitic power simply dissipating into thin air at the presence of the invisible viking forcefield. The guardians were in serious trouble. Their emperor made a grave mistake in bringing them there, as King Sigurd smirked, both javelins striking Shimizu in the back of his legs, bringing the Taiyou emperor to his knees. Azaka lunged forward towards Yukiko at that moment, and put himself in front of her before a shimmering barrier of light erupted around them, just in time to deflect one of Gwyneth's arrows. Azaka made his next move raising his staff in the air. But once again, nothing happened. The gemstone staff was no longer active, its mysterious power having finally been drained by the gods in the sky.

This meant that Kayabuki would not suddenly disappear as Azaka had expected. Miyagi would not disappear as expected. Princess Yukiko, and the tiara, would not randomly disappear as they had hoped. They were in King Sigurd's kingdom, and were now completely trapped and surrounded without any hope of escape as Hrollaug suddenly threw his other axe, not at Azaka's staff this time, but at Azaka himself, aiming for his torso. If successful, the head of the axe would imbed itself into Azaka's sternum, likely knocking him off of his feet as it split open his chest cavity. At that very instant, Sigurd's orders were carried out. He had commanded his forces to kill anything that moved. The vikings obeyed his every word without question or hesitation.

Lord Bruce of Essex would fumble with the Nordic pagan rosary beads in his hand, mumbling under his breath as a dozen more javelins were suddenly hurled at Azaka and Kamidake from among the Harii ghost warriors. Jarl Evan turned to look at his gang, then nodded. Instantly they would engage the guardians, running and charging at them by the dozens with spears and shields in order to impale them swiftly. This they would do not individually but as one unit working together simultaneously, each Harii spearman attacking at the same time along different paths and trajectories. Some would thrust spears at their legs, while others would simultaneously lunge with spears to the chest. A few of them would even aim for their heads in an attempt to kill them quickly without a fight. Jarl Ivan followed suit, his own gang rushing in behind them to help Evan, innumerable odds now working against Azaka and Kamidake without mercy or restraint. The guardians were already outnumbered in that moment ten to one, just by the Harii alone.

But it wouldn't stop there...

Gwyneth quickly drew another arrow from her quiver and notched her bow again. Yet it was her fellow shield-maidens aboard the Hregg Drekki who would attack next. As if the Harii wasn't enough to overwhelm the Taiyou, the small squad of female archers released their arrows, raining Hel down upon the Taiyou emperor and his guardians from up above. Sigurd and Hrollaug watched bitterly as Gwyneth's squad and Evan's squad swarmed the Taiyou all at once. Jarl Ivan's gang would hold their positions, continuing to block off any and all access to the Taiyou's open portal, while the shieldwalls behind King Sigurd also held their positions. But some of the berserkers would move in, immediately seizing Seno Miyagi and Takao Eguchi before they could even escape during the chaos. Those who did not move would not be harmed, namely Seno, Takao and Yukiko, but the rest of the Taiyou including Kayabuki, Kamidake, Azaka and Emperor Shimizu himself would be met with relentless savagery.

King Sigurd waited quietly for everything to take place before stepping forward and standing over the fallen younger emperor. He gazed down at Shimizu with disgust, stepping on one of his injured knees and sticking the tip of Hildetand firmly against his throat. The skirmish had been quick, but now the Taiyou's charade was over. King Sigurd spat on the ground before looking into Shimizu's eyes, just as the other vikings started to gather around, still holding their shields. "Did you really think it would be that easy?" Sigurd asked calmly, his anger slowly fading at the sight of his conquered bleeding enemies. Hrollaug would approach Princess Yukiko at that moment and seize her by the arm, just as the other berserkers had done with Miyagi and Takao.

"What should we do with them?" Jarl Evan asked curiously as he glanced over to the three Taiyou hostages who did not get bombarded by arrows, spears and axes. "Take them to the great hall. See to it that they are well fed, and make sure nobody hurts them," King Sigurd answered calmly, still gazing into Shimizu's eyes. "And him?" Hrollaug asked, looking over at Shimizu and his father. King Sigurd would kick the Tenchi sword away from Shimizu, making sure it was out of reach before turning around and sheathing his own sword while walking back up the hill towards the great hall. "Send him home," the king answered before stepping through the shieldwall and walking through the crowd, disappearing among the hundreds of vikings who surrounded him. All the while, the red haired women in the black dresses and black veils continued to chant among themselves while tapping their long wooden staffs against the dirt.


The vikings had conquered the Taiyou yet again, and would now send their own message back to the empire...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Yukiko Takayama Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: Eras Character Portrait: The World Spirit Of Gaia Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.25 INK

#, as written by Sigurd
"Send him home," the king said before turning to step through the shieldwall. But before he could even disappear in the crowd, the Taiyou emperor Shimizu Takayama was suddenly vacuumed up into the portal along with his sword, the Tenchi-ken, right before the portal disappeared. This caused all the vikings to stop and stare in silence. "Now what?" the jarl questioned. "Now your mission is complete, go and see to your family" Sigurd answered, patting him on the back before vanishing into the crowd.

By now, Kayabuki and Azaka lay dead, riddled with arrows, Yukiko, Miyagi, and Eguchi were all that were left. They did not resist, they did not fight, they simply quietly went with their captors. While they were being taken to the great hall, Yukiko turned to Miyagi, and frowned. “He will return with the fleet. He’ll destroy this planet, and us on it.” She said, looking at her surroundings. “I know.” Seno replied. “We’re all dead, we just don’t know it yet.” It was probably true, for the Vikings were few in number compared to the Taiyou, and inferior in their technology, as for the time being. But the vikings wasted little time in planning ahead. They used stones and logs to help slide the Hregg Drekki back down the hill slope on to the beach and into the water, while several workers began moving the debri aside so they could rebuild while the thralls and slaves went about picking up weapons and dead bodies to throw on to the funeral pyre later that evening.

Bruce of Essex, Hrollaug the Walker, and the other two berserkers with him would escort their three Taiyou prisoners to the great hall, where the three of them were segregated and placed at different sides of the open ovular hall. At that moment, they were made to sit down as three more berserkers entered the hall with King Sigurd leading them. "What did they say so far?" he asked, walking around the room. "The girl said he will return with a fleet," Lord Bruce answered. Sigurd walked over to Yukiko, who was now guarded by two berserkers and distanced from her Taiyou servants across the hall.

Sigurd the Ringtaker looked down at Yukiko again and nodded his head. "I believe she is telling the truth... Still, I don't like the way she looks into my eyes," Sigurd said, trying to stare into Yukiko's eyes to see if she had the same disgusted snarl he had. "Takko has learned too much about us, we should kill him" one of the berserkers whispered to Lord Bruce of Essex, who simply nodded at the notion. "He saved my life, and many others" Bruce replied, before walking over to the recently uncrowned Yukiko and her new dungeon master King Sigurd. "Lord Bruce, I wonder if you wouldn't be so kind as to help translate everything she says," Sigurd gestured. Bruce nodded slowly. "I'll do my best," he said "but you should keep the boy with me just as a precaution" he added. King Sigurd scratched his chin in thought, then nodded in agreement.

All the while, the celestial bodies of Gaia whispered to Yukiko and Sigurd. They didn't have reasons, they didn't beg, they simply told the tale of Gaia. They spoke of Eras and his jealous nature. Sagittae amd Atargatis recounted the past as if it had happened to strangers. A vision flashed through Sigurd's mind all of a sudden. In a split second, he saw a large white serpent, a strange foreign spaceship and a portal with new gods and new weapons. Or were they new? Sigurd shook the thoughts from his head and ordered that two berserkers escort Seno Miyagi to the Tower dungeon at the base of the mountain, while Takao and Yukiko be allowed to eat and drink alone in peace while guarded by four berserkers in the great hall.

"Rollo," Sigurd said calmly, causing Hrollaug to look at him. "Send out my messengers, and send word to your brother" the king said. "I want heralds travelling north, south, east and west throughout Ellaria, have them come back with some good news for once" he commanded. Prince Hrollaug nodded before carrying out his father's orders. King Sigurd then sat down at the large crescent shaped wooden dining table between Yukiko and Takao, who were seated at opposite ends as their meals were brought to them. Sigurd would pour himself a cup of mead using a giant ladle from the mead bowl and take a swig, wiping his mouth on his armsleeve without saying anything else, only allowing everyone else apart from his guests to leave the hall in silence.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Sigurdsson Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

About a week later, give or take...

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

The setting changes from Iskjerne Bay to Iskjerne Mead Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

1.00 INK

Thorvald was playing a game involving a small cork bottle plug and a cow horn drinking glass, sitting inside the public mead hall on the floor before an open fire when Hrafn-Floki suddenly stepped inside the mead hall, accompanied by a dozen or so ulfhednar and half a dozen berserkers, causing everyone in the mead hall to pause for a moment in order to look at Floki the raven master, his appearance unmistakable and wild looking as ever with his thin crow's peak hair style, black eyeliner and curling fingers, a man of more modest size among the Iskjerne Vikings who stood in the arch doorway to either side of him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Thorvald Asvaldsson Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Erik Thorvaldsson
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.25 INK

"Hello Floki," Duke Robert nodded with a slight smile, relieved to see an old friend and familar face in the mead hall.

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

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

Ivar the Boneless was dead.

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Iskjerne Mead Hall to Iskjerne Bay

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

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.

cron