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The Ulfhednar

The Ulfhednar (singular Ulfhedinn) is a specialized Band of Vikingr elite warriors known for their wolfecoats, savagery and berserker rage.

0 · 562 views · located in Empyrean Sea Beach

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by ÚlfhĂ©Ă°nar

Groups

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

Description

The Ulfhednar (singular Ulfhedinn) is a specialized Band of Vikingr elite warriors known for their wolfecoats, savagery and berserker rage. Their numbers can typically vary from half a dozen to several tens of thousands. Of the 50,000 people who populate the Baltic Sea island of Gothland, it's estimated that about 1/3rd of them (c. 16,660) are wolf-skinned ulfhednar. The rest are either bear-skinned berserkers, boar-skinned svinfylkings, common viking raiders, hunters, farmers, whalers, traders or craftsmen. All of them are pagans and heathens with Nordic languages and customs who worship either Odin, Thor, Freyr or all three of them together as the Viking trinity. The ulfhednar are regularly viewed as Odin's chosen ones, being of a particularly special class of elite shock forces who are notoriously well-known for their fierce savagery. Ulfhednar are often mistaken for werewolves by their enemies as it is said they genuinely wear wolfecloaks, growling, snarling, gnashing their teeth and howling like wolves. Ulfhednar will rally themselves into a frenzy before battle, entering a craze-like state of bloodlust induced by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms or drinking lots of mead created from fermented honey, making them totally immune to pain. Once in this bizarre state, the ulfhednar gain super strength and super speed, having no fear at all. Some say they are even immune to fire and iron, and that they bleed less when injured. Others believe they are werewolves and that the only way to kill them is by crushing their skulls, snapping their necks or cutting off their heads. Ulfhednar are said to dye their bodies black, often fighting completely naked without any body armor or shields, armed only with simple spears and axes. In a battle against the ulfhednar, the eyes are the first to be conquered as these wild-haired barbarians are supposed to be extremely fierce and intimidating to look at. They are clansmen of the House of Ellrulf and as such are extremely loyal to Prince Ulfric their leader. Ulfhednar in general are known to be very large and very strong, even capable of ripping a man's head off with their bare hands. They have been known to tackle both horses and riders to the ground. Sometimes they will even resort to cannibalistic behaviour, biting off ears and noses, eating their enemy's eyes or hearts.

Clan: The ÚlfhĂ©dnar
Appearance: Wolfskins
Personality: Pack hunters, work in small bands
Specialty: Magic mushrooms, magic mead
Abilities: Super speed, immune to pain, bleed less
Bonus: Especially good at killing werewolves
Weapons: Shields, spears, swords, knives, axes, bows
Language: Archaic Swedish

So begins...

The Ulfhednar's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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For almost half a century, the great chieftain Ellrulf Trygvirsson fought to establish the Göthic petty kingdom which bears his name. The House of Ellrulf was a noble and famous clan amongst the North Germanic tribes inhabiting the Baltic Sea coast. King Ellrulf's kingdom was centered in a town called Visby on the Swedish island of Göthland, where he founded his capital. The Göths were mostly farmers and hunters at one time, but during King Ellrulf's time, the Göths established themselves as some of the best Vikings and Raiders in all of human history. They were so successful in fact that soon, neighboring Viking kingdoms joined them on their seafaring adventures, or hired them as mercenaries and bodyguards. King Ellrulf's military prowess was greatly due to his elite shock forces known as the Ulfhednar, who were exceptionally brutal, even amongst ordinary Viking savages. Even the legendary Khan's famous Tatar barbarian hordes would not face the Göths in battle, but fled in fear at the very sight of their Viking longships. Indeed, the wolf-coated Ulfhednar invoked fear in every land they passed through, being as unpredictable as they were merciless. Every locale was familiar with them.

King Ellrulf continued to wage war and lead his armies into victory, even fighting at the head of his ranks up until the ripe age of sixty, when his 17-year-old son Prince Úlfric was given his father's ring and established his command. King Ellrulf continued to rule alongside his son as the throne holder, and Prince Úlfric remained subservient only to his father, who was now old and no longer able to move around without assistance. Prince Úlfric's mother, Queen Astrid, was also getting older. But she continued to stand by the throne, taking care of her husband while guiding her son Úlfric with her experienced wisdom. Soon, the young prince would become just as famous and as fiercely respected as King Ellrulf himself, immortalizing the House of Ellrulf in the pages of history. His victories and bravery are recorded in the Ulfric Saga as part of the Gothic Epic Sagas.

One day, King Ellrulf was visited by a young herald from the north who complained of a great menace which was threatening his father's kingdom. He offered gifts and treasure in exchange for King Ellrulf's help. At first, the feeble king tried to personally take up his own sword and armor to make the journey north, but Prince Úlfric insisted that the old warrior king stay behind to protect the women and children while Prince Úlfric himself go to face the unknown danger. After a little hesitation, his father agreed, and Prince Úlfric put together a large crew to accompany him on his expedition.

Prince Úlfric's dragon-headed Viking longship OrmbĂĄtur set sail from Göthland across the high seas. After a couple of weeks, however, a huge storm manifested itself around the Viking vessel and their ship was blown off course. Prince Úlfric and his Ulfhednar found themselves lost in the Empyrean High Seas, where they were forced to battle the waves. The High Seas were indeed very powerful, but they were no match for the famous OrmbĂĄtur longship, or for Prince Úlfric's bravery. His fearless crew would cling to their Viking round shields, praising the storm god Thor while laughing carelessly and battling the waves. At times they felt the cold harsh winds and the stinging rains, but the Ulfhednar continued on with their journey, never once doubting their own capabilities. They spat into the sea and exposed their genitals to the storm, mocking the weather with their Göthic sense of humor, laughing and howling like crazed wolves as if they had no fear at all.

After a few days, there was a slight break in the weather. A warm dry air crept in, along with the dense fog. The water was calm and still now, appearing more like a glass mirror than a salty abyss. Prince Úlfric and his crew were all sleeping, resting silently after a long harsh journey into the unknown. As he awakened from his slumber, Prince Úlfric looked up and noticed the dense fog. It appeared to be daytime, but the fog made it impossible to tell the direction of the sun. Slowly, other members of the Ormbátur's crew would start to wake as well. Prince Úlfric stood at the bow of the ship, peering into the heavy fog apparently in a state of wonder as the longship drifted slowly and silently over the temporarily calm High Seas.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Smaragdos Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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It had been days since Smaragdos had been able to leave the caves on account of weather. There was much to do underground, however even dragons needed break in their labors. He ascended to the mouth of the entrance chamber and gave his wings a good stretch in the misty air. Floating rock formations peeked in and out of the dense fog, like jagged potatoes in a cream soup. It was, all things considered, a beautiful day.

With a deep breath, Smaragdos let gravity pull him into a dive. He fell down, down, down, in and out of pockets of fog, hugging his wings close and becoming streamlined, until the sound of the waves crashing wasn't all that far below. Snap! The great emerald dragon opened his wings at just the right time, catching licks of ocean mist as he pulled from the dive.

Smaragdos soared beneath the fog. From down here the sun didn't illuminate like it usually did. The thick fog had an eerie glow to it, and apart from the occasional wave the sea grew still. The dragon entered a deeply contemplative state, and almost didn't see the dragon headed viking ship in the path of collision. Almost.

A great screeching roar echoed across the water as the massive dragon pulled up from skimming the water. With three flaps of his turbine wings, Smaragdos disappeared into the fog, a mere few meters from the sea vessel.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Smaragdos Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Prince Úlfric was standing at a pose like a picturesque statue at the bow of the dragon-headed Göthic Viking ship, gazing silently into the thick fog. Meanwhile, his men were slowly becoming lively as they started to move about. Some of them were wrapped in heavy fur coats in an attempt to stay warm. Others had formed a small fire grill towards the back of the longboat where they were heating up a cauldron of nice warm vegetable soup. The steam from their metal mugs was enough to suggest that it was very cold outside, at least beneath the fog where the sun's rays had difficulty penetrating. As one of the archers loaded his longbow with a flaming arrow, another crew leader was preparing to sound his ivory blow horn. Within a few moments, everyone was nestled silently and waiting for the navigation to begin.

Prince Úlfric wetted his fingertip and checked the wind direction. Nodding his head silently, he then made a small hand gesture, signaling the archer who drew back his bowstring, firing a single flaming arrow into the fog ahead of the Viking ship. Listening quietly, Prince Úlfric could hear the arrow sizzling as it hit the water. This feint sizzling sound informed him that there was no land up ahead for at least 100 meters, and he was about to give the signal for the horn blower to sound his horn when suddenly he was caught off guard by a loud deafening roar which echoed across the water. The crew aboard the Ormbátur became motionless and even more silent as they heard the mysterious roar echoing through the mist.

Their ivory longhorn was no longer needed. The sound of the dragon's screeching roar was enough to provide an echolocation for the Viking's ship. Prince Úlfric turned to recieve one of the torches his men had gathered from the treasure chest. They lit the torch over the grill and handed it to Prince Úlfric, who held the beacon out in front of him in an attempt to see through the impenetrable fog.

Just then, there was a heavy wind gust and all the flames aboard the longship were suddenly extinguished, followed by the sound of what appeared to be flapping sails. Úlfric peered deeper into the fog. He could vaguely make out the manifestation of a large shadow in the mist. Assuming it to be another Viking dragonship at first, Prince Úlfric squinted his eyes and leaned forward over the bow to get a better look.

That's when he saw it. That's when they all saw it. A massive green dragon suddenly soared directly over the Ormbátur, nearly missing a full head-on collision with the ship. Prince Úlfric's eyes widened with perplexity. Being the closest person to the large flying serpent, he stumbled backwards and fell, letting out a bellowing gasp of surprise and excitement that his crew members had never heard before. It happened so quickly, he wasn't exactly sure what it was he had just seen. Smaragdos had emerged from out of nowhere, disappearing into the fog just as swiftly as he had appeared. Panic soon followed.

Almost instantly, the Ulfhednar drew their arms. The sound of clanking and scraping metal rang out across the deck as men drew forth their axes, swords and shields. Prince Úlfric quickly re-gathered his composure and rushed to the back of the ship, hoping to get another look at the huge winged monster. For the first time in a long time, his troops appeared to be nervous. "Hahaha!! Did you see that?!" Úlfric's expression suddenly turned to awe and amazement as he slapped his friend in the back of the head. His eyes were widened greatly now and he appeared to be smiling with over-excitement as he pushed some of his men aside, running to the back of the ship. By now, most of them were cowering low towards the mast of the ship with their backs to one another, forming a wall of protection with their shields. Prince Úlfric's courage was inspiring, however, as he laughed loudly like a crazy madman, breaking the eerie silence with his boyish hyperness. He truly was a Viking leader, and also somewhat deranged. "What in Hel's name was that?" One of the Ulfhednar asked nervously. Úlfric was smiling widely, hoping to catch another glimpse at whatever it was.


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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Smaragdos Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Humans were about the vessel, most definitely. Smaragdos ascended through the fog. He was still unprepared for such an encounter. It set him a bit on edge, and the discomfort clung to him like the dewdrops in the sky.

Finally Smaragdos burst from the sunken cloud into the sun. It heat up his scales quick, while the wind countered and cooled them. A shudder passed through Smaragdos, and with one last piercing roar, he took off back for the cave systems. Seeing the human vessel had reminded him of something, something carved above a staircase which lead down into the deepest depths of the seaside mountain.

It was time to descend that foreboding stairwell.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Smaragdos Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Prince Úlfric gazed into the fog, his wide brown eyes almost piercing the mist with his fiercely bold stare. But the monster had disappeared, leaving Úlfric and his hardened crew to wonder where it had gone off to. A temporary darkness overshadowed the High Seas, and soon they heard another loud roar coming from up above. Fearing that the winged serpent might return to attack their horses, the Vikingr took caution by readying their long spears in case it returned. Bows were drawn and shields were raised. Many of his shipmates had lowered the visors on their helmets. All was silent now, and not a single tinker could be heard rattling as the Vikingr stood perfectly still on the ship's deck. Everyone's eyes were widened with fear. Everyone except for Prince Úlfric, their leader, who was still smiling with glee. "Wh-Wha-What is th-that? Where did it-" A young warrior was suddenly shushed by some of the other veterans nearby. "Shhh, be silent!" The other Ulfhednar cautioned as everyone looked around quietly, listening for anything that might warn them of the monster's presence.

The ship drifted slowly and stealthily over the serene calm waters, the sound of its wooden planks shifting from their expansion and contraction under the changing temperatures. After a long moment of stillness and silence, finally Prince Úlfric turned to address his crew. "That, young Edgtho... was a dragon." The crew gasped, and suddenly the silence was broken by whispers and light fearful chattering. Edgtho, the 15-year-old boy who had barely managed to stutter his question earlier, was now shaking in his boots. His hands turned pale white as he clenched his spearshaft.

Prince Úlfric stepped down from the back of the ship and rested his hand upon Edgtho's shoulder, gazing into his eyes. The young lad immediately regained his courage, swallowing his spittle before nodding silently. Úlfric was only a couple of years older than Edgtho, but his bravery and boldness was inspirational even to the oldest most experienced Vikings on his ship. Many clansmen even refered to him as Prince Úlfric the Brave, and they followed his every move with diehardness and resolve.

"A dragon? That's impossible." One of the older ÚlfhĂ©dinns scoffed. "Dragons died off centuries ago, even the old fathers know that." Some of the crew nodded in agreement, while others shook their heads. "Ey," another Viking nodded, "But perhaps they were wrong." Again there was whispering and chattering as everyone looked around. "Ha!!" Another veteran stepped forward, a smirk of doubt in his expression. "Dragon, eh? Has anyone seen one? Has anyone seen one in a hundred years?" Again the crew fell into whispering and gossiping amongst themselves.

Prince Úlfric listened quietly for a moment, allowing his shipmates to converse and argue for a while until tension levels started rising amidst the crew. It was only when one of the Ulfhednar raised his axe to cut down another one of the Ulfhednar that the clever prince began to intervene. Seizing the axeman's arm before he could swing, Prince Úlfric pulled the two brothers apart and stood between them. "Perhaps in our country," Úlfric said calmly, "..dragons may be extinct." Prince Úlfric pushed the axe aside, grabbing his fellow clansmen with both arms and pulling them closer to one another. "But this is not our kingdom," the young prince continued. "We are lost at sea, my brothers. And until we find out where we are, perhaps it is best that we stick together." Prince Úlfric's gentle words were at once accepted with agreement by everyone on deck. He patted both clansmen on the back before walking towards the bow of the ship, looking out into the water. By now, the waves were starting to pick up again, and the Ulfhednar knew that soon they would be forced into yet another stormy wind. "So what now?" One of the other clan leaders asked. Prince Úlfric turned again to face his crew. With a warm smile on his lips and boldness in his eyes, Prince Úlfric answered quietly. "We sail."

To all the seafaring oarsmen on board, this could only mean one thing. They were about to sail the Ormbátur headlong directly towards the direction in which they had seen the emerald dragon. "If it has wings, then it must have lungs. And if it has lungs, then it must sleep. If it sleeps, then it must have a lair. And where there is a lair there must be-" Suddenly one of the shipmates interrupted Úlfric, also finishing his sentence with a loud yell. "Laaannd!!" Everyone ran over to where the shipmate was standing, including Prince Úlfric himself. "There! On the horizon!" Prince Úlfric pushed his way to the front and gazed out at the sea. There, through a break in the fog, he could vaguely see mountain tops just barely on the horizon.

"How far is it?!" Úlfric asked, his voice loud with excitement. "We can make it there in two days, maybe less, depending on the storm." The man who had spotted it was among one of the best navigators on Prince Úlfric's ship. Soon, the orders were given and everyone was nestled in, ready to set sail. Prince Úlfric was becoming fairly confident that the Ormbátur had reached its destination. Within a few minutes, they were on their way to the mysterious island in the distance. Little did the Vikings know that they were heading to the wrong location.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Jim "the news man" Taylor Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Another day had passed, and the Ormbátur was still intact. The night was cold and windy as the salty waves crashed against the ship's hull, at times causing the ship to lean sideways as it surfed over the Empurean High Seas with dramatic fluctuations in elevation and sea levels. A few times, it almost seemed as though the Ormbátur would be capsized as large tidal waves engulfed the ship's deck, showering everyone on board. It was enough to make a man seasick, but the Vikings on board were harsh and tough. Many of them had slept right through the storm, while a few others kept a watchful eye on the skies for any signs of the dragon they had seen earlier. Úlfric himself was among those who kept an observation on the water and the sky.

Early the next morning, the fog had completely cleared up and the sun was shining brighter than ever. The weather was fair now, as a flock of seagulls glided overhead in their quest for fish. Lord Úlfric's crew was eaing breakfast and telling stories about their adventures as the Ormbátur neared closer to its resting point. The sky was blue and mostly clear with speckles of white clouds which appeared like puffs of cotton hovering in the heavens. Lord Úlfric was standing on the bow of the dragon-headed vessel, still trying to catch another glimpse at the dragon he had encountered the day before. The island was getting closer now, and the Ulfhednar could see more than just a silhouette of the mountains in the distance. The southern coast of the vast island was now visible, welcoming Úlfric's crew with lush forests and sandy beaches. It wouldn't be long now before they reached the shore. A few of the shipmates were drinking mead, singing odes of merry cheerfulness while one of them played the rebec, a violin-shaped instrument with simple melody as Lord Úlfric gazed quietly at the skies.


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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Jim "the news man" Taylor Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
Maybe another dragon would arrive upon the scene of the wayward vessel and her crew. It was also possible that as the ship would arrive towards the shores of this strange new land that they would find treasures and adventures beyond their wildest comprehensions. This was the very basis as to what Benjamin had hoped for as his eyes glowed with an ominous aura allowing him to watch the ship at greater distances that what a simple spyglass could afford. It was only when he dismissed the spell and clenched his off hand tightly around the dragons tooth he carried that he would begin to make his way down to the shoreline in which the crew of the strange ship would land.

Once upon arrival and when they had gotten close enough to both see and hear the rather large man they would notice the strange bits and bobbles of gold that he wore alongside his traveling robes and even the strange staff in hand that appeared oddly like a massive tooth from an unknown beast.

"Greetings my friends!" Benjamin shouted out towards the Vikings only to raise his staff up ever so slightly as if to wave to the travelers. "Greetings and blessings be upon you worthy sailors. Might you be lost? The nearest port is far from this wretched patch of wilderness and the Gods above only know what kind of creatures would lurk in wait for such a strange ship to arrive upon unknown shores......."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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As another day passed, the ÖrmbĂĄtur neared the welcoming shore. Úlfric watched silently, studying the mysteriously stocky fellow who had walked up on to the beach. He took a mental note of Benjamin Crux and everything he carried with him, particularly his cane. Úlfric was trying to determine whether or not Benjamin was a real person, or simply a ghost playing tricks on his eyes. Perhaps to the large old man's confusion, the ĂșlfhĂ©dinns could understand him well just by his welcoming nature and warm gesture, but they did not speak to him.

Instead, they spoke a different language amongst themselves, seeming to ignore Benjamin's greeting at first as they neared the shore with cold stares glued to their faces, as if ready to storm the beach. As the sandbar drew closer, the ÖrmbĂĄtur suddenly anchored itself in shallow waters and a wave of tall, muscular vikings flooded over the side of the ship's deck in a crashing wave of metal armor. As they landed in thigh deep water, these armored giants would walk up on to the beach. The naked ĂșlfhĂ©dnar in the wolfskin pelt coats walked around Benjamin from a distance, flaunting their tribal tattoos and their bodies before disappearing into the trees. The vikings in armor would walk directly passed Benjamin, most of them just ignoring him while they marched passed him bearing heavy shields.

Úlfric was among one of the ĂșlfhĂ©dnars who were wearing both armor and a wolfskin coat. He was hard to distinguish from the other men in his crew, as all were fairly wealthy by viking standards, but Úlfric's sword Úlfsfangr had a VLFBERHT silver engraved blade and a handle with a wolfs-head pommel and wolfs-fang designs. After studying Benjamin for a moment, Úlfric approached Benjamin, determining him not to be a ghost, and smiled quietly to him before walking past him, accompanied by another man who was helping him to carry a large brass fitted heavy oak wooden leatherbound chest. Surprisingly, Úlfric was short compared to most of his shipmates. Behind him, other vikings had setup a ramp of planks and were now unloading horses and small wagons off of the ship. The ĂșlfhĂ©dnar showed no concern for splashing water, as their thick sealskin tarps kept all of their inexpendibles from getting wet while they trodded up on to the beach from out of the high seas. Within moments, they were using those same sealskin tarps to pitch their tents on the sandy beach up by the sandspurred grass. Others continued to unload the ship.

Perhaps out of concern, confusion, or just good token, Úlfric motioned for one of the vikings to hand Benjamin a cheap sword worthy of his size, and an equally large viking came presenting the scabbard to Benjamin's chest. "Ta det hĂ€r," the barbarian mumbled. It was difficult to tell his meaning by his tone of voice and nonchalant facial expression, but a slight nod suggested that the ĂșlfhĂ©dnars were being friendly. Just then, another one handed him some heavy luggage, while another one handed him the reins to a clydesdale. The ĂșlfhĂ©dnars had unmannerly assumed that the giant would help them unload.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
Benjamin watched as the young and hardy warriors moved past him and into the forest upon his back. It was obvious that his words reached upon deaf ears but only when he was offered the scabbard and the words that followed through did the old man fumble the gift under his arm only to reach into one of his satchels only to produce a clear glass vial on thick syrupy liquid.

"Hold on my friends!" Benjamin offered a jovial cry only to uncork the strange elixir and imbibe it quickly just to offer a disgusted face as only half of its contents remained within. "My friends Plevex chungorus, UrsÀkta mig men förstÄr du mig?" The older man's words seemed to come clearly now as his potion of tongues began to kick in. "Jag tackar för presenten men jag Àr ganska förvirrad? Vem Àr du? Ur vilket land ringer du hem?" His words began once more as he raised the scabbard up from under his arm only to then look upon it appraisingly for an instant. The opulent man still gripped upon the large dragons tooth that he used as a staff only to then look upon the remaining group before him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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As the norsemen continued to pitch their belongings and set up camp, they started to move about all around Benjamin along the beach, appearing to him as if he wasn't even there. They were busy at work, building fences and outposts, pulling their horses and wagons up on to dry land. These vikings were a laborous group as they hurried against the sunset. Almost immediately, some of the ĂșlfhĂ©dnars returned from the forest carrying sticks to build a fire. Others had started to erect portable trebuchets on the beach's shore while the strongest and largest vikings in their crew dragged the OrmbĂĄtur to land, carrying it up on to the sand.

Prince Úlfric stood idly by, watching Benjamin Crux from a comfortable distance. He was still examing the old man quietly, wondering what to make of him. As Ben took a swig of his potion, his words had suddenly become recognizable to Úlfric's crew. Still, there was not much response at first from any of the viking laborers. Then, one of them responded. "Ey, we hear you." It was the navigating bowman from earlier, who was also a multi-linguist of sorts. HĂŒrgor was his name, and he was often the spokesmen for Úlfric and his crew. "We are from Göthland, to the east." HĂŒrgor's voice was low and deep. He was not as stocky as Benjamin, but still very large with bleach blonde hair and blue eyes. His face was shadowed by a sandpaper dark goatee which was kept neatly shaved apart from a thin braided long beard. The strong bronze skinned archer was greatly mistaken, of course. He was really only guessing on the location of his homeland, as the ulfhednar had been thrown off course by the fog. Úlfric's crew was a little disoriented by their journey, but they would soon regain their sense of direction. Such was their resolve.

The vikings would not say much more to their friendly companion, merely accepting him into their party as they setup camp. That night, there would be music and singing, as Úlfric's crew sat around the camp fire, passing around hemp pipes and horns filled with mead. They would sit around making shadow puppets on the orange lit sand, singing odes and telling stories. Being a filthy and closeknit bunch of ruffians and savages, one of the ulfhednar would bite a chunk out of a hog leg before handing the juicy morsel to Benjamin as an offering. This was followed by bread and apples, and every few minutes Ben was offered hemp and mead. Still, the young prince kept his distance, watching the old man quietly with wisdom and curiosity. Úlfric gazed at the bone staff., pondering its origins.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
Benjamin took the words from the blonde haired seaman with a grain of salt. The old man had recalled looking over a map made by a gnomish cartographer years ago, and it did not help he had been across the sea before. Instead once most of the work was completed and several hours had past on into the night the Vikings began to make merry in what only seemed like a celebration of some kind.

The opulent wizard partook in good will that his newfound companions offered only to enjoy the cooked pork and even the mead and hemp that was handed his way. Benjamin took a swig of the mead and set his staff down next to a log which he sat upon whilst the fire before him burned away the cold. The men that sat around him jested and told a fare share of stories of their homeland and Benjamin himself couldn't resist a good story.

"Lads, let me tell you a story, gather round and listen well cause this story......" Benjamin caught himself off as he brought his own pipe up to his lips and covered the chamber with his hands only to secretly ignite the hemp within. He took a few puffs from his pipe and then reached into his satchel only to produce something from within and toss it into the fire before them with fantastical effects as it changed colors and from its smoke did shapes begin to take hold upon reality like those of dragons and men. The smoke continued to take shape as Benjamin now removed his pipe and pointed its stem towards the show. "This story lads will include a tale of riches and warriors, powerful men and women as strong willed and ferocious as those who sit around this fire. Legendary hunters of beasts both great and small....."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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The ÚlfhĂ©dnar gathered quietly around the fire, listening to one another's stories, laughing with drunken cheer. But they all became suddenly quiet as their warming fire began to change properties. Gathering around the old man now and marveling at his pyrimsical display of magic, the Göths listened as Benjamin told his own tale. Prince Úlfric sat back listening from the shadows, occasionally turning his head to gaze at the stars and everything else around him. The ÚlfhĂ©dnar were sure now that Ben was a godi or seidr practitioner, perhaps even a wizard, but this didn't seem to bother them in the least. Apparently, the ĂșlfhĂ©dnar were also pagans who often sought guidance from witches and wizards. They were delighted to hear his story.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
"Upon this land, a blight, Dragons roam free and lower creatures within the nights embrace come to partake in our delights and steal our children. It is said that the woodlands around would come to life with all kinds of abominable things that cause men to fret in their slumber....." The shadows began to take on more shapes of wolfish men who would carry off helpless souls to their dens. "......but it is with swords like these!" Benjamin produced from its scabbard a blade that was handed to him only to point its tip towards the flames. Their fire had flickered and danced a pale sickly green only to suddenly flare up and consume the imagery in the smoke. "Swords like these are forged by strong men. Stronger warriors still if their hearts sit in the right place and willing to act upon their bravery."

Benjamin would go on telling his story involving brave heroes of the land only to embellish upon certain facts and draw out battles that seemed to short. The large jolly man went on for hours if his audience allowed it only in the end did he seem to take up his staff once more just to walk the ground of the massive camp site. He even grimaced a little as he felt the effects of his strange elixir begin to die down only to imbibed the rest and gag a little as the viscus liquid clung to the back of his throat.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Benjamin Crux was a fine storyteller indeed, as the ĂșlfhĂ©dnar listened intently to the wiseman's tales, their eyes wide with interest and awe. "Varulfr.." one of the vikings whispered, and immediately the whole congregation began to chatter and gossip. Úlfric contemplated Old Ben's words as he too was now absorbed in the firey images conjured up by the flames. He had never encountered a werewolf before, and he questioned the existence of such things in silence, keeping his thoughts to himself. As the night dragged on, Úlfric's crew slowly dropped like flies as they fell into a drunken slumber, one by one until all were asleep. The campfire was burning dimly now as Benjamin and Úlfric appeared to be the last ones awake.

As the storyteller finished the last of his tales and excused himself from the sleeping audience, Úlfric stood up and followed him into the night. He kept a fair distance from Ben as he followed him slowly and quietly, though not really trying to be stealthy. Úlfric was merely giving the large man his space, while curiously observing him from a distance. He hadn't had much hemp or mead that night, but unlike the bookcover appearance of his crew, Úlfric was still sober and vigilant. Not surprisingly, even a few of the ulfhednar fell asleep with one eye open. But it was the young prince himself who really kept a watchful eye from the very beginning as he followed Benjamin down the beach, also examining the strength and structure of his warrior's encampment.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
Benjamin stirred himself to notice that one man in particular seemed to always keep a particular eye upon his person. the opulent wizard even turned his attention towards Úlfric only to give the man a level look that spoke of years of experience and judgement calls.

"I suppose if you wish to follow me down the beach and back then that is your choice." Benjamin offered only to smile and then approach the man who had been following him. "However it is obvious that sense the beginning of my time present you have been the one always watching." The wizard's grip tightened against his staff as he applied his weight upon the massive tooth.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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It was supposed to be a maiden voyage of the newest warship of the Argosian Navy, and the Legata, Livia Caesarius, personal military adviser to the Emperor was tasked with acting as the ship's Praefectus.

It was supposed to be a simple test of the Matokey's new gift, a teleportation device the Argosians had come to know as the Eye of Aarran. It was a large orb of crystal set in a knurled, and knotted oaken trunk of a large tree, a tree which had it's roots extend all along the superstructure of this large ship.

It was an Argosian Hexareme, flying the red and gold bull of the Argosian Empire.

The ship itself was magnificent, at nearly three-hundred feet in length, it carried roughly four hundred men in tight, cramped quarters.

Two towers adorned the ship, a tall hide and leather tower at the bow, and the tower built into the tree in the stern, oars jutting out on both sides, along with a large sail.

The Argosian's first foray into Interstellar Travel with the help of the ancient and powerful Matokey.

They were out to sea, and Livia was quietly standing over a paper star chart, the cool wind whipping her auburn hair as she studied the charts. "We'll attempt takeoff, and then we'll make a short jump, I don't want to overextend ourselves." She said, looking over to her Centurion.

"We'll loop out to the gas giant, and then come home." Livia explained, and the Centurion nodded.

Looking up to the console, Livia placed her hand inside a wooden recess allowing her to mentally interface with the ship, the two minds communicated briefly, and the Eye of Arraan disappeared in a clap of thunder.

Something went wrong.

----

On the horizon there was a flash of light, and a rolling rumble of thunder, the tree was young, and did not fully comprehend it's own power, and a short jump turned into a vast foray across millions of light years, to this strange and bizarre land.

The Taiyou interfaces were the first to go, a glitch here and there, followed by a zap of sparks and then nothing, the computer systems quit entirely. Fortunately they were merely supplementary, to allow the Taiyou to study the tree. The wood, iron, and bronze ship itself was unaffected, as was the tree that acted as it's nerve center.

The royal tree was neither magical nor technological in nature, but something else entirely.

Livia looked around, surrounded by ocean and darkness, illuminated by soft yellow orbs of light provided by the tree, as well as oil lamps that were now being lit by the crew.

The cool breeze was replaced by stillness, and Livia noted the orange fires on the horizon.

The sea rocked the ship, water angrily lapped against wood, while Livia took her spyglass and extended it, spotting the camp on the shoreline.

"There." She said to her Centurion. "Stay ready." She added, grasping here Spatha, and then starting towards the lookout tower.

The shouts of men echoed through the ship, oars were extended and they began to row, the beat of the drum echoing through the ship.

Slowly it began to row towards land, while Livia watched on.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Prince Úlfric paused for a moment. The air was cold now and the stars were shining as a cascade moon illuminated the darkness with a navy blue silhouette, casting magical edges of bright white light over the clouds, making every shadow and wave appear visually more defined. There was a mild wind, and the waves were coming in at high tide. Everything but the pitch black forest was visible, as the young lord watched Benjamin's approach. Úlfric would listen to him while gazing at the wizard's staff. "You.. hunt dragons?" The young man's voice was boyishly inquisitive, but also very bold and empty of deeper meaning.

Úlfric was a simple minded individual with a gift for deliverance. His crew was not just an army to him, but a family of nephews and cousins, brothers and fathers, uncles and sons. The small scar on his brow, and the multiple others he had all over his body, plus his greying black hair, betrayed Prince Úlfric to be far from spoiled. He had clearly earned his right to rule his father's kingdom, mostly by asking questions and gaining experience.

"I am Úlfric, son of Ellrulf," he exclaimed. "Our ship has been blown off course by the Stormrider. I saw a dragon come from this direction. I was hoping we'd find a beach.. You're a wizard, yes? What is your name, old man?" Úlfric's words were expressionless, his eyes appearing unamused. However, as the moon's light cast down over them, there was a glimmer in the young lord's eyes and one could even see the reflection of a shooting star in his gaze. Úlfric had a million questions to ask.

After some time, Úlfric was still listening intently to everything Ben said. He appeared restless, perhaps even showing symptoms of insomnia. After a while, however, he looked around. "Will-O-the-Wisp," Úlfric smirked, looking at what he believed to be ghosts on the horizon. There, in the high seas, was a cluster of round glowing orbs hovering over the deep waters. Úlfric took a swig of mead from his simple tin mug, watching the glowing lights float up and down in the salty abyss like magical spirits. His father had told him many stories about willow-the-wisps when he was a young boy. Be weary of the orbs that glow, to carry seafarers down below, Úlfric thought, recollecting his father's words in his mind.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
"You.. hunt dragons?"


It was a question that seemed to come out of the blue but not without just cause or even something that seemed to throw the opulent man off guard. Benjamin simply let out an audible sigh and followed it up with a jovial chuckle. "What makes you think that?" The old man offered his false retort only to smile slyly as he tightened his grasp upon the old fang he used as a staff. "If you are referring to my walking stick here then you have a keen eye indeed as it is a massive fang, however, what makes you so sure that I used to hunt dragons?"

Benjamin only seemed to lean in upon the following words with great care as the Viking warrior introduced himself and told his short story. Úlfric, the son of Ellrulf was indeed a name worthy to remember but such a lineage was not heard of from any part of Benjamin's travels. Actually if anything seemed to cause the old man to become amused it was the portion of the tale involving young Úlfric's crew being set eschew upon their travels and encountering a dragon, such wonders seemed to fill this young mans mind when Dragons after all seemed rather common place in most places of the world.

"Ah yes, my name, I suppose I've not properly introduced myself during my time amongst your men whilst drinking and having a rather respectable time. I'm Benjamin Crux....." The heavy set man began to introduce himself only to walk over towards young
Úlfric with an extended hand. "And indeed I am a wizard, a specialist of the arts of transmutation." Benjamin looked out upon the ocean waves only to note what his companion saw.

The old fat man began to squint slightly as he examined the shapes of the wisps upon the ocean backdrop only to grimace. His thoughts began to race to other possibilities only to then shrug as he had not prepared anything in particular to focus his eyesight and extend his range that he had naturally already. "I'm not particularly sure if what your looking at is what you claim it might be." Regardless of what it could be though an air of peace was all that remained.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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The rowing continued, thHe beats of the drums also continued to echo through the crisp, cool night sky. Livia was standing at the helm of the Eye of Aarran, the fires of the strange men on the beach centered nicely inside her spyglass.

"We make landfall soon!" The Optio called out, pointing out to the fires in the distance.

The smell of smoke soon began to permeate the decks of the Hexareme, many rowmen were becoming inspired at the possibility of landfall.

The Centurion called out. "Increase speed!"

The drums became faster, with a faster tempo, the ship's speed increasing.

The orbs in the distance were becoming more focused, the shouts of men, the sounds of the drum, the chants of the rowers could be carried across the vast waters on a clear night.

A horn blew, it was clear this was a ship of some kind.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Prince Úlfric listened carefully to Old Ben, even taking note of the wiseman's facial expressions while Úlfric himself remained emotionless, simply contemplating his own mistake in assuming that the old man was a dragon hunter. He still suspected that Benjamin Crux may have been a test from the gods, perhaps even the Allfather himself disguised as a wizard. Such was the ĂșlfhĂ©dinn's mentality, as Ben extended his arm for a handshake. Úlfric would smile, instead cupping his own hand behind the large man's elbow, pulling him in closer whilst giving him a friendly hug with his other arm. He patted the old man twice on the back before pulling away, still holding his mug without spilling it. He then took another swig of mead, listening to the old man's introduction while looking back at the high seas.

"Jag Ă€r inte sĂ€rskilt sĂ€ker pĂ„ om vad du tittar pĂ„ Ă€r vad you claim it might be." Úlfric wasn't able to understand the last part of what Ben had said, as the wizard's potion slowly began to wear off. But it didn't matter now, as Úlfric was already comfortable with having the wiseman at his camp. He took yet another swig before heading back towards the dimly lit fire, which had all but burned out. He left the old man to either follow him or carry on his own path, but he was hoping Ben would stay and guide his crew back into the right direction.

As he approached the campfire, Úlfric looked at the old veteran. Not at Old Ben, but at HĂŒrgor, the archer, who looked back at him with one eye open beneath a large skinned wolfhead. "There are ghosts tonight." the linguist would whisper to his commander in chief. Úlfric's presence reassured the expert bowman that the wizard was indeed a friend, not just a conjurer of dark tricks. But the spirits of the high seas were closing in quickly now, giving the old man something else for which to be concerned. "Ey," Úlfric responded, pausing to look at the wisps as they neared closer. He was fairly certain they wouldn't be able to leave the water, or reach his encampments up on the bank, for their souls were bound to the abyss and their bodies rest on the bed of the sea.

"I don't think-" Suddenly, he heard a strange sound. HĂŒrgor and and another ulfhedinn started to move. Úlfric made a gesture for everyone to stop. "It's just thunder," Úlfric said in quiet hope. There was still a light thunderstorm making echoing noises in the distance afterall, so it wasn't entirely implausible.

Just then, they heard another sound, this time continuous as it got closer and louder than before. Úlfric stopped and turned to look at Edgtho, the 15-year-old boy who he had spoken to earlier. But he was gone. Edgtho had disappeared as soon as he got off the ship without much notice from anyone, and Úlfric smirked, knowing exactly where he had run off to. The prince walked up the beach to the tallest tree, where Edgtho was running from. The boy was pointing at the orbs in the water, simultaneously running at the same time. "There's a ship!" Edgtho yelled down the beach, and soon most of the vikings were sitting up, looking for their weapons. Some of them woke up, looked down at their mugs, and started drinking again. Still others kept snoring, as if nothing was even happening.

Image


Úlfric himself was beginning to feel the effects of the mead. He really wasn't looking forward to an encounter with another ship, but he wasn't exactly surprised to see one. "What kind?" Úlfric asked with concern. "Not sure, maybe Roman!" Edgtho answered as he ran up to Úlfric and walked beside him back to the camp. "Heh, I'd rather prefer some ghosts," Úlfric smiled. As they neared upon a tent, Edgtho picked up a war hammer, but Úlfric stopped him from sounding the gong. Instead, he motioned for the young lad to go wake up everyone else. "Move quickly, be silent" Úlfric told him, patting him on the back while handing him a silver coin. Immediately, Edgtho took off running again.

As Úlfric walked back over to HĂŒrgor, he noticed that the old archer was already prepared. Not for an all-out war, but to move quickly, as a great many of the ulfhednar were simply not ready for battle. Úlfric and HĂŒrgor, checking to see if Old Ben was still with them, then began walking over to the posts where they kept their horses ready for quick travel. It was only meant to be a temporary encampment, anyway, as the vikings would soon find treasure and set sail again into the high seas on a mission from their king.

The ship's drumroll had become even more recognizable now as the vikings abandoned their camps and slipped off into the shadowy forest under the cover of darkness, the only place that was utterly pitch black, leaving their campfire behind as a distraction. They weren't exactly sure what lay hidden in the trees, so they were content not to venture too far. Some of the ulfhednar were carrying boxes or heavy jugs, which they carried up to the large wooden barrels they had hidden behind the treeline. Others were carrying weapons and supplies, while Úlfric and a select group of others rode their clydesdales into the forest on an attempt to survey the immediately area. The vikings had just landed on this island, and they still had no idea where they were.


Just then, a horn sounded. The Romans were approaching.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
Benjamin looked perplexed as the combination of Úlfric's confusion and the sudden feeling of the Tongues Elixir burning through his system and causing his gift of gab to fail him. Instead of offering anything more in the way of words Benjamin followed his companion back towards the campsite only to ponder what he'd need to do in order to improve upon his concoction. Maybe, possibly, more canis roots, or possibly a bit of alchemically enhanced juniper berries. Regardless though it was something that would require a bit of time and his equipment in order to achieve more potions.

Ben simply found a log by the fire to sit next to only to produce from his satchel a few small scrolls to look over whilst he set his staff against his seat. He kept his ear open however as Úlfric began to speaking to one of the other warriors who had accompanied the rest of their crew. It was strange language indeed though with a bit of time and study all would eventually be understood. It was almost interesting enough to take his attention away from his few scrolls as the two other men continued to speak in such a foreign tongue, not as difficult of fanciful as elvish but almost as strong as the dwarven nation upon the face of Gaia.

It was only when the sound of drumming became more apparent did Benjamin turn his head towards the ocean at his back and begin to wonder what was coming their way. Quickly the old wizard stuffed his scrolls back within his satchel and rise from his seat with staff tightly gripped in hand. The opulent wizard began to look around him as a few began to rise and take up arms as if in preparation for an oncoming raid. Benjamin let a smile of relief fall upon his features as Úlfric returned and silently commanded his forces to fall back into hiding. It was a rather brilliant idea to hide amongst the tree line but if only Benjamin had thought about preparing a few illusions to make the forests edge appear more thick and foreboding maybe it would have added to there hiding in wait. However depending upon how things went and if these newfound arrivals could speak the common tongue unlike Benjamin's current company then maybe things could be dealt with peacefully.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Livia continued to stand on the small outlook, the Trireme was moving closer, but Livia was watching as the men scattered into the woods.

The Trireme was now on the land, the call of the Galley filled the beaches, and the oars retracted into the Trireme. At this moment, several wooden planks descended from the decks of the Trireme. Several Legionaries started to march down the plank in perfect lock step, their sandal clad feet hitting the soft sand of the beach, they moved into formation along the beach and Livia slowly stepped down last, along with her Centurion, and his Optio.

She silently surveyed the beach, and then looked up to the stars. "The planet is not there, we're not on Argos." She said, narrowing her eyes as she looked into the forest, holding up the lamp high overhead.

"They were just here." She said, moving towards the remains of a firepit, feeling the hot coals. "The fire is still hot." She said, speaking Galactic Common to herself.

"Haec regio investigare!" She shouted in Argosian. The sound of the Cornu followed, piercing the darkness with it's shrill call.

The Century broke up into it's ten contubernia, and the men assumed a smaller formation with the same precision. Ten smaller formations spread out along the length of the beach, and instead of spears, these Legionaries were armed with a most peculiar weapon, a musket, specifically the .69 caliber Fulmen pattern musket.

"Forma ordines!" Livia shouted, and her men lined up in long ranks. "Musket Testudo!" She called out, and with the sound of the Cornu, the first line of Legionaries kneeled on one knee, and stuck their shields into the sand, bracing them to form a wall, the second line presented their muskets. A third line moved their shields up, to form the ceiling of this testudo.

"Et Paratum!" The Centurion shouted. "Praesenti"

The men aimed their muskets forward into the tree line, but they did not open fire.

Stepping forward, Livia called out into the forest, once again in Common.

"Show yourselves!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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It did not take long before the viking's horses had circled around to just behind the treeline. Strangely enough, Úlfric and his crew appeared to be preparing for an ambush, as the ulfhednar crouched low in the darkness, moving with great care behind the treeline, all fifty of them having been experts at fishing and hunting from the age of 13, so that even young Edgtho moved stealithy into position while applying a black ash tincture to his face. The older vikings appeared to be doing the same thing, covering their skin, weapons and armor with a black paste they had concocted from ashes and clay. It was the ulfhednar's primitive but effective art of camouflage, which would aid in their attempt to be invisible.

Right before the Argosian tree ship landed on the beach, the Ulfhednar kicked over half the barrels they had set up behind the treeline. They didn't roll the barrels down the beach, but simply knocked them over, allowing oil to roll down slowly into the grass just before the treeline. This would be unnoticeable in the dead of night, as the ulfhednar themselves did not use lanturns, instead allowing their primeval eyes to become accustomed to the dark. The black clad warriors acted very naturally, crouching behind the trees as Úlfric, HĂŒrgor and Benjamin surveyed their position. Úlfric wasn't very tall, but he looked like a giant mounted on Hröss, his faithful brown and off-white clydesdale, a true behemoth amongst horses.

As they rode their horses back to the treeline, Úlfric would make a hand signal with two fingers, pointing to HĂŒrgor the bowman and Ben the wizard. "GĂ„ med Odin," Úlfric said very quietly. He was already sober with adrenoline, and his men were also beginning to sober up. That combined with the fact that most of them had just been woken up made the ulfhednar very angry. Some of them were shaking and foaming at the mouth, a side effect caused by their wild nature and traumatic lifestyle. These specialists were all too used to being uncomfortable, and many of them had fought Romans before on other quests. But HĂŒrgor looked at Old Ben, then nodded to Úlfric before Úlfric nodded back. With a slight squeeze of his heels, HĂŒrgor's clydesdale stepped forward in front of the viking line. HĂŒrgor signaled for Ben to follow him as he rode his horse out of the treeline on to the oily bank to go meet the Argosians. HĂŒrgor kept his bow and arrows resting on his lap, not on his back like other horse archers. HĂŒrgor posted his grey horse in plain sight before the forest's edge, standing on the grassy bank overlooking the downslope of the beach. He didn't appear to be afraid of the Argosian musket phalanx, and although he had never seen gunpowder weapons before, he also did not appear to be impressed. HĂŒrgor's face was emotionless and he appeared to have resolve as he, alone amongst the ulfhednar, posted like a viking statue.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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#, as written by Marcus
Benjamin watched as the Vikings kicked over the barrels of oil, a tactic he was extremely familiar with, and one that the Pyromancers University in the sandy cities of Inik's Kingdom would approve. The large wizard followed his charges into the woods only to watch as every man blotched their faces and a smile began to form on the old wizards features.

He even began to marvel at the approaching armed soldiers all in uniform and shields in hands. The armament of these newfound soldiers was something to be admired though when they began to set up their lines and produce those dreaded firearms Benjamin suddenly knew the terrors that these soldiers could wrought against Úlfric and his kin. It was only when a woman who appeared to be leading that lot stepped forward and began to speak in the common tongue did Benjamin begin to ponder what was going to happen next.

"Black powder weapons?" Benjamin muttered to himself as he began to lean up against his staff only to then pause as he heard his young companion give out orders to another and then pointed at the both of them. The bowman upon his massive horse began to head out towards the beach and quickly Benjamin followed with his staff in hand only to have the most worrisome look as they approached the armed troops. Muskets usually could only be fired once and then needed to be reloaded but at the distance between them and the forest line their accuracy might have been impeccable.

"Muskets, not dwarven make, human hands like my own." Benjamin muttered once more only to look up at HĂŒrgor only to frown as he began to reach into his satchel only to produce only concoction, a vial filled with a syrupy orange liquid, and offer it up towards the bowman upon his horse. "Drink." Benjamin commanded only to down half of the corked vial. "Drink and understand. It's a potion of Comprehend Languages....." Benjamin turned away from his horse bound friend only to then approach the legion before him with open arms and his dragon tooth staff in hand.

"I'm afraid that you've found my compatriots and I. Actually I am very pleased to be able to find yet another who can speak the common tongue. I hope that you wouldn't mind but I offered my companion here a potion that will allow him to understand our spoken words." The opulent wizard smiled only to glance back to HĂŒrgor in hopes that the man had drank the sour concoction. "I'm Benjamin Crux, Master wizard of the school of transmutation, let me offer a token of peace between us as there is no need for those rifles." Benjamin reached for the golden baubles that sat around his neck only to remove then and offer them in an outstretched hand towards Livia Caesarius in hopes that she was someone who was able to speak for the group she commanded.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson

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Livia remained exceptionally quiet as she surveyed the beach and the treeline beyond it, her men were ready, and poised to strike should the savages that fled the beach come charging back out, they would have all been gunned down mercilessly before being slaughtered in hand to hand combat by the well trained, and disciplined Argosian legionaries.

The moment Ulfric crested the small hill, he was illuminated by focused light from the ship's oil lamps, which were housed in a reflective housing to better project the light, casting him in an orange glow, the musketeers did not shift their position to aim their weapons at him, rather they maintained focused on the treeline.

It was Livia, through the action of resting her hand on the pommel of her spatha, that she acknowledged the horse mounted barbarian before her.

She narrowed her eyes, studied him, he reminded her of the mountain savages of the northlands, in the northern holds of Borealis.

There was a second figure, a large fellow with baubles, and all sorts of trinkets, Livia narrowed her eyes to cover up the obvious taste of bile and disgust that welled up in her stomach.

This was some kind of profligate, and under normal circumstances, she'd have given the order to fire. Yet, she did not, she simply stared him down with her cold eyes, as he tried to hand her some golden trinkets.

She took the golden baubles and held them in her hand briefly, and then she dropped them into the sand, stepping on them. "I have no need for your trinkets, profligate." She said coldly, nodding back to her men. "Break Testudo, Half-cock and shoulder!"

In lock-step, the ranks of Argosians moved their shields in one fluid motion, as well as returning their muskets to shoulder, half-cocking them in the process. They were all standing still, following their movements, watching the tree-line as a young man stepped down the plank of the trireme. Unlike the Argosians, he was dressed in much more modern attire. Specifically he was wearing a black suit with a high collar, two golden pips denoting his rank, as well as a peaked officer's cap denoting the crest of the Imperial Taiyou Navy.

"The Tree needs to learn, we managed to jump out of the Argosian systems, we're calculating the star patterns, but they're not anything like we have logged." He said, whispering in Livia's ear. "This is a first contact scenario with a previously uncontacted primitive species, AXIS rules are clear in this matter."

"We must leave, or they will become irreversibly contaminated."

Livia growled. "I'm more concerned with getting out of here alive."

She called out to Ulfric, her voice shrill and commanding. "Tell your men to show themselves and drop their weapons, or I will burn this entire forest to cinders."