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Setting







Iskjerne Bay is a remote viking settlement nestled in a cold bay, featuring a ringed fortress. The wooden palisade and motte around the ringed fortress is enchanted by special magic and divine powers, so that anything beyond early to late medieval Viking Age advancement and technology is instantly disabled or nullified. This outermost wall, just like the statue of Sigurd Hring inside it, is immovable and indestructible, yet everything else within its magical gates is still perishable.

The mead hall was made from an overturned vessel. It rests upon a hill or scarp protected by 4 concentrical round walls, 2 of wood and 2 of stone. There are also 2 mottes, a bailey with an outdoor hub or marketplace, stables, wall towers, gate towers, 2 drawbridges and 1 suspension bridge. Inside the ringed fortress, there are also small farms, and many new constructions being built.

This bay has seen many vikings, many foreign invaders, and much bloodshed. Newer defenses and a lot of culturalizations have risen as a result. The new settlement features Ivar's Keep, Floki's Docks, a windmill, a small well, a large Watch Tower with a Viking Dungeon, a metal workshop or forge, a mining camp, a wooden Saw Mill, an open arena which doubles as an Archery Range, a barracks, a few Viking Stables, and the makings of an Archaic University which is expected to contain a library and a local historical museum at some point, along with classes in different fields of magic and combat. A perishable statue of Ivar the Boneless has also been recently constructed, along with a few mangers and sheep pens.

Right beside it there is a large imperishable statue of Sigurd Hring, one of the semi-legendary High Kings of Iskjerne Bay whose local descendants started worshipping post-mortuum as their ancestral deity, and champion.

Image

Outside the ringed fortress, there is an un-enclosed open farming village, and the makings of a viking cemetery containing many boat-shaped megalithic rock formations made from standing runestones and raised earth mounds.
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Iskjerne Bay

Iskjerne Bay is a remote Viking settlement which features a motte-and-bailey Ring Fort, a large Mead Hall made from an overturned longship, and a statue of Sigurd Hring the Dragon Slayer.

Minimap

Iskjerne Bay is a part of Weargtooth Mountains.

7 Places in Iskjerne Bay:

34 Characters Here

Sigurd Hring [151] Sigurd Hring is a legendary viking war strategist and king made famous for killing Ellrulf Trygvirsson and Harald Wartooth at the Battle of Bravellir, and for defeating the Taiyou emperor Shimizu Takayama at Iskjerne Bay.
Seno Miyagi [110] Director of Science in the Taiyou Empire
Takao Eguchi [107] Mid-Level dig supervisor for Ten-Shi Zaibatsu's Site Nine
Yoko Kayabuki [86] Prime Minister of the Taiyou Empire
The Berserkers [84] The Berserkers are large bear-coated brutes with a solitary personality.
The Svinfylking [82] The Svinfylking are the boar-head of the viking standing army.
The Ljosalfar [72] The Ljosalfar are high light-elves from the interdimensional realm of Alfheim..
Uhtred the Godless [72] "You will tell him that Uhtred the Godless is in a mood to kill."
Harald Fairhair [71] A powerful and ambitious viking leader.
Lagertha [70] Lagertha is Ragnar Lothbrok's wife and a famous shield-maiden.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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It took over a half hour for the pagans to defeat their enemies at the Argosian encampment. Hundreds lay dead or injured on the blood soaked hills. It had been the most brutal, most intense battle ever on Viking soil, topping even the likeness of Sigurd Hring's rebellion against the Taiyou Empire in former days gone by. The Vikings faced heavy losses. Their dead alone outnumbered the Argosians a hundred to one. It was a hard sight to witness, and yet it was only the beginning. What the Vikings now lacked in number, they made up for by seizing the Praetorian supplies and equipment, arming themselves with Argosian weapons and shields, and distributing the much needed wealth amongst themselves. Ubbe Ragnarsson, the grandson of Sigurd Hring himself, walked up calmly towards the burning encampment, wide eyes glaring at the Decanus as he struggled to hold back the onslaught of Viking savages to no avail.

"Alea iacta est."

The Decanus said to Ubbe as he glared back. The young Viking leader simply rotated his neck and shoulders before twirling his axe in one hand and stepping forward to greet this brave Argosian leader. He and his Praetorian guards had fought bravely, and Ubbe felt it would be an honour to kill him personally as he motioned for the remaining Vikings to stop their advances. But before Ubbe could step any closer, the Decanus suddenly fell on his own sword, committing suicide right in front of him. Ubbe Ragnarsson walked over to the Decanus slowly after watching this display. He had impaled himself, and was still sitting upright, resting on both knees with his head down.

Ubbe gently nudged the Decanus with his boot, but he didn't move. He glanced over at his fellow Vikings and shrugged, before walking past him. But as he walked by, Ubbe gritted his teeth and suddenly turned around, swinging his axe horizontally at the back of his neck, taking the Decanus' head clean off of his shoulders as it hit the ground and rolled forward, still wearing his helmet as his decapitated body fell over on to the charred grass. The Vikings roared with victory. It was done. Afterwards, the young prince would gather up the rest of his Viking warriors and continued forward towards the mountains, apparently looking to join the other groups that were already advancing towards the caves. Those who lingered behind him would make a mockery of the Argosians by playing soccer with the Decanus' head, kicking it back and forth like some sort of sick and twisted Viking ball game. It was apparent that the Iskjerne Vikings were no longer being civil towards outsiders and invaders. They had been pushed over the edge and were tired of being oppressed. They meant business, and they were now prepared to take their war over to enemy soil, and face them in their own backyard.

Meanwhile, the Iskjerne Castle was already under siege as Duke Rollo and his Ellarian Normans faced a similar fate. The Frankish army was a bit larger and better fortified than the Praetorians, armed with heavy crossbows which they used to keep the Vikings at bay. At least for a short while. They had barricaded the castle's inner doors and began dropping heavy rocks on invading Pagan heads, along with buckets of hot boiling water which melted their faces and burned their skins like sizzling poultry. Those at the front line would scream and cry out to their gods as they fell in agony. The smell of burnt flesh permeated the scene as King Harald watched from the castle's open courtyard, studying and observing the onslaught, trying to think of a good strategy. After a few minutes, he motioned for his Viking warriors to form a shield wall and accompany him in as he raised his own shield over his head and charged.

The large bolts and heavy rocks continued to rain down upon them, but with a roof of Viking round shields now overhead, the Norman projectiles had little effect on King Harald and his Viking warriors. Once they reached the castle's inner entrance, the Iskjerne Vikings quickly used their axes and brute strength to hack away at the barricaded doors, as Rollo's guards tried desperately to push back against them from the other side. But the Vikings were powerful and fought with great fury, and every time one of them rammed into the door, a dozen or so Frankish mercenaries on the other side would be pushed back momentarily before recovering and stepping forward again to keep the doors from breaking. It was only a matter of time. Soon as the first axe blade pierced through the thick wood and its metal blade shined on the other side, the guards knew that the barricade could not hold much longer. The Vikings were literally hacking their way in, splintering the heavy arched doors one plank at a time. Duke Rollo shouted for some of the guards to step back and ready their spears as he stood above them on the winding stone stairway, terror in his eyes, for he himself had been a Norseman and knew fully well what the Vikings were capable of.

"Les voilà. Sois prêt!"

Duke Rollo shouted, pointing his guards and mercenaries into position. Just then, the heavy wooden crossbar would crack and split as the twin arched doors swung open. The first wave of Iskjerne Vikings stormed in, only to be met with spears as more crossbows rained down upon them from the stairwells above. It would be a hard fight to get through, but eventually the outcome would be the same as before. Only this time, someone else was also making moves. Bjorn Ironside and a small group of Iskjerne Vikings had their own strategy for penetrating the castle. While those at the castle's entrance led by King Harald had rammed their way in, drawing the attention of those from above, this was only a distraction. Bjorn Ironside and his handful of diehard Vikings were climbing up the backside of the castle, using ropes to make their way up to the battlements.

Once at the top, they stealthily snuck up behind the guards and quickly cut them down. Some of the Ellarian Normans, alerted by this sudden infiltration, barely had time to turn their attention on Bjorn's raiders before they too were faced with the stampeding Nordic bludgeons and axes. Bjorn Ironside himself grabbed one of the guards by his throat and lifted him up by his neck, throwing him over the side of the battlements only for the helpless man to scream before his armoured body hit the ground below with a metallic thump. Upon seeing this, King Harald gazed up and made eye contact with Bjorn Ironside, who nodded down to him before turning around and walking away, presumably entering the castle from the rooftop. Duke Rollo's guards continued to fight and kill as many of the invaders as they could, but it was no use. Soon, Bjorn and his men came roaring down the stairs, knocking archers over and hacking down the guards above, giving King Harald's group more of an advantage as they stormed into the open halls and swarmed the castle from within.

Duke Rollo was trapped. He tried to walk to his right, but King Harald's army was already coming up the stairs. He turned and tried to go left, but Bjorn's posse was already advancing towards him. With no other choice, Rollo quickly turned around and bolted into the guest chamber behind him, slamming the door shut. He had abandoned his guards to die as the small remainder of them stood outside the bed chamber, defending the door with their lives. It was only a matter of time. Their gurgling cries could be heard on the other side of the door as the Vikings showed no mercy. The last guard's torso could be heard sliding against the door as he fell to the floor. Rollo used all his strength to flip the bed and dresser up on end and slide them against the chamber door, creating a temporary blockade. It took a minute for Bjorn Ironside to push his way into the room. But as he opened the door to greet his uncle, Bjorn was slightly surprised to find the room completely empty with the window open. He quickly ran over to the window ledge and looked around, but his uncle Rollo was nowhere to be found. Bjorn scowled, placing his hands on the window ledge and gritting his teeth as the other Vikings started to enter the room. A moment later, King Harald entered, but Bjorn just shook his head quietly.

King Harald nodded and snickered, turning to look at the boar-skinned warriors behind him. He made a wave of his hand with his wrist, as if unsure but yet undaunted by what just happened. It was Duke Rollo, after all, a man they had all been aware of and whom they had once respected. Rollo had served Sigurd Hring and fought hard against the Taiyou army, and against Erling Snake's crusader knights. There was no telling what he was capable of, and King Harald seemed mildly impressed, if not a little bit amused by Rollo's escape.

"Well... What are you waiting for? Find him." King Harald said quietly, his deep raspy voice showing a hint of malice or anger, despite his smile and very calm demeanor.

By that point, Ubbe Ragnarsson and the remnant of his group had already met up with Halfdan Ragnarsson and the other two larger groups of Iskjerne Vikings who had descended into the caves. A dozen of them were equipped with weapons, armour and shields that they had confiscated from the dead Praetorians, while the remaining Vikings still had traditional weapons and armor. They made their way through the dark labyrinth of caverns and tunnels, holding oil lamps and torches. Finally, the time for their revenge had come. No longer would the Iskjerne Vikings stand idly by and allow their villages or fortresses to be invaded and destroyed by bullying foreigners. For too long had war and famine, pestilence and the plague of death and suffering been hurled upon them, guided by powers and circumstances that were out of their control. These hardened people, these veteran warriors of the far north, they had somehow managed to survive everything that the gods had thrown at them. Now it was time to fight back, this time in full force as they made their way towards the Rikkisopi Caves, numbering in the hundreds with only one goal in mind. To avenge Sigurd Hring, and ensure once and for all that Iskjerne Bay would remain in the hands of Iskjerne natives. Only this time, there would be no warning, no messengers to alert the Taiyou Empire of the horde that was coming to destroy them. The Vikings were absolutely mad with fury, and there would be no mercy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar
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#, as written by Sigurd
Lagertha and her shield-maidens returned to Iskjerne Bay from the Groenbogs after looking for food to eat. They had managed to gather several baskets of fruit and vegetables, and three of them were escorting a large hog that the women had managed to hunt and kill. Bjorn Ironside and his berserkers did not return with them. Queen Lagertha and her shield-maidens had ventured alone, but at least now they had a good excuse for missing the last feast. If questioned why she had not been present to witness the blood eagle ceremony, Queen Lagertha would just say that she had gone out hunting in order to find some food. In the meantime, Bjorn Ironside and his handful of berserkers had gone west, and parted ways with Lagertha in search of their own hunt, and wouldn't be returning for quite some time.

King Harald was completely unaware that just south over the mountains was the Argosian Army, three thousand strong led by Livia with the help of Ragnar, who were planning to lay seige to Iskjerne Bay and take over his newly established kingdom. King Finehair only had 600 warriors, including many women and young men who were just now getting their first taste of victory. The Iskjerne Vikings didn't know it yet, but they were outnumbered almost 4 to 1 as the Argosians near the Great Ellarian Forest prepared to attack them. Adding insult to injury, a confederation of loosely joined Germanic tribes had also recently begun surfacing on the continent, and started raiding the rural Viking settlements to the south, while the Empyrean Norsemen to the west had also started to brace themselves for any sort of confrontation with the ambitious Viking konung. King Harald Fairhair knew he had declared war on the non-Vikingr nations across Ellaria, and that someone would be along eventually to challenge his claim as the king of the northern territories.

There were 100 ulfhednar (pack fighters), 100 svinfylking (shock troops), 100 hornuglar (archers and shield-maidens), 50 berserkers (juggernauts), 50 kattrfylking (witches and seeresses), 50 hrafnfylking (naval experts), and 150 hestahar (cavalry units) which made up King Harald Fairhair's army, not including slaves and house servants, or the common villagers. Ubbe and Hvitserk had taken an additional 150 vikingar into Oor Cavern consisting of mostly Harii (stealth warriors), ulfhednar (wolf-shirts) and svinfylking (pig-skins), while Bjorn Ironside had only a handful of berserkers. It wasn't a very large army for the Iskjerne Vikings, but what they lacked in number, they made up for with versatility. Everyone in Iskjerne Bay had an important part to play in the survival of the nation as a whole as they all worked together to reinforce King Harald's borders and strengthen the fortifications and bastions around the castle. Harald deployed several scouts and spies throughout the region, and it wasn't long before one of the scouts returned with news about the caves.

Ubbe and Hvitserk had gone off ahead of the main force and was planning to infiltrate the Taiyou Gateway to Niihama City using the Trojan Horse strategy. Harald ordered half of the berserkers to guard the main walls and entrances to the castle, stationing the rest of them at the large watch tower in the rocks to the east, where they were ordered to guard the cave entrance and to set boobytraps that would cause the cave system to collapse in on itself if any of their Taiyou enemies happened to come back through the caverns. Queen Lagertha and her 12 shield-maidens took up their positions on the walls and bastions around the motte-and-bailey where they could hide and rain down arrows from above. Many of the hornuglar had picked up some of the armor-peircing Frankish crossbows that Duke Robert's long-ranged Norman archers had left behind and began taking up positions around the ring fortress, while the hestahar split into 5 groups of 25 horsemen that spread out to patrol the region and police the settlement. They would also survey the landscape and use whatever they could find to set traps around the village that might detour anyone from trying to invade.

King Harald Fairhair ordered a coven of 9 witches to be kept inside the castle at all times, while 9 more witches were sent to the great hall so that there would always be oracles around for him to consult in case he needed them. The other 32 kattrfylking were permitted to go back to their own houses, farms or cabins, where they went about their daily lives performing the basic tasks they had been charged with, such as weaving the sails for the longboats, or sitting around the fireplace knitting socks and clothing for the Iskjerne Vikings to wear. Children below the age of 15 were sent home to help their mothers with farming and hunting, and basic chores, while every boy or girl over the age of 15 was sent to the fields to train with the ulfhednar and svinfylking. There they learned how to use a shield, an axe and a sword, how to craft spears and string a bow, how to track and hunt, how to form a phalanx and fight in formations. They discussed strategies and techniques, and went over some of the old moral lessons and principles that the Vikings had preserved in their oral myths.

Things were starting to look up for King Harald Finehair, as he gazed around the village below from his high place on the roof of the Frankish-styled castle that King Ivar the Boneless had erected long ago, as if Ivar could see ahead past his own untimely death into the distant future. Of all the great leaders to come and go from Iskjerne Bay, it was Ivar the Boneless who had been the first Viking to warrant a burning funeral ship on the icey shores. All of the Vikings before that time had either been given elaborate burial mounds, or simple runestone grave markers, but Ivar himself had been cremated and his remains sent out to sea. King Finehair had 3 ships left at his disposal, but he held them in reserve and ordered the hrafnfylking to gather more wood instead, in order to build more ships and other fortifications that might help better protect the Iskjerne Viking Kingdom from attack.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Grimnir the Hooded
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#, as written by Sigurd
In the morning just before sunrise, another figure approached Iskjerne Village, riding on a blue saddle attached to what appeared to be a woodland caribou. The animal itself was white and brown with long boney legs standing well over eight feet tall with a large black nose and two long curved antlers with six points each. The caribou was adorned with small silver bells which jingled in the snow, alerting anyone in the dark morning fog that the rider was approaching, and perhaps serving some aesthetic purpose to ward off any potential evil spirits in the mist. The rider himself was a large man in a thick and heavy hooded fur jacket weaved in fine golden silk or tinsel wearing baggy trousers and bearskin boots and gloves. He had one hand on the reigns and one hand on the glass lantern he held up, his rosey cheeks and white fluffy beard illuminated by the gold burning candle inside the small glass apparatus.

The large caribou was also carrying a wide load. Behind the old hooded man attached to the back of the blue saddle was a dark winter green knapsack, tarp or blanket carrying what seemed like an enormous bundle of tools and supplies, furs, pots and pans, hunting gear and other miscellaneous goods. It was clear from all the rider's luggage that he had been traveling for some time, but he didn't seem to be in any sort of hurry. The caribou had a slow and steady gait as it left hoof tracks in the snow showing four toes on each hoof. Although the snow was dense and deeper in some areas, the large animal had no trouble walking through it with ease, leaving a trail behind it that stretched westwards for miles all the way to the horizon. The old man had not come from the Weargtooth Mountains, but had traveled around them the long way, coming from a coastal region to the far west. As he entered Iskjerne Bay and passed through the local village towards the great hall, the rider gazed up at the remarkable statues and the magnificent castle made of stone, marveling at the tall watch tower built into the flat side of the mountain, and the amount of detail put into carving and decorating the wooden architecture around the village.

Grimnir the Hooded gazed upon the finely etched wooden doors and door frames, rooftops and window frames, gates and fences. He looked around at all the runes engraved and burned into hole posts, carts and wagons, and on each door frame. Grimnir was familiar with runic scripts, and had little difficulty in understanding the mostly short and simple motifs that came with them as he rode his caribou up to the stables outside the first wooden wall to the innangard and dismounted his large animal companion, tying the jingling reigns to one of the carved wooden posts. Even that particular post was detailed with such precision, care and patience that the old man paused for a moment to admire the artistic effort put into carving, chiseling, boring, drilling and sanding a woodblock sculpture portraying what seemed to him like a piece of a scene, perhaps part of a story about the Iskjerne Vikings and their heroic adventures. But the fact it was carved in three-dimensional woodworking on something so simple as a basic saddle post suggested something of a sense of pride to the old man before he grabbed his walking staff and knocked on the gate.

The large wooden gate was thick and mighty, made of whole entire trees cut from the native area. The black iron eye slit opened with a clink as someone behind the tall arched gateway slid aside the metal lock and opened the slider, peeking out of the eye hole to see who had been knocking on the gate from the other side. "Hver fer þangað?" the gatekeeper asked, peering at the old man with his lantern. "Bara jag, Grimnir, en trött resenär tvärs över svängen. Jag undrar om en gubbe kan hitta lite värme och skydd ett tag. Jag är snart på väg om det är okej." the old stranger responded. His accent was different, and it was obvious he wasn't from Iskjerne Bay, but his words were similar enough to be translated into the native dialect. The gatekeeper quirked an eyebrow at Grimnir the Hooded, but he understood him just fine as he closed the slider and locked it without saying anything else to the foreigner.

There was an awkward moment of silence. Grimnir started to wonder if his request had been denied. But just as he was getting ready to walk away, the gatekeeper opened the gate and pointed a sharp spear at the old man's neck, looking around to see if he was alone. After a second or two, the gatekeeper turned his attention to Grimnir, examining him to see how dangerous he was. Iskjerne Bay had already had its fair share of bad folks and strangers who were up to no good. The settlement didn't need any more mischief. After looking over Grimnir and determining him not to be too much of a threat given his old age, white beard, and walking staff, the gatekeeper lowered his spear and waved for Grimnir to step forward and enter the innangard. The old man smiled quietly and stepped through the gate, walking up the road to the bailey before going through the second gate. Once he was passed the first stone wall around the fortress, Grimnir made his way over to the Mead Hall to have a drink and warm himself by the fire, waiting for the sun to rise.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Grimnir the Hooded
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#, as written by Sigurd
In the following days, King Harald Fairhair had issued his orders to reinforce Iskjerne Bay and make use of the additional fortifications put in place by Ivar the Boneless during the previous establishment. The Vikings had sent horsemen into the Weargtooth Mountains, using the stairway to the Rainbow Forge to setup traps and insurance policies around the mountain tops. The Iskjerne Vikings had been known to hold a great reverence and respect for nature. Gaia was not just the planet they lived on. Gaia was a giantess and a great goddess of earth. They utilized the earth, the forest, the mountains, the sky, even the sea, taking full advantage of whatever they could gain by protecting their village.

Carts and wagons had been setup behind sandbags and stone walls, providing areas in high places on top of their many towers, bastions and cliffs where the Vikings could hurl boulders and other debri at anyone who tried to attack Iskjerne Bay from below. King Harald had added another long chain to be stretched across the open channel, where it could be used to trap, capsize or destroy any unsuspecting ships that tried to make a naval assault into the shipyards. Barrels of tar and pitch, and flammable oil had been dispersed to different areas in strategic locations around the village, hidden in the rocks and hills, and near the cave entrance. These were accessible to the archers in case they needed to spicen things up with their flaming arrows and explosive bombs and weapons. Some of the farmers and common villagers had dug trenches and pits, filling them with water or slushy mud in order to make traveling difficult over the terrain outside the village, building small makeshift wooden fences and labyrinths to detour any unwanted visitors.

But there was more to King Harald's plans. He had forced some of his slaves to build several large wooden medieval weapons to help protect Iskjerne Bay from any aerial assaults or attacks from the sky. He ordered them to construct large catapults and ballistae to be affixed to the walls and towers, resembling massive spoons for launching rocks, and enormous crossbows designed by expert dragon slayers for the sole purpose of taking down large objects. Some of the ballistae featured strong nets, while others fired huge darts attached to ropes which enabled them to be used like fishing reels. Iron spikes were added to the bridges and gateways, then double reinforced with iron cages that could be dropped on top of their enemies from above, trapping them inside. But the greatest addition to King Harald's arsenal was the newly acquired mangonel and onager his engineers had learned about from previous battles. The mangonels were a sort of traction trebuchet which could sling a projectile for over a quarter of a mile, enabling King Harald to attack his enemies from a considerable distance away. The onagers were more like giant spoons attached to four wheels, which made them mobile and could be repositioned unlike the swiveling fixed catapults which could only turn 45 degrees.

The Vikings built many other traps and snares, and boobytraps mostly employing the use of swinging logs, whipping branches and spikes, and a few hidden manholes for escaping and hiding underground, or spike pits covered with sliding lids hidden beneath the snow. For the little foxholes they dug out in the hills, they used branches and sod to cover them. These areas were very small, only large enough for one person to hide in at a time, but they were a nice addition to King Harald's overall security. As a final touch, he ordered the moats to be filled with poisonous snakes and alligators that would rip apart anyone who tried to get over the bridge or into the castle. The pig pen was moved closer to the gateway so that if the Vikings needed to, they could unleash a herd of pigs across the bridge to disrupt intruding armies, while similar fences were placed around the village itself to do the same with horses and cattle. King Harald had the Vikings construct a hidden dam near the north end of the ring fortress to be used in case of emergency. The dam overlooked a flat dry dirtbed in the snow. This was the only flat land that seemed suitable for invading armies. It was in a good strategic location that could be moderately defended whilst providing some better access to the inner settlement. But it was also a rouse, since the Vikings had set up the dam in order to drain the fjord channel and flood the basin if things got too out of hand for the kingdom to handle.

With the defenses in place, and the Vikings in position, King Harald Fairhair focused his attention on the cave system. His spies had reported back to him from the watch tower near the cave entrance. Ubbe Ragnarsson, Halfdan the White, Rulav the Varangian and their Vikingr leidang had successfully made it passed the portal into the Taiyou chamber, but had been cut off from their reinforcements on the other side. This was bad news for Ubbe's band of ulfhednar on both accounts, as King Harald sent his messenger to pull the remaining Vikings out of the Rikkisopi Caves in order to commence with his alternative plan, for the barrels he had ordered to be placed in front of the cave entrance were actually bombs. Rulav's team had only several more minutes to complete their mission and open the Taiyou Gateway back up so that the rest of his team could enter before King Harald's messenger arrived to pull them out. After that, they were instructed to blow up the cave system from the inside out so that the tunnels collapsed in on themselves, sealing the caves off for good so that nobody could go in or out. Just as King Harald was finished giving orders, he heard the low rumbling sound of thunder coming from the mountains to the south. It sounded like a storm was approaching from the distant forest, many miles away. But it wasn't just any storm. It was the Argosians, firing their cannons into the forest.

The Seige of Iskjerne was beginning...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Grimnir the Hooded
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#, as written by Sigurd
The Álfablót was a public occasion for Iskjerne Bay, celebrated once a year around autumn. As the king, Harald Fairhair had the honor of being the gođi or priest-king during this public sacrificial ceremony. Queen Lagertha assumed the role of the priestess as her shield-maidens, now more closely resembling the Amazons of Greco-Thracian mythology, came forth and presented the sacrifice near the open bonfire. As there was still a shortage of livestock in Iskjerne Bay, the Vikings instead chose to sacrifice one of the horses. The shield-maidens brought the horse to the stone altar, or hörgr, where Queen Lagertha used a ritualistic dagger to cut the horse's throat. Blood spilled over the altar, over the priestess and the ground beside the altar, sanctifying the holiness of this sacred ritual. It was a peace offering to the elves and disir, or female ancestral spirits of the land. The Vikings, having ignored the power of the vaettir for so long, were now inviting the land spirits to return to Iskjerne Bay, to rid the country of the plague, death and famine that had left their kingdom desolate and vulnerable.

As he got on his reindeer and prepared to leave, Grimnir looked back at the rising bonfire and the blood offering that was taking place in the open field behind him. True to his word, Grimnir did not stay long at Iskjerne Bay, but continued on his journey back to the Empyrean Sea Beach, taking the long road around the continent back to his own village. Grimnir had delivered a message to King Harald in person, whispering something into the king's ear which nobody else heard or knew. King Finehair kept the message to himself and did not share it with anyone apart from his wife, Queen Lagertha, who kept the secrets to herself. But it was obvious that something was bothering him deep inside as King Harald continued to rule Iskjerne Bay with an iron fist, as if waiting patiently for some inevitable prophecy to unfold. It wasn't long before he started seeing signs.

As time passed, King Harald looked up towards the sky over the Weargtooth Mountains to the south, where he noticed a billow of black smoke. One of the horsemen rode back to the ring fort and informed King Harald that the Argosians were coming. They were 3000 strong with cannons and seige weapons. King Finehair smirked, handing the messenger two silver coins as a token of his appreciation before the rider took off and returned to his outpost. Shortly afterward, the 122 vikings returned from the Rikkisopi Caves without Ubbe or Hvitserk, adding a tad more strength to the king's army, but also causing worry and doubt. Queen Lagertha pleaded with her husband to wait for her son Ubbe to return safely, but King Harald knew he had to do what was best for his people. He ordered the Rikkisopi Caves to be destroyed, this time for good, as the Iskjerne Vikings setup barrels of combustible liquid inside the caves, leading all the way through the tunnels even into Oor Cavern, and running a line back to the entrance of the cave all the way to Iskjerne Bay.

Once everything was in order, King Harald gave the command. The ulfhedinn nodded before using a torch to lite the fuse. Everyone stood back and covered their ears as the fuse burned down to the stack of 60 gallon wine barrels at the entrance of the caves. There was a brief moment of silence, and then suddenly, a huge explosion. "BOOOOM!!!" the barrels exploded, causing a chain reaction of miniature explosions which carried throughout the entire cave system. Rocks, boulders, wooden splinters, dust and debri went flying everywhere as the entrance to the Rikkisopi Caves collapsed in on itself, along with many of the winding tunnels and caverns within. As the dust settled, the Iskjerne Vikings looked at the large mound of heavy rock pilings which now stood where the caves used to be. King Harald had officially destroyed the cave system. All of it. Ubbe and Hvitserk were on their own now in Niihama City, and would be forced to find their own way back home through some other means.

After all of the excitement had settled down, King Harald counted the number of Vikings in his army. There were nine cults or tribes, each divided amongst themselves to form King Harald's leidang. With the additional troops now joining them, Finehair had about 722 warriors. They were still outnumbered 3-to-1 by the Argosians, and he knew the Vikings didn't stand much of a chance against the slowly approaching legion. It was sensible now to run away, to abandon Iskjerne Bay and head for the boats. That would've been the smart thing to do. But instead, the Vikings held their ground and did nothing, as if waiting for the inevitable battle ahead. Just like so many times in the past, the Vikings refused to retreat or abandon their settlements. Instead, they sang songs and went about their daily lives as usual, pretending as though everything was just fine as the 122 ulfhednar left their homesteads and headed for the mountains. If the Argosians planned to lay seige to Iskjerne Bay, then the ulfhednar would be the first to welcome their legion in open battle. Yet they did not pursue their enemies. But instead they took up positions near the southern end of Iskjerne Bay, and waited for the Argosian legionaries to come to them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Stjornhestr Character Portrait: Stjornkona Character Portrait: Grimnir the Hooded Character Portrait: Empyrean Sjóálfar Character Portrait: Empyrean Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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During the Argosian conquest of Ellaria...

There was something happening among the Iskjerne vikings, as they now appeared to be in a declaration of war with the Ellarian barbarians, the Tartarian nobles, the Argosian legion, the Takayama shogunate, the Detente and many others. King Harald Fairhair seemed like he had gone mad, but in all reality, most were not wars that he himself had started. Rather, these were wars that Harald Finehair inherited when he became the King of Iskjerne Bay.

Granted, the Norwegian king had made an oath to restore Iskjerne Bay back to its native people. He fulfilled that oath with honor, giving the land back to the Iskjerne vikings by restoring their rights to lands, refurbishing Sigurd Hring's old viking settlement, replanting and rebuilding with communal assistance from the Iskjerne vikings themselves, liberating them from all foreign relationships, invasions, policies and religions.

That sounded like a good idea, but this was not to be the will of the gods. For whatever reason, the nature spirits didn't return quickly to repollinate the old settlement. Iskjerne Bay had also inherited a pestilence, a great plague of barren mounds and the feeling of death around every corner. Many were those who died performing legendary feats and engaging in heroic battles, and King Fairhair had also demonstrated a lust for power through xenophobic behavior. This behavior, however, did not go unnoticed. The gnomes, elves, dwarves, and other races were slow to repopulate and repollinate Iskjerne Bay, and the gods were unresponsive when offerings and sacrifices were made to them.

King Harald Fairhair had waged no war on the nature spirits, but it would take some time for them to return in great numbers. Fairhair did purge the vikings into a bitter conflict with the Argosian nation, the Taiyou city of Niihama, and the Tartarian Norman duchy. This perhaps had racial or cultural implications, and his total genocide of foreign affairs in Iskjerne Bay had only added to their complications. With the lack of goblins and ogres, dragons and giants, only the statues of the gods remained.

There was a slight breeze, low dark clouds hovering swiftly over grey skies, a murder of crows and large black ravens squawking as they glided down from their perches on the tower balcony when King Harald opened the doors to the large stone crescent patio and stepped out on to the balcony, resting his whole bodyweight against the stone railing which separated him from gazing hundreds of feet to his death. He gazed up at the rolling clouds and peered out towards the mountains, studying the direction of the black billows of smoke escalating from the sloping horizon. He knew that the great fire would not cross the Weargtooth mountain range due to the sparsity of woodlands and shelters.

As he looked down at the small kingdom below, he noticed two people walking slowly up to the third entrance of the castle, assisting what appeared to be two more people who had been wounded. It was Bjorn Ironside and the last of his own personal berserkers, the rest of whom had been slaughtered by Ellarian barbarians led by a Germanic chieftain whose identity was concealed behind a facemask-visored helmet. King Harald listened to Bjorn's venture to capture Duke Robert, as did Queen Lagertha who sat across from Bjorn Ironside next to King Harald on her throne, remaining motionless and listening quietly to her eldest son's exploits. King Harald was displeased to find out that Bjorn Ironside, even the large berserker son of Ragnar Lothbrok had failed to capture Rollo on account of the Cheruscans, Chatti, Harii and other tribes that had ambushed Bjorn's gang.

Harald Fairhair slammed his fist down on the arm of his throne seat and cringed. After a moment, he raised a mead horn and gave a toast to Bjorn's safe return, vowing before all of the volva and witnesses in the great hall that he would seek revenge against the Ellarian barbarians after their battle with the approaching Argosians. This didn't seem feasible, had it not been for the tone and manner in which he said it, for it was evident that the Great Ellarian Forest was burning, and that the Ellarian barbarians must have suffered many losses in their fight with Bjorn Ironside and his party of Iskjerne berserkers. Capturing the Duke Rollo was no longer a priority, but neither were the Ellarians as even now, the Argosian legion was already approaching the kingdom.

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Bjorn's return was not celebrated very long on account of all the circumstances and mead shortage. Soon, everyone would return to their posts, and their plan to make their last stand against their enemies would resume much as before. Bjorn Ironside shared what little information he could about his venture into Argosian/Ellarian territory, but said nothing about his encounter with Odin as his eyes scanned over the leather map that King Harald rolled out over the round table in front of them.

It was a Map of Gaia...

Little did the House of Finehair know that the Iskjerne ulfhednar had already been defeated, but King Harald had never put much reliance on the front line to begin with. There were still Iskjerne hestuhar, svinfylking, kattrfylking and shield-maidens, specialized archers armed with the Tartarian crossbows they had seized, and many a berserker and war machine to deal with. King Harald was expecting the Argosian legion to utilize seige weaponry, and thanks to the great (although slow) progress of Iskjerne Bay, the vikings had some seige engineering of their own. Prepared for any attacks from land, air or sea, the Iskjerne vikings waited.

Meanwhile, to the far west of Iskjerne Bay and more southward towards the tropical regions of Ellaria, the Empyrean Norsemen had just launched a full-scale space expedition across the galaxy, and indeed, in an attempt to circumnavigate the multiverse using elven and dwarven alchemy, reaching for the stars. Things were not so advanced in Iskjerne Bay, where the lack of magic had been replaced by human strength and perseverance, and King Harald's "advanced" weapons were but medieval catapults and trebuchets made of simple metal, wood and stone. Such weapons were still magnificent, however, comprised of some of the most advanced human engineering that Gaia had to offer.

Human beings were a confusing lot, their human natures full of inquisition and unanswered questions, revelry and rivalry, and the chance for uncertainty. Here in Iskjerne Bay, in the midst of the Milky Way galaxy, pure-blooded human beings were still in existence, untainted by computers, tracphones and technology, without augmented repairs or simulations, threatened by entire space empires yet still remaining, 100% human, uninfected and unmutated by the whims of the goddesses of fate.

Gaia was indeed a remarkable planet. The mortal Iskjerne vikings stood in defiance of the gods, against time and space, and against the very spirits of their own innate destruction. One particular deity was Sigurd Hring, the native god and titan, who observed their offerings and sacrifices whilst subservient to Odin and the other more powerful deities who held him back from intervening in their human mortal affairs, even though Sigurd was being humble and modest, for Iskjerne Bay was his kingdom and not even the gods themselves could stop him from ruling it with an iron fist.

But the gods had made council, and the heavens themselves were of one accord, so that the Iskjerne vikings and their equally mortal enemies would be destined to battle without magic or luck, modern science or technology, and especially without the help of the gods. Ellaria's great forest burned slowly, consuming more and more of the enormous continent with every passing minute. There was silence and the cumbersome feeling of loneliness in that moment as the enemies of Iskjerne Bay neared closer and closer, bringing that same global pandemic with them as they approached.

But despite even all of the other stuff that was already happening, there was still more beneath the surface. Be it by some sacred vampiric ritual or perhaps a tumor of energy prescribed to dark magic, or the curse that had consumed the kingdom, the tumuli and burial mounds in Iskjerne Bay were not all lifeless and dormant after all, some of the skeletal bodies and mutilated corpses groaning or tossing in their graves. Unanimated, still dead, the corpses would not rise from their resting places... this was not a resurrection. This was merely a trembling, a subtle signature of things to come as the shores of Iskjerne Bay became more darkened.

White caps and waves started to approach and recede from the rocky fjords, as the unsettled and cremated spirit of Ivar the Boneless made its draugr presence felt, not upon the living but upon the already dead.

King Imar...

The new king of the dead...

Like the great world serpent, he emerged from the deepest darkest depths of the Great Ellarian Sea, his own tattered and sunken, burned and charcoaled funeral ship lying in abysmal ruins and broken pieces at the bottom of the sea. His own body had been turned to ashes, which now mixed with the soot and sand at the sunless sea floor, but King Imar had inherited his mother's and father's curse, being both the son of a famous viking konung and an equally talented famous witch. He had started as a false self-proclaimed mortal god. But now Ivar the Boneless was no longer a slithering half-paralyzed cripple. He was not even a physical person anymore, but his restless spirit had become a draugr, a type of Old Norse ghost, vampire or revenant.

Such was the situation in Iskjerne Bay that even the primeval forces remained silent, awestruck by the situation. Sigurd Hring would grin, giving testimony to his cause. King Harald and King Halfdan, and indeed Floki the Blind, were all now competing against one another in a freezing cold triangular war for absolution. Clearly the Iskjerne vikings had been outnumbered, outpowered and outsmarted by the Argosian army. But fate always seemed to rear her head as the vikings resolved to stand against them, continuing as planned.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Stjornhestr Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Stjornkona Character Portrait: Grimnir the Hooded Character Portrait: Empyrean Sjóálfar Character Portrait: Empyrean Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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#, as written by Sepokku
Uhtred laughed as he watched his guileless children feign making war. “Quaint,” he smiled as he sipped his mead

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Ivar the Boneless Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Empyrean Norsemen Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Svensson Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Stjornhestr Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Stjornkona Character Portrait: Grimnir the Hooded Character Portrait: Empyrean Sjóálfar Character Portrait: Empyrean Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson
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Vae Victus


"Benedicite omnes formas intelligentiae." Livia said to herself once they crested a hill overlooking Iskjerne Bay. "We made it." She thought to herself as she watched from afar. The settlement was pitiful, she could smell the starvation and disease from where she stood. The icy wind whipped the heavy pelt she was wearing, and whisps of auburn hair whipped around her face as she squinted, surveying the ring fort below. Clasped in her right hand was a looking glass, and with purpose, she brought the looking glass to her right eye, and watched below.

She recalled the memories of the trek across the mountains, their fight with the Ulfhednar, their burning of Ellaria, and the brutal killing of her praetorian guards. All these events culminated into what was about to transpire. Now Livia stood poised to conquer the great Iskjerne Bay. She was poised to lay them low, and exact vengeance for everything they had done to her people.

She looked both directions, to her left, and to her right as her legion, now united and three thousand strong began assembling along the mountain passes overlooking Iskjerne Bay. She had laid out the plans with her consul, and explained them in great detail. She was going to encircle Iskjerne Bay and force them to surrender, and failing that she planned to lay siege to the settlement, and kill them all.

Livia silently rested her hand on the pommel of her gladius, and she lowered the looking glass, and bit her bottom lip.

She turned around, and watched as her war engineers were finishing the final preparations for their trebuchets, which towered over their crudely made fortifications. Her army was assembled in large blocks of infantry, each legion was bearing it's banner proudly despite the blistering cold. Now was the crowning moment, and Livia was ready.

"Patria parva non potest cum magno contendere; pauci cum multis contendere non possunt; et infirmus non potest contendere cum fortibus" She called out, and her men all raised their weapons in agreement.

Each of the six trebuchets they brought with them were loaded with terracotta pots filled with a mixture of diesel fuel and polystyrene, they were readied and prepped, and the moment Livia would give the command, they would be loosed below.

Livia took a deep breath, the frigid air stinging her lungs.


"Parate!"

The dozens of Trebuchet crews began tighting ropes, pulling the arms of the Trebuchets back, checking the weights, and making sure the oil was applied to all the moving parts. The fires were lit on the wicks of each of the clay pots, and in unison the sound of tightening rope, and creaking wood filled the air.

"Intendo!" She cried out, and each of the spotters using their calculations made fine adjustments to the Trebuchets, and then moved away.

Livia cast a brief glance to Reginarus, before she took another deep breath.

"Aperta ignis!" Livia bellowed, and the Trebuchets released their charges into the ring fort below, each clay pot would erupt into flame on contact, shattering and spewing the sticky burning liquid in all directions, liquid that would be difficult to put out using water alone.

With the first salvo loosed, Livia raised her hand to the five Ballistae situated on rock outcroppings, and she gestured forward, each of them fired simultaneously, concentrating their fire on the gates of the ring fortress with weighted tungsten bolts, with the intention to either knock the gate down, or splinter the wood.

There would only be a brief pause as Livia's siege engineers prepared for the next salvo.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar
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#, as written by Sigurd
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Dauði Konungs



"Gnaeus, fac eos hic prohibere." Reginarus said to his flag bearer in the lion-skinned pelt as the Argosian Three Legions approached the peak of the Weargtooth Mountains, following the cobblestone stairway over the rocky hump overlooking the distantly small but famous Viking Kingdom below. It was not as magical as it used to be, a shroud of grey clouds hovering slowly over the mountains, valleys and Iskjerne Bay itself providing a gloomy and dreadful, if not unwelcoming atmosphere for the observers. Signifier Gnaeus used his aerial telegraphy to make his legion halt as Reginarus remained posed in front of the army on horseback, looking down at the motte-and-bailey ringfort castle below, and the small scattered homesteads and shires just outside of its concentric wood and stone brick walls.

The air was freezing and the wind was crisp, but the army was undaunted. Reginarus had a thick and heavy fleece blanket wrapped around himself, beneath which he was fully armored over a crimson red skirt-like tunic and baggy black trousers, wearing plated torso armor, a neck protector, arm guards, shin guards, thick long socks and fur-trimmed steel fitted boots. His helmet sported a visored facemask which covered everything but his beard, and a crimson red plume of horsehair resembling a mohawk typical of the Argosian Tribunal style, looking like a Roman general in uniform but with a Nordic twist, being already more adapted to the very ground where they were standing as the Legata peered through her looking glass at the decrepit kingdom below.

General Reginarus didn't need a looking glass. Instead, he watched the Viking mercenaries in the wolf-skin pelts as they went ahead of the three legions, following their actual canine companions down the dangerous rocky hills towards the barren woodlands below using skis to navigate swiftly over the slick terrain. Reginarus looked down at his nameless horse and petted his cheek before whispering into his ear and dismounting him, grabbing his crutch and limping over to stand at the edge of a cliff, peering down at the tiny scattered villages around the open valley before him. He was still thinking about the shuriken he had seen Livia use to guard his back up in the mountains, and the other training he had received back on Niihama as he stood by, following orders while trying to formulate his own strategy. Once they reached the bottom of the mountain, the Argosian seige engines were erected into position, prepared to launch hell upon Iskjerne Bay.

Reginarus watched as the first volley of barrel-sized firepots were unleashed and hurled upon the castle before a second wave of firepots were prepared almost immediately afterwards while Livia ordered the ballistae to fire at the gate. There was a short pause and a moment of silence as they all watched the bombs fly towards their targets from a considerable distance away. Reginarus observed with an expression of curiosity and wonder in his eyes. A slight grin appeared on his face as he waited for the explosions and bursts of flames to appear when making contact with the unsuspecting savages and their fortifications.




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Meanwhile...

A small band of Vikings on horseback were galloping quickly towards the gate, riding from the hills as the guards lowered the slow-moving drawbridge to prepare for their entry into the kingdom. As they rode passed the first gate, on to the second gateway and over the second drawbridge to the third and final castle wall, Queen Lagertha the Witchslayer went down to meet them, accompanied by Bjorn Ironside and the handful of guards they had brought with them. One of the horsemen quickly dismounted his large, robust Iskjerne-bred snow horse and removed his helmet as he approached the prince and queen, tucking it under his arm as he bowed respectfully before looking at them both with a hint of terror in his greenish blue eyes. "Pardon my intrusion sire, but it seems we underestimated the enemy. They are more numerous than we expected." Prince Bjorn stepped forward, placing his hand on the viking's shoulder. "How many?" He asked, not being much for small talk. "At least a few thousand, maybe more" the Hestuhar said, "and they are close now, just over the hills." Queen Lagertha rushed up the steps to stand on the curtain wall, peering out over the battlements between the crenels to the distant hills on the horizon, noticing the first sign of danger as the Argosian army started to appear from over the other side of the hills almost like a sunrise in the early morning.

King Finehair was also observing the horizon from his own viewpoint at the Keep, having a much higher vantage point which enabled him to lookout over greater distances to the kingdom below. The Vikings didn't have looking glasses, however, and as King Harald squinted, his naked eyes took a moment to notice the approaching seige engines and Argosian war banners coming up over the hills about a quarter mile away. Seconds later, he noticed the first volley of barrel-sized fireballs as the six flaming clay bombs were unleashed without any sound or warning, sailing through the open sky and appearing like miniature growing stars as they neared closer and closer to the castle walls. Livia had ordered a pre-eminent strike, preventing King Harald Fairhair from intercepting the Argosian army with his own trebuchets, which still needed to be adjusted, weighted, loaded and calculated. "Shit," he said quietly to himself, before rushing over to the edge of the Keep and shouting down to the vikings on the wall below.

"Þeir eru hér!!! Hljóðið stríðsbjöllunum!!! Tilbúið slingurnar og skothringarnar!!! Allir í skjóli!!!" the king bellowed, just before the first volley of fireballs came crashing down from the sky, tails of black smoke trailing behind them. The barrel-sized clay bombs would not all hit the same area. One of them went too far, sailing completely over the castle before exploding in the fields. Another one fell short of any target, scorching the earth just outside of the kingdom's outer walls. A third pot hit the wall itself, shattering against the brick and stone in a barrage of flames which rained down on the unsuspecting grass-roof sheds and storage houses below. The fourth pot hit a windmill, causing it to collapse as the napalm-like fire spread across its cloth sails, and the structure fell over as helpless Norse villagers screamed and ran or tried to get out of the way to avoid being crushed and burned. The fifth bomb hit the merlons on one of the round guard towers, destroying a tiny upper portion of the outer wall and causing some of the Vikings to fall beneath the rubble as the bastions fell, the stone walkway collapsing in on itself beneath its own heavy weight as some of the important keystone structures had been damaged. Queen Lagertha ducked to one side of the wall and shielded her eyes as the clay pot shattered nearby, some of the small fragmented pebbles and dust showering her hair from the damaged tower above as the Vikings scrambled to prepare their own counter attack.

As the sixth firepot hit a large dead oak tree, it set the wood ablaze. "Undirbúðu kennsluna þína móðurlausu skíthælar. Miðaðu stöðugt!!!" King Harald shouted furiously, pointing to those closest to him and barking orders as he flung his cape over his shoulder, walking back down from the Keep and over to one of the inner walls of the open courtyard. The Vikings quickly prepped their own large trebuchets and catapults, calibrating them and loading them with hay bales covered in oil and pitch, which they set on fire using long wooden torches and firesticks. The catapults they loaded up with wine barrels filled with oil, but these they did not ignite with flames. As the Vikings scrambled to get their affairs in order, the Argosians used their ballistae to fire massive tungsten bolts at the main gate. Fortunately, the heavy wooden gate was protected by a spiked metal inner gate and outer metal grating or sliding gate, being situated to a barbican or gatehouse which offered some temporary protection and reinforcement around the wooden gate itself. The bolts from the ballistae would smash into the barbican or get tangled up in the metal grating, denting the heavy steel caging and sticking to the walls, yet they barely managed to pierce the large arched wooden doors themselves. The gate still held.

The Argosians had positioned their seige engines up in the highlands at the foot of the mountains, which offered them a considerable bit of elevation and range advantage against the Iskjerne vikings, at least with their trebuchets. King Harald drew the ulfberht sword from his scabbard and raised it into the air, glaring in the direction of the Argosian army with hatred and madness. "Á minni stjórn!!!" He roared over the ranks. "Og NÚNA!!!" he shouted, lowering his sword and pointing it forward at their enemies. The Vikings had 3x as many trebuchets than the Argosians had brought with them, evening the odds a little bit as the Vikings suddenly launched their own unlit wine barrels from their catapults over the castle walls towards the hills in the direction of their enemies. Yet even with a dozen more fixed catapults firing simultaneously, their range would not be enough to reach their targets, instead landing just shy of the hills in the open fields in front of them, crashing down and shattering, splintering as they fell short of their target. Reginarus and his army stood still, watching motionlessly from their unbroken formations as the Vikings failed to match the range of their Argosian trebuchets. King Harald snarled, looking down to Queen Lagertha who sighed quietly, looking up at him.

But the three legions weren't safe just yet. Off to their left flank, there was a stirring in the small barren woodland forest behind them. It appeared that the Ulfhednar and their pack of wolves had encountered a group of Hestuhar who had been trying to ride around and flank the Argosians from their blindside. Since the Hestuhar were on horseback, and seige engines move slowly over rough terrain, it could have been an early devastating blow to the legionnaires had it not been for the wolf-skinned mercenaries and their canine companions. The wolves had detected the scent of the horses from the mountains and led the Ulfhednar right to the Hestuhar, and the Argosians could hear the distant howling, barking, screams and war cries, and the sounds of clashing weapons echoing from the woodlands at the foot of the mountains as the Ulfhednar and Hestuhar engaged in their own little side battle amongst themselves. Reginarus turned his attention back to Livia before mounting his horse again and awaiting orders.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Yoko Kayabuki Character Portrait: Sigurd Hring Character Portrait: Seno Miyagi Character Portrait: Iskjerne Vikings Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Army Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Uhtred the Godless Character Portrait: Erling Snake Character Portrait: The Ljosalfar Character Portrait: Takao Eguchi Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Harald Fairhair Character Portrait: Dibble Character Portrait: Dainn Character Portrait: Bjorn Ironside Character Portrait: Iskjerne Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ubbe Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Aslaug Sigurdsdottir Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hestahar Character Portrait: Lagertha Character Portrait: Iskjerne Berserkers Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hrafnfylking Character Portrait: Iskjerne Kattrfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan Ragnarsson Character Portrait: Ragnar Lothbrok Character Portrait: Iskjerne Svinfylking Character Portrait: Halfdan the Black Character Portrait: Iskjerne Hornuglar Character Portrait: Robert I of Ellaria Character Portrait: Volund Character Portrait: Ivaldi Character Portrait: Indisla The Beautiful Character Portrait: Ragnar Sigurdsson Character Portrait: lothos Character Portrait: lothos
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"If a man does not strike first, he will be first struck."

Livia spoke these words almost under her breath, and in a language that sounded a great deal like English. Her breath was carried by the crisp wind as puffy clouds of moisture.

"The swords collide
With power and force
As mighty men
Show no remorse"


Livia withdrew her looking glass once more, and brought it up to her right eye, closing her left, and staring down at the motte and bailey ring fort before her, brilliant orange flames erupting up over the battlements. Her trebuchets for the most part struck their targets true. The orange flames reflected a deep burning hatred in her eyes. But she maintained her focus, despite being deep in thought. She noted the locations of the opposing trebuchets scattered throughout the settlement before them. No siege would be worth anything if they could fire back.

"Defensiones eorum destruunt." Livia said, without removing the looking glass from her eyes, and without any hesitation or remorse.

"Ac deinde frumenta et stabula." She moved slightly, sweeping her field of view across the burning city before her. "Metus dolor mors ac formidonis." She muttered to herself, and then she lowered the looking glass, bringing her gaze back to the siege engineers that were working the Trebuchets. They were working to make their adjustments, taking advantage of the superior construction, and range of their siege engines. The Trebuchets themselves used synthetic ropes, and high tension cords with laminated woods making them far more durable than their medieval counterparts. The counterweight was prefabricated out of a dense material the Taiyou called "Artificial mass" which increased the weight of the counterweight. Livia took a moment to marvle at the design, and the engineering that went into the trebuchets she was using to dispense misery upon the denizens, and the inhabitants of Iskjerne Bay.

Livia's legion lay poised in the highlands surrounding the decrepit Iskjerne Bay, they had been ordered to stay behind, and each of their Centurions had informed them that this was likely going to be a protracted siege, given the nature of the defenses set up before them. So every century of legionaries waited in phalanx formations, and they spread across the hills, giving the illusion that the army spread as far as the eye could see.

They all watched, unmoved and unimpressed at the pathetic display in front of them. The Iskjerne defenses had maximized their range and were still unable to hit them, this caused Livia's mouth to twitch, and the corner pulled up into a sly grin. The battle was tilted well into her favor, but she knew not to become too overconfident, as that could become their downfall.

Livia snapped to attention, turning sharply, and pulling the heavy wool cape close to her form. She marched through the Argosian battlements with precision.

"Catapultas eorum accipite!" She bellowed, her shrill voice carrying through the frigid air. Her boots made an audible metallic clunk with each of her movements, and her hips swayed with purpose, she grabbed the nearest artillery commander, and pointed down to the settlement.

The Commander nodded, and began relaying the orders to each of the legion's Trebuchet battalions, and the pause in firing took a moment, as they calculated new trajectories for the clay pots filled with jellied diesel.

"Parate!" The voice of the Argosians carried through the chilly air, as dozens of men worked simultaneously to prepare the trebuchets. They made subtle adjustments to the counterweight, and subtle adjustments to the direction the trebuchet faced, utilizing tabulators, and specialized artillery scopes, they calculated the precise trajectory, and performed their adjustments. Now each trebuchet was fixed on the defensive emplacements, where Livia intended to neuter their ability to fight back, and settle into the slow protracted siege she had planned to force upon them.

"Intendo!" They called out, and the final adjustments were made to each of the trebuchets, they could fine tune them now that they knew where each of the projectiles were going to land, now that they were ready, they awaited the final command.

"Aperta ignis!" They called out, and each of the six trebuchets loosed their clay pots in unison, in a perfect disciplined salvo, the flaming clay pots soared over the highlands and into the kingdom. Rather than being aimed somewhat indiscriminately, this time the flaming clay pots were aimed towards six of the Iskjerne Defender's trebuchets, and like before when they would shatter, they would spew thick, flaming jellied diesel in all directions, setting timbers, and crews alight in flames they would be unable to put out with normal water.

"Alterum excutere parate, esto velociter!" Livia called out, and the crews worked quickly to prepare the Trebuchets for a second volley.

It was at that moment the howling, and the sound of weapons caught the attention of the Argosian Equites protecting the left flank of the main army, their Centurion, Gaius Publius Titus caught the sounds and Livia too turned her head to the sound of the battle. She knew what Reginarus wanted to do, so she nodded slightly and gestured to the woods.

"Perge!" She shouted, and the Centurion nodded, departing with roughly a hundred horse mounted Equites cavalry, each armed with an oval shaped, lightweight nanosteel imbued shield, and long lance intended to dismount enemy cavalry from their horses, and maim them. They took off with the sound of rumbling hoofs and the whinnying of horses, descending down the side of the hill, and splitting up to try and encircle the Hestuhari and take them out.

The first waves of Argosian cavalry came in from the rear, through the dense woods and directly into the fray, their lances extended, they charged headlong into the fray and hardly made a sound, with only the stony, disciplined look on their faces. The first wave of Argosians would likely plunge their lances deep into several Hestuhar, aiming to either knock them off their horses, or impale them with their lances. Some Equites withdrew their Spatha shortswords, and took swipes at the Viking warriors, moving into melee range, and joining their Ulfhednar auxiliaries in supporting them.

The battle for Iskjerne Bay had truly begun.