Pathfinder 1E Crowns of Ice - A Tale of Blood and Betrayal - II

Archon Basileus

First Post
THE RAIDS
(THORIR AND EBEN)

“Aaaah.... What I wouldn’t give for some cellar milk right now” – Asmund said naively as the boat glided through the clear waters. Under the sun’s peak any refreshment would be welcome, but still, it had been a long winter…

Lavrans looked towards his brother in mocking disapproval. “Don’t say that again… And if you do, don’t go ‘round reminding people we have the same father…” – he jested his younger. “You need koskenkorva, taken right from the stream… That’ll make your blood flow. Not that babe’s drink…”

“What you two need” – continued Asger – “ is a good fight!” – the younger amongst the raiders, Asger the Gött constantly saw the need to impose himself… mostly, with no success. Both brothers look at him, and Lavrans take the word. “Going to provide, boy?” – laughs rise around the three.

“I just might” – the crew yells and laughs all around. Lavrans simply looks towards the youth, a sly smile on his face. “Sit down, you goat :):):):)er! I don’t spank children!” – despite the treatment, the boy was very likeable and loyal, and everyone seemed to recognize it. Lavrans, one of the most experienced in the crew, even took some pride on the boy. Sometimes, even more than he’d take on Asmund.

“I’d love to know where do you two find these types… ” – he turns to Thorir and Eben as he rises to take a sip of water from a skin nearby.

“Gonna play for us today, Eben?” – Asger smiles, spreading his arms against the rim of the ship as he skillfully changes topics. He seems to enjoy Eben’s stories and songs more than the others.

[And you know what the smiling faces stand for!]@Fenris @Queenie @tglassy @Jago
 
Last edited:

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Jago

Explorer
[section]~ " As if this lot could appreciate the Edda?" Eben Marenson asked with a raised eyebrow, turning from his view of the sea towards the crew of their sleek snekkja, " They'd find far more joy from a girl's tongue than my own, I'd wager."

He chuckled and Asger laughed with him, though above a sudden burst of wind the skald could've sworn he heard Lavrans make some crude comment or the other.

" I suppose I might, should the day remain this calm," he relented, knowing that at the very least, he appreciated the chance to practice his verse. His lyre lay unstrung and tucked within a hardened-leather bag to protect the delicate wood, Eben moving to fetch the instrument and prepare it for use. The sails were high on this day, the oars unneeded for the moment, leaving their vessel gliding along the whale road with all the ease of spreading honey across bread.

Eben Marenson slid a hand through his thick, dark hair, damp with the salt of the sea, before withdrawing the instrument from its case and setting to affixing its strings for play. He sat himself upon the edge of the ship, towards its prow, looking not at his hands but instead at the ocean he claimed as his home. Her green-tinted waters carried him far away from the chill of early spring's touch, and instead back to a simple house in a coastal town. To a dying fire and a girl whose green eyes he had lost himself in far more times than he had been floundered at sea.

But that was a long time ago, in a land far from here. That was how the Demiurgists began many of their own poems, and indeed those years past were far more a fairy tale in his memories than any recollection of true events. How could they be? Now, now there was only the sea, the song, and the sword.

And his brother, of course. Thorir Volundson was the only reason he was even still alive, and for that Eben had sworn a debt of allegiance to the man. Where the oars carried him, so would the skald be at his side to raise his shield, his voice, and his tankard. They had been raiding solidly for the past 3 years, Eben finally joining the crew of this ship after twenty months of not knowing whether this was his calling. At the clatter of spears and the song of Njord, though, Eben had always felt a strong pull, and so had settled into the crew easily.

He plucked at the strings of the lyre, tuning it gently before beginning to earnestly strum it in a simple rhythm. Two strings, then one, then two again, then one, a slow, melodious drone against the creaking of the ship's wood. Eben's voice, though soft and measured, seem to rise above the crest of waves and wind.

" Hearing I ask from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, both high and low;
Thou wilt, All-father, that well I relate.
New tales I recall for men long ago."


" Upon the whales' way, the breaker of rings,
Thorir and company roam Ægir's daughters,
With sea-steed swift as One-Eye's Sleipnir,
We carry blood-ember across the white waters."


" Mind's worth to the Sea King!
Thor's Blessing to fight the sleep of spear!
By headland of swords will our names be remembered,
Through Bragi's voice forever will we be here."


Eben continued to lightly strum the strings of his instrument with the same melody as before, blue eyes finally opening and settling upon his Half-Brother with a knowing nod.

" Kin, where do we sail for today? Where next shall my song carry us?'~[/section]

[sblock=Eben's Stats]Character Sheet

HP: 30/30
Condition: Normal
Initiative: +1
Perception: +8
[sblock=Combat Stats]AC: 17 Flat: 16 Touch: 11
Fort: 5 Reflex: 2 Will: 5

In Hand: Nothing

Masterwork Longsword: +7, 1d8+3, 19-20/x2
Composite Longbow: +4 1d8+3, 20/x3, 110. ft.
Arrows: 40/40[/sblock]
[sblock=Spells & Powers]Cantrips: Unlimited
Dancing Lights
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Message
Prestidigitation
Read Magic

Level 1: 4/Day
Horn of Pursuit
Moment of Greatness
Read Weather
Timely Inspiration
Windy Escape

Level 2: 2/Day
Invisibility
Mirror Image

Skald Abilities:
Raging Song: 18/18 Rounds Remaining
Powerful Blow: 1/1 Per Day
Born Free: 1/1 Per Day[/sblock]
[sblock=Adventure Notes]Transactions:
Total Coin: 28.03 GP

Game Info:[/sblock][/sblock]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
Thorir called out to Lavran after asking where he had found others of the crew. “Under the same pile of troll dung I dug you up out of.” Laughs Thorir joining in the jests of the crew.

Thorir was at the prow checking the angle of the sun. He took his readings and nodded to himself. Looking at the two men, one could see the similarities. Dark hair, similar builds, the same intensity at times broken by mirth.

He left the prow as Eben strung his lyre, walking over the men sprawled out on the deck with practiced ease. He reached the tiller as Eben sang. He stopped though to listen. He usually stopped and listened to his brother. This was one of his favorites that Eben sang, he knew most of them by now. This was a song of the sea, and Thorir, facing the stern looked out across the glittering sea. The sun reflected off it’s surface and tiny white caps rose in response the wind. A fortuitous wind as it happened. No need for oars and a good pace today. A sly smile crossed his face as Eben mentioned his name, his brother knew how to slip that in.

As the last notes fell away, Thorir broke his reverie away from the sea and the waves. He caught Eben’s nod and question. But did not reply right away. He continued on his way to the stern giving new headings to the helmsman. Thorir then headed back over to Eben, and sat down beside him, a secretive smile on his face.
“You remember when we last were in port a few weeks ago down south?” Thorir asks. Eben nods. “Well I have a cousin who moved there a few years ago. So while you were seeing to re-supplying us, and these hag-ridden idiots were out getting drunk” says Thorir gesturing to Lavran, Asger and the others. The response to which was an apple tossed at Thorir’s head by Lavran along with a rude hand gesture. Thorir caught the apple laughing. He took a bite and chewed before continuing with his own tale.

“So while you were all occupied I went to see my cousin Steinar. Lo and behold I come across some information that could prove very lucrative for us. It seems that about a month ago Steinar received an invitation to a wedding back home. And this isn’t too rare. He is a likable guy and he has connections down here and can always find and bring finery for the women-folk. So it turns out that Steinar was asked to deliver a load of silk for the wedding. To have it waiting at the docks for the blushing bride when she arrives. Which as I said happens quite often.”


Thorir takes another bite of the apple, and chews slowly as the men and Eben wait impatiently for the meaning to all this. Thorir is just grinning as he chews, for he knows the punchline.

“So, here is the thing, we know when and where this ship will sail to. We know her route. And on board, a quite valuable young lady. A lady worth a lot on money to make sure she arrives either at her betrothed’s house or back home safely. If she were to not show up to either place…..”
Thorir lets his words hang out there as he takes another bite of apple.

“So, yes lads. We are going to run this ship down and take this bride to be hostage. Someone will pay a handsome sum of silver for her safe return.” The eyes of his crew light up. This held the promise of a good share of treasure without as much risk.

“Now, here comes the best part.”
Says Thorir with a giant smile he can no longer contain. “This poor wench is betrothed to none other than Einar Volundson!” Thorir roars with laughter at this final piece of information.
 

Jago

Explorer
[section]~ Eben listened attentively, brows furrowing a bit as Thorir allowed himself the pomp and circumstance to his announcement. While the younger brother was the poet, Thorir Volundson was always the consummate showman: a noble in the way he commanded attention and respect. The problem was, the Son of Maren figured, was that Thorir knew this and so delighted in its effect. Still, it was amusing to see the effects it left upon the likes of Lavran, whom cared more for the next bout of gold than where the winds truly took them. For his part, Eben rather enjoyed his brother's penchant for storytelling.

So it was that when their target was revealed to be someone that would profit Einar, a resounding cheer and guffaw shook the shields that hung from the sides of their ship. Long had they evaded his warships and many were the days that their swords had carried off the eldest Volundson's treasures. While neither Thorir nor Einar openly declare that they were at odds with one another, Eben had seen enough of their secret war to know that a bride was one more step towards Einar solidifying his hold on their father's throne. More than the ransom, this was about keeping the man from power all the more.

" This girl must have the misfortune of Ice Giants on Thor's Day," Eben chuckled, not knowing whether he felt bad for the bride-to-be or a sickening sense of revulsion for someone who would willingly lay in the same bed as Einar. Not even the sheep could be cajoled to do so!

" Her family must either be very desperate or very easily coerced. Either way, their loss is certainly our gain. Who knows? We may even be able to encourage Einar out of his shell after this one."

The Skald mulled it over, wondering exactly what this would mean for them. If they could force Einar to make a mistake of significance (like finally leaving his mead hall to pursue the brothers), then perhaps their goals could all be achieved. Thorir would sit upon the throne, and he himself would be called Volundson in the eyes of the gods and man. Odin willing, this was perhaps the way to correct his mistake. Blue eyes turned to the glassy surface of the sea again, Eben leaning over the edge of the boat to catch his muted reflection in the dark, frigid waters.

Would this be the key to going home? If so, what awaited him there? And could he truly leave his brother now that he had finally found a place he belonged?

Questions for another day. For now, more pertinent ones arose to mind. Eben looked away from the ocean and back towards Thorir, fingers still idly plucking at his lyre in a simple arpeggio.

" I doubt the girl would be without guards, but more than likely she'd have an entourage than an army. Where do we bring her afterwards? Keep her on our snekkja, or somewhere where Einar cannot send his longships after us so easily?" ~[/section]

[sblock=Eben's Stats]Character Sheet

HP: 30/30
Condition: Normal
Initiative: +1
Perception: +8
[sblock=Combat Stats]AC: 17 Flat: 16 Touch: 11
Fort: 5 Reflex: 2 Will: 5

In Hand: Nothing

Masterwork Longsword: +7, 1d8+3, 19-20/x2
Composite Longbow: +4 1d8+3, 20/x3, 110. ft.
Arrows: 40/40[/sblock]
[sblock=Spells & Powers]Cantrips: Unlimited
Dancing Lights
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Message
Prestidigitation
Read Magic

Level 1: 4/Day
Horn of Pursuit
Moment of Greatness
Read Weather
Timely Inspiration
Windy Escape

Level 2: 2/Day
Invisibility
Mirror Image

Skald Abilities:
Raging Song: 18/18 Rounds Remaining
Powerful Blow: 1/1 Per Day
Born Free: 1/1 Per Day[/sblock]
[sblock=Adventure Notes]Transactions:
Total Coin: 28.03 GP

Game Info:[/sblock][/sblock]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
Thorir gives out orders to the men. The sails, the bilge, the weapons. All must be in readiness. As the men scatter to their tasks, Thorir watches them with an for detail.

After a moment, Thorir turns to Eben, and leaning over the railing waits for Eben to join him. The brother stand together, facing the sea was as close to privacy as they could get on the ship.

"We will see about Einar. He may not truly care. If the girl dies he can arrange for another marriage. I wouldn't put it past the blackguard. Now it may depend on how important this girl is. He may not have another lined up, or at least not one with as much prestige or connections as I am sure this girl has if I know Einar."

Thorir pauses, and looks out to sea. While he would sell this as an easy score, he could be honest with his brother, especially as it concerned his other brother. The implications were not lost on either of them.

"So it might be the girl's family who pays up the money. We have to be prepared for that. And any other eventuality."sighs Thorir

"But I have a few ideas. We will discuss them over the next few days before we intercept the ship. "I am serious though about Einar, he might not care who he marries. So he might not care if she gets ransomed, or killed in trying to re-take her. I swear that man has the blood of Loki in him. In any case, I doubt Einar will leave the comfort of his fire and hall. He would send his men. From what I hear he runs the land now, my father. Our father" Thorir corrects himself. It had been a few years to get used to the idea, but old phrases die hard. "Our father is one his last legs, and Einar makes all the decisions. He won't leave the safety of that this close to taking the throne."


"As to guards, yes there should be an honor guard. I doubt more than twelve. Their sailors could put to if pressed I am sure. We will outnumber them handily." Thorir pauses takes last bite from the apple and tosses the core into the waves."However, these are countrymen, we cannot slaughter them outright. There will be casualties as we take the boat yes, but we need to minimize it. If we slaughter them, the King may take notice or have it brought to his notice. In any case, we need someone to bring the ransom note." grins Thorir to Eben.
 

Jago

Explorer
[section]~ The younger Poet looked up to his Warrior of a brother, nodding along with his insight. It was when he declared Volund as our father that Eben remembered with strong conviction why he had greed to sail with Thorir in the first place. It would have been easy just to flee, to give up on his name, his lineage, and all else, but Thorir saw something in Eben that the younger brother did not entirely find true. But, he had learned to believe in the Thorir that believed in him, and so when they spoke in confidence Eben knew that his half-brother fully trusted him.

" A shame that some likely-innocent father is going to have to pay just because they chose the wrong betrothed," Eben lamented quietly, having stopped his playing to listen intently.

He sighed.

" Gǣð ā Wyrd swā hīo scel."

Fate did indeed go ever as it must: Eben knew that. Thorir knew that. Every man aboard the ship knew to struggle against The Wyrd was as if to try and deny Ragnarok. Whatever this family, this girl, had or had not done, it would not change their Fate here: she was to wed Einar, and the other Sons of Volund would make to stop this from happening. The Gods would be with at least one of them when the day finally came.

The Gods, though, seemed to be turning a blind eye to their home of Grandael.

" Have you've heard any more news of Father?" Eben asked, slightly wide-eyed with suspense, " Has his condition worsened?"

That would be a horrible circumstance: if Volund passed and Einar assumed control of his throne, there would be little more that Thorir and Eben could do that wouldn't be considered outright Treason against a rightful Jarl.

" We will have to return when father passes into the halls of Walhalla," Eben observed, looking to his brother, " We will have to go home at some point."

Right into the open arms of Einar. He shook off the thought, put his focus towards their next raid.

" I can't imagine a single ship could stand for long against your spear and my song," the Skald returned the grin, clasping his brother on the shoulder, " I'm sure this 'Princess' or whomever she is has a full train of handmaidens we could send back with an entire saga of demands! But of course, I agree: whomsoever raises the sword against us shall be answered with the sword, but neither of us are here to senselessly kill those doing their duty."

He rolled his eyes as his hand fell back to his side.

" Besides, we've enough royalty trying to screw us already. Not like we need the entire North hunting for our little ship." ~[/section]

[sblock=Eben's Stats]Character Sheet

HP: 30/30
Condition: Normal
Initiative: +1
Perception: +8
[sblock=Combat Stats]AC: 17 Flat: 16 Touch: 11
Fort: 5 Reflex: 2 Will: 5

In Hand: Nothing

Masterwork Longsword: +7, 1d8+3, 19-20/x2
Composite Longbow: +4 1d8+3, 20/x3, 110. ft.
Arrows: 40/40[/sblock]
[sblock=Spells & Powers]Cantrips: Unlimited
Dancing Lights
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Message
Prestidigitation
Read Magic

Level 1: 4/Day
Horn of Pursuit
Moment of Greatness
Read Weather
Timely Inspiration
Windy Escape

Level 2: 2/Day
Invisibility
Mirror Image

Skald Abilities:
Raging Song: 18/18 Rounds Remaining
Powerful Blow: 1/1 Per Day
Born Free: 1/1 Per Day[/sblock]
[sblock=Adventure Notes]Transactions:
Total Coin: 28.03 GP

Game Info:[/sblock][/sblock]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
Thorir looks out at the waves for a bit. He spots a small pod of dolphins leaping along about a furlong off the starboard side. They are keeping pace with the ship as it speeds on along the winds. Thorir smiles to watch them, it reminds him of his youth, and going to sea with his father on trading trips.

Without turning towards Eben, Thorir answers "No. There is nothing compelling us to go home. At least not for me. If the Norns so will it, I shall rest my boots there. If I keep them on this deck until the valkyries take me, so mote it be. Even for Father's funeral, could I be absent, yea." Thorir sighs.

He turns around and puts his back to the shield wall on the railing, crossing his feet, and arms as he leans back. "Yes, some unlucky father. Yes some unlucky wench. The trolls can take them for all I care. Were it not Einar's prize, I don't think I would try. But every village we have raided, there was an unlucky father, unlucky mother, unlucky daughter and unlucky son. Dead or destitute now. Because of us. That is the way of the world. Do you still shed tears that you were born a bastard? That your father refused you twice? Or have you accepted the path the All-Father has and walked it with courage? So no Eben shed no tear for our prey. It is as you said, Fate. So don't dwell on it. Courage sharpens a sword, pity dulls it."

There was a hardness in Thorir's eyes as he spoke, not quite callousness, but rather resignation. That and the knowledge that one's one blood came first. And yet he could not claim that virtue yet. Thorir shakes his head, clearing out such thought. He gave his brother a grin.


"Even if we did have the entire north hunting for us, I wager the effort to track us down and take us would be worthy of several sagas."
laugh Thorir clasping his brother on the shoulder.

"Now onto the details. For one, we shall not speak our names when we take this ship. Let Einar not know who took his bride. If he knows it is us he may not stir, yet for common pirates he may. Once we have the girl and who ever else of value is traveling with her, we shall leave instructions with the remainder of their crew to meet us at the holy Isle of Heilgar. No one lives there, the place is dedicated to the gods and they keep it their own. The island is not large, and there is a single low hill. On top of the hill are the shrines. The thing is that the shrine of Baldur casts a spell on the island. Bow string snap if they are drawn, sword will now come out of their scabbards. Axes and spear head fall off their shafts. Spells fizzle out. The Baldur the Peacekeeper makes sure no violence comes to that land. It is the perfect place, there no matter the army they send, it shall be safe. Ancient kings have always used the island to broker deals. The last few Kings have preferred to negotiate with axe and fire and talk. But my mother remembers the tales, and she told me of this place. I have been there twice before, it isn't hard to find, it is just that it isn't worth going there for anything except peace." Thorir concludes.
 

Jago

Explorer
[section]~ Eben's eyebrows raised at the commitment which Thorir gave to the Ocean over their Home.

" You truly are a Sea King, brother," he noted with a dry laugh, "To make Njörðr's realm your own despite having a land to call your own. Hah! I can almost agree with this: The Sea is the only place that ever took me in."

He paused. Thought on that for a moment.

" Well ... perhaps not the only place. There was a ... Ah. Another time. A different home."

Eben drew a long gaze out to the cold waters, which suddenly did not feel so chilly. Almost ... comforting.

" But here is my home now," he reaffirmed, nodding solidly to Thorir, " If here is where we hang our shields, then yes: Come let Jörmungandr swallow us with our freedom at sea rather than shackled upon soft ground, come what may. I may have never known Father, but I know my kin, and my boots go where my kin goes."

It was said with conviction, with the certainty of a man who had finally found home in a frigid North that had seemed determined to take it from him. Thorir was right: that he was Bastard-Born did not trouble him anymore, not when the crew and his brother accepted him for who he was and what he provided. Once it had been all that consumed him, but now ... Not now. It no longer seemed important once the Shieldwall was formed.

" Courage sharpens the Sword-Soul, brother, but it is still within Odin's Wisdom to consider when, and where, it is drawn," the younger countered, " Much blood lays upon my blade now. Much more than I would have imagined. But ..."

He bit his lower lip sharply, chewed on it for a moment, as if mulling something over.

" But it is the blood of those who chose their Fate, as we have chosen ours. Should the gods, ours or other, have taken umbrage with our actions, then Tyr's Justice would have fallen upon us long ago. As our ship still floats, our sails stay full, and our coffers continue to grow, I would say I can take solace in that, my brother."

Eben smiled warmly at Thorir, knowing that it was a burden to bear: to carry the responsibility of a noble and yet take such ignoble action. War and fire were only truly noble in the songs, and even the war between the Æsir and the Vanir was recorded by Bragi, The God of Poetry, as beginning with all the most heroic intentions and descending into naught but incomprehensible violence. Would Thorir then make the same choice as Old One-Eye, he wondered? Would they be able to set aside The Spear when the time came?

" My mother once sailed these seas in peace," Eben told his kin, his eyes following the gentle rolls of the blue waters, " One day, I had hoped to do so as well, when this Wolf Age has ended."

He had not spoken much of his life from back 'home' as it were, not in the years that Thorir had known him. For now, something on the salt winds loosened his tongue.

" It is my mother's shield I carry, you know. Supposedly handed down from her father when he served in the fyrd. It's carried me ever since I left her house. Saved my life many times. Yours too," he laughed, nudging Thorir with his elbow, " So while I may have accepted that The Wyrd cares naught whether I am Bastard-Born nor son of The King himself, I know that my past still dictates my Fate."

His gaze tracked back to Thorir.

" As it does yours, Son of Volund."

Eben Marenson let these thoughts fall to the back of his mind as Thorir explained his plan for the Isle of Heilgar. It was ... honestly? Quite brilliant. He had heard of such lands that The Gods had blessed, always making sure that they retained a measure of their power. Lands where man and woman could go and sit in the Wisdom of Odin, or find the strength of Thor. Isolated hamlets and hallowed grounds, spoken of in myth and legend to the point where most men would scarcely believe in something so sacred.

But Eben believed. Eben had seen much alongside Thorir, and was now ready to see this Holy Isle.

" This is a great plan, brother, so long as those that come for us don't happen to be bearing any mistletoe," the Skald chuckled, " It will give us a refuge that we will sorely need after such a bold endeavor. Your mother was wise indeed to tell you of this place: I doubt even Einar would think to try and overcome the power of Baldur, let alone whomever the girl's father is. Even a Demiurgist would be compelled by the power of The Æsir."

The Poet recalled a bit of their beliefs: he had grown up in the lands of The Demiurge. A God that preached peace whose followers spread by the sword. Curious lot. Though not entirely written off by Eben: ink marked onto his back still bore the Symbol of The Unifier alongside Huginn and Muninn, for he was of both worlds.

He thought for a moment, tilting his head towards his taller sibling.

" Your mother told you of this place?" he questioned, " Was she devout to The Gods, then?"

They shared their father's blood, but it was the blood of the mother that had them grow into two, different people. Eben was ... curious, to say the least. ~[/section]

[sblock=Eben's Stats]Character Sheet

HP: 30/30
Condition: Normal
Initiative: +1
Perception: +8
[sblock=Combat Stats]AC: 17 Flat: 16 Touch: 11
Fort: 5 Reflex: 2 Will: 5

In Hand: Nothing

Masterwork Longsword: +7, 1d8+3, 19-20/x2
Composite Longbow: +4 1d8+3, 20/x3, 110. ft.
Arrows: 40/40[/sblock]
[sblock=Spells & Powers]Cantrips: Unlimited
Dancing Lights
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Message
Prestidigitation
Read Magic

Level 1: 4/Day
Horn of Pursuit
Moment of Greatness
Read Weather
Timely Inspiration
Windy Escape

Level 2: 2/Day
Invisibility
Mirror Image

Skald Abilities:
Raging Song: 18/18 Rounds Remaining
Powerful Blow: 1/1 Per Day
Born Free: 1/1 Per Day[/sblock]
[sblock=Adventure Notes]Transactions:
Total Coin: 28.03 GP

Game Info:[/sblock][/sblock]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
"It is always a Wolf Age, or a Blood Age, or a Fire Age Eben. It is always a world of blood. Did your mother truly sail in peace? I wonder. Is peace to be found? War brings sport for the Gods. And without war how shall the Halls of Valhalla be filled?"
Thorir shakes his head. It was good he wasn't drinking today or he would really ramble on this. "I don't give a witch's cold teat about the past, or Fate, or the Norns. The Wyrd can go rot with it all too. In the end, we are here. And we do what we must to survive. By blood and axe, plow and till, line and hook. It doesn't matter. The Gods don't care about this little piece of bark floating on the water. I will use their power for my own ends, at least as I am able on the isle."

Thorir is silent for a time, as these dark thoughts continue to make their way through him. Finally as if to rid himself of them, he spits into the sea. He gives a small laugh.

"My mother? Well, you heard my father just now I fear. The dark, the foreboding, the axe and spear. My mother, yes she was the light. She was joy. She was devoted to the gods, especially Freyja.I remember laughter, and trips to the high dells to pick wild flowers. And yes offerings to the gods. Actually I wasn't around Father much. Einar was the eldest and was at his side for lessons on ruling. Other than weapons of course." Thorir trails off.
 

Archon Basileus

First Post
THORIR/EBEN

As the brothers talk, the crew continues with the usual tasks.

It is Eben that notices it first, though. Not ten steps behind the pair, the solitary Gunnvör Raveneye watches them carefully. Whenever the men cheered, he did not raise his voice; whenever they laughed, he did not; whenever they talked, he fell mute; whenever they ate, he feasted. It could be his choice, but most likely it was the isolation imposed on him. Men feared him for what he was and for the brands he carried – for his body was marked in runes from head to toe, a reminder of the gods who owned and inhabited that husk.

The Raveneye stands there, lingering for a few seconds, his attention shaken by mention of Heilgar and Baldur. His black eyes shine against the sun, soon to meet Eben’s, and yet the tall, slender figure was unintimidated. He simply reaches for a knife and begins to peel a fruit from a close crate. He sits, still watching the duo.

@Fenris @Queenie @tglassy @Jago
 

Jago

Explorer
[section]~ Eben stayed in the silence with his brother after the small bit of philosophy, staring out at the ocean as the sails finally caught a good breath of wind and kicked the snekkja across the rolling waves. Eben moved with the rock of the ship, having been quite well practiced at keeping his boots to the deck in both calm and rough seas.

It seemed that's what he and his brother were always between. There was either a treasure trove, or they were poor. They either feasted on succulent roasts and barrels of mead, or the brothers divided stale bread amongst the entire crew. They had been through rough and calm seas together, and so Eben could accept that perhaps, just perhaps, his older brother placed far more emphasis on what they did, rather than any prayer or curse. It was their shields that protected them, their spears that won them glory and gold.

There was some wisdom in this, but Eben also thought it rather unwise to openly invite misfortune: The Wyrd was fickle, and poets knew of many stories where The Wyrd was all that was left for a hero to rise or fall on. So it was that when Thorir spoke of his mother's influence, Eben once again was reminded on how alike he was to his brother: Maren, his own parent, had been much the same.

" It seems Einar learned much from father," Eben mumbled, turning his gaze back to Thorir and then past him, to catch the Raveneye. The man was avoided by the other vikingr, thought of as some ill omen, yet he found a place amongst the crew. Talk of gods seemed to have roused him from his normal trance, Eben trying to lift his mouth in a grin but quickly finding his mirth gone. He shuddered and nodded to Thorir.

" There's my reason for at least making an offer to Njörðr before we set sail," The Skald noted, his gaze making it clear whom he spoke of, " I'd imagine Old Raveneye would know much of this Isle of yours as well. His knowledge may serve us in preparing for anything our two heads couldn't conceive of."
~[/section]

[sblock=Eben's Stats]Character Sheet

HP: 30/30
Condition: Normal
Initiative: +1
Perception: +8
[sblock=Combat Stats]AC: 17 Flat: 16 Touch: 11
Fort: 5 Reflex: 2 Will: 5

In Hand: Nothing

Masterwork Longsword: +7, 1d8+3, 19-20/x2
Composite Longbow: +4 1d8+3, 20/x3, 110. ft.
Arrows: 40/40[/sblock]
[sblock=Spells & Powers]Cantrips: Unlimited
Dancing Lights
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Message
Prestidigitation
Read Magic

Level 1: 4/Day
Horn of Pursuit
Moment of Greatness
Read Weather
Timely Inspiration
Windy Escape

Level 2: 2/Day
Invisibility
Mirror Image

Skald Abilities:
Raging Song: 18/18 Rounds Remaining
Powerful Blow: 1/1 Per Day
Born Free: 1/1 Per Day[/sblock]
[sblock=Adventure Notes]Transactions:
Total Coin: 28.03 GP

Game Info:[/sblock][/sblock]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
Thorir shrugged. "Might not hurt to ask him." says Thorir holding Gunnvor's gaze without remorse or reservation. "And even the gods cannot escape their Wyrd, so why worry?"

"However despite what I just said, you know I have never missed an offering to Njord before we sail. Nor to Thor and Tyr before a battle. And to the All-father at various times. That is my inheritance from my mother."

"And let me tell you we pull this who thing off we will need to offer Baldur a good offering. Plus if things go as planned Loki and Vidar. But again one thing at a time."
 

Archon Basileus

First Post
THORIR/EBEN

As Thorir and Eben mention his name, the sharp attention of Raveneye is immediately struck. Still, instead of weighing in, the odd man simply chews another bite of fruit out of his blade. He makes no mention of speaking at all.

After a long, awkward stare into silence, he smiles a cold, detached smile.

“There is only one thing the three gods will want in the end, Sea Kings... The question is: when the time comes, will you be willing to pay the price?” – he says to both brothers, a mix of mockery and concern in his voice. He looks down and approaches the bird cages, sharing a piece of his food with one of them.

@Fenris @Queenie @tglassy @Jago
 

Fenris

Adventurer
"And what is it that the god want Son of Mimir?" asks Thorir "And what would their price be? I have paid in sweat and blood. I have sacrificed to the gods and sacrificed my own birthrights. I have placed my life before Njord and Tyr and held to there tenets. Whether they hear or care doesn't matter so long as one faces their own Wyrd, Fate and the Norns with courage. So speak mystic, what more can the gods wish from me?"
 

Archon Basileus

First Post
THORIR/EBEN

“More blood… What else!?” – Raveneye answers without flinching. “But this time… Kin’s blood.” – he returns slowly to his fruit as he continues to speak.

“I had a dream last night. I closed my eyes and suddenly I rode across the rainbow bridge along with Loki. I heard as he instigated the gods against Baldur, in a jesting game. I’ve seen as he handled the cursed arrow to Hod, the thing that would strike Baldur and kill him. I’ve seen all gods weep for the lost youth, joy of Asgard. And I’ve seen Loki in disguise, denying his tears so the dead god would remain in Hel till the end of days. This story we all know.”
He chews once more, splitting a piece and handling part of it to the birds.

“But here’s the curious part” – he looks Thorir in the eyes. “All throughout the competition, all throughout the mourning, lamenting and crying, I noticed, surprised, our father Odin. And he was different. Young, perfect gaze, with two intact eyes, seeing everything perfectly well, too. Better than the others, in fact. For he had knowledge of Loki’s tricks. And yet, he said nothing. Nothing. He wouldn’t try to stop Loki, he wouldn’t try to save his son. He saw Baldur die. And only when everyone cried for Baldur, Odin’s visage returned to its true state. As he cried for his son, he grew older, his lost eye crying itself into tears of blood. The transmutation ended, he looked down and muttered to himself, ‘No sacrifice is too great’.”

“Kin’s blood for one’s wishes. No coincidence to hear you talking of Baldur’s blessings just now.” – he approaches a bit, tossing the knife upon a crate and cleaning his hands with his clothes. “The dream was for you.”

“We never know we’ve been taken for fools until tragedy makes us wise.” – his cryptic gaze turns into a sympathetic expression. He touches both brothers’ shoulders in solidarity, and this time around Thorir and Eben can almost feel some semblance of humanity pulsating within the man. The moment is brief, though. He turns his back and walks away, seeking for tasks in the deck.

@Fenris @Queenie @tglassy @Jago
 

Fenris

Adventurer
"Well I could just stick Eben with a knife and be done with in then" jests Thorir. "But thank you, Ravenseye for sharing your vision. How often have we seen kin fight kin over power, glory or riches? I left and found my own path to glory and riches. That leaves the power for Einar. I have no desire to spill his blood, it is the same as mine. And more over I declare to all here, it is the same as Eben's, if only in my eyes and the eyes of the Gods."

Thorir paused to clasp his brother on the shoulder and smile. Thorir could claim this right, for had not this man stood by him for the last few years? Does that not make a man a brother?

"Now should Einar abrogate his responsibilities, should he turn to the tricks of Loki, should be dishonor the halls of my father, then his blood is tainted and impure. No longer mine, no longer my fathers, or his father. Then his blood and his rights are forfeit. Then shall the gods be appeased. Then shall they have Kinsblood, a wereguild of the Wyrd. But not before. Not by my hand."
 

Jago

Explorer
[section]~ The younger brother had to hide a sudden flicker of surprise that struck across his eyes as Thorir laid his hand upon his shoulder. Eben had not expected such a sudden affirmation of his kinship, and while Thorir had never even insinuated that the Poet was anything other than his blood before, it was still astonishing to hear the Son of Volund declare the bastard his brother in front of the crew and The Gods themselves.

However, Old Raveneye's words had left the Skald unsettled. Eben knew of which part of the Edda was referenced: the Mistletoe and how it struck down beautiful Baldur, arranged by Loki the Treacherous. However, no saga that Eben recalled spoke of Odin knowing of the tragedy that would occur. After Raveneye had left the brothers back to their own, Eben narrowed his eyebrows and addressed the Sea King.

" 'No Sacrifice Is Too Great'," he repeated slowly, stroking a hand through his dark beard, " Something seems ... wrong, about this. Brother. Call me Superstitious, but this does not bode well."

He turned back to the salt seas, the spray kicking up against the bow as the vessel cut through the dark waters. Eben searched his memory and thoughts, trying to put to words what he felt.

" Even Odin The Wise did not know of what awaited Baldur that day. But if he did, and let Ragnarok come without a word to stop it?"

In many ways, Eben believed strongly in The Wyrd, but also knew that men had their own destinies to make. Did those of Asgard not feel the same? He knew Thor and Bragi would try to fight their Fate, assuredly! But what if this was not about Odin and gods and mistletoe?

" Too Great. Too great for what, brother?" Eben asked of Thorir, " The Death of Baldur precedes the end of all things. The days of The Serpent and The Wolf! While the world may be remade from the ashes of Yggdrasil ... It makes no sense to me, Thorir. No sense at all."

Eben cocked his head to the side, as if suddenly catching an idea within the waves and wanting to track it.

" Unless."

He chewed on the inside of his cheek. Opened his mouth once, twice, closed it and considered yet again. After a slow moment, he spoke.

" If betrayal is a necessary sacrifice. If the Father must let a son die for the sake of something greater, for the world to be reborn from what it has become."

Eben lifted his brows to his kin, as if his own realization surprised him just as much.

" What if Raveneye was speaking of Volund? That a son's blood must be shed to right the lands of Grandael? And then, which of we brothers is Loki, and which is Baldur?"

Eben shook his head, not even sure if his leap in logic was true. But, who could say that dreams had singular, simple answers?

" I have a bad feeling about this." ~[/section]

[sblock=Eben's Stats]Character Sheet

HP: 30/30
Condition: Normal
Initiative: +1
Perception: +8
[sblock=Combat Stats]AC: 17 Flat: 16 Touch: 11
Fort: 5 Reflex: 2 Will: 5

In Hand: Nothing

Masterwork Longsword: +7, 1d8+3, 19-20/x2
Composite Longbow: +4 1d8+3, 20/x3, 110. ft.
Arrows: 40/40[/sblock]
[sblock=Spells & Powers]Cantrips: Unlimited
Dancing Lights
Know Direction
Mage Hand
Message
Prestidigitation
Read Magic

Level 1: 4/Day
Horn of Pursuit
Moment of Greatness
Read Weather
Timely Inspiration
Windy Escape

Level 2: 2/Day
Invisibility
Mirror Image

Skald Abilities:
Raging Song: 18/18 Rounds Remaining
Powerful Blow: 1/1 Per Day
Born Free: 1/1 Per Day[/sblock]
[sblock=Adventure Notes]Transactions:
Total Coin: 28.03 GP

Game Info:[/sblock][/sblock]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
Thorir laughed "If that gives you pause Eben then remember that it was Hoder, Balder's brother, who cast the fated mistletoe. Odin knew all from the begining. He it was who went to Hel.

The mead has been brewed for Baldur.
The hope of the high gods has gone


Odin knew the entire time. Did he know a sacrifice was needed? The Eddas do not say."


"However it depends on which skald you listen to. Now Loki was no Aesir, so he was not a brother to Balder. So for this analogy to be complete I know of no way to make filial comparisons. Now does that make you Loki? You still have Volund blood, if less. Hoder was blind, but that could mean lacking vision of the world as much as literal blindness, and so could easily mean Einar. And of course Balder being the most beautiful must mean me." he laughs.

"However" he adds in a conspiratorial whisper "what I think it really means is that Raveneye has been hotting the mead too hard before bed" says Thorir roaring with laughter again.

Thorir jumping onto a railing Called out to the entire crew "And why worry? Odin knew and could not stop it. What profit did knowing the future bring? None! It never does. Prophecies are warnings aye! But no one can change them. Only the Norns know and so let them know and worry. It does you no good to worry. Your skein is set, the length is cut. Shall blood be spilt for one's wishes? Nearly always! Have we men not split blood to achieve what we have?" he calls out and is answered by a raurcous cheer. "So we fight, against whomever the gods put before us. And lo have we not bested everyone yet?" a ringing Yes! is shouted back. "And so we carry on until we do fall, and in doing so go to Valhalla having lived a life of courage and honor. Where in this is there room or need to worry Eden? Where?" ask Thorir standing over Eben
 

Archon Basileus

First Post
THORIR/EBEN

Where in this is there room or need to worry Eden? Where?"

“I tell you where…” – Lavrans walks around, busy with his duties. “In a warlock’s cursed head, that’s where!” – he grimaces towards Raveneye. “All was well till that vulture opened his mouth. Now look at Eben, worrying over nothing! Should have thrown him to Njörd long ago… And the god would spit him back, if he’s clever enough.” – he does not measure his tone or his words, his hateful glance stabbing at Raveneye. His speech is accompanied by three or four similar expressions, as well as some moans.

“Don’t worry, Sea King, dreams cannot frighten us… Treachery, on the other hand, deserves our attention…” – Lavrans sits with his brother and begins to help him prepare some arrows. Asmund thanks him with a nod, but his disapproving expression shows compassion for Raveneye.

“Thorir…” – Asger is the one to offer an easy way out of the situation. Young and clueless as he is, the lad has a way with words. Gods wish it was the same with a sword. “How long till we reach the route?” – his expression also shows some pain. Thorir and Eben cannot say if he feels for Raveneye, for the fated brothers, or what.

[MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION] [MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855130]Jago[/MENTION]
 

Fenris

Adventurer
"Oi, Lavran" calls out Thorir. "I believe that Raveneye has served as your shieldmate quite often yes? Did he let a single spear penetrate your flank? No. There will be no dissension on this ship. You have an issue you can settle it by glima, not by speaking ill of a man who has fought by your side. Am I clear?" asks Thorir. He gets grunts of assent from Lavran.

Thorir's face softens and he adds "Besides you know Aegir's wife Ran brews the best mead. You want Old Raveneye getting better brew than you?" Lavran half smiles in spite of himself. We wanted to keep his sour mood.

Having settled the dispute, or least put it to bed for the time, Thorir turns to Asger. "Well Lad. I don't know if you are eager or worried, either way your mind will be set at ease. we should over take the ship within the hour. I expect we will spy their sail within half that. They will be coming from the west as we head straight north to intercept them. We have the wind, they will have to tack. It will appear that we too are headed to port, or it will until it is too late." smiles Thorir. "Now all of you see to your weapons." orders Thorir.
 

Epic Threats

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