Courage, and victory.
Friend Thor, grant me your strength.
And both be with me.
CharlotteCarrendar as Valkrik Ghar
ImayarukOdinGorya as Istal
Location : Belgrave Sound – Lands of Old (South)
Grey skies filled with blackened clouds, that swirled with a malice that had been unseen by those of the Southern lands. The days and nights since the landing of the Viking vessel had brought about the rise of a name; Valkrik, the Son of Honrick. The grass plains whispered the sad song of the dead, as he stood amongst the blooded remains of his foes. Though they were many in number, the soldiers were no match for the Viking horde. Beaten back by the sheer brutality, the lack of fear for their foe pushed them on to gain the upper hand, and slay as many as a thousand men. Word would spread by way of the cowards that fled the horror to live another day, at least.
Like crows that pick and pull apart the blooded remains of slain beasts, the vikings went about picking up weapons, silver and jewelry that could be used again, or traded back at Stargorn Bluff. That was home, and soon enough, they would be returning. For the cold weather was starting to take its hold upon the southern lands. Winter was coming, and with it the icy hand of the Angel of Death. She cared not for who she took, so long….as she did. The boats returning to Odin with the souls of those that died in battle would be few. Odin..be pleased, for the Sons of Ghar were victorious once again.
As Varlkrik re holstered his blade in the leather sheath upon his back, his second came up along side him, carrying the head of the enemy’s Commanding officer. It was quite the prize, and Jorgen could not help but smile at this gruesome trophy. The eyes were still wide open, with the whites gleaming; traces of blood veins prominent. Jorgen’s fingers were soaked with the crimson stain that dripped into a small puddle at his feet.
“I shall bring this back to offer to the Chieftan, Valkrik. Our tales of this battle shall be sung by our children, and their children.” Jorgan proclaimed. This was his first battle, and so it was hardly surprising that he took great pride in his kill of the high ranked officer. Valkrik’s steel blue eyes stared straight ahead, watching over his men as some put the dying out of their misery. A sword straight through the heart, or a neck sliced open so death would be almost immediate; drowning in their own blood. The strangled sounds of dying men filled Valkrik’s mind, and it took him a moment to register Jorgan’s voice. His brow creased, as he looked to his right and saw Jorgan holding the blooded head of the enemy. Valkrik showed little emotion, no smile or pleasure in seeing the head. It was just another death to him. But the Son of Honrick was not about to deflate the man’s ego or bruise it. Instead, he clapped his large hand to Jorgan’s back, and said loudly:
“The Chieftain would no doubt place this prize on an iron spike for all to see. You shall be honored for this kill.”
The sentiment meant a great deal to Jorgan, who nodded firmly before heading back to the other men, and getting ready to head back to the ship. The ship was moored about two miles from the battle front so it was best that they got a good head start, before the weather turned foul. Bloody and battered, the Vikings had been victorious as word would spread. Fear…fear of the unknown was a powerful tool.
A lone wolf of deep mahogany fur had sat no more then a hundred yards from the battle ground. It had watched the gruesome and very bloody battle with great interest. Seeing the men so thoroughly slaughter their enemy, with so few of their own slayed, filled the wolf with a deep curiosity. ‘What could drive these men to such brutal lengths only to see them come out mostly whole?’ range through the wolf’s mind. With the fight now over her focus landed on two men out of all the warriors. The first one had great pride over the battle, as was plain to see in his being, the other seamed cold until he turned to the first. The wolf could not make out what they had said but knew enough about warriors to guess they were talking about their spoils and their victory.
“Maybe I should see just what make these men tick.” The wolf surprisingly said to itself before slowly moving towards the victors who were returning towards their ships. Slowly but gracefully the wolf started to change its appearance into a very beautiful woman. As the woman would have gotten close enough to the men to notice her, the would have seen her long black hair that fell to her mid-back, the brown shirt and trousers of a hunter, and most curiously a slight limp to her left leg though she looked unharmed. “ Wait please by the All-Father Take me with you!” she called out hoping to catch the attention some of the men.
“ Wait please by the All-Father Take me with you!”
A woman’s voice, calling out across the field was completely unexpected by the Vikings, in particular Valkrik, who was certain there were no settlements close to this field. Then again, he could be wrong. A few of the other men turned around, and one even unsheathed his sword, snarling angrily as the woman approached. Valkrik held up a hand to stop his men from attacking, though it wouldn’t be totally unreasonable to do so. A beautiful woman in the middle of all this death? The Son of Honrick was a curious one, but he was also cunning. Like that of the very wolves of his lore.
Slowly he marched back up the hill to where this woman stood. Valkrik towered over the diminutive dark haired woman. Was she from the tribes of nomads, that deal in sorcery and the craft that he hated so much? Slowly, Valkrik walked around the woman, sizing her up; trying to get a whiff of her scent. His face was unreadible, and his men were now curious to see if he would simply slay this woman on the spot, or deal her a rough hand for stopping them from their return to their ship.
“Why should we take you with us, woman?” Valkrik said simply, his tone gruff and his voice had a gravel like sound. She could be used as a slave or simply traded. Valkrik didn’t care. She may have her worth, but what would she say?
No man should trust a maiden’s words, nor what a woman speaks,
spun on a wheel were women’s hearts, in their breasts was implanted caprice.
The woman slowed as she saw the emotionless man she spotted before approach her and stopped just before he did. She kept a calm demeanor as he circled her, sizing her up. As he would have stepped behind her he most likely would have noticed the image of the Blind Eye stitched into the back of her shirt just below the edge of her hair. “Why should we take you with us, woman?” he had asked her after a while. ”If you don’t I could never repay you and your men for slaying these fools.” she started sounding slightly distressed, ”For these men had captured me from the roads two nights ago, and had only managed to escape before they found you. They apparently wanted a pretty face and voice to sing of their cruel and dishonorable deeds. I can even pay for the trip if it pleases”. She kept her eyes low knowing it might seem as a challenge had she looked him in the eyes. She waited with slightly baited breath hoping things wouldn’t turn hostile as she dreaded the thought of taking on all of these men at once.
~Odin ventured to Mímir’s Well, near Jötunheim, the land of the giants; not as Odin, but as Vegtam the Wanderer, clothed in a dark blue cloak and carrying a traveller’s staff. To drink from the Well of Wisdom, Odin had to sacrifice his left eye, symbolizing his willingness to gain the knowledge of the past, present and future. As he drank, he saw all the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and the gods. He also saw why the sorrow and troubles had to come to men.
Mímir accepted Odin’s eye and it sits today at the bottom of the Well of Wisdom as a sign that the father of the gods had paid the price for wisdom.~
As Valkrik had circled the dark haired woman, who spoke of how she was in debt to his men, for slaying the enemy, he happened to notice a symbol that was on the very edge of her shirt, and just below the line of her dark hair. It was the symbol of the Blind eye. Now, Valkrik had studied much in his lore of Odin, and upon seeing this, he realized that her words, though fanciful may well have had a ring of truth to them.
The woman was indeed a beauty, though he had not heard her voice in song. Only her begging to be taken with them. It was rare to see one with the hair the colour of the Raven, who bore the symbol of Odin’s sacrifice for wisdom. She claimed to have wealth, so to compensate for taking her back to Warfarren, but she needed to realize one thing. His men would be difficult to reign in, should they feel the need to use her for their primary urges.
Valkrik would rather leave her behind, than have to worry about her on the voyage back, but there was something about her, perhaps it was her eyes, though they were currently downcast, so as not to challenge him directly. A smart move on her part. Valkrik snorted, and then simply gestured her to follow him, as he turned back to head for his ship. There was some murmurs from his men, which he quickly silenced after barking orders that would keep them busy, till they reached the ship.
The woman noticed the man gestured for her to follow and kept a few paces behind as he had barked orders to his men. She saw that the men went about their work with a certain pride that could only be found amongst warriors of Celtic and Nordic ways. This had brought a smile to her face as she always cared for the more “barbaric” people, than those that were supposedly civilized. “Thank you sir. Please let me sing something for you and your men’s generosity to this traveler.” She said sounding truly thankful. Though before the man could reply she started to sing softly in a warm motherly tone that only those around the man could hear at first before it grew in volume to an almost siren like song that brought an air of peace and energy around all that could hear, to help sooth troubled minds, and invigorate tired bodies.
It was clear that Valkrik was one of few words, when it came to conversation. Even with his own men, he appeared standoffish, or aloof. Not in a royal sense, like he had tickets on himself, but it was more that he was a man of actions, not words. He had shown his skill as a warrior, and also as a leader of men. For that alone, he had earnt the respect of his fellows, for they knew that he was not one to let others do his work. Valkrik did his share, and then some. He had an inner strength that some thought he had within him a great spirit. The truth however was far more sinister.
“Thank you sir. Please let me sing something for you and your men’s generosity to this traveler.”
This girl could talk, that was for certain. And while he tried to keep focused on the movement of his men on the trip back to the ship, he could not help but find a solace in her singing. When she began to sing in a rich and motherly tone, it reminded him of his own mother; Sarras Ghar. If there was one person on this world that he truly felt a sense of love, it was her. For as long as he could remember, Sarras taught him everything that he would ever need to know about the customs and lore of their people. Almost like it was her sole role, an importance that Valkrik would know his people well enough, to assume the role of Cheiftan when the time came. Oddly enough, this woman’s voice was soothing, and gave him a sense of peace, something he had not felt for some time.
Valkrik then glanced back at the maiden, as she sang behind him
“I am Valkrik, Son of Honrick Ghar. What is your name, woman?’
This was about as polite as Valkrik had ever been to a woman, other than his mother or his sister; Eyyrs. He kept walking, looking straight ahead and waited for her answer.
The woman was lost in her song for a moment only following on instinct more then conscious choice. To the woman there was very few things better in all of creation then the arts. She let her song die down as she realized the man had spoken to her. “I am Valkrik, Son of Honrick Ghar. What is your name, woman?’, it was a simple statement for the man but she kept it at a much higher meaning from all the lessons she had learned. “I am known as Istal Brigid Conri, or as the travelers muse. Though Sir Valkrik I must warn you giving your name so freely could be dangerous if some Fae or Demon obtained it from your own lips…” she replied though her words died on her lips before she could finish hoping to give Valkrik something to think about, for the mind of a one can come up with far worse then ever could be said. “I honestly would rather not see one such as yourself fall victim to such things.”
Whilst the woman responded to the Viking’s question in regards to her name, the next statement which she issued as a warning, about being so free to give out his name, had him turn on the spot, and cross the short distance between them within seconds. Towering over her, the Viking showed a more aggressive side to himself. He knew a woman’s place, and that did not include her being allowed to give such a dire warning to the Viking, regardless of her intent. The mention of Fae or Demons made his very blood boil.
Her words fell away to nothing, and she had certainly now got his attention, not that she would have liked to see the Viking enraged.
“Do you think I would speak freely of my name, if I felt that it would bring me to harm? You are a woman, and your place is at the wheel, or nursing a child. You may be the traveler’s muse with knowledge beyond your years, but you are still a woman.”
He practically stood over her now, and it was clear the mention of Demons, set off something. Something he couldn’t put his finger on, and it annoyed the hell out of him.
“Fear comes from not understanding your enemy. If it be Fae or Demon that you think could bring me down….think again.”
Where did that come from? Perhaps the very spirit within the viking…had just been awoken. A dark force…indeed.
The Viking huffed loudly, then turned back and made his way to the beach, where the rest of his crew were loading the boat with their bounty of goods and slaves. A group huddled together were herded on like cattle, while others carried the cargo aboard. Many a man was smiling, for not only were they returning home to their women and families, they had been victorious, strengthening their legacy. The waves may well be carrying them home, but the wind would spread the word of the victory of the Vikings of Warfarren.
“Do you think I would speak freely of my name, if I felt that it would bring me to harm? You are a woman, and your place is at the wheel, or nursing a child. You may be the traveler’s muse with knowledge beyond your years, but you are still a woman.”Valkrik had replied to Istal’s warning. “Quite the opposite Sir, as both have been known to seem safe before your trapped. And both the warning earlier and my view of such things are my Father’s teachings. And my place had been made certain by my father that i would never bare child, and that I was meant to perform almost any art or wonder the roads.” She replied sounding regretful though it was not because she had angered Valkrik but for her past spent with her father. As they had reached the ships she made sure to get on after the slaves and cargo as to keep from getting in the men’s way.
Again, Istal spoke far too many words for Valkrik’s liking. There was however some interesting facts presented this time. One, the fact she could not bare children, and two, that she was merely to perform any art of wonder on the roads. Well, it was going to be a long while before she saw roads again. The crew had almost finished herding on the slaves and the last of the cargo, along with prized weapons of value that had been captured, along with a few gruesome looking heads which were being tossed around in an amusing fashion.
Valkrik had had enough of the frivolity, and barked orders that they were to set sail immediately for Warfarren, and in particular the port town of Stargorn Bluff. Istal would be one of the last to get on board the viking vessel, which had the massive head of a dragon at the front of the boat, and a huge red and gold coloured sail, that was being rigged and ready to unfurl, just as soon as they had brought up the anchor, and all were aboard.
Massive oars were raised up by the crew and then lowered into the waters, as the lead helmsman called out for them to begin to row. A soul man on a drum, beat the time of the oars to be drawn through the waters, propelling the ship forward, till the winds were strong enough to fill the sails, and take them homeward.
Valkrik joined with his crew in rowing, and looked across every now and again at Istal, before his stony expression returned, and with his powerful arms, he rowed hard, matching his men stroke for stroke.
Istal had found a spot out of the way of the men rowing where she sat on the floor. She closed her as the drum set the pace of each stroke of the oars. Away from all the Vikings but still slightly separated from the slaves she began to hum a soft and playful tune. The tune though was not able to be heard by any but her and the slaves as her mind and energy was focused on subtly bring air to the sails to aid in the trip. The power flowing from the tune was so delicate and subtle only the most magically sensitive would be able to notice it’s power, and then it would still be hard to figure out she was causing it. She couldn’t help but smile knowing she was traveling once again with something and someone to give her arts some inspiration. ‘Oh these poor fools have no clue what they are bringing home’, she thought to herself while a smirk showed on her face and cast very predator like eyes on the slaves.
Though Odin had been watching over them as they fought their battles upon the enemy shores, whilst the Viking ship was at sea, it was at the mercy of other gods, or so it seemed. Mysteriously, the sails filled with a breeze whipped up out of no whwere. Not even the water showed the movement of the wind travelling across it. This was not lost on Valkrik, who along with the rest of the crew, raised up their oars, and brought them back into the ship, as the vessel was now travelling forward under the power of the sails.
No one would dare complain about being given a reprieve from rowing. It was taxing on the body after many miles at sea, and they had a few days of sailing before they would reach land fall.
Valkrik checked on the woman he had allowed to board; the paying passenger. She appeared to be in her own little world, humming some tune to herself. He paid it no mind, and certainly could not see any connection between her singing, and the sails coming to life.
Jorgan had stuffed the severed head into a sack and was keeping it close to him. He valued it highly, though the smell of the head was on the nose. Valkrik walked to the very front of the ship, and looked to the horizon; home. How he had missed it. Valkrik went to sit down, by a bucket of water, and took out a hand made dial that when placed in the water, acted like a compass. This helped to show that they were in fact heading in the right direction. A marvel for certain, and a wonderful tool for any sea faring man. Soon the night would approach, and when it did, they would draw the large canopy across the top of the boat, allowing those beneath to be kept dry, should the weather take a nasty turn, or the heavens opened and rained down a deluge that would soak them to the skin.
Food on board was a simple affair. Dried fish, and thankfully they had barrels of a wine that was from the region they had plundered. They would not go hungry on the journey home, and with the wine, they would at least be…good humored.
Valkrk offered a plate of fish to Istal, before sitting down himself, and eating his own share.
Istal’s eyes snapped from the slaves and to the fish that had been sat in front of her. She mentally rolled her eyes at the change of menu though she didn’t know if it was intentional or not. She drew a flask out from a pouch that was previously hidden under her shirt. She took a quick sip and offered it to Valkrik knowing that he would have never tasted a wine such as her father’s personal brew she kept in side. “Thank you though i would hate to impose on supplies meant for your men as I have more supplies then you could possibly imagine.” She said playfully to Valkrik hoping to get a conversation started with her new muse.
Valkrik watched the woman remove an item from under her shirt. He was of course curious as to what it was, since he had just handed her a meal. It was a drink flask. Interesting. Not normally would one see a woman carrying such an item. Not for themselves, anyways. What creed of people allowed women to drink openly in front of men? Valkrik watched the woman take a sip of her flask, before offering it to Valkrik. At first, he held back. Not at all trusting, and even thinking it may be poisoned. However, when she drank it, nothing happened to her. He leaned forward and snatched the flask from her hand, raising it to his nose and sniffing the contents. It didn’t smell at all familiar, nor was it like the spirits that he was used to. Throwing caution to the wind, he actually took a swig, and his face showed surprise, since he had not tasted something like this before.
He held the flask out, staring at it as he smacked his lips. He found favor with the flask, and would have drunk more, had he not remembered himself, and handed it back. This was an odd situation with the Viking and the travelers muse. She thanked him for sharing a meal, but said in the next breath that she had more supplies than he could possibly imagine.
That…made no sense. Where was she hiding such great supplies on her person? He leaned over to try and look in behind her and then sat back upright, thinking she was either mad, or…believed her own stories.
“Eat the fish.” He said simply.