Hidden 1 day ago Post by Oak7ree
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Ouroboros - A Dragon Eating it's Tail


BRAM

A sword.
Bram saw it was coming, and so he took a step away and raised his shield to turn the blow away. It would have hit him on the shoulder, but now Bram had a chance of taking the initiative from Ragnar the Red. Ragnar had been his opponent for most of the morning. The young warrior was eager and fast, but he wasn’t that fast. Ragnar was two or three years younger than Bram, but he was also bigger and a bit taller than Bram. He could put some weight behind the blade and hit you good into your head, but then again, he was too eager at times. He wasn’t patient enough to watch for the small things.
They were in Serpentstone, the very centre of Harkland. Trade and money of the region flowed through the city, and only Beornhall, the kingdom’s capital was richer or bigger of size. Inside the city, a might castle called the Jormundgard was located. Bram and Ragnar, along with many other warriors, both old and new, recruit and veteran, were changing blows and training on the courtyard. There were half a dozens practice circles erected on the courtyard, and those who weren’t fighting in the circles, were watching with keen eyes.
Bram had deflected the blow and now was at an arm’s length from Ragnar, and without much hesitation, Bram gave him a good smack with a longsword. The redheaded warrior gave out a grunt of pain, but continued with more wariness. He had been reminded of keeping a distance and watching for his opponent.
”Come on, you milk-drinker”, Bram taunted Ragnar. ”Such a big man, and cannot take a small hit.” Bram had been a thane for Earl Hjalmar for three years now, and he had the responsibility of training new recruits of his household. They would become thanes for the Earl of Harkland, if they had enough skills and potential, but the training weeded most of the bad or the ill-prepared. They were commonfolk; sons and daughters of carpenters, farmers, blacksmiths, tanners, weavers and other such folk, who hoped a taste of another life. Thanes would live, drink and fight together.
It was rumoured that Earl Hjalmar was preparing for a war with Earl Alarik, and thus needed as many capable warriors as he could. The King of Borrland was old and out of his mind, and would sooner depart this world than later. Alarik, the king’s grandson and Earl Hjalmar weren’t at the best of terms, Bram had heard in the many taverns of Serpentstone. When the king would die, a war for the crown would erupt with the two men, and Bram Halvorson, the firstborn son of a blacksmith didn’t know much more about it. He knew the way of the sword and spear, of bow and shield, and he liked the way it was.
The fight went on for a while. Ragnar had grown more cautious and wary of Bram… for a few moments. He took into himself again to attack more recklessly and with more frustration, as Bram blocked, parried and evaded his blows. After few minutes, both of them were breathing deeply and getting more and more tired. Time to end this play, thought Bram, and started his attack. He closed on Ragnar, exchanging a few fast blows and then grappled him. It was like a bear hug, but Bram had acquired momentum and speed, putting his weight on Ragnar, toppling him and forcing him to the ground. It wasn’t over, as an wrestling match started, and at that, speed and agility played a crucial role, or so Bram had been taught in the streets of Serpentstone. He took the initiative from the tired Ragnar, who had been surprised by the grapple by a couple seconds.
He resisted bravely a moment or two, but Bram countered his moves and flailing arms with quick movements. ”I yield”, the big man said to Bram. ”I yield”, he repeated, whimpering.
Good, Bram thought. He rose to stand, and said to the small crowd of few recruits watching their fight. ”Never overlook an opponent. He might be smaller or slower than you, so surprise your opponents and enemies. Be realistic, and keep your wits with you and eyes open, and you all might become thanes sooner or later for Earl Hjalmar.”
Bram took a look at them. All of them were younger than him, looked a bit malnourished or as green as grass. He had eight recruits under him, and Ragnar the Red had the most potential of them. A son of a tanner, he wanted to become a thane so he could bring honour and fame to his parents. Like all of them want to do, Bram thought.
”Next pair. Riordan and Halvdar, you’re next. Ragnar, take a small break and then go to practice javelin throwing. I need to take a piss.”

---

Later that day, Bram found him himself in the tavern of the Howling Wolf near the Weavers’ Gate. It was a nice little tavern for fifty or so people. There was a smell of fire and smoke in the air, and the tavernkeep was cooking a meaty soup on the fire of the common hall. Bram was sitting the evening with Aubry the Hammer, Gorlund the Unicorn and Harlan the Younger, some other thanes of Earl Hjalmar. The tavern was their other home besides Jormundgard, and they had spent many an evening there playing cards, dice and board games. Today’s business, however, was politics.
”The whole thing stinks, boys”, Harlan the Younger talked. He was called the Younger, but was clearly the eldest of the four. He was pushing forty, but was still board shouldered and thick haired and bearded. He took a sip of his beer and continued. ”We have rarely taken in so many recruits and green boys to be trained as thanes, and now we’ve gotten nearly fifty people in the past two months. Something is up, let it be known.”
”Well, reports have said that goblin raids have increased in the fringe villages. Some villages have been burned, and some other have been ravaged by pissed-off giants. You shouldn’t interrupt them for their mammoths, I’ve heard” Gorlund answered. He was often the realist of the group, often saying what he thought in his mind.
”Goblins have never been hard to kill, and some villages have become quite proficient on that regard. Even our dear Bram has killed a few”, Aubry pointed out.
“I don’t know about that”, Bram said. The other thanes were older than him, and he wasn’t as keen on politics as them. “Perhaps a civil war is coming, but we’ll see it when it happens. Until then, we’ll train the recruits and prepare them the best we can. But now, let’s order more beer and enjoy the peace we have.”
“I’ll drink to that, Bram. Toast today, and suffer tomorrow”, Harlan said. “Enjoy the moment, as we don’t know we will see the end of the week.”
Drinking continued, until the late of night. They laughed and played dice and cards and joked. As the night went, only Odin knew what would come of tomorrow. It was late summer season, and the nights grew darker and longer. Day by day, the winter was approaching.
Hidden 1 day ago 1 day ago Post by Lurking Krog
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Bóthilda

Dawn was breaking over the camp. Bóthilda turned in her sleeping skin as the first light of dawn broke through the trees only to get a sharp kick in the side from her uncle Tørmun.

"Time to get up niece. We have a long days travel if we are to reach Serpentstone before night fall." He walks over to the remains of the fire to warm his hands real quick before grabbing some hard sausage for them to eat for breakfast.

Bóthilda grumbles and climbs out of her sleeping skin and rolls it up before securing it to her pack.

"You know uncle you didn't have to kick me." She says as she joins him beside the nearly burned out fire

"Aye, though if you are to be trained as a thane you will be kicked awake almost every day and much harder than what I did." He hands her a sausage and takes a bite from his own. "Come now the others will be moving out soon." He grabs his pack and goes to the ox drawn cart full of goods her father, his brother, had sent to have sold at the markets of Serpentstone.

Bóthilda grabs her pack and slings her shield over her right arm and slides her axe into it's place on her left hip. She climbs onto the cart sitting next to her uncle taking a bite of the hard sausage.

"So uncle you say we will be there by dark?" He nods. "Good I've been ready toy see Serpentstone since we left near a fortnite ago."

Tørmun laughs shaking his head. "You will see it soon enough. You are as restless as your grandfather was before you father and I were born. Some say it came from his grandfather's grandfather's grandfather's father, whom I am named after, Tørmun Trolls bane."

Bóthilda laughs. "Trolls bane was a myth. A hero's legend of our village."

Tørmun shakes his head. "He is not that axe you have was his once. He gave it to his oldest son than he to his and so on till it ended with your father. Now you carry it as you are his only child. By the gods why do you think we are even related to the Earl of our village?"

Bóthilda laughs again. "Right uncle, it is because of Trolls bane not because our family is wealthy from trade. Wealthy for our village anyway."

"It isn't proper to mock your elders." He states sharply knocking her in the back of the head. "Doubt if you will but it is true."

Bóthilda rubs the back of her head for a second before staring off into the woods dreaming of the glory she might win for her family and herself. Not to mention the wealth.

As the hours pass she takes to sharpening her axe to a fine edge and oiling it to keep it from rusting. When the caravan stops for midday meal she practices with a few of the guards with blunted axes and old shields. She practices till her whole body it sore and aches from the exertion. She also earned new bruises from a reckless charges. If they had been real axes she would be missing a leg, and her shield arm as well. However four of the six guards would have been wounded or dead as well. When the caraven set off again she lays in the back of the cart on her sleeping skin resting till they arrive in Serpentstone.

The sun was starting to wane as the caravan reached the Weavers' Gate and Tørmun speaks with the gate guards explaining that he had wares to sell. Once they pass he takes the cart to the market place and ties the ox to a post.

"Come niece, there is a tavern near by with good food for a fair price. The Howling Wolf is it's name." He waves for his niece to follow him and head to the tavern. It was getting crowded but the managed to get two seats at one of the benches, though they were closer to the door rather than the hearth. Tørmun grabs a passing serving boy by the arm and orders a cup of beer for himself, a cup of mead for his niece, and two bowels of the stew that was sitting over the fire. Bóthilda quietly sips at her mead listen to the conversations around her while Tørmun talks with others exchanging news from their village for local news as well.
Hidden 1 day ago 1 day ago Post by Master
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Hrolfr Bergfalk



The rattle of leaves filled the huntsman's ears as he gritted his teeth to prepare for the gust of wind to come. The fox fur cloak his sister had made for him years ago helped, but not by much, as he held his bow drawn to his cheek. Eying his prey, the hunter held his breath as he waited for his moment.

The light from the rising sun just now began to wash over the horizon, forcing the stars to flee from their heavenly beds as Odin's gift to man took hold above. Time was running out, for Ull - the god of the hunt, gave his favor in the moonlight. Just as he was about to mouth a prayer, his moment came. The winds stopped, and instinctively the hunter loosed his arrow. Hrolfr heard a soft thud as the arrow hit meat. Unstringing his bow, he placed the bow in a soft leather case which he kept strapped to his back, and coiled the string in a case filled with beeswax before placing that too in the same case. Picking up the cloth sack that lay at his feet, he walked over to the fresh kill, removing and cleaning the arrow and placing the hare in the sack.

I bet she let the fire go out, he thought to himself as he made his way back to the camp his sister and he had made the previous night. He couldn't be mad at her; she was never the outdoor type. Father kept her home to do the woman's work, since mother had died years ago.

"Well, the gods take me." The fire was still going strong, whilst his sister Kelda lay close to the warmth wrapped in her bedroll. Hrolfr stepped closer to the fire to warm his hands and rid himself of the morning chill. It would be winter soon, which meant for harder hunting and colder nights to come.

After a few moments the feeling started to come back in his fingers, and he took the sack with him to the edge of the camp. Digging in the ground, he had made a shallow hole, as he proceeded to skin and clean his bounty. Three hares, and plump ones too. Hrolfr took this as a sign that he was on the right path. Which was a comforting thought considering what Kelda and he had decided to do.

They had been on the road for a few nights now, traveling to Sparrowton. It was a small settlement where a man could live in peace. Unlike Beornhall, where there were ten other people in your trade making it hard to earn a living. But that wasn't why they had decided to leave. They had enough with their father, who had become the city drunkard some years ago. He and his sister could never make a life for themselves with having to look after a father like that, and it was all they could take to walk in the streets seeing how folks looked at them with pity. It was time to start over.

Keeping the meat of the hares, he placed all the trimmings and innards in the hole, covering it with the loose dirt to prevent the wolves from coming in until well after they leave, he stood and made his way back to the camp. He had a few hours to start on the stew before they had to pack up and start traveling again, which was plenty of time to have a nice thick rabbit-stew ready.

His mouth started to water at the thought.
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