Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saga of the Bear-Folk: A Strange Forest Part I.

The Bear-Folk were awoken by the warble of a loon and the trickling of a creek. They discovered they were no longer in the hall of Faeinuldi and his wife Astra. They were on the banks of a babbling brook. Another runestone, though this one only had one rune displayed, was cloaked in moss on the opposite bank. Whispers could be heard among the leaves and branches of the timber stands surrounding them. The ship they traveled up the river in was nestled among some trees. Ivrik cried out, “What sort of Fae hell have we been sent too!?” 

Mjorl was the first to stand and as he reached for his sword, his belt mysteriously undid itself and fell to the ground. The whispers among the trees turned into laughter. Mjorl drew his blade and called out to the voices, demanding they show themselves. Kol decided to go back to sleep, but there was a cracking and a branch fell and hit him in the face! An acorn was tossed from among the branches and hit Ivrik in the temple. This was followed by a chorus of laughter.

Suddenly the laughter stopped and the forest was silent, save for the flapping of large wings. There was a horrendous screeching and a monstrous creature crashed through the canopy. It had the body of an elk, and colorful feathered wings instead of fore-legs and it’s back legs had the appearance of an eagle. Screams of horror come from the branches and the zipping sounds fill the forest as the beast snapped at what appeared to be empty air. 

The beast spotted the band, and lunged at them. Riddare and Mjorl fired arrows into it’s side, while Ivrik, Kol, and Mjorla’s blades sang. The monster flew up and streaked towards Ivrik, knocking him to the ground. It’s jaws gnashed at Ivrik who swung his great blade and severed it’s head. Blood splashed over his face.

Once the beast was felled, Torgar noticed something near the stream, a sparkling light. He discovered a pixie weeping on a rock, whose name was Blooma. Her crimson hair was mangled and tiny tears streamed down her cheeks. One of her wings, which appeared as those of a butterfly, had been torn off. 
Riddare looked over Torgar’s shoulder and asked, “What is it?Some sort of bug?” Torgar informed him that it was a pixie. Torgar asked the pixie if she was okay.
Halugaashi tsauttaa minaashni! Nie suyotaarve etta mimasaa Mieselk…” wept the pixie. Torgar scooped up the pixie, and she gripped his hand and her hand glowed, and then he could understand her.
Please help me!” she repeated, “I need to see Mieselk!” When the asked who Mieselk was, she told them that he was one of the guardians of the forest. She was afraid of the dead creature. When Torgar asked her about the runes and began to draw the runes in the dirt, she got scared and erased the marks, saying that Torgar shouldn’t draw those. Because the “Queen” would appear. They asked who the Queen was, but the pixie wouldn’t say. 

Thus they set off to find the guardian named Mieselk.

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**This is my account of the events of the Saga of the Bear-Folk

Saga of the Bear-Folk: The Mysterious Runestone Part II.

They drank, mead, ale and beor, and told stories of their adventures. Kol told of how he slayed a great sea serpent, but Ivrik discounted the tale, saying that he was releiving himself and Kol was drunk and mistook Ivrik’s manhood as a serpent. This story made Faeinuldi giggle, and Astra blush. Torgar told a story of how he once had an owl but it escaped. Faeinuldi roared with laughter. 

The Twins, Mjorl and Mjorla were suspicious of Faeinuldi and Astra. Mjorl, sulked in the corner and Mjorla noticed something moving beneath Astra’s cloak, that despite the room being very warm, she did not remove. Mjorl made to grab Astra’s cloak off but Astra’s grip was tight. Faeinuldi explained that Astra got cold easy.
But I saw something moving under the cloak!” exclaimed Mjorla.
Astra, did you hide another snake under your cloak again? Hehehehe!?” asked Faeinuldi. Astra nodded, and Faeinuldi told her to take it outside. 

Mjorla made to sneak after Astra, but Faeinuldi wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close. Ivrik upon seeing this drew his great-sword and pointed it at Faeinuldi.
Unhand her! She goes where she wishes!” he growled. Faeinuldi’s eyes twinkled, as if he sensed Ivrik’s interest in the shield-maiden, and he released her. Mjorla stole out the back door, but could not see if there was truly a snake beneath Astra’s cloak.

Astra then made to tell the party’s fortunes. She tossed an oily smelling herb into the fire, and the putrid smoke filled the hall. Ivrik choked and had to leave to regain his breath. Once he returned, Astra’s eyes rolled back in her head and she shook and twitched and then she began to speak.

From forests dark,
To rivers deep,
And through eldritch,
And strange lands

You will face many hardships,
But should you succeed,
Your names will be remembered,
In song and poem.

Cattle die, Giants die,
One day you too will die,
But a brave soul will never perish,
When a man earns praise and fame.

That night, every one of the party except for Ridarre and Kol, who chose to sleep in one of the beds offered by Faeinuldi and Astra; chose to sleep by the hearth of the main room. Mjorla decided that they should keep watch and she would stay awake, and wake her brother in a few hours.

While Mjorla sat there, watching the flickering tongues of fire, she saw a head fire-hair appear in the corner of her eye. Astra had appeared next to Mjorla, pale skin, and buxom breasts illuminated by the hearth light. Astra seductivly began to kiss Mjorla’s neck. Mjorla felt something brush her other arm and looked to see the tale of a cow extending from Astra’s backside. She pushed Astra away, and upon doing so discovered that Astra’s back was hollow, like a rotted log. Recoiling in fear, Mjorla reached for a weapon, but before she could do so, Astra firmly planted her lips on Mjorla’s; and Mjorla knew no more.

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**This is my account of the events of the Saga of the Bear-Folk

Saga of the Bear-Folk: The Mysterious Runestone Part I.

Lo! Here begins the journey of the Bear-Folk and their Epic Saga. This story does begin when a runestone was discovered by Harrik the the Fisherman, on the banks of his favorite fishing spot. Bemused by the strange monolith the Bjordunnar Chief, Ivrik Arnbjorg called forth the clan to discuss this discovery. It was decided that a group of warriors be sent to investigate the mysterious stone. Harrik the Fisherman said, “That to find the stone one must sail north-east along the coast of the Joraklokk, until you spot a great white tree on the banks of a river. Then sail up the river until you come across a placid lake.

Now the warriors who were sent were:
Ivrik Ivrikson, the chief’s son.
Riddare, the huntsman
Kol, the berserker
Torgar Holslakket (Goat-Puncher), the sage and healer
and the twins, 
Mjorl, the woodsman, 
and Mjorla the stealthy one.

They followed Harrik’s directions, sailed north-east from Bjorgsulla, and found the great white tree. They turned up river and began to row. The trees grew dark as they sailed up the twisting river. They came across an arch made from twisted branches and vines and as they passed through they were blinded by sunlight.

The found the crystalline lake. White stones made up the beach, and a great stone, twice as tall as any Dunvig jutted from the shoreline. The band was cautious, and were nervous to wade ashore.

Ivrik was the first to jump into the lake, when he spotted a beautiful maiden coming out from the trees. The maid, whom was called Astra, had hair of fire, and skin of freshly fallen snow. She was surprised to see the Bear-folk and dropped the basket of clothes she carried. Ivrik called out to Astra, asking where they were. Astra spoke with an archaic voice and told Ivrik that he was at Kristaltarn, and she lived at Kristaltarn Halkkr. Now, Ivrik nor any of the others knew of a settlement by that name in the area.

Emboldened by Ivrik’s bravery the rest of the party came ashore. Kol, and Mjorla joined Ivrik in speaking with Astra, while Torgar, Riddare and Mjorl inspected the runestone. Torgar had seen the runes that covered the monolith, before and identified them as the runes of the Fae and Faeynir, though they came from the time when the world was still young.

While their conversation with Astra, a pack of wolves leapt out of the trees. Astra screamed and ran to hide behind the Bear-Folk. The wolves fell upon the warriors. Mjorla was bitten but was able to slay her attacker with help from Kol and Ivrik. One of the beasts clamped it’s jaws around Mjorl’s helm, but was able to finish the creature off with the help of Torgar; who single handedly beat one of the wargs off with just his staff! During the fray Mjorla was touched by Astra and her wounds were magically healed. 

Astra graciously thanked the brave band, and asked them if they would like to stay and have dinner with her husband. Ivrik asked Astra who her husband was and she simply responded with a list of many personal names; saying that her husband had many names. The party warily headed towards the hall, carrying the carcasses of the wolves, so that Astra may skin them later.

They walked along a path that lead up to the Hall. During their trek they discussed how things didn’t feel like. Torgar, being a druid was the most unnerved by the seemingly magical things that were happening. 

They halted when Mjorl spotted a tall lanky man with balding hair and a scraggly beard perched atop a log, watching them. He called out and weapons were drawn.
 Ivrik called out to the man, “Lo!who goes there!” The man stood and came towards them. 
He giggled as he approached. “I should be asking you the same things! You are on my land! Hehehehe! I am called Faeinuldi!” 
Why were you crouched on that log?” questioned Torgar. 
Hehehehe! Why do you carry a staff?”retorted Faeinuldi. They spoke for a little longer, until Faeinuldi lead them to the hall.

The ‘hall’ as Faeinuldi called it was little more than a longhouse. The Bear-folk did not enter, but instead discussed among themselves. They did not trust Faeinuldi and his wife, Astra. The decision was made that Mjorl, Torgar, and Riddare, would go back and check on the boat and try to learn more about the runestone, and Ivrik, Kol, and Mjorla would entertain Faeinuldi.
Mjorl, Torgar, and Riddare headed back towards the beach they met Astra returning from the lake side. She smiled at them and few words were exchanged about the evening meal. Mjorl warned Torgar to not touch the stone, but Torgar’s curiosity got the better of him. He felt a strange energy around the stone and when he touched it he felt power course through his body. They headed back to the hall as the sun began to sink below the trees. Every young Dunvig knows that Rytarrskegg is a dangerous place at night, especially among unfamiliar trees.

Back in the hall, Faeinuldi happily played the good host. “Skroll to the host! A guest in the hall, where should the stranger sit down? Hehehehe! To make a new friend, quickly give him the bench nearest the fire! Hehehehe!” He offered them horns and drinks. Kol and Ivrik gulped from horns of an aurochs, while Mjorla suspiciously sipped from her own flask.

Once regrouped, the Bear-folk learned that Faeinuldi had put the stone their and had created the runes during a flash of insight while swinging from an ash tree, and that Astra could use the runes to see into the future, as most sages and seers do. They agreed and decided that they would hear the fortunes to be told after the evening meal.

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**This is my account of the events of the Saga of the Bear-Folk