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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    THE NORTHLANDS SAGA - SPEARS IN THE ICE

    The Northlanders have many words for a woman who practices the dark arts: fiend-woman, aglæcwif, sorceress, galdricge, seiðkona, or often simply witch. Unlike the mysterious, but respected, cunning women who are accepted into Northlander society for the wisdom they bring and their connection to world’s unseen, a witch-wife exists on the very fringes of society. She lurks in the shadows, universally reviled, subsisting on what little she can find, ever wary of an angry mob or vengeful jarl who holds her responsible for a bad crop, a blighted crop, or simply bad luck on a voyage. Despite all of these disadvantages, there are always those willing to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to embrace the unnatural power had by trafficking in such things. And sometimes, if a Northlander is desperate enough, he might be willing to have dealings with such matters himself. But there is always a price, for no one can dabble in the dark arts and hope to escape without at least some small taint of the shadow clinging to him...


    You have been ordered to appear before your jarl, Olaf Henrikson, Jarl of Halfstead, greatest city of the Northlands. For young members in service to his household or visitors who have wintered to the south here at Silvermeade Hall but have no immediate plans for pursuing their wyrd, this is a moment of both hope and fear. Hope that he assigns you a glorious task that allows you to prove your mettle, but tinged with fear of his wrath should you fail. Your jarl is a good man, strong and battle-tested, with many famed heroic deeds to his name. Most importantly, he is a ring-giver, one who is generous to those in his service who prove themselves deserving.

    After making yourself presentable, you and a few of his other retainers and guests walk through the gates of the great hall’s stockade and present yourselves to the guards at the carved wooden doors that mark the main entrance. After exchanging a few jests with these household warriors that you have known for as long as you’ve been a part of the jarl’s household, Ari Hrokson, your jarl’s herald, comes for you.

    “I needn’t remind you to keep polite and let the jarl speak first. And do not keep too much of his time, this is a busy day,” the old skald states. He then announces you to the jarl, holding to accepted traditions of status with the careful order in which you are called forward, "Gunnar Hallvard...Skorri Erlensen...Freyja Skirlaug...Dark Dreams Wanderer...Signy Stone-Eye".

    The hall is dimly lit, for this is a normal day and not a cause for feasting. Only a few huscarls stand about the room, but several thralls busy themselves putting up garlands of flowers and green boughs, preparations for the upcoming Feast of Freyja. The jarl is seated at the end of the feasting table in his chair, an ornate piece of work carved from the trunk of an oak. He is leaning in and talking with a stranger, a well dressed man with the bearing of an envoy. As you approach, you hear the jarl say, “… and thirty-five cattle, that’s all her dowry will be.”

    The jarl turns to you. “Good, you have come quickly and well comported. This speaks kindly of you and your kin. Sit and partake of an early meal; you will need it, for I have a task for you. My three daughters, Inga, Fastvi, and Runa, wish to go out this afternoon and gather flowers for the feast. As this is a rightful thing for young girls to do, I am allowing it. They need to be guarded, and this is the task I set before you."

    “I know you have longed for a chance to prove yourselves and rise in my favor as well as allow your mind’s-worth to shine, but there is no spear-din today and no chance to shed battle-dew. All I have is this task: Spend a spring afternoon watching young girls as they pick flowers in the meadows. When you have your own halls and have seen the ravens sip on many a foeman’s lifeblood, such a day as this will be a boon beyond naming. So remember it well and pray that you have many more like it. Now, let us eat. But before that, allow me to introduce our bread-brother this morning, Ottar Gundrikson, skald and herald to the Jarl Ref Solumundson of the Vale."


    The conversation between the two men immediately turns to tales of battles and adventures past, and you find it difficult to get a word in.

    Spoiler: Info
    Show
    DC 10 Diplomacy check required if you wish to attempt to get a polite word in between the two older men’s telling of tales of battles and adventures past.

    Spoiler: Knowledge (Nobility) check - Skorri:
    Show
    Knowledge (Nobility) DC10 (1d20+5)[21]

    Jarl Ref Solumundson of the Vale is a landholder of middling importance in the Storstrøm Vale but more importantly is joined by blood though his wife to the powerful Gat family, one of the two most-powerful clans in the Northlands. The Jarl has three sons of marrying age, all well accomplished in deed. Considering that Jarl Henrikson’s eldest daughter is sixteen, and thus of marrying age, you realize that you have likely stumbled into a discussion over her dowry.

    Knowledge (Local/Nobility) DC15 (1d20+5)[17]

    An alliance between Halfstead and the Gats would be beneficial but would also put the rival Hrolf clan at a disadvantage. Hordaland’s køenig recently passed away, leaving a child (Køenig Leif Ragison) on the throne. As Jarl Olaf supports the child king, he needs allies in the event of a civil war.


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    Last edited by Ghostfoot; 2018-07-11 at 05:39 AM.

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Gunnar nods to his wife Svanhild, she was worried that the Jarl would ask him to go raiding, they were not ready for it, they had just planted the crops for the season, and they needed tending, but she would do, if it was asked. He could see it in her eyes and he melted inside, she was his world, along with Fell and Liv, his two children, who were tending the goats, or attempting to do so without their mothers direction. He smiled keenly at his wife, and bid her goodbye as he mounted his horse, and rode out.

    He met the others, along with Ari Hrokson, who he nodded to with respect, and entered the hall, being first due to his land, and title. He nodded and bowed his head slightly to Jarl Henrikson, he was his Jarl, and he was his in his household, but he was still but a man. Only the weaklings down south went any further, some even bending their knees on the dirt!

    He was hopeful, a good raiding would prove a great opportunity, but this was good as well, while it wouldn't secure him silver, it should be easier though, and the Jarl was correct, this would be looked back upon when his Children were grown, and he was fat in his own Hall.

    Without saying a word, he nods his head again, and moves to a table, he had missed his morning meal, and this was a welcome surprise.
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    “Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows!” -Shakespeare
    “Gnyðja mundu nú grísir, ef þeir vissi, hvat inn gamli þyldi” -Ragnar Lodbrok

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Mørkedrømevandrer runs his fingers across his close-shorn hair, not touching the thickly oiled crest of hair that falls down past his shoulders. His morning had been spent admiring what was quite possibly the self-same flowers they were to escort the maidens to, and the amusement of being asked to do for honor what he had done for pleasure was hard to keep from his face.

    A response was, of course, required. "Worry not, Jarl. The spirits of the land and sky will watch over your girl-childs with me. No harm will befall them, from beast or man."

    His piece spoken, he joins the landholder at the table and uses his knife to cut and catch a slice of meat. Tearing into it, he speaks with juices running down his chin. "It is Gunnar, no?
    How fares your land?"

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    Freyja Skirlaug

    The Giantess strides through the small holding, long skirts brushing the mud covering up her armoured boots and concealing the heavy coat of leather and chain beneath it. With her spear in her hand and shield on her back she looked every inch the viking sea raider of Wotan that she has been for the past few years since the day she was adopted into the hall of the Jarl and given to Wotan's protection.

    Heading into the hall she leaves most of the man weapons she carries by the house guards near the door, hanging her shield upon the wall and giving a low bow to the Jarl. "Greetings Jarl. God's blessing on you and your kin." She settles where he motions, sitting gingerly lest her massive bulk crush the tables and bench into kindling. She pulls a horn bladed knife from her boot and carves a chunk of meat listening to the Jarl. "My thanks Jarl for the mead and food." She listens to the suggestion and nods. "Yes my Jarl. THey shall be kept safe from harm."
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    Skorri cheerfully trades jests and jokes with the guards as he waits before the hall of his jarl; but also takes note of the others who have been called forth this day. He nods most respectfully to Ari Hrokson as he speaks, listening carefully, but he cannot help but entertain the idle thought that perhaps one day the position of herald to Jarl of Halfstead (be it Olaf or Olaf's heir) might one day be his - unless his wyrd led him down a different path, of course.

    As his name is called, he gives a rogue-ish smirk and a quick wink to Signy Stone-Eye, trying to provoke some kind of reaction from the usually enigmatic woman.

    Skorri nods respectfully and gives a slight bow to the jarl, listening carefully as he speaks, and idly wondering who the stranger is conversing with the jarl.

    When the jarl has said his piece, Skorri quickly responds of with "Of course, my Jarl. I can think of no greater honour than guarding the brightest treasures in all of Halfstead, if only for an afternoon."

    Taking a seat at the feasting table, the normally talkative young skald is momentarily speechless, his mind buzzing like a summer greenfly as he realises the implications of the Jarl's guest and the conversation they walked in on.

    An impending wedding! Certainly a chance to compete against the other skalds during the celebrations. I'll have to tell father to hold onto that small cask of Southlander liquor from the last trading voyage; it will make a fine gift. I wonder when the celebration will be held? Lots of weddings around the Feast of Freyja, so probably sometime after... and where? Here, or in the Vale? If in the Vale, then if I can make a good impression today, then maybe there's a chance of joining the jarl's honour-guard for the trip. I wonder if this means that the Gats are making a play for the support of Halfstead? Though knowing Jarl Olaf, he's probably planning to marry one of his other daughters into the Hrolfs...

    Skorri absent-mindedly sips at his mead and chews on some meat as on and on the thoughts chase each other around in his head.

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Signy too enters the hall last of all in the shadows of the rest of the party, accompanied by a swishing of dresses and the occasional rattle of charms. You've grown to know the strangely raven-haired woman well over the winter months and while she fully acts the image of a mysterious cunning woman you know that, although possessing surprising innate talent, she is only new to start proper mastery of her sorcerous powers. "As my jarl wishes", her words spoken softly and lost amid the hubbub.

    ...........................

    As the two men talk and boast in earnest you are largely left to listen to the tales and talk among yourselves, enjoying an early lunch of black bread, butter, the last of the winter’s pickled flounder, fresh spring greens (cooked with white beans and a ham hock), and several pints of beer. As the meal draws to a close Jarl Olaf bids you farewell, "There are horses for you at the stables, mind you don't leave my daughters waiting long at the gates."

    You take your leave and stop by the stables, where several of the jarl's fine horses are ready and waiting for you. You know it is a great responsibility to be charged with use of the jarl's horses as they are extremely valuable and the trade of such brings much-needed coin to the region.

    Spoiler: Horses
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    Light horse on loan for anyone who wants one - Mørkedrømevandrer, Skorri, Signy? Gunnar has his own horse and Freyja is too big!

    You arrive at the Silvermeade stockade wall to find the gate open and three young women astride fine horses waiting there impatiently. The oldest wears a dress of blue linen with a squared border of small yellow flowers embroidered around the neck. She is tall and fair of face, her golden hair coiled about her head in braids and covered in a silver net. Her face favors her father, and she is introduced by your escort as Inga, the Jarl’s oldest daughter. Next to her upon a skittish mare sits a girl of perhaps thirteen. Her dress is a plain green smock, and her hair and eyes are dark like her mother’s. She is named to you as Fastvi.

    The third girl is the smallest, perhaps nine or ten years old, with a distant and dreaming look on her face. Her hair is fair like her older sister’s but the resemblance ends there. You have heard the rumors of Little Runa’s troubled birth near ten winters ago whispered around the hearth fires out of the jarl’s hearing. The truth of these tales seems to be told in the angry red birthmark that covers her face from left ear to chin, the girl seemingly unaware of the rough, wrinkled texture or the ill portent it marks. Worse from the standpoint of omens are her eyes, one blue and one pale green, the eyes of the aglæcwif — the witch-wife. Nevertheless, though dreamy and precocious, the jarl and his wife have loved Little Runa dearly, and she has enjoyed the privileges and upbringing of a devoted family despite the ill omens of her birth. If anything can overcome the spinnings of the wyrd at her birth, it would have to be the good Jarl Henrikson, a man favored by fate as much as any man can claim.



    Inga's eyes settle on Gunnar, ignoring everybody else. "We've been waiting. I trust your companions won't keep us any longer? Let's be off". Signy barely stifles a snort at the insolent elder girls attititude.

    Spoiler: Knowledge (Local) check - Gunnar & Skorri:
    Show
    Knowledge (Local) DC15
    Gunnar (1d20+6)[26]
    Skorri (1d20+5)[16]

    You have heard rumors that Runa's birthing was a difficult one. You recall that at Runa’s birth the midwives of the holdfast were afraid that both child and mother would be lost. Fearing the worst, the jarl sent his best huscarls across the Moors and into the Barrow Lands to seek out a seiðkona — a witch for all purposes — named Sibbe the Unkempt. They found the filthy, rag-covered witch and brought her back to aid in the birthing. True, the witch’s magic saved Runa and her mother, but the child has never been quite “right,” marked by fate for the sorcerous interference at her birth. Furthermore, she seems to see and hear things that are not there, and has on more than one occasion spoken of things she could not know of or of things that occurred well before they happened. Still, the jarl and his wife love the girl and dote on her a great deal of time.
    Last edited by Ghostfoot; 2018-07-13 at 09:33 PM.

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    Nodding to newcomer, "Aye, Gunnar Hallvard, it is well, though we had several goats take ill this past season, so our herd is having a hard time, but the crops are settled, Svanhild will see to it all while I am busy though," he eyes him in return with a raised eyebrow, not knowing too much about him "How are the spirits today? Good I hope?" he asks, tearing a piece of bread, and nodding to the others as they sit

    ...........................

    Gunnar rides up to the three on his on horse, Thor, his wife thought it amusing to call his horse after the gods themselves, even though it hinted of blasphemy. He often refrained referencing them by name because of it, which made some things awkward, making his wife laugh even more.

    He nods his head to the three girls as they approach, "My apologies my Lady, we only just got word, we are ready as you will. May I ask which meadow we are going to today?" he completely ignores her imperious attitude, he'd talked to nobles who 'assumed' much more before, this was nothing new.
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    “Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows!” -Shakespeare
    “Gnyðja mundu nú grísir, ef þeir vissi, hvat inn gamli þyldi” -Ragnar Lodbrok

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus

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    Freyja Skirlaug

    The Giantess accepts the Jarl's curt dismissal without a word. She has become used to being treated as an outcast by many due to her tainted blood line. Indeed, if the Priests had not taken her in she would have probably been tied to a stone and dropped of the side of the longboat rather than being part of a crew of one of them. At least amongst the crew of the Riverserpent she had gained acceptance and even respect.

    As they head to the stables Freyja looks at the horses and signs, "Aye, I'll run alongside and try not to slow you over much. It would take a beast like Sleipnir himself to bear my weight" Walking swiftly with spear sloped on her shoulder she follows th others through the town, happy to let the horses rather than her clear a path. her spear in hand and shield on her back clatter and rattle as she walks but the weapons on her harness make her feel better and she feels honoured to have the trust of the Jarl in protecting his daughters.

    --

    At seeing the 3 girls astride their mounts she approaches them nodding to them in a respectful manner. One that is dented slightly by the imperious tone of the eldest daughter. Her eyes longer on the yougest child, a feeling of sorrow as she knows how hard it is to find acceptance in the town. "Aye Lady. As Gunnar says we can be ready when you are"
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    Skorri shakes off his reflective mood and hoes into the food with the enthusiasm of a young man who has spent far too often dining on naught but hardtack and pickled or salt fish while working aboard his father's longboat. As he eats, he chit-chats with the others at the table, wondering if any of them have realised the importance of the jarl's guest, but realising that discussing it in front of them would be impolite.

    When they approach the stables, Skorri eyes the horses with only slightly more excitement than the giantess. "I'd rather the tiller or oars of a longboat under my hands any day of the week, than the saddle of a horse under my backside!" he jokes as mounts his designated ride. He nods to Freyja as attempts to bring his horse under his control. "I've seen some mighty horses bred by the southlanders that I would daresay could carry even you with ease; they make even the jarl's fine mounts seem as small as foals."

    - - - - -

    Skorri gives a dramatic sigh, as he hears Inga's complaint. "Ah, so impatient! Surely you must not begrudge the flowers of the field a few more moments of their glory, before you arrive in the meadow and outshine them with your beauty?" He gives a smile that is as completely innocent as fresh-fallen snow.

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Inga doesn't even acknowledge Skorri's response, simply turning her horse and showing her back to him, the horse itself choosing this moment to break wind at him. Looking over at Gunnar she does give him the courtesy of waiting until his nod of readiness before she flicks her reigns and she and the other girls move forward out of the gates at a trot.

    As soon as you are out of sight of the holdfast Fastvi bunches up her green smock and whips the whole thing off, revealing functional tunic and trousers underneath. "Hah, that's better!" She glowers at her elder sister's disapproving look before urging her horse forward, darting about the party and riding well ahead clearly enjoying her freedom away from the restrictions and expectations of her parents at Silvermeade Hall.

    It should only take an hour's ride through farmland and well-coppiced woods to the Meadows where the girls want to pick flowers. The Meadows are beyond the settlements, just inside the boundaries of the forest and more wild, but still near enough to largely be safe. Freemen out in fields still spotted here and there with snow in the shadows, or traveling along the muddy road wave to your group as you ride past, and some of the higher-status hirdmen stop and call greetings. Inga continues her brusque manner with all encountered. She only deigns to give freemen and their families a slight wave or nod of the head and is too curt and short with the hirdmen who greet her. Runa rides quietly nearby, muttering to herself in an unsettling way and occasionally laughing softly.

    Spoiler: Perception DC12 - all pass except Freyja & Signy
    Show
    Gunnar (1d20+4)[14]
    DDW (1d20+7)[15]
    Freyja (1d20-1)[11]
    Skorri (1d20+3)[15]
    Signy (1d20)[2]

    Runa is obviously holding half of a conversation with some unseen (imaginary?) person. She's a peculiar wee girl.

    Will Save DC10 for those who know of her origins:
    Gunnar (1d20)[7]
    Skorri (1d20+1)[14]

    Knowing the background of Little Runa's birth, her behaviour is quite unsettling to you. DC10 will save or shaken until further notice.

    Your horses travel on at a trot as you make your way toward the Meadows, Fastvi darting about on her horse eager to be ahead. It's been not 20 minutes since you left the holdfast when on the muddy track ahead of you, you spot a group of five armed warriors riding your way down the trail. Their horses move slowly as if exhausted from long riding, and they and their mounts are spattered with the mud of hard travel. They've clearly seen you too but make no move to alter their gait, continuing to approach at their weary pace. At this distance you can't make out their identities.
    Last edited by Ghostfoot; 2018-07-27 at 06:23 AM.

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    Freyja Skirlaug

    the Giantess bounds along beside the horses, her long stride more or less keeping pace with horses as she clatters along, longspear in hand and watchful for danger. SHe lets the men watch the two older girls as she stays closer to the youngest. A youth being spat upon and cursed and spending much of her time with the seers and priests having left her used to slightly odd behavior as she ignores the small child talking to herself. She looks at SKorri with a surprised look - "I'b be impressed to see horses that big. But I'm with you. A solid wooden deck, a strong rower and an enemy boat to board is where joy can be found." She glances back to the young girls, speaking more softly to the young bard - "Is there trouble brewing that Jarl would fear for the safety of his daughters so much?"

    ----

    In the meadow she slows, still staying near the youngest of the girls although when the riders appear she darts forward in front of the girls, the massive door sized shield dropping into place as she levels the 15ft long spear towards the enemies, glancing left and right she calls "Form Wall..." wondering who will join her.
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    Gunnar gave his nod of assent, he appreciated that she even would listen to him, and he held no qualms as to why, she was following the dictates of this land, which would serve her well if she is married off to a foreign noble, but it would be good for her also to treat those lower than her with more respect. With a sigh, he kicked Thor into a trot and followed the young ladies, hastening to perform his stewardship as best as possible.

    As soon as Fastvi ripped off her clothes to reveal another set beneath, he grinned like a wolf, he could remember another lady acting similarly, and he had married her. He canted up and picked up the clothes, stuffing them into his bag so she could get back into them on the way back, best to protect her modesty from others, and her fathers wrath.

    He saw Runa talking to herself, but he couldn't recall the history, there was something he couldn't quite recall, and for some reason, he was fine with that, as he was thinking he heard Freyja call to form the shield wall, he frowned and looked out, No, there was no reason to do that...yet....these were warriors who had seen battle, and probably recently, and they showed no aggression.

    He shook his head, "Not yet Freyja, let's go see what they need." Not wanting to split anyone up, he turned to the girls "Ladies, if you'll ride behind us, we'll go and meet these warriors who block our way, be sure to stay close." he eyed Fastvi, of course, they could ignore him completely, but he hoped they wouldn't.
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    Bel's Compendium
    Homebrew sig
    Epic items of interest
    Sir cowabunga of clubs
    ENTJ-A

    “Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows!” -Shakespeare
    “Gnyðja mundu nú grísir, ef þeir vissi, hvat inn gamli þyldi” -Ragnar Lodbrok

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus

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    Dark Dreams Wanderer

    The journey so far had not been one of comfort, as the gait of a horse was much rougher than the dainty steps and bounds of a reindeer. Of course, comfort itself was a southern idea with no place in the mind of a Nuk, and so the wild-looking ranger had kept his eyes on the horizon as they travelled. His horn-backed bow (ah, the pride of wielding a weapon of his own make) was held at the ready with an arrow notched, eyes peeled for both foes and prey.

    The affectations of the youngest high-blood were both strange and familiar to the Wanderer. Born into the care of the wise women of his people, he well understood that the girl was speaking with the spirits of this place. So young, though, to be hearing clearly enough to converse.

    Sharp Nuk eyes easily caught the motion on the horizon, giving ample excuse for the Wanderer to slip free from his saddle, a simple glare and a spoken ”Stand.” holding the trained beast in place.

    Stalking wide of the group, he scanned both the oncoming tattered warriors and the path behind, an arrow held taught on the string.

    Spoiler: OoC
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    Wild Empathy (1d20-1)[13]
    Perception (1d20+7)[23]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostfoot View Post
    Inga doesn't even acknowledge Skorri's response, simply turning her horse and showing her back to him, the horse itself choosing this moment to break wind at him.
    "Truly, a fitting melody to herald the departure of our jarl's eldest daughter," Skorri half-whispers as Inga rides out of earshot. "It would seem that both rider and mount have airs about them, and neither particularly pleasant." He grins broadly, gripping the reigns and nudging his own horse in the ribs, spurring it into trot after the girls.

    The young skald's eyes widen in surprise as Fastvi begins removing her smock, which turns into a pleased chuckle as she reveals the tunic and trousers beneath. Well, well - it seems that Fastvi has a hidden adventurous streak, he thinks to himself, as the girl rides around the group. The jarl is going to have his hands full with that one before long!

    Quote Originally Posted by DrK View Post
    Freyja Skirlaug

    the Giantess bounds along beside the horses, her long stride more or less keeping pace with horses as she clatters along, longspear in hand and watchful for danger. SHe lets the men watch the two older girls as she stays closer to the youngest. A youth being spat upon and cursed and spending much of her time with the seers and priests having left her used to slightly odd behavior as she ignores the small child talking to herself. She looks at SKorri with a surprised look - "I'b be impressed to see horses that big. But I'm with you. A solid wooden deck, a strong rower and an enemy boat to board is where joy can be found." She glances back to the young girls, speaking more softly to the young bard - "Is there trouble brewing that Jarl would fear for the safety of his daughters so much?"
    "Ha! You wouldn't even believe half of the things I've seen in the southlander ports I've visited," Skorri replies, pleased to have an audience, even if it is only the giant-kin woman. "I think they're all a bit gods-touched, and not in a good way." His eyes can't help but stray to the strange, muttering young Runa. "Maybe it's all that sun and hot weather; it must cook their brains. They have some interesting drinks, though; and interesting girls..." he trails off, belatedly realising that such tales probably wouldn't amuse his current audience. He coughs, and lowers his voice "No trouble brewing yet, but..." he glances around, making sure that the girls aren't listening too closely. "It would seem that Inga there is getting wed, and when a jarl's child weds, that means alliances and politics. Some of the other jarls might take offence at the alliance, or seek advantage from the wedding - a bride-to-be is doubly valuable, to both her family and that of her intended husband."

    When the riders are spied upon the trail, Skorri rides up alongside Gunnar and readies his shield, though does not reach for a weapon. "What do you think?" he asks, deferring to the experience of the older man. "Ride up and meet them, or wait here until they pass?" He scans the group of riders, looking for anything that might give some clue to their identity.

    Spoiler
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    Perception: (1d20+3)[8]

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Cautious at the approach of the armed warriors your fears are soon eased as you note the familiar faces of the men as they grow closer. Hallbjorn Bolverkson and Kraki Hallason, huscarls of Jarl Olaf, are accompanied by a couple of household warriors Young Ljot and Berg Geirson as well as a somewhat violent mercenary recently arrived from Vastavikland known as Hauk Arinbjornson.

    All are known to you by sight, but you have never had any dealings with them. Hallbjorn in particular is a barrel-chested man with curly blond hair and beard who is well-respected as a stout fighter and one of Jarl Olaf's most trusted huscarls. The group are bristling with weapons, mainly spear, shield & handaxe although Young Ljot also carries a longbow, Berg a sword and Hauk nothing but a heavy greataxe. None are readied threateningly.

    The leader, Hallbjorn, calls a greeting as he rides closer "Ho there, hold. Where are you bound?". Following him, Young Ljot the archer can hardly keep his eyes off the girls, blushing when Inga looks at him. Berg sneezes and wipes his mud-spattered sleeve across his face. The mercenary axeman Hauk sneers "What have we here? Fine ladies all out for a morning ride?"

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    Dark Dreams Wanderer

    The wild haired Nuk lowers his bow at the warriors’ approach, though he eyes askance the state of their gear. He might have held silence as the greater valor had the axe wielding oaf not spoken.

    ”Quiet your tongue, sell-soul, lest your words betray your true cowardice and lack of respect for the Jarl and his People.”

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    The giantess recognises them as kinsmen raising her spear and standing tall as they approach, although with an eye on their unkempt mud splattered appearance she makes sure to stay between the and the girls in her charge.

    Her face darkens at the brutes comment. She echoes the nuk beside her. "mind your tongue mercenary. These are the daughters of the Jarl."
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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Recognizing their Jarls men immediately set Gunnar at ease, but he frowned as the sell-sword disrespected his wards, had he no clue who this was? he thought ruefully to himself as his own companions attempted to guard their wards honor, such as it was.

    "Hallbjorn!" he says relieved, "we have been blessed to watch over the Jarls daughters, they are heading to a meadow to pick flowers, what of you?" he says, trying his best to be diplomatic as his companions throw threats like words in the wind.
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    “Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows!” -Shakespeare
    “Gnyðja mundu nú grísir, ef þeir vissi, hvat inn gamli þyldi” -Ragnar Lodbrok

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Skorri relaxes slightly as he recognises the men, and slings his shield over his back once more.

    He nods towards the axe-wielding mercenary and then, grinning, half-whispers to his companions "You'd have to worry about either his eyesight or choice of 'company' if he can't tell a warrior from a fine lady!"

    Skorri nudges his horse forwards a little, but still slightly behind Gunnar. "Ho there, Hallbjorn, Kraki! Looks like you've ridden far and hard today; what news? Anything that concerns us?"

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Hallbjorn nods his head. "The Meadows then," he says, "Keep an eye out for an outlaw by the name of Styr the Ugly. He’s a tall man, dark haired, and has a scar across his chin like a serpent’s tail. We've hunted him this last week on the Moors but he's slipperier than an eel. A murderer with no qualms so beware." To his men he turns and says "Make way for the Jarl's daughters".

    Hauk however does not abide by his leaders words and the Vastiviklander taunts the Nuk and Freyja further "Must be proud warriors who escort little girls to pick flowers; fine warriors work that is. What say you step off that horse and learn what the weather of weapons is all about".

    "No need to quarrel. We all have a duty to do." says Kraki edging his horse forward to block the way between Hauk and your party. "Save it for Njarni the Traitor or Gufti the Clever. There's plenty deserve it."

    The girls don't seem too worried by this interaction but watch your exchange with interest, safely back a few steps.

    Spoiler: Knowledge (Local) check - Gunnar & Skorri:
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    Knowledge (Local) DC15
    Gunnar (1d20+6)[12]
    Skorri (1d20+5)[19]

    Njarni the Traitor is a wanted criminal from Storstrøm Vale who murdered his own jarl.
    Gufti the Clever is likewise a fugitive rapist from Trotheim in Storstrøm Vale.
    Both are rumoured to be in the area.

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    Mørkedrømevandrer

    Catching the inference of the higher-born of the group, the Wanderer still casts his gaze hard on the mercenary.

    "I stand on the spirits of the earth already..... warrior." The word is said with barely-suppressed derision, as the Wanderer does not believe the mercenary deserves the term.

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Gunnar knows those names. This was not good, but at least they had a sortie to protect the Jarl's Daughters, he was wise as his years, and now Gunnar understood some of the reason for duty.

    He nods back to Hallbjorn, "Many thanks, we shall keep watch." he says, completely ignoring the barbed threat from the Vastiviklander, he turns to the young women and nods again, "We best be off then my ladies, else all the flowers may pick themselves."

    Spoiler
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    Sense Motive the Vastiviklander
    (1d20+4)[6]
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    Bel's Compendium
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    ENTJ-A

    “Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows!” -Shakespeare
    “Gnyðja mundu nú grísir, ef þeir vissi, hvat inn gamli þyldi” -Ragnar Lodbrok

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Freyja

    At the inference from Haruk about their lack of stature her knuckles whiten on the grip of the spear. Too long had she been victim of jokes and abuse from the drunken rabble that made up most fo the Jarl's household. But, before she could speak the well spoken Hallbjorn and Gunnar speak and she relaxes slightly. STill standing in front of the daughters she nods to Hallbjorn, "Thanks for the words of warning. I know not all those names but we'll keep an eye out"

    At Gunnar's weak joke she smiles slightly looking the bard, almost level with the mounted man despite her horse, "Aye, lets be off and leave Hallbjorn and his companions to their business."
    Thanks to Emperor Ing for the nice Avatar

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    "Hauk, hold now! This is unseemly for our jarl's men. Enjoy your day. Be watchful." Hallbjorn reigns in Hauk, and the search party continue onward nodding politely to the daughters, their weary horses trudging through the mud as they head back toward Silvermeade Hall.

    Fastvi wistfully watches the warriors depart, clearly somewhat taken by the attitude of the battle-hardened men. No sooner have you set off, Hallbjorn's party now out of sight, than she pipes up "Race you to the Meadows!". Spurring her horse forward she is off, leaping a nearby ditch and hurtling cross-country across the fields towards a nearby copse.

    Spoiler: Mini-game!
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    Only if anyone wants to try to stop Fastvi from riding off.

    Initiative
    Fastvi (1d20+2)[15]
    Gunnar (1d20+3)[9]
    DDW (1d20+2)[15]
    Freyja (1d20+1)[14]
    Skorri (1d20+2)[12]
    Signy (1d20+1)[16]

    Ride DC15 to jump the ditch (otherwise fall for 1d6 damage Edit: let's make it nonlethal damage)

    If you win initiative and make the jump then a DC10 Ride check will catch Fastvi (you get two chances).
    If you lose initiative and make the jump then a DC10 Ride check will still catch Fastvi (but you get only one roll).

    If you don't catch her or fall from the horse, then...I'm sure things will be just fine
    Last edited by Ghostfoot; 2018-08-21 at 05:50 AM.

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Skorri frowns and grimaces when he hears the names mentioned by Hallbjorn and Kraki; with honourless sharks like those prowling the area, there was small wonder that the jarl wanted an armed escort for his daughters.

    He nods his thanks to Hallbjorn and Kraki, but continues to ignore Hauk. "We appreciate the advice; remind me to buy you all a beer if meet up in Halfstead, hey?"

    * * *

    "Gods' balls!" Skorri exclaims as Fastvi gallops off. "Why am I not surprised? HYA!" Without waiting for instruction, he digs his heels into his mount's ribs and sets off after her.

    Spoiler
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    Ride check to jump the ditch: (1d20+1)[5]

    Damage, in case of fall: (1d6)[3]

    Ride check to catch up, in case of success: (1d20+1)[5]

    Edit: about what I expected...

    Last edited by Dexam; 2018-08-20 at 11:42 PM.

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    Dark Dreams Wanderer

    ”Spirits of wind protect...” the Wanderer sighs, then dashes in pursuit.

    Spoiler: OoC
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    (1d20+2)[18] ride

    (1d6)[3] non-lethal

    (1d20+2)[9] chance 1
    (1d20+2)[12] chance 2

    Success!


    Catching up to the racing maiden, the Wanderer does not touch the other horse but calls across: ”Well run, lady! Caution, though. There is risk here, and you do not wish to bring shame to the men behind, do you?”
    Last edited by PeacefulOak; 2018-08-21 at 08:21 AM.

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Gunnar is too slow to react, but watches as the Wanderer catches up, he scowls, but otherwise says nothing, someone had to stay with the other 2.
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    ENTJ-A

    “Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark, what discord follows!” -Shakespeare
    “Gnyðja mundu nú grísir, ef þeir vissi, hvat inn gamli þyldi” -Ragnar Lodbrok

    "I have a high art; I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." -Archilochus

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Freyja watches the bondsmen ride south before glancing at Skorri and the others, "Those names, are they known to you?". She restsger spear onber shoulder oce more when they are gone, eyes lingering on Hauk with hostility.

    ---

    As Fastvi gallops off she spins, alert to danger before holding as Skorri and the Wanderer chase. Without a horse she could not hold to catch the girl.
    Thanks to Emperor Ing for the nice Avatar

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    As Skorri and his mount approach the ditch, the horse shies in the hands of its inexperienced rider; Skorri is sent vaulting from the saddle, landing in the grass with a *thud!*

    Momentarily winded, Skorri stands up to see that the Nuklander has easily cleared the ditch with his horse and is catching up with Fastvi. Rubbing a bruised shoulder, he turns back to the others. "And this demonstrates why I'm a sailor, and not a horseman. Truly, if I'd been in a longboat, I'd've made it jump that ditch with ease!"

    He limps off to round up his horse, muttering "Get back here, you traitorous beast!"

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    Default Re: The Northlands Saga - Spears in the Ice IC

    Fastvi is off, laughing as she hurtles across the fields on horseback. As Skorri is sent tumbling in tangled bruised heap Mørkedrømevandrer urges his horse forward leaping over the ditch in pursuit.

    Gunnar, Freyja and Signy all watch with frustration, unwilling or unable to join the chase. Inga and Runa wait too, little Runa muttering to herself while Inga rolls her eyes at her sister's antics and then sighs with embarrassed boredom as her 'guard' Skorri tumbles into the mud.

    A stooped old farmer, Old Ljot, rounds the corner from a low-thatched barn, waving his old hoe over his head yelling curses "Lazy...pig-brained wastes of breath...tearing up my field!!!!". He starts to calm somewhat as the chase resolves. Fastvi tears across the field towards the nearby treeline but Mørkedrømevandrer is close behind. The tundra elf has a knack with animals and his steed responds, bringing him alongside the errant girl.

    Fastvi reigns in her horse. "Can't a girl have fun. It's all so...boring!" but she smiles as she says it, clearly happy to have had a little freedom and to have been joined in the chase by Mørkedrømevandrer. The two return to the road, rejoining the group to continue onward and leaving Old Ljot to tend his trampled fields.

    ..................................

    Five minutes or so later the trail from Silvermeade Hall west to the Meadows crosses a larger north-south road. This is the main Coast Road and it crosses your trail here at One-Eyed Sven’s Spring. Named for the old huscarl who has taken this natural spring and enlarged it, ringing it with stone as a service to travelers and others taking the main road, the spring is the best watering hole in the area. An thin, older fellow sits under a lean-to by this spring pool whittling, a small pile of wood shavings at his feet. A hunting horn and a well-used fighting axe rest within arms reach. It is the huscarl, One-Eyed Sven who tends this spring when not called by his duties in Jarl Olaf’s hall.

    He hails you as you ride up, recognising you. “Morning young folk, care for some dried apples?"

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