You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor  (Read 2706 times)

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2023, 10:31:10 AM »

A quiet moment in-between the raids and the tests, I find my urge to put ink to journal irresistible. Have so many events happened that I will drone forever? Nau, I do not think so. But enough has happened that to leave them unwritten would be a disgrace.

I lost that duel of mine. Despite my best efforts and the sharpness of mine Voulge, she won over me in the end. I've thought hard on it but have come to the conclusion that her martial talents are simply more honed than mine. Still, it was a holmgang if there ever was one. A small audience, a fight, and clasped arms afterwards. Were we able to lose ourselves in a barrel of mead as in Northlander tradition... But, my obligations called and I had to get back to it.

After that I had sought simply to hone my soul and pile of coin. An unexpected but very welcomed offer came to me and I knew what I had wouldn't cut it. Through blood, coin, and generosity I had gathered the materials needed for a chainmail made of the Skyiron. The Huntsman Fearghas and I then proceeded to work the forge for nearly a day to craft my kędebrev. The process of forming sheets upon sheets of small rings of steel is arduous enough. Add in the foreign nature of Skyiron and it becomes even moreso. But as ever our persistence was unmatched and with a final lining of comfortable leathers and shadowed silk, it was finished. A fine shell to which I will use to protect the Ilharess and those I value.

Then came the soul harvest. "Enchanting" to others, but in reality, a harvest. The process is painful in the extreme, even with the aid of the experienced magus Shristine and days of fasting to prepare myself. The sensation of the arcane devices bleeding you dry, your very person stuck in an unending limbo of lightning strikes as a chunk of you is forcibly removed... Is as unnerving as it is somewhat intoxicating. The result? An almost imperceptibly humming chainmail. Blessed with a melody that few either can or want to acknowledge they hear. But I hear it. How it sings to me it's siren song, a lullaby that protects me from the blades of my foes. As I said before; intoxicating to a Skald like me.

Perhaps it is some form of madness that has gotten it's hook into me. Or mine own attunement to this place. But as I grow more and more comfortable here I begin to pick up on things. The quiet whisper on the wind of thousands of songs. Every life, a melody, all crashing into one another in a cacophony of sound so brilliant and deranged one might get lost in it as one is lost in the surf... Or perhaps I have moulds in my mead barrel and am suffering from some sort of artificial psychosis that the shamans would impart upon themselves.

Before I lose my eyes to whatever this feeling is, I bid myself Aluve and calm seas. More tests await and I'll naut be found unable or unwilling.

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Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2023, 01:53:26 PM »

Returned from the sea I am once again of a mind to write. It wasn't long after my previous entry that tragedy crashed upon us as the surf on the shores. I'll not open still healing wounds but it was a loss I'll feel for some time. I sang my dirges and worked my hands at sea, having taken passage with a vessel into the Nightmare Sea. She was at my side during our journey and took to the sea quite well. I was glad for her company, to not be left to wander alone in mine own mind. But it is good to be upon land once again. Back to the real world.

Nary a half day I'd been returned I found myself at an impromptu circle of fights. Blades rang, the crowd cheered, and scores seemed to be settled one at a time. I was content to be a bystander, drinking my mead and cheering along. Rayo, one of those who I like to keep an eye on, wished to test his prowess. Not one to back down from so cordial an offer I stood opposite him with mine Voulge in hand. On his word we began and I opened with a shout so gutteral I saw cracks open on his exposed flesh. Just as fast I turned it into a melody only a Raider would appreciate and made my first blow.

It struck, hard, biting deep into the cloth and equipment on Rayo's chest, rending it and spilling blood. But as I had thought he would he merely grunted and unleashed upon me a hail of flaming strikes. Quick and with precision known only to those trained in mind as much as body he struck again and again. But it was not to be for him, as my next strikes crushed the tissue on his thigh and opened the wound on his chest further. We backed away before further harm could be done and shook hands as equals. He'll make a fine Raider someday soon.

My next bouts were against fellow enforcers. Xalfryn was as the sea: fluid in movement and all at once devastating in his strikes. In contrast, Angron was a rock slide, unstoppable and unending in blows. Both of them bested me handily then turned to one another for a fight that I am sure convinced all others to find healthier ways to pass the time. I am honored to be counted amongst so stalwart of companions, true Drengr as I live and breath the word myself.

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Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2023, 10:56:45 AM »

As I stared into that tumultuous and churning portal of mists, the Vistaani Captain shaking his head wryly, I tried to focus. Focus on our tasking, on Mariel's soft  words, on Shristine's measured detachment, and even Nozomi's bubbly attitude. Focus. Our majicks cast and our destination set, we took our steps into that murky sea...

...and I found myself aboard a longship. One that I knew had been made by mine parents own hands. Their workmanship all over the railing, the benches, all of it. I looked up with shaking hands to see them, smiling at me in that way they always had. Pride on their faces and good cheer in their eyes. I nearly collapsed if naut for the grip on mine Voulge. Surely this was a trick by the mists, but oh, how sweet it was. Ma winked, touching the rune on her forehead and I swear I felt it on mine. I stumbled closer and they only shook their head, getting further away. "Go now, Ljot, you shield biter, wall breaker, bearer of mine blood. Bring woe and ruin and despair to thine foes." Her voice grew distant, I stumbled forward again and again, tears trailing and a thousand questions on my lips. But my footing more sure, mine steps gained purchase...

...Whispers, a pointed claw and whisper from Mariel to our west: our destination and spectres in our way. And so the game began in earnest. They sought our souls and we sought our exit. The screams of ten thousand minds, the wails of banshees, cultic chanting and the sound of the wind chomping down upon the flesh of the world and of aeons past, whispering in a tone so maddeningly tantalizing that my hairs stood on end and mine heart fluttered in dark anticipation. Wet lips and bloodied talons I saw that cave and that succubus for the briefest moments as it pouted almost churlishly at my supplication to its master...

...Perfidus. Those sulfurous, fiendish sands. We'd made it. But there was no time to rest, for its residents could sense us. Smell us. The wilful entry upon their realm, a slight to naut be ignored. We continued our run, and it was then I saw the skies split wide and stone rain down upon the land. A nod and pointing claw "Those are our true prey, Ljot. Look upon them and mark their place." Aye, prey was a fine word for our goal was to split them open like clams to pry their delicate pearls. But first, their guardians. Fiends of guile, strength, and strong majicks. We took battle to them and upon Great sword and Voulge and harsh majicks and noxious vapours we dealt our blows. Their screams mingled with mine song, blood ringing and the rapturous melody gained in fever pitch with every fiend slain. We fought as a troupe might play a song they'd known for years, fiendish fluids and sloughing flesh pooled at my feet as the sky split again and poured upon us its bounty...

...meteorites she called them. The source of metals from the sky. Quickly cooling from our efforts we gathered what we could. Their weight was considerable but their true worth would be found later, if found at all. It is unknown if it will be worth it, if it is ever worth it, until they are melted down in the forge. But that was for later and our escape needed to be had. Blessed with majicks and drinks taken we stepped into that mire once more and came out on the other side into the sands of the Amber Wastes. Giddy with laughter and adrenaline we purchased safety from the Vistaani outside of Har'Akir and made our way back...

...she rested her wingtips on mine shoulders and said a small prayer for me, and I said one in turn. The madness we witnessed was seared away like the stone of the metals we refined in the forge, and our persons restored through this small act of humanity...

...rest. I must rest

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Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2023, 12:28:43 PM »

The wonders a bath and a meal at the Golden Fig has on a person. I'll be the first to admit that I do not care for this city of masks and nobles. But there is a sort of charm here that is unseen in many other lands. Mine flame, snoring gently at the other end of the room as usual, is here too. So a small sacrifice to be with her is more than an equal exchange.

I suppose much has happened between my last entry and now, though even more of it shan't be recorded. I know the dangers of a lost journal and there are many secrets I will prefer to take with me to my eventual grave. Instead, I'll record some moments of bravery and good cheer.

My little collection of Drengr are doing their best. Gently nudged and issues plied in the way only a Skald and a Mother can do. They'll make for fine legends in their own right, something this land is in need of. Fighting alongside Laika, Lidya, Rayo, and even Maren has in turn helped me to sharpen up where I'd been slagging. We'll continue to help and see how they progress into the tales of legend.

A recent impromptu and intimate performance for some of the Exostra was a fine treat as well. Drinks flowed, dancing sought, and songs sang. I admit to having had a lack of such passion of late but that helped to reignite my fires. Old songs and ancient dances of the Northlander people made me yearn for a time long since past.

I've also found out I'm a terrible fist fighter. That woman Anna bested me soundly. So soundly I'm simply amazed at my own lack of ability than anything. I could blame the rain and the slick mud of course to preserve my ego. But, she won handily and I'll not deny her her victory. Perhaps she'll give me lessons...

And like that, I've written my morning away and the sun has risen. I'll gather my gloves and axe and make for the woods this day. My sudden taste for carving oak has yet to be sated and I'll not disappoint.

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Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2023, 10:34:00 AM »

The day draws near that I've been secretly dreading.

I grow restless.

I am all at once tired and full of hateful energy. My eyes itch and my hands yearn to put mine glaive to flesh and see those beneath me put down further still. I want to flee, to catch the wind in sail and carry mineself far away from here. I'll take drink, war, or lust to dull the ache and bury it again...


Six winters past was the last I'd seen of mine little bird, Intha. Mine first child after years of failed attempts and an increasingly impatient Jarl. Every missed conception another dirty mark upon me. Another forced smile and empty whispers that it was ok. That we'd try and try again until he had his heir. And what else did I have but to try and try again as he said? I'd been given a life not many had in Norland. I did not hunger, nor want for warmth or fine things. I was a Jarlskona, it was mine. And so time and time again we'd try, fail, and brush it off. Cracks in the hull.

And then Auril's faithful confirmed it: pregnant at last. The seers cried in unison that I was to give birth to a girl, a Valkyrie in human flesh, that would carry our people to new heights. Though it was not the son he wished for, mine Jarl was more relieved than he had ever been. I felt loved again, that he had come back to me. I would make sure, come mine own death if need be, that Intha would be born.

The Weaver of Fates smiled upon me that day. Perhaps that was her first touch upon mine life. But through a monumental struggle and effort unparalleled to almost anything in mine life... I heard her cries and wept in joy as much as anguish. In relief, such monumental relief. We wrapped her in furs and I held her close to mine chest, letting her suckle greedily from me. Mine Jarl roared happily and fed me roasted lamb's leg and had me drink deep of the finest mead. I was Jarlskona. I was a mother.

I was whole...


The page is stained heavily with what looks like wine. Small circles, dried tears perhaps, dot the wine at places.
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Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2023, 01:46:47 PM »

Much like the warm days of summer mine joy was not meant to last. We were lucky in that we had Intha early in the year, at the end of winter. She had time to grow and we could prepare her to ward off the chills of Lady Frostkiss. We made sure to fatten her up like a silly seal pup, and wouldn't you know it that is what mine Jarl called her: his little pup... I was soaring higher than any bird in flight those days.

Oh, but how that summer felt. Those heady days of sun and cool breezes are all at once so distant and so close at hand. It didn't matter that the priestess said I could no longer bear children. I had Intha. What more could I want? I am not so unappreciative that I would demand more, for the gods had already blessed me so. She was strong, we were strong. We would persevere.


The writing falters. Several attempts to start again are scratched out.

But Auril is a fickle goddess. The harvest was frost touched early, the ice flows thicker than usual. Every stomach felt the pinch as our usual means were cut at. Starvation would grip us that winter and none were safe. Raiders flocked to their vessels to claim what we needed. Our people were true savages that year and none would keep us from taking our fill.

But it was too late for some. The elders succumbed to disease and lack of food first. Then the younger children... and then Intha. Her wings clipped as mine would be five years later. I myself was with fever, delirious and unable to process what had happened. Those days fade in and out for mineself... tears, screaming until my throat was raw and bloody, violence to those undeaerving, and finally the breaking of mine mind. We gave Intha's frail, tiny body to the Aurilites to bury as was our custom for nobles. And then we became distant.

It was no surprise the Jarl would move on to another. He had to, he needed an heir and I was but a barren tundra to him. In mine jealousy I killed the first woman he brought with my seax and dumped her at his feet. His ire gained he struck me hard across the face, sending me to my knees... then he sent me away. Far away, to wander, to "be the Skald he could use if not the wife he needed". I gladly took his offer and wandered. For five years I plied my trade, learned instruments, became a bandit, and finally came full circle as a Raider once more under his banner. Still his wife, his Jarlskona, his Skald. But in name only.

No longer do I bear such titles or claims in any seriousness other than Skald. Mine taking of the Oath given to the Ilharess has washed away such stains. Mine taking up the call of the Weaver of Fates has, instead, proven that through the greatest miseries and tragedy that we are reborn. Stronger, better versions of ourselves, constantly sculpted and carved by her hand for perfection. This too will reforge mineself. I will wail and sing and cast gifts into the sea. A proper funeral for Intha, not the mockery to her that the Aurilites had.

And once she is set to sea I will emerge from the waves anew.
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CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2023, 11:23:31 AM »
I emerged from those waters that day taller than ever. Not physically of course for I would surely frighten any I would meet. No, I emerged a towering being of flesh and spirit, washed anew.

Much has happened since I sent my daughter off in effigy. I built a pyre of beech and oak, stacking the arrows we'll shoot together so that she may practice while she waits for me. I poured coin into the pyre, that she may not want for anything. I wrapped mine mead and fine wines and set them there too, a drink for her and I to share when I see her there. I waded into those cold waves, screaming in anguish and woe, as we lit her pyre aflame. When I screamed myself raw and bloody, I simply watched in dejected, but relieved, silence. Lina was there, she helped me do what I could not. She is the flame in my hearth and I'd not have had anyone else there but her.

Time since had moved quickly. New responsibilities, blood oaths, and mine second play written by my hand alone. Not to say there wasn't still aid from others, but I was not piggybacking off the idea of another. It went off well and was in turn, well received. So much so, we're currently working to perform on a much grander stage in Port-a-lucine. Though, I'll never quite find any place more fitting than the Keep of the Dyad. Less restricted by tongue I can appeal to a wider audience, and it is essential "That one keeps their feet on the deck lest the catch a wave and go overboard", as the Houscarls would say.

More importantly, mine love life has taken a turn as well. I'll not share many details, but those two snoring beauties to mine right know well my love for them. Such is mine life, and it is a life I love. Woe to any who might attempt to slander or snatch it from me, as it will be mine glaive that they'll find and not mine smile.

But now, the sun draws over the horizon and I will be late if I continue. Though I could fill volumes on those two Loves of mine, I would merely be putting off the inevitable.

Despite the arrow I took to mine scars, her massage and ointment application helped me tremendously. I will test just how well it feels with a swim, some few miles and back, before a rigorous day of combat training in mine full kit against Argon. No better way to keep your reflexes sharp than by having your brother in arms and spirit try his best to kill with that fearsome smile and Halberd of his.
Characters Played:
Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2023, 11:19:25 AM »
The undead.

Until mine arrival here in these lands I was content to leave the idea of the undead as myth. Legends, told to young girls and boys to make them act right. Legends, told by drunk Drengr trying to out-boast those around him. Legends, softly whispered with shaking hands from the old Raiders who haven't had the good grace to die already for our Lord Tempus or Umberlee.

Legends...

The Drauger, the undead in the trade tongue, are a considerable foe. So potent is their curse, their Glẚmsskyggn, that they had the will to even awaken from their natural end in the first place. She had been terrorizing and taxing the land for some time now, this "Mother Dove". I'd always heard the stories, but never had the opportunity to investigate. To see what it was about this woman brought to unlife that was so daunting, so horrifying, that she was unable to be brought down.

When I laid eyes upon her and her warhost, I knew.

Again, this was not mine first time dancing with the Drauger in general. After that night in Berez when I was forced to supplication, I vowed to never relent again. To be the Longship that sails into the tempest, screaming to Hel with the will of Umberlee and any against us. And so we stood there, the three of us, arrayed against the Mother Dove and her host. Quite fittingly, the rain came to an end as the words began...
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CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2023, 12:20:24 PM »


No matter how often I encounter them, mine teeth always go on edge. My nerves tighten and my knees quiver as gently as a plucked string from my Mandolin. So unnatural an aura they exude that I feel at any second it could crash through mine spiritual hull and send me both wailing and laughing into the darkness. I bit down hard on the inside of mine cheek at the sight of Mother Dove, hard enough to spill blood and coat my tongue in the coppery iron taste of the here and now. My nerves relaxed, my breathing slowed, and I took in the Drauger coolly.

She was of average height, wielding a bow and accompanied by a wit no less sharp than her arrows. She oozed malevolence and was built solidly of undead muscle and energies. Flanked by a host of mummies dressed in the garb of warriors and priests, the stench of dessicated decay was potent after the rains. My loves handled her arrival in their own ways: Melissa in cold indifference while Shelina took up position and fidgeted with her Rapier. Soon, the words turned callous, heated, and I felt it. The subtle shift in the room, the tang of imminent violence as sharp as the blood pooling on mine tongue. Her bow snapped up and mine glaive was leveled...

Chanting, drawn steel, loosed arrows, and fire surrounded us. The cacophony of her warhost mixed beautifully with our own band's shouts, mine yawp drawing ire and flencing the flesh of those around me. And as battles tend to go, things began to deteriorate. The skies opened and down upon us screamed holy fire to mingle with our own conjured flames. Mother Dove took to Melissa like a hungry hound to a steak, doing her best to open her up with her tainted majicks while Melissa fought back with all she had. The warhost of the Drauger crashed down upon Shelina and I, cutting us off and I could feel the panic building. I bit my cheek harder, growling and screaming as hard as I could, cleaving undead flesh like some macabre butcher...

Mine Huntress fell, clutching her guts in agony and I was suddenly watching Evenin' pierce me with his Halberd. With a rage unknown to me I cut a mummy in two, from collarbone to pelvis. I sprinted at Mother Dove with the force of a boulder, stomping mine feet with every step, matching her strength against mine, a final effort to cast one another down. She was the stone and I, the sea. Two forces willing the other to break, a battle of will as much as force. Every other sound was dead to me, except for my labored breathing and the creaking of undead muscle. I gazed into those milky orbs as they gazed into mine own glacial blues. I understood Mother Dove in that moment better than I ever could in any other setting.

The stone broke first, and like the sea, I reaped my reward. Off balance, I took her legs with mine glaive in a series of savage chops. Falling to the ground and scrambling for purchase, I pinned her there through the guts like some Dementlieu butterfly exhibit. Shaken from my bloodlust, I saw to mine allies and patched up what I could. The Drauger gurgled to us, that it would see us once more... and we silenced it with a liter of distilled fiery grease. As it burned, we watched in silence, ready for it to spring back to life. And in that glow, I took the hands of each of my allies, knowing that for even a small measure of time, things would be safe once again.

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Ljot Solvor, the Skald

CrazedElkPie

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Re: The Axe and the Lute - The tale of Ljot Solvor
« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2024, 06:15:38 PM »

I watched her, in a chair, crying as she said those words. I told her to be strong, to be Drengr.

She did. And she was met with righteousness well deserved.

It's a strange feeling to see a new mother experience all that I did, and yet, experience it completely differently. Her loss was to be now, mine was felt later. Yet the difference was that here I could do something about it. Would do something about it.

The other troubling thing here is the appearance of what I assume is the Avatar of Bast. A playful black cat, the being is of immense power. A man took a shot at the thing with his pistol and was soon vomiting sand until he near died. The Avatar of Bast took pity on him but the lesson wasn't learned. Mummies sprouted and began to attack. A sign of the taint this creature spoke of, or of pure malevolence? Or perhaps the pistoleer should just leave well enough alone.

Who is to say what the gods expect or wish for us here. Who is to say that this being truly is the Avatar of Bast? The seer seemed earnest and honest, but it's hard to know. What's more is it asked if I would be found worthy?

Worthy...

Who can truly say they are? I told it that there was only one way to find out. To test me. To pluck the chords that are my being, to see if all I am and all I may yet be is truly worth anything at all. Am I worthy? I do not know. But I do know one thing for certain, an undeniable truth that I will ever grip tight to mine breast.

If I am called, I will answer. And when I answer, I will know it was my best.

That will have to be good enough.
Characters Played:
Ljot Solvor, the Skald