Friday, 22 May 2015

Kampi's Saga: The Devil's in the Details

Today's entry of Kampi's Saga is a somewhat personal excerpt from his private journal on recent events: 




20th Day of Skerpa (the month of Mai)
Local year of 5315

Rune: Ingwaz 
Literal Meaning: the god Yngvi (an older name for Freyng)
Interpretations: Fertility, Potential, Virtue
  • Right-side up: Friendship, Inner Growth, Loyalty
  • Inverted: Futility, Inner Confusion, Spiritual Crisis


The god Freyng has been blessing the lands of late with his light and warmth, for the rune most connected with this deity is prevalent this fortnight, but the recent events of the 16th day have darkened my heart. I fear that the Trickster has his influence upon that day and perhaps my own soul, for I view my own actions with confusion and disdain. But I shan't dwell upon this, for what has been done in the past cannot be undone and I will strive to live with any consequences.

But I am getting ahead of myself. For the beginning of this entry I shall turn my focus to the brighter happenings since my last entry:

During my stopovers in the lands of Daggergard, I have met with my mentor Relan, and along with acolyte follower of the god Ithus, Zanatos, I have learnt and practised many things. I now feel more versed in channelling the faith given to me by the Æsir during my times in prayer into small miracles that I hope have been beneficial to my friends and to the community as a whole.

Following the example laid before me by Zanatos, along with my desire to further serve the All-Father and the Æsir as a warrior-priest, I have taken to wearing more armour in an attempt to become accustom to such battle-garb, though I do not feel that I am used to it enough to gain any protective benefit; hopefully the usefulness of such bulky dress becomes apparent soon, for I am still unused to the warm clime of this land, and the increased garb makes it exhausting to bear to the point I almost regret the bounty the Lord of Sunlight places upon this land.

A set of greaves, and several plates about my chest, upper back, and shoulders have been placed upon my person, and I have a small shirt of maille I am looking to use to replace my hooded tunic, increasing protection but also perhaps better cooling as well. With the aid of the most talented artisan I have had the fortune of meeting; Gustav of the shoppe Dragon Anvil close to the realm of Blackmoore; I now have a helm in the fashion of my homeland closer fitting to my size and less of that of the helm of a jötunn I previously owned, and a set of vambraces with the All-Father's ravens Huginn & Muninn to wear proudly. 

I have transcribed the inscribed runes of my people into common speech:


"Huginn and Muninn fly every day over the great earth.
I fear for Hugin that he may not return, yet more am I anxious for Munin."
Huginn's name comes from the word for 'thought' and the word for 'memory' is where Muninn's comes from. May their keen sight and wisdom aid me in times to come.

Such aid did not come to me laugardagr of the past week, for I have been much troubled by the deeds done on that day. Initially it began quite well; I briefly chatted with folk, was asked by my thrice-oathbound friend Kail that I might pray that the god of justice of my people, the great Lawspeaker, Forsite, would watch over a trial that was soon to commence and see that justice was meted out. I did so on his behalf, keeping with my oath. I still do not know the result of said trial, but I know the Presiding One would see justice done on the perjured, who was accused of oath-breaking, one of the three most serious crimes of my people.


Just as I was completing my devotions to the Æsir in my favourite place of prayer, I opened my eyes to what I first believed to be a trick of the senses: boldly striding up the path towards me in a familiar, almost cocksure gait was a sight that I had not seen before the months turned to winter in this land. It was the wild-elf known only as the Pict. We exchanged hearty greetings and enjoyed each others' company (at least, I know I did) whilst we travelled the lands. 

He told me what and where he been since we last parted ways a season ago, just after we had scoured the far coast for remains of the wreck that brought me here and finding little but absolution. He told he been across the water to the kingdom of Ankh, where he relieved many of their burdens of meagre wealth, and to the Ork lands of Rugger'shrek on a personal quest to ensure the cousin of the Red King did not usurp their territory for their own. I admire his strong convictions and prowess in battle, though I do not necessarily approve of his loose morality nor his love for coin.

After sometime in the town, we where approached by an individual calling himself I believe Al-Azif, displaced from his home in far southern lands. After some banter and some combat training, the Pict elected to take him on as an apprentice of sorts. (Surprising, it seems the Pict has become more tolerable of being associated with non-elven races; perhaps the past time we spent together lessened his prejudice, if only slightly. Folk still find him brusque and rude so perhaps nothing has changed.)

I myself sparred briefly with a follower of Cheeba, before we took to the bar to slake our thirst. Just as I had paid for a round for the three of us the most bizarre thing occurred; I shall attempt to relate what happened to the best of my ability:


One moment we were standing in front of the bar, the next we were suddenly in wood-henge with, as was quickly surmised, the rest of the denizens and visitors of Dagger Deep. But this was not the wood-henge we knew, it was somehow... different; all we could lay our sight upon was. Colours and textures were slightly off, sounds and voices carried oddly, things smelt as if they were only distantly familiar. It was like being a part of the distorted reflection one sees when they gaze into a pool of water.

We were held fast and silent by powerful magic emanating from one of the three... beings, none of which we collectively recognized but I'm sure we all sensed their power. In summation, they offered our collective freedom from their 'realm' if we entertained them by participating in what they considered a game, at the conclusion of which we would be returned to the Dagger Deep we knew. We were divided roughly into two groups and a leader was chosen for both; the mare (I still don't get the title, he doesn't resemble a female horse to me at all), Dorian Noakes, and the elven prince, Tumbagil.

This 'game' as it was called, alternated between which ever force held Rowanoak during the hour and was victorious during skirmishes in Ork's Field, whist discovering and returning gems the beings had scattered about the land to accrue 'points'. Whichever force had the most 'points' at the end of the day would be titled the victor. These beings also enticed the greedy and unwise with magical rings that would bind them to the bearers' very soul. I wouldn't accept such a prize from any being I did not trust, no matter what powers it may grant. 


Myself and the rest of the group assigned to the mare were then magically transported to a distorted mirror of Hawthorne Heath. Most rallied behind their new leader as they moved to take Rowanoak before the opposing force did, but a handful like myself had reservations on playing this 'game'. Three of them I knew: the Pict, my close friend Tobias, and an individual I met last week called Shiny. The fourth one the Pict knew as a member of the pygmy tribe named Lisi. We banded together and to my lasting regret it was decided that being the most familiar the majority of the group, I should be the leader of our small band. I tried to lead as Wodin does the Æsir, but I feel that I was most unworthy attempting to do so.


I found the hours remaining until the farce of a game came to an end frustrating and exhausting; even though it was impressed upon us any actions taken against our fellow comrades would not have repercussions once we were returned to our own realm, I still regret many actions I took (or did not take) when attempting to embrace this so called 'freedom'. Taking a cue from Shiny's arraignment with Kalabar, our group hired ourselves out as mercenaries and a deal was struck: we were to assist Tumbagil and his force in defending Rowanoak when they had possession of it.

I was determined to stick to the oath sworn and so we did, but only to the strict wording. We did not assist when taking the fort, nor during any of the other skirmishes during that cursed day. The remainder of the day we spent trying to make sense of this whole mess (at least I was). I came to learn that I am not fit to be a leader, or at least one whose followers have such a different moral outlooks than I do. 

I was attacked by those I considered friends. I sold my services for coin like a whore. Though I tried to justify my actions to what Wodin and the rest of the Æsir would want, I see now that I was lying to myself to keep face as a so called 'leader' and give my followers what they desired.

I watched the Pict slay in a cold-blood a mage I considered myself friends with right in front of me and I did nothing to prevent it. Perhaps a madness briefly took me as I rifled through his pouches looking for gains, like a honour-less coward. Even close Tobias, muttered my actions being untrue to the Kampi he knew. Using the power the gods granted me I returned him to life, but that was not enough to forgive the despicable offences committed. I shall endeavour to make things right.

At the end of the day, I was sullen and dejected for I had realized that this thing whole thing, this 'game', could be an omen of the beginning of Ragnarök:


"Brothers will fight and kill each other, sisters' children will defile kinship.
It is harsh in the world, whoredom rife — an axe age, a sword age — shields are riven
— a wind age, a wolf age— before the world goes headlong. No man will have mercy on another."
 
Surprisingly, as promised, those 'beings' returned everyone to the exact spot they had been before we were abducted, once they determined the victor of their 'game': the mare; perhaps the Father of Victory was teaching me humility for my belief that Tumbagil was to be the clear victor due to the combat prowess of his force. I clearly underestimated our force to my further shame.

The Pict, Al-Azif, and I once again found ourselves in front of a familiar bar, waiting to be served those drinks I ordered it seemed like eons ago. I drank deep and often, trying to wash my troubles away. But now that I am sober I recall all that happened like a cruel dream.

Yet, aside from the harsh memories of what occurred and some changes to my personal items, I will strive to remain resolute after my faith has been tested so harshly. I've learned that though I may enjoy the company of certain individuals, they mayhap not be the best influence upon me. 

I need to deeply reconsider my relationships.

Praise Be To the Æsir 
-Ref 'Kampi' Vandillson