The third Day of Wodin
Month of the Harvest
Local Year 5315
Divine Association: Wodin, the All-Father
Literal Meaning: Æsir
Interpretations: Communication, Divinity, Wisdom
- Right-side: Blessings, Inspiration, Insight
- Inverted: Illusions, Manipulation, Misinterpretation
Following close in the wake of the Festival of Osis, the end of this past week Dagger Deep was host to yet another tournament day; this time to honour the birth of the Queen of the realm of Uberland, who was unfortunately unable to attend, but her husband, King Rife, did make an appearance.
Before the events of the tournament began that day, I had a long sagacious discussion with my fighter friend Higgs, who is a credit to his profession given that most lack the wisdom and insight he possesses. Whilst we conversed outside the duelling ring, his attention was drawn to the severed head I kept at my hip, and I told him the story of it and he listened intently. At the conclusion of my tale and after his first hand observations, we together made numerous profound speculations on the nature of the creature this once belonged to:
Perhaps the most simplest remark that he made now seems so obvious that I feel an utter fool for not noticing it despite all the time I'd spent with it: He noted that although the head has two eye sockets, it only had one eye, for the left eyelid had fully grown shut. We further ruminated over other marks of its form: Again, it's pronounced ears seem to speak of goblinoid lineage. It's prominent brow and cheek ridges are rather predatory in look. It's nose though is unlike a goblin or ork, being that it's rather bulbous and the arch of it flat and wide. The jawline is like that of a man and the lips; now sewn together may appear meek, but I recall them barely covering the prominent fangs before I bashed them out.
We remarked upon the matter that despite coming into possession of this thing over two moons ago, aside from the noticeable reduction in odour, its hasn't rotted as any severed body part should naturally. This sign, when coupled with the ominous dream I had before the strange circumstances where I acquiring it, that the ivory capillaries on the back of the skull (which reminded Higgs of similar looking veins the Illodian mage, Vash Jar, suffered during a magical experiment of his going wrong), and the druid Nash determined that it faintly emanates some sort of magical aura, that not only the head but perhaps the creature itself was of supernatural provenance.
Upon the culmination of this new knowledge, a resounding sense of dread grew within me when it all pointed to a singular thought in my mind: Could this thing have been an progeny of the Ruler of Asgard himself?
All this evidence (the omens, the single eye, the dream, the faint enchantment), pointed toward that conclusion; though I searched desperately for a comforting doubt, somehow I knew it could be true.
If that was the truth, it was one that raised additional questions, the paramount amongst them being 'why would the All-Father create such a monstrous creature, unleash it upon the unsuspecting folk of Bella, and then lead a loyal votary to that benighted settlement to meet and slay it in deadly combat?' Just as an arbitrary test of one's mettle and convictions?
One cannot claim to know the motives of the gods and of the Æsir, Wodin, is perhaps the most mysterious and unpredictable, but it appalled me to my very core to think that the people of Bella suffered because of a mere trial of my resoluteness. The thought was enough to make me consider renouncing my faith...
When I had the chance I professed this troubling revelation to Relan as soon as possible, under the original pretence of discussing the nature of divine servants; angels and demons as they are commonly referred to here, though he was quick to admit angels are a rare thing to visit this realm compared to demons.
When he inquired to my line of questioning, I told him of the realizations I had concerning the purpose of my voyage north, the events there, and the token that returned with me, and how I was distressed by the possible ramifications.
Relan's wisdom seems boundless for he allayed my concerns with a single of phrase: He stated it was his staunch belief that although many societies may portray them as such, not all the members of races deemed ugly or savage are born malicious and evil; and thus perhaps it was the curse of undeath that drove it from a perhaps normally seclusive nature to one violence and destruction.
I quickly grasped the meaning of his statements; if this were true, perhaps it was my fate by the will of All-Father to end this beings torment and prevent it from bringing further calamity.
One cannot imagine the relief this interpretation gave me; my faith had been restored. I was further honoured and humbled to be the apprentice to such a wise teacher.
|A humorous aside: The jötunn, Mordag, believed himself a hound after sampling one of his |
experimental herbal concoctions. Many began referring to him jokingly as 'Mor-dog'.
Another occurrence of note, was the recurrence of the former Black Rose member Dimitri, who spoke his undoubtedly honeyed poison to any willing to treat with that traitorous blackguard. If it were not for the respect of the laws of society (the decree of outlawery, written by the late Hand of King Wilumarius, Marcus, has since disappeared), I might have been moved to action against him. Instead I watched him closely from a distance whenever possible, attempting to discern the true motives beneath his pleas for forgiveness on his past misdeeds.
|Dimitri, 'reformed' ex-member of the Black Rose|
For this and more, he reminds me of the Sly One in too many ways, and for that I watch him all the more closely above the rest.
Onto the event itself:
The tournament was more casual than Osis Day and the format was different, though there were some similarities: Separate fighting rings for those wielding swords and shields, polearms, and a ring for magic casters which later became anything-goes; some fighting each other armed also with their abilities as well as weapons, some wrestled, etc.
|An old 'friend', Claudia, wielding a glave-like polearm.|
|Ivar Ironsinger was a surprisingly good archer, for a dwarf.|
I did spent some time once the contest was concluded practising my skills with a bow:
The cocksure-and-carefree warrior Ajax allowed several of us to try out his dwarven crossbow; I found it relatively easy to use; but I had wary feelings about such a potentially powerful weapon of war required so little training or mastery to easily end lives.
|Ajax's apprentice, Erin, from a place called Averland, taking aim.|
|The Uberlandian barbarian Duggan lining up a shot.|
After the eighth hour, all of these contests were concluded, the total accrued points for each participant were counted and the top three victors were announced: Kendrid the ardent warrior (also one of the tolerated vampires of the Deep), and Persius the gladiator (and this year's champion of the Festival of Osis), and Boz, master of the flaming spheres.
A series of pitched mock battles were then announced to take place in Ork's Field. Alternating, Boz and Kendrid assembled their teams; I, along with my friend Higgs and Ajax's apprentice, Erin, where selected for Kendrid's force.
|Kendrid against Ivar.|
|Ajax, as to be expected, was deadly accurate with his crossbow.|
He felled several opponents (myself included) during the pitched battles.
During several crafty attempts by Boz and many bold ones by Persius, Kendrid prowled around the outskirts of the whole town, altered his attire to deceptively approach under the cover of dusk, and make a final dash for the banner and grabbed it before he could be stopped; thus he was titled champion of Queen's Day.
|The gladiator, Inebrius, enjoying one of many of his drinks that day.|
Following the tournament:
|A stern Brynn|
The group wanted to risk no more than the five of them inside the magical barrier with the summoned being; though there was high chance that if they were defeated/Ferdinand was slain, the barrier which kept them inside but also kept others out would drop and the Soul-Eater would then be unleashed upon Dagger Deep. An endeavour fraught with peril, for not only did they risk their own souls should they fail, they gambled the lives of the Deep.
Relan, I, and several others were then mostly present for moral support, guarding the ritual from outside interference, and on the off chance assaulting and killing the being if the Wild Ones' own attempt did fail. Once Ferdinand preformed the ritual, not one, but two beings were brought forth into the circle. The four combatants engaged them and those of us able to illuminated their foes with rays of light.
|A sketch Sprig drew of the ritual|
Relan must be very proud of his pupil and I have even more respect and admiration for Sprig, whose selfless sacrifice is beyond anything I have witnessed. I am blessed to know them both and have them as close friends.
As my master and I made to leave the town, I began to think that the ordeal that Relan had to watch his former apprentice go through, coupled with the recent passing of his former master Marcus and all the other recent hardship, are beginning to take their toll on the bishop of Ithus; signs of physical and mental exhaustion are becoming apparent, from his weary actions, repeated remarks, and his refusal to pause from his research, stating that he will not be late again with priority knowledge.
I related my concerns to him and pleaded that he get much needed rest and respite.
This land doesn't need to lose another one of its few shining beacons to darkness.
Praise Be To The Æsir
-Ref 'Kampi' Vandillson