Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Kampi's Saga: The Festival of Osis

Last weekend, Kampi returned to Dagger Deep in time for the Festival of Osis, a three-day long celebration hosted by the faction of Hrogn, where there was various competitions and feasts. Huge kudos to all who aided in that memorable event! 

Being fairly successful at the ranged competition makes me consider switching classes!

The first Day of the Moon
Month of the Harvest 
Local Year 5315 

Rune: Thurisaz
Divine Association: Thonar, the Guardian of Asgard
Literal Meaning: Giant
Interpretations: Emotion, Force, Instinct
  • Right-side: Catharsis, Protection, Purification
  • Inverted: Compulsion, Danger, Malice

I cannot express my relief and mirth upon returning to Arrakis after an uneventful voyage from Bella and at last arriving to the lands of Dagger Deep. I had only been away for almost two full cycles of the moon but it felt like an eternity. Soon after making landfall, I had learned from a colourful travelling band of nomads outside of Helm's Deep (whom refer to their collective as Vistani), of a festival that was to take place in Dagger Deep by the faction of Hrogn, to honour their patron, Osis. 

As we were to travel to the same locale, I compensated the Vistani handsomely for their portage with the turnout I was allotted by the generous Merchant-Captain Lorens from our somewhat perilous yet profitable trading voyage up North. With my gains, I also purchased plenty of food and drink to share with my compatriots, the remainder of which did not spend I stored in the local treasury of Dagger Deep.

First Day

Upon our arrival sometime before the festivities began, I set camp in the temple district, within view of the honourable church of Ithus. Whilst I was in the southern lands of Arrakis, my good friend Seppo the Blacksmith aided me in construction a personal tent of similar design to those used by my kin. Imprinted upon the side panels, is the symbol of my deity: the Odthrerir (three interlocking drinking horns that represent the three draughts of the mead of poetry the Furor-Giver Wodin acquired for both mortals and gods)
As a deterrent for thieves, I hung the head of the 'wight' above the entrance. 
Given that nothing was taken from my tent, perhaps this unappealing object has its uses...
Sleeping within a tent is much more comfortable than placing ones bedroll upon the ground, where one is open to the elements and bugs, evident by several similar structures used throughout the township, mostly by members of the caravan I travelled with:

After I had set camp, familiar folk began to arrive and I was delighted beyond measure to see my friend Tobias and his companion Ori. We, along with a host of others, joined in a sport where each group located and captured the flag belonging to the opposing team. The game inspired a healthy competitive spirit and although we agreed to an honourable draw, our team was quite confident the gods had granted us victory. I am further eager to introduce the sport I learnt from the folk of Bella to those folk interested; perhaps in the coming weeks.

As twilight grew, many journeyed to the neighbouring lands of Hrogn to take part in a communal feast whilst I, Tobias, Ori, and a few others gathered in the Cock & Ass to slake our thirst upon the apple cider of Idthuna I brought and catchup on recent events. In my error I mistakenly grabbed one of the baskets from my tent I had briefly placed the head of the wight inside, prompting keen inquiries by my companions how it came into and why it remains in my possession.

Once I had consumed enough drink, I told them the odd tale of my arrival in the accursed settlement of Bella and how I was seemingly fated to slay the dark creature and am sacredly compelled to be the keeper of its head . There was much speculation of the nature of said being; none there were able to shed light upon its nameless ilk it belongs to (The following day the prophet of Cheeba claimed it perhaps belonged to a northern variety of goblin-folk, given its colouration and stocky build. Ivan Rumunski agreed with me that it does smell of the undead. Perhaps the reasoning of both is true; would this then be some sort of 'Ghoulblin'?)

After drinks we chose to venture to the bar in the fortress of Hrogn, as the sounds of revelry could be heard far across the fields of Calen Tor. I returned the head back to my tent and grabbed food and drink to share and enjoy. There in Bar Osis, bards, poets, and minstrels of all walks were performing their art in the start of a competition of skaldsmansip that was to last until the grand winner was to be announced from the individual who had gained the most favour tokens from spectators.

After much merrymaking I retired to my tent for the remainder of the evening whilst those with stronger desires caroused late into the gloom. 

I was fortunate not to be beset by vicious were-creatures as I slept, for that was the night of the fullest moon.

Second Day

I awoke to a bright, new morrow. Being the washing day of my people, headed to the river of Galadriel where I was joined by the Vistani trader Sal Guod, whom had recently improved of his affliction and was taking the opportunity to wash the scab-laden sores formed by the pox from his body. Nearby, across the mainstream, the pair of us discovered a tiny stream that ran ice-cold despite the heat of the season and we are sure that such waters were blessed by the gods, for being immersed in them seemed rejuvenate our body and purify our souls. 

Ivan Rumunski of Hrogn
Ready to face the day before us, we then broke our fast at the tavern, afterwhich I briefly met with my old compatriot of Hrogn, Ivan Rumunski. We discussed the past discontentment I harboured against him for his seemingly indifferent actions and words against my deep concern over were-creatures preying upon innocent folk, something that Hrogn was supposedly handling. 

My time away cooled my enmity against Ivan, and by proxy his faction. I had resolved during my ruminations the day prior  to be forgiving and gracious to the hosts of this festival, for many of its members treated it as a set of holy days. Once preparations were complete, an announcement was made by the Rex (leader) of Hrogn, Lucius, and the tournament of Osis began in earnest. 

The structure of the tournament consisted of an assortment duelling rings, each focusing upon a particular fighting technique: one for fighting knives only, one with a weapon in each hand, one for sword and shield use, one specifically for polearms and staves, one for large, two-handed weapons, and a special ring that encouraged the use of any known proficiencies, abilities, or magical techniques. The rings were split into two tiers, each lasting a few hours; also during this time there was an ongoing ranged weapon competition that lasted the entire duration of the tournament.

When one entered any of the competition grounds, it was claimed that the patron of Hrogn, Osis, granted basic familiarity with the appropriate weapon(s) to anyone who otherwise lacked training, granting all the chance to participate; the blessing of the rings also prevented injuries from being mortal or persisting beyond the scope of the arena. Having witnessed these marvels first hand, such claims surely were not unfounded. Participants were open to compete in any ring as often as they desired.

Dice, follower of Cheeba, against the warrior Forge, whilst the Sloth judges.
Additionally, in the fighting rings, ones combat expertise was not judged so much by their ability to weather blows, but their speed and prowess at striking true. Blows upon an opponent's limbs would render them useless, and a repeated blow upon an already wounded arm or a strike to the chest or torso would be counted as fatal. Limb injuries continue to persist on fighters between matches until they left the fighting ring. Stepping or being forced out of the ring counted as a loss.

A special guest, one of the founders of Hrogn, Jarl Magnamus Dwarfkin.
Each win would grant the victor 3 points, whilst a loss would count as none. If one self-wounded themselves to match the injury an opponent had, they gained gain 1 point for the honourable act. The fighter with the most accrued points in one ring would be considered the master of that competition. The one to be named tournament champion would be the one to acquire the most points in all the competitions, including the ranged competition.

A relative newcomer duelling with Ivan.
The ranged competition consisted of a series of three targets upon a field; the closest was worth a single point, the middle two, and the farthest three. Contestants were allotted three shots with the ranged weapon/spell of their choice: crossbow, bow, fireball, javelin, rock, or other throwing weapons.

Perseus against Tobias, both with several injuries.
Though I was initially undecided whether or not to compete, I felt that I must honour the Father of Victory by doing so. I spent sometime fighting in the dagger ring and I amassed a small amount of points by sheer luck more than skill, before I tried the other rings. I felt that the range of what I was armed with (my sword Sváfnir and my sæx Hrafnefr) was too short against opponents who favoured longer weapons for the duel weapon ring, and soon was too exhausted to try the sword and shield ring more than once.

During this whole time, a non-martial art competition was taking place in the tavern until the evening feast; laid out for all to see were crafted objects of all types and spectators could cast their vote on pieces as many times as they had favour tokens.

All pieces were of fine make but one such object that caught my attention was a large set of rune tiles.
Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to submit my vote.
In what was intended to be a casual trial at the ranged competition, I soon discovered I was surprisingly competent with a bow, as I quickly accrued points to put me in the top three competitors, at times taking the lead. I had occasionally hunted with a bow when I was young, but I long believed that that skill had faded away. Evidently I was wrong, and the drive of friendly competition and honour spurred me on. Unfortunately, our competition was to last the entire tournament and devolved to the top three competing against each other by a briefly taking a thin lead for a time, for we were all equally skilled.

Myself, drawing and aiming.
During the time I was not shooting, my thoughts could not but help to drift to the myths of the divine archer Ull: Though commonly invoked by archers, hunters, and trappers of my homeland, Ull is/was a somewhat unpopular deity amongst common folk given his is association with winter, a season of hardship, as well as his mysterious, sorcerous nature.

Many did debate whether or not Ull could be considered a member of the Æsir, for his origins were as obscure as his motives; some place him as a deity belonging to another faith or member of the Vanir that was granted admission to the Æsir like Njordth and his two children, Freyng and Valfreyja; others place him with distant relation to Thonar.

My competitor, Boz, mage of skill and evoking master of the fireball.
 Some rumours circulate that at times Ull ruled over the Vanir and/or the Æsir when Wodin was absent, and that as a powerful magician he owns a magic bone marked with runes that allows him to traverse the seas undaunted; such tales are occasionally used as evidence that Ull is/was an aspect of the All-Father himself? Wodin is sometimes referred to as the God of the Wild Hunt...

Whether this is holds to be true or not, I do believe I felt divine influence whenever I knocked and drew back an arrow, that's the only explanation I can come up with why an unskilled archer like me was able to be so successful with an inferior bow (It was known the lent bow was of poor quality for the draw arc was too short and constantly struck the back of ones hand when fired, and when Ferdinand graciously let me borrow his own bow, my shooting far improved; so much so my competitors voiced they did not want me to continually borrow it!).

My other competitor, Ferdinand Wayfarer, Elven caster and member of the Wild Ones. 
For the remainder of that day (and even at times now) I could not help but question the feeling that perhaps the path I am taking is not as correct as I believe it to be. There are other paths I could take, but I am unsure of the best.

I was called away to aid Sal Guod and his fellow Vistani on a favour an hour before the ranged competition was to end. Given the current standings at the time, I genially accepted that my honourable opponents Boz and Ferdinand would surpass me in score and I would be ranked third in our tournament. I later heard that Ferdinand was titled the overall victor of the ranged tournament.

Revelry at Bar Osis
Unfortunately my business kept me away and from attending the grand feast at Hrogn that evening, where the noble warrior Perseus was crowned the overall champion of Osis, but the news and dining wasn't all that I missed...

Third Day

The following day was quiet in comparison to the last two; I suspected the majority of folk were exhausted from participating in the tournament the day earlier and some from carousing the previous night. Several of the events planned, such as a scavenger hunt, were cancelled for unknown reasons. Perhaps lack of interest, but more so it might have had to so with a significant proclamation given at the feast: 

Word spread and it came to my knowledge that Hrogn, by announcement of the Rex, was to lose its lands; effectively, as I understand, turning the vassals of that kingdom into a landless faction.

I truly knew not what to make of such news, aside from the collective sympathy many bare towards Hrogn. I heard there was great amount of unrest amongst members of Hrogn, particularly the elder Magnamus, whom supposedly stormed off in a fury upon hearing the edict (several say his actions were unbecoming as the legendary figure of Hrogn).

Regardless of reason, the general mood throughout the lands had changed; and I, like many others, decided to take my leave for the time being.

I shall endeavour to show my support when I next see Ivan, Kail, Lucius, and other members of Hrogn, for what is without a doubt, a difficult time to be endured. But I am confident, that the kin of the wolf's head shall endure and grow stronger from such adversity. 

Accolades should be heaped upon our gracious hosts for their planning and executing such a successful event despite the foreboding knowledge some where privy too.

Glory to Hrogn and Praise Be To The Æsir

-Ref ' Kampi' Vandillson

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