Constantinople by Night: Twilight of Glory
Helgi Isarnbjorn Ognherdi Vargseðjandi Bǫðsvellandi Hrafngreddir
Helgi gotta Helg
Name: Helgi Isarnbjorn Ognherdi (For short)
10th 9th (His Sire was as the Valkyries of the tales, ancient and powerful, though she was herself the Child of the Younger of her Tribe.)
Concept: Swedish Pagan
Nature: Barbarian (The Old Ways are true, no matter what the teachings of the “civilized” people would tell us to blunt the blades of our ambitions and dim the fires of our hearts.)
Demeanor: Barbarian (Do you expect a true son of the north to hide what he is from the world? You shall see its glory and respect the strength that brought a continent to its knees!)
Description: The Beast of the North is twenty and five stones, towering just over twenty and one hands tall, with a thick beard and mane of gilded brown hair, both kept with careful hands and braided with the care one gives such things. When he prepares for his weekly bath, the scars of his earthly trials litter his body, and the hair of own hide is liken that to a great bear of the wilds. His voice carries with it the steadfast intent and clarity of thunder, and from it flows words as rain into the river.
Attributes (Total Cost 5 Free Points):
Physical (7): The Einherjar do not commonly entertain the sickly among their number, and one who was named the Iron Bear in life does not receive such a kenning-name without first earning it.
Strength: 4 (Reserves of Strength) Dex: 4 (
Feline Ursine Grace) (12 xp) Stamina: 3
Social (5): A teller of the tales is like a maker of food, preparing the word-feast to the tastes of those gathered around the fire, and what better way to inspire one’s fellows to the greatness Odin deserves than to feed them the tales of the heroics of their forebears?
Charisma: 3 Manipulation: 3 Appearance: 2
Mental (3) + 5 Free: While the teachings of the runes and hearth are important, having one’s wits in battle, be it with axe or words, is of the utmost importance should you be caught unawares.
Perception: 3 (8 XP) Intelligence: 2 Wits: 3 (2+1*5)
Abilities (Total Cost 4 Free Points):
Talents (13) + 2 Free:
Alertness: 2 (Being able to spot a trap allows one to rush in confident of what to expect)
Athletics: 4 (10 xp) (A march up the mountain will do you good, little one, remember to be fresh enough to fight for your supper when you return)
Brawl: 4 (3+1*2) (Claws) (Only a fool faces the mountain with his fists, and many fools have died on the claws of the world)
Awareness: 1 (Even the mountain can be chipped away, but clever ones learn to convince the wind to be elsewhere)
Empathy: 2 (Their ways are not ours, but learning when steel should be drawn is valuable) (5 XP)
Expression: 2 (The telling of tales is one thing, but being understood and piercing the kennings of other men’s minds can be just as vital, particularly when you must convince them of the rightness of your cause or your ways)
Intimidation: 3 (4 xp) (When reason fails, all fear the shedding of a mountain’s flesh)
Performance: 1 (Sagas are perhaps the greatest of the arts of performance, but there is no reason not to find other methods to spread tales) (3 XP)
Subterfuge: 1 (In the land of vipers, only a fool charges the fangs) (3 XP)
Skills (9) + 2 Free:
Animal Ken: 3 (1+2+4) (Knowing the ways of the beasts lets you understand your own, and the kinship that we share.)
Melee: 3 (The way of the Axe, Sword, and Spear have served me well, if only now for a disguise that I might whisper in the Middlegard) (4 xp)
Sagaman*: 5 (Cost 2) (Improvisation) (The stories of old have power and wisdom, never forget this, or you shall forget yourself. Now sit, and I will tell you of the hero of your people. You know of King Eric, The Victorious? His Saga begins thusly…)
Stealth: 3 (4 xp) (And yet to the untrained ear, the bear can sound as though a deer, and be dismissed as harmless until its jaws are at your throat)
Survival: 3 (4 xp) (One does not survive in the northlands by being wearing silks and having another chew one’s food. When winter comes on a lean harvest, one lives or dies by the land)
Hearth Wisdom: 1 (What do you mean she tripped upon the threshold, did you not carry her? Oh you terrible fool, did you learn nothing of marriage before you decided upon it? Oh this is an ill omen indeed)
Investigation: 1 (Odin has but one eye and can see all of Midgard. Surely with two, one can see that this blade is not of this land.) (3 XP)
Law (Norse) * : 2 (Cost 1) (Do not worry, I have dealt with the Thing before. Explain the reasons you killed him and at worst you’ll pay the fine to the family. Half the town heard him call you a coward and what was said of your sister. Had it been a proper flyting, you might be in more trouble, but no one could call what he said proper poetry)
Seamanship*: 3 (Cost 5) (The ways of the sea are not easily forgotten by those who have gone a-viking, and
Rune Lore*: 4 (Cost 2) (Clarity) (The runes have truth and power in them, and they mark the telling of some of our greatest tales, and over my years I have left many an accounting of my travels behind, and many more I intend to leave, such as the tales of my vengeance upon the walls where the land-trout hide)
*Indicates Specialized Skills
Advantages (Total Cost 11 Free Points):
Disciplines: (The gifts of the All Father flow through me, granting me refuge in Middlegard, the claws and eyes of Fenrir, Sigurd’s Skin, and the voice of the beast that I may yet treat with them.)
Clan (5) + 7 Free:
Protean: 5 (2+1*7) (35xp) Fortitude: 4 (30 xp) Animalism: 4 (25xp)
Potence: 1 Obfuscate: 2 Presence: 1
Serpentis: 0 Setite Sorcery: 0 Celerity: 1 (10xp)
Backgrounds (5) + 1 Free
Allies: 1 (Brand: A son of the North who remembers the fire in his blood is truly a brother, and we have seen each other as kin. When in the City of Constantine, he will aid me in my duty.)
Generation: 2 (Kara is was not the eldest of the Valkyries, but by the All Father, she was a Spear-Maiden)
Resources: 5 (In life, wealth was of little concern, and now, the dead have little use for coin. Taking all that an enemy values, however, has great concern, as is using it to bury them.)
Contacts: 1 (They at least appreciate the stories and the aid, if not the truth of my words, they may be of help in the nights to come)
Virtues (7) + 3 Free: (The Mountain feels the iron within to stand to any foe, the cliffs are solid and know their place, and little falls from the stairs to Aesirgard without reason)
Conviction: 4 (6xp) Self-Control: 3 Courage: 5 (4+1*2)
Road of Aesirgard: 7 (6 xp) (Holy Aura) (The All Father’s Chosen Warrior knows his way, and while he may yet have more to prove to the Hoary Bearded Host of Spears, he is above most men of this age)
Willpower: 8 (5+1+1) (13 xp) (One does not question the resolve of the north, but one does not also pretend to know the grief of its loss)
Merits and Flaws (Total Cost: 5 Free Points):
Huge Size +4 (The Iron Bear, the Mountain, The Terror of the Dwarves, these are but names, to see him is to know what they mean)
Kenning-Wise +2 (For every situation, a phrase, a riddle of words that paints the picture in ways few others understand)
Enchanting Voice +2 (The teller of tales has enchanted hundreds of hundreds around hundreds more fires, to hear a saga from his lips is perhaps as close to Bragi’s own arts as one is likely to hear in life)
Prestigious Sire +1 (Within his lands, the Valkyrie are of high regard, and few would test the fury of Brunhilde and her Spear-Maiden Childer)
Inoffensive to Animals +2 (They recognize this chosen of Odin and do not fear those gifted by the graces of the gods)
Eat Food +1 (When one tells stories in mead halls, by Odin one drinks MEAD!)
Iron Will +3 (One does not force nature to its will, one can only ever hope to beg it to be merciful, remember that in your death, Coward of Christ)
Multi-Lingual: Greek, Latin, Arabic, Egyptian, Persian, Hebrew (Bah, what mangled tongue is this? Who makes a way to speak that sounds as though one has an urge to spit on his fellow man?)
Outspoken Pagan -4 (Did the Christ Child save Rome? Does it save you? Odin kept our halls untouched by your people, and in return all he asks is our service to fight in the most harrowing of battles in which the Gods may well die! He does not request us mutilate our manhood nor forgo food in times of need!)
Vengeful -2 (You killed my sire! You poisoned my land! You are the filth beneath Jormungandr’s belly that it might slither to Aesirgard, and I will cleanse you from the Middlegard that your foul stench never reach the mead halls of my ancestors!)
Hunted -4 (You mean to force my people under your cross through pain and death? I care not what your name is, let it be forgotten by the sages and your ancestors forever shamed that the final act of their blood brought your vile wretchedness into this world!)
Tyr’s Beard: A hand-axe of some age and strength. In a lesser man’s hands, this might almost be a two-handed weapon, but Helgi carries it with ease. (Hand Axe)
Chooser of the Slain: Kara’s Spear, the last memory he has of his love, that which has also shared his blood with hers, which will taste the blood of her killers in her memory. (Spear, One-Handed)
The Hide of the Bear: When he joined the ranks of the Einherjar, a new armor was made for him from the hide of a bear, inlaid with bits of metal from the tatters of his old armor. (Composite Armor)
Iron Shout: This throwing hatchet is often how Helgi may start a fight, and often times how he inscribes the remembrance of it. (Throwing Hatchet)
The Teller of Tales: This chisel has left the mark of Helgi’s runes across the north and now beyond. (Chisel)
Friend of the Hunt: This hunting knife has seen much use over the years, but is rarely if ever seen in battle. (Knife)
Keeper of the Tangled Veins: A finely crafted comb that Helgi uses to tend to his great beard and mane when he bathes every week. (Comb)
Miners of the Capped Mountains: A set of toothpicks, for one must care for the teeth, and now fangs, that sustain us. (Toothpicks)
Blood Pool: 14/14
Can Spend 2 Blood Per Round
Current Willpower: 8/8
Animalism Tracker: 1
Deyr fé, deyja frændr,
deyr sjalfr it sama.
Ek veit einn at aldri deyr:
dómr um dauðan hvern.
“Cattle die, kin die,
we ourselves die also.
I know one thing that never dies:
the honors of all the dead.”
- Baron Thomas Furrow: (Norman Gangrel) Petrion Citadel
- Petronius, Arbiter of the Toreador
-Hates the Emperor
-Really hates Venetians
*Isabel the Gangrel (Teen Wolfpire), Baron’s agent, awesome
*Fathi – Lasombra Pirate of win and awesome (Tunis, Valencia)
- Lars Svengarde – Ruler of Thessolonica, The Kraken, Gifter of Ravens
Introduced self as “Vargseðjandi Bǫðsvellandi Hrafngreddir” in Alexandria
*Thorkell the Tall – Jomsviking Helgi fought against in life
The Ravens of The Kraken:
Erebus, Chronos, Hecate, and Thanatos
The Ravens of Helgi:
Hljóð (Silence, Hearing), Fróðr (Well-Informed)
Váttr (Witness),Haldorðr (True of Word), Margspakr (The Very Wise), Brún (Eyebrows), Hungrdeyfir (Hunger-soother),
The Seedling That Joined the Hall of the High Mountains to Greet the Ardorner of the Earth
When the lands of the North were still true to their blood and honored the Gods, there was born a boy to a simple life. As boys would do, he played, toiled, and dreamt of glory in Aesirgard. As he grew, it was clear to all around that some greater fate awaited him than working the fields with his family. This was made no more clear than when the King of the land called forth the abled bodied men of age to fight for the glory of the Gods. Assured of his own talents, the boy strode forth, though he had seen barely ten and half again winters, his body was that of a grown man, and in his trials, he bested as many men as he had fingers with each arm. With each passing year, he continued to grow until his fellows gifted him a new name, Isarnbjorn. But more than just learning the ways of battle, Isarnbjorn learned the ways of the Runes and the telling of tales, his mountainous voice carrying the tales of the heroes of old as well as those of his own and his fellows, and he would leave runes of their exploits across the lands.
His greatest glory, however, was perhaps in the Battle of Fyrisvellir, wherin he cut down scores of men in the name of the All Father and his King. A minor Jarl, who was nearly slain by a berserker watched Isarnbjorn pick up the raging man and used him as flail to beat back other men. So impressed was the Jarl that after the battle, he made Isarnbjorn one of his Huscarls.
This was not the end of Isarnbjorn’s trials, however, but from here he could learn more of the runes and lore from the Jarl’s wise men, and the more dedicated he became to the tales of old, and to defending his native land from the encroaching worshippers of the Christ Child, so that Valhalla might continue to receive einherjar for the battle of the end days.
The Raging Destruction of the Sapling Seals the Destiny of the Sword Tree
One night, visions of terrible beauty passed through Isarnbjorn’s lands, tales of young warriors finding Valkyries out in the wilds. Tales of those who bested the warrior women would gain their favors, either by allowing warriors to share their beds, or allowing them to join their band. Taking only his wargear, Isarnbjorn left the morning after hearing this tale, seeing it as his holy duty to seek out those that would claim to be heralds of Odin. For a full cycle of the moon, he tracked the tales and visions of these creatures, even once coming within a day of what was certainly their camp. Then, one day, the trail ended. Isarnbjorn first became filled with despair, his journey being for naught. He consulted his runes, but their guidance eluded him. As the sun set, he made camp, and in a rage, hurled his axe into the ground, and from the wound of Tyr’s Beard sprung fully formed the Valkyrie Kara from the Earth, as though summoned by Odin himself. Upon seeing her, he stood tall and challenged her to the honor of single combat to prove his worth to Odin and his battledaughters. Kara laughed, saying that none would hope to stand against the Valkyries and live. To this, Isarnbjorn simply smiled coldly and said, “Truly I would expect no less, for if there is any other way for Einherjar to enter Valhalla, I know it not. Now to Hel’s grasp or Odin’s, we shall let the Norns decide.”
With that, he took up his weapons and battle was joined. Her strength was an equal to his own, if not more so, and she ignored his axe blows as though feathers were sewn to a ribbon, while her own strikes drew blood, but still he fought on. Soon, he managed to break his way inside her defenses, and his true mettle was shown as his powerful arms grappled the Valkyrie, pinning her to the ground under his great size. She laughed, “So you have some fire after all, would be warrior! You remind me of a memory from a life long ago, perhaps I will remember you by his name when you are dead!” With a burst of incredible strength, she threw off the Huscarl Isarnbjorn and her swangarb, and with her fury brought upon him a storm of blows that spirited the fire from his frame, leaving his body to join the snowswept floor of the forest. His body ruined, he yet rose again to face down Kara, letting her draw close once more to trap her again in his trees, driving his helm into hers until both fell and his cooling brow met hers. Once more, she laughed, and returned the blow, staggering him back to the trunk of an ancient tree, which she followed by making her spear a new branch that hung him aloft through his ribs. As his vision faded, a score of maidens now surrounded him, and Kara smiled, turning to them as the light faded from his eyes.
The Desire of the Howler and the Rage of the Swift Fire of the Highest Storm Tent
The night returned to the eyes of Isarnbjorn, and with it, a terrible hunger. The meat of his pack held the same taste, but did nothing to sate his hunger, and a passing deer was ill-perpared for the rage of the grossly sized man who fell upon it with the speed and power of an avalanch. Ripping into the deer’s long neck, he feasted not on the flesh of the beast, but it’s blood. Barely possessing his wits, he felt the power of the blood flowing through him and knew that something had been changed. His life as a man was over, but is trial was still continuing. Here he was, in the realm between Middlegard and Aesirgard, and the Valkyries had given him the chance to continue to prove his worth. Still not yet sated, he gathered his things and began to search for further prey.
As he travelled, he found a bear coming out from its dwelling, and deciding that this would be a suitable test for himself, threw himself headlong into battle with the bear. The battle raged for some time, but soon he beat the bear into submission, drinking the beasts fire into himself, feeling the power of it flowing through him. As he took the last of the beast’s blood, the sun began to rise, and the often comforting light now burned his flesh. Unsure of why, he dove within the cave, finding the darkest corner to collapse in.
When he next woke, the faintest of red hues covered the other horizon. He consulted his runes once more and thought on why this was, and he concluded that since he was now between realms, he could not be allowed to walk in the ways of men, for he was no longer among them, and to defy Odin’s will was to face his wrath. As this was the autumn months, travel would be relatively simply, and so he continued his search for the Valkyries, determined to show them his mettle and be brought to Valhalla. Nothing else mattered, for nothing else brought the same import as fighting for Aesirgard.
For the next year, he honed his newfound strengths, and guarded against his new limitations. He tracked the elusive swans of death through every stretch of the northlands, finally catching them at an Althing of their own, wherein they all gathered around a maiden in gleaming armor they referred to as Brunhilde. Isarnbjorn, wearing the pelt of the bear he had killed on his first night, stood before the Althing and declared his intent to the assembled victory maidens, telling his tale in the form of the poetic edda. Brunhilde ordered the spears of his sisters held back, and brought Kara forward.
“So, Storm-Daughter, this is the man who would become Einherjar? This man who you said carried the spirit of sweet Helgi?” Spoke Brunhilde.
“Yes, I have given him the chance to prove his worth to us, and here he has found us, despite our rituals. I would grant him the honor of the final test.”
“Very well. Know this, should you live, you shall join us again, vessel of Helgi’s essence, and should you not, I pray the All Father to return you to our troupe one day.”
That night was a grueling lesson in the terrible fury and joy of the Valkyrie, but through tale, feat, and lore, he managed to impress even Brunhilde of his valor, who lifted his arm high as she bestowed the name of Helgi upon the Iron Bear.
The Night of Odin is Forgotten in the Blood of the Child that Would be a God, and the Valley Trout’s Breath Chills the Bones of the Land
For the next century, Helgi and Kara travelled together, as both warriors and lovers, fighting threats against the devout people and despairing as the old ways were forgotten. They could not muster rage against the people of the faith, but the faith itself and the way it was used to insinuate the land, twisting the old ways to serve its purposes, and making the people forget the Gods. Still, there were enough warriors who heard Odin’s Call, and the need for Einherjars still great.
As their journey crept on through the years, the tales of the walking mountain and the swan maiden crept through the lands, and tales of their battles entered poem and song, in no small part to Helgi’s nature to compose a poem of their exploits and hack the runes onto the landscape in some way or form. Their battles against the other lost warriors of Aesirgard brought the remaining faithful to their number, and even brought back the followers of the fledgling Christ faith.
However, time is a river that destroys all things, and tradition among them. Soon, even Sweden gave up the Old Ways, and while the common folk were slower to turn than their jarls, no mountain may stand against time, not even Aesirgard, as Odin knows all too well. And with Ragnarok upon the horizon, perhaps it should have been no surprise that the Huscarls of Jormungandr would follow.
Coming up from the Varangian Trade Route, Merchants began to bring with them poisons of the East, fouling the blood of the noble north. Kara and Helgi discovered this taint and set to rooting out the bringers of this poison to the teeth of the world.
For decades, they found and slaughtered the bringers of disease and discord, discovering the truth of their origin, the most hated agents of the world serpent, using their ways to poison the sky, as the legends foretold. With renewed fury, each night they brought slaughter to the minions of the serpent from the sea, and with each defeat, they returned in new guises to befuddled the heroes.
One night, they came as on a mist, pretending to be the Valkyries summoned to aid in their endeavor, only to strike when their attention was brought to battle. Helgi was struck but not slain, as the dishonored pets of the fanged worm focused the ferocity of their deception on the elder of the pair. As he saw his beloved spear maiden fall to the bite of a man turned worm, his fury became unmatched as though Odin himself joined in his loss and granted the warrior a part of his own strength. With his bare hands he ended the unity of the forms before him, sowing the fields with their entrails as the rain of their black blood fouled the land. Never before seeing the terror of Einherjar before, the cowards fled before the tree-felling gust erupting from his maw.
As the night fell silent, Helgi held the still frame of his love in his arms, the poisoned fang that ended her broken off in her chest. He swore at that moment, before Odin and all of the Aesir, that he would not rest until the miserable curs that took his precious Kara from the halls had met with their ends. Thunder boomed across the mountain-highs as the largest tree in view was split apart by lightning. The oath had been made. In the tree’s burning demise, still carrying the skin of his rage upon his flesh, he carved the story of the felling of a Valkyrie, of his oath, and a promise to Brunhilde that he would not darken her Althing until his victorious return, or until they met at the end of all things. As he set his beloved to rest, he took with him her spear, that it might taste the blood of their foes once more.
The Slender Helmet Reed Sets Flight for the Dark Coiling Fish of the Heather, Uncaring of the Sky’s Brood
From the ports he set out, following the tales of the journeys from those he had slaughtered before, following the Varangian trade route, to the center of the poisonous beast’s influence. As he travelled, he met with many warriors who sought gold and glory in the realm of the Greeks, and from them learned the language of the people at the center of the world, knowing it would aid him in finding the poison whitefish that stole his joy. As the journeys commenced, he found some who remembered his stories and found their telling inspiring, which gladdened his heart that while the old ways might be gone, the spirit of his people could still survive. With one man, a veteran of the city who was returning from burying his father and settling his accounts, he made a great impression, defending the boats from would-be bandits with an ease one would expect from a veteran warrior. Deep into the night, he thrashed the bandits alongside the Varangian, and between them the bond of battle was made, and the sell-sword sore that when they next met in the City at the Heart of the World, he would lend him what aid he was able in finding the kinslayers.
As Helgi did not travel by boat when he did not have to, preferring rather the company of the land and its creatures, he met many others on his way to the lands of Greece. Some, he would spend the night with and while away with stories of valor and glory, others he would aid from the shadows if they showed themselves worthy, and some, he would simply feast upon, for they had no place in the halls of slain. One such night, he found himself in the company of men of the church, on their way to his home, though he knew it not when he joined them at their fire. Of their number, one in particular had fire to his voice, and spoke of the tales of heroes in disgust. Helgi laughed at first, that this little twig would dare to raise his voice to the forest in such a way, and complimented him on the fire in his belly, but told him that he would brook no insult or blasphemy on Odin’s name. The ring around the fire grew cold, and the black-robed man told Helgi of the purpose of his travels north, to find men such as him and force them to admit their wrongs before God, by fire and pain as required.
“So what you cannot win with honeyed words and gifts, you plan to take with bubbling flesh and the screams of the devout?” Helgi growled, standing to his feet.
“Yes! Those who would fight against the glory of God are not men, but demons! They are vile creatures that blacken the hearts of others that they might have company in Perdition’s flames! You claim virtue before me? You who tell tales of incest and betrayal? You are the scourge I have come to cleanse with fire! You and all your fevered kin shall accept Christ or burn with His name upon your lips! Repent, Heathen!” The twig rattled in the breeze as the shade of the forest came over him, his words carried more weight than they were due, but no path could they find into Helgi’s heart, for his own conviction and will were true.
“You claim to deny my virtue, stealer of women and children? Tormenter of the innocent? Stand before me, that you might prove your bold words!” Helgi’s eyes became as white topped mountains, and the other men around the fire drew back, knowing the fury their leader tempted.
“I will do more than that, heretic! Men! He will be our first show to these misguided heathens! Bring forth the judgements of God!” A few of the band moved slowly at the shrill beckoning of the horse-fly, but were paused by the shaking of the earth that swiftly followed.
“You would not even Holmgang for your Holy Lord? You mote of a man! You feckless foe of fealty! You call upon others to fight for you when you would not treat the conflict of your own making? Stand and deliver your judgements directly, if you think them able to stand in the judgement of things greater than ourselves,” He drew his axe, his flesh flowing into the white death of battle.
“Defend me! Do not let this pagan get in the way of God’s work!” screamed the feaster of droppings.
“Let those who stand with this man share his fate, for your hearts are as twisted and black as his, that would visit pain and death upon the innocent for what they hold dear in their hearts. Know this! If you have any valor in your hearts, you will stay and let this twisted demon have the kinder fate than he would visit upon my kin!”
With that, a swift and terrible spilling of blood ensued. To call it a battle would be to cheapen the value of the word, for while his tongue was leaden with power, his body less so, and his fellows quickly fled through the night upon seeing the fury of the Einherjar. Filled with disgust, Helgi left the camp, barely leaving time to carve the tale of a fool’s fate upon a nearby log, and a warning that the Sons of the North may be tricked, but they will never be cowed.
Months more passed, and soon, the sight and smell of his destination filled his senses. The walls of the city were as one might expect the walls of Aesirgard, but the smell was that of a festering corpse preserved in the waste of a dragon. Without a doubt, Jormungandr’s filth coated these footpaths, and the rage of Thor would be needed to cleanse them.