A large, broad muscular man of around 6’4". His weight isn’t known, but it’s a lot.
He has windswept and partially braided pure silver head and a massive, also partially braided purely silver beard too. It doesn’t seem to be from old age, however. The large man seems to look only in his late 20s/early 30s.
He carries 2 behemoths of intricately and masterly crafted axes that seem to have some magical properties.
His armor is a patchwork between snow bear fur and mithril scales crafted in a design that suits his barbarian archetype.
Even though he looks like a big, mean, intimidating barbarian type, he’s actually a pretty nice and jovial guy.
Oh. He’s been known to have a bear head replace his actual one too. Weird stuff.
The large bearded man sits patiently at a table in the quiet corner of the Good Barrel; his personal drinking horn filled to the brim with the establishment’s finest. The relatively small wooden table has only one empty chair directly in front of the man. That spot, too, has a full drinking horn as a place holder and gift. The Good Barrel is rather empty at this hour, as many of the Overtaken are either planning, working, traveling, or out on missions still. Fortunately there are still some participants still on the Isle, and the door to the rebellion’s private brewpub creeks open as soon as Skegg makes note of that.
A lithe, lightly skinned Elven man strolls into the tavern. His dark eyes scan the the building until they settle on the large bear of a man in the back corner by himself with the placeholding horn. The Elven man rolls his eyes and meanders his way over toward the table. The blackened plate armor adorning the slender figure clanks rather loudly in the empty bar.
The large man jumps from his chair.
“Ah! Captain Mori! Thank you for doing this, it really means a lot to me and I feel the others will want to hear about this tale.”
Mori’s unblinking gaze focuses on the silver haired barbarian.
“Whoa, whoa there big man. It’s not even midday and you already have ale for me? I thought we were starting you a journal not getting frisky.” The Elf grins, yet even though it’s his usual grin there’s just something sliiiiiiightly off about it.*
*(Note from the auther: I think Mori might be looking forward to the frisky bit.)
The pair both share a laugh as Skegg hands Mori the horn. CLACK. The horns are bashed together in cheers before they both take a pull from the ales.
“Well in my experience, anytime of day is a time for an ale! Ha! Please sit, I don’t know how long this will take and I don’t want to take your whole day with my stories.” Skegg waves his hand to the empty seat, ushering Mori to join him at the table. Mori nods his head, plopping himself down onto the chair with an audible THUD, because armor. The barbarian man follows suit and drops himself onto his rightful chair too with an equally audible THUD, because armor. Why are they so heavily armored in their own private tavern? Because fuck you, that’s why.
The Elven man grins again, “As if I have better things to do right now than drink and help the poor, uneducated children of our Isle.”
Skegg humphs. “Har har har. I’m beginning to regret this.”
“I bet you are!” The pair laugh again. Mori produces a few sheets of parchment from a satchel on his belt along with some ink and a neat little pen. “Anyway, shall we?”
Skegg nods. His demeanor tenses up a bit, this will be a doozy:
Blood. Blood everywhere. All over my hands, all over my chest, all over my face. I looked down at my most recent prey, a young deer. It’s endtrails are still in my hands as the body lay twitching at my feet. I was just a small boy when the blackouts first started.
Hmm, I think I’ll circle back to that, let me start from the beginning from what’s been told to me, since I don’t have much memory of it. My story seems almost entirely too strange, fairtale-like, purely unnatural and almost entirely unrealistic to even be real, but let me assure you, this all happened:
You all have heard the stories of babies washed ashore in perfectly safe condition in a nicely bundled basket. Well guess what? That’s me. Can I prove it? No. Is that what was told to me? Sure. Am I lying? I don’t know. Now you’re asking, “Well how did the baby survive after being washed ashore? Who found you?”
Here’s where we take another big turn: an elderly woman did. Now use your head to think about what a crazy, frail elderly woman living in the middle of the woods looks like. Yes, that’s pretty much it. You think of some wild witch-like sorceress living in secret from the rest of the world so nobody knows about her spells. Well guess what? That’s her. That’s Gran. I don’t know her real name but I always called her Gran.
Before you ask, yes, Gran is a Hag. I’ll circle back to that later.
So there I was, a baby being cared for by a Hag. This story can go so many ways in your mind, I understand. She could eat me, use my blood for vile magics, turn me into a pot, so many options. What makes this story even more unrealistic is that she obviously didn’t do any of that, because I wouldn’t be here if she did. She actually tried to care for me. I think she saw something in me that I didn’t see until later.
Anyway, Gran had lots of pets. The wild was her home after all, so the wild always came; whether it was birds, wolves, snakes, beetles, whatever, there was no shortage of animal friends and activities. However the ones that came around the most were the bears, a whole family of them, white as the snow itself. Gran told me they were her children, just like I was and they would also be there to protect her old frail self. Sometimes Gran would leave me with them for days or weeks on end.
That’s when the blackouts began. I would almost always wake up with blood on my hands and face, looking down at some “present” (that’s what Gran called them) at my feet. It started off as small animals like squirrels and rabbits, and as I got bigger so would the prey.
Gran told me about what she saw in me. She said I was pure, that I was nature incarnate. Half boy, half bear. The balance of all life on this world, civilization and nature in harmony together. I had no idea what she was talking about. I figured it was another one of her strange babblings; she did that a lot. Though slowly, I grew to understand what she meant.
Let’s move the hourglass a few years forward, early teens sounds about right. I’ve been able to get hold of my nature, Gran helped me using herbs and salves and her magics. I can “shift” (as she called it) anytime I wanted and I could remember and control my actions. Err…I thought I could at least.
Around this time, some people were starting to try and settle in the nearby area to hide from the Fang activites. I didn’t know that was why, at the time. I just thought people were invading into our home. Oh, and just for context, you have to remember the only other “person” I’ve ever seen up until this point was Gran. We were always cautious about not being seen, Gran was very clear that she didn’t want anyone to know about us.
But you guessed it. I was seen.
Gran needed more water for the stew she was preparing for the night, so I went to fetch some. There was something in the river though, a creature I’ve never seen before. It was like me, pale-like skin, arms, legs. It was even around the same height as me. I stood awestruck; then it looked and saw me staring at it. I could tell we were both frightened. So I ran and hid, and watched from afar. I could tell it had long red hair and it was wearing this long white cloth that covered it’s whole body.
…I got curious.
Still awestruck I slowly approached the river, the creature was still there but it was very aware of me now, it raised its arm and moved it side to side. I didn’t know what to do so I did it back. Then it started to come closer.
I panicked and hid behind the nearest tree. I didn’t look, I just shut my eyes hoping nothing bad would happen. I heard the rustling of leaves and the sounds of twigs snapping under weight. I turned to look and there the creature was! Not ten feet from me.
…And it was beautiful.
So beautiful that I dropped my water gourd.
The creature had large green eyes, long flowing red hair. The white cloth covering its whole body. It was like me but different and awoke something primal in me that I still have a hard time containing, you know that tingle in your groin when you see a pretty woman? Well this is literally the first time.
She raised her hand and spoke softly. “Hello, are you all alone out here? You look terrified.”
She spoke the same words that Gran taught me but it sounded strange, like a different…
“Mori, what’s the word?”
Like a different accent.
I shook my head. She came a bit closer and I shied away slightly. “It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you. My name is Hjilga. What’s yours?”
I stammered for a second. Gran would always call me little Skegg, why? Because it’s my story. That’s why.
So that’s what I responded with.
I’m going to skip over a lot of details now. Hjilga and I would meet in the woods every so often. She promised to keep my secrets and I promised to protect her. We grew rather close. The feeling in my groins were making the blackouts come back again though, and I eventually had to tell Gran about it.
I’ve never seen her so angry before. She was yelling at me about how I would ruin everything if I keep interacting with Hjilga. Of course I want to keep seeing her though but Gran was always right. We had to keep hidden. Why? I don’t know, but Gran did.
We were supposed to meet the next day, I didn’t go.
Now it’s been a few weeks since Hjilga and I last saw each other, Gran has calmed down and the villagers haven’t been pushing into the woods that much.
Gran needed more water again for a new stew she wants to try out, so I grabbed the gourd and headed down to the river. There she was, flowing red hair, sitting on a boulder on the shoreline. I slowly start walking toward the water. She heard my footsteps. Turning, she looked in my direction, a huge smile beamed on her face and called my name out.
I don’t think I’ll ever feel that same warmth from a hug as I felt that day.
We talked, she told me all about the village and how it’s growing. She wanted me to come and see it. I had to tell her about everything Gran said. Gran was right, this wasn’t a good idea. Skipping over more details, Hjilga left crying. And so did I.
The stew Gran made was tasty at least but I still felt like an empty pit inside. I tried to tell Gran about how I felt but she kept insisting it’s for the best. I left to go for a walk and clear my hormonal riddled head.
I chose to walk to the river, and again, there she was. She was standing on the shore line, her white dress practically glowing in the intense pale moonlight. She must’ve heard me coming because she turned to face me, her face still filled with tears from earlier. She smiled at me, that loving smile she had when I first saw her.
I blacked out.
Blood. Blood everywhere. All over my hands, all over my chest, all over my face. I looked down at my most recent prey, this time not a deer. Shredded, blood-stained cloth; the white fabric glowing in the intense moonlight faded as the blood soaked into it. My hands clutched fabric and flesh, trembling. Then I saw her face.
“That’s some seriously fucked up shit, Skegg.” Mori takes a long pull from the mug horn as he sets the pen down.
The big man sighs. “I warned you. Some of it wouldn’t be roses and bunnies. Beginning to regret it?” The barbarian plays on the joke they shared earlier.
“You’re right, no roses, but there were bunnies, you just murdered them all. And no, I don’t regret it. I look forward to doing the next chapter.” The pair clanks their mugs together as the scene fades to black.