Champions

29
Dec
Njord Sturla

Njord Sturla

Njord Sturla

Human / Viking / Northern Fjords

Looking overhead, a young viking raider sees a sign that the All Father is surely watching. 2 ravens circle the sky high above. He feels the salt spray, smells the fragrant smell of land near by. He knows they will be beaching very soon, he can see it from his position at the rear of the boat. Just as they crest a wave, his oar skipping out of the water, he struggles get it back down and get a purchase so he can help propell the boat forward, he sees them. The English!

"English!!!" He and his oarmate, Bjorn, yell to their boatmates. They are running out from behind a large cleft of rock, they were hiding and waiting for the boat to get closer. But why? That's when he saw they were carrying their long bows. Not good. "Njord! We will feast on English liver and ale tonight! I will save you one or two of their women. Odin and Thor will be proud of us fo" *CRACK* and a large wooden shaft suddenly apears where Bjorn's right eye was. Bjorn's mouth continues to work as if he wanted to finish his sentance. "Bjorn! Bjorn!" Njord yells. He then turns his gaze to see arrows raining down all around. Acting quickly Njord jumps to his right and out of the boat, trying to use it for safety from the incoming rain of death.

The boat is still propelling forward with the momentum they have built up and with the surf helping now, Njord runs along the bottom of the surf, head barely above water, as he reaches the shore. Many other viking brothers and shield maidens are with him, some floating, some running, even more slumped over the side of the boat, their life's blood painting the sea red. As one the viking run into battle, axes, hammers and swords at the ready, gleaming edges sharpened to cut into the meat of the English.

Njord a few steps behind the main host finally hauls himself out the surf and is immediately met by a leather clad boy trying to nock an arrow. Fumbling, shaking, mouth agape with terror at the oncoming rush of furs and death, the boy looks up and barely sees Njord's thrown handaxe flipping end over end towards him. Njord's aim is true and the boy's skull is split in two. Without missing a step and before the boy's body can collapse Njord continues his run, retrieving his axe with a mighty pull, blood spurting from the Englishman's skull painting a spray across Njords screaming face, mixing with the spittle as he continues a roar he didn't even remember starting.

Arrows fly by him, a man posessed by the Gods, he weaves and ducks, slashes away swords, hacks off limbs and continues running into the battle. He sees men fall. Both English and Viking. His sister's man lays not 10 feet away, his foot missing an arrow protruding from his thigh, with a look of madness on his face as he rips off the ear of some poor squire, his dagger embedded in the squires groin, twisting and being shoved further up ripping the boy open, the steam starts to appear as his bowels spill on to the ground around where the viking's foot should have been.

A trumpet blares and Njord looks around, and atop a massive black stallion sees a man clad in heavy armor carrying a massive long sword, stained red with the blood of his brothers, bits of scalp and hair clinging to parts of the blade. Their eyes lock. The man pulls back on his reigns and aims his sword at Njord, pointing at him, taunting him. As the viking looks up the blade towards those eyes he knows that he is no match but smiles. "I'll take you with me then English" he says barely even audible to himself. And he inhales deeply through his nose and from teh bottom of his lungs screams, "To valhalla!!!" And with a burst of energy and fury he runs, great axe at the ready. If he doesn't take this man and his horse down then he will die knowing the he will be feasting tonight with Odin, Bjorn and the rest of the Eijenhar, that damned brother in law will probably live. That thought giving him a final chuckle. All other noises of battle are drowned out and all he hears is his footfalls, the horse's hooves thudding down on the the ground drawing louder and as the two immovable objects, great axe and longsword collide between horse and man, one more thing is heard by Njord, whose vision goes white hot, "chimes?"


- SILENCE -

As Njord opens his eyes he looks down and sees that he can't even see his clothes or even tell if he is wearing them due to the amount of blood that is on him, seeming to course and ripple around him. As if the blood itself was his armor. On his shoulder is a raven who takes flight the moment he sees it, "CAWWW!" it exclaims and as Njord watches it fly away he realizes he is in nothing by white. No floor, no roof or walls. All White. Except a golden throne and sitting atop it is a man with grey hair and an eyepatch stroking a raven in his lap. Standing next to the throne is a young boy of 6 or 7 wearing a very odd loincloth of the whitest white Njord had ever witnessed with small symbols stitched? on it. Odd bat shaped wings with a face in the middle. "Pow" "Kablooie" "Bam" in small spiked circles as well. "What an odd garment for a child" he thinks.

"Njord Sturla, my child. Do you now recognize the All Father? Come, you've earned your seat in my halls. You will accompany me at Ragnorok. You've fought valiantly and deserve the feast to come!" Njord shakes his head from staring at the odd young boy and looks towards Odin, taking a step towards him. "Unless..." Odin says. But not just Odin, a thousand singing children harmoniously say those words in unison with the All Father, "Unless you want more to do. You are the one that can help." Overlapping the words Njord hears (We need your help). Njord looks from Odin to the child, confused as to who is speaking. "Will you do one more task for me my child? (Champion of Midgard) Will you help my friend? (Save us) Will you protect the beams? (Save the children)"

"CAWWW!" the sound of flapping wings calls Njord's gaze back to Odin and with only the All Father's voice in his head. "Choose Njord Sturla, son of the North, will you be my (our) Champion?"

As Njord nods his ascent, Odin stands and is suddenly next to him, grabbing him the shoulders and spinning him around. "Go now! You have only moments! We will be watching!" And before him stands a massive oak door with symbols carved upon it. A rose, a bat and a one-evey raven. Njrod rushes the door, screaming through the chimes that suddenly assault his senses, "For OOOOOODIN!!!"

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29
Dec
Calistan Nightsbane

Calistan Nightsbane

Calistan Nightsbane

Human / Twilight Cleric / Vampire Hunter

Sitting by a fire-less campsite and mumbling prayers to the Raven Queen, the man began to drift. As he often does, he began to recall the horrible time when his town was besieged by a monstrosity so bad that no man could destroy it. A man that would collect children, young & innocent, charming them to come to him. They would come to him for days. He paid them handsomely and their families ignored the fact that their children slept all day and stayed up all night with the man and his fancy dress and expensive tastes. Then the children began disappearing, one by one. They just next came home. Then young woman, especially young virgins and pregnant women just vanished. It was only luck the man we now see, caught in his own horrible memories, happened to see the visitor embrace a young tavern girl for a long moment. He dares not move. He watched as the tavern girl fell limp in the man's arms, lifeless. The man took her in his arms and climbed up the wall like a spider and deposited her body on the roof. Twitching as his self-imposed trance deepens, the man recalled seeing her lifeless hands dangling over the side of the root and then vanish from view as her body was pulled away. He raised the alarm and then 1 day later, the town's warriors were all defeated and the only priest in town, a drunken coward who preferred the company of diseased whores over any of the gods, was in his cups and wouldn't come out of his bed chambers.

Recalling with perfect clarity Calistan Nightsbane went to the priest and tried to sober him up, did his best by slapping him around, pouring cold water down his throat and splashing hot chickaree on his face. While gathering the priest's supplies the sun fell and night had gathered. The door to the priests small cottage exploded inwards and in the door way stood the visitor, dressed in fancy clothes, lace and velvet, all dripping with fresh blood, bits of skin and hair falling in soft noises as his fell in the doorway.

"Would you like me to come in and face you priest?" the man growled.

Half drunk, the priest replied, "You come in and I'll show you the power of the Gods!" and in a flash the man was there, his two fingers on his right hand embedded in the priest's eye sockets to the second knuckle.

"You will see no more of me or any Gods, false priest. You reek of rot, decay and morale indecency. You have no connections to anything but depravity. You don't know what's pure so how can you even think about showing me any 'powers of the Gods'." he mocked.

The visitor looked over at Calistan. "And you! I was fine until you witnessed my business." he went to point at Calistan but still had the dead priest on his fingers and then realizing it, let the priest slide down the floor and off his fingers. Staring at Calistan he brings his fingers up and sucks the blood from them, immediately spitting it to the floor.

"Disgusting! It will take days to forget that taste! Boy, you've caused me a lot of trouble. Do you realize that know I have to kill every person in this town? I can't let anyone escape that can recognize me and then I must move on again. I so disdain moving on. Come to me boy!"

And Calistan felt that his legs had a mind of their own. He began walking towards the man. Once he got to him, the man extended his hand, fingers and thumb open and curved. "Choke yourself slowly boy." he commanded.

Calistan tried to stop. In his mind, he tried to not lean forward and into that grasp. But he couldn't help himself.

"I can feel you resisting. You are a strong willed boy. That's too bad you might have made a good protege. But I can't let a tattle-tale like you in my world." the visitor paused and seemed to think. Calistan's vision began to fuzz around the edges as the lack of air became apparent. "But I will reward your will. You like to watch do you boy? Well, I will let you see who I truly am as you die."

In an instant Calistan was looking at the ceiling of the priest's cottage and the man was supporting his back with one hand and opening his mouth with the other. "Open wide boy, this is a gift rarely received!" He then opened his own mouth to reveal very sharp teeth, more than any normal man. Four very long, very sharp teeth glistened with saliva, two n top and two on the bottom. His tongue forked out and the man raked his tongue along one of those teeth causing a very deep gash. Blood swelled up along the line and began running down his tongue and then swelled up as it collected at the end forming a very large drop that seemed to grow impossible large.

The man bent and the drop fell, filling Calistan's mouth. Suddenly able to breath Calistan sucked in a deep breath and swallowed at the same time. His vision slowly faded and went black. "Come outside when you wake child. I'll be waiting."

*Crunch*

Calistan immediately broke out of his memory trance as he heard underbrush snap in a very un-natural way. He was on the trail of something that needed to be stopped. He had gotten ahead of it on the only road for miles hoping to rest for a short time and then pick up its trail at night. Tonight, would be the night he ended its miserable existence.

He listened and found the familiar pattern of its gate. He slid down to stay out of view and listened until the man, no, the monster, was almost out of ear shot and then he followed.

Deep in the night, he saw the familiar glow of a fire up ahead. "It stopped" he muttered to himself. He slowly dropped his pack to the ground, retrieved his war hammer and said a little prayer as he slowly crept towards the makeshift camp.

He came up downwind from the fire and there sitting, staring into the fire was the creature he had been tracking, it's strange blue glue flickering with the fire behind it, but still unmistakably marking it as Vampyr. How that glow looked so familiar and so frightening at the same time. He filled him with anger, fury, fear and a sense of duty all at the same time.

"Go and end it's life. I, the Raven Queen, demand it of you young Nightsbane. Hurry, I have need of you elsewhere." Calistan heard the slow seductive voice in his head. He has heard that voice before and is suddenly back in his home town, opening his eyes inside a burning cottage.

Embers fall from the ceiling as he realizes the priests cottage is full ablaze. Calistan jumps to his feet and runs out, arms over his mouth as he tries not to breathe in the hot acrid air. It's of no use and he can feel the air hot and sharp fill his lungs. He coughs and spits out the air as he runs from the cottage into a scene of absolute horror.

In the street the bodies of the towns people are everywhere, arms, legs and head missing. Some ripped open from breast to sex, their guts spilled out and leaving long ribbons trailing behind them. Standing in the middle of them is a being of such bright blue light that at first Calistan has to shield his eyes. "Ahhh! You've awoken! Finally. I was starting to think that you had died and I was going to have a protégé after all."

Calistan looked and saw the man, now glowing a very bright blue walk towards him. Except that man had aged. He was now eons older, had long grey stringy hair and was skinny and gaunt. His cheeks were sunken and his eyes, though glowing blue were very red. And clattering all around him were large black bugs. They were feasting on the bodies around him, as he looked around, they were everywhere.

As the man walked toward him Calistan heard a slow female voice in his head. "Believe in me, young Nightsbane. Believe and serve your Raven Queen. You will be my weapon. Together we can turn him away. Do you believe?"

Calistan trembled with fear but slowly, softly said, "Ye...yes, I be...believe."

Louder in his head, "Do you serve your Queen young Nightsbane?"

Louder now, feeling stronger, he replied. "Yes! I serve you."

"Oh young boy," the old man said, "You'll serve me by dying now that I've shown you my true face. You will serve as the final witness of this poor town."

"Young Nightsbane, I feel your fear. Embrace it. Turn it. Embed my symbol in his mouth, make him eat our power."

As the old man grasped Calistan tightly he opened his mouth and Calistan froze. So afraid of death and the monster than had him in his grasp, that he couldn’t move. He shook uncontrollably. Tears ran down his cheeks.

"Now Young Nightsbane!" and he leapt from the bushes towards the being hunkered down by the fire. As he did, the man turned and rose. Calistan realizing too late, that this wasn't a weak blue glow that he had seen earlier in the day. Now without the fire to backlight it, he saw it was strong and bright. The man pushed forward with his hands sending Calistan flying backwards and said, "My witness!!"

As he landed against a tree, he recalled the last time he had seen this man, his open mouth coming down towards his neck. How scared and terrified of death he was. Just as the old visitor was about to clamp down, he smiled and winked at Calistan.

"In the name of the Raven Queen, I do not fear you. I release my spirit and my fear to serve her and I banish you from my heart creature!" and Calistan brings up his only item of value, a small silver carving of a raven's head and he stuffs it as hard as he can into the creatures mouth, breaking one of those large sharp teeth in the process.

The old visitor begins to cough and spit. Black blood flowing from his broken tooth. The beetles swarming around him scurry away as a wave from around him.

"NOOOOOOOO! What *COUGH* have you *cough* done!" He gasped out. He looks at Calistan and points a wavering finger at him, bits of priest brain still stuck under his fingernail. "I will find you! *cough* You will be the *Choke* final witness. I've *gasp* marked you as *COUGH*mine. Your life belongs to me!!" and he turns and leaps into the air. A streak of blue into the sky.

Regaining his senses and tightening his grip on his warhammer, Calistan stands up and sees the Old Visitor standing next to the fire, smiling at him, 3 sharp teeth gleaming in the moonlight.

"Oh young witness. I see you've finally come to die. You won't defeat me this time. I'm prepared for your tricks and no amount of faith can save you. But don't worry. I will make it quick." And he charges, making up half the distance before Calistan can even react.

Rocking on his heels, Calistan begins his swing as he rushes forward. He knows he cannot defeat this creature. But with the grace of the Raven Queen he will do his best to try. The two forces a blur as the race towards each other and just as Calistan begins his downward arch his eyes locked onto those of the Old Man, he registers surprise in his opponents eyes and then sees the red glowing eyes, turn black and blue glow wink out of existence just as the Old Man's body just turns to mist as they meet.

Landing in a tuck and roll maneuver, Calistan turns to see a spray of red extending where he just ran from. And standing to the side he sees a tall slender woman, head bowed with her face hooded and in shadow. Wearing dark robes that seemed to be adorned in large black feathers that shimmer blue and purple with the dancing firelight. Next to her is a small boy wearing an odd outfit or light grey. It's all one piece of cloth from feet to hood. The chest and belly are a large white oval as are the feet. The hood seems to have 2 large ears the flop down to the side of the boy’s head. They boy just stares at Calistan, who can feel the blood dripping off of him, the smell of copper and disease stinging his nose.

"Young Nightsbane. That was foolish. He would have killed you, not I been here." the voice from the hood said.

"My lady." Calistan took a knee and bowed his head "I believed you were with me and I had no fear."

"That's a lie. I can see your fear. However, I see that your fear is shaped as a sword aimed at your enemy's heart. So I will let that lie go."

"Young Nightsbane. I need your help for my friend here." She gestures towards the child.

"Please help me" a thousand young voices said in his head. "Save the children. Save me."

"Young Nightbane, will you turn that sword and take it anywhere to serve me?"

"Yes, my lady. I am at your command."

"Gather your things and take your reward, don't die and become the champion I believe you can be young Nightsbane. Go through the door, but hurry, I fear that He is preparing already to stop you and your companions."

"Companions? My lady?"

"Hurry, the gathering is now." said the thousands of children as they leaned over and looked beyond Calistan. He turned to see the belongings of the Old Visitor neatly stacked on log. He turned back to see them both gone but in their place a door. Upon it were three carved symbols, a rose, a rabbit and a Cross and above them a word, "The Marked".

"Hurry, go through the door." the children said in his head, fading out as they said it. Calistan, leapt to his feet, grabbed at the pile of supplies only able to get his hands on a grey cloak and with his other hand he tucked his hammer into his arm pit and ran back and grabbed his pack. He reached the door and flung it open, took a deep breath and slid his plague mask over his face and opened the door and went through to the sounds of chimes.
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