No fanfic, just a story.

The Viking
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This is a story about the Norse mythology. I haven't been able to come up with a proper title as I've just written it. I hope you enjoy it. Criticism is always wanted ;D


Chapter one: The Initiation.

It was a cold night. Outside, a wind was carrying endless amounts of snow, roaring through the hills and the pineforest. It was in a small settlement called Brodir, where it all began. Consisting of a great hall surrounded by fourteen wooden huts. It's stone chimneys still released smoke from their smoldering fires below. In one of the huts, Halfdan and his wife Aesa lived together with their son Askell and their daughter Hulda.

Bathing in sweath, Askell just kept thinking of tomorrow. It had been many hours now, yet he was unable to sleep. Soon, the sun would appear on the horizon and bring the dawn. "The Horstag" he whispered. "It has been so many winters, since I have longed for it, yet now I am not sure if this is what I really wish for." He sighed. "May The Allfather decide for me to live through this." Suddenly his eyes became weary, his eyelids heavier and he longed to close them. Allthough sleep took him, he knew there was something strange about this feeling, as if someone or something forced him to fall asleep.
He dreamed about his village. Allthough boring, it was peacefull as usual, and just as the dream appeared to be rather normal, it suddenly turned into a nightmare. Many of the homes were demolished to it's foundations, the snow was dyed red and so many faces, every single one of them mangled and wounded. All of them were screaming and moaning in agony, calling for Askell. Then as abruptly as the nightmare came it left. Just before it ended Askell heard one final voice, different from the others. "The roar will guide you."




Sitting up, leaning on his hands and looking out of the small window to his right,Allthough the dream was like many others he had before, he still felt uneasy about the way he fell asleep. "It's just a dream Askell, just forget about it already." He said to himself. "Askell, wake up, today is your grand day!" His mother opened the door and while smiling, she walked over her son, and kissed him on his forehead. "Come now, you must eat. At a day like this, your first meal might decide your victory, so it had better be a good one." Askell blushed. "Mother, I would ask of you not kiss me anymore! I am a man now." Aesa chuckled. "I still kiss your father as well, and he's more of a man then you."

Aesa was about fourty years old just as Halfdan. Her hair was blond, almost white, and worn in one pigtail. She had blue eyes and a pale skin. Allthough her face showed the aspects of middle age, she was still and attractive woman.

Askell protested "That's different! And besides, I really don't want to know about your intimacy with father, it's not healthy! Well, not for me, that is!"

Suddenly his father yelled from the other bedroom. "When this day is over, you will long for your mother, whelp! Now come, your first meal is ready."

Knowing that his father was the strongest man in the village, Askell quickly got dressed, and went to the main room. Halfdan sat at the head of the table as he always did. Halfdan was a strong man, and his posture obviously showed why. He was tall and had broad shoulders with thick muscular arms. His long ravenblack hair still didn't show any grey hairs, and neither did his short beard. Soon his mother and Hulda joined them.
"Salted bear? Why do we have to eat salted bear!? I hate salted bear." Said Hulda, who was eleven years old. She was the exact mirror image of Aesa, only younger. "Would you rather have pineapples?" Said Halfdan with a smirk on his face. "No!" Said Hulda who took it quite serious. "Halfdan, stop it!" Said Aesa. "This is not for you, Hulda, it's for Askell. Today he will undergo the horstag so he will need to eat a lot." Halfdan laughed, and as he laughed, it felt like the house would shake apart.

After Halfdan and Aesa made sure their son had eaten enough, Halfdan stood up and spoke to Askell. "Son, I feel proud to be your father. Today you will become a man. From this point on, you will carry my name as your last name." Halfdan paused briefly. "Askell Haldanson, come with me. There is something I wish to give to you." Askell followed his father outside. Inside he heard Hulda asking her mother. "What's a horstag?"
They went to the shed. While on their way, a thick layer of snow was crunching beneath their feet. Apparently last night's blizzard had left quite a bit of snow as it reached to their knees.

Inside the shed, Halfdan lifted a trapdoor in the ground. Underneath it was a large chest. Halfdan pulled it up with one hand and lowered the trapdoor again. "What's in it, father?"

"This is my gift for you, for this day. Not only is it a present, you will also need it." Halfdan gestured to the chest and nodded. "Open it."

Inside was an armour made of white wolf pelts with a few steel armour parts that could be worn over the pelt armour. "For me!?" Askell yelled. Halfdan smiled through his beard and nodded again. Askell grinned. "So that's why Galinn was eyeing me all the time. He was measuring me." He gave his father a short hug, and put the armour on. "Now you look like a real man." Said Halfdan.
Allthough Askell was not even half as strong as his father, he had a muscular build, and was probably on his way of becoming his fathers equal. He did not look like his mother or his father though. His mother one told him he looked like Askell's uncle and Halfdan's brother, Fjolm. His mother also told him, that hopefully he would only like look like Fjolm. Fjolm was the village druid, and was also considered to be insane by many.




"Father?" Askell asked. "Yes, what is it?"

"I had a dream last night. Our village was demolished and everyone was dead. At the end I heard a voice clearly saying. "The roar will guide you. I wonder if it could mean something."

"Have you been visiting my lunatic brother again?

"Well yes, but that's not.."

Halfdan interupted Askell. "Stay away from your uncle, he is bad news."

Askell nodded in obedience. "yes, father. It probably does not mean anything anyway."

It had been an hour since dawn now, and people were gathering in the great hall, where Edmundr, the village's leader resided. Only men were allowed to go inside that day. Everyone had already arrived and they were now waiting for Askell and Halfdan to join them. Finally the door opened and Halfdan entered with his son.
 
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Well I know next to nothing about Norse mythology, but the story itself seems very interesting. Keep em coming!
 
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Chapter two: The findings of the madman.

Jarl, who had been Askell's adversary for most of his life was mocking him the moment Askell and his father entered. Allthough they used to be best friends, something happened between them, that had made them hate eachother relentlessly. "You won't live through this, dog." Askell raised his fist against Jarl and was about to yell something back. Halfdan leaned his hand on Askell's head, and shook his head. "He's not worth it."

Edmundr spoke to the crowd. "Today we have gathered to invite another one as a man in the ring of warriors. It is Askell Halfdanson who will undergo the Horstag. He will track down a bear, kill it by all means and bring back the pelt and the heart as proof before the sun touches the horizon again." Everyone cheered.
"Askell, step forward." Askell approached Edmundr who now stood behind a table. "As part of the ceremony, you may now choose your weapon." In front of Edmundr, a few types of swords, axes and maces were displayed. "If you manage to slay the beast, and bring back the proof, the weapon will you will choose now, will be forever in your posession and accompany you to the halls of Valhalla when that time comes."
His father thought him to fight with all kinds of arsenal, though Askell had always preferred a two handed sword. It was heavy enough to crush a wooden shield with one blow. Strong enough to pierce through most armour if thrusted precicely, and it also provided a little more defense then most other weapons.

Askell grabbed the Nordic broadsword by it's hilt and held it up. "I choose the sword." Edmundr nodded. "So be it." He ordered two men to open the doors of the great hall. "Now go son of Halfdan, with the blessing of the allfather, and may your ancestors guide you." Askell ran outside, and eventually out of sight. However, he did not leave village at once. Carefully sneaking, he made sure no one would see him, and he approached Fjolm's hut. He was about to knock on the door, but a voice came from inside. "Askell, come in." Apparently Fjolm was already aware of his presence. He opened the door and went inside.




The smell of many herbs was persistent throughout the hut. It was dark in here, and Askell could barely make out Fjolm's silhouette. "Are you here to ask about that dream of yours?" Askell grinned. "So it was your doing?" Fjolm shook his head. "Even I don't know who sent that dream to you."

"Sent to me?"

Fjolm nodded.

"How would you know?"

"The forests, the animals and the earth have told me things, that makes me think the dream was sent."

"You're speaking in riddles. Isn't there more you can tell me?"

Fjolm sighed. "What I am about to tell you will not leave this hut, understood ?"

"Understood, now tell me what this is all about."

"In ages past, it is said that the wendol ruled the lands we now live on. However, for a long time, we have been believing, that they were nothing more then raving madmen who were wearing the skin of the beasts. The wendol that once inhabited these lands were nothing like humans. Humans know reason, sanity and compassion. The wendol posessed none of that. Half man, half bear is how they were described. Terrible creatures who were capable of wiping out entire tribes on their own."

"Bedtime stories and old wives tale" Askell said.

"That's what you uncle thought himself for a long time, untill.. untill I found this." He grabbed something from the many racks in his place. It was wrapped in a thin pelt. Fjolm lit a candle and placed it on the the table along with the wrapped object. He removed the pelt and displayed it on the table. Askell observed it shortly. "A bearclaw? What about it?"

"Look closer"

Askell bent over and reached for the severed hand with his eyes. "By the allfather, Fjolm! What is this?"

"Sshhh, not so loud. You're not supposed to be here, remember." Fjolm wrapped it back in the pelt and placed it back in the rack. "I believe this is the hand or the claw from a wendol."

"Where, no wait, how did you obtain that?"

Fjolm laughed. "I am no warrior, I stumbled upon it in the Gaukr cave."

"For all my life, I have been told to stay away from that place, could this be the very reason?"

Fjolm nodded. "Probably. Obviously someone is trying to prevent the discovery of the true wendol's existance. Not just the wendol though. There is a lot more otherwordly business that everyone has come ceased to believe. Allthough it may be a bit of a guess, I fear this is the work of Loki, the trickster down below."

"Loki? So what should I do?"

"For now nothing. Just go about your average business and tell no one of this conversation, boy. Now, I want you to leave, the men will leave the great hall soon, and that will make the chance a lot smaller for to leave the village unseen."

"The Horstag! I almost forgot! Till the next time we meet, uncle"

Fjolm gestured with his hand for Askell to leave and went back to his own business. Askell opened the door closed and sprinted towards the woods.

Behind a hut next to Fjolm's stood Jarl, broadly grinning.
 
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Chapter three: The Hunter and the stalker.

Askell was plunging his feet through the snow, allthough the trees had been cathing most of the snow, there was still a considerable amount of snow laying on the ground, making it hard for even the most skilled hunter to approach his prey while not being noticed. He made sure he was walking against the wind direction, as any sound or scent that would be carried along with the wind would warn any wild animal in the near vicinity. It was midwinter and most bears were now sleeping in their den. Askell would have to find one of these dens, lure it's inhabiter out and then kill it swiftly without getting hurt himself.
He heard a few men from village saying something about a big male bear living quarter a day walking to the Northwest. Unfortunately the wind was coming from the East, so he had to take a detour. One that he would remember for the rest of his life.

"Snow, why is it always falling when you least need it.." He was leaning against a tree, eating some of the salted bearmeat, that his mother packed in some cloth for him, earlier that morning. He had been walking for a few hours now, and decided to take a small break.
"I really hope what Galinn said is true. If it's not, I will be coming home emptyhanded. Allthough I could also end up worse. My head between a bear's jaws for instance." He grinned. "No time to think about that though, I gotta find the beast first." He wrapped the remains of his meal back in the cloth and continued his hunt.




After about half an hour Askell stopped and looked up to the sky. "What.. more snow?" More and more clouds were gathering, soon they were thick enough to stop the sun's rays from reaching the earth beneath the layer of clouds. It started snowing again. Askell was no longer able to see in the far distance. Even though there were already plenty trees blocking his sight, the snow made it even worse.

"Let's see. If I'm right, i should walk North now. Tt had been half an hour and the snow had not stopped falling yet. For Askell it became harder and harder to move forwards. Snow was blurring his sight and slowing his movement.
Anyone would've gotten lost in those woods, but Askell and his friends had been playing in the woods for a as long as he could remember, all the landmarks were marked on his retina, and he had a good indication of which area Galinn meant.

For the last few minutes Askell had the feeling he was being followed. Constantly he would hear a sound, that resembled a growl. "I wonder what it could be. It doesn't sound like a human though. Perhaps it's a pack of wolves."
He stood still and was looking around him now. The sound faded. Though Askell didn't notice it, a large silhouette was jumping from tree to tree above him, now holding still. The howling wind was perfectly covering it's movement and the sounds it made, except for the growls Askell had constantly been hearing. "Must be the wind then.." He pressed forward again, but so did the mysterious silhouette.




It took Askell another half an hour but finally he stumbled upon something that like a bear den. "A den! May the allfather praise Galinn!" He thought. "Now to lure it out, but first I will have to make sure something's in there."
He approached the entrance with extreme caution. Once he was near enough, he placed himself in a comfortable position and listened to any sound that would come out of the hole.

For a long time he had to attune his hearing to make sure the sound of the howling wind would not hinder his senses. Now still sharply listening he heard a very soft sound. "Something's in there. It's breathing"
He was sure of it. "Now to make sure the beast will come out, without seeing me. A direct confrontation would mean a certain death, something I would gladly prevent from happening."
But suddenly he heard something breathing heavily behind him. "By the allfather! Another bear!?" He slowly turned his head around a bit and from his eyecorners he could clearly see, that whatever it was, it was large and probably capable of killing him. Slowly he reached for the sword's hilt on his back, Askell was about to turn around and charge towards it.

He swung the sword as fast as he could and slashed his opponents chest. "A hit!" Standing on two legs, it was almost twice as tall as Askell. It resembled a bear but quite different. "A wendol!?" The creature was not impressed by Askell and with one swift blow, it sent him flying towards a nearby tree, hitting it with his head and back. The sudden impact was cracking all the bones in his body, and he screamed out in pain. "Argh!" He fell down to the ground and moaned.
He was dazed and no longer fully aware of his surroundings. Everything was blurry. "My ribs.. I think I've broken a few." The creature was approaching him now on four feet. Askell felt fear like he never had felt it before. He reached for his sword with his left hand while holding his right hand over his cracked ribs, but couldn't find it. "Damn it!"
Desperately he closed his eyes and said: "Allfather, save me. Allfather, save me, Allfather save me!"

Suddenly a savage roar came from behind the wendol. The bear had emerged from it's den and charged towards the wendol, it was furious. It jumped on the wendol and slashed it relentlessly with it's claws, almost disembowling the wendol. The wendol roared out in pain and then it turned into an epic battle.
The wendol quickly avenged himself slashed the bear in it's face, almost hitting an eye. The bear had a deep bleeding wound on it's head and blood was pouring in it's left eye, leaving only his right eye usefull. The bear in return charged towards his opponed once more and knocked the wendol to the ground.
Rolling through the snow, they bit and slashed eachother continuesly. As the wendol was a lot larger it soon gained the upper hand and was now sitting on the bear's back, ready to send the final blow to the bears head.

In the meanwhile, Askell saw what was going on in a blurry way, and he couldn't believe what he witheld. "A bear fighting that monster? One would think they are relatives."
Finally, he was able to see clear again and did not give it any more thought. "My sword, where is it!?" He looked around and saw it standing up in the snow. He ran towards it and grabbed it's hilt. He looked behind him and saw the wendol gaining the upper hand of the fight.
"Great, I could let it kill the bear and maybe take my trophy without any effort, but that monster would most likely come after me, the moment it would finish off that bear. I have to act now!" He ran towards the wendol, which was now facing Askell with it's back. With one hand, Askell wielded his two handed sword, he lifted it up and swung at the wendol's neck, and collapsed right after that, losing his conscience.
 
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Wow,-You got a talent for this stuff huh.I wish I could make good stories like that. :D XD

-GuZzie
 
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Chapter Four: Intentions.

"Say what!?" Said Halfdan while holding Jarl up against a wall. "It's true, I saw him coming out of Fjolm's hut before he went into the woods." Halfdan got even angrier. "First of all, even if he went there, what business did you have there, you pitifull whelp! The meeting was not closed yet and yet you say, you were outside seeing my son coming out of Fjolm's hut. Either you're a liar or a lunatic like my brother himself!" Jarl was now lifted from the ground, with Halfdan holding him up by his collar. "None of the above. I swear by the allfather, that I really did see him."

"Then what in Nilfheim where you doing there!?"

Jarl Grinned. "Nothing, I was just spying on Askell, that's all." Halfdan dropped Jarl on the ground. "The council and I will deal with you later, boy. I will go see Fjlom right now, this has to end !" Jarl walked towards the doors and opened them, he went through the opening, followed by six other men, all members of the great hall council, including Halfdan.




When Askell woke up, he was pretty cold after laying in the snow for quite a while. From what it looked like he had less then two hours before the sun would dissapear behind the horizon. He immediately looked around him and saw the corpses. "They're both dead?" The Wendol laid on top of the bear. The bear had a large bleeding gap in it's head, and the wendol's head was removed from it's neck, by Askell's sword. He grinned and walked over to the corpses. He pushed the wendol of the bear, did a quick skinning job with the small knife he had carried with him, and removed the bear's heart with out too much effort.
Removing the nessecary ribs proved to be the hardest job, but after hammering them with his sword, they cracked and the way to the heart was made free. He put the heart in a leather pouch, and carried the pelt on his back. He stared at the wendol's corpse, then turned around to run back to Brodir.




Back at Brodir, Halfdan came out of Fjlom's hut with a bewildered look on his face. "What happened?" Asked Edmundr. Halfdan dropped on his knees. "He's dead.. My brother is dead.." The councilmembers were shocked. "You killed him!? Surely he's insane, but killing him for just that is..." Halfdan shook his head. "He was already dead when I came in." Edmundr walked in and saw the mangled corpse of Fjolm. His head was severed from it's neck, his limbs were cut off and his torso showed a shocking amount of stabbing wounds. And the blood had dried up. "The blood, it's dry." Said Galinn who was also one of the councilmembers.

"Do you think your son is reponsible for this?" asked Edmundr. "I don't know, he posesses the strength for it, but he's always been a good lad."

Galinn came back from the hut. "What do you think we should do now?"

"Burn the hut. After that we should ask other people from the village, if they've seen anyone near Fjolm's hut earlier this morning."




Halfdan sat at his table at home. His wife sat down next to him and saw the troubled look on his face. "Well, are you going to tell me what's wrong or not?"

"Fjolm, he's dead, or should I say killed."

"That's horrible! But I didn't know you still held any brotherly feelings for him."

"I do not. The reason why I'm troubled, is that Jarl saw Askell coming from his hut earlier this morning. It appeared to be somewhat after the ceremony."

Aesa's eyes grew wider. "Halfdan?" "Yes?" "I have seen him as well." Halfdan grabbed her by her shoulders. "Woman! Are you sure about this!?" She nodded. "Damn that boy! Allthough Fjolm was never any part of this village, he's still tied by a bloodbond to me. Killing Fjlom is not acceptable! The boy will have to pay for it with his own life."

"What!? He's our son, Halfdan! Don't say that!"

"I know, and I will do anything to prevent his execution from happening, but I fear the other councilmembers will want him dead."

"Do you actually believe these accusations?"

"I don't know what to believe. But it can't coincedense that both you and Jarl saw him near Fjolm's hut this morning, while he had no business there at all. I even clearly told him to stay away from Fjolm."




"Almost there." Askell could already see the valley where Brodir was. He was running as fast as he could. Allthough he never noticed, two ravens had been following him all the way from the two corpses to where he was now. They were constantly circling above him. Hiding themselves behind the canopy. The two birds both carried two small silver bracelets around their paws, inscribed with runes.
Askell finally reached the opening in the trees, and saw the village laying in front of him, just a few miles further ahead. "Fire?" He saw a lot of smoke was rising from one of the huts. He sprinted towards the village now.



"It has come to our attention that Fjolm, brother of Halfdan, was recently murdered. Two witnesses claim Askell was seen coming from Fjolm's hut after he left for the horstag this morning." A lot of shocked expressions and whispers followed. "We do believe it was Askell's doing based on the descriptions of our witnesses. The penalty for murdering family is death, however..." The doors of the great hall opened and Askell stood in the opening. He was holding up the heart and the pelt and walked towards Edmundr. He looked around and noticed the entire village had gathered, including the women. "What's going on?" Suddenly he was grabbed by two strong men and put to his knees, facing Edmundr, who was now joined by Halfdan.

"Askell Halfdanson, on behalf of Brodir's council, you are accused of murdering Fjolm, Halfdan's brother."

"Murder? What!? I did not kill anyone!"

"Two witnesses have seen you coming from Fjolm's hut earlier this morning, which is when he was brutally killed."

"But i did not.."

"Silence! Your fate has already been sealed. The penalty for murdering family is death, however Halfdan has requested banishment, which might be even worse then death if you ask me. From this point on we will no longer recognize you as one of our own, as you will be dead to us. Go forth now and never return, son of Halfdan."

"I don't believe what's going on here! Father!?" Halfdan turned around and faced Askell with his back. "Edmundr!" Edmundr did the same. "Anyone!? I did not murder Fjolm!" Now the entire village turned their backs to Askell and completely ignored him. He turned around, and with a slow pace he walked towards the doors. "Farewell." He heard his mother crying softly. He went through the door opening and closed them behind him.
 

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