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 Archive Journal Entry 1634; The Montriarch

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PostSubject: Archive Journal Entry 1634; The Montriarch   March 18th 2017, 2:43 pm

Late 700's; Kattegat
Ragnild stood in a dark corner of the great hall as everyone jubilantly celebrated. Feasting and drinking merrily. Music played as a handful of people danced. She leaned casually against one of the hall's wooden support beams, her arms crossed over her stomach as she vigilantly watched everyone and everything around her. Held loosely with the fingertips of her right hand was a black hued drinking horn still half full. Her lithe frame; honed from training and experience, was still enveloped in black leather armor and her axes were still strapped, crisscrossed at her lower back. Her faithful companion, a large tamed black eagle that she had taken to calling Munin had been left in the care of the servants in the newly built barn. A beautiful hand crafted bow was slung across her chest, carved with runes and knotwork patterns. A quiver full of hand fletched arrows tipped with poison laced iron heads and ended with stark black raven feathers rested along the length of her spine.
"I have not seen you in Kattegat before." The deep voice rumbled, purring out from a very tall bear of a man with long dark hair and full beard. He towered over her rather petite stature quite easily, but her presence alone tended to intimidate even the most stalwart warrior.
She turned her piercing green eyes in his direction, those keen orbs taking in every detail in mere seconds. "I have only just arrived with King Horik's family." She replied softly, immediately turning her gaze back to watching the activity in the hall. She felt rather than saw the man move, attempting to step into her field of vision. Her eyes snapped up to his face, annoyance clear in her expression.
"It is a shame that I cannot put a name to such beauty."
"You could if I gave it to you." She pushed herself away from the wooden beam, moving around the larger man. His hand gripped her wrist, stopping her from leaving. "I would suggest that you let go." Ragnild's gaze drifted up from staring at his hand to watch the angry dark haired woman over his shoulder, staring daggers in their direction from where she stood next to Princess Aslaug. "It would seem that your lady is not happy. Perhaps you might consider speaking with her, not I."
The man let go of her arm, taking a single step backwards. His jaw clenched tightly for a moment before he spoke. "I am called Rollo. You will be hearing from me again."
Her full lips pulled back from her teeth in a mock snarl as she moved to stand a mere inch from him. Though she was much smaller, she did not let his advantage in height intimidate her. "I do not take kindly to threats, Rollo. You might want to remember that for any future interactions."

~~~~~~

"Who is that woman?" Rollo asked King Horik, indicating to the black haired beauty that now stood towards the back of the great hall. Her long hair was parted to one side, the left half braided tightly to her head.
The King turned his gaze towards the woman that the other man had gestured towards with a nod of his head. "That is Ragnild. One of my best trackers." He replied, tearing a chunk out of a boars leg. "I wouldn't cross blades with her, Rollo. She can be vicious."
"Believe me, King Horik, it is not blades that I want to cross with her."

~~~~~~

Ragnar stood at the back of the hall, encased in thick shadows as he watched. He watched as friends became foes and enemies became friends. To him, knowledge was power and there was no greater leverage than knowledge. He had witnessed the exchange between his brother and King Horik's tracker. Even now, he found himself smirking as he replayed the part in his mind when she had got in the larger man's face. This woman had teeth, there was no doubt about that but he wondered what was hidden behind her seemingly icy demeanor. His bold blue eyes drifted in her direction. She was stunningly beautiful. It was a beauty that seemed as if it was a gift from the Gods themselves.

She felt an intense stare piercing through her. Her gaze shifted towards the shadows a few feet away. There was movement as the darkness seemed to melt away, revealing Earl Ragnar Lothbrok staring in her direction. Their eyes locked immediately and a strong jolt passed between them. A knowing, devilish smirk graced the corners of both of their mouths before they broke eye contact and looked away. She hadn't missed the subtle head tilt he had given, signaling her over. She cast her gaze over the crowd briefly as she took a sip of her drink and pushed herself away from the wall. She moved gracefully, slipping behind the raised platform where the Earl's throne sat.
The Earl was stationed at a long table. An oxen horn resting in his hand. He plunged it into the barrel, filling it with mead. He had no weapons, except the dagger that remained on the belt at his waist. He was dressed in a simple tunic and leather leggings, wrists adorned in their usual trinkets, including the oath bracelet he wore. His head was shaved on either side, and the top falling back in a long thick braid that reached the middle of his back. He kept his back to the rest of the gathering now, better for Aslaug to deal with the pleasantries of their guests. Ragnar turned around just as the tracker turned the corner and made her way closer.

“A daft warrior, will boast and be made a fool…” A piece of roast boar was plucked off the cooked carcass and tossed into his mouth. Chewing and washing it down with a mouthful of mead. “A smart warrior, he watches… Keeps quiet, and lets the foolish talk themselves into defeat.” Head tilted in an almost curious fashion, lips twitching into a sly grin. “I see the same is true for smart Trackers.” He turned back to the table. He never found much enjoyment in the large gatherings, and more so a King in his long hall, but it was necessary to further his own means.

“Do you know who I am, Tracker?” He asked inquisitively. “I know who you are.” Again, that sly grin seemed to overtake facial features. He had overheard the king speaking to his brother. “I hear you are quite vicious.” With his horn refilled he took steps closer to this strange, yet undeniably beautiful woman. “And I must wonder what has brought you here with King Horik, tell me observer…” A hefty swig from his horn was given. “Why is that?” Curious, and cautious it was what took him from a mere former to killing a man to take his position as Earl. Though this was less that, and more that intellectual curiosity. She had been doing the same as he, scanning the room, watching the tides of alcohol, and exchanges of words that seemed to sway the moods from one extreme to another.

“I know who you are, Earl Ragnar Lothbrok. The King is growing disdainful of your rise in fame and power.” She replied, taking a seat in the space across from him. “Vicious? No. I prefer through. Sometimes my means can be a bit…brutal.” Ragnild watched the Earl for a moment before she casually took a sip of her own mead. She had sat so that she was still able to keep an eye on the Gathering around them, ever vigilant, tracking and calculating.

“I am very good at what I do. I was trained all my life. The King stated a need for my services, though he has yet to say what for. I suspect he may be attempting to use me to persuade decisions in his favor.” Her full lips quirks into a sly grin, a single corner lifting. “I have never sworn fealty to King Horik. My allegiances lie with whom I wish.”

Her lips widened into a devilish smirk as she glanced up and witnessed several pairs of eyes watching them. Rollo, King Horik and even Ragnar’s Princess Bride was watching them from their respective places. “They will have lots to discuss, though I think you may hear the brunt of it from your brother and your wife.”

Ragnar pursed his lips and nodded as she knew exactly who he was. Though when she spoke of the king’s disdain, he didn’t act surprised. “Is he?” A soft scoff as he dipped his drinking horn back into the barrel of mead, motioning to sit down on the bench next to her. Back pressing against the table as he gazed out over the crowd. “Well, is it disdain? Or is it envy I wonder... I believe the latter, he speaks well to my front, but I am not ignorant to his envy.” He had been surprised to hear her speak it though, would she so openly give up the king that he had brought into his hall?

“That is the best path to bring one’s means to fruition; to be vicious, and to be brutal…” He glanced back over the crowd seeing the same thing she would soon be pointing out. “It is good to remain untied to any allegiance, though I am sure he assumes he has your fealty, he is a king after all.” There was something in his grin to follow that seemed almost ominous in its design. “Though I will air in caution, it is difficult to remain… Neutral. Lines are always drawn.” He did not know why the king had brought the Tracker, but knowing that she remained unattached to any allegiance was both comforting, and unnerving.

“They always have much to discuss… My wife, and her prophecies… My brother, speaks more than he does not, and the King? Well… The king will not speak much among his subjects.. Your name is Ragnild, is it not?” The closeness of their names was not lost on him, but for a moment, tactfully overlooked. “It is good that you are here… This feast is to commemorate the king and I joining forces to Raid the lands to the West. We could use a… Vicious Tracker in those lands, and those that rest beyond it.”

"Hmm. Then a vicious Tracker is at your service, Earl Ragnar Lothbrok." She knew that he would notice that when she said your, she meant him alone and not King Horik. "He has plans to manipulate your people. Siggy and Floki specifically. He sees them as easy targets, but you and I both know that they are not mere push overs. King Horik will attack tonight."

Without another word, Ragnild stood, clasping her drinking horn with the fingertips of her left hand.

"It will be the beginning of your dynasty, Ragnar."

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Last edited by Draven on April 30th 2017, 2:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Archive Journal Entry 1634; The Montriarch   March 18th 2017, 3:05 pm

Several Years Later

Ragnar stood on the outcropping of rock that overlooked his lands. Wrapped over his shoulders was a thick bear pelt, warding off the cold of the coming winter. The sun was beginning to set, turning the sky crimson with it's waning light. He had not heard her approach, but he knew immediately that she stood behind him. He had noticed that during daylight she was almost always wrapped in some kind of cloak. She had claimed that the harsh glare of the sun ruined her tracking, that it distracted her, but somewhere deep down he knew there was more to it than that.

"You are not of this world, are you?" He finally asked, breaking the sudden silence that enveloped them.

She sighed softly, pulling the hood back to reveal her true features. Ragnar turned, his breath immediately slamming from his lungs as he took in the beauty of Ragnild's true visage. Long, raven black hair fell past her waist to blend in with the black fur she wore about her shoulders. Her eyes; though still the same shape, were a vivid and inhumanly shade of green that seemed to glow with an inner light. Her skin had paled considerably from the sun-kissed hue and was white as the snow that surrounded them.

"I am of this world, Ragnar, but I was born a very, very long time ago to a people who are now nothing more than a memory. A people who would be considered ancestors to yours."

"What are you?" He inquired, reaching up with his large hand to touch the snow white flawlessness of her cheek. It was nearly cold to the touch, but it wasn't from the temperature. It seemed as if neither hot nor cold bothered her.

"There is no name for what I am. No term by which to call me. I was both gifted and cursed by the Gods. Gifted with everlasting life and cursed with the thirst for the blood of my enemies."

His piercing blue eyes searched hers and there was an understanding in them that she had not encountered in centuries. "What is your true name?"

She gave a sad smile, her lips moving to just barely caress the palm of his hand. "It has been so long that I barely remember my given name. You may call me Ragnild for it is the name that I go by as of this moment. When the time comes, I will assume another."

"Is it possible to share this lasting life?"

She nodded once. "Yes, though I do not do so lightly. One must be dying for me to share such a burden."

"You have not shared it with someone for the sake of companionship?"

"Once. It did not end well which is why I vowed never to change another unless death was taking them and they wished for life."

”You know that I am dying, yes?” He inquired, dropping his hand away from her face. They stood so close that she could feel the heat from his body even through the thick furs he wore.

”Yes. It clings to you, waxing and waning with each passing day.”

”Would you consider making me what you are?”

She had known this question was coming for some time and had prepared herself accordingly.

”Is that what you wish? Do you seek the knowledge of my world? To live ever-lasting off of the blood of your enemies? To leave everything behind? You family, your kingdom?”

”I would sacrifice a great deal for knowledge, but I would sacrifice everything if it meant being by your side.”

Ragnild snorted faintly, turning away from Ragnar to overlook Kattegat. ”Your wife and children need you, Ragnar.”

It was his turn to snort. ”We are married, yes, but she stopped being my wife years ago. My sons are all but grown now, Ragnild. Old enough to fend for themselves.”

”You are sure this is what you want? Once it is done, there is no turning back.” The look she saw in his eyes when she glanced back over her shoulder at him told her that he was serious. She nodded once before reaching up and pulling the hood back up over her head. ”You have two nights to think further on the matter. If you have not changed your mind then, I will do as you ask.”

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PostSubject: Flashback (When Ragnar first realizes Ragnild isn't Human)   June 4th 2017, 1:57 pm

The sounds of battle ranged around them. The clashing of swords, the bashing of shields and the meaty clunk of flesh being cleaved. It was almost as if she was moving to some inner rhythum, some beat of war drums that only she could hear. Ragnild moved with percision and grace. Each gestured was so fluid, it was almost as if it had become a dance. A dance of war and death. She held an axe in each hand as she expertly deflected an incoming swing of a sword. She pivoted on her opposing heel and whipped around, bringing the blade of the other axe around with her. As she turned, cleanly slicing the throat of the Englishman before her, Ragnar caught sight of her from where he stood across the field. The Tracker stood alone in near dead center of the encampment. A litter of bodies lay strewn at her feet, but that wasn't what had caught his attention. No. It had been her near god-like grace with the battle itself. She had single handedly taken out an entire troop. He had nearly panicked when he saw her surrounded, but by the time any of them could reach her, it would have already been too late. But he had never expected this. She wasn't just a Tracker. She was a Valkyrie, a Goddess of War and Destruction, and she was laying waste to her enemies with the ease of a seasoned warrior.

She must have caught sight of him, or perhaps she felt the intensity of his piercing gaze on her, for she turned directly in his direction. Blood painted the lower half of her face, stark crimson against the paleness of her flesh and for a moment, Ragnar could swear she wasn't Human. She looked to be a Goddess of Death, but the image quickly faded. The blood, however, did not and he noticed it not only covered the lower half of her mouth but stained her neck as well, almost as if she had dipped her hand into a bucket of blood and painted herself with the gore of her enemies.


Author's Note:

You may see this post, or a portion of it in Ragnar's next post for Berserker. He has been given my verbal and typed permission to use it.

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