A trip to the nothen reachs

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    The following is an extract from the diary of Valius Marinus.

    It was on the second day of my stay that my guide Ragnvaldr informed me that a band of travelers from the Iron League had arrived in town.

    They arrived shorty after noon, in a single wagon, it was unlike that wagons used back home in the empire, vastly bigger it rested six pairs of iron rimed wheels.

    Eight figurers emerged, clad in heavy armor that covered them so completely, that i could tell you nothing of what lay beneath.

    A table was dragged from the wagon, and there wares, a mix iron tools, fine jewelry and weapon set out for sale.

    I must admit that there offerings where superior to any i had seen thus far in the northern lands.

    It was when one of the serving maid, a scarlett haired lady by the name of Gunnhildr approached there leader that thing got interesting.

    While my command of the northern tongue is poor, the jest of it was simple enough, she wanted to join them.

    She swore some kind of oath or pact to the man, Ragnvaldr did not translate, then he fetched a long silver chain and hand it to her.

    With out a word she took the chain, and solemnly walked to a tree beside the town squire, there she set the chain up as a hangman’s noose and with out even a flicker of doubt tightened it around her neck.

    She hung there for a moment, barely time for the count of ten to pass before she was lowered to the ground and noose removed.

    She sat on the floor, clearly alive for all to see but to all around treated her as if she was dead.

    The priest was sent for, who washed and dressed her, a funeral pyre was quicky built, and so she lay or more sat in state as eulogies where spoken and her good for the next live deposited on the pyre.

    As dusk fell on the day after her “suicide”, the village gathered to say there final words and send her on to the next life.

    It was with all most humorous bravado that the steel clad leagues men arrived, carrying a large straw doll.

    I must admit that i had to force my self not to laugh as she swapped places with the doll, dressing it in her own funeral robes.

    As her funeral pyre began to burn, Ragnvaldr whispered in my ear that if i really want to know what would happen next that i could follow them.

    In perhaps a fool hardy move i did so …



    A thick stream of smoke and sparks arose from there wagon.

    As i approached the wagons door, one of the Leagues men was waiting for me.
    There white fur cloak was in stark contrast to the blued steel of her amour,  beckoned me closer.


    “So you are the praecursator from Argos?”

    It wasn’t the i was being spoken too that shocked me nor that they where aware of who i was, no it was the heavy korinthian accent and the clear femininity.

    Taken a back i stuttered out my reply

    “Yes, i am Valius Marinus, praecursator of the legion.

    ” It’s a pleasures to meet you Valius, i’m Veiakere.
    Now you what to find out more about our league, so i will make a deal with you.You must never reveal any of our secrets of the forge.
    I’d give you  the on pain of speech but it’s i dont want to be out here in the cold all night, so tell any one and you will be killed.
    Secondly i know that argoulets don’t really go in for rituals like northerners,  but to keep from offending anyone  do not refer to the nybegynner as there past name or speak to therm directly. 

    Now that’s the basics covered lets see how there getting on inside?”
    With a gauntleted hand she pushed open the door.

    The inside of the wagon was small and cramped, with a large forge sat filling the room with a orange glow.

    Gunnhildr was sat on a mound of bedding furs, wolfing down the contains of a wooden bowl.

    I was barely inside when i had my own bowl of stew thrust at me, i was clearly there guest for the duration.
    Time passed to the din of hammer, as the forge was worked night and day.
    From the unceasing labours came a all most never ending stream of armour for
    Gunnhildr to cloth her self in.

    It was most unlike normal armour, it was closer fitting and more complex, with multiple plates enveloping her entire body in a case of steel.

    On the fifth day, the leader of band a tall man by the name of Uric announced that it was time to finish the armouring.

    I was unsure just what he meant, by this point there was not one inch of Gunnhildr that wasn’t covered by the armour…



    Not sure if you were planning to do any more of this, but I like it so far!  The joining ritual is an imaginative idea (and unlike me, you can actually carry it through in writing… sigh… Shut up, Folkly, of course you can’t write, you never practice).



    Tank you for the comments, getting comments is really sportive  as it shows that some ones it reading your work,  so thank you.

    The best way to get food at writing is to well write, don’t  worry that you can’t spell or dont have a great idea,

    It’s a myth that story’s just come fully formed in your head, and it’d the same as the idea of thunder clap of true love and that your born to be a great X.

    No you need to practice, live with the woman or man, do the job, then you can see what you can change and what you can live with.


    Now i really should get on and write that third update…





    From the diary of Valius Marinus, dated to the 5 of Februarius
    It was high noon on the sixth day of our travels, when we at last arrived at the Keep of iron.

    Sitting there in the murky tide of the cold northern sea, the keep of iron rose up as tall as any tower in the south, with great stone walls fifty cubits high.

    “Impressive is isn’t it? Valius.
    The keeps built on a small rocky outcrop, and the waters only a cubit or two high at the most.
    Still even after all these years, it makes me home sick for the lakes Korinth.”

    Veiakere gestured at the high walls as we approached the stone walled octagonal lump.

    Passing the iron portcullis, i found my self in circler courtyard with a second tower tower in the center.

    It was more like a rusted brown lump than a building, it sat low to the ground.

    “The proverbial keep of iron, strong hold and birth place of the iron league.
    Now i should see you to the guest quarters.”
    Uric pointed proudly at the metal tower as she spoke.

    “Veiakere, take the nybegynner in side and ready the others it is time.
    Oh and get Valius a good seat”…



    On entering  the keep, i found my self in the main hall.
    Little more than a row of benches and a smooth wooden floor, it was filled by a  large forge that sat at the top of the room.
    “Dice or Mills?”, Oskar asked as we sat by the forge, warming our self’s in the dull red glow.
    With a clatter Veiakere unslung her sword, and stated sharpening it.
    It was a long korinthian styled blade, some 42 pollex long, with teeth protruding from the blade on both sides at regularly space intervals.
    The sight of it teeth made it  clear to me that this was a bowel ripper and that  the tales of there devastating wounds where well earnt.
    A few rounds of dice had passed be twin us when Gunnhildr(the nybegynner) was carried inside the hall.
    Uric lay her down on the table in front of the forge and takeing up the hammer, struck the anvil letting it ring out for all to hear.
    Two armoured figures entered the hall from behind the forge, both clad in white robes, one held a incense burner and the other a large golden cup.
    With a second strike from the hammer, four more armoured figures entered, this time in black robes.
    Uric held the long silver chains that Gunnhildr had “hung” her self with aloft as he announced something. Both party’s started to have some kind of debate or argument, or maybe it was both.
    After a few minutes Uric placed the chains down on the anvil and raising his sword cleaved them in half.
    He held up both parts in front of them for a monument before casting them in to the forge.
    The black robed ones gathered around the forge working intently on some thing, as the white one started to dress her in her armour.

    From the neck down she was all most entirety encased in second body of cold, hard steel.

    The leader of black cloaked pulled a white hot silver pin from out of the fire.

    Holding the glowing pin aloft he waited as silence fell over the room, as all awaited some thing.

    “I Take the path of steel.” Gunnhildr’s voice rang out clear and determined across the empty hall.

    What happened next was fast, slipping a crude wooden bite in to her jaw, they surrounded her, holding her steady as the hammer struck home riveting the armour shut.



    The following page was uncovered in the study of Valius Marinus, lose and showing clear signs of haveing been removed from this journal.

    It sheds some light on the marital strife  of his later years, so as his biographer i haven included it for completeness.


    It was still dark when the rooster’s call shattered the night, bringing with it the weak drawn light.

    We murmured at the light as it filled the chamber, awakeing us to the cold day ahead.

    “Stay while Valius, lets just enjoy each others company”
    Veiakere rolled over pulling the large fur over us.

    ” I can’t stay, you know that i don’t belong here, i am betrothed, i have estates to manage.”
    The smile faded from her lips as i spoke.
    She sighed before clambering from the bed with a clatter.

    “Your right, i can’t keep you here, you have your life and it’s not here, not with me.”
    There was sadness on Veiakere face as she donned her blued steel helmet, shutting her soft brown eyes behind the bronze rimmed sockets.

    “-Sniff- You’ll come and vist? right? you’re not going to just forget me like him?”
    “Of course it will, Veiakere your the only woman i’ve ever be truly happy with..”
    Her armour was cold and stiff as we embraced one last time as lovers.
    The lose pages end here
    The Thulean wastes where next on itinerary, it was a long week waiting in a cold tradeing town, watching the traders argue over shipments as the plans were made to head north.

    Finaly three days before midsummer i met the caravan master that would take me north.

    The tavern, stank from a mix unwashed bodys, spoiled beer and wet dogs.
    After passing the scrum at the bar, i headed in to the back, looking for one called Iarrarl.

    In a dark shadow filled corner, i found, Iarrarl with a large drinking horn in one hand and young red hair serving maid in the other.

    The first thing that struck me about Iarrarl, was her hair, it was silver not the faded gray of age but a bright shinning silver.

    She sat still, so deep in thought as to be all most indifferent to the fussing maid.

    Her eyes glinted as she faced me, there was no smile on her face, just an unwavering stare.
    And what a stare it was, her face was pale, all most deathly so, with pale blue eyes that stared like two lumps of frozen ice, the only colour came from the thick raised scars that ran down her face.

    “So you Villus Markus, I Iarrarl, i go you come.”
    Broken and crude, it was the norm and i was getting used to deciphering such speech.

    Brushing the maid aside, she stood up, cutting a distinctive figure, at lest 6 pes tall.

    “You buy hose, food hose then next sun i you – she pointed at the ground- then go.”

    Included here is a painting, Valius made after his trip by called The ice queen at war, it is cleary heavy based on Iarrarl, if not her.



    i have edited out a  number of tabes in which Valius explanes the relative values of the local currencies and accounting the cost of his purchases in detail.

    So it was that come the morning i rejoined with Iarrarl.

    She sat atop a large gray hose, her lose lien shirt fluttering in the morning wind.
    “So you are ready to visit the land of ice? To feel your bone chill in the wind?
    I hope for your sake you are Valius.”
    I have taken the liability of correcting much of the grammar, in a effort to aid the reader.
    And so in the cold morning light, we head north in to the chilly breath of Boreas.

    Day 3

    I awoke to Iarrarl boot hammering into my side, riseing out from under my cloak i sore that she had a brace of rabbit in hand.
    “The snares where good today, Here this ones yours.”
    Iarrarl held hers in both hands raising its feet up high, before quickly biteing its neck open.

    The vision of her suckleing away as it neck was quite off putting and i lost all appetite…

    Days pasted in a dull unending march as we slowly headed north as the wind grow colder.

    As we encountered the first snow capped mountains in the distance,
    Iarrarl charged her clothes from a wearing a lien shirt and breeches, it was what i can only describe as a mass of furs stitched and lashed togeater.

    Day 7

    It was mid-morning when Iarrarl called a halt.

    She leaned in close to me and spoke quietly.
    “Valius, i don’t want you to worry, but we are being followed.
    That mean we have to change the route.”
    She pointed up side to small opening in the hillside.
    “Theres a cave there im going to ride ahead and see if we can hold it, you follow up slowy.”

    “But won’t we get trapped? they can just set out side the cave and starve us out?”
    I asked confused as to her choice of us walking into a trap.
    She forced back a giggle “No, we have far more food than them, and they will attack us, there ihmissyöjä, Man Eaters.
    This is there hunting ground and we are the game.”

    She was fast up the hillside and i was much faster, fear speeding my climb.

    At the cave mouth, i turned and court my first glimpse of these “ihmissyöjä”,
    thay where moveing in the distance, more like fur coved ants then men.

    A slow drum beat started echoing, bringing dread to the air.

    Iarrarl was all most happy as she pull her armour and weapons from her house.
    Swiftly she donned her armour, a cuirass, made from a dozen wooden slats, each pieced and firmly lashed to neighbours with leather thong.
    Throwing the brown skin of bear over her shoulders she stared out of the cave, clutching a long handled axe in her hands.

    I must of been a less impressive figure beside her, as we waited with blades in hand.




    We waited for what seemed like an age in that cold dark cave, standing with ever muscle tense as our breath fogged the air.

    Then the first of the ihmissyöjä entered the cave, three of them standing side by side, each with short flint tipped spears in there hands.
    They were short men, the tallest of them barely came up to shoulders, and they were of slight build, narrow shouldered, Iarrarl towered over them, as if they were children.

    I wished then more than any time in my life, that i still had my panoply, i wanted it all, the helm that rustled up my hair, the breastplate that drooped my shoulders and the shield that knocked on my knees.

    But i didn’t, all i had was my spatha that was it, just 36 inchs of sharpened steel.
    Still it was a better blade than any of our attackers welded.

    Iarrarl darted forwards swinging her axe in a sweeping figure of eight.
    As i stepped back from a jaggered stone point, Iarrarl’s axe found its home as it landed deep in the attackers skull, scattering gore as it spilt the man head in twain.

    Hacking a half a score of fingers from my foes hand, i moved in closer with a sweep to the belly, spilling out viscera as my spatha opened up a wide crimson smile.

    I turned as the last of the ihmissyöjä drove his spear in to Iarrarl.

    She recoiled back for a step as a stunned look downed on the ihmissyöjä’s face.

    Iarrarl had gaped the spear with one hand, the blade mere inches from her heart.
    With iron hewn muscles she forced the spear back, the full weight of her attacker was pushed aside.

    Casting the spear in the darkness, she rose over him like some kind of gigantic amazon.

    With both hands she cast him out of the cave, as if he was a rag doll.
    In quick succession the others where hurled out of the cave.
    The sound of butchery echoed from outside for a tense hand full of minutes.

    When we left the cave, all sign of the ihmissyöjä was gone, save for a glistening crimson patch.

    The next evening we arrived the end of Iarrarl’s journey.
    It was a small settlement, little more at two dozen round hut, made for the local gray stone.
    They where sat on a small mound jutting out into the cold gray sea.

    Who should i draw some art of?
    Valius Marinus or Veiakere?



    Smoke bit at my eyes as i entered the building, and followed Iarrarl down the spiralling stone steps.
    The steps ran around the outside of the building, showing how it had been carved in to the earth and ringed with wooden posts to hold back the weight of earth.

    At the bottom, we entered the main room, a small fire smouldered in the centre, filling the room with a dim glow.

    “Hungy Valius? there’s some stew left over” Iarrarl asked as she stirred the fire back to life.

    A small crowd was gathering as Iarrarl opened her bags and started setting out her cargo on the floor.

    It was a scattered arrangement of blades and iron tools, a dagger there, an axe head here.
    I sat and watched as a wealth of amber and long ivory tusks passed in to her hands…

    “Valius, this is my sister, Ragnheior.”

    Ragnheior was much the same as Iarrarl, she had the same bright silver hair and cold blue ice like eyes.
    She was a little shorter by a couple of inchs, she was still over a good 6 feet tall, maybe six feet two to Iarrarls six four.

    “So your the souther, the man from empire, come let us drink together, you have much to tell.” Ragnheior thrust a ivory drinking horn at me.

    The drink tasted foul, but it was strong and that was what mattered, tired from the road was soon asleep.

    I spent the next few days in there village, it was mostly uneventful.
    Until the duel.



    The villager were all inside the main hall, makeing merry after a hard days hunting.

    Bjarkmar that was the man’s name, he spilled his drink, covering me with mead.

    Iarrarl was in front of him before i could blink, shouting loudly about how he had insulated her honoured guest.

    “I want blood for this, tomorrow at drawn, the forest clearing to the death.”
    She was loud and blunt, calling him out for all to hear.

    “Done, i will gut you like a fish and finally be free of you and your lusting eyes.”
    He spat the last of his drink in Iarrarl face.

    Iarrarl smiled as the mead dripped down her face…

    Frost hung in the air as i approached the site of the dual.
    The entire village was peasant, from oldest the the youngest that waited, in a ring around the clearing.

    Bjarkmar was an ugly man, a thick line of scar tissue ran diagonally across his face spitting it two.

    With a vest of wooden scales covering his chest, a patted beard and a stone tipped spear in hand, he was the typical wild barbarian.

    Ragnheior smiled at me as i arrived, and for the first time a could make out the scars running down her face.
    She was dressed in a thick leather cuirass, held togeater with copper rivets, in her hand was a spiked fail.

    “Well here’s the good news, Bjarkmar has never been in a duel in his life, and my sister has much-”
    Suddenly she crowed fell silent and pointed to a figure at the tree line.

    “a skull maiden, there will be much blood spilled today.” Ragnheior whispered to me.

    From out of the shadows she came, a woman like no other tall and muscular, sliver mask shaped like a grinning skull covered her face save of a pair of with sea green eyes.
    Her body was covered in sky blue markings that ran up her chest and down across the arms.

    She stop in front of Iarrarl, fixing her with those enchanting eyes.

    Iarrarl’s hands moved quicky, removing her armour and undoing the leather thongs that held her furs in place.
    Striped nude to the waist save for a hide strip around her bust, she knelt before the maiden.

    A twisting network of fine scars, coloured blue covered her body in a complex flowing patten.
    Without a word the maiden drew her sword and with both hands on the grip she raised the blade above Iarrarl’s neck.

    She lowered it slowly so that it barely touched Iarrarl’s neck, before she her self knelt before Iarrarl offering out the blade.

    “.. She will watch the fight to see if Iarrarl is ready to lean the higher mysteries.
    Or if need be send her on..”

    The air was still as the skull maiden left the ring…


    Art time
    The skull maiden





    The start was ceremonial as they both cut there fingers with there own blades.
    Facing each other the many “insults” where repeated, with some how made then feel ever more trivial.

    “Can’t we stop this? it was only a little spillage nothing really.
    I don’t what to see him dead for it.” i asked Ragnheior.

    “No Valius we can’t, this fight it has nothing to do with you getting mead down your chest.
    For years Iarrarl and Bjarkmar’s daughter Amalie have fancied each other but
    Bjarkmar has spent years trying to keep the two of them apart.” she answered.

    “So she going to kill him, cutting Gordian Knot so to speak.”
    Ragnheior nodded.

    “Yes she’s going to kill him…”
    The sound of Iarrarl’s spear whistleing thru the air stopped our chat, the duel had started.

    Bjarkmar waved out from the spears path and darted forwards.
    A lighting fast trust hit Iarrarl’s forarm opening in a wide gash.

    As she jumped away a second thrust came sliceing half her left ear away.

    Bleeding she wheeled her sword around, smashing it into the side of Bjarkmar face spitting open his jaw hinge.

    A wild trust impaled the stone tipped spear in to Iarrarl’s hand.

    Iarrarl roared in pain as she swung back at him, her blade hit his arm with the strength of a wild she bear, severing the limb at the shoulder.

    Bjarkmar stared on dumb struck as the remains of his arm as gouts of blood pouring from the ruined stump.

    With a final thrust Iarrarl drove her blade through Bjarkmar’s mouth shattering teeth and bone until it exited through the back of his neck.

    For a moment Bjarkmar stood up right with the blade stuck in him as his eyes rolled back before he collapsed.

    Iarrarl panted as she dripped sweat and blood from her wounds.

    With a grunt she pulled the blade from the remains of Bjarkmar’s spinal column…



    Well as i keep drawing the characters i should write some more story.
    But first lets put faces to most off the names.

    Our narrator, Valius Marinus dressed in the full kit of legion 14.

    Our leading lady, Iarrarl.

    And her parter Amalie.

    Her younger sister Ragnheior.

    Fjorleif the Skull Maiden.

    Veiakere the Corinthian from Iron League.


    With Bjarkmar slain, wordlessly Fjorleif half lead and half carried Iarrarl away from the crowd.

    To the applause of the gathered crowd Ragnheior lifted Amalie over her shoulder and carrying her off to much laughter.

    It was later at dusk when i next saw Iarrarl, her cheeks freshly tattooed and a big happy smile on her mouth, for with Amalie’s father dead there was nothing to stop there marriage.



    It was



    Like how you written as diary sort of & pics to go with,  never considered putting my story that currently working on this site but was bored and came across yours, so might just put mine on here once created the rest of characters need so far as after all was coz I need some artwork for it that started using heromachine in 1st place



    It’s most in diary format as i’m coming up with the story in lumps.

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