Oct 25, 2011

Tales of Tyria - Chapter One: Skoldur

The first tale I wish to relate does not start with the Sylvari, but with a young Norn named Skoldur.
It was an overcast day in the Shiverpeaks, but that did not concern Skoldur at the moment.  He was striding briskly across the landscape -- not taking any notice of the glades, forests, rocks and rivers or the creatures that called these places home.  He was on a mission.
Skoldur was headed to Hoelbrak to meet with the havroun for Bear.
He had sought Bear's blessing for the last two years but nothing he had done seemed to curry any notice.  Skoldur's family had been favored by Bear for generations on both his Mother's and his Father's sides.  However, he had not been able to earn Bear's favor yet despite many successful hunts of wurms, elk and predatory wolves.  He had even saved a young cousin who had gotten lost during the worst blizzard anyone could remember!  That deed had been the talk of the village for a week and had even been heard in the neighboring villages.
Skoldur could not understand why he was being ignored; although he secretly feared what the reason might be...
For Skoldur was not a normal Norn.  He had the stocky build, piercing blue eyes and wild mane of blonde hair like many of his peers.  But, where his kin generally stood 8 to 10 human feet tall, Skoldur stood but 6'5".  As a cub growing up he had heard it all: "runt", "Dwarf", "Human".  But the worst was "half-breed".  The talk that his mother had mated with a Human man and that Skoldur's father wasn't really his father had been rampant in his home village.  It had driven them out and to a new village by the time Soldur was five.  A year later his Father left and Sklodur hadn't seen or heard of him since.  He couldn't understand why Bear would punish him for something his mother did, unless it was that Bear thought he was less than Norn.
Lost in his thoughts as he was, Skoldur failed to notice the burrow lines in the snow of the glade he was now running across.  Without warning, the ground just behind him erupted in an explosion of snow and scale as a frost wurm shot up out of the ground.  The wurm had mis-timed it's strike though and only succeeded in tripping Skoldur, causing him to pitch forward.
Years of practice and training kicked in as Skoldur flew forward enabling him to land in a roll which carried him up and back onto his feet.  As he regained his footing he instinctively drew a dagger, and using the momentum of his spin as he turned to face his attacker he let the blade fly.  It sank into the wurm, burying itself up to the hilt; however, it seemed to do little more than antagonize the beast.  It withdrew into the ground so as to make a fresh attack from below. This was not the first time Skoldur had faced frost wurms though and now that it had lost the element of surprise, it would be a short battle.  Being careful not to make any movement which would send vibrations into the ground, Skoldur drew his Greatsword, then slipped off his backpack.  Now it was his turn to surprise the wurm.  He tossed his pack a few feet in front of him.  Within seconds the ground erupted again as the wurm took the bait and attacked the source of the vibration.  As it rocketed into the sky, Skoldur swung his Greatsword in an arc in front of him, cleaving the beast in two.  The head half of the creature twitched and writhed on the ground as it's tail slowly sank back into the hole.  Skoldur speared it several times until it stopped moving and then retrieved his pack from the now lifeless jaws.
Taking the head as a trophy to present to the havroun in Hoelbrak, Skoldur continued on his journey; although with more care and a more careful eye on his surroundings this time.
He arrived in Hoelbrak just as the sun was setting and immediately made his way to one of the many alehouses.  Bear could wait - after running all day Skoldur was thirsty!  A few flagons of ale later and Skoldur had found a small audience to hear his tale of slaying the wurm - made more impressive when he showed off the head with jaws large enough to engulf a Norn's torso whole.  Of course, he embellished the story as Norn do in order to make himself sound even braver, stronger and more mighty than the truth would have indicated.  Eventually, he retired to a room to sleep and regain his strength before his meeting tomorrow.
Sleep came easily after the day's exertion and the evening's revelry; however, with it came the dream.  It was the same dream he had always had: it started high in air and he realized he was falling.  Then, he was suddenly standing in a circle of death with body parts strewn around him in in a circle of blood-soaked earth.  He would always be woken at this point by a loud roar in his head.  He had never seen the creature in his mind that made the roar, but when he awoke, he was always sweating and filled with a sense of dread.  Eventually, he'd drift back off to sleep and today he managed to sleep almost until noon.
Continue reading Chapter 2... 

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