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A prelude of sorts, the calm before the storm?

War-Journal of Bue Geirsteinson - Part VIII

by Jacob Skytte

Vatermont 23rd, the year 1000 After Crowning of the First Emperor of the Thyatian Empire

This morning I was in pain. But for a change it was physical, not emotional. I pushed aside this weakness, not willing to let anyone know about it. A warrior can not show weakness, especially not if he is the leader of men. Rising I called my leaders together. All was prepared for the march to Norstedt. My brother was placed in an ox-cart, while I took my place at the front of the army I had brought from Zeaburg. Some of my clansmen joined us, eager to make up for any perceived treachery. Others went home to their families, awaiting word of the outcome of my clash with father.

The trail to Norstedt was well-travelled. Father had often gone to the village to inspect the mine and make sure that the Smith was busy forging his weapons. I myself carried a war hammer forged by the Smith, a superior weapon, though not one endowed with magical properties. It was my weapon of choice and I was thankful that I could still use it despite my injured arm. Had I taken up the battleaxe or the greatsword I would have been unable to wield my weapon. Still, I hoped to avoid battle.

During the trek I spoke at length with both Asta and Ingibjorg. They are fine women, each with her own strong characteristics. Ingibjorg is a true warrior-maiden, honest and powerful, willing to meet any foe, sure of her ability to win any battle, healthy-looking and attractive. Asta is foreign-looking with her black hair and purple eyes, her features fine and noble. She is not the hot-headed warrior but the careful one that plans her strategy well and uses what advantage she can find. Also, she is a fine debater and philosopher, she has the heart of a skald.

I do admit to feelings of desire rising within me. I am a man and that I cannot deny. This war, the blood, the danger, stir these feelings to the point where you wish to reach out and partake in the celebration of life. But as a warrior true you do not take what is not rightfully yours. There is respect between us, the respect shared between fellow warriors. I will not soil that respect with lustful advances. I am a man and thus above the animals that do not know restraint, do not know honour. But sometimes a man may wish for a simpler world, where he was more of an animal.

These musings have been helpful. They took my mind off the dreaded prospect of facing my family. My mind dwelt at gentler things as we neared Norstedt, which can be both a blessing and a curse. In battle one must not think of such things, as they will only distract you from your real goal, which is survival. But here in the early night, they were a blessing. For such fantasies keep the dreadful reality of my situation in check.

Our camp has been set up a few hours from Norstedt. Guards patrol the camp and scouts have been sent to spy on my father's forces. In the morning we will continue to our goal and I will face my father again, this time as an enemy come to vanquish him. I commit a dreadful sin, the son rising against his father, but it has been long since I was the young boy admiring his father as the best man in the world. I have come of age, and now I will prove it. The son will not be an extension of the father, but will become his own man and walk his own paths. Such is our nature, perhaps not so different from the wild animals after all.