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War-Journal of Bue Geirsteinson - Summary

by Jacob Skytte

The story so far is set in Vatermont of the year AC 1000 and builds on previous work I have done, detailing the domains of Ostland, and is also a sort of precursor to this year's Almanac entry for Ostland.

Geirstein Thorgelson is an ambitious man, the jarl of Clan Noslosford in Ostland. He wishes the throne of Ostland for himself. He has confided these plans to his family and close retainers. The family consists of Geirstein and his loyal wife, the two older brothers Lot and Bue, the younger sisters Oda and Lis, and the youngest brother Hjort. The siblings' loyalties are split, the oldest son Lot follows his father, Oda has plans of her own, Bue is mostly loyal to the Northman Gods (particularly Odin), and Lis is loyal only to Bue, with Hjort being too young to have any say in the matter.

The story revolves around Bue, his realisation that the Gods wish Hord Dark-Eye to retain his throne, and his attempts to save his clan from being destroyed by a vengeful king. Bue initially confides in Asgrim the Bowed, head of the priesthood of Odin and adviser to the king, but is soon forced to confess to the king. Asgrim convinces Hord that Bue should be given the chance to redeem his clan by rooting out the treacherous elements and eliminating them.

At first Bue confronts his father in an attempt to convince him to give up, but his father scorns him, expelling him from the clan and family. Next he speaks to his sister Oda, but realises that she is as ambitious and heartless as his father. Oda flees Noslosford, being betrothed to jarl Ragnar Solmundson of Clan Vithesford. She means to bend the old jarl to her will and take over that clan. Geirstein leaves the King's Court, taking the remainder of his family with him to Noslosford, including Bue's younger sister Lis, to whom he is very close.

Bue raises an army with the help of the king, an army consisting of the king's loyal troops, but from two rival factions: The Ravenguard, Berserkers of Thor, and the Royal Household, King Hord's personal warriors. Among the Royal Household are two women, to whom Bue gradually finds himself attracted, Asta Katlasdottir and Ingibjorg Siglindesdottir, both daughters of jarls. Ingibjorg is an impulsive Northlander maiden, while Asta is a more thoughtful warrior of mixed Alphatian heritage. During his talks with the two shield-maidens, doubt is sown about Asgrim the Bowed's motivations, but in the end Bue brushes them off, as he is offered a blessed spear by Asgrim to lead him in battle.

In the night Bue is accosted by the envious Stein Anlafson, another son of a jarl, who is jealous of his accomplishments and the affection shown Bue by Ingibjorg. They are surprised by the object of their discussion and she brushes Stein off, then flirts with Bue, who is taken aback by her manner, but not exactly put off by it.

As Bue leads his army into his ancestral clan lands, they are met by free karls, whom Bue attempts to win over. But suddenly the Ravenguard attacks, the berserkers killing every man before them. Bue realises that the king wishes as much bloodshed as possible and tricks the berserkers into going back to the capital of Zeaburg. He begins to realise that matters are not truly well within Ostland.

Reaching the clan hall, Bue is met by his brother Lot. As his clansmen lay down their arms in surrender, Lot challenges Bue to a duel, a challenge which he cannot deny. Bue barely defeats his brother, though Lot breaks the rules and stabs him with a hidden dagger. Lot loses an eye, but survives the ordeal.

Though severely wounded, Bue travels on to his father's secret fort built at a hidden mine, where weapons for use in usurping the throne are forged. At the fort Bue attempts to undermine the morale of his father's troops by claiming that King Hord himself is on the way to punish them. Geirstein agrees to exchange Bue's sister Lis for his brother Lot. However during this exchange, the men in the fort open fire with their bows and Bue stumbles to safety, shielding his sister with his body, but taking several hits...