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War-Journal of Bue Geirsteinson - Part III

by Jacob Skytte

Vatermont 17th, the year 1000 After Crowning of the First Emperor of the Thyatian Empire

After my family had left Zeaburg I told king Hord Dark-Eye that I would need to raise an army to march on Noslosford. The king was pleased that I had chosen to come forward and called together the Brothers of the King and the Ravenguard, his personal warriors, and addressed them.

"Loyal kinsmen! Before you stands young Bue Geirsteinson of clan Noslosford. He is a most faithful and loyal subject, having come to me with news that his own father intends to overthrow me and usurp my throne. For this display of loyalty I have chosen to spare his clan if young Geirsteinson will lead an army to punish those of his clan who conspire to such treachery. I ask of you, my most trusted warriors, to find an army for young Geirsteinson, who stands to gain a great deal from this war, I might add."

There was a roar of approval from the Ravenguard and several of the renowned Blessed Warriors of Thor stepped forward, proclaiming that they would personally be part of any force sent to punish the would-be usurper. Seeing this, some of the Brothers of the King also stepped forward to lend their aid to the endeavour. Other warriors of the Royal Household, to whom I belonged, stepped forward into the great hall, ready to join the force. Among them was a pale, black-haired woman that I had noticed before. Her strange purple eyes bespoke of her Alphatian legacy. I knew her to be daughter of jarl Herjolk Eirikson. Seeing her stepping forward another woman joined her, this one a red-haired beauty that I recognised as daughter of jarl Karlsefni Garson of Fallersholm.

The two women stepped forward to greet me. The black-haired one was Asta Katlasdottir and the redhead was Ingibjorg Siglindesdottir.

"I understand what you must be going through," Ingibjorg told me. "My brother Ogmund has also turned out to be a rotten seed. When I met him here in Zeaburg, he held nothing but scorn for me and my father and spoke of becoming jarl himself in my father's place. It is a terrible thing to see your own kin of blood straying from the noble path."

"I thank you for your words, Ingibjorg, but I am the one turning against my kin, turning against my father. I am the sole member of clan Noslosford standing here, plotting my jarl's downfall," I replied.

"But you do the honourable thing," Asta argued. "While you turn against your clansmen, you do so because they plan treachery, and because you follow the will of the Gods."

Asta was startled by the sudden appearance of Asgrim the Bowed, who joined our small circle. "You speak truth, Katlasdottir. Young Geirsteinson is devoted to our Lord Odin, and is indeed a man of honour. You will find, young lord, that the Priesthood of Odin will appreciate this thing that you do, *I* will appreciate it. The All-Father is fond of warriors who fight in his name and know where their true loyalties lie. A reverent warrior such as yourself is a credit to Ostland and you will surely triumph. Take this spear, it is blessed by Odin. When you meet your father in battle throw this spear at his forces that Odin will know which warriors to claim."

I accepted the spear which Asgrim presented to me. As he left, Asta leaned in close to me and whispered: "Be wary of Asgrim. His ambitions are said to include more than furthering Odin's will."

I looked at her in surprise. "Surely one who has been chosen as the closest to Odin in this world works only to further His will. And what more can a man aspire to?"

She looked me in the eyes before responding. "There is always more that a man can want. Is it not the same with your father, a powerful jarl, who rules an entire clan of famed warriors?"

"Are you suggesting that Asgrim also desires the throne of Ostland? But surely he knows that Odin will not want him on the throne. Odin desires a strong warrior, a Hord Dark-Eye to rule His most favoured nation."

Ingibjorg nudged me with an elbow. "Not so loud, Geirsteinson. You would not want the godar to overhear you lecturing them on what our Lord Odin wants, even if you may be right. It is as Asta says. Asgrim has ambitions and you would do well to be wary of him. He uses people to get what he wants, and he will use you if you let him."

I looked at them both. "You are either wise beyond your years or very foolish. I will not question the will of Odin the All-Father, and so I will not question the intentions of his voice in Ostland, Asgrim the Bowed. He has given me this weapon to lend the might of Odin to my endeavour and I give thanks to him and to Odin for their aid. I must see what troops have been gathered and plan our journey. I am pleased to have two such capable warrior-maidens among the troops, but I will hear no further smearing of Odin's Chosen."

I spent the rest of the day preparing the army, meeting the leaders of the various regiments that were formed and dealing with logistics. We would set out in three days to give my father as little time as possible to prepare for the coming war.