Winter has come to the North.
The darkness has engulfed the land, and the tribes have taken to their valleys to survive the long night.
It is here, in the Valley of the Wolf, the Wolf Tribe that an old man walks through the biting wind, and falling snow. Hunched over he walks as if the weight of the world is carried.Those who know otherwise know that this man is stronger than he appears.
He reaches the Lodge of the Wolf.
It is here that his King has ruled, and it is from here his king has brought change — needed change — to the Wolf Tribe.
He enters, and in his wake follows the cold and snow.
All goes quiet, as the old man walks toward the throne.
With each step, his step sets the rhythm of his walk.
The festivities grow silent.
The children race to the front, as close to the throne as they can. They know what is to come.
As he advances, each warrior bows their head to the Merkitä Muistiin.
The large black wolf lifts his head and seems to smile seeing Orpo.
As he nears, the golden-haired queen smiles and winks at the oldest man of the Wolf.
Orpo reaches the throne and bows deeply. The king, still imposing after all these years, smiles.
“You never need to bow old friend,” Børæn’s deep voice rolls through the room.
“Do not tell me place pup! I will bow if I choose too,” grumbles Oropo. The hall laughs, but with a loud tap of his staff, all grow silence.
“I speak of times long past. Through this, you learn. Through this, the history is kept. Through this, the tribe will never forget.”
The black wolf, whines, as if telling the old man to go on. Unphased Orpo continues:
This is how the would-be king found his purpose. This is is how the would-be king found his way home. Without this, the Wold Tribe would be no more.
Of all the Lore, this is the most important.
See Børæn walk through the countryside with reins in hand and Talvi, as always, trotting next to her human.
Børæn is in thought. He looks around him marveling at the beauty of the world around him. He offers his thanks to Meesha for the blessings she provides and the beauty she creates. It is Meesha who has brought much, but more importantly, it is her words and actions which has brought Børæn much.
When Børæn left the Wolf one step ahead of the Clan that will not be named, Børæn became lost. Lost in thoughts. Lost in his anger. Lost in a quest for vengeance.
Børæn is broken.
Børæn’s anger simmered due to the actions of his father, but that tale is for another time.
Børæn is vexed by another problem.
There is something wrong with the world. Call it evil, chaos, cancer, rot, or decay, it did not matter. What matters is something is eating away at the world and something is harming his goddess. What, Børæn does not know, but something IS wrong.
Before he found his way to Meesha, Børæn had no cares. He lived for the hunt; the next fight; the next threat. He reacted to his desires, and things were good.
Things are different now, Børæn thinks about his goddess, her needs, and her works. Børæn still loves war, but now he is more, he is Meesha’s rage.
Why does the call north pulls Børæn? At this time he did not know. He knew he must go north, and it is north he hoped to find answers, guidance, or even a clue as to what he had become.
There is no shame in saying Børæn is lost. Every hunter becomes lost. Yet it is the great hunter who knows how to find his way back.
Børæn is lost, alone, and more confused than ever.
He does not know his purpose.
“Am I winter?” he asks?
“Am I summer, or spring, or even fall?” the would-be king says aloud.
What Børæn does not know yet is that the call he hears is the one of his destiny. Before all of this, he was a simple tribesman, and his life was straightforward. Fight, drink, fight, drinks; wash-rinse-repeat.
Now he wants to find what his new purpose was so that he could serve the goddess who Børæn brought us.
The snows begin early and the winter matches Børæn’s mood: brutal. Still, Børæn travels, with Talvi at his side. He knows that his people are north and what is to come, soon will be there.
As he walks, his mind is silence. All he thinks about is survival. This winter is a forge, and this forge will make him into what he is to become.
A blizzard hits, and Børæn stops. Quickly he digs in, creating a snow mound, and camps. Man, wolf, and horse shelter.
Tired, he still cares for his two companions. Once done, he sits looking at the feeble fire. The blizzard mirrors his inner turmoil.
Looking into the fire, he thinks to himself: “Meesha, I do not know what you want from me, but I am willing to learn. I need to serve you not just in anger, but in peace. How? I do not know. I am ready to find out.”
As he speaks, the winds howls and the snow swirls around him heavily. As fast as it started it ends and in the wake stands a woman, wearing a dress of frost. Laughing, he touches Børæn’s cheek.
“Boraen… my favorite knight who is so serious and so sure that there is a reason for everything. I do love watching you. You remind me of another who was so serious about life. Now his weapon stands amid my shrine. I do hope you’re not planning on ending up like him.”
As she speaks small winter flowers suddenly emerge from the snow, opening their delicate petals towards her.
“I feel your heart, lovely man. You have touched things that are bigger than yourself, bigger than your conflicts, bigger than the betrayal you felt from your parents. This leaves you unsettled, looking for purpose, looking for structure. And yet here we are, in the middle of something that has no structure, that is part of life, that is simple IS because it is here.” she waves her hands at the snows.
“Lovely, is it not? It just seemed like a good time for some snow. What do you think it is time for, Børæn?”
Looking at the goddess and hearing her words, Børæn is filled with a sense of peace.
The rage that burns, dims and simmers as a pot of water at the edge of a fire.
Though Meesha’s touch is cold, it warms him, and parts the clouds that have covered his mind for so long.
“I am a simple warrior that is all I ever knew,” he says. “I thought of myself as your warrior, but now be your shaman. I might not be the most perfect of choices or even the wisest, but my devotion is true.”
“I have a debt to pay and tasks ahead, but in all of this, you will be within my heart. My faith will be my shield.”
“The world is growing dark, and it needs warriors as well as priests. I will be both.”
Taking his knife and cutting his palm, Børæn squeezes his fist to let the blood flow.
“By my oath, I will honor you and spread your word as best I can. By my oath, I will fight your enemies to my last breath. By my will I will bring you to my people when I save my clan from the evil that festers there.”
“I have no doubts. Granted, I might not understand you, but I have no doubts,” Boraen simply states.
“Oh, my sweet warrior-now-priest, you are never EVER boring. Don’t change, my love, don’t change… I cannot be angry at you when you are just SO SERIOUS!” she laughs and reaches out and touches the drops of blood dripping from your hand. As they hit the ground, they transform into small vines that blossom blood-red flowers. She reaches down and plucks several of them and places them in her hair.
“I will wear these today, they please me so. You are not like the others – you will struggle, my sweet man. You will not find service to me as easily as Turgon does. You will, however, please me with that struggle and you will, in the end, find the reason for your life.”
“Know this, sweet man… gods live through those who worship them, who pledge to them, who sustain their belief through good times and bad. If I am to live again, to breathe again, to be there for you when the pendulum swings deeper into the darkness that comes… you will need to make sure that my name and who I am are near the tongues of all who meet you. Make them remember, Børæn! Make them remember that it is not just good deeds and good words that bring them miracles. That I, and my brothers and sisters, will protect our followers and will be there for them when they are in need. Much as you are, my sweet man.”
She waves an arm and suddenly, the snow ceases to a few flakes that fall from Meesha’s hair and dress.
“You will find the rest of your trip easier, sweet man.”
She bends over and kisses the top of your forehead.
“Now sleep. Go when the sun rises. You will reach your lands without a struggle. I do this to show you that we do take care of our own.”
The clouds that shrouded Børæn’s understanding finally part. Meesha’s words, he realizes, told him he had the answers all along.
“I should have never doubted, or questioned the ways or the whats of this,” Børæn says aloud to no one
Børæn pauses and then smiles. “I do not know if it was by your hand, fate, or some twist of luck that brought me to that monastery, yet something did. Whatever it was that set me upon this path has to lead to you.”
Looking at the axe and dagger of his people, Børæn seems sad and for the first time, his solitude strikes him.
“I have been gone from my people for close to seven years. I fled with barely my life. The taint of evil that has taken root in my father’s heart and tribe sadden me but anger me. I will return there to slay the viper who has poisoned my people. I will travel to the Wold and there, I will cut the black heart from my father and free my people from that evil.”
Børæn’s voice grows angrier as if it is a storm raging during the spring. Suddenly the storm breaks, and the anger that grips Børæn is less.
“If I am too follow you, and tell those of you, I must put these away for a time. I must walk a different path for awhile. Though I am a warrior, I can be one for you, even if it means the axe, the sword, and dagger must be put aside for awhile.”
Laughing Boraen says simply: “I guess I am a priest. I better find myself a weapon then. After all, I cannot be seen spreading your word with just my fists.”
The hush of the hall deepens, as Orpo finishes. Bowing to the king who thinks as his son, the old man smiles. Børæn returns the smile and bows as well. The bond this two share runs deep, and it is because of this bond the Wolf is strong.
Orpo bows to his queen, and she looks at her husband’s oldest friend. Her look is one of love and appreciation.
The wolf looks at the old man, and yawns. Orpo chuckles to himself, “So much like his mother.”
Turning, Orpo’s staff once again taps in rhythm as the old man leaves. Everyone bows with respect to the man, and soon he enters into the night.