The old man, shoulders slumped with age, and body criss-crossed with the scars of a life of fighting, slowly enters into the lodge. He leans on his staff, and it taps a steady beat as the iron shod tip, strikes the stone floor.
The feasting has finished.
The casks of ale are open.
The mead fills many of drinking horns, large clay jugs, and even larger pewter mugs.
Bottles of spirits litter some of the tables. They are being drunk by those showing their drinking skills, and ability to drink more than a normal person should.
The fire glows as flame turn to embers.
All conversation ends, and the old one arrives at the lodge’s center.
The sounds of silence deafen. Even the intake of astonished gasps seem eaten by the silence.
The man speaks, and despite his weak exterior the voice is strong, filling the lodge.
“It was this day, many years ago when the world cringed and Chaos rolled across it. Børæn had been gone from the tribe for 7 years. His journeys took him far from the tribe, and his clans. Here is the tale of how he came to honor the dead.”
The man walks, his stride is purposeful. In one hand he holds a staff. The staff looks as if it is twig. On his shoulder he carries a body. It is wrapped in a strange cloth made of a grey leather that shimmers. The burden would slow a weaker man.
Børæn is not a weak man.
See him stride into a small village. The village has three slabs of stone forming a tent. A shrine is under construction. In the middle of this village stands a glaive. Vines sprout from it, and flowers hang weeping. Stranger still there is a circle of goblins sitting in a circle around this glave and weep. Even more, see a old man, sitting close by weeping of his lost.
Now see Børæn, gently lay his burden upon the ground. See him place the staff next to it, as if it was the weapon of a great chieftain.
See Børæn as he stands, gathering himself.
Hear as Børæn speaks.
“I am Børæn, and I have returned to you a hero. I have been told that this man, Ja’Kar, meant much to you.”
See Børæn stand trying to show kindness. This is still before the time of the crowning. The time of when he killed the Orc Chieftain Bloodmaw of the Bloodfang. Before the time of his his destruction of the Clan That Will Not Be Named. Before the time when he leads the Wolf, the Sword and the Axe in the war to destroy the aligned Fang and Snake Tribes. This was before the time of Børæn marrying his queen.
Was this the first step to his march to his destiny?
That would be telling.
See now as Børæn speaks. Hear his words roll across the land as thunder. See the villagers look at the warrior with fear, bewilderment and curiosity. Hear Børæn’s words.
“I did not know him, nor do I know you. All I know, is that his death is a sad one, and it is a death that has hurt you. Though it was a death it was a good death; a death worthy of a hero. It was a death, that made possible my arrival in his friends’ time of need.”
See now, as Børæn pauses. See now, how the crowd gathers looking and listening with growing interest.
“I am a simple man, but I am touched from what I have learned. This man died a hero, and I honor his passing. I take upon my shoulders his work, and I wish to honor his life, by aiding you."
See now as Børæn draws his sword, unsling one of his twin axes,. See how he rises both in out stretched arms. He points to the sky. He looks to the sky.
“I am Børæn of the Wolf Tribe. I am Børæn of the Axe. I am Børæn of the Sword. By my sword and my axe, I pledge to Tapio the god of my people. I will carry on the work of Ja’Kar of the Iron Staff, warrior to Me’Sha. I pledge this to honor the passing of this brave man. Know this, and know this well. I pledge my sword. I pledge my axe. I pledge myself to stand with you, and until my life is snuffed out.”
See now as Børæn drop his weapons.
See now how he draws Lohikäärme Hammas (dragon tooth) from its’ sheath.
This is the dagger of Aapo.
The dagger of Elias.
The dagger of Aku.
The dagger of Jere.
The dagger of Sakarias
The dagger of Valthjof.
This is the dagger that has been passed down from one chieftain’s eldest to the next. This is the dagger Aapo used to unite the Wolf Tribe, and it is this dagger which sealed the bonds of leadership and family, and cemented that his line would lead the Wolf till the sun is snuffed out, and the moon is broken.
See now as Børæn draws Lohikäärme Hammas across his left palm. See now the blood swell, and see now the bloody hand placed on Børæn’s face.
“I pledge this in my blood, and my blood is my bond to you.”
See now as Børæn removes his hand and place it on the death shroud of Ja’Kar.
“I pledge to you, who I did not know in life, that in your death, I honor you. In death, we will meet, and in Tapio’s lodge, we will drink as friends, comrades and brothers.”
Looking at the crowd, you see Børæn smile. It is something Børæn is not use too. It is obvious to all who see him, that this is something Børæn is uncomfortable doing. I should add this is something he still does not do.
Laughter fills the lodge, but a deep cough, and a low wolf growl, stops it.
The old man chuckles to himself.
Hear now as once again Børæn speaks: “Now, let us bury the dead. Let us honor his memory. Let me hear about you, and let us kindle the embers of what I hope will be a long friendship."
For days Børæn and the village talk, boast, and it is here that the path of Børæn changes. Where does this path take him? What lead him back to us, many years later to bring the Tribe of the Wolf to greatness? That is another tale.
The old man, turns, and bows his head deeply to the shadows, where a large man sits, with sword and axe resting against his chair. Next to him is a woman, whose hair is gold. At the feet of the man and woman, is a large black wolf, who eyes the the old man with weary respect.
The old man nods, and the large man smiles and returns the nod.
With that the old man turns, and begins his walk.
All heads follow him, as he walks to the door.
All bow their heads, and whisper oaths of respect.
In the man’s wake conversation slowly begins.
As the old man gets nearer to the door the voices grow louder.
The old man leaves the lodge, and walks into the night.
So ends the tale.