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Ulfheimr - Kromeus's rise to power


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     Kromeus Dauðaæta rose from his bed and stretched in the rays of the rising sun. The man was in his late forties, and yet his muscles were as strong and wired as the day he turned twenty. His beard was trimmed into a sharp and wide wedge, turning white already. But this was a good symbol for the head of the family, blessed descendant of Odin himself. Kromeus oversaw one of the smallest tribes in Ulfheimr. They have had to swallow their pride many times and trade with the more powerful tribes for protection or tribute. Kromeus fastened leather bracers that held the images of the wolves of Odin. Kromeus would no longer swallow his pride in recent events, nor should his family expect him to. Even at the cost of their lives. While the village made busy with their lives, farmers talked shop and the sons tinkered with salvaged motorcycles, Kromeus sat cross legged in the longhouse he lived in with his family. His wife had lit the brazier as he asked, and the sweet scent of smoking mistletoe sprigs filled the air, he filled his lungs with it and let loose with the holy galdr,

"tiwaz tiwaz tiwaz"

"tiiiiirrrrr"

"tu ta ti te to"

"tur tar tir ter tor"

" ot et it at ut"

"Tiiiiirrrrr"

     Kromeus withdrew a knife and slowly carved a name into a chunk of oak while he galdr'd "Hagalaaazzz" under his breath. He sliced his palm and held the blood over the name, before casting it into the fire. Kromeus took a thick wolf pelt off the wooden arms of a one-eyed effigy. He swung it over his shoulders, and rested the wolf skin on his head, the long hair came out from under the maw. His ash-blackened fingers gently picked up a lead medallion. It had eight spokes like a wheel, with three lines on each spoke and a claw at each end. Kromeus pressed the medallion between his brows, where it left a silvery imprint. He completed his enesemble by holstering a desert eagle to his right, and a rune-engraved longsword - Hrafngoggur. The man stayed barechested, only allowing the folds of the wolf pelt to cover him. Kromeus pushed his way out the door and greeted his people as they walked by, sharing some knowing and strong handshakes with the younger men of the town. Kromeus whistled and snapped his fingers and Garmr, a black lycan shepherd, stepped to his side. Kromeus embraced his wife when she came from the kitchen in the feasthouse, " I go now to the holmgang," he whispered to her, "watch after our sons, they may inherit the longhouse," 

 

     "Odin remembers your sacrifices, do not underestimate the strength he gives his warriors," Feyna gently pat the head-dress, " we will be safe here, no one would dare intrude during a holmgang. We shall await your return, one way or another," She gave him a kiss and handed Kromeus a pack of food. 

     It would take several days for kromeus to traverse the many miles to his destination, Angvar Guthast, though he would outpace even his own hound in his frenzied runnings. Kromeus slept with garmr under trees and ate mushrooms that allowed him to run for hours at a time. HIs weapons were securely locked so as to prevent them from falling out when he and Garmr howled at the moon together. Kromeus stepped into Ulfar, the capital city of their land, trailing mud and blood from the whipping branches. Ulfar was far more developed. It used modern construction techniques, but building was still much slower as the populace despised the flat, brutalist architecture of other countries. The tallest buildings had full scale carvings of dragons trailing down the sides of the walls in concrete. Everyone gave Kromeus a wide berth and kept their eyes low. For Kromeus was berserkergang, he was to be feared and respected lest he fly into a murderous rage and strike down the first to maintain eye contact. No authority would dare touch him, for he was chosen to be Odin's warrior in life and in death. The city was large, and Kromeus spent several minutes walking to the center to a multi-storied long house made of carven oak. The guards blocked him entrance and crossed their rifles, they wore full tactical gear. The only warning they got was the pinpoint pupils in the Ulfhednar's gaze. Kromeus yanked the helmet off the one guard and cracked it against his skull over and over until he crumpled to the feet of the other stunned guardsman. Kromeus picked up the man and heaved him down the stairs with a roar, Garmr obediently waiting to the side. Kromeus shoved his way through the door and kicked the cracked and bloody helmet across the way to the feet of the chieftain at the throne, Angvar, "Your shitless men do not know how to treat a chosen of Odin?" Kromeus bellowed and stormed in, "Lackless cur!"

     "What are you doing in this hall, old man?" The younger man of twenty-five stared fire down at Kromeus, "and why are you dressed as a dog?"

     "I am Kromeus Dauðaæta, I challenge you to Holmgang! For the rape of Sveri- and Geri my daughter! For the burning of our homes by your men and you lack of compensation. And for the blatant disregard your foolish youth has for our ways, Tyr has granted me your head and your land you filthy cur! How dare you address one of Ulfhednar in your disrespectful tone. Face me! Or forever be known a coward!"

     Angvar looked dismissively and shifted his gaze away from the enraged man, but where he had hoped for the advice of how to extricate himself from the situation by is advisors, he could see there would be no backing down. They would not support him, and they might kill him. HIs fate was sealed when his advisors began to chant, "Holmgang! Holmgang! Holmgang!"

     Angvar stood from his throne and drew his sword from his scabbard, " I meet you now Kromeus in battle before the gods,"

 

     A crowd had gathered outside as the arena was prepared, an ox hide with sides that were three meters long. It was staked on the ground with stakes used just for that purpose and placed in a specific manner now unknown. After that the area was marked by drawing three borders around the square hide, each about one foot from the previous one. Corners of the outermost border were marked with hazel staves. Combatants had to fight inside these borders. Stepping out of borders meant forfeiture, running away meant cowardice. Guns were lain aside in favor for melee weapons. Kromeus growled and eyed his combatant like a wolf posessed, tapping his sword on the ground in anticipation. Angvar shed his shirt and held a shield and longsword as an announcer spoke, " Challenger Kromeus claims right of Holmgang upon Angvar in name of slights to his famly and his honor, Angvar defends himself in witness of the gods. May they see the truth and guide your blades!" The drums started, pounding and filling the air with magick. 

     Kromeus cried, "Þú kemur til Hólmganga til að deyja!" and charged his opponent faster than he anticipated. Angvar threw up his shield and caught the downward swing of Kromeus's sword. The blade cracked the wood shield and wedged itself in the planks. Angvar shouldered Kromeus, releasing the shield and sending Kromeus to the ground. Angvar followed up with a stab to Kromeus's ribs, who kicked the sword out of the way in time and sent the tip slicing across his collarbone. He screamed guttural curses and sprang from the ground, carrying his fist into Angvar's jaw. While Angvar was stunned, Kromeus grabbed him by the hair and slammed the younger man's face into his knee, painting it red. Angvar stumbled back and grabbed his second shield from an aid, swinging it at Kromeus's head. Kromeus stepped back and took the blow chest first, shearing skin and blood with the rough iron edge. Kromeus grabbed the shield by its edge and the two struggled against each other in a reverse tug of war. Kromeus slathered and gnawed at the edge of the shield, maddened by bloodlust and slowly pushing Angvar to his knees, Desperate for relief, Angvar swung his sword at Kromeus's ankles, who pivoted and let Angvar fall forward. Kromeus swung the shield down as hard as he could and spilled Angvars blood from his head to the ox hide. 

     "Stop! Enough you have made your-!" An onlooker attempted to step into the ring, and was gutted by a quick stab from Kromeus. The holmgang must not be interrupted. With another cry, Kromeus  swung his sword again and took Angvar's head from his body. He held the head aloft and screamed his victory at the crowd who chanted back,

     "HOLMGANG! HOLMGANG! HOLMGANG!"

     Bloodied and tired, Kromeus stumbled into the long house and sprawled onto the throne, throwing Angavar's head to Garmr, "Let it be known... That Angvar is barred and outcast from Valhalla," Kromeus chuckled at the murmuring of the people. He turned to an advisor, "Fetch my wife,"

Edited by Kromeus (see edit history)
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