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Blood for Oil


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     Kromeus Dauthaeeta listened to his Raven's report intently. The agent was bare chested in the Hall of the Erilaz, so everyone could see his Raven tattoo. The hall was as warm as the wood used to build it. A roaring hearth crackled in the center of the throne room. Kromeus reclined on a wooden throne inlaid with gold, and carved with the likeness of Odin and his wolves. 

     "Fela Saeta of the Taela tribe has implored us to not ask them for military aid in the coming confrontation against Gropmold. Their reasoning is if they commit any significant force, their will not be enough to protect their lands from the immediate retaliation of the 'gravel people' regardless of the outcome. Fela has offered us instead safe passage, any intel they have on the tribe such as their tunnel entrances, and a case of AK 5 C's,"

     Kromeus sighed fingered a Hagalaz rune, "I somehow imagined that they would weasel their way out of a confrontation. But by the gods, their time is coming." Kromeus tapped the head of a wolf that made his arm rest, "Tell those sons of Laufeyson, that they must make preparations for a massive troop movement through their territory in which we will invade the cave homes of Gropmold." This was ofcourse, a lie. But the territory of Taela would nevertheless be open to the Erilaz to do with as he wished. 

     "It will be as you say," The agent bowed retreated to his duties as the doors to the great hall swung open. Two men walked to the throne of the Erilaz, Sigr Riki and Gala Fedga. Sigr was the head of Sigrkyn, and Gala headed Kunnagr. Sigr Riki was a tall and well muscled man with shoulder length blond hair. Gala was somewhat older, and temporarily wore an eyepatch over his eye in ritualistic practice to walk closer to Odin. Both of them bowed their heads in respect.

     "Erilaz Kromeus!" Sigr bellowed and smiled so widely the fire shone off his teeth, " It is an honor to be invited to your hall. I have brought my best boar as you requested, so that we may please the gods in this great endeavor, and remind those gravel eaters where their allegiances lie!" Sigr snapped his fingers and the guards brought in a boar roughly four feet tall at the shoulder. It was tamed by the handler who brought it. 

     "Your contribution to victory will surely be witnessed by Freyr. What about you Gala? Have we use of your... þyrnir?" Kromeus turned to the older man who stayed silent during the exchange. He bore a more concrete stature than Sigr. He stood as a veteran of many battles, and of one who could see what others could not in the strange light of the eyepatch ritual.

     "Our þyrnir gun is complete, this was created as a prototype with cooperation between the tribes of Hasaeti and Caer-Sig based on designs we have compared against what we have observed from other nations. At the moment we have not the motorized chassis designed to carry this gun, which is truly called a howitzer. We will need to transport it by truck to the edge of Taela territory, and set it upon a defensible embankment from which we can rain down upon the Gropmold."
 

     Kromeus nodded his approval, "This will be an important test of our capabilities. Sigr, are your Svinfylking ready to dive into the tunnels of the enemy?" 

     "The Svinfylking have called to Freyr for aid and guidance, and he answered them with visions of death and gore, my berserkergangr stand ready to meet their foes in battle and root them from their holes." It was as if every word Sigr said was embellished for a play, but his sincerity was not doubted.

     "Our berserkergangr will stand to guard the thyrnir, while the rest of the Kunnagi (tribe members of the Kunnagr) will reinforce  the Boar-Warriors and sweep the mines and the mountains."

     Kromeus was satisfied with their answers. He raised himself from the throne and his wife Feyna came from a hallway bearing a sacrificial knife. She wore a traditional Seidr headress that obscured her eyes. with bits of bone and tooth hanging from her attire.  The men fell upon the squealing boar and tied its legs so it could not flee. The men then threw the boar into the hearth. The thrashing pig quickly put out the fire, but so too did Feyna quickly put out the life of the hog with a thrust to the heart. Kromeus knelt down and cut the heart from the boar and held it to his mouth, taking a bite from it. He handed the heart to Sigr and Galar, who repeated the ritual. Feyna handed Kromeus a spear. Kromeus sliced the throat of the hog and Feyna collected the blood in a chalice half-filled with mead. Kromeus held the spear aloft and let the blood drip on his head, then he flicked the tip on Sigr and Galar, sprinkling them with the hog's blood.

"Gungnir to the East! Hallow & Hold this holy stead!
Gungnir to the South! Hallow & Hold this holy stead! 
Gungnir to the West! Hallow & hold this holy stead! 
Gungnir to the North! Hallow & hold this holy stead!"
Each of the men raised their arms to the roof.
"Gungnir above! Hallow & Hold this Holy Stead!"
They stomped on the wood floor.
"Gungir below! Hollow & hold this Holy stead!
GUNGNIR! HOLLOW AND HOLD THIS HOLY STEAD!"

Feyna handed Kromeus the chalice, and each of them took a deep drink, " We move to Taela by morning, have your men and the necessary transport prepared."

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

     The ground shook and crumbled under the feet of Steinmutr Rassbolt and the tunnel behind him crumbled, falling stone drowning out the screams of the men crushed behind him. Steinmutr held his ground; either the stone would crush him or the berserker would.  A screaming, squealing monster of a man wearing boar skin barreled to him down the tunnels through the soot and the dust, the mangled bodies of Steinmutr's comrades in his wake. Steinmutr cocked his shotgun and fired twice into the charging man; he could not distinguish the shotgun from the scream of the barbarian, the thunder that shook their mountain, and the falling rubble. The first shot tore a chunk out of the man's side, and then his thigh. With his one good leg, the boar warrior launched himself the rest of the distance and squashed Steimutr's head into the same stones that fell on his peers. The berserker collapsed to the side, blood streaming from his side, leg, and his mouth, sputtering, "Lækna hold mitt... Hvíldu beinin í mér... Ég vil ekki binda enda á líf mitt... Allt brotið og líkamlega rifið..." and his spirit moved on. 

    Outside of the Gropmold territory, the howitzer had reduced their outposts and watchtowers to dust. A well placed shelling on a previously scouted oil depot sent the building into flames. Erilaz Kromeus chuckled as he watched the burning bodies jump from the building rather than crisp in the flames. Once in a while, he could see a maddened berserker skid out of the opening of one tunnel and into another in pursuit of human prey. 

     "Erilaz!" a man in dusty tactical armor ran uphill to the howitzers position. The hills were littered with the bodies of those who tried to get closer, "The Gropmold's Jarl, Gylir Hogspot, has agreed to surrender and speak terms on your proposed trade!"

     Kromeus muttered under is breath and looked at the stockpile of ammunition, "... we weren't even done yet... f*ckers. Blow the load!" The pyrotechnic engineer didn't even question the order. Yes they had been given a surrender, yes the battle was over, but he had been given a direct order by his Erilaz and even  more so... he could blow shit up, "By the Hammer of Thor!" The dirty man bellowed and pressed a remote controller toggle switch. An entire mile of the top of the mountain exploded in a cacophony of noise, fire, and exultations  to the gods of war. The explosive strip we removed from the majority of the fighting force and was mainly done for show, but it certainly crushed a handful of the tribe under molten brimstone., "Send for the Jarl!" Kromeus barked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

     Negotiations were soon reached. The remaining howitzer shells were brutally unloaded into the mining community. Acrid smoke and the copper smell of blood filled the air as Erilaz Kromeus made his way down to the negotiation table. Gravel crunched under his feet, and he had left his vest behind at the gun, "By Odin's beard I think we may actually have a fighting chance gentlmen," Kromeus kneeled down beside the body of a slain berserker, his guts laying where his legs should have been. Kromeus flicked the eyelids down, a visage of pure hate and animalistic rage burned into his final moments. He turned to  Sigr Riki, "Arrange for their passing to the halls of their ancestors, your tribe will feast for their sacrifice tonight. And for it, we will propel ourselves to new heights on the shoulders of the dead," 

    It took them several hours to find the passed out leader of the Gropmold. It seems that a cave in had knocked him unconscious. He was taken under armed guard and several assault rifles pointed his way so that he could peacefully, willingly, and happily make a materials trade deal for the production of Ulfan military gear or pass with his men. Over the next several months, the trde routes were monitored with armed guards at the loading zone and the transport route until Erilaz felt the Gropmold would hold to their bargain.

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