Here`s another opus, folks, but at least this one has some visual

aids. The jpegs aren`t perfect representations of the characters,

but they convey the feeling pretty well. This background is rather

different from what I think most folks might be expecting for this

particular creature... but that`s kind of the point.


---ooOoo--- ---ooOoo---

It was Spring, and lady

Brigit was in

love. He was a young warrior of the steppe, Ragnar. Strong,

tall, proud and noble, he was a beautiful young man, and much admired in

Stjordvik. He was a rising officer of the housecarls, a skilled

warrior and popular with his men. He had proven his bravery many

times in the past, and was always in the van when in battle against the


Ragnar was a startlingly attractive man. Young girls tittered when

he walked by, while the women whispered in sad, but admiring tones that

his jet black hair foretold a dark and terrible destiny.

Stjordvikers looked upon him with the pitying but wistful eyes of those

who see tragic fate unfolding, yet envy the fated.

Such things meant nothing to Brigit. Ragnar`s black hair matched

the raven tresses. Truth be known, all her life she had taken a

secret pleasure in the stares and whispers that her hair elicited in

those around her. She let her hair grow until now it fell in a

thick braid nearly to her feet. To lady Brigit their common hair

color was just another sign that were destined to be together.

Brigit was as sure of her love for him as she was of his love for

her. Had they not said it a thousand times? He had professed

his love and she had pledged her troth. Her elder brother, Guthrim

Haraldsson, jarl of Hollenvik, had given his blessing to the union, and

they were to be wed at the height of the season.

"Doom," her old nurse said. "He will be your

doom." The woman was near seventy, but strong and alert for

all her years.

Brigit smiled sweetly and stroked the crone`s cheek.


Faetra, why

are you so dour?" she teased. "It is Spring. It is

a beautiful day, and my beloved soon shall return home to me. Come,

let`s quit this dark room and your spinning wheel, and find some merry

company." Not waiting, Brigit spun away, her gown flowing

around here like a cocoon, and she made her carefree way toward the


"You`ll be the death of me, child," the old woman called out to

Brigit `s retreating form. The crone watched her go an returned to

her spinning. "The innocent cannot truly comprehend

fate," she sighed.

Ragnar`s troop was in the hills of Stjordvik, chasing orog raiders and

Rjuvik bandits from the land. Brigit smile broadened at the thought

of the tales he would tell upon his return. Fierce beasts,

loathsome orogs, wily rogues... all the accoutrement of their fairy tale

romance. The skalds would sing of `Strong Ragnar and Faithful

Brigit` for years to come she thought whimsically. In front of her

in the longhall she heard a commotion. Cheers and sounds of

celebration. Brigit hurried to learn was was going on.

When she reached the longhall she found housecarls had flooded the

building. They were hugging their wives and children, revelling in

a long separation now ended. Warriors roared their victory and

called for ale.

Brigit went about the hall searching for Ragnar. She worked her way

through the joyful throng, trying to find her lover. She saw young

Hansig, Ragnar`s comrade, surrounded by his family. His uncle

Svenick, a giant of a man, was pounding the boy`s back with such

enthusiasm that the young soldier could barely stand. Laughing she

approached the group.

"Hansig, I cannot find my Ragnar? Where is he?" she

asked. The boy`s eyes grew sober, and his face fell.

"I`m sorry, m`lady. Lord Ragnar fell in battle yestereve

against the orogs. He fought well and bravely, but an orog chief`s

spear took him through the chest as we charged into them. There was

nothing anyone could do to save him."

The hall fell silent at Brigit`s wail. The eyes of the room upon

her, the world began to spin and she knew no more.

In the days to come

Brigit was

thrown into despair. She paced the halls day and night, sleepless,

weeping, endlessly mourning his loss with her every fibre and every

thought. Tears burnt her skin like quicklyme. She could feel

her blood pulse and with the very throb of her heart beating in her chest

her pain was renewed. She tore her clothes and scratched her flesh

until it bled. All who saw her were moved to tears themselves--some

in horror and pity, others in envy at her passion.

On the seventh day after she`d learned of the death of her love, Brigit

came upon a shield in the greathall that bore the seal of some fallen

orog tribesman. It was a cruel dagger covered in blood. She

held ran her palms across the embossed symbol and knew what she must


First, she went to her room and found a pair of shears. Her braided

hair was thick and difficult to cut but she was persistent and

eventually the braid came free and her shortened locks fell loose about

her face. She held the braid for several minutes in her

hands. It was heavier than she would have supposed. She

placed the silky hair on the vanity before her and walked to her closet

where she took a small dagger from a sheath that hung there.

When Brigit turned she found Faetra standing before her in the

dark. The old woman`s rheumy eyes glistened as she stepped


"Where are you going, child?"

"Away, I must away," Brigit replied weakly.

"And this?" the old woman asked putting patting the hand that

held the dagger. "Is this to set you upon your road or do you

mean to use it on anyone who tries to stop you?"

Brigit could not find the words to answer. She only looked into

those old eyes that saw so much more than she, and knew only that no

matter what her answer might be Faetra knew it before she voiced


"I`ve served your family for four generations, child. I was

handmaid to your grandame. I was her cousin, but we were more like

to sisters. I`d have leapt into a dragon`s mouth for her. It

was she who bade me keep watch over you on your birthing bed. Made

me swear by your mother`s passed soul that I`d watch over you like she`d

have if she`d not spent all her strength give you birth. She`d have

looked after you well, but your brother, Guthrim, he`s a selfish

one. Your grandame knew he`d not protect you like he should when

she was gone, so she put it on me to do, and I have as best I might these

many years. Now, you`ll be going you say, and I dare say I can`t

stop you, and these old legs can`t follow far. But you`ll not be

rid of old Faetra so easy, and I dare say I`ve something yet to give


With that she grabbed Brigit`s wrist with one hand while the other close

about the hand and dagger. The old woman pulled the dagger to her

own chest so that it plunged deep into her heart. Her eyes wide in

horror Brigit felt blood spill onto her hand, and with it something

more. She could feel a strength passed through the blade into


"Now you`ll take some of me with you no matter where you go,

child," Faetra said and fell into a heap at Brigit`s feet. The

blade fell near the body and Brigit began to run.

The forest, the trees. She must lose herself in them.

Barefoot and in only a light gown she ran from the greathall and through

the sleeping town. She fled into the dark, feeling her way where

she could. Stones and sticks cut her feet, but she went on.

She knew she must go on. She travelled all night. As the sun

rose she reached the edge of a stream and fell to her knees before the

crystal waters. She stared down at her face reflected in the

water. She was covered in dirt and tears from her ordeal, her hair

wild and free. Her eyes had a dark feral look and she grimaced in


"A beast," she thought. "I am a


The thought lightened her heart a bit.

"Beasts do not love, they do not fear, they do not mourn.... A

beast... I am a beast."

Brigit crawled along the lakeside, until she came to a tree. She

fell up against it with a sigh and collapsed at the base of the

trunk. She slept.

When she awoke she made her way to the water and drank. Cool and

clean, the water refreshed her more than anything ever had before.

For the first time in many days she say peace in her black eyes. A

fish passed before her and she realized she was famished. She

snatched at the fish but it skittered away. She chased after it,

creating quite a commotion of water and splashing as she went. The

water was cold, but to her surprise it did not bother her at all.

When she caught the fish she was so ravenous that bit right into

it. Its flesh was so delicious that she forgot herself and chomped

the whole thing down in gigantic bites as she sat in the gently lapping

water. When she finished she found she was still hungry, so she

began to hunt for another fish.

As she searched she was briefly aware of her reflection in the rippling

water. She knew on some primal level that what she saw reflected

there was not the face and form that she had seen before she had fallen

asleep, but she shoved that knowledge aside. It was not

important. She was a

beast, and she

was hungry, and that was all that mattered.


---ooOoo--- ---ooOoo---

Some Campaign Materials and References

1. Brigit`s special doom was to be a shapechanger (tRH pp75, 78.)

When her destiny came to fruition she embraced her bear form and took on

that shape forever, soon forgetting her humanity entirely. Her

bloodline, however, still ran strong and rather that becoming a typical

bear she grew to epic proportions, becoming an ersheghlien of great size

and power.

2. Ragnar and Brigit`s black hair foretell their doom (p10) and the hair

cutting also relates to similar issue in Rjurik society (ibid.)

3. The attitude of the Rjurik around Brigit is based on the Rjuvik

beliefs regarding fate (p13.)