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Thread: The Secret Origin of Ursus.
11-04-2003, 05:08 PM #1
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.)
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