Snaewitta Gauksdotter

Stjordvik » Hollenvik » Snaewitta Gauksdotter
Gauk Sotisson was the Eorl of Hollenvik, and devoted follower of Erik. He abided by the druid's teachings and kept the forest healthy. Gauk adventured alongside Njalgrim Frostisson, perhaps the greatest man of his generation in Stjordvik, as his companion and friend. Gauk fell in love with Njalgrim's sister, Kostbera Frostisdotter, and married her. His other adventuring companions, Haakon Ylvarrik and his own sister, Wittafridth Sotisdotter also fell in love and married.
Snaewitta was born the only daughter of Gauk and Kostbera, though she had two brothers, Arik Gauksson the older, and Harald Gauksson the younger. She also had a half brother, Guthrim Gauksson who was the bastard son of her father and a servant woman with lovely auburn hair. This servant was a runaway thrall from Rjuvik. One of the gods took offense at the woman's escape from servitude or upon the adultery committed, for the progeny of this illicit union, Guthrim, was born with a terrible physical deformity that made him disturbing to look upon. Gauk took care to keep Guthrim out of sight during his childhood because his wife, Kostbera, despised the bastard especially, both for his deformity as well as the infidelity. The elder of her beautiful sons would one day be eorl, and there was, in her opinion, no place for this freak.
Snaewitta was also beautiful and as she grew, she attracted the attention of the royal court in Hollingholmen. The King, Snorri Snidilsson was friends with Gauk and his adventuring companions, for it was they who discovered the Ravenscloak and give it to their king. Snorri's daughter, Princess Ljorrah invited Snaewitta to court as a lady in waiting. For five years, starting at age thirteen, Snaewitta lived at court and participated in the coronation of Ljorrah as queen. One of the early audiences of the new queen was of Asbjorn Edbjortsson Eorl of Hjorvaal and his twenty year old son, Olvis Asbjornsson. When Olvis saw Snaewitta he was lovestruck. The line of Hollenvik was a great house, whose head, Gauk, was a friend of the former king, and companion to the hero Njalgrim Frostisson. The house of Hjorvaal was a minor house, whose winter population could be measured in the dozens. While Olvis was a noble, Ljorrah doubted whether he was worthy of Snaewitta. The obstacles to their love caused it to fully bloom. But a great doom existed that would thwart their love.
The family of Gauk was clouded by a great doom, and within three years all of them would be dead except Snaewitta. Arik was fostered in the house of his uncle Haakon, Eorl of Arvaald and took to the axe like his uncle. Arik was killed in battle against raiders from Rjuvik. A noble death, and one which ultimately drove off the raiders, for though Arik died the housecarls under his command succeeded in driving off the raiders. Kostbera, their mother, was hit hard by the the death of her older son, and died during the following cold winter of a fever which the healers could not cure. Gauk, himself now an older man was defeated by this double blow and lived no more than two years after the death of his wife.
The strange deformed boy, Guthrim, had showed an early flair for account books, mostly due to his ability to correctly estimate the future value of things. He proved a great value to his father in his ability to make good assessments of when the best time to sell timber, swine, or buckwheat. His father gave him a dank chamber above the storerooms. When Eorl Gauk's steward died, the eorl never replaced him, and just transferred his responsibilities to his bastard son. Guthrim is largely responsible for his father's development of guild holdings, and eventually sole control of the guild authority in the province of Hollinvik.
Suddenly Guthrim's half-brother Harald Gauksson was poised to take the throne, and he shared his mother's contempt for the misshapen Guthrim. The young Guthrim could foresee being cast out by Harald and decided to make the first move. He informed his half-brother that he would strike out on his own, and leave Harald to carry the mantle of their father's inheritance undisturbed.
It was a lie, but one carried out with great skill, and Harald believed the words, perhaps secretly hoping just to be rid of Guthrim. Harald offered his half-brother a chest of silver treasure and a wagon to transport him to his destiny, both of which Guthrim accepted. Twenty-one days later, Guthrim entered the fortress in secret through a concealed pit built for escape in the event the fort were ever taken in war. He waited for his brother for two months as he toured the province. When Harald returned, Guthrim did slip into the new eorl's longhouse before dawn. While Harald slept, Guthrim stabbed him in the heart and took from him his mother's birthright. The following morning Guthrim returned to the fortress and announced that his half-brother had appeared to him in a dream and appealed for his help, but he would not declare what assistance was required. When the members of the eorl's court told Guthrim that Harald was found dead, the murderer feigned surprise and despair as would an innocent man and fooled everyone. He has since been eorl of Hollinvik.
Guthrim's half-sister, Snaewitta, remained a possible threat. Though she lacked skill at arms, she had a champion in Olvis, however. Olvis' previous lover, and Guthrim's cousin, Isagel Ylvarrik conspired with Guthrim to remove her as a danger. They arranged for some of Isagel's men to kidnap Snaewitta and bring her to Isagel. Isagel was an arcane spellcaster of forbidden lore among the Rjurik people, and she cast a spell on Snaewitta to make her sleep. The spell required a trigger to remove the spell, and Isagel, convinced she could once more seduce Olvis, selected a kiss from Olvis as the trigger. Olvis was determined to find and rescue Snaewitta from her kidnappers, and was not swayed. Guthrim was concerned that if rescued, his half-sister might see him deposed, either through her champion, Olvis, or a son. Isagel proposed bloodtheft, and even offered Guthrim the opportunity to strike the death blow. Unknown to Isagel, Guthrim had already committed bloodtheft on his brother and could not gain from Snaewitta's bloodline. Additionally, aware that his own deformity was attributed to a curse, Guthrim was wary of risking blood guilt by killing Snaewitta. He proposed that Isagel simply invest herself with Snaewitta's bloodline and leave the woman otherwise unharmed. Isagel found a cooperative priest to perform the ceremony and stole Snaewitta's birthright. To keep her body safe, Snaewitta was concealed in a ruin and defended with magical and mechanical traps.
Isagel repeatedly tried to seduce Olvis as she had once before. Olvis would not be swayed. He searched all of Stjordvik for his lost love, Snaewitta, fighting ogres and trolls as he searched remote and desolate places in the deepest wilderness. An old seer woman told him that Snaewitta dwelled asleep in a ruin. Olvis found the great bard, Eadfrith Whitecloak, and she told him of every ruin in Stjordvik. One by one Olvis searched them until at last he found Snaewitta. She was protected by Isagel's traps, but Olvis was undaunted. Only by means of his incredible fortitude did he reach the place where his beauty lay in her magical sleep. He knew not what to do to dispel the enchantment that held her in sleep. But having found her, he kissed her and at that she awoke. Isagel, convinced that she would possess Olvis and his heart, had made Olvis' kiss the act that would dispel Snaewitta's sleep.
Rescued, Snaewitta married Olvis, and in a year, they bore the son Njall Olvisson into the world. They did not know it, but Snaewitta's bloodline had been stolen through investiture by Isagel. Though Olvis possessed only a minor bloodline, his son Njall was left with a tainted bloodline. To continue his bloodline, Olvis would be required to invest his son with his own bloodline before his son sired children.
Isagel scried on Olvis and when he chose to moment to transfer his mother's bloodline to his son, Isagel interfered magically with the transfer and kept the son of her hated rival from receiving the full measure of his power.
They lived happily ever after in Hjorvaal until age and a cold winter took them both. Olvis died only a month after his beloved Snaewitta. Their son Njall is now Eorl of Hjorvaal.

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