Age of Sorcery
I’d like your input on this forum topic. If you like the idea, we’ll give it a shot here and I won’t assign points. Otherwise, I’ll let you know how many of each type of Exchange Point you have.
Challenges and Obstacles
- Hold Audience with King Christian I of Denmark: 2 Points
The drumbeats of the oarmaster had slowed as the Spjóti er Frigg1 neared the coast of Denmark. Copenhagen crouched on the shoreline, hearth fires of its inhabitants rising into the southeastern sky and turning the rising sun a sultry dark ocher. Gulbrand stood at the bow of the ship, counting the small flotilla of fishing ships that was oozing away from the city’s docks like an oil slick.
Einar stepped in beside him quietly, sketching a rune in the air as a sign of respect to the priest. After a silent moment, he jerked his chin at the small fishing boats. “Look at them, Gothi2. Splashing around like babes in the surf. Their sails are impotent, tattered things, and not a single ship could be used for war if the need arose.”
Einar sighed and shook his head, lifting a scarred hand and indicating the city next. “And this…this ‘city’? Arvingjold has more people, and my grandfather helped fell the logs for its mead hall!” His look turned sour, “And from what we found in Skagen, more than half their number will be women and children, with most of their men grovelling farmers or simpering traders.” He shook his head sadly, “I mean no disrespect, Gothi, but I do not understand why we need the assistance of this so-called King.”
Gulbrand watched the shoreline grow larger as the three-deck longboat continued to spear through the water. The local fishermen had taken note of them by now, and cries and calls were echoing over the morning waters. Gulbrand didn’t respond to Einar’s grumblings; he knew the boat captain well enough to understand the man’s need to voice irritations as they arose. Instead, he watched the flurry of activity on the docks as a group of men were mustered from a low, sturdy stone building and rushed aboard what passed for a fast ship in these backwards lands. As the boat deployed oars and moved to intercept the Spear, Gulbrand fixed runes of strength and protection in his mind as he watched the interceptor’s deck, where a dozen men were stringing bows.
Gulbrand looked at Einar and said, “you are going to have to trust me, my friend. A show of strength from Frigg’s Spear won’t help this time.” Einar winced as if someone had jabbed him with a fork. “ I always regret when you say that Gothi, for trouble soon follows.”
Spending a weakness here.
Gulbrand rowed the small rowboat toward the Copenhagen harbor. He watched Frigg’s Spear sail away into the distance. With his back to the harbor he could not see the men entering the boats, but he could hear them. He was sure that they were still haphazardly trying to respond to the strange boat that they had spotted. He laughed, mostly out of frustration, at how weak the Norse seemed now. The warriors of Vinland would have been halfway to intercepting a strange boat by now. These men didn’t seem to know what to do.
After a couple of more minutes of rowing. The first of the ships got within earshot of him. A man in strange dress stood at the railing. Gulbrand had seen similar dress, and similar ships, from the two ships that Frigg’s Spear had attacked and plundered off of the coast of England on the way to the Norse homeland. He prayed to Thor that the Danes didn’t share weakness with the English like they shared clothing and vessels. For once, Gulbrand doubted that this prayer would be answered.
The man at the railing called out, “Ho there, I am Captain Harald Johnson of the Copenhagen Guard. Surrender and you won’t be harmed.” Gulbrand laughed. Even the language had changed. This wasn’t Old Norse. It was similar enough for Gulbrand to get the meaning, but even the old tongue had changed. “I mean you no harm Captain, and I agree to your terms.” The Captain appeared even more astonished. He motioned to two sailors; they came to the rail and deployed a rope ladder.
Gulbrand grabbed his warhammer from the bench next to him and began to climb. Once upon the deck, he noticed that all the sailors stared with awe. Only the foolish would wear a mail hauberk, a steel helm, greaves, and gauntlets aboard a boat. That was a sure invitation to drowning if one fell overboard. Armor such as this was all but obsolete due to muskets.
“Turn over the hammer and shield. You won’t be needing these aboard this ship,” the Captain commanded.
“I agree that I don’t need them Captain, for Thor protects me.”
The Captain had a look of disgust on his face. “You are a pagan?” the Captain asked in disbelief.
“I am a viking like your ancestors, Harald. The old ways still prosper in Vinland,” proclaimed Gulbrand with a smile on his face.
Captain Johnson stared at the golden hammer hanging from Gulbrand’s neck by a cord. “We will have no pagan idols on my ship!” the Captain said angrily. He reached for the symbol about the priest’s neck. As his fingers touched it, brilliant blue energy pulsed and shocked Harald Johnson. A look of fear entered his eyes.
Gulbrand smiled and said, “that you may not have Harald. I am a priest of Thor, and I WILL keep my necklace.”
With a shaky voice the Captain said, “When we get to port lock him up immediately!”
Gulbrand was glad that he had the foresight to cast a ritual blessing from Thor upon the holy symbol. They could take his armor and weapon if they liked, but he would die before they would take his hammer necklace.
1 “Frigg’s Spear”
2 A term of respect for a priest or chieftain.