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Oliver Burnuetz
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The Saga of Skerri Brightspear

Skorri Manysons1

In the land that our ancestors came from once lived a chieftain called Skorri Helgisson who led a clan called the Urlanging, part of the Hendriki tribe. He was a good chieftain and a true follower of Orlanth the King. He had once been the bravest of chieftains and quite warlike but now he was old and not as brave as he had once been. Because he had so many sons he was called Manysons. (He was also called the Good Farmer. This was due to the fact that whenever he plowed a furrow a son would be the result.) Now in those years a bad man called Belintar had swam ashore from the deadly sea and onto the neighbouring land and was making everyone do exactly whatever he told them to do. This man who worshipped no gods known to men, claimed sacred kingship and did battle with our ancestor's king, the Only Old One. More and more of the Only Old One's kingdom fell to Belintar and he even began to conquer our ancestor's lands. This of course did not sit well with our ancestors so they resisted his rule. Unfortunately no matter how brave our ancestors were Pharaoh had great evil magic and many followers on his side and despite the odd loss he usually defeated his enemies. Because of this many Orlanthi clans in Hendrikiland had to make some hard decisions. Should they stay and become Belintarís subjects or should they flee and settle elsewhere? Some years earlier a portion of the Orshanti under a man named Colymar had headed north into the lands that the dragons had scoured clean of humankind. At first it was believed that they had been eaten by an enormous two-headed dragonnewt but later it was learned that this had been a magical lie and they were still alive and prospering. After that was learned and the Only Old One was killed by Belintar who, now called himself Pharoah, many more Orlanthi, whether in clans, families or singly made their way northwards.

A Decision is Made

Skorri Manysons gathered his clan and spoke to his people saying, "I am an old man and while I have done many great things in the past it now seems to me to be a good thing to stay here in the home I know and love and die at Belintarís hands rather than to leave this place and wander far away." All of his fifty sons spoke up in a great clamor saying that they would stay with their father and protect him. The old man sat silent for a moment and bowed his head. When he looked up again he had tears in his eyes and he said, "The god was wise when he said that no one can make you do anything, though I think you are all fools to stay and die with me. It is a hard thing to see all your sons stay and die beside you. The rest of you I urge to go though and be smarter than these young fools." A great noise arose as the people argued whether they would stay and face a certain glorious death or go and face an uncertain, perhaps less glorious, life. Both young men and women and old men and women said that they would rather go than stay and die and no one thought the less of them for this. They gathered up their possessions, their arms and their armour, their servants and their chattel, their sheep and their cattle and made ready to leave.

A Leader is Chosen

Skorri came and gave them his and the gods blessings. "But who," he asked, "is going to lead you? A people should have a leader". In that land at that time there lived a man from another clan with a dire reputation called Blunt Ash-bjorn2. He had killed three men, yet had not paid out one coin in weregild. Ash-bjorn spoke up and said, "I am going to be your leader and any man who wants to disagree with me I will let my axe persuade." No man spoke up but redheaded Skerri Brightspear3 the only daughter of Skorri spoke up saying, "My brothers are fools to stay and die but I am not certain that I would like to follow you Ashbjorn. What if a woman disagrees with you, does your axe persuade women as well?" "No", replied Ashbjorn, "for persuading women I have another tool that I employ. If you give me a chance I am sure that my little friend can persuade you of my worthiness." "Perhaps not if your friend is as little as you say," Skerri said, "but I am prepared to be persuaded anyway." So the pair went off together while the people waited. Skerri took quite a bit of persuading and in turn persuaded Ashbjorn as well. When they were both fully persuaded they returned to the people. Skerri said, "I am prepared to follow Ashbjorn and you all would be sensible to do so as well." Skerri proved her skills in persuasion when Ashbjorn surprised the gathering by announcing that he and Skerri would immediately be joining in a year marriage and her word as leader would weigh as much as his.

1. Skorri Manysons was the son of Helgis Hrutson who was the son of Hrut Hegelson who died infamously at the hands of the dragon lovers. None of Skorri's brothers or sisters are known to us and none of his fifty sons are known to have survived Belintar's attack. Skorri was famous for recognizing and supporting everyone of his bastards that was brought to him. All of them resembled their father. According to Holy Country records stored at Notchet when Belintar's men came to the Urlanging tula to ask whether Skorri would submit to Pharoah's rule, Skorri replied, "You must think you are seeing a slave when you see me for you obviously do not seem to be able to recognize free men when you see them." When the herald told Skorri that all resistance would be met with death he replied, "Better to be a dead free man than to live as a slave under someone's unjust rule". Negotiations ended at that point and Skorri and all his followers died).

2. Blunt Ash-bjorn's was called so because his father Lars Larsson made his cradle for him out of the spears he captured from his enemies. (He was called Blunt for an incident that occured when he was eleven when he brained an opponent he was losing an argument to with a large rock). His mother Astrid Blancher got her name from an incident when she pushed an enemy chieftain's head into a pot of boiling soup after he had raped her. She made a cover for the infant Ash-bjorn out of the hair taken from her's and Lars enemies (and they had many enemies).

3. Skerri Brightspear was the only daughter of Skorri and an unknown woman. She was a redheaded follower of Orlanth who stole a spear from a sun worshipper.



July 7, 2000

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