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Found 5 results

  1. By the time all the invitations were sent out, the event was no longer very much of a surprise. It was no secret that Chieftain Sigrun of Clan Askr and Vakstyra Halvard of Clan Breen had hit it off very well ever since their first meeting in the Saarvergerg Arena, and fast became more than friends. The fact that their homeland was split by a civil war, however, intruded inevitable delays on anything official. Not to mention the somewhat complicated politics involving Clan Breen’s public neutrality in the matter of the war, while Sigrun and Clan Askr were very much on the side of the Loyalists. Many tedious months of politics later, however, and Halvard had finally managed to shift his Clan’s position, and considerable resources, behind the King’s cause. As these were not inconsiderable in amount, the ceremony itself would be made a fairly extravagant affair, the marriage of the two now seen as a symbol and lynchpin of their clan’s alliance. Which meant, of course, that their wedding was now further delayed by the amount of planning that had to go into it… *Good thing I’ve never been one to shy away from logistics.* Halvard mused, smiling as he completed the last double-check of the mead supply. Sigrun wasn’t one for fancy and frou-frou, thank the gods, but an abundance of guests required an abundance of food, drink, and space. Running his eyes over the hall, and comparing the numbers on their guest list, he pursed his lips. *Well…. Two out of three isn’t bad. Hope the foreign guests don’t mind the crush.* At least the native guests wouldn’t. After all, it isn’t a party until everybou’s up in each other’s faces! Whether from joy or fighting really depended on the mood and the mead. Hopefully, this all wouldn’t be too much… ~~~ While Caribou weddings weren’t exactly the same ceremony as one generally saw in the southern lands, there was a general commonality between them, in that the groom and bride didn’t come alone. Each would bring either a close relation, or a close friend, representing all the relationships surrounding the pair that would intertwine. Halvard had thought long and hard about who he would bring, but ultimately settled on what he felt was the best, and only choice. “Are you ready, Calder?” The bull called out to the one whom he had come to think of as a son. This was not a trivial question, as the younger bull had many quite legitimate reasons for being nervous about publicly appearing back in Whitescar. Halvard had strongly encouraged him to come out with him, though; partly for his own good, to face and conquer the demons of his memory, at least in some ways. The other reason, however, was one he wouldn’t say to his adopted son, as it had to do, again, with the politics of the situation. Calder wasn’t exactly a stereotypical bull, in many ways, but Halvard felt that what he himself was fighting this civil war for was to make a place for caribou like his son. This was a public show of solidarity for the family, and the gods have mercy on any who’d have a problem with it!
  2. Haungjing City; the political and cultural capital of the great Empire of Long Guo. Anyone seeking the key to this ancient civilization would have to start here, and many did. Artists, writers, reporters, traders, and ambassadors congregated here, meeting the voluminous streams of local inhabitants, pilgrims, supplicants, and travelers in one large cataract of a city. It could get a little wearisome for those not used to urban environments. Of course, Halvard of Clan Breen was fully aware than cities even more congested, bustling, and discordant existed, but he had never had to spend so long a time in one for any reason. Right now, however, he found himself significantly bogged down in trade and political negotiations. It wasn't that he couldn't understand the hesitancy on the part of the Long Guo Bureaucracy; after all, caribou did not exactly have the best of international reputations, and the New Direction his clan (along with some others) wished to follow under the new High King was... disputed, to say the least, by the more unreformed elements of Caribou society. Thus, after a long day of sweating over endless reams of paper in a dusty room, Halvard had left the confines of walls and streets for an evening stroll outside in the gardens and woods surrounding Huangjing. He sighed happily, shaking his blue-dyed coat to feel the sunset breezes. All adults of his clan had their fur dyed blue; it was one of the most recognized clan signs in Whitescar. Breen were the traders and guardians of the roads, those whose sails the other coasts dreaded not, for they brought goods to trade, rather than warriors to raid. Not that they weren't warriors themselves, gods no! They just had a tendency to fight more defensively, helped by the fact that their wealth from trade enabled many fighters to afford heavy armor. Halvard wasn't wearing his, currently, or anything much for that matter. Just a satchel, along with what looked for all the world to be a cross between a pickaxe, sledgehammer, and a shovel. It was technically a weapon, but could be used for work as well. *And honestly, if any peasant here desired my help, he'd have it. I need to do something after all this... sitting around!* Snorting at the thought, he continued, in search of something interesting, beyond tiresome negotiations.
  3. From the album: Request/trades/gift art

    This one took me a little while but it was very fun to paint. Blue is a nice color to work with and I had a chance to practice defining the fur and armor. It would also be my first time painting a beard like this. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Halvard belongs to PrinceBlueblood
  4. "So... Halvard. I wanted to apologize for what happened in the Arena." ~ "Mph... No apologies are needed for a fight fairly won." ~ "Oh no .. not that I was apologizing for sneezing on you." she said with a slightly embarassed chuckle. ~ "Ah!" Enlightenment dawns on his face, and he begins to chuckle as well. "I don't seem to have caught anything from that, so no foul. Besides, that's one more tactic I have for my arsenal. Never know when an unexpected sneeze might come in handy." ~ "You and me fighting on a battle... you with a pike in hoof with a feather on the blunt end for me to sneeze advancing troops away from us?" she suggest with a laugh and twitch of her snout. ~ Halvard may have smiled at the joke, but some day, in the future, Sigrun would find that from that day forward, he kept a feather in his travel bag. "Indeed. It is to learn such novel tactics that I came to Saar. The Caribou who innovate will have a future." ~ "Indeed they shall... I look forward to seeing another great warrior in the fature when my mane goes grey and I'm to leave the future of us to the next generation." ~ Halvard nodded. The future... he was beginning to think seriously about it for the first time in his life. He'd had time to think about the King's pronouncements, and a letter from home had told him his own chieftain's thoughts. He wondered, now, how close he and Sigrun were in their visions. "I think... the future they go into may be very different from the past that we have known. We are living in a time of changes." ~ We indeed do... some being changes for ourselves... the bull I thought was to be joined with me wound up becoming a rebel and no w his little brother has become like the son I never had..." THe cow chuckled nostalgically and looked to Havard. "If you'd told me this was how my life was going to go... I'd have... well I wouldn't punch a face like yours unless I had to... maybe slapped." ~ Halved had to laugh at that. "I don't know if I would have reacted so violently myself; things have rather turned out better than I could have reasonably expected. I met you, for one thing. Not something any bou from my homeland would have expected, if only because of the distance involved." ~ "I admire you for making the trip... I do hope you'll stay a while. " she smiled at him ~ Halvard hadn't been sure how long he would stay; after all, he had his patrol duties... but looking at Sigrun, and her smile, seemed to convince him. "I should be happy to! I fancy there is much that we have to talk over." He could always spin it towards Vakstyra business, after all; the East needed patrolling as much as the West. And as for his conversations with Sigrun... if he mentioned politics from time to time, maybe he could justify the time to the chief as well-spent. ~ "Just talk?... oh you have so much to learn about my clan's ways." she said with a mischievous smile upon her lips ~ Halvard raised an eyebrow, but continued smiling. "Ah... well then, I am willing to be your humble student, then." ~ SIgrun walks calmly along side Halvard before breaking her stride, her muzzle scrunching up. ~ Halvard stops short, seeing that Sigrun is about to sneeze. In full armor, he couldn't run, and had no cloth on him to catch it. So, the only thing he could do is brace himself... ~ "hahh... ahhh.... haahhh HAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH... Gotcha." The cow smirked mischievously. ~ Halvard let out a whoosh of breath, his armor clanking in relief. "Please don't do that too often; I might be caught off guard the next time you really do let loose." ~ "Don't worry... so long as we're not in equestria that's not as likely to happen." ~ "Ah, that's good to know." Halvard smiled, a little curious. "I have never been South, and I am curious... I have heard many contradictory things about those who live there. Some say that they are peaceable, soft... and others that they are patriotic and fierce defenders, clever in battle and undefeated in war. Quite the range of testimonies." ~ "They have... a worrisome history but they are primarily peaceful. They also have access to a powerful magic that only they seem to be able to use most efficiently." she said with a soft laugh before looking to the bull. "It can make some caribou worry how we coudl defeat such an enemy if they shoudl choose to destroy us. In the end for now they are simply pacifists who are not afraid to fight... " The cow scrubbed a hoof to an itchy snout, "and their greenery is the most active iI've ever experienced." ~ Laughter rumbled from the heavily armored bull at the last words, but he paused, thinking. "I wonder if their greenery has anything to do with their pacifism. What would they be like, if their land were as cold as ours?" ~ "I'm told it was for a while and it almost destroyed them... but sometimes even they dont seem to understand their own history." The cow shrugged , "If we switched climates with them though I probably would never have bother to learn to fight or lead my clan ." she admitted with a slight laugh. ~ "Hmm...." Halvard's brows furrowed in thought, before suddenly rocketing up as he stomped the ground. "By the Nameless, I've figured it out!" He turned to Sigrun, talking excitedly. "The key to the contradictory behaviors of the sudden nations! They are peaceable now... because they are living off the spoils of their ancestor's conquest! When they spread across their lands, they fought winter... and won. I have even heard tell that now, it only comes on sufferance, and that they hold the power to make it go away whenever they wish. Do you not see in that the power of a conquerer over a defeated enemy?" ~ "I could ... but the fact is in whitescar there are many conquerers who wish to conquer each other... I'm technically one of them with my campaign in the east." She admitted, stepping back a moment at the hoofstamp so as not to cause repeat of the previous day at the arena. ~ "Yes... the clans fight each other from time to time, but we all must fight winter. But we have never fought winter with the intention to win, only to survive until the next." Halvard shakes his head, looking out towards the snow-capped peaks upon the horizon. "Of course, I don't know how we would. Perhaps we can't, here. But if you ever wanted to know what I should wish to conquer... well, I aim high." ~ The Jarl smiled a bit, "I'm listening." Her ears perking slightly and swiveling towards Halvard as if to punctuate her statement. ~ Confronted with an eager listener, Halvard's reticence abandoned the field without a fight. He raised a hoof to sweep across the whole vista. "The Land. Many say that, but mean simply that they wish all caribou to obey them. I wish for the Land to Obey us. That it shall bring forth from its soil what we desire and need, and nothing more. That it shall not freeze before we wish it, and shall thaw when we dictate." "We have lived too long being ruled by Whitescar. It is time that we conquered our own homeland." ~ Sigrun grinned, "That is a belief I could get behind.. but it will require the unifcation of all of whitescar... including the rebelsand I can promise you they will not let us change them without getting somehting in return ~ Halvard nodded. "And so we come to the question: should our efforts be spent in crushing them... or in getting something attractive enough to bring them to the bargaining stone?" [~ "I've already invested heavily in crushing them... but they are stubborn... I cannot think of something they would want that could console then," ~ "Access to the riches of the South." Halvard states, as if outlining a potential trade. "For centuries, it has been the measure of a jarl's prestige that they could provide such to their warriors and tribe. But not every clan is able to put together a successful raid. Many fall under the Red Jarl's rule because that is the only way they would ever see such wealth. They know they shall see none of it if they surrender to you, or are defeated." "But, suppose... there were a means of acquiring such wealth, and controlling its distribution, that we could offer it to their clans as a price for their loyalty?" ~ "Well... the Highking has been trying to open up negotiations with the chieftain of the red jarl's clan... If you like I could see if you could make them an offer personally..." ~ Halvard snorted. "The name of the high king matters less in some parts of the land than mine. Or rather, that of the Vakstyra. Some may not bow their knees, but all must walk the roads, and respect those who guard them." He stopped walking, looking at Sigrun to judge her reaction. "Clan Breen, and for that matter, the Vakstyra, do not pay the High King homage, but neither do we actively oppose him. Officially, we are neutral to both sides, so that we may trade and deal with each. If we complete our coverage of the roads, we will be in a position to control internal trade... and therefore, to dictate the terms upon which goods from the South shall travel in Whitescar. Havardr himself has confirmed us in our intentions, but I don't think we are in position to make our offer just yet. But when the time comes... we will be grateful if you choose to help us." ~ "You're clan may not oppose him... and that is fine. But there are still traditions that we should keep hold of. the high king is indeed a bull worthy of the respect of all but not unqestioned obedience... he is aware that I wouldn't waste a second turning on him if his actions cause this land's poulation pain." "Halvard." She stepped forward and placed a hoof to the bull's snout. "WAs there really question in whether my pclan woudl support your own? I had already agreed to provde you my clan's support. My clan will not go back on our word, not while I am in chrge. " ~ "I... must confess, there are a great many traditions that I have lately come to question the value of." Halvard spoke reluctantly, but he could not stop himself. Sigrun was not a cow easy to keep secrets around. "It is the High King's willingness to discard those that did more harm than good that I have come to respect the most about him-" He was pulled up short by the hoof on his snout, but he smiled underneath it. "No, no doubt. It was simply that I was not sure if I had let you know fully what your word had let you in for." ~ "I may have some worries about ho w your plan could be manipulated in the future... but it could potentially be a great thign for all of the caribou... I merely worry about the hooves it will fall into once our days come to leave this world..." "Also I shuld confess, I find myself inspired by Equestria's prosperity.. but I have to wonder if we really could reach their heights without the great advantages they have." ~ "The best thing we can do before we pass is to lead by example. Perhaps, it may be that they do not follow our plans, but at least we will have given them permission to see if they can't think of something better." It is Halvard's turn, this time, to boot Sigrun's nose with his own paw. "Ah, but have we not advantages of our own? No sailor in this world is more courageous, no merchant better able to fight for their wares, no farmer more inured to the wilds of nature. And that's not even touching the way we fight." ~ "I suppose you have a point." she laughed slightly as she felt the pressure on her nose, blushing a bit at the action. "Hey, careful with that... you know what it's capable of!" she said jokingly while pushing her soft snout into the bull's hoof with a playful grin. ~ "Ah, but no caribou ever got anywhere by playing it safe!" Halvard joins in her mood of playfulness, drawing closer. "We value the bold in all things, do we not?" The Bull wasted no time in testing that proposition. Letting his hoof drop, his muzzle darted in for a kiss. Which was certainly bold, though whether or not it was wise remained to be seen. ~ The kiss definitely took Sigrun off guard. But once it was done she simply s******ed in response and pushed back with her own lips before eventually breaking it and laughing. "You're definitely a bold one... not many would try a kiss from a hieftain so eagerly... thena gain I'm a chieftian whose pretty happy to indulge..." The cow laughed heartily for a moment before she sniffed sharply and looked down to her snout which was wrinkling up, "Y-yah might want to.. maah ahh...." ~ They said that Victory favored the bold... and it seemed that they were right! "I had hoped so..." Halvard was smiling when the kiss broke, but that soon changed to an expression of worry as he saw another sneeze coming on. "Right." He shunted out of the way as best he could... ~ "Hehha hh... HAAAAAAAAAAH HAAASSHOOOOOOOOO!" THe cow felt her body thrust forward with the force of her sternutaion , a powerful wind overturning a cart nearby as the Chieftain laughed haertily and rubbed a hoof to her snout, "Gotta say, to some degree that feels good to do ." The cow smirked and looked back to Halvard. "I do warn you though, the peace talks will still ikely happen and the Red jarl's clan... are much more of an "honor before reason" type of clan so I have no idea how it may turn out." ~ "It must... certainly be a relief." Halvard was still amazed at how powerful the chieftain's sneezes really were. She had a right to be proud of them, really. "Well, in that case, you will be able to count on our support as well." He nodded solemnly. "It is interesting... our own Chieftain is sometimes seen to value reason more than honor, which has colored his own reputation... though, for some reason, no bou calls him the Blue Jarl." Halvard was, like all of clan Breen, colored blue with his clan dye. "I wonder why; it seems obvious enough." ~ The Jarl chuckled, "a curious choice... I dont think my clan has ever been given a color we just have a symbol." the cow pulled her cloak to the side to expose a tattoo emblazoned on the right side of her plot. ~ Halvard tried, he really did try. But he couldn't resist a low whistle at the sight. "I... haven't seen tattoo work so elaborate in Whitescar before." Nice save. "Who in your clan has such talent?" ~ "It was first done by our clan's artist... but i needed to have it touched up adn an artist from manehattan detailed and added on to it..." ~ "Ah... so, that is a Southerner's work? Interesting..." Halvard's thoughts were wandering along paths, paths of perhaps being a gatekeeper of services as well as goods. But that would require ponies and griffons to come north, and there was admittedly little to attract them in the way of business, currently. "It's very nice, I have to say." ~ "Talking about the tattoo, or what it's attached to?" she asked with a playful bite in her voice before she returned the cloak to its normal postiion with a smile. "So... I don't believe I'm met your chieftain before... perhaps he's not too interested in coming all this way ." ~ "Yes." Halvard decided on what the Equestrians called a mathematician's answer to that question, before moving on to the somewhat safer subject of his chieftain. "No, I don't know if his old hide and bones would stand the trip. It may not be long before we have a new one, though, so perhaps a summit might be arranged in the near future." There was a slightly troubled tone in that remark, though, which he soon clarified. "He... has not selected a successor."
  5. Very few representatives of Clan Breen had ever visited Saarvergerg. Their clan home was in the far, remote west of Whitescar, on the opposite side of the continent. Thus, when Halvard had first appeared as a contestant in the Arena, very few in the audience had known what to make of him. After all, it was hardly common for a caribou to dye their entire fur coat a light ice-blue, nor for them to wear a heavy, mobility-reducing suit of forged armor. Nor was his fighting style usual for the Viking breed. His preference for defensive tactics was quite the contrast to the more aggressive, almost berzerk 'meta' that had tended to prevail in the past. It certainly was harder to get the crowd on your side when you dragged out a fight, but the results spoke for themselves. So far, Halvard had gone undefeated in all his arena bouts, both against native caribou, and the new blood coming in from the recent opening of Whitescar to the rest of the world. Already, his signature war-hammer-and-shovel was an instantly recognizable symbol, around which a small group of fans were beginning to coalesce. Not that it mattered to the bull in question. He had come to the arena to practice his skill, nothing more. A defensive fighter had to be prepared for all kinds of tactics, and this was the best way to get a wide variety in a short time. And it seemed that he was more prepared for them than they were for him. In any case, his was a name that generated buzz, and attracted a higher profile of opponent... ~***~ The Silver Eyed Queen of the East! Normally the very image of stoic, the wry and taciturn visage of Halvard bore visible signs of the excitement brewing within him. This was going to be a real test at last! No more facing of novices or casual battlers. At last he had earned the chance to face an opponent of renown, whose tales of battle had reached even the far fjords of his clan home! The Jarl Sigrun was legendary, living up to her namesake of 'victory,' and leading Clan Askr to greatness. Not only that, she was in the confidences of the High King, and was reportedly well known in foreign courts as well. A force to be reckoned with, for sure, and her arena appearances had borne that out... excepting that one incident with a certain visiting unicorn mare. *I wish I had been there to see that.* Halvard smiled to himself as he fixed the last strap of his gauntlets. Shouldering his signature weapon, he left his visor up as he *Klangshed* down the long corridor, away from the dark, musty dressing chamber in to the brightness and roar of the arena once again. It was familiar territory now, and he strode into it with confidence, staking his claim in familiar territory. "The West has come to meet to the East!" He called out to his opponent, raising his weapon in salute. He wasn't sure if she had ever met a representative of Clan Breen before; he himself had certainly never met a caribou of Askr. This would be a good opportunity to judge of their tactics, and the prowess of their leader. Would he measure up? That was for this battle to decide! Halvard, though usually patient, could hardly wait!
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