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  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. The situation was far from ideal. By Odyrr it was far from what she'd really wanted, but this was the chance that fate had offered her. She had few leads to go on beyond hearsay from arena combatants and a few EPIC reports. Sigrun knew that the red dragon that had bested her in the arena was somewhere in these badlands and if he wasn't, he would be soon. It was strange to be in this area of Equestrian soil... it seemed oddly familiar to roam in as it many features similar to Whitescar's lowlands during the warmer seasons: Although Whitescar could be considerably greener... and encounters with dangerous beasts besides dragons were much easier to run into back home. The various dragon fiefdoms that lay scattered across these mountains had not seen much of Sigrun and her companion Balder, that or they'd just not been bothering with them. This was fine. If they would offer help, Sigrun would have to decline. If they stood in her way, she'd ask them politely but firmly to leave. If they refused, well she could only hope they wouldn't. Sigrun was determined to meet this adversary. Her wrath was coming for her prey with the certainty of a plummeting boulder. If the Dragonlord herself wished to get between her and the 'ground' ( the ground being Craven) well, they will only have themselves to blame for the repercussions. Each day in these arboreal lands, Sigrun could feel a strange drive in her. Out here in the wilds where there was little to guide you. No clan rules, no worries about the rest of the world. You could simply be. You against the uncaring wilderness sprawled out in every direction. Each morning as she watched the skyline through her telescope she kept an eye out for her quarry… She and Balder had been there for almost a week and still no luck, or at least not what she expected. One day they had seen a longship moving to the forest edge and setting up a camp. Through teamwork, Both she and Balder managed to knock out the bou who’d come and even tie them up securely to read their journals. What Sigrun read made her jaw hit the floor. There was his name, right on the page. “Craven.” She muttered under her breath, “It seems that fate is on my side.” The journal said that they were… making a purchase. One mare, evidently worth a king’s ransom judging by the amount of treasure that was brought along in the boat’s hold. More than enough gold to bring a greedy dragon to this neck of the woods. They will need a plan. Something that would allow them to safely acquire this mare and then let Sigrun deal with her captor. “Balder.” She called out to her greatbow wielding ward, “We need to set up a trap for some very large and dangerous prey. How good of a shot are you with that bow… because I’ll likely be putting your talents to the test soon.”
  3. CaptainMcDerp


    From the album: Request/trades/gift art

    This one took waaay longer than I'd like. Sorry about that! I struggled quite a bit with this one, which took me off guard because I thought drawing her would be a breeze for me. I guess It was art block or something. Either way I prevailed! And I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. I tried a few things with the fur and the result look pretty neat. Though it was a little challenging, she was a blast to draw! Sigrun belongs to Pretzelpony.
  4. Snow fell heavy on this somber morning in the Askr clan's great City-hold. At this time normally there would be lively caribou and even brief appearances of other species in the crowds, but now all the streets were empty. Houses and dwellings were boarded up from the outside as many families fled at the behest of their chieftain to a safe zone outside of the city's walls. Eight cloven hooves clopped silently down the street. One set of four belonged to a statuesque cow in a long cloak that covered up the majority of her body. The other wore a similar cloak but his having a slightly brighter color to it. A waft of steam escaped the Cow's nostrils as they flared to let out a sigh. The chieftain of the Askr clan was missing those usual smiles she wore many places outside. Instead of her usual playful grin or sly smirk, she wore a furrowed brow and her eyes seemed sharper than usual because of it. To see the hold she'd worked so hard to build up seeming so empty of it's usual cheer... it was heartbreaking to the cow who had given so much of herself to raise up her clan to these lofty heights in the treacherous eastern ends of Whitescar. The fact that the enemy she was faced with was somehow magic based and was an infection and not an earthly body she could strike down or reason with only made this all the more maddening. Today, She and her clan faced a threat they could not hope to defeat on their own due to it's nature... it required the assistance of allies whose views towards the caribou species were mixed at best. She turned to the Royal Equestrian Military and that of the task force of E.P.I.C. to help save her clan. Thanks to intelligence of the scouts who returned from the reconnaissance, Sigrun had prepared a path that could quickly take them out to the great hall at the center of the city. She could only hope the experts she had asked for would arrive soon and any that arrived late would be escorted by her personal guard that were stationed at the sides of the tall gate that marked the main entrance to the great clan's home. One of of the younger looking troopes galloped over and spoke up to the Jarl mentioning the snowfall was a precursor to an approaching storm that was descending from the Serpent's spine... it would be upon the territory come nightfall. Sigrun grit her teeth and glared at the young bull before closing her eyes to calm her nerves, "Thank you, Young one... make sure you go back to the barracks as soon as possible." While she tried to keep up her chipper demeanor she couldn't help but be worried about not only this coming storm and it's implications: if it fell upon them before all the stage 3 caribou were caught, then they could escape in the cover of the snowstorm and escape to infect more victims. The last thing that worried her was the presence of her ward. Why hadn't he gone yet?! why did he decide to stay? This was possibly the worst time to have someone she was close at her side in such a dangerous situation... and even stranger, her ward recommended the help of an admitted kind necromancer, but still a necromancer. "Limi... Are you sure this is where you wish to be right now?" she asked, looking somewhat sternly at the young bull by her side.
  5. PrinceBlueblood

    Post-Pugilistic Politics

    "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."
  6. PrinceBlueblood

    The Arena! Halvard vs. Sigrun

    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!
  7. Zeig

    Sigrun's Tattoo

    From the album: Requests, Gifts, Commissions

    Fourth customer in Inkbrand's Tattoo Parlor. First time drawing a caribou, I like how it turned out. Especially the hooves, I really like drawing cloven hooves for some reason. Sigrun © Presteza
  8. Sigrun happily drank down a flagon of the meade poured for her at the tavern. The scene was ripe with merriment and excited cheering. Cows and bulls were hoofwrestling and singing and dancing all around. to an equestrian thi sprobably would have been considered alienating since there had been such violence a little while earlier today. ~ Halvard, however, was not an Equestrian. As eccentric as Clan Breen were to the rest of Whitescar, all were caribou through and through. After a fight, if you lived, you drank. And with necromancers working in the arena, you could drink even if you didn't! The blue-coated bull preferred ale to mead, as he could drink more of it in a night. Taking his own flagon, he raised it to his former opponent of that day. "Wassail!" He raised in toast, before draining the the flagon and planting it down for a refill. ~ The cow grinned, "I recognize that voice!" The cow sauntered over to the familiar face and grinned, "Well if it isn't my opponent from earlier, glad to see those healers knit you back together~" ~ It generally took a drink for the wry Halvard to loosen his tongue. But given that he just had one, Sigrun's timing couldn't be better. "Same here. Would be a shame for Whitescar to lose a pretty face." ~ "I'm surprised with all the battle I've seen, that my face is as 'pretty' as it is." the cow smirked playfully, "Especially after the number you did upon me." The cow slammed down her flagon and looked to the bull with her silver eyes looking him over, "and good to know we haven't lost a handsome face in this land either!" ~ Having celebrated the land's preservation of good looks in a mutual toast, Halvard took up the subject of battle, curious about his cross-continental counterpart. "A jarl must face many battles, it is true. More than a simple Vakstyra. That's why I came to the arena. Didn't want to get rusty. But tell me... how many battles are there in the East these days?" ~ "A great deal... it almost seems unending. There's still a lot of skirmishes on the edge of my territory but since I started expanding and taking over some of the rival keeps it has died down somewhat." The jarl took another swig and thought a moment, "It doesn't help to the north of us the monsters from the serpents spine can sometimes wander into our territory. ~ Halvard nodded. Situation seemed normal enough; clans were always trying to defend or take territory, and monsters were monsters. "I haven't dealt much with clan battles since I started guarding the roads. Vakstyra keep the trade roads open, so most caribou leave us alone. West of Barn, anyway. We still get the monster raids, though." ~ "Clan Askr will be happy to lend our assistance if you ever take any roads close to monster territory... you'll find our warriors are quite skilled. I'm not sure if there are as many a good fighter as you on your trade caravans." ~ Halvard nodded thanks to Sigrun. "If you'd allow us to set up Vakstyra forts and posts along the routes in your territory, we could help you keep the peace as well. War is bad for the roads." ~ Sigrun put her hoof to her chin and nodded, "that sounds very doable... I trust you will bring up I said this to your clan's chieftain?" ~ "Yes. Don't expect a quick answer, as Clan Breen Territory is literally on the other side of the continent." Harvard smiled over his tankard as he remarked. "I must say, you're rather sanguine at the prospect of another clan constructing defensive works on your own territory. Most jarls would be a little less quick to accept." ~ "If you betray us you'd find the areas you've built in are surrounded on all sides..." She chuckled softly, "After all if we destroy those defenses we could use the rocky remains of your posts as materials for our own... besides your clan has a better reputation than most" ~ He laughed in response "You wouldn't be the first jarl to try. The secret is, the forts aren't isolated. Each can support the other, holding a force to relieve a siege on it's neighbors. We never build a new one without securing the road behind, to bring up reinforcements from clans who wish to keep the roads open, and not taxed by the territories in between. Of course, they're helping the Vakstyra, not clan Breen, though it is true that most of us are from the same clan." ~ "Oooh well then since you'll be building in our territories we'll make sure to make the terrain... perfect for you. " she smirked knowingly before looking to the bull, "Enough business talk now though... we're here to relax aren't we?" ~ Oh, this would be fun! Not that Halvard expected that their clans would ever come to blows. It would be like the immovable object vs. the unstoppable force. A good show, but neither would gain much. "True... Bartender, another!" Having his flagon refilled, he asked, "Now, besides drinking and fighting, anything you like?" ~ "Well, I collect weapons, and I enjoy the company of other capable warriors... I also enjoy reading up on strategies and battles from other places in the world." she turned to him, "and yourself?" ~ "Hm... well, I like to build to build things. It's not for nothing that I wield the weapon that I do; you can use it as a hammer and a shovel, and I do. All our clan does. It is said that the tradition started when our lands were raided while our warriors were in the fields, with only their tools in hand. We carried the day, wielding shovels and plowblades against swords. From that day, we are ready to turn our hooves to either task at a moment's notice." ~ "Ooh, what kind of things do you build personally?" ~ "Forts and trenches, usually." He laughed deprecatingly. "Sometimes we put up an actual trading post, with things to buy and sell. It's not exactly glamorous... well, except when we're near a gem vein." ~ "Glamorous is hardly a priority in this land I feel... We can't fight with an overly extravagant weapon made of gold could we?... it's break all to easily... my point is just because glamorous doesn't mean it's immensely valuable." ~ "That is true... at the same time, I never saw warriors fight so hard to defend a post, as the one we made to look the most glamorous..." Halvard looked thoughtful as he recalled that battle. "I have heard that those in the lands to the south think more of glamour than we... do you suppose that had to do with how they fought in the Empire of Crystal?" ~ "Possibly,.. the glamour did little against the red jarls forces though. We still had to go by and assist in the rebuilding" Sigrun sighed softly, "The architecture back at Askr hold has a bit of flair to it but... it still has some practicality to it ~ Halvard hadn't been to the lands South of Whitescar, so he took Sigrun's word for it. "True... but if Glamour is to care for the look of the thing, as opposed to the practical... maybe we have of it than we think." He gestured to the rowdy room. "I wonder, sometimes, how many are simply here for the look of the thing, and not because they actually care for drink and camaraderie." ~ "I'm certainly here for the camaraderie... sometimes a bit more." she took another swig of her drink and looked to halvard, "SO what did you think of the other fighters in the arena?" ~ A bit more, eh? Halvard took note of that, before replying. "Quite varied. I fought a griffon, a unicorn, and a caribou all in succession. I certainly learned a lot, which is what I came for." ~ "Oh? I'm interested in hearing about the first two..." the jarl thumped her hoof once on the counter and soon enough some flaggons were sent their way ~ "Hm, the griffon was interesting. I could tell he favored claw-and-fly tactics, but those don't work against heavily-armored foes. I was able to draw him in for one good hit, and that finished it. The unicorn... well, if my opponent had kept his head, it would have turned out differently. All he had to do was stay at a distance and shoot lightning from his horn. What I managed to do, however, was catch the bolt in the head of my hammer, and slam it into the earth-" He paused to punctuate this point by slamming down his hoof, which ended up sending the contents of the flagons splashing over the both of them. "Whoa, sorry. But yes, that gives you a pretty good idea of what happened." ~ The cow blinked as she was splashed and chuckled, "Hm... now i'm gong to smell like meade... not necessarily a bad thing." she chuckled softly before looking back to halvard. "One unicorn I fought int he arena got on my bad side... believe it or not it wasn't the one who gave my backside a paddling." she laughed heartily ~ The jarl had a sense of humor, it seemed. Good. "Well, if anybou comes out of here smelling like anything else, it'll be a first." He laughed, before tilting his head curiously. "Oh? And what did he do to get under your hide?" ~ "He was a narrowminded foal with his eyes clouded by his hatred, he considered our people primitive wardriven savages, the lot of us..." she snorted in annoyance at the thought of him. "In response... I taught him a lesson and bit off his horn." ~ No doubt, it had been irritating to her at the time. Hearing about it afterward, Halvard could not but see the irony in the way Sigrun put it. "I'm not sure that would change his mind. Seeing a Vakstyra station in action might, though..." He took a thoughtful drink out of the half-pint of ale remaining in the flagon. "I wonder... would it be worth setting up such a post in one of the Southern cities?" ~ "I'm not the one you should ask about that... and trust me, he's a stubborn one and he won't admit his wrongness so easily. anyway, how far south were you speaking?" ~ "I... don't know. I've never left Whitescar, so I don't know where a good trade route from Barn would be. I was hoping you would have some idea." ~ "Well you'd require the use of boats... if you wish I could let you use some of my calns." ~ Harvard raised his flagon in gratitude. "That's another thing to thank you for! I had been looking for something to do with my winnings. Helping to secure a trade route seems to be a good option. You need a post on both ends to do that." A thought occurred to him, and he frowned. "Will they be welcoming of that? I don't know how many understand that not all of us are like the Red Jarl. If the unicorn you fought is any indication..." ~ "I have met with the princess of the crystal empire and she was quite welcoming... obviously the ponies are wary of us but huddling up in the north and doing nothing but keeping to ourselves won't change that now will it?" she asked with soft chuckle ~ "That is true... well, I suppose I shall have to actually go and see for myself. Nothing beats field work for getting the lay of the land." ~ "I'm glad I could help, I suppose I could come with you but me and the souther climate don't seem to get along very well." ~ "Hm, I see. Well, thank you for the offer, but I won't subject you to it." Halvard drained his flagon and, seeing that he'd spilled half of it rather than drinking, felt safe in calling for another. "Shame, though; I wouldn't have minded spending the time in your company." ~ "No reason you can't stick around is there?" she asked with a soft smirk as she hoisted her drink in the air and took another drink. "And don't worry a few sneezes and sniffles aside I can survive in the south.... " ~ "Oh, no reason at all. It's just that when I do have to leave, it will be a while before I can see you again." Halvard couldn't smirk quite so naturally as Sigrun, so he did not try to match. "But when you are next in Barn or Heil, leave a message. The busiest road is between the two, and many of us are there at one time or another." ~ "I shall look forward to our next meeting then..." she gave the bull a slight wink ~ "So shall I." Halvard returned the wink. There was a slight pause before he went on, as it required mustering a little courage. "Of course, the night's not over yet." ~ The cow smirked softly and narrowed her eyes slightly at the bull, "Is that so? Have anything in mind in particular?... cause I can think of a few things...." ~ "I came East for adventure as much as anything else; the routine of road patrol is dulling. So..." And here he did make a rather good attempt to mirror the smirk. "Why don't you surprise me?" ~ The cow grinned softly and placed some coin on the counter. "Well the first thing I have in mind would require us to make a trek to my personal longboat... " The cow walked over to the door gesturing Halvard to follow her this promised to be an entertaining night...