HOFSA: (The Late Iron Age)

Brandr was deeply concerned. He knew Hofsa was slowly dying. Cod disappearing from the sea. The increasing cold making farming difficult. The yield was getting smaller.

Our people should move. But where? The better lands were held by rival clans. Even distant familial ties with some of them were not enough to overcome the generations of hate and bloodlust.

The settlement’s resources were not enough to support a venture further out beyond familiar shores. For people to leave piecemeal would leave defenseless those that remain nor is the settlement’s small fleet enough to fight off blood enemies, rivals, or even a pirate horde.

And he was now the chief of his people. The salty breeze which caressed him as he stood by the seashore didn’t give its usual refreshing effect.

As he gazed at the fading rays of the sun amid the creeping fingers of the incoming darkness, he noticed a disturbance in the waves.

Unfortunately, Brandr was unarmored but he had his sword with him. The chief drew it from its sheath.

But as he gazed upon the figure emerging from the sea foam, he had a sinking feeling of who was coming. He returned his sword to his sheath, knelt on the sand, and bowed his head.

“My Lord Aegir, you bless me with your presence.”

The figure walked in silence and stopped in front of him.

“Rise, Brandr. Your heart had been burdened as of late. Fear not. With courage, your people will live. Do your people have courage?”

“We are men of the sea, my Lord. We have courage enough.”

“Then listen. This world now only offers you death. I offer you and your people a chance at life, with the blessings of the gods. Another world. A better world. Another chance at life.”

“And the price, my Lord?”

“The transfer has a cost. A high one. Enough energy is needed to open a Gate long enough for your people to pass through.”

Brandt was silent. His settlement was poor. They didn’t have riches.

“We are poor, my Lord. Riches in gold and jewels we don’t have.”

“The cost require energy, Brandt. Magical artifacts could provide it.”

Brandt slumped.

“Gold and jewels, we have none. What more for magical artifacts?”

“Mortal bodies can provide the energy, Brandt. If thy people cannot provide it, then find others who will. Call me by this strand when you are ready. Ten mortal vessels will be enough.”