Ragnar strode into the deep wilderness coming into a clearing, a moss covered boulder sitting half buried in the ground at it’s center. Ragnar’s hands were wrapped in cloth and a gentle breeze rustled the leaves overhead, a picture of peace and serenity, a juxtaposition to the burning rage within. Ragnar squared up against the boulder, his longtime opponent, and threw a punch, the jolt from the impact ran up his arm and into his shoulder, regardless he threw his 2nd, then his 3rd, until finally he was screaming at the top of his lungs and pounding into the stone. The boulder of course, said nothing. When the cry finally died in Ragnar’s chest and blood fell from his knuckles to the cracked earth he collapsed to his knees and headbutted the stone letting his head rest against the cool rock, now slick with his own blood. The same blood that ran down his hands and mixed with tears. Ragnar thought of Luqa, and of Rolf, of his mother, and- oh god was his father even still alive? he had no way to know. Ragnar tried to find peace, but as was often the case, only found resentment and burning hatred, searing him from within. When the rage controlled him it burned so bright that compassion and love were left as cinders. He’d always felt it, but it was only recently he’d begun to call on it, and every time he did it got easier. The rage within Ragnar burning brighter, “how long” he wondered, “before there is nothing left but that Burning?”

Broken body, unbroken spirit

Ragnar had finally recovered from his many injuries at the last forum, and just in time to visit Runeheim again. He chuckled slightly then frowned, how many times had he been through this very same song and dance? Fight, lose but live, recover, and repeat. His life had been a never ending series of battles, not unusual for someone like him, what was strange was how he kept surviving, he’d greeted death more time than he’d care to count, but somehow Ragnar managed to avoid taking that final step. At first he thought it was luck, but no one was that lucky, then he thought it might have been skill but his branding taught him that wasn’t the case, a skilled person wouldn’t have fallen as he did. And so it was then that Ragnar settled upon the reason, stubbornness, he was simply too stubborn to die, every obstacle in his life had been bested not by skill, or luck, or even divine intervention. No every problem Ragnar solved was solved with gritted teeth and painful repetition. Ragnar’s thoughts now drifted into the events at Runeheim the people he’d met and those he’d lost. Perhaps it was over stating to call Rolf a friend, but he supposed the man wouldn’t mind what he though anymore. He couldn’t stop thinking of his friends last request of him, “Do great things.” It was a request he intended to fulfill, but how? Rolf had fought the old gods and worked to slay them and free his people, and he’d done it better than Ragnar ever could have, there were others who would continue that work. But all of this was a farce, Ragnar knew what it was he would. He simply feared what it would cost him. There was more than one kind of Tyranny in the north, and just as there were those that fought the old there must be those who faced the new. Ragnar stood, letting the aches and pains of a life well lived settle into him, he would face it with a Broken body, but an Unbroken spirit