Gazing Northward

Mother Superior Solace sits cross legged and musing on a large boulder outside of Runeheim, looking north towards the Kaltlina and the mountains, massive despite their distance, crouching on her far banks.
The high places are hidden today, enshrouded in a mist as silent and claggy as the crypts of the dead kings fabled to lie deep beneath Fenristadt. The fog clings to the hills like a shield; the Old North protects her children, blanketing the performance of her obscene and ancient rites in an all-forgiving shroud of tattered grey.
Those forested slopes bear a lesson for the southerners who have dared trespass into this place, a lesson that is written in the ancestral blood of the Rimelanders who come in the thousands to die at their swords.
Men have never ruled this place, cry the carrion-birds wheeling over the Hollowsong’s slaughtering grounds. Men will never rule this place, grind the glaciers calving into the Kaltlina, composed of ice that has been frozen since giants walked this place and made humanity their servants. Solace has learned well that this land laughs at the claims of Gothic Emperors and Jarls in equal measure. The Old Gods are the true rulers of Njordr, and their power increases with every step forged towards the True North.
Men have lived here, certainly; the presence of humanity is necessary for this place to be what it is and has always been. Once the Njords were cattle for the giant lords of old, and now their ancestors are chattel slaves to monstrous Gods who hold sway over them, feeding on their fear and pain.
Solace did not find joy in the war; indeed, she could feel it slowly breaking her heart and body, wearing down her strength and consuming her fire. Such, she supposed, was the fate of all who chose to devote themselves to an endless and thankless task that would not be completed within their generation. When she sought for renewed purpose and strength, she found it in the hope that the Old Gods who fed on the men of the North would be thrown down; that through the path of blood and violence that the Throne trod, Njordr would someday find freedom from the spirits who enslaved them.
The cold edges of the stone suddenly became unbearably unpleasant as her thoughts returned to her body, and she sprang up, suddenly shivering. The stamp of horses and cries of men indicated that the commanders were readying to march, and she turned her back on the implacable mountains and strode back to Runeheim, silently mouthing the blessing of war.

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