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High King Harald

[Fairhair Forest] An Imperial Hunting Trip

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* In an open space deep in the immense forest in the Thanedom of Gulathing, which has been known since time immemorial as the Fairhair Forest, an Imperial Hunting Party has gathered. This hunt has been organized by Emperor Harald especially for his wife-to-be Empress Sigrid who is fond of hunting but, unfortunatly, had not hunted for a long time.

 

A very select group of Royals, Nobles and Knights from Stormark and abroad had been invited to take part in the hunt. The invitees were delighted to have been invited for the Fairhair Forest is one of the best places for hunting available on Micras. The Imperial Hunting Party furthermore consists of local professional hunters, a couple of Empress Sigrid's Valkyries and various servants and attendants.

 

Emperor Harald lovingly looks at Empress Sigrid who, as always, looks smashing. She is, just like Emperor Harald, dressed in a green traditional Vinland Royalty hunting costume with the thereto belonging brown leather boots and gloves. The traditional Vinland Royalty hunting costume that Emperor Harald is wearing is a gift from Empress Sigrid to him. Empress Sigrid is also carrying a Claymore and several throwing axes. Emperor Harald is armed with hunting knife, bow and arrows, as well as a spear.

 

Empress Sigrid is beaming. As an experienced hunter, who has hunted in the forrests of Vinland from her early youth and has brought back many trophies, she is really looking forward to the upcoming hunt because the Fairhair Forest is truly hunter's paradise: a place of magic and tradition full of the best game available with an epic landscape consisting of countless ancient trees, hills, caves, ponds and creeks which has been left virtually untouched by modern life. When she hears the sound of the game master's hunting horn her heart skips a beat of pure excitement for the hunt is commence. *

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Empress Sigrid was exhilirated at the thought of finally getting to hunt again. She eagerly entered the dense forest in search of game, carrying her claymore in one strong hand. Her other hand lay tensed at her side, ready to pick up and throw a throwing axe if her quarry proved too quick. She looked behind her to make sure she was only being followed by her husband-to-be, in order to maintain maximum quiet.

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Nathan was assembled with the other members of the hunting party enjoying good conversation. All were clearly excited to be in Fairhair Forest. Nathan's own hunting experience was quite limited, having only gone on a ceremonial hunting trip with the late Ryan Grass, former leader of the druidic peoples of Natopia's Hazel Woods. In fact, he was wearing the hunting garb given to him on that trip by a powerful druid of the Hazel people. Supposedly it was enchanted to enhance the aim and power of the hunter's shot. Nevertheless it was a handsome leather vest with faintly green inscribed runes and sturdy dark brown leggings and boots to match.

 

He was outfitted with a beautiful oak bow given to him by Emperor Harald for this occasion as well as a hunting knife and survival axe. As he checks over his equipment, he hears the starting horn and sets off into the forest.

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Kostalan, Duke of Brookshire, and Senator Ionel of Hurmu, the leaders of their respective Swnndyrrr communities, stood waiting, listening, among the trees of the Fairhair Forrest. They were both dressed and painted as the hunters of their kind. Kostalan wore leather armor on vital points of his body, and was otherwise painted green and brown, with a brown scarf hiding his blue hair. Ionel was covered with loose, heavy cloth in forest hues, and was similarly painted. Both wielded khopesh, a weapon the Swnndyrrr found served them well on the hunt.

 

Kostalan was uneasy, having spent his life being raised to replace his grandfather as ytteirsal and very rarely joining his brethren on the hunt, while Ionel was a hunter by profession. Both listened closely to the sounds of the Forrest nonetheless. Their ears would be as their eyes. Hunting is where they would separate themselves from their governments' titles and release the feral blood that flowed in their veins.

 

The horn sounded, and the rest of the hunting party began to move out while the two fox-men continued to listen.

 

Both sets of ears perked in unison.

"You hear it?"

"I do."

"Shall we?"

"With pleasure."

And the two hunters bolted into the Forrest after their prey with unnatural speed.

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Arriving late, as any alexandrian... Prince Augusto finds the rest of the hunting party and begin his struggle with the bow and knife...

 

*** Your Majesties, I am not sure if I am as good with this bow as with any firearm, but I'll do my best...***

 

 

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Zoe held her lips tight with a smile.

 

"What's so funny?" Christopher asked, narrowing his eyes.

 

The crunching of fallen branches under foot caught Christopher's attention momentarily. Other members of the hunting party were making their way through. Zoe leaned towards him to say, "they seem to be taking it a little seriously, or no? Leather armour? What's that going to stop?"

 

"Leather armour isn't all that ridiculous. More flexible, allowing you to be more mobile, and sometimes it pays to just have something covering you other than your own skin. Besides, don't forget that the earliest of Kaikian soldiers wore armour made from layers of hardened fabric glued together. No, it's not going to stop an armour-piercing round, but I don't think we need to worry about that."

 

Christopher paused. A tree some distance away had a large, round knot. He pulled an arrow out of the quiver on his belt, aligned it on his flat bow, drew, aimed, and released. The arrow ricocheted off the side of the tree and disappeared with a rustle of the leaves. He frowned. He was rusty, and his eyesight was poorer than it used to be. His glasses prescription probably needed to be readjusted.

 

Zoe snickered. Christopher gave a glance at her that said try better. She nodded, and in a fluid motion, she drew, aimed, and released. The head of the arrow burrowed straight into the centre of the knot. "Hmm." There was a hint of satisfaction in Zoe's voice.

 

"Bassarie would be glad to know that you're still as sharp-eyed as when you were in the Arktoi." Christopher noted.

 

Kaikias did not really have a proper hunting tradition per se. At its heart, it was a farmer culture and a city culture. Sure, there was an immense respect for nature, and there has been hunting and a strong competitive archery culture, but hunting itself was not part of the blood of Kaikian society. Christopher made do when selecting attire for the trip to Stormark, finally coming up with heavy shoes and khaki shirts and trousers, for himself and for Zoe. It had made sense at the time, but not in comparison to everyone else. Everyone else wore colours that absorbed into the forest background. Browns and greens. The two Octavii stuck out.

 

Thankfully, Zoe seemed to be genuinely enjoying herself. During her early teenage years, she was in the Arktoi, the Bears, a scouting organization for girls, dedicated to Bassarie, the protectress of wild nature. There was a smile on Zoe's face. A genuine one, one not derived from laughing down at someone, nor one that had to be faked onto her face. A genuine smile that delighted in nature all around, like she was that young girl again.

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* Lady Aoife is very much enjoying the hunting trip. The surrounding Fairhair Forrest gives her a feeling of freedom, peace and tranquillity being far away from her hectic and very busy life as Crown Princess of Stormark, Law Speaker of the Althing and Attorney-General of Stormark. *

 

 

 

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*Lord Karisson, disappointed that he could not bring his prized hunting musket, marveled at his first visit to Fairhair Forrest. Free of clerical garb or military uniform, he briskly walks through the paths, almost getting lost from the Imperial Hunting Party. "God's work is indeed great," he whispers to himself. As he walked to rejoin the group, and pay greetings to Emperor Harald, Lord Karisson spots from the corner of his eye a Red Deer Stag, coat shining in the sun which poked through the high branches. The two nearly locked eyes, and stood still, a hundred yards apart. Slowly, he reaches for his English-made longbow, and takes careful aim, hoping that he may hit his target. As the stag began to take full account of the situation, Lord Karisson lets slip the arrow...*

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A bit late (but better late then never) Jonas arrived at the forest. He felt that it would become a great hunting trip. But before he could start, he had to ask one important question. A question that would influence his future.

"Your Greatness," he said to the Emperor, "Where can I find those lovely traditional hunting costumes? :worshippy:

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A bit late (but better late then never) Jonas arrived at the forest. He felt that it would become a great hunting trip. But before he could start, he had to ask one important question. A question that would influence his future.

"Your Greatness," he said to the Emperor, "Where can I find those lovely traditional hunting costumes? :worshippy:

 

"Well, I can get you one if you would like, Baron Jonas", Emperor Harald replied. He then called one of the servants present at the hunting trip and exchanged a couple of words with him. The servant then left and returned carrying a pile of clothes and a pair of boots.

 

"Here you are", Emperor Harald then said to Baron Jonas while he pointed at the pile of clothes and the pair of boots, "this green traditional Vinland Royalty hunting costume with the thereto belonging brown leather boots and gloves is for you. It is a gift out of appreciation and friendship".

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"Thank You very much, Your Imperial Higness. It's an honour to be here, in this beautiful forest, in this even more beautiful and unique nation," Jonas replied. He gave a sign to one of his servants, who gave Jonas a little box. Jonas opened the box and gave it to Harald. An amulet, in the shape of a sun, appeared.

"The sun amulet stands for a never ending friendship. It's made from a special kind of green metal, Adamant, and often used by common Sermolotians to express friendship. It's available in other colours, like red, but then it has another meaning."

 

Jonas takes Harald a moment apart.

"I can give you a red amulet for free, that you can give to your wife. In Sermolot it's a way to express love. Normally it's pretty expensive, and not everyone can afford it, but legends say the love between the holders of the amulet (as you can break it apart) will never end. That's why it's so popular in my Barony."

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"I think I hear one coming." shouted one of the riders. A portion of the party broke off and spread into a line to encircle the pray.

A heavy crunching brought the the group to a stop. "What is that?"

"No deer sounds like that." They relaxed their stance and urged heir mounts forwards to catch a glimpse of what was making the sound. They parted the light brush and found a most peculiar sight.

"Is that-?"

"Yes yes it is..."

"Is he-?"

"Yes he is riding a sheep..."

 

The Baron of Nordland waved at the men and women of the party. "Ah thank the skys! I though I wouldn't find you since you had left already! If you would be so kind as too lead the way to the Emperor and his radiant wife I would offer my thanks for the invitation."

 

 

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"A sheep, you say?" asked Jonas. He took his gun and pointed it to Leo.

 

* Sigrdrífa the Valkyrie steps in, softly pushes Baron Jonas' arm down and then takes away his pistol. *

 

Lord Sermolot,

 

It is not allowed to hunt sheep and we only hunt with Viking age arms like bows, hunting knives and spears.

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"My apologies, My Lady," said the Lord of Sermolot. Then he took a crossbow and pointed it to Leo again.

"I wasn't pointing to the sheep, you see." Jonas explained.

 

:whistling:

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Leo noticed the threat and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small box-like device.

 

"I feared you may consider this so I came prepared. You see EDEN has been programed with the coordinates with all the major governing and military sites in Sermolot. Anyways, the button here will give the order to launch the HACs for a test flight where they will "malfunction". I'd love to see the HACs matched up to whatever anti-ballistic system you might have in place. Its hard to effectively block a scatter shot...." He seemed to lose himself in though for a moment before remembering the impending threat. "Want to see what is faster? The bow or the button? But of course there is the possibility that you don't kill me with that shot and you loose everything while I simply suffer a flesh wound. I am not trying to criticize your ability with a cross bow, simply allowing for the possibility."

 

"Now I fear we may have dampened the mood of this most jovial hunt so why don't you save that bolt for some poor animal and let us continue this sport in peace?"

 

:tele:

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Jonas was thinking.

 

Jonas was still thinking.

 

Jonas made a cough.

 

Jonas was thinking again.

 

Jonas made a decision.

 

"Alright," he said to Leo, "You have a point! Let we hunt some animals down!"

:chainsaw:

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"Let us indeed," Andreas said, striding forth from among the trees. "My sincerest apologies that I am late," he added, bowing to the royal party. "Alas, earlier engagements delayed me. But I am here now." He drew from under his cloak a longbow, and a quiver, which hung over his back.

"I did not know you shot, Baron Andreas," Jonas said.

"Oh, I dabble at the MANA archery butts now and again," Andreas said, waving his hand as if to indicate that, alas, he had not been wise enough to turn an ancient hunting technique into a lifetime occupation.

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I was surprised by the Imperial grace and was more than ready to follow the invitation.

 

I reached the domain with my dogs at about 06.30 h. When Sigrdrífa the Valkyrie arrived we discussed what areas each one was going to concentrate on, she gave me a ride and took a few minutes to explain the property since I was not familiar with it. While we were in the process of settling the horses, the Imperial chamberlain said that his Majesty already shot a nice elk.

 

That's when I decided a walk on top of a hill that has a panoramic view of surrounding ridges. Once on top, I started to inspect the opposite areas and ridges. It was not long before I spotted an elk with the biggest rack that I had ever seen. Not knowing where Sigrdrífa location was I asked her by radio not to leave her post, because I had spotted a really huge elk and I did not want him spooked.

 

After calmed down, I placed my shot to make a clean kill, needles to say that Sigrdrífa took the beast with her first arrow.

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