Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
A cheerful, gregarious warrior of the Volga Rus', this ghoul guards Lady Katerina of Adrianople. He is Agmundir's brother-in-arms and a former Varangian Guard.
A heavily built, cheerful Norseman with a bristly blonde beard, and a mane of blonde hair cropped short on top for his helmet. He wears mail and garb reminiscent of the Varangian Guard, though the Raven insignia is nowhere on his person. He bears a veritable feast of arms, with a dagger and a throwing axe at his belt, a bastard sword sheathed across his back and a long-hafted Daneaxe in his hands. He carries his shield slung across his back. One of his front teeth is missing.
A warrior of the Volga Rus, this massive man hails from a village not far from the city state of Novgorod. Unlike his brother-in-arms Agmundir, he has more tolerance and cheer for dealing with all strata of humanity, having grown to adulthood alongside Slavs who were every bit as fierce as the Rus’. Haldirr, like many of the great warriors among the Norse, travelled to Constantinople more than a century ago to enlist in the Varangian Guard. Like the rest, he was attracted to the silver, the wine and the women. However, he was also full of wonderment from the great tales of the Queen of Cities that he had heard from merchants, missionaries and warriors who returned from the Greek capital with more wealth than they could ever spend.
After years of dedicated service (drunkenness and brawling) with the Varangians, Haldir had failed to advance far and had grown restless and (more) reckless. While his reputation for martial prowess was nigh unequalled, his lack of discipline and foolhardiness often left him facing punishment. He was getting weaker and slower, and he was nearing retirement with little to show for it. Haldir met Lady Katerina and Agmundir at a tavern in the Latin Quarter one night and, overconfident as ever and attracted to the lady of Kievan Rus’, he bet all the silver in his purse that he could beat the Dane in a wrestling contest. He won.
The mesmerising lady smiled and said, “Would you care to try again? With an opponent of my choice this time?”
The boastful Rus replied, “I am the strongest man alive! I can best any man.”
Lady Katerina laughed, “And what of a woman? Would you wrestle with a woman of the Rus’?”
Thinking she meant something else altogether different, Haldir flashed his gap-toothed leer, “To wrestle with you, my sweet, I’d wager my whole world!”
A dangerous light blossomed in the pale woman’s eyes, and she simply said, “Good.”
From that night forward, Haldir has served the Lady Katarina, giving up his place (but not association) in the Varangian Guard and serving as her bodyguard alongside Agmundir. He willingly serves as second to the Dane, though he tests the older warrior occasionally to see if he has gotten soft. The Rus has been a ghoul since AD 1082, and loves his existence in spite of the unwholesome urges that occasionally come over him. He is strong, tough, and vital and will be in a 1000 years if fortune favours him. He is in the service of the most beautiful and noble creature in the world, and he would do anything for her.
Life is good.
Haldir’s cheerful and gregarious nature endeared him to Content Not Found: gunther-ritter-von-wolfgang during the investigation into the deaths of the Narsene Lasombra Adrianna and Juliano. When Lady Iulia was sent to Transylvania to construct the tower in Tihuta Pass, and Agmundir was sent to protect her, the Rus warrior could ill disguise his pleasure at being left behind to guard their mistress.
Over the years since Katerina was forced to join her progeny in Weissenburg, Haldir has reinvented himself as a guard of that city’s night watch. He has been given command of a squad of men who patrol the river port. His rough and tumble attitude and brawn come in handy there, and meanwhile he keeps his eye out for trouble and his ear out for news.
First Thrall: AD 1082.