Tales of Freana Geardson
Harken to me sons and daughters of the Sable Star, I am tasked on the natal day of Zubeydah Al-Badawiyyah to tell a tale of the courts of old. For a smile from the lips of this Baroness, I shall try to tell a tale worthy of her day. Know that I am Korwyn Marius Velis Ariannaid, and for a time I was the voice of the Crown of Ansteorra.
I the days of Ansteorra, when we were the youngest realm of the known world our realm was blessed with many a fine noble spirit who shone lights on our paths as we grew. One of these was a fine man, one Freana Geardson, captain of the good ship Raven. In the reign of Lloyd and Jocelyn first of that name they saw fit to elevate him to the Orders of Chivalry as Knight. There upon he swore his oath of chivalry and fealty to the Crown and Kingdom.
As time passed the Crown changed, yet Syr Freana served the land and Crown with great joy, so great was his love for the lands. However, for reasons of state, he at last realized that his life took him away from his beloved land. Long he pondered how he a good knight of Ansteorra could leave the lands and keep his honor and love intact. For he knew that in other lands he, as a knight, must needs give oath to those lands and Crowns, but he was first and always a son of the Sable Star. At last he determined what honor demanded of him.
So he came to his beloved King and Queen and said unto them that as Knight he was always a son of Ansteorra, and that his oath would not be given lightly nor at this time could he conceive of giving such an oath to a Crown not upon the Stellar thrones. Long he and the Crown spoke, and then an agreement was made to honor Freana’s wishes. They agreed that he could surrender his knighthood and they would elevate him as Master of Arms. So, to court he came, called by the Crown through their voice. With heavy heart and tears in his eyes he returned the belt and chain of a knight to Lloyd and Jocelyn, the second of that name upon the thrones. Their Majesties spoke at some length of the virtues of the man and his service to the realm. Then they commanded that a new scroll be read. Freana bowed his head, expecting what had been discussed to happen. But it was not to be, at that moment, rather the voice of the Crown spake “In ancient times it was believed that a Pelican would feed it young with blood from its own breast…” and by command of their Majesties was Freana elevated to the station of Pelican.
When the cheers died down, and their Majesties gave their blessings to him he smiled and began to leave the court when his Majesty called him to hold a moment. His majesty said that since Freana wished to be a Master of Arms he should go and prepare himself to show his skill in challenge against the senior Master of the Realm, who was and remains Master Lloyd von Eaker.
Know this is the tale, and I know it is true as I was that voice.
Korwyn Marius Velis Ariannaid, Baron of the Court of Ansteorra, Baron of the Court of the West, Companion of the Pelican, MSCA.
I am old in this land and in the autumn of my years. I have seen many great folk and many great deeds, and I would speak of one done by Freya Geardson long ago. In the days of young Ansteorra, newest of the seven kingdoms of the world, the fourth king of the Ansteorran line set out to visit the northernmost barony of the young land. Sigmund the Wingfooted was a Norse king, married to a Norse priestess, and he was known for his generosity and his luck, and brightly colored fish played in the wake of his ship. The barony was Namron, and the baron and baroness, Bjorn Magnusson Esping and Gwyneth of Ramsey Mere, invited their king to a feast, and he did journey far to be there, leaving the Stargate and crossing the Steppes.
On hearing that their king was coming, Bjorn and Gwynneth desired to receive him according to his station and rank, to the honor of the barony. They bid the folk of the Raven’s Crew to make this happen.
The Raven’s Crew held many great names, among them Red Orm the Dane, later Skjoldbidig; Ivar of the Volga, later Battleskald; Megan Andoniel of Glengalen; who gave Ansteorra three of her Lions and many of her legends, and Freya Geardson, fated to be king of a distant land. And Freya of them all was charged that day with making ready a place to receive and feast the king, for his hospitality was renowned and source of great pride to him.
The feasting hall was on the shores of a lake named for Thor’s Eagle, and the Raven Crew landed their ship on the shore and made a feasting place. In Iceland at the great Things, chieftains would build strong walls and roof them with the sails. Namron instead had a strong roof ready, so they built a firepit in the center rounded with benches and trestles, with a seat for the king at the end of the hall. That end of the hall was covered in gold cloth upon which shone the black star of the kingdom and black storm of the barony. Their efforts pleased the baron and baroness, for Namron would please the king and shine as a place of welcome and honor. Unfortunately, their efforts evidently pleased Thor as well, for he began to bless the hall with rain and wind and thunder. And so the Raven’s Crew made walls of sails, stretching canvas to shelter those within, so that even with the storm and gales, the fire burned and the smoke rose to the rafters and those within were warm and dry.
And so Namron feasted its king and offered entertainments. In those days, it was customary to share stories of the lands you lived in before you came to Ansteorra, and Red Orm stepped forward. Opening his cloak to show his axe Trolleater, he chanted the Ormsaga for the first time in Ansteorran history. This saga became celebrated throughout the land; Ivar Battleskald would later sing it on many battlefields and at many campfires; Jarlinde Kemreth would later sing this song far to the south in the Bear’s Fort. Sigmund the king was well pleased and showed his generosity, granting Orm both gifts and word-fame.
Then Freya, tall and hook-nosed, fearsome to those who did not know him and loved of those who did, stepped forward, and bid the king speak to say if he was satisfied or if aught was lacking. He in no way expected to hear a lack, for he and the crew had labored long and put much thought into this reception and entertainments.
But Sigmund looked up at Freya and frowned as he spoke, saying, “Well have I been received; the ale has flowed and the food has pleased and the skalds are skilled. Yet I am puzzled why people of the northlands have not offered me the traditional bowl of milk.”
Freya valued hospitality and the blessing of guests above all else, and he stood for Namron as their host for this feasting, and he was dismayed. He retreated and sought Orm, longer in lore, to ask of what the king spoke. And Orm told him the king spoke truly. Presenting a bowl of milk was the mark of hospitality among the Northmen. “Actually,” quoth Orm, “For one of Sigmund’s station, it should be cream.”
Freya’s face fell, for nowhere among the many items of food and drink laid in for this feasting was either milk or cream. And outside the blessing of Thor continued, the rain fell in sheets and the thunder boomed and the wind sought entrance. Yet Freya, finding no cream in the hall, knew his duty and ventured into the howling storm to quest for this gift for the king, that Namron’s hospitality lack nothing.
All this time the hall was filled with feasting and merriment and loud boasts. Songs were sung, challenges were made, laughter and jests and ale flowed. None of this Freya saw. Freya saw dark roads and rain and many closed doors. The village nearest the hall was not large and shopkeepers had closed their shutters to the storm. Warm and dry, they frowned at the dripping giant on their stoops and turned him away. But at last he found what he sought and sloshed back to the hall. He returned to the applause of Thor – a thunderclap shook the hall as he thrust open the door and entered. He filled the door, looking down the hall to the king, and walked toward him. His every step was accompanied by the soft patter of water drops; the fire spat its displeasure of the dripping as he passed.
Freya stopped and stood before the king. Water dripped from his cloak and hat and hair. Water dripped from his ears and his hooked nose. And he looked at the king, who sat smiling and warm and dry to hear what this wet vision would say.
Freya straightened. He opened his cloak to display a brimming bowl. And with all the courtly grace of a true Viking, he snarled, “Here’s your damned cream!”
And thus did the heroic efforts of Freya Geardson safeguard Namron’s honor by providing the utmost in hospitality to its guests. His quest sealed the fame of his baron and baroness for making welcome their royalty.
This is a true tale of things I saw come to pass.
Hrabia Jan w Orzeldom