A Midgardian's Saga
Skald Broki Styverson
Description: Traveling Skald at Vardingbriga. He was a middle-aged man but pretty handsome, bit of grey stubble and dark graying hair that is close-cut. He had a strong jawline and a very laid-back attitude that was extremely pleasant for all that encountered him. He can both sing and play the harp.
Story: When first the heroes came to Vardingbriga, they heard Broki singing with the others. He was singing a rousing local jingle:
“And when the beauty of day’s past is at last gone,
We will drink to our fathers and our brothers till dawn;
Loving and hating and living and dying,
Winning and losing and doing and trying;
None shall tell us who we shall be save the Norn;
And we shall tell her when our threads will be torn!”
Broki immediately took an interest in Brynja when she entered the camp at Vardingbriga. He invited her to begin singing, and the two of them danced and sang and enjoyed one another’s company most of the night. At some point, Broki asked Brynja to sing of the jarl’s praises – to which Brynja tried to do just that, singing that the jarl was a good man (from the little she knew of him). Broki responded with quite a skalding, which he then explained;
“A cup to the Jarl, that chap crowned in mange;
His head-snow tricked Skadi to think it a range.
Left a bride fully of beauty to wither and die;
And jumped in his own daughter as a bed-sack to lie.
His ship’s hold’s weighed down by the gold of the west,
But she’s taking on water from his girth-bursted vest.
So hope against hope, and fear against fear,
That he who is far-traveled shall not travel here!”
At that, Broki was impressed with Brynja’s skill, and set her to a challenge – a Flyting, and whoever won the flyting would choose the bedside of the other. Brynja was less than enthused, but Broki seemed to dive into the challenge with gusto. His skolds were quite insulting, however;
“An Ode to the beauty, crowned with Liek’s-gold;
Her eyes shine bright, like the stories of old;
Great like the dawn-crier, that sings o’er the hill;
And conveys on its tongue no Norn-thoughs of ill.
A countenance so blessed, with the gem-ransom paid;
Loving as rage-song on the boar-wife’s great bed.
With a wisdom so true, it cuts through the why;
Of a mind so staid, that it discerns not the lie.
I wonder, fair lady, what drives you to dwell;
In the place of a lie, there’s a sad truth to tell.
Love is for lovers, and sex is for whores;
I know where you stand as you open your doors.
Don’t sop for me, for there’s plenty to see;
And I’m sure you’re still waiting to descend from my tree;
It’s an oft-missed direction, but one you know well,
and I’ll wave to you kindly as you set off to Hel!”
Brynja was unable to keep up with the voracity and skill of Broki’s skold, and so the halflings – Jeraboam, in particular – proclaimed Broki the winner. Broki seemed rather sheepish after the flyting, as it was meant as a test of each other’s skill, rather than as any sort of insult (and Brynja seemed to take it as such – not his intention). Yet, despite his misgivings, and despite his thoughts that he had irritated the beautiful Skald (“won the contest but lost the prize”), Brynja surprised him by staying with him that night. In the morning, Brynja left before he had awakened (but left him a note), and he was gone by the time the heroes returned to Vardingbriga. The people of the camp stated he left in good spirits, and he has yet to be seen again.