“Armed for Battle”: a backstory for Brunihild for the One Ring

A while back you may have seen my character creation process for Brunihild for a game of the One Ring I did not get to play – yet. You can see the character creation here https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/brunihildtheonering/

As a very thorough player that I am, I cannot create a character without giving them a back story – does not feel right. How am I supposed to know who they are if I don’t tell others?! But this is no news – everyone knows I am the best bard in all of Krynn! (I will tell you about it one day). So this the background for Brunihild. I am a massive Tolkien fan, so I have tried to keep the story consistent, not only with One Ring dynamics, but so I would fit in within the general narrative sphere of Middle-earth:

Telling you about me is telling you my people’s entire history, and I wouldn’t believe you’d have time for that.
My kin are a special breed. Our leader Beorn, has kept his people safe for many years. We come from many places, but we are all family. However, strangers we do not like, or not much anyway. Great harm has come in the past to my people from strangers, and Beorn once learnt that the heart of Men, Dwarves and Elves can easily be corrupted. Gold, power, treasure. All insignificant.

My family has been with Beorn for as long as it is possible. My grandfather used to tell stories of the Wilderness, when the valley of Anduin enjoyed sunshine and happiness, and both the animals and the trees were free, and men kept to themselves. But the Shadow arose. Then others started to join us. Many were scared of the rumour of the Dragon by the Lonely Mountain, others about what lurked in the forest. Beorn protects those who deserve his trust. Like my grandfather, my father and my mother have always taken care of those who come seeking refuge. The old man used to say that people were not necessarily evil, just misguided, and that hatred or suspicion would not always contribute to a situation. Beorn was not of the same opinion, but as my family meant well and were always vigilant and strong – and my mother’s honey cakes are worthy of song!- he never doubted my forebears judgement, and accepted our kindness and eagerness with joy.

But the Shadow comes to us all…My brother, Grimbald, he is a few years older than me. He was always as hot-headed as the come. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he was half dwarf. He was a warrior in the mountains, he liked it up there, while my parents always preferred the comfort of the valley. One day, a party of orcs deviated quite far north trying to avoid the darkness of the forest, which is so haunting these days even those filthy vermin do not dare it. In any case, Grimbald run into them with a few others, and he chased them until they got rid of them. But my brother had been on the mountains alone for too long, and something in him had changed, something crept, like the slime under your bed in a wet winter night. Something that made his blades thirsty for more blood. Orc, trolls, wolves…they all turn the same. There was no stopping him. Then, one fateful night, one of his companions came down to the settlement. He was bringing word to my father “Your son, Grimbald” he said “he has been wounded. I do not know if he will make it through the night”. My mother cried. My father looked disappointed. He didn’t understand what had driven his own child to this obsessive slaughter. The rest of our kin came close and took care of my mother’s tears, while my father followed the messenger up the mountains, full of anger and despair. I thought of staying with my mother, but perhaps the powers had better plans. So I followed my father. He was so furious he barely noticed. And when we arrived, there, in an opening in the rock, a cave they used as a shelter when it was dark, was Grimbald with other two men, wounded as well, but not so badly. They said he had saved them when a raid of orcs attacked them. They said they had followed them, and set an ambush…Grimbald’s deep brown eyes were misty. My brother’s healthy and stout look was turned to a joke of himself, while he was spitting bile from his mouth. My father checked the wound: right on the stomach, his guts pierced, and a stench coming from them…He feared poison.

I run up to the light of the fire where my brother was seeking warmth. They hadn’t exchanged a word those two. Too proud. Too angry. Too anxious that their time was short. I reached for my brother, and I called his name. He looked right in the eyes, but it was like if he was looking to a stranger. A cold breeze came through the opening of the cave…And Grimbald’s spirit was gone. My only brother died in front of me, due to his own stubbornness, his arrogance, and ignorance of the world and its ways. My father brought the body down to the settlement and we buried him. And that was the day, when I picked his axes and adopted them as mine, and I stopped baking honey-cake with my mother. I decided that as foolish as Grimbald was, there was a reason why he died. Because, the truth is that there is great evil in this world. Beorn has saved my family, but Beorn wasn’t there to protect Grimbald, or those traveller that go stray and get lost to the Orcs and their Wargs…

Because the age of man is not over, and I will not give it up to a bunch of stinking, and glorified slaves of the Dark Lord. And for that, I am armed for battle. You can walk with me if you may, but there is no looking behind. Not until my soul is at peace.

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