Séamus Mac Cearbhaig
6' 2" human, wind-scarred tanned skin, muscular frame, blond, blue-eyed Northron, tankard hanging jauntily at his waist over a kilt
Belt holding pouch and a few small axes
Two-Handed Sword of the King of the Cave strapped to his back
Signs of tattoos showing above neckline of shirt
Large wolf tooth on leather thong
“”/wikis/the-dragon-gods-of-the-north" class=“wiki-page-link”> Stormbringer’s horns, but that is a lot of Northfolk!" Séamus Mac Cearbhaigh winced inwardly immediately after he realized that he had spoken them out loud being that this was the third time he had commented on the size of the crowd at the Moot.
Séamus snuck a glance at his father to see if his lack of composure would be acknowledged. Cearbhaigh simply nodded at his son’s comment, and Séamus knew him well enough to sense that the chief of the Clan of the Bronze was filled with a similar awe.
Séamus knew that he was privileged and fortunate to be included with his elder brother, Fergus, to attend this Moot of the Northern Peoples, though for dark reasons. While of age, he would not have normally been invited to allow room for his father’s clansmen and his brother, who had already proven worthy as a second to his father, but the truth was that the scourges from the northern waste had pillaged their coastline and left an uncomfortable few leaders who were willing to leave their clans to travel and represent the Bronze Clan, that or they were dead already. This alone showed the threat they were under, a threat that was surely to more into the rest of the rest of the Dragon Kingdoms.
His father’s desire to wait for the answers of attendance of his clansmen had caused further delay which added to the long ride from the coast. Most of the other clans had gathered already and the coast-men had been relegated to the edge of the temporary encampment, further souring Cearbhaigh’s already terse mood.
Cearbhaigh and his sons left their clansmen to set up their tents while they went to announce their arrival to the Lord Steward, as was customary before the more formal gathering at the Moot.
The Lord Steward was surrounded by other clan’s chiefs. As the coast-men walked through this audience, Séamus recalled the memory of his father and clan members after a night of celebration, something that was made uncommon since the raids started taking their toll.
“Greetings to the Bronzed Clan,” the Lord Steward said sourly, with no hint of welcome or genuine friendship. From his vantage, Séamus could take in the surrounding Northmen and others that stood in a place close to the Lord Steward and was surprised to see a range of expressions from grins of malice to looks of concern. Most troubling was the proximity of the grins were nearest to the Lord Steward.
“Greetings Chief Uaithne, “ Cearbhaigh returned with a careful salute as was customary between equals. Kneeling was practised, but reserved for great displays of humility, such as a king that had earned that respect be paid, and Uaithne certainly had not done anything that warranted that. Séamus wondered how many in the room had already bent their knee for some perceived promise that Uaithne could offer.
“We understand that you bring troubling news from the North Coast,” Uaithne continued as he gestured to the group of assembled chiefs.
“That we do.” Séamus could hear the stress and sadness in his father’s voice. For the weeks leading up to this meeting Cearbhaigh was concerned that the survival of their coast would hinge on the reaction to their plight during this Moot. The aid and involvement of the other clans was needed to prevent the further destruction down the coastline and, potentially, into the interior of the Dragon Kingdoms.
Cearbhaigh continued, “Our coastal villages have been set upon by a terror unlike any other that is pouring out of the Northern Wastes. Survivors have reported that they had been set upon by an overwhelming number of walking corpses, demons, wizards and worse.”
There erupted a murmur of the others talking about the reality of this threat that gave Cearbhaigh pause. Séamus noticed a range of reactions, from mumbled concern to stifled guffaws, which allowed him to realize that whatever sentiment and hope that he held that these clans would unite to quell this threat to the North was not one that was held by the others. He felt the beginnings of a rage boiling up in him that those who shared a land, culture and heritage may believe that the coastal peoples were so insignificant that they would delay in banding together to cut the head off of a threat that had the potential to grow large enough to threaten all of those that resided here.
A figure from behind the Lord Steward stepped forward to place a hand on Uaithne’s shoulder and leaned forward to whisper something in his ear. Amid the rising turmoil, only Séamus seemed to notice this silent counsellor. Uaithne gave pause to attend this previously silent counsellor, nodded and then raised his hand to silence and bring the focus of the room back to him.
The din slowed and eventually grew quiet. “Honoured chiefs, perhaps now is not the time to discuss such matters, best leave Cearbhaigh’s thought provoking matter until tomorrow when all will gather after some rest. Our wits will be sharper and Cearbhaigh will have our proper attention to address his concerns.
The three members of the Bronze Clan looked at each other. If this was not an appropriate time or venue, then why begin the conversation by asking the question in the first place? Why allow the other chiefs to discuss it at all? Séamus’s father took a moment to look around the room to gauge the others, but his brother only shook his head, but the rage that had been brewing in Séamus began to come to a head and he stepped forward with the intent of having his voice heard. Cearbhaigh reached out and grabbed his arm firmly enough to halt his steps and gently enough to remind Séamus of his place.
Séamus tried to drown his worries with ale at the feast that night. Many clans brought their female warriors, but they were having none of him. His tattoos and saunter marked him as a seaman, which many saw as cowardice as their small raiding parties moved quickly along the coast and river-ways to avoid losses and point their longboats at the next target. To enter into prolonged battles to show some version of honour was counter productive. The coastal villages were well stocked with goad and plunder, but trained, seaworthy warriors were a scarce resource.
His brother and father seemed just as pensive, attempting to circulate and make obligatory contact with other clan chiefs, but they seemed to be just as shunned and they carried a growing sense of nervousness about tomorrow’s events. If the seriousness and desperation of their situation could not be conveyed, their coastline and, they grew increasingly convinced, they entire North was in danger.
The Moot was informal by nature, but that did not prevent chiefs from jockeying closer to one another to show or attempt to gain alliances amongst each other. Even the Lord Steward’s position was as one of the crowd, though he did have the honour of speaking first to address issues. From there it could turn into a chaotic affair of points raised, arguments given and the occasional bout of fisticuffs breaking out to emphasize a point or solidify a position.
The Lord Steward raised his tankard. “Wyrmgurd!” he cried and the crowd responded in kind by raising their tankards and bellowing the same. “Those with something to say to the assembled clan chiefs may speak your peace.”
Cearbhaigh began to rise to speak, but someone else was quicker, a chief who must have already been in the motion of standing as Uaithne was finishing his breath. “Assembled chiefs, I wish to request your support in the ending of the boarder raids of _____ on the
-—— …….” Séamus recognized the speaker of one of those assembled in the Lord Steward’s tent the night before.
Cearbhaigh sat down heavily and scowled. Not only did he not speak first, but such a mundane issue that had not been resolved for years would ensure that most of the assembly would be well into their ale before the issues pressing on Olkstad would be heard.
Séamus watched the sun move across the sky as he tried to recall his father’s advice about sipping slowly and remaining calm, however it did not take much of this conversation before he felt his blood rise. If they did not have the full attention of every chief assembled at this Moot, how could their country be prepared for the hoard that was building in the North.
“Chiefs of the Dragon Kingdoms, I bring tides of great trouble from our position on the Olkstad coast.” Séamus heard his father’s voice as Fergus shook him back to attention. “We have been beset upon by raiders from the Northern Wastes, the like have never been previously seen. They burn our villages, lay waste to our crops and destroy our people, ensuring that the survivors who tell the tale are brutally wounded, unable to return to fight. This threat is large and will prove not only a threat to Olkstad but, eventually to the entire Northron people.”
This sent the gathering of chiefs talking amongst themselves, but the reaction among them was not as great as Séamus anticipated; half seemingly expressing concern while the others occupied themselves with filling their tankards. Séamus was also sure that he saw the mysterious counselor from the night before smirk.
Cearbhaigh gave pause as he surveyed the room and this gave space enough for the calls:
“Another band of frost giants attacking by land and giving the boat people trouble….”
“Perhaps the water froze this year, making stealing thin….”
"Upstart orcs and goblins that the river rats need help with… "
"Cowards with no idea of battle tactics…. "
Séamus felt himself beginning to shake with rage and noticed his brother redden with anger. Cearbhaigh maintained a calm demeanour, "This is a threat unlike any before, harkening to the time of Legends. An evil combination of horrors; the dead walk, demons and magic wielders leading…. " He was unable to continue through the din, though some of the chiefs were visibly taken aback and held their words. As cowardly as the boat-people may have been seen, they were not considered liars.
The questions, accusations and voices were coming louder and quicker, so much so that Cearbhaigh could not get a word in to respond or further explain the situation. It seemed that the entire assembly was on their feet and the clamour was rising to a deafening level as some were arguing to hear Cearbhaigh out and others claiming that it was a passing threat that the coast must deal with on their own.
“Enough. Fucking enough, you old blowhards!” Séamus was on his feet, speaking, shouting without realizing it, unwittingly putting himself at the center of attention of the assembly. “We have come to you with a problem that we believe will threaten the entire North and its people, yet this assembly strives to remain divided. We face an enemy that does not recognize boarders, is not interested in gold or resources and whatever else we claim as ours, those things that keep us divided.” Séamus felt his shaking subside and took a quick breath.
“This assembly,” he stressed the word, "is forgetting its history, its strength, its freedom while united under a High King. While united, the Northrons could face any force or threat. As this horde runs wild down the coast, it has shown no sign of stopping, no sign of thinning. Our people tell of stories just as gruesome now as when the attacks started, if not more-so.
“See us as cowardly or not, able to defend ourselves or not, we are asking this assembly for aid, to present a united front of Northrons to face this horde and wipe it out before it wipes out the North. As this horde grows, so do the desires of the southern nations and I would dare say soon that they will be willing to take what they want from the Dragon Kingdoms unbidden.
“This Moot has the power to choose to assemble and unite to offer aid and should not remain divided due to petty squabbles, but look to unify in might to keep our ways, keep our land, our customs and our people. We need to look to face these problems with the clans of the Dragon Kingdoms united under a High King.”
A murmur rustled through the crowd of chiefs as they grasped Séamus’s words and, gradually became a series of consenting cheers. Séamus stole a glance at the Lord Steward who appeared unmoved, as did his counsellor; neither had any of the qualities the Northrons would seek in a high King, it truly was a mystery as to who among them might. Yet, the dark figure nearest the Lord Steward stepped forward and a humming buzzed in Séamus’s ears. The assembly quieted as they turned their attention to the skald, who was beginning a poem of the legendary rebel who earned the ire of the dragon gods by asking for more than they were prepared to give. Once all eyes were fixed on him, including those of Cearbhaigh and brother, the skald stepped back and the Lord Steward spoke.
“Who are you to call upon the recreation of the High King, young upstart? Do you believe you, yourself, have the qualities of bringing the clans together, you with your boatsman’s swagger and hot-bloodedness?”
Séamus glanced around for support, but the chiefs were all looking in the direction of Uaithne and the poet, some were already nodding.
“The time of the High Kings has passed; 300 years past. The Northrons are a free people with their own laws, their own clans, without obligations and answer to no one….”
“We were free under the High King too,” Séamus interjected, “our only obligation was to protect each other. Unlike the southerners, we did not pay our king, or worship him.”
Some chiefs turned back to Séamus at those words, but the humming grew louder and the poem was taken up again. At that the nodding in support of Séamus ceased, attention given back to the reciter of the poem.
“By the Bronze, what sort of charm magic is this?” Séamus said looking around him before focussing on the skald. Séamus took a step forward and very quickly there were hands restraining him.
The time for talk was over. Séamus flexed against the hands and strained toward the skald, reaching for his scimitar. More hands were upon him, preventing any more movement than that.
“Would it be you wishing to be High King? To make the clans a version of those barons in the south; paying, swearing loyalty to a common king? Loosing their individual identity?” Uaithne went on as a multitude of strong arms hauled Séamus to the ground. “No, better we remain as we are, free, as loose clans, taking care of our own.”
The skald came forward to where Séamus was being held. Séamus searched the eyes of those closest to him and found vacant stares. The skald touched Séamus’s forehead with a smile and darkness followed.
Séamus awoke to the spray of sea water. He struggled, remembering the hands that held him, but it was ropes this time and they cut into his arms, wrists and body. After a moment of terror, he realized he was tied to the prow of a boat, from his distance above the surface of the water and the rate it was passing below him, it was a rather big boat.
“Captain, looks li’ our guest still has some life to ’im!” was called out behind and above him.
The scuffle of boots and feet on the deck could be heard over the spray and gulls, as well as the slow, measured walk of someone in command.
“Whaddya know! I guess our Northron isn’t ready to head through ”/wikis/kadan-the-gatekeeper" class=“wiki-page-link”> Kadan’s gates yet. Get ‘im down, ya scurvy dogs, but don’t bang ’is ’ead too hard."
The arms that brought Séamus off the prow were strong and measured, until he was aboard, then they let go to let the deck rush up to meet him. From his new vantage point, all Séamus saw were the feet and boots of these boatsmen, but they were not of Olkstad fashion. He struggled to rise, but did not have the strength to get up.
“I wouldn’t be tryin’ to get up for a bit, ya tattooed menace. We were paid well to bring you aboard and take you ta sea, but keepin’ you alive was my decision. You’ve been helpin’ us steer for some time now,” the captain’s voice said to the chuckles of the men around him. “We were told that were from the Olkstad coast, which should make you comfortable on the water, and with that build I would imagine that you’d be of use to replace Jacques, especially as yours don’t ha’ the reputation for cheating at dice.” More chuckles.
The captain went on, “If you get your strength back and earn your keep, you’ll be as welcome to stay aboard The Dark Lady as any of us. If not, it’s a whipping, keelhauling then overboard, but not necessarily in that order.” Murmurs of agreement from the men. They rolled Séamus onto his side for his first view of the crowd." I’m Captain Prancy, until the crew decides otherwise." He held his hand out and smiled, showing his crooked, yellowed teeth. “Do we have a deal?”
Séamus spent the next few years a pirate [acquisition of the trait and developing the Sea Reaver archetype, departing from the fighter that he was probably being trained for as chief’s son]. As such, he saw a lot of the area around the Drift, including the legendary floating islands.
During those years, Séamus was took part in reaving boats and shore alike, thoroughly enjoying this freedom and the style of leadership displayed by Captain Prancy, depending on each individual’s desire to gain, live and support their crew-mates without the necessity of rigid rules and structures. A crew of equality, all onboard participated, men and women, in the gaining, distributing and spending the plunder. The pirates were not the first to shed blood on their ventures, but did not hesitate to participate in battle if it came to them.
The story that eventually came out from the captain and the older crew was that Cearbhaigh, himself, paid a vast sum to have Séamus taken aboard and “disposed of,” and ensuring that The Dark Lady away from Olkstad’s shores made to look like Séamus got drunk in disgrace after returning from the Moot and signed himself up for serving on the ship. To Séamus, the idea of his father paying vast sums of money to avoid pirates and not punish Séamus himself suggested the interference of others. The captain and crew did avoid the North, meaning that Séamus really had little opportunity to pursue the truth of the matter or the status of his homeland.
Over the time on The Dark Lady, Séamus found himself in many roles onboard, but his inexperience and hotheadedness kept him out of gaining leadership positions, like that of quartermaster and first mate.
All came to a jolting end with the attack of a sailor’s nightmare. A kraken chose to prey on their ship. Séamus found himself in the rigging as the sea boiled and this monstrosity attacked. While his crew-mates found themselves on a pitching ship’s deck, Séamus was able to stay relatively steady as the kraken lifted and split the ship. He was eventually grabbed by a tentacle that was searching to gain hold and upset the ship with the topmast, but, after being torn off the rigging, he had the presence of mind and good luck to get his dagger underneath and encourage the suckers to detach so that they could move on and seek out a less pointy hold.
Plunging a great distance into the sea below, Séamus’s ability to hold his breath for a great length of time allowed him to struggle for the churning surface, bobbing for a great time in the madness created by The Dark Lady being broken apart and dragged down. Eventually, he was able to swim away and find a floating piece of the boat that was his home for a number of years.
After a great length of time being adrift and as hope seemed to be lost, Séamus washed up on the shores of Lowall and was taken in by a peasant family. It quickly became obvious that these humble people were not familiar with his tattoos, both of the pirate variety and the massive image of Myraxadin on his torso and wrapped over his shoulder. As repayment for their kindness, Séamus laboured for the family under the alias William Jarvis until he regained his health and became comfortable with his place in the world. Thoughts turned to home and the events that must have been happening there over the time that he was away. Eventually, in conversations with the family, they understood that he did not belong in their quiet, rural community and without his knowledge, sought the help of the Sage.
The Sage took him into his employ for a number of months before…….