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Alex
05-15-2012, 03:50 PM
Hello and welcome! Over the next few weeks we're going to be releasing a multiple part story set in the world of The Banner Saga. It'll be the first time we've really talked about the setting, the history and key concepts of the world. We'll be releasing a new part every week, so make sure to check out the latest updates! Without further ado, the first part:

http://stoicstudio.com/uploaded/lore_part1.jpg
A lot of things were on Hafr’s mind.

Foremost was the ache that had found its way into his feet, unaccustomed as they were to shuffling across hard rock in thin leather shoes. The intricately carved walking stick in his hand had become more of an anchor than an aid. Aside from that, there was the complex pattern he had been failing to memorize for a week, the cumbersome bundle of books and scrolls boring into his shoulders and the irksome memory of a disappointing conclusion to an awkward conversation he had left on the lips of a girl. It chafed, looping over and over in his head with nothing but backcountry paths to distract him from it, and no recourse to be taken. At least, not until he was done with this, another pointless errand.

This was probably why when the bag slipped over his face, and an immeasurable force throttled him by the neck, dashing his head against hard earth, Hafr had no idea it was coming. He wasn’t certain whether he was blacking out or the covering obstructed the light, but his fight or flight instincts had clearly chosen a third option: embrace death. Briefly he considered that the decision may already be beyond him. Muffled voices made casual agreements to take something or go somewhere. Laughter. Then there was the sort of weightlessness that accompanied being hoisted by one’s mid-section, the irregular bounce of a long gait, and finally, there was no mistaking it; a quick descent into unconsciousness.

Hafr awoke to fading sunlight and an intense throbbing behind the eyes, uncertain of whether his head or self-worth had been crushed more, so quickly had he accepted his fate. He sat propped up in a thicket that had been nowhere in sight when last he held dominion over his senses.

Across from him sat a giant. Assuredly not a large man but something else altogether, sporting thick charcoal horns from his head, curved like a yox, an abundant mane and beard equal parts braid and knot, and cumbrous arms extending far beyond the reach of any man. He used them now to hold one of Hafr’s books at an uncomfortable reading distance, thumbing through the pages like the concept itself were foreign. Hafr realized he was alone with a varl, and it did nothing to ease his mind. He knew of varl, but even though they were fairly common sight he had never been in the company of one, relatively sheltered as he had been by the walls of the Guild. Eventually the giant glanced in his direction, noticing that his captive had begun to stir.

“I wasn’t looking for pictures, if you’re wondering,” said the varl with the sort of growling inflection you’d expect to hear coming from a horned giant. He pushed off one knee to hoist himself up to a full height of what must have been at least twelve feet. “You know what I was looking for?”

Hafr remained silent, not only because he was terrified, but because he had no idea.

“I was looking for something of value!” The varl guffawed, gesturing to the contents of Hafr’s pack, splayed across the dirt around them. “Instead, I got books filled with a bunch of things I already knew. So I was worried that we might have wasted your time, my friend.” He frowned. “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

Hafr took a moment to weigh his options, and erred on the side of metered compliance. He had no idea who this assailant was or how much he knew, and more importantly, what might happen if he was caught in a lie. “Hafr,” he finally mumbled.

“Hafr?” replied the varl. “Boy, your father named you “Goat”? Maybe he was hoping for a daughter? Hah! Goat it is. Mine’s Bersi.” He tossed the book in the pile beside him and leaned forward on his knees. “Anyway, as I was saying, my companion and I were almost brought to tears thinking that we had throttled you for no good reason, but then we got to looking at that walking stick.”

Hafr did his best to show no reaction.

“Against all odds,” continued Bersi, “You’re the most valuable thing in the bunch! It’s not every day that we have a Mender tied to a tree, so he’s gone off to show your wet nurses that stick of yours and see if they’d like to have the owner back. In the meantime we’ll be spending some time together, what do you say?”

“The Guild’s more likely to drop him off a cliff than pay him,” Hafr managed to squeek.

“Listen, Goat, it’s touching that you’re worried on our behalf, but let us fret about the details. Just relax and we’ll all go on our way if I don’t yawn myself to an early grave first. Agreed?”

Oddly enough, Hafr did relax a bit with the knowledge that the circle would be involved. However they chose to deal with this, things would probably end poorly for these brigands.

“Goats stay out in the yard,” announced Bersi, who was disappearing off into the bracken. “We’ll speak again tomorrow.”

The rope around Hafr’s neck dug into his skin as he shifted his weight against the tree, his bound hands and feet making it more difficult than it should have been. Aside from his pack and books, the small clearing was featureless. So Hafr sat and fretted. The night descended like a bag over his face.

Read: Part II (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?102-What-is-Told&p=2315&viewfull=1#post2315)

Wyatt
05-15-2012, 05:19 PM
Man, some people just can't catch a break.

Thermops
05-15-2012, 07:38 PM
Super excited to hear more of this.

Eberict
05-15-2012, 09:07 PM
Funny thing: I absolutely adore goats. They are my favourite animal and I love their horns. One of my online handles even involves goats, haha... Guess who I'm rooting for (and hoping is in the game!)

kettels
05-16-2012, 12:21 AM
Nice to get little snippets like this.

chutril
05-16-2012, 12:30 AM
That last sentence was a nice touch.

McFly
05-16-2012, 01:21 AM
Finally, a hit of back story to sooth my craving for game lore. Although now I rue that this will become a thing where each day during a free moment I eagerly click on my bookmarked link, knowing it's not up yet, and am still inexplicably disappointed at the lack of an update. Damn you Stoic :(

Troll
05-16-2012, 05:10 AM
Great news that we get to know better the setting already. Thanks for the new paper by the way.

Mr. Referee
05-16-2012, 06:40 AM
Sounds great so far! Jeez though, poor guy.

GorillaGrod
05-16-2012, 10:24 AM
Awesome! Thanks guys. Very excited to get to learn more about the beautiful world you are creating for us.

Alex
05-16-2012, 11:11 AM
Finally, a hit of back story to sooth my craving for game lore. Although now I rue that this will become a thing where each day during a free moment I eagerly click on my bookmarked link, knowing it's not up yet, and am still inexplicably disappointed at the lack of an update. Damn you Stoic :(

If it helps to know, we'll be putting up a new update every Monday.

Thanks for the great feedback, everybody!

Tsuga C
05-16-2012, 01:37 PM
Raiders and traders, often in that order. Very Norse-like. Say on, oh loremaster!

kincajou
05-16-2012, 05:03 PM
That last sentence was a nice touch.

So true.
But the best image i've ever read was from "do android dream of electric sheep.
Philip k. Dick takes one paragraph to say "the silence was oppressing"

Silence. It flashed from the woodwork and the walls; it smote him with an awful, total power, as if generated by a vast mill. It rose from the floor, up out of the tattered grey wall-to-wall carpeting. It unleashed itself from the broken and semi-broken appliances in the kitchen, the dead machines which hadn't worked in all the time Isidore had lived here. From the useless pole lamp in the living room it oozed out, meshing with the empty and wordless descent of itself from the fly-specked ceiling. It managed in fact to emerge from every object within his range of vision, as if it – the silence – meant to supplant all things tangible. Hence it assailed not only his ears but his eyes; as he stood by the inert TV set he experienced the silence as visible and, in its own way, alive. Alive! He had often felt its austere approach before; when it came it burst in without subtlety, evidently unable to wait.The silence of the world could not rein back its greed. Not any longer. Not when it had virtually won.

i have never actually read such a long description for something this simple before, but it just fits incredibly well.

jkalos
05-17-2012, 01:50 PM
Very nice! I am looking forward to more stories. I too like the last line of the story:nice touch.

SpaceyJess
05-17-2012, 02:29 PM
Can't wait for more of the story! Thanks Stoic!!

JokerAR
05-17-2012, 02:38 PM
It's nice to finally put a character to some of the artwork! It's strange that we know so little about the game- yet the revelation that we're looking at a Varl still comes wih the feeling of an exciting cameo.

Alex
05-21-2012, 01:09 PM
http://www.stoicstudio.com/uploaded/lore_part2.jpg

When Hafr finally did sleep it was poor and fitful, a combination of discomfort and disturbed dreams, so that when the sun arose the next morning he was more exhausted than before he had fallen asleep.

Again, Bersi sat across from him quietly, leafing through one of Hafr’s books. Hafr groggily recognized the cover as “Antiquity of Man”, a dry chronicle of history he had been made to memorize several times over.

“This is some dire stuff, Goat,” moaned Bersi. “Is this what they have you do all day? I’d rather stab myself in the sack.”

“I’ve read worse,” choked Hafr, betraying no minor discomfort.

“Have you?” contemplated Bersi. “You know this is all I’ve had to distract myself with for half a day?” It was true; through the leaves above his head Hafr could see that the sun was already high in the sky. Despite his discomfort he had been in and out of consciousness for half a day. “Must be thirsty?” grinned Bersi, suddenly mischievous.

Hafr nodded, uncertain where this would go. Bersi instead cracked the book to a page he had previously dog-eared.

“Then how was the Second War with the dredge started?” he grinned.

“You can’t be serious... just give me...” started Hafr, unable to finish the sentence before he launched into a coughing fit.

“I will, Goat!” taunted Bersi. “All you have to do is answer the question. You’ve read worse, yeah?”

“You’re sick,” shot back Hafr, throwing his head back against the tree in frustration. He knew exactly where the varl was taking this.

“I’m bored out of my mind, kid, not asking for your hand in marriage. So remind me again how the Second War was started.”

Hafr sighed, well aware that he was walking into a trap. He began in a scholarly, metered tone; “After the dredge were defeated by the human and varl alliance in the first era, they were pushed into the northlands where the varl were appointed as their wardens. Over time, the varl grew complacent and overconfident, often venturing into dredge territory to slaughter whole villages without justification. It was following a particularly brutal sweep across their undefended camps that the dredge organized and retaliated, puncturing the borders and leading to a conflict that would not be resolved for nearly a decade.”

Bersi let out a sharp howl, digging his finger into the open page; “Hahaaa! Goat! Are you kidding me? You quoted this page almost word for word! You must be quite the lady-killer back at the Guild, makes me sad you’re completely wrong.”

“What?” recoiled Hafr.

“You really believe this trash?” continued Bersi. “Think the entire varl population just sat around betting each other they could knock the head off another dredge child ‘cause they had nothing better going on? You sure it didn’t have anything to do with a certain fatherless human prince with a grudge as bottomless as his mead horn?”

“What are you talking about?” scoffed Hafr.

“What I’m saying is that the only thing the varl should get credit for is cleaning up your whelp king’s mess when the dredge grew tired of his endless revenge orgies!”

“Self-important idiot! You don’t even have that right!” shouted Hafr, forgetting his fear of retaliation. “The Menders had to finally intervene to drive the dredge to extinction!”

“According to books written by Menders!” spat Bersi. “Look at you, softer than a king’s ass-pillow! Couldn’t hold a spear upright if you even had one! You expect me to believe that your limp breed drove back endless waves of black-plated colossus?”

The two sat in silence for a moment eyeing each other contemptuously. “Still,” spoke Bersi, after a time, “Can’t blame you for being wrong, all things considered. You think, just maybe, you don’t have the whole story?”

“Maybe,” stammered Hafr, who wasn’t sure if he thought the varl had a point or his thirst outweighed his pride.

Bersi tossed a waterskin to Hafr’s feet, who eventually managed to scoot the thing to his hands and into his mouth.

“What’s your preference; hare or fish?” asked Bersi, casually.

“Hare,” replied Hafr, once he had drained the waterskin dry.

“Just curious,” shrugged Bersi. “Most goats eat grass. Hah! See you tomorrow.”

JokerAR
05-21-2012, 01:16 PM
If only we could see him tomorrow too! This whole intro is painting the Varl completely differently to how I'd imagined- eagerly looking forward to part 3.

CottonWolf
05-21-2012, 04:27 PM
Yeah, I'm looking forward to finding out what those dredge were. Titbits to speculate over.

Caspica
05-21-2012, 04:51 PM
I actually agree. At first I thought the varl were stupid grunts, as giants are pictured in so many fantasy stories and tales, but now they seem civilised using sarcasm and irony i.e a race I can enjoy reading about. Needless to say if the overall storytelling used in the game is anywhere near this interesting I'm happy I paid 60$ during the Kickstarter campaign.

Mudfly
05-21-2012, 05:07 PM
Well, what can i say... Great work!

McFly
05-21-2012, 05:30 PM
Seems obvious from the current narrative but just for clarifications sake, the current events are taking place before the apocalypse right?

LoliSauce
05-21-2012, 10:09 PM
A hint of political intrigue! I dig it.

My favorite stories were always ones like Ogre Battle 64, FF Tactics, etc where everyone was very humanized and there was a lot of political conflict in the large scale. I doubt I'm alone on that, so you're teasing in all the right ways.

Mr. Referee
05-21-2012, 10:36 PM
Quite the interesting and enjoyable read so far, and I expect it to continue!

Antares
05-22-2012, 01:39 PM
This is a great introduction to the lore that forms the background to the Banner Saga, lots of interesting information there. Wars, history written by the victors, tensions simmering under the surface, threatening to boil over, giant-folk, guilds, armored colossi.

Really looking forward to the part III, Goat seems like an interesting anti-hero. I hope we'll have many interesting characters joining the caravan.

Aaron
05-22-2012, 03:04 PM
armored colossi

Who have a name now apparently. And who apparently also have families and children.

Aklyon
05-22-2012, 10:22 PM
Who have a name now apparently. And who apparently also have families and children.And who were rather warlike, by the sounds of it.

John
05-23-2012, 10:53 PM
Yeah, I'm looking forward to finding out what those dredge were. Titbits to speculate over.

Heh in the US we say 'tidbits' -- I think i like 'titbits' much better ;) It seems a more titillating term, anyway.

Eberict
05-24-2012, 07:39 AM
Goats and Varls and HISTORIOGRAPHY.

I am in love.

Alex
05-28-2012, 11:53 AM
http://www.stoicstudio.com/uploaded/lore_part3.jpg

Hafr was awake with the sun this time. He was exhausted, starving and despondent. He had never had much meat on his bones in the first place, so there wasn’t much in the reserves to draw from.

He would be left alone until late afternoon. In the meantime he struggled against his bonds and came up with little to lessen his discomfort. There was nothing within reach to help loosen the ropes and the tree itself was smooth. Bersi had clearly done this before. Hafr passed the time meditating on his patterns.

“Been up long?” bellowed Bersi, finally thumping into view. “Such a nice day I didn’t really want to spend it looking at your miserable face, but I figured I ought to make sure you’re still here.”

Hafr wasn’t in the mood. He remained silent, certain that begging would only invite more mockery.

“I see,” said Bersi, who took his usual seat across the clearing. He shuffled through a couple books and picked up one without a title. Hafr knew this as the Mender primer describing the basic principals of the craft. It was written in an old language that acted as a recruits first test to becoming an accepted student of the Guild.

“Ah yes, the blank tapestry,” he would say offhandedly, flipping through the pages. “The loom-mother wove life into the tapestry, and then the jealous god wove death into it. Then they all killed each other, over us no less!” He smirked, looking up. “And then the Menders stitched the first banner into the threads of time itself to make our memories live on forever. Can you believe that, Goat?”

Hafr instinctively recognized the bluff. “There’s no history in that book, you can’t read it” he uttered. “Don’t presume to know the Menders. The loom-mother made us, the varl are just half-breeds of man and yox, discarded by some lesser god.” It was a common sentiment amongst those who would look down on the varl.

“‘Us’, is it?” replied Bersi, amused by the taunt. “Are you a real Mender now? Or you just fledgling dressmaker?”

Hafr sat dejectedly and disinterested in this new game the varl was playing. Bersi walked over and placed the book on his lap, then proceeded to tear out one of the pages and held it in front of his face.

“So mend this for me, would you?”

“I... you took my distaff, I need it to focus...” started Hafr, who was cut off mid-sentence.

“Focus on this,” blurted Bersi, pulling out a piece of jerky. “Will I have to treat you like a dog to make you do your little tricks, Goat?”

Hafr was past the shame of humiliation. If he didn’t eat soon he may not live to see his release. “Put the page back in its place,” he said calmly, closing his eyes. Usually he would run his fingers over the carvings in the walking stick to remind him of the intricate pattern that enabled him to see the lines of power that ran through all things, but in these circumstances he would have to do it the hard way. He imagined weaving together the lines that separated the page from the book as though they were strings, which would flicker and fade as he manipulated them. He could feel beads of sweat popping up on his forward as he struggled to keep his concentration, which threatened to sputter out at every stitch. Eventually he finished and opened his eyes. It was frayed and slightly askew, but the page was certainly connected to the book once again.

“I’m impressed,” said Bersi, who had been watching the whole process. He dropped the jerky on top of the open book and sat back, munching on his own piece.

As Hafr chewed on the dried meat (probably goat), he began wondering how long he could survive like this. He wondered how long it would take the Guild to deal with the varls partner and come to release him. Surely they’d be able to find him? The more he thought about it the more nervous he became. What if they weren’t coming? It had already been three days...

“How long do we do this?” he finally blurted. “Will you let me starve before you realize your friend isn’t coming back?” said Hafr.

“Let you starve? I just gave you a veritable feast, you ingrate. Besides, it’s nothing you need to worry about,” replied Bersi, but the usual pleasure of mockery was missing from his voice. It suddenly struck Hafr that his varl captor was probably just as worried as he was.

“He’s dead.” said Hafr, bluffing. “I know it. When they come here you won’t be spared.”

“Goat grows some balls,” replied a wide-eyed Bersi. “Never would have guessed.”

“That why you were gone all morning!” shouted Hafr. “Thought you’d look around a bit? He’s gone! Release me and I’ll tell them to let you keep your horns!”

Bersi stood at his full height quickly, menacingly, his face flushed red. He pulled a hunting knife from his belt. “Stop there,” said Bersi. The more upset the varl became the less he said. Flustered. Hafr had struck a nerve.

Hunger and exhaustion overwhelmed the boy’s better instincts. “Let me go, you useless half-wit!” he screamed.

Bersi shook with rage and, against his own better instincts, drove the dagger deep into the muscle of Hafr’s thigh, who screamed in a different way than previously, in a deep and primal way reserved for men in great agony.

“Mend yourself quickly,” hissed Bersi, his face inches from Hafr’s, “Because there will be another for each day we are alone together.”

And then he was gone.

LoliSauce
05-28-2012, 12:10 PM
Important survival technique: NEVER piss off the guy with the knife.

JokerAR
05-28-2012, 12:17 PM
Intriguing as ever- and as ever next Monday now seems too far away! Looking forward to hearing a little more behind the weaving of the Banner Saga's magic- the mechanics behind that sort of thing, fictional as they may be, always interest me.

gulstar
05-28-2012, 01:33 PM
I really like the story till now, can't wait to read more of it, especialy the history of the world :)

Mudfly
05-28-2012, 03:27 PM
It's really cool how you keep giving us tiny pieces of lore every here and there... enough to get the old imagination going but not so much that you can draw any clear conclusions!

as always, great work.

starchasr27
05-28-2012, 07:48 PM
Ouch, hope he can mend himself :(

LoliSauce
05-28-2012, 10:40 PM
Ouch, hope he can mend himself :(

Probably not such an easy thing to do with his mind wracked by the pain of an open wound, judging by how arduous it was just to imperfectly mend a ripped page.

Alex
06-04-2012, 11:48 AM
http://www.stoicstudio.com/uploaded/lore_part4.jpg

Hafr faded in and out of consciousness. His thoughts orbited like celestial bodies; the series of events that had led him to this place and this time looped over and over behind his eyes, in the sort of oppressive darkness that lent the same images whether one’s eyes were open or shut. He thought about how it could have gone differently, but then remembered that it didn’t, and the thought would repeat again. Self-pity and terror fought with rationality and resolve for dominance.

Slowly, and with great effort, he clawed his way out of the mental quagmire he had sunk into. The moon hid behind the clouds, as if afraid of the malevolent darkness it had itself created. Hafr had no idea how long he had been sitting here in a state of semi-shock, what time it was now, or how long he had before Bersi would return, and he believed every word of the varl’s previous threat.

With great exertion, he tried to “see” his wound in the dark the same way he had envisioned the torn book page. It was a grisly mess and momentarily he panicked, losing his focus. Repairing the fibers of a sheet of paper was one thing, but mending flesh was almost infinitely more complex; organic, layered, moving... bleeding. The intimacy of the image turned his stomach almost as much as the pain in his trembling leg, the toll on his body and the emptiness in his stomach.

He worked on it for several minutes, weaving the skin back together with his mind, making little progress and terrified of an irreversible mistake; accidentally sewing muscle askew or nicking a nerve. Sweat and tears pouring down his face, he conceded defeat. It was vastly beyond him, and Hafr instead focused on meditation, something he could manage, something that would at least dull the pain. In this reflection he knew he would have to escape this night, because the thought of another wound like this, and then another, was beyond his capacity to endure.

He instead focused his thoughts on the rope around his neck, holding him against the tree. He could feel the threads that had carved a trough across his neck and as he focused on them, his mind’s eye lent them form. Compared to skin and muscle the rope was simple and, in this trance-like state, he began to slowly and patiently unravel each individual thread that bound him.

It was a laborious, repetitive task, and time-consuming. Despite the concentration it required, Hafr felt his thoughts wander to abstruse things he seemed to have no control over. The girl he had left dumbfounded by his ineptitude, as if that mattered. The day his father forced him to choose between family and a farmer’s life or “sitting on his ass buried beneath books” when the Menders came to recruit him. If he had stayed at home would he have escaped this? Was it, in some small way, his own doing? His eyes flittered, as if searching for something to supplant that memory. He wondered if his task now was anything like when the first menders had sewn the History of All into the tapestry of time itself, and if they found it as antithetically dull yet terrifying as this felt to him now. His thoughts wandered back to what he knew of the age of myth, the god of creation and the ancestral menders who were taught the first patterns of creation. He had never felt it before, but he envied them. At least they had a god to implore. He had Bersi. It seemed impossibly unfair.

Hours, he knew not how many, had passed when to Hafr’s genuine surprise the rope around his neck began to slacken, tattered as it had become. He strained against it but immediately recoiled, his raw neck protesting vehemently. He tore at it with his fingernails, hands still bound at the wrists. It shredded beneath his assault like a burlap sack. And for the first time in three days he stood up, in that dim and quiet clearing.

What now?

Agony flashed behind his eyes with every limping step as he hobbled his way simply forward, his arms searching for hidden obstacles. A faint amethyst glow had begun to wash over him. The sun was rising, and so would be Bersi.

Hafr shuffled torpidly from somber tree to tree, leaning against branches for support, his leg like a lead anchor. As before, stories sprang forth from this new drudgery. Hafr imagined wounded warriors from antiquity, as they marched on the dredge again after a decade of slaughter or face extinction. Why did they even war? This was rarely addressed by history books, where “what” and “when” had somehow taken precedence over “why”. The way the stories told it, it was as if man, varl and dredge had only been made to destroy each other. That had a certain ring of truth to it, all things considered.

After many such bleak reveries, Hafr stumbled from out the trees to a thin cliff side battered by wind and a vast lake beyond that, ringed by slate-colored crags. To his right and left were only more rocks, scattering his hopes of discovering a path or road. A rustle crept into Hafr’s ears and he turned to see behind him a towering giant with charcoal horns lumber out from the umbra.

Hafr’s legs gave out. Bersi’s eyes glowed viciously in the buoyant sunrise, and he simply stared.

Pimpollo
06-08-2012, 12:28 AM
Thanks for sharing these stories with the community! There's a very minor typo in the first sentence :P. Take out "to" in "the series of events that had led to him to this place and this time...." Keep them up :D

Alex
06-08-2012, 04:41 PM
Thanks, and corrected!

Keep an eye out, the finale goes up on Monday.

Alex
06-11-2012, 02:58 PM
And now the conclusion of "What is Told".

http://www.stoicstudio.com/uploaded/lore_part5.jpg

A scream stuck in Hafr’s throat at the sight of the towering giant before him, and then a long, silent moment passed between the newly liberated captive and his former captor. Bersi’s unflinching glare was the most dreadful thing Hafr could imagine, and it was unrelenting.

Finally, mercifully, the varl stepped back and quietly sat on the rock he must have been propped up against before Hafr has emerged from the trees. Hafr’s bag slumped beside him and he resumed reading one of the books, just as Hafr had always seen him before.

To call the moment unsettling would be to misrepresent the confusion and anxiety Hafr now felt as waves of panic washed over him like the whitecaps of the waves at the base of the cliffs below. How long he stayed there, transfixed, he couldn’t tell. Slowly, as if any sudden movement or sound would spring the varl into a fury, Hafr rose again to his feet, and shuffled slowly away from him.

Bersi sighed audibly. “Not that way, Goat,” he said. Hafr again stopped in his tracks, without reply. “Do you even know where you are?” continued Bersi, gesturing across the lake. “Four days ago you were hauling these books just over that ridge”.

“Is this a trick?” Hafr managed to murmur, grimacing. Bersi noticed that the boy’s leg was raw and bleeding still, the wound perhaps reopened when he fell to the ground, or never properly attended to in the first place. Bersi came close to saying something but a strange expression crossed his face instead, as if uncertain what to do next. He rubbed his temples and sighed again. Then he leaned back and continued reading.

In an absolute stupor of bewilderment and pain Hafr slowly hobbled around him, leaving as wide a berth as he could between himself and the varl, heading toward the city where he had departed nearly four days ago now. Innumerable questions passed through his mind, though he voiced none of them. Why was he really free to go? Had the menders really paid for his ransom? Did Bersi plan to follow and catch him off guard to finish the job? Why the sudden change in attitude?

Out of the corner of his eye, Bersi watched Hafr dodder away, turning frequently to make sure he had not moved, but he did not. In fact, he continued sitting there as the sun rose and Hafr had completely disappeared behind trees, then as the sun began its descent and continued to get lower on the horizon until once again evening hung in the sky.

A figure had emerged from where Hafr had disappeared. Bersi stood to address the elderly man who now picked his way across the rocks leaning on an intricately carved spear, much older and more weather-worn than the walking stick that had been taken from Hafr’s possession. “Hello, Bersi,” declared the man, catching his breath. From around his wrist he untied a jangling coin purse and handed it to the giant.

“The council would ask if we can we rely on you for something a little more important than testing apprentices this time,” said the man.

“What sort of something?” replied Bersi, thoughtlessly tucking the coin purse into his own belt.

“The young prince Ludin is traveling north to speak with your king...” he began, interrupted by Bersi; “Not my king. Just another varl.”

“Yes,” continued the elder, “Regardless, we would have someone join them who might tell us what he sees.”

“I’m the best you could find to escort your man-prince? Do you not have men by his side already?” asked Bersi, staring across the lake as the low sun reflected off its surface. “Have the menders been losing friends?”

“We have not many varl friends,” he replied bluntly, stooping to collect the remains of Hafr’s books, “And varl kings have not many human friends. I assure you, it will pay well and be less bloody work than this.”

“Alright. Guess I could stand some travel.” replied Bersi, who broke into a toothy grin.

The Mender gathered his robe so as not to trip as he turned “The prince has already departed from the capital, so you will need to inform your clan and prepare for travel quickly I should think.”

“Fine,” said Bersi as the mender turned to leave. “Give my regards to Goat. He wasn’t the brightest or the most skilled you’ve sent but I liked him better than most.”

“Forgive me,” the old man called over his shoulder. “Hafr did not return. We found him collapsed, bled to death from his wounds not far from here." Bersi frowned. The old mender continued, "Don't doubt yourself, you've done well as always. We shall return his banner to his family in the morning.”

Bersi rubbed his neck. Ah well, if they all made it, it wouldn’t be much of a test.

He shrugged, his mind already turned to travel.

JokerAR
06-11-2012, 04:05 PM
A fantastic conclusion, I've thoroughly enjoyed our glimpse into the Banner Saga's lore- and can only hope for more in the full game. Will we meet these characters or are they purely flavour for the world for the fans at the moment?

Next Monday may just feel a little empty without my weekly does of the Banner Saga!

Sylvan
06-12-2012, 12:21 AM
Very well written and entertaining. Any chance we will be seeing Hafr's staff or torn book as equipable items in game? Doesn't have to be crazy powerful or anything, but it would be a nice little Easter egg. I mean, it's not like Hafr is going to need them anymore, righ? :rolleyes:

lamaz
06-12-2012, 04:19 AM
I did not see that one coming :)

Arnie
06-12-2012, 10:22 AM
Very well written and entertaining. Any chance we will be seeing Hafr's staff or torn book as equipable items in game? Doesn't have to be crazy powerful or anything, but it would be a nice little Easter egg. I mean, it's not like Hafr is going to need them anymore, righ? :rolleyes:

Hah! Sylvan, I love it. Consider it done! Hafr may not need them anymore, but the Menders do not usually like to leave their tomes lying around for any untrained eyes to read...but perhaps the old Mender was waylaid on his way back to the city as well? We shall see.

edit from Alex: he wasn't.

Bronzey
06-12-2012, 11:50 AM
Really enjoyed these, a nice intro to some of the setting. Definitely didn't expect that ending.

Mudfly
06-13-2012, 04:59 PM
I have to agree with everyone and say that these have been great. I don’t really know how I feel about the ending though, not that it was bad or anything, I’m just a sucker for a happy ending… Well, at least now I know not to trust everyone I meet in the game :)

kincajou
06-14-2012, 04:08 AM
I have to say the ending was unexpected but fits perfectly, good job guys!

Pimpollo
06-18-2012, 03:22 PM
Just to reiterate what others have said, I enjoyed these a great deal and look forward to more of these to get more glimpses into the world you guys are building. Very enjoyable to read, great flow and I can tell you are having a good time writing them. :)

the english major in me...second para: "Finally, mercifully, the varl stepped back and quietly sat on the rock he must have been propped up against before Hafr HAD* emerged from the trees."
Also, Bersi's last line should have quotations marks.

jkalos
06-20-2012, 04:19 PM
I enjoyed the story very much--a nice glimpse the game world. I do feel sorry for poor goat, however, and
wish he could have made it. I guess adventures really are not all riding ponies in the May sunshine.

Vaeliorin
07-02-2012, 01:07 AM
Huh. I wish this had been posted before the Kickstarter ended, because I'd have pledged more. The lore for this game sounds like it's going to be incredibly interesting, and I wish there was a lore book I could buy.

Also, if I meet any of the high-ranking Menders, I'm going to punch them in the face.

Delicieuxz
10-19-2012, 09:24 AM
The short story was great to read. Is there a chance we'll get more?

Delicieuxz
10-20-2012, 02:00 AM
If a whole book was written in this world, I'd buy it for sure!

Arnie
10-20-2012, 04:38 PM
The Banner Saga Chapter 1 should feel just like this. As far as a book is concerned, I'd read it to! I doubt Alex will have time for such things until after Chapter 3 is wrapped up though. :)

raven2134
11-07-2012, 10:36 PM
I loved this prologue setting the context and hinting to this wonderful mythology of The Banner Saga. Will What is Told be accessible somewhere in the game for us and for others to read? Would be nice with or without illustration! I just feel it would be such a shame if non forum goers never got to read this and be able to fall in love with The Banner Saga. You've already taken such care with this short story, please take that extra step!

Rymdkejsaren
11-08-2012, 03:48 PM
I just read all five parts and enjoyed it, it has started giving me some insight into the story that will be told. It is well written although the switches in character perspective were sometimes a bit confusing. As a writer myself I tend to limit those to chapters or other more clear divisions. For example, in this story the first four parts could have been told from Hafr's perspective and the final one from Bersi's.

The story does a good job of setting the mood that I was expecting from this game and I really look forwards to playing the single player campaign (even more) now.

Myll_Erik
11-12-2013, 06:18 PM
Very awesome! Well written!

Aleonymous
11-13-2013, 04:21 PM
I am very curious to see how the menders will fit in the story, and also if this human vs. varl enmity/mistrust theme will be explored.