Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May to Z: U

Uldoric - inherited power or powerful heritage (Germanic)

Grandson of the great barbarian chief Ulfhert, meaning "wolf heart." He was so named because he wrestled the alpha male of a winterwolf pack into submission. Once he'd established his dominance over the pack, he was allowed to set up his village and longhouse in the wolf territory. For 3 generations now his descendants and tribe have dwelt amidst the pines of the Winterwood in the sheltered valley between the Snow and Frost rivers. 

Uldoric must take a wife before he can claim leadership because the tribe's way is that you must have strong sons to pass your things to, including title and throne and hunting lodge. Once a chieftain is named, he must have a son within 7 years or abdicate.

Thus it is that fathers want to marry their fertile daughters to a would-be chief so their family gains favor and status with the new lord.

To secure one's place at the head of the longhouse and be worthy of a wife, all the men must wrestle as Ulfhert did. Only when one is killed or submits is the match over. Howls of fury, screams of pain, and the snapping of bones are all common sounds in one of these no holds barred bouts. The spectators are everyone in the tribe, from the youngest children to their wedded and bedded mothers. Even the best of boyhood friends and battle brothers have nearly killed each other as they circled and clashed in the firelight. Young boys brawl and tussle routinely from the time their out of swaddling skins in preparation for the day they may challenge or be challenged. 

Uldoric had an older brother, Ulaf (ancestor's descendant), that was killed in a scrap with Jorulf (ice wolf). The death was not intentional, but simply bad luck from a clash of skulls. Jorulf and Ulaf both dove in a low lunge to topple the other man. When they came together, the top of Jorulf's head crunched with Ulaf's temple, killing him stone dead on the spot. Jorulf was unconscious for several days. When he woke he was torn between winning the challenge and killing a lifelong friend.

Jorulf reluctantly accepted the mantle of chieftan, but he has yet to marry. Now his younger sister, Eisulf (also ice wolf) has become a woman and drawn the attention of Uldoric. Uldoric means to secure his position, a wife, and avenge his brother by besting Jorulf who is larger, stronger, and a handful of years older. Jorulf does not want to fight him, but a challenge cannot be dismissed without at least an attempt to defend one's place and honor.

Because his son has so far refused to marry and be a worthy headman, Jaulf (snow wolf) backs Uldoric's challenge of his son. Jaulf wants his family to be notable and honored, even if that means his son loses the seat to a challenger and suitor of Eisulf. Jorulf's mother, Isuldr (ice battle), is a fierce barbarian woman and not so easily swayed. She feels her son should be giving his time of mourning as is custom for fallen friends and warriors.

Uldoric barks his challenge from the center of the hall. Jorulf climbs down from his dais in answer. 

The fires are roaring, the crowd is clamoring for blood, the men have stripped to their breechclothes, their muscles glisten with oil and sweat. They bare their teeth, raise their mighty fists and begin to circle. One shall be king, the other will fall like an avalanche. The fight commences.

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