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Skaeling 256

The war-symbol of the Skaelings.

The Son of Jarl Egil Styrbjorn was a mighty half-Norscan Chaos Champion, born with the soul of an infernal Daemon

History

The revered High Jarl of the Skaelings, Egil Styrbjorn, had taken many consorts from amongst the womenfolk of Strovengaard, for many women of Norsca were desirous to share their beds with warriors who bore the stigmata of the Dark Gods'. From these countless wives did Styrbjorn sire a brood of 13 progeny of all ages, yet not one amongst his wives could give to him a son - a true warrior who could carry on the name of the warlord after his death. The hoary-bearded champion was troubled by this, and long awaited a sign from the Dark Gods to reveal the woman who would be blessed with the honour to carry his true heir.[1]

It was while Styrbjorn made preparations to invade the southern kingdom of Bretonnia, realm of the horsemen, that his seer received a blood-vision from the Dark Gods of she who was destined to bear his son. Soon enough, the woman known as Haegtesse arrived within the Norscan's warcamp. A powerful Kurgan blood-witch, she had possessed the body of a beautiful Bretonnian noblewoman. To the Skaelings, Haegtesse looked like some foreign princess, and they felt pride that this was to be the one who would bear their Jarl a son.[1]

The gods themselves had ordained the coming conception, but it had to take place under strict ritual. If so, the child would become the greatest Skaeling warrior to ever walk the earth.[1]

The eve was devoted to the enactment of the ritual to conceive Styrbjorn's daemon-son. Eight of the tribe's mightiest were sacrificed for the ritual, having given their lives gladly for their master's service. Under the sight of Morrslieb and the Dark Gods, in the presence of daemons and spirits who had crossed forth from the Realm of Chaos to bear witness, it was thus clear to Styrbjorn that his son would be favoured indeed, and so he took Haegtesse under the sight of the Witch Moon, and a daemon-son was conceived...[1]

Alas, the Dark Gods were not the only deities to have witnessed the fell ritual. Knowing of the threat the daemon-child presented, the Lady of the Lake, goddess of all Bretonnia, granted a vision to her mortal representative, the Fay Enchantress. Horrific images of fire and death filled her mind. She saw a yet unborn child, daemonic eyes ablaze with the promise of savagery. She saw him as a young man, flames wreathing his horned head, the coastal cities of Bretonnia in ruins and the oceans filled to the burning horizon with tens of thousands of Norscan longships. She heard the screams of the endless lines of innocents being led to sacrifice, and saw mountains of skulls piled high beneath the turbulent heavens. She heard children weeping, and the stink of burning flesh lingered in the back of her throat.[1]

Now aware of the threat Bretonnia faced, the Enchantress charged one of her Damsels, Anara to prevent this from coming to pass. To this disciple, she afforded the aid and protection of the Grail Knight, Reolus. Travelling to the northern Dukedom of Lyonesse, the pair enlisted the aid of Anara's brothers, Calard and Bertelis of Garamont, along with two other knights, Maloric of Sangasse and Laudethaire of Parravon.[1]

The band of heroes infiltrated Styrbjorn's warcamp, slaughtering many of his warriors before making off with the pregnant form of the possessed noblewoman. To their horror. however, the Bretonnians discovered that she was none other than Elisabet, Calard of Gaaramont's lover.[1]

Within the confines of Castle Lyonesse, Anara was able to banish the foul witch from Elisabet's body and return her soul. Meanwhile, the enraged Egil Styrbjorn mustered the full might of his armies, seeking to reclaim his son...[1]

Birth

As the vast Norscan host landed on the shores beyond Castle Lyonesse, they subjected the fortress city to a siege of epic proportions. Combatants from both sides died in their thousands, though Styrbjorn cared not for the deaths of his own men, only for the life of his unborn son. Soon, as the men of Bretonnia and Norsca fought, the child's birth-screams echoed across the din of battle...[1]

The unholy cries of Styrbjorn's son caused Norscan Shaman-Sorcerers to stagger back as intense pain stabbed into their minds. To them, the sound was excruciating, tearing through both the real world and the insubstantial Realm of Chaos, existing in both realms simultaneously. Never in their lives had they felt such pure, raw power as was present in that scream. The daemon-child was even more puissant than their divinations had foretold.[1]

Even those with no affinity for the Winds of Magic, blissfully unaware of the ever-present and potent energies swirling around them, felt an uncomfortable wrench in the pit of their stomachs as the daemon-child announced its arrival. Warriors on both sides that had been battling furiously a moment before backed away from each other, knowing that something momentous had happened but unsure as to what. The sound of swords clashing grew more sporadic, then stopped altogether. An unnatural silence descended over the entire fortress-city.[1]

The piercing cries of the daemon-child cleared Styrbjorn's mind. Putting his anger aside, for he did not wish to endanger his son, the High Jarl gave the Bretonnians a choice. They were to send out a lone champion to face him in single combat. If he won, then they were to deliver unto him his child and he would leave their land. If he lost, then his army would leave regardless. In response, a lone Bretonnian stepped forth, seeking to end the bloodshed. He was the mighty Grail Knight, Reolus.[1]

A titanic duel would ensue between the noble Paladin and the Chaos Lord. At first, Reolus seemed to have the advantage, skewering the Jarl’s face and amputating his arm. Styrbjorn was the favoured of Khorne however, and a disembowelling wound that should have killed him soon regenerated before everyone’s eyes. Reolus was eventually defeated, his head cleaved from his shoulders by the enemy that could finally best him.[1]

Honour bound, Calard of Garamont left the castle to deliver the baby to its Norscan father who, true to his word, left Bretonnia with a single message, that he would return one day alongside his fell son, ready to destroy the kingdom. Calard replied that he would be waiting, and Styrbjorn instantly knew that the young knight spoke the truth...[1]

Destiny

"Fight well, my son."
Jarl Egil Styrbjorn.[1]

The Son of Styrbjorn would not return to his birthland until fifty years after the Siege of Lyoneese. He was now a truly mighty warrior, perhaps greater than the Chaos Lord himself...[1]

The Jarl's heir had come to face his destiny in the form of Calard of Garamont, the betrothed of his own mother, who had died after the ritual that spawned him. As destiny dictated, these two champions were to challenge each other on the field of battle, once again deciding the outcome of a war. Styrbjorn was confident, his son radiated with daemonic power, his massive cleaver was wreathed in chaotic flame, and his eyes were filled with fury and destruction. The gods themselves were watching.[1]

Calard, however, was no longer the young Knight of the Realm Styrbjorn had ired years before. As the Bretonnian prayed, his eyes blazing with a fey light, the old Jarl realised that his patron goddess was also watching. The Grail Knight approached Styrbjorn's son, his own blade wreathed in a pale flame, and with thunder overhead, the two champions of the gods came together...[1]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer: Knights of Bretonnia (Omnibus)
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