The Nords

Einar Banamathr, the Revenant

Little is known or remarkable about the life of Einar Banamathr, the Revenant of the North… before he killed a God and became the most hated and feared man in Mannheim.

Einar was a hunter, one more nameless denizen of the countless hamlets that sought to survive in the far north. His cunning and skill earned him a good living, which had allowed him to marry and raise a small family. Had he lived anywhere else, this could perhaps have been the sum total of his life’s achievements, dying of old age surrounded by a loving family or, more than likely, died out on the ice, eaten by some ice spawned monstrosity. But this was not Einar’s fate. He lived within the territory of Jöffur, the Boar God of the North, and thus both their dooms were sealed. To understand the one, we must delve into the other.

Once revered as one of the mighty Einherjar, Jöffur had been a warrior of great renown. His reckless aggression, fiery temper, and stubborn refusal to die had been the stuff of legend even before he was chosen and became an Einherjar. His ascension only heightened these traits further, allowing his heedless charges to singlehandedly fell jötnar and shatter shield walls. His reckless nature, however, ensured that he was one of the first Einherjar to abuse his powers. His mortal frame, unable to contain his godly gift, soon started changing to accommodate his divinity. This heightened his aggression and fueled his anger, encouraging him to use his gifts more often and recklessly. In a few scant decades, the proud Einherjar was gone and Jöffur, the Divine Boar of the North, was born.  

Even in this devolved form, Jöffur served the needs of his people. Given his territorial nature, the Boar patrolled his range ceaselessly and some vestige of the hero to his people must have survived deep within his damaged psyche despite the transformation, for the Boar never attacked settlements. Those who lived within this range developed a delicate truce with the God-Beast, planting fields of northern wheat and barley as well as hardy northern orchards along his route, that their protector might feast and retain his strength to drive off other predators. This cycle survived for centuries, as the protection offered by the Boar made the planting of these fields possible, ensuring a tenuous balance that allowed the population to prosper.

Fate, however, is fickle and that balance could not last forever. Deep in the northern ice fields, the Boar encountered a mighty foe; some whisper it was the spawn of Jörmungandr, the World Serpent, but none have traveled that far into the ice to find out. While the Boar survived this encounter, he was gravely injured. He did not descend for three winters and, without his seasonal patrols, the local predators grew ever bolder, encroaching into his territory. Unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with these northern apex predators, the population was forced to abandon the fields they planted as tribute, focusing instead on their own survival.

When the God beast returned, it was immediately apparent something was wrong. Its mighty pelt was torn and bleeding, and all intelligence had fled its maddened eyes. Plowing through the barren fields that had once sustained it, the Boar, maddened and hungry, turned its attention on one of the fortified villages that tended to them.  Nothing was left. Even the wooden palisade that had protected it was consumed and not even one of the villagers had survived. Two more hamlets were lost to the Boar’s rampage before his migratory path led him onwards, but the villagers knew he would return.  

Terrified by this display of divine might, the denizens of the Range ensured his fields were planted and ready for their next season sacrificing hundreds to malnutrition, predatory attacks, and frostbite to ensure their god was satiated. Their efforts were all in vain.

The God Beast had consumed the flesh of man and developed a taste for it.

So it came to be that the man who would become Einar Banamathr returned to his village after a weeklong hunt to find it in ruins and the remains of the entire population, his wife and child included, in a steaming pile of refuse amid a gargantuan abandoned rooting hollow.

One can only imagine what effect this had on the proud man, but the consequences were only too visible. The man who would become Einar Banamathr gathered his belongings and set out into the ice to hunt down a god. Six months later he returned. The God Beast did not.

He took up the name Einar, lone fighter, and settled into a small cabin by his old village, determined to spend the rest of his days hunting down the beasts that would now plague his people. Initially shunned and ridiculed for his preposterous claim, the coming months and turning of the season proved his point: the God Beast was not returning. People started noticing things about him; he hunted Fenrir and did so alone; the cloak of bristling fur he wore was made of a single piece with no stitching or seams and his bone headed spear never dulled or needed replacement. Slowly but surely people were forced to accept the truth: this man had killed a God.

Pride, fanaticism, and ambition all ensured that in the following months the challenges came fast and furious. They ended just as quickly once Einar slew Angrim Ó-Fœra, Jarl of Langdal, the most feared warrior in the north. Under Nord law, these challenges had made him one of the wealthiest men in the North, as the wealth of his challengers became his. Along with the wealth came the unwanted title and responsibility of Jarldom and, reviled and hated though he is, the people in the Reach know him to be their best hope for survival the coming years.

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