The Living World of Timoleon the Lion

(This is a summary of Timoleon’s story during the first part of the Living World storyline. You can see the expanded version by visiting the Living World and browsing through past choices, at the bottom of the character’s banner. You can also see Timoleon’s Portrait here.)

Waking after centuries of slumber, the old Shaman decided that he needed to gain control of the High Table as soon as possible and that a strong message was needed. The Jarl Gorm was the first. With his champion Njal and his lover Astrid by his side, the Jarl was tricked into a challenge. Witnessing his warriors defeated by the old man with ease, Gorm lost his temper before also losing his own life. Regretting his outburst, Timoleon healed with ice the maimed hand of Gorm’s former champion and named him Frosthand, knowing that the deed of legend would spread news of his return faster than he ever could.

Contemplating his next move, Timoleon decided that the shamans had long lost the respect they once enjoyed and put a halt to plans for the High Table. Assembling his peers, a plan was formed: oust those Jarls of importance that listen to the Volvas and claim influence over the High Table. The goal was to replace as many Volva-puppet Kings as possible before the start of summer, when the strongest of the puppets, Gudmund, would sail south to invade the southerners. Winter and Spring proved prosperous, and the shamans reclaimed much that had been lost. Though the Volva held some seats of the High Table still, Timoleon pondered if a direct approach was now opportune, or if influence could be gained over Gudmund through southern gold.

Spurred by the advice of his young peer Eingar, in the end Timoleon sought the gilded support of the Hanse guild of merchants. To achieve this, without threatening their neutrality, he sailed south from the merchant city of Kaupannhoff and across the sea, to the lands of the Firechildren. There, he visited Riimburg, where Queen Iselinn Sandor ruled, with one foot in the Conclave of the Kingdoms and one in the Tings of the Nords. Shaken by the changed world he encountered with every step, the old shaman chose to adapt and followed southern etiquette for the Queen. Thankful for his gesture, the Queen arranged for a private meeting, away from the prying eyes of south and north both in her Court.

During their conversation, Timoleon came to recognize the value of the Queen. Offering an alliance between him and her kingdom, he revealed that he intended to lead the Nords away from the middle path of noble barbarity they seemed determined to follow. He announced to the Queen that a war was coming for Mannheim; one, however, which he failed to name or describe. Unmoved by vague prophecies but respectful, the Queen demanded more tangible plans and Timoleon obliged her: he sought to influence the High Table. Her gold would allow him to decide the fate of Gudmund, who had invaded and spent the winter in Riismark, her warriors could provide support should war break on Mannheim, while her position as a Queen of the southerners could help shield Mannheim from the Kingdoms. What he offered was the cooperation and support of the High Table, allowing her to be the main contact between Mannheim and the Kingdoms; and everything that would mean for her Kingdom’s trade. Agreeing, Iselinn offered her pride ship, the Northern Star, to the shaman who decided to use it for a display of power and support as he sailed to the High King’s city of Aarheim.

Once in Aarheim, Timoleon wasted no time. Making sure both he and the Northern Star were seen sailing into port, he set off for the High King’s Longhouse immediately, leaving as little time as possible for his enemies to react. Once there, however, one of the Volva awaited: Astrid, former companion of Jarl Gorm before Timoleon killed him. In a restrained exchange under the eyes of a gathering crowd, Astrid challenged the shaman’s intentions. She accused him, claiming his very existence and presence destined the Nords to the very fate from which he and his shamans claimed to want to protect them; to have their destinies stolen by gods. As the divided in beliefs crowd continued to gather, she suggested the only solution would be for him to embrace her, a sign of peace between Volva and shamans. Timoleon agreed but not before he devised that the gesture was all but meaningless. Astrid did not speak for the Volvas any more that he spoke for any gods. Together, they entered to meet with the High King.

Rejoicing with what they had witnessed, a crowd celebrated with mead and ale what they had witnessed: peace between shamans and volva. Among them was Njal Frosthand, faithful follower of Timoleon. Allowing his peers to celebrate, he nurtures no illusions: peace was but ephemeral. No dawn in Mannheim had ever brought peace. War between the Volva and the Shamans was inevitable, a clash over the future, the soul, of the Nords.

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