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    Monday, December 17, 2007

    An Atenveldt Challenge

    What follows is the letter from the Crown of Atenveldt to the Outlands that was read at Al-Barran Midwinter...

    Unto Their Royal Majesties Alrik Boleslavson and Slaine inghean Ui Sheanain, do we, Eduard Gostomski, All-Father and King of Atenveldt and Asa Hrafnsdottir, Daughter of Ravens and Queen of the Sunlit Lands send greetings on this, the beginning of thy Fimbulwinter.

    Long have we looked upon thy realm with a feeling of pride, as any parent must. Thy exploits begin to garner some renown and even the one-eyed may see that there may be great deeds in the days ahead for you. Yet that same eye also sees the movement of soldiers towards our borders. Ever is it thus. The wayward child begins to feel he understands the breadth and depth of the world-tree and seeks glorious death without truly understanding what it means to live. Valhalla is a realm of warriors. We suspect you shall not listen to wisdom however. The young never do.

    I confess We were surprised at your choice for General, as he sounds suspiciously French, and We are somewhat disappointed that your army is likely to take the field only to surrender. I mean really, have they ever had a successful military leader that they haven't burned? (Napoleon, alas, was Corsican)... Please note that for tribute, fine wine is acceptable, smelly cheese is not, and no, we shall not have a break for croissant and coffee. Oh very well, perhaps coffee...

    Bearing in mind that you are likely to come to our lands only to find Your Ragnarok, we have made every effort to be efficient hosts. Thus we are pleased to send suitable were-gild ahead of time. This should be enough to pay off 5 drunkards to relieve themselves on the bodies of the worthy of your army and set them alight... what is that, a dozen or so? Less? Hmm... Perhaps We have overpaid?

    Also note that we have included two items for His Majesty in particular: The Fimbulwinter is cold, and though the Lands of the Sun are warm to her friends, they can be harsh and unyielding to the young. It is tradition here that children presenting themselves before the Crown be given a gift of booties. Thus do we present such to you, Your Majesty. We would not wish for you to develop "cold feet" on the eve of your demise. We have also included something which You should be intimately familiar with, Your Majesty: A toy. The creature it represents iscalled a horse. You are likely familiar with it as "horsie." Warriors ride upon it to battle. It is our hope that this gift shall allow you suitable time to become familiar with the concept of being around "scary big horsie things" before you take that final ride upon Odin's eight legged steed Sleipnir. Or at the very least, the approximation of it from four pall-bearers who shall move thy corpse to its funerary barge.

    This of course assumes that enough of your populace is left after your defeat to fill the requisite number. If not, I suspect We will have to make arrangements to take care of this for you. It is, after all, what the Odin-King should do.

    We shall, of course, toast and boast upon your behalf in our meadhalls. As we must assume that you are not yet of age to appreciate this, We feel obliged to inform you that mead is a fermented honey drink of surprising sweetness and potency not unlike the first kiss of a fair maiden. Oh, but our apologies? We had momentarily forgotten that such is a pleasure you have yet to discover. Sadly, we think it unlikely that you shall live long enough to experience this. Perhaps you may yet make do with milk.

    So Good Children of Atenveldt's loins, we issue this challenge to you: Bring Us your soldiers. Bring Us your champions. Bring Us your heroes. Let us face each other upon the fields of Estrella and test each other in the face of battle. Let us commit to the dance of death with ravens and Valkyrie in attendance. Show us the worth of the Outlands when steel is pledged against steel. Let skald and soldier raise voice in the honor of the brave and the dead, and lay low the coward that slinks from the battlefield. Thus shall we discover whether Estrella be a war of Warriors and Heroes or merely the noisome puling of babes and children.

    For all our boasts, and all our roasts, we raise a glass in Your honor, that we may meet and struggle before the gates of Valhalla.

    Eduard One Eye, Odin-King of Atenveldt
    Asa, Queen of the Sun, and Daughter of Ravens

    In service to Crown and Kingdom,
    Mistress Ari Usni, Abacus Herald, Kingdom of Atenveldt

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