"A bear doesn't ask other bears what it should do. It doesn't choose a job. It just is. The bear she'd fought that day wasn't powerful, it was power. It didn't just guard it's young, it was a guardian. It had no choice."
|Age||00 years old|
Armor and Weapons
Before the Empire
"Protector" was not Yrsa's job, it's who she was. From a young age, she was tough. Not just tough: unstoppable.
In Yrsa's tribe, coming of age meant choosing a weapon. Not choosing; more like allowing your spirit to express itself with the perfect implement. From the day someone took up a blade, they learned to be one with it. Not to "use" it like some people did; a primal warrior doesn't delude themself with the thought that they can master nature. Instead, they become one with the nature of the weapon, and the weapon becomes part of their nature.
Yrsa expected a lot more when it came time to receive her weapon. Maybe the clouds would part, or the spirit of an ancestor would appear and guide her hand. Nothing. After a moment of awkward indecision, she grabbed whatever appealed to her. Everyone else seemed to be "chosen" by the biggest piece of metal they could handle. She instead went for a smaller slim blade and a Shield.
Yrsa's brother and sister warriors were tough. She was tougher. She always had been. She first noticed when her village caught fire in war. While those around her perished, she waded through the flames to rescue her tribesmen, like she was watching herself in a dream, always coming out alive. Sometimes, when she really needed it, she would get that "watching in a dream" feeling again, and nothing could stop her. In the hottest fire, or the coldest snow; under claws and steel alike; when it was really desperate, something kept her going
The sages said the meaning of this would be clear in time. But she was getting impatient. After years of training, Yrsa's brothers and sisters had found the spirits of their weapons, and finished the ascending ritual. They were true warriors. They could enter the "battle meditation" and lose their ego, fusing with their weapons. They would talk of hearing their weapons sing in battle, giving them strength and guidance.
Her Raiper was just wood and metal. When was it her turn? Was she on the wrong path?
A fear grew. She was always fascinated by the foreigners who came by the village, by the strange patterns on their clothes and all those fragile trinkets with "glass" on them. As she felt more alienated from her fellows, Yrsa worried that her life wasn't with her tribe at all, but with these foreigners. Maybe that's why her weapon didn't speak to her, no matter how she trained. But how could she live with them? Did she have to dress like them? Think like them? Would there be anyone else like her? And didn't she have to protect the village?
Then another fear started growing. She had always been fast, but not exactly strong or...smart. She knew storytellers who remembered the history of the world, sages who always knew some perfect piece of advice, and leaders who could always say just the right thing. She never got how that all worked. If she yelled and swung a sword around, people listened. If she needed to know a story, she asked someone.
She'd never thought about it before, but thinking about the foreigners with their trinkets and books, she felt..."stupid." Was it enough to just be Fast? Didn't she have to keep up her talents at everything? They demanded something more than just Speed, didn't they? Was she good enough for anyone?
One day, finally, some answers arrived.
As usual, when she wasn't guarding the village, Yrsa found herself in the wilderness far from its borders. She came to a shallow river that she didn't remember. At the head of some rapids, she could make out the figure of a gigantic bear against the sunlight. It sat patiently in the water, watching the fish as they journeyed upstream, trying to catch them out of the air when they jumped.
Something about the creature was captivating. Yrsa found herself inching toward it along the river bank, unnoticed. Only when she'd passed the rapids and took her first step into the water did the animal pause to look at her. It didn't move. Even caught in the beast's stare, Yrsa kept moving closer.
The bear roared, a resonant bellow that broke Yrsa from her stupor. In an instant, 700 pounds of hair and muscle slammed into her. But to a warrior like her, no combat is a surprise; just sooner than expected. Her weapon flew to her hand and shield to her arm.
She pulled away and attacked. The bear's thick hair alone was like armor. Even if she hit it, it didn't care; it just roared and swiped at her again with it's massive claws, or bit her, or shoved her back.
The bear kept her on the defensive. Finally, with a thundering roar, it rose on two legs and fell bodily onto her. Her head slammed into the rocks at the edge of the river...
...and in a flash, everything was clear.
In a feat of strength, she shoved the bear up and off her chest, and pulled herself away. She had watched her brethren fight, and used her weapon like their axes; but that's not what she was. Her grip loosened on her raiper, as if it was telling her it would guide itself. She saw her movements as if someone else was making them, yet remained in control.
When the bear charged, Yrsa's blade shot up in a flash. Though struck solidly, the beast didn't stop. This time, it was Yrsa who shrugged off the creature's attacks. She bled, but it didn't phase her. She brought down her Raiper with all her might, digging into the beast's flank. Without a moment of thought, she Bashed with her shield striking and pushing the Bear away.
The bear continued to fight, but it wasn't so easy now. Yrsa was not as strong but was definatly faster and just as tough, her power channeled into a wild flurry of attacks.
Broken, tired, and bleeding, the bear staggered back from her. It was afraid. They both knew Yrsa had won. Barely standing herself, she watched it go. She allowed it to cross the river, noticing some smaller bears waiting for it. The battle meditation faded.
Finally she knew.
A bear doesn't ask other bears what it should do. It doesn't choose a job. It just is. The bear she'd fought that day wasn't powerful, it was power. It didn't just guard it's young, it was a guardian. It had no choice.
It was Yrsa's nature to be powerful. If someone else was smarter or wiser than her, that was their nature, and their destiny. That wasn't her job. When that bear attacked, it had only one thought: "protect my family." It never thought about revenge, or proving itself, and never worried. It fought because it had to. Good, evil, laws; none of that mattered. It was guided by instinct, doing what it wanted, and what it had to
Her raiper also taught her why she was fascinated by foreigners, and why she wandered from her village. Her blade was wielded far away from her body, but it was always a part of her. In the same way, she wasn't meant to be trapped in her village. She was like the head of a spear, sitting far out and alone, keeping enemies out of reach. Wherever she went, she brought her tribe with her, and protected it from afar.
Soon after that day, with the blessing of the elders, Yrsa left the village. In body, at least. She set out to explore a huge and exciting world. She never felt the need to dress or talk like the foreigners, because she brought her tribe with her. To get by in a money-based world, she became a bounty hunter, chasing down the enemies or her new friends. Some would say she lived like an animal. She agreed: animals live free, never indecisive, never defying their natures. It was the only way to live.
Skills and Strategies