PLAYED BY: Matthew “Platt” Johnson
CHARACTER NAME: Ragnar Riverhead
Full name: Ragnar Årud of Clan Riverhead
GENDER: Male (He/Him)
AGE: Born in the Spring of 236.
HAIR: Blonde/Light Colored
OCCUPATION: Currently Aladrin’s babysitter, unfortunately
KNOWN SKILLS: Craftsman, Blacksmith, Shield Warrior
BIRTHPLACE: Riverhead Territory
APPEARANCE: If a fight is imminent he will have three painted streaks on his face.
NOTABLE TRAITS: An Ulven warrior wielding an ax and tower shield, he is loyal to his Pack (currently the Guardians). When meeting strangers Ragnar will be stoic until he gets to know you better.
RELATIONSHIPS: Mated to Eldi of Clan Shattered Spear. Currently traveling with the Guardians of the Wall.
RUMORS: Ragnar does not trust strangers much anymore. However, if you want to get on his good side, bring him some food as Ragnar enjoys a delicious feast among friends.
BIO / BACKGROUND HISTORY:
Ragnar’s story begins at his birthplace in Clan Riverhead territory. Born to Randi and Aina Årud of Clan Riverhead in the Spring of 236, he was the second-born of three siblings. His Father was a great traverser of the nearby rivers while his Mother fished and tended the fields. Ragnar’s older brother was a fierce warrior and protector of his siblings while their younger sister was always peaceful and imaginative. Some say that she would’ve made an excellent Daughter of Gaia. And Ragnar… was curious. He was not much of a warrior compared to his brother, but was a polite pup who was more interested in crafting rather than fighting. Growing up, Ragnar was always awkward around others but would not hesitate to at least go up and greet a stranger.
Once as a young pup, Ragnar had decided to venture out with his Father on one of his trips to a nearby village. But his Father had not known that his son was coming with him and so Ragnar was beginning to fall farther and farther behind him when he heard noises coming from where his Father was. He raced to catch up and saw several creatures surrounding the older Ulven. At first they looked like shadows, but as he got closer he noticed that their skin was of blues, greens and purples in color. Their faces were twisted and vicious-looking. These terrifying fiends seemed to resemble the ones from the stories that his Mother had told him growing up.
In thinking about these nightmares, Ragnar couldn’t help himself and let out a shriek. The Mordok heard this and soon their attention was turned towards the young pup. His father also noticed the sound and a look of panic washed over his face when he realized it was Ragnar. The last thing the young pup remembered before blacking out was his father racing to get ahead of the dark creatures. When he came to, he was being carried by his father, who was relieved to see that his son was not injured. After that incident, his parents had decided that it was time to take Ragnar’s training more seriously if he was going to survive.
His Mother and Father were wise and taught Ragnar strategy, while Ragnar’s brother was a brute in strength and taught him to use the axe and sword. Ragnar’s brother would constantly attempt to spar with him when they weren’t assisting their parents. And though Ragnar did not have the brute strength of his brother, he did have the endurance and ability to think of a way to turn the tables on him. At one point he discovered that his brother’s weakness was his back and Ragnar would use this to take control… until his brother got upset and went all out. Several times this ended with broken furniture and angry parents.
As he grew older, he continued being friendly towards strangers, but he found those strangers to be less welcoming than when he was a pup. One day though, Ragnar met another Ulven that was his age. He called himself Leif and proclaimed himself to be the greatest adventurer in all the lands. The two became inseparable in both their adventures and the troubles they created for their parents. Ragnar looked up to Leif like a brother and Leif treated him the same. Together, the two pups would ascend trees, traverse waterways, and explore the nearby forests. Leif taught Ragnar how to stay safe outside their village and Ragnar would be there to support his friend through every new adventure.
When he was not adventuring with Leif, Ragnar would be training with his family in order to learn how to fight better. Most of the time, Ragnar would be defeated easily whether it be by his Brother’s overwhelming strength, or the cleverness of his parents. But Ulven are not known to give up and so they continued training. Several seasons later, a shift happened. During this particular training, Leif had arrived early and noticed the friendly duel occurring between Ragnar and his family. He saw Ragnar was not doing well and was about to be outmatched again. So Leif quickly took up his training ax and joined his friend.
The three older Ulven were definitely skilled in this fight and while Ragnar was relieved to have the team-up with his friend, if something did not change soon they would still be defeated. Thinking on this, Ragnar quickly grabbed a nearby shield and took on a more defensive role. His brother continued the relentless barrage of attacks, but Ragnar was able to focus his attention purely on defense while Leif used his speed to stay on offense against Ragnar’s parents. While it was not a perfect strategy yet, it allowed the pair to endure. During the second bout, Ragnar and Leif became more synchronized and were able to claim a victory over the older Ulven. And so it was that Leif would take up the ax and bow and Ragnar would be his shield and sword. That night, the Ulven group celebrated with much laughter and drink.
When he was in his teen years, Ragnar went with his father downstream to a village that he had never been to. It was there that Ragnar saw a female Ulven about his age. He couldn’t help but think she was quite attractive. She was easy to talk to and had a great smile that melted Ragnar’s heart. He would do anything to see that smile, even if the jokes were dumb. His brother attempted to teach him the ways of wooing this female but for some reason, Ragnar would do something or act in an unusually, oftentimes awkward way. Everytime he wanted to kiss her, even on a romantic night gazing up at the stars, Ragnar would lose all the courage he had mustered. It wasn’t like Ragnar didn’t want to be with her and do all the usual things that a male and female Ulven do, but it never felt like the right time with her. He was never sure if she ever realized this too. But it did not matter much because what they did enjoy was being able to spend time together.
Once, the female Ulven introduced Ragnar to her cousins. The young Ulven males were about the same age as Ragnar and the group got along well with each other. They played sporting games and told stories of great heroes long into the night. Well after the female Ulven and most of her cousins had gone off to sleep, it was just Ragnar and her oldest cousin left. He was probably one season older than Ragnar, but he told Ragnar the stories of his many adventures. Ragnar couldn’t help but be enthralled by each tale. And as the fire began to die down, something happened between the two that would change the way Ragnar looked at love and relationships forever.
Not long after, the young female Ulven fell sick and could not walk without passing out. Ragnar tried to make her as comfortable as possible. He sought aid from strangers to find a medicine that would cure her. Winter passed and she had only gotten worse until one day she was no more and had left to begin The Journey. May his ears ring with her name. Nobody quite knows what caused her sickness, but Ragnar was certain of one thing; what he felt was guilt. Guilt for not loving her the way she deserved. Because of this, Ragnar was never sure if he would ever find a mate, or want to, and decided instead to focus on his adventures with Leif.
Several seasons passed and Ragnar and Leif had grown into fine adult Ulven Warriors/Adventurers. They used their shield and bow combo to keep their village safe from the constant threat that was Mordok. That season however, news spread of strangers from a faraway place that had made their way into Mardrun. Ragnar and Leif left to investigate the interlopers for themselves to see what kind of threat they posed.
There were so many of them that came off of their great ships. They were clad in weird clothing that was either bright in color or decorated with odd designs. But what really stood out to him though, were the pointed ears on some of their heads. Ragnar thought they were most bewildering and wondered what kind of people they were. On their faces, Ragnar noticed a mix of reactions from hope to dread.
The two Ulven approached the interlopers carefully. After getting the chance to meet them and hear their story, Ragnar realized that he never resented them like the way some of the other Ulven clans did, but took pity on them for losing their homes. For he could never imagine what that pain must feel like. Out of respect for other Ulven though, Ragnar would do his best not to associate with the interlopers when he was around others.
The season passed, and rumors continued to spread about an upcoming war. Due to the problems created by the new interlopers, many Ulven were divided on their opinions of them. Ragnar’s and Leif’s opinions about them however did not change. But they knew that they could not sit idly by and let the situation get worse or even spill out into their home. So they decided to go and help settle the issue peacefully. The pair of Ulven joined others from nearby villages and attempted for many days to convince others to resort to peace, but their efforts fell on deaf ears.
One night as they were talking to others at a local gathering, an unknown group of individuals let loose a flurry of arrows. Fortunately, Ragnar had his shield, but Leif was not so fortunate. Ragnar watched in horror as his friend was struck with several arrows and he fell lifeless to the ground. At first Ragnar was overcome with rage and wanted nothing more than to seek vengeance against the cowards who attacked from the shadows, but before he could act, they had already snuck back into the shadows. He quickly gave chase into the woods along with several others. But the darkness hid the cowards well and after a while his search was in vain and returned. Ragnar was overcome with grief for the second time in his life for he was, again, not able to satisfy the needs of those he cared about. His one duty was to protect his brother Leif, and he had failed him. That night, Ragnar lit the fire and told of the many adventures he shared with Leif in hopes that His ears would ring with his name. It was after the loss of his closest friend that Ragnar learned not to be as trusting of strangers.
Shortly after the war had ended, more threats appeared. Most were territorial issues. But one threat was more terrifying. Many Ulven from nearby packs began coming down with a sickness and it appeared as if no medicine had any effect. His Father was one such victim. The people were calling it the Creeping Corruption. It was not long after that his Father along with many others passed on to begin The Journey. May his ears ring with their names.
Not long after, a new danger emerged. The Mordok came in after the lands had begun to grow back from the winter. These attacks were not new to the people, but for some reason they did not end as quickly as other skirmishes had. And after several days a full force of Mordok came in massive numbers. It is not clear how so many managed to invade the Ulven forests and lands, but either way they pushed their way into Ragnar’s homeland and slaughtered many Ulven.
Due to the numerous recent tragedies, there was not much that the village could do to protect their lands from this evil. Ragnar banded together with whoever was left to fight and though they fought hard, nearly all had lost their lives. Among those lost were his Brother and Mother. The fight appeared to drag on with no end in sight. The strength of these enemies was overwhelming and after enduring so much, Ragnar’s shield had finally given way. Fortunately, an arrow found the chest of the Mordock who had broken the shield. But all of the memories he made with Leif and that shield were now too much for him and he could not focus on the battle. Ragnar’s strength was quickly leaving his body as his mind slowly began breaking more, like the pieces of his shield, at the loss of so many of his friends and family.
Suddenly, Ragnar heard something. It was very faint, but got louder. He could make out a voice calling out his name. He opened his eyes and began looking for the source. It was his sister. She was still alive and Ragnar’s body began moving before he realized it, grabbing a nearby ax along the way. He gathered all the strength he had left and swung wildly at the Mordok heading towards his sister. Their bodies littered the ground. His sister had saved him from giving into his grief completely and now it was his turn to protect his sister. He grabbed her hand and together with a handful of others fled the land they called their home. Just before it was out of sight, Ragnar turned to look back at his village. Fires illuminated the destruction and death around the village. At this, Ragnar swore to the Great Wolf and Mother Gaia that he would return to reclaim those lands again or die trying.
The handful of survivors from Riverhead found a safe haven in a town in Shattered Spear territory. Ragnar tried to rally the local warriors for help to reclaim his home, but many only turned him away because the horde of Mordock was just too great at the moment. Unable to gather support he felt defeated and turned back to his bed. Ragnar was not his normal self anymore. He was overcome with grief at failing over and over to keep his loved ones safe. Ragnar was broken. He refused to go outside or even meet others from the town. Several Ulven, including his sister, attempted to get the broken Ulven back to his former self, but none succeeded.
It was several days later when something snagged Ragnar’s attention. It was such an unusual smell that it made him curious to seek it out. He didn’t have to go far as it led Ragnar to the home next to theirs. When he went in, he saw a most unique site. There was this dark-haired Ulven about Ragnar’s age, cooking something like a stew over a fire. But as he cooked, the strange Ulven danced like none other he had seen before. Ragnar couldn’t help but be completely enthralled with the way he swayed and twirled. His movements were dynamic yet graceful. It was as if the Ulven was dancing with fire. After a few minutes the peculiar Ulven from Shattered Spear realized he was being watched. All he did was give Ragnar a smile, a wink, and he continued to dance and cook. The meal was finished and the Ulven from Shattered Spear introduced himself as Eldi and that he was glad to see he had finally pierced Ragnar’s defense.
That season Eldi had shown Ragnar the beauty of the Shattered Spear lands and they shared many stories of their youth with each other. Ragnar learned that Eldi was not originally from Shattered Spear but from somewhere farther away. He shared the reason he had left his home was in search of a family who would give him a better life. More seasons passed and the two Ulven grew closer together. So much so, that familiar feelings began to spark for Eldi the way they had with female Ulven from Ragnar’s youth. But these were different. He couldn’t explain it but it felt warm, and made him smile. It was not long then that the two were mated for life.
Another season passed when news came of Ragnar’s homeland in Riverhead territory. He was astounded to hear that a group of people calling themselves the Fence Protectors were attempting to reclaim those lands and make them safe again. He was also a bit confused as to why they would call themselves that when a fence doesn’t really need protecting. Either way though, if they had wanted to make his homelands safe, they would need help from someone who knows those lands and the Ulven who may have survived. That night Ragnar had a long discussion with his mate and his sister. In the end, they both understood his feelings and gave their blessings for him to go.
He packed his stuff and was ready to leave during the next sunrise. The three were emotional because they did not know what awaited Ragnar. But they looked forward to the day when Ragnar would send word that his lands were safe again and for them to come and join him. And so he left with a new shield and eyes set in the direction of his home. Along the way he met several strangers, one of whom was selling some fine-smelling meat. Ragnar had never been one much for pork, but he was astounded by the flavors it contained.
He ventured closer and closer to his homeland and even encountered an unfortunate group of bandits who thought they stood a chance against him. When Ragnar had arrived at the farm of an old Riverhead Ulven, he was surprised to see just who these Fence Protectors were. There was no way these guys stood a chance at defending anything. And so Ragnar challenged them to a friendly fight to see just how much skill they had. Their magic-user stepped up to the challenge, but Ragnar was not interested in taking on someone who would fight with spells. It was a pointy-eared guy with a bow, double-swords, and lute who decided to take Ragnar on. The duel began and it was during the fight that Ragnar got distracted by this… unique individual. His bow skills and demeanor reminded him so much of Leif.
The duel was over, and as to who won, it didn’t matter. All that Ragnar knew at that moment was that there was a chance that he could reclaim his homelands and bring his family home. That night, they feasted on the bow-users’ pork, but in Ragnar’s opinion it was not as good as the one he got from that traveler. They shared many stories and drank long into the night. In the morning, Ragnar began training with the group that was actually called, the Guardians of the Wall. He quickly learned how to use their tower shield and even worked with their blacksmith to create one of his own. This was the shield that Ragnar would use to defend his new home and friends until the day comes when the Great Wolf’s ears rang with his name.