The year that knowledge of the Duck God came to them 879 A.D. (Earleywood, April 2019)

Stykar, wisest amongst the wise, brought to them on the first morning great revelations. Over a hearty breakfast much discussion was made. Those in the party, hearing his words and adding their own understanding, saw the majesty of the Duck God’s plan. All were amazed by the revelation that in each of their homes, near the shrine to Kermitos, already lay a shrine to the Duck God; unrealized but no less unvisited.

For you see, friends, the Duck God has created man not as his children; but as servants of his true children: those made in his image. We see the majesty of it, for each duck is, by will of the Duck God, sent into this world where they may have the opportunity to partake of the foods offered to them by mortal man. Those who are pure and honest servants of the Duck God seek out the grains that are so holy to him. But to others comes nothing but temptation in the form of rich sugary white bread: alluring, tasty but unholy in the eyes of the Duck God. Man, therefore is but an instrument in the lives of the true divine children.

Knowing this the company was renewed and each promised to return to their homes, sanctify the shrine to the Duck God and place therein a small effigy to the Duck God such that when they bathed in the cleansing waters the effigy would rise above them on the water as an eternal reminder of the ducks’ superiority.

Thereafter each went to their Kinsmen, for there was much trouble in the lands. Those of the Vikings who had settled and who had seen the conversion of Athelstan felt lost; their place was not as lapdogs of Wessex, yet the peace brought trade and there were no other clear leaders to follow. Dissatisfied, two groups of Vikings set out on separate quests to find sacred symbols that might lead them to a greater understanding of Odin’s plans for them, the two raven banners lost but possibly found in the last year. Meanwhile, those of the Oestvikingae, buoyed by an increase in manpower and in no way interested in the petty issues of Wessex and the Danegeld themselves began raids tackling Viking and Saxon alike looking for such valued treasure.

Alfred, hearing of the many Vikings abroad in the lands, and knowing of their missions sent his finest warriors after them. They savagely and relentlessly hounded the Viking groups as they sought their banners. Especially the Chilternsetae, before whom all fell in battle, with the exception of the Oestvikingae who ran away! Having obtained the white Raven banner, they became over confident, and carried it through the land, hung upside down, to represent the folly of the old ways. But their strength and prowess in battle ultimately was the undoing of Alfred’s plan; for the Vikings having just suffered an ambush by the Oestvikingae formed a single unit and marched against the Saxons, while the Oestvikingae disappeared in to the undergrowth.

There in a sandy grove of fallen trees, did the two sides engage. Line after line of warriors stepped forward to engage in bloody conflict and many fell. Survivors of a particular battle, though few they are, tell of a terrifying Hauk-howl that can forth from some impenetrable bracken before suddenly the wall was swamped by the army of the Oestvikingae who slaughtered indiscriminately. By day’s end the Saxon forced, still undeterred, had lost control of the Raven banner and the Vikings had rallied before it. The Saxon’s retreated to Wessex and the Vikings, seeing that Odin had watched upon them today, but knowing the price of folly in his eyes felt prudently that a retreat was also in order.

So, to the evening and to a great feast; all were welcomed to the hall of Holmbyggjar, an autonomous collective governing as a single unit in the absence of their Lord Bosi. In fact, much praise and respect was given to our absent friends; those who will always join our banquet in memory even when they cannot be with us in person. Wulf, particularly, was spoken of highly, Stykar telling of his may adventures with Thor on his journeys through Midgard.

We welcomed also, many new faces to the banquet. Skykar’s niece, was welcomed to Holmbyggjar following her marriage to Hrothgar over the winter months, an alliance that will hopefully represent the companionship between the Viking tribes following the retrieval of the raven banners. We also welcomed the return of Piri, to Holmbyggjar, and the Oestvikingae (favoured so much by the hosts that they receive the special ‘golden harvest mead’ upon their arrival at the hall) welcomed Madoc Arnson and Floki, and celebrated their new members and gifted them greatly for their valour on the fields of battle. So too was much praise given to those who through their efforts made such an event possible, and all were grateful for their works.

So, to the future do each group look. Stykar professed confidence in the Viking’s ability to re-form under the banners and the Saxons, citing their victories of the day, stated that no Saxon force would be overcome by such Viking forces. But, alas, without the wisdom of the Norns, no mortal man can tell what the future is to bring, so in these times we wait, peace or war, honour and glory all these things may come but for now we each, in quiet reflection, return to the shrines of the Duck God.

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