The Long Walk
Tradition, Honor, and Survival are the creed of every Frostmerite. Most of these traditions are passed down from word of mouth as paper is scarce and does not last in the cruel winters of the North. Traditions are generally passed from Skald to Skald through the ages and will differ from tribe to tribe based on their values or small additions to shape the lore of the tribe. One of the oldest legends of the Frostmerites is about the Long Walk. In a time long ago the proud King Rolf was wise and just. His reign was one of the most prosperous for the Frostmerite people. He was happily wed to his Queen Thyra. After many winters together they were finally blessed with child. The birth was difficult due to the delivery of two healthy twin boys which is seen as a blessing in Frostmere culture. Upon their birth there was a stir among the Skald as the royal family had never produced twins as the eldest and heirs to the throne. Rolf was troubled and consulted his high Skald Tharn. The Skald eased the Kings worries as winters of the North are difficult and many children do not make it to adulthood so the twins should both be raised to be princely so that if one should perish the lands would still have a strong heir. As the boys aged they soon passed all their peers in martial skill and knowledge. Both boys seemed to be paragons of what it is to be a Frostmerite. Pushing each other and trying to best the other was common place. As the times were bountiful with food and trade the boys were well liked due to their fathers rule. They were both well known for their charitable deeds to the community and their prowess in hunting. Time went quickly in these times as the boys grew into men and their list of deeds grew as well. Still pushing each other to new heights during their naming trails. A bear had been marauding through the lands and had escaped many hunting parties efforts to put an end to it. The boys were celebrated as they dragged the great beast back into town together after a vicious battle with it. On that day Magni and Modi were given their first names. One season passed unto the next and soon ten winters had gone by from their naming day. Magni and Modi were known across the land for their fierceness in combat. Each brother being able to take on 5 men and defeat them. But their martial prowess was matched by their generosity and kindness to the tribes around them. Unfortunately with most Frostmerite tales there was not a happy ending for these brothers. In the depth of that winter disaster struck, the King and Queen both fell ill to a plague that had been sweeping the lands. They both quickly succumb to the foul disease and as is tradition the throne is left to the eldest heir. The now very old Tharn had not been looking forward to this day as it was his duty to inform the brothers that if there were two individuals with whom had equal right to the throne then only a battle to the death could determine whose claim was strongest. As tradition is never to be broken, the brothers readied themselves for battle and met blade with shield. The battle was of epic proportions. Both had trained their entire lives together so every blow was parried and countered. Many shields were shattered and armor was rent before Modi delivered a blow that sent Magni to the ground unable to rise. Upon seeing his broken brother on the ground still breathing, Modi fell to his knees and wept upon his brother. He raised his axe in the air and cursed and plead with Grandfather Bear that he refused to end Magni’s life. Tharn witnessed Modi’s despair and was suddenly struck with a vision of Grandfather Bear. In his vision a bear was licking Magni’s wounds and nudging him to get up. Tharn took this vision as a sign to save Magni. He rushed to the body and took him and did his best to save him. Tharn meditated deeply as Magni healed, troubled by the repercussions of his actions until Grandfather Bear once again granted him a vision. In his vision he saw the entirety of the Northern lands from a crows eyes, it followed a single bears tracks as it went from village to village providing aid in whatever way it could to the villagers. The tracks went on to the forest roads where the bear helped defend travelers from wolves and other vicious creatures that preyed upon them. The vision ended with the bear tracks leading off into the distance over rolling hills covered in snow leading to the mountains. As his vision ended Magni was completely healed before him but similar wounds appeared on Tharns body. A voice appeared in his head saying “In healing this man you must pay the bloodprice for his failure in ritual combat so that balance can be acchived.” The way of the Frostmerite is to never waste anything including life. So Tharn called a council of all the Skalds to meet so that the fate that befell the twin brothers never had to be visited upon any family in the future. They decided that if in ritual combat, the victor refused to slay the loser. The loser could retain his honor by taking the Long Walk. They would renounce all their worldly possessions and claims of birthright including their trial won names and be forced to travel the world doing deeds of kindness and heroism to earn their name back. This is the reason why the same story of great deeds is told in the North with different names is common because those that take the long walk can claim no name as his own. Magni was the first of many Frostmerites to be claimed by the Long Walk and his heroic deeds were so great that many stories were told in the South of caravans being saved from raiders by a single hooded man who claimed no prize and spoke no names. The stories of great evils being vanquished and towns being saved from famine by a mysterious hunters gifts grew far and wide. Out of these tales came the legends of the stoic and honorable men of the North that are still told to this day. As time went on the name Magni became a taboo name to the Frostmerites and was never taken in trials. Those whom choose to take the Long Walk when encountering another Frostmerite may say their name is Magni so that those around them know not to interfere with their goals.
Any Frostmerite can Invoke The Long Walk after any duel that they believe has tarnished their honor but since death is usually the result of these duels it is generally because a Skald of the tribe has taken it upon themselves to save the individual. The Skald must pay the Blood Price to revive the defeated party. The Blood Price is the inflicting of harm upon themselves usually with a ceremonial dagger in the past but now casting healing spells without manacite is also acceptable. This is done by the Skald to balance for the life that should have been claimed by the forest.
The Long Walk can be invoked after a Ritual Combat or duel occurs and the loser is not slain or is saved from death.