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Old 10-19-2020, 10:09 AM   #672
jason taylor
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Mt. Fafnirskin the Hateful:

Anglic name for a periodically active volcano of great height on Gungir known for it's spectacular eruptions. It is said to be inhabited by a descendant of Fafnir (there is disagreement on his personal name) who wages an eternal blood feud with men and that he will be slain only when a warrior mightier than Sigurd is born upon the Earth. Other versions say that Sigurd himself regularly comes down from Odin's Hall to do battle with him until he is quiet for a time. Irreverent jokes are made about him being a Sheriff putting an unruly drunk in a lockup over and over again.

It is said that he enjoys all kinds of humans preferring the taste of maidens as for some reason all monsters seem to do except of course for those monsters who prefer, um, extreme postmaidens. Fafnirskin is also depicted as sadistic and inflicts dreadful tortures upon mortals. Some have depicted Fafnirskin as a master of dark magic, or even a shapechanger. And it is generally agreed that he takes tribute from Dwarves and Alvar in shapely and beautiful things of great expense: not that he might enjoy them but that others might be deprived. These include tomes of wizardry inscribed in beautiful calligraphy on silver or gold sheets, skillfully made artifacts and jewelry, and glorious treasures some once possessed by rulers and warriors of old. Fafnirskin is known also for taking slaves and forcing them to work for him. These can be live Dwarves and Alvar or the shades of men but Fafnirskin treats men the worse as befitting his feud.

Despite the malevolent legend and the very real lava flow, and more to the point the mudslides, floods and poisonous fumes, Gungnirians have a perverse affection for Mount Fafnirskin. Tourists come for long distances to watch eruptions which is generally safe with proper precautions. This is ususually accompanied by the chanting and singing of sagas, the eating of feasts, and the lighting of pyrotechnics. During dormant phases the extensive ice fields can reform and some of those take fantastic shapes, as do the bizarre twists of igneous rock deposits. These barren but weirdly beautiful reaches are often said to be haunted by spirits, trolls and/or by the evil spells designed to keep the dragon's slaves from fleeing and keep watch on would-be thieves.

Fortunately modern Vulcanology can fairly well predict an active phase. The dormant phase can be long, sometimes long enough for such recreations as mountain climbing. Life does return and it is a well known nesting spot for the famed Gungnir Eagle which finds it a handing place to ambush migratory fowl and has an adept enough temperature sense to evacuate during an eruption's approach. The Eagles are highly valued for falconry. Adolescent ones, at the beginning of their skill and appearance are favored. But eggs and chicks are easier to harvest and will sell well to owners who already have a mated pair in their aviary (the species is noted for being able to adopt strays). Nonfertile eggs can be preserved and made into jewelry by various technological techniques. Harvesting is only done by special permission because of the threat of endangerment. Safaris set out into the area at dormant times, despite the attributed preternatural threats and more to the point the very real mundane dangers.

Other areas of possible economic exploitation are available, carefully regulated to keep them from playing out. Diamond deposits have been discovered. And of course there are always those few who take the legend literally and go seeking (or claiming to seek) to steal the Dragon's treasure. Another addendum to the legend is the mystery of Knut the Mad, a famous explorer of the area. Despite the legend, the historical Knut was in fact a disciplined scientist, but had a not unjustified reputation for mysticism like others of his ilk and left behind wild poetry and riddles causing him to have attributed to be in league with or even to be Odin himself. As seems to be always the case, Knut went into The Dragon's shadow and never came back, nor was his body or those of any member of his expedition found. As people of his sort never die in such comparatively uninteresting ways as having a dreadful accident, several causes have been attributed, a favorite of which is that he is searching for a hero to Slay The Dragon (or tame him, by other accounts as slaying him will take away the fun). Ever an anon people go on expeditions to seek traces, and no certain causes of the disappearance have been found. Cynics have said that the real purpose of these expeditions is to make and sell entertaining docudramas.

The Dragon's mountain is naturally enough a heritage site for the nearby and aptly named Jarldom of Volsung specifically and for the planet Gungnir in general.
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison

Last edited by jason taylor; 02-11-2021 at 10:10 AM.
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