THE FATED CHILD
Erling Valrbjørn has no memory of his family. He cannot recall their faces, nor their names. He knows he was born at the Southern edge of the Baltic Sea, to a prosperous village of fishers, traders, and raiders, in the year 1000 by Christian count.
When he was yet a boy, a great evil came to shadow the land. A vicious beast begin to prey upon the village; at first stealing cod from boats and sheep from pens, but soon stealing babes from their baskets. The women wept, and the men gnashed their teeth and made signs towards the distant, rocky hills, where the creature was said to lair. Several parties went to confront the monster, only to return empty-handed, or not at all.
Erling cannot recall what drove him to take his father's spear, and track the creature to its den. Perhaps he had lost someone close; a younger brother or sister, though he has no memory of either. Regardless, he found himself setting foot in a vast, dark cave, itself like the maw of some great beast, and there confronted the Honey Wolf.
It was enormous, its fur like bristling quills, its jaws wide and red-tinged. Its paws were huge and heavy, tipped with long, stained claws that scraped the stones where it walked. The bones of his fellow Norsemen littered its cave, but Erling held tight to his spear, even as the beast raised up on it's hind legs, towering over him.
He returned to his village, his spear broken, his shield shattered. The beast's claws had raked across his back, scoring jagged lines which spread across his shoulders like the branches of Yggdrasil.
The villagers took one look at his blood-flecked lips, at his torn and tortured muscles, and at the hulking beast he'd left broken in his wake, and spoke a word: Berserkr.
They named him valrbjørn, the bear-slayer, and as the scars across his back healed and hardened, they knew he was destined for greater things. He was sent to Jómsborg, home of the legendary Jómsvikings, to join their fellowship and drink deeply from the cup of glory.
He was the youngest man to join their order since Vagn Åkesson. The boy grew into adulthood under the watch of his rough tutors, learning sword and shield, spear and sail, and the unbreakable Code by which they all lived, but one thing he could not learn was cruelty. He took no pleasure in the suffering of others, and when hostages were taken on raids, he would offer them bread and water, to the amusement of his fellows.
Erling Softheart they would call him, and some thought it a weakness. But when the tide of battle rose, and the berserkr rage would come upon him, his vision would fade into a fine red haze, and he would not stop or rest until every foe was battered and broken. Gentle or not, none could doubt his savage, merciless capacity for violence.
THE DOOMED MAN
By mid century, the legendary Jómsvikings were in decline. They were an island of old faith surrounded by the rising tide of Christianity. They were raiders and mercenaries in a world where such an independent armed force was becoming increasingly intolerable. Some Jómsvikings, disillusioned, joined Cnut the Great's Huscarls and the conquest of England. Valrbjørn, ever loyal to the fellowship that had given him purpose, remained behind, obedient to the Code.
In 1040, a young recruit went missing, and then another. The Jómsvikings scoured their fortress, but found no breach, nor sign of the ill fated boys. Over the next several months, more men vanished, both from Jómsborg, and the surrounding countryside. The men whispered fearfully that the terrible Honey Wolf had returned, and all eyes turned to the man who had slain it nearly three decades before. Now a seasoned, patient warrior, Valrbjørn gathered a small troop of his comrades, and set out to confront the beast. Their trek was a thing out of nightmare, and as they tracked further into the mountains they were harried and winnowed, until only three men remained. Sven, who Valrbjørn loved like a brother, and Jori, who he despised for his thoughtless malice.
When they finally reached the den of their tormentor, they learned, far too late, that it was no mere bear. A great and terrible evil dwelled in that cave, a creature lost in time, who survived the ages by eating the hearts of men. Sven was the first to die, his sword torn contemptuously from his grip, his throat ripped clean to the bone. Jori died next, trying to buy Valrbjørn time to escape, despite their long rivalry. The last of the Jómsvikings wept bitter tears at the loss of two brothers, one beloved and one despised. There was naught left to do but let the rage consume him. He tasted his own blood, coppery and sweet, and the world went red.
He did not best the great evil, but something in the unbridled berserkr rage called out to the ancient monster, and it saw in him a distantly kindred spirit. When he awoke he was changed, and learned, to his horror, that it was far too late to return to his former life. Sven and Jori, each slain in battle, would journey to the halls of their father's fathers, and feast until the final battle of the gods began. But for Valrbjørn, there would be no more glory. No chance at an honest death. He had cheated his fate, and in their jealous rage, the Norns had made him immortal.
THE LAST OF THE JÓMSVIKINGS
By 1043, Jómsborg was no more, the fortress burnt to cinders by King Magnus the Good, the Jómsvikings slain or scattered. Its location would become lost, and its fellowship passed into history and legend. For Valrbjørn, it was solemn proof of his cursed state, that everyone he had ever known or loved was gone, taken in glory to Valhöll, while he remained behind.
His maker was named Deceneus the Thracian, an ancient gladiator from the time of the Roman Republic. For the next decade, he and Valrbjørn traveled the Baltic region, visiting the fading halls of the Einherjar as they entered their twilight. When The Thracian was ready to release his offspring, there was no ceremony to mark the occasion. Deceneus simply left, returning occasionally to give his wayward progeny opaque instructions, and renew the Blood Oath between them.
At the start of the Sixteenth Century, now a potent elder in his own right, Valrbjørn settled in Iceland, claiming personal territory and guarding it jealously against all challengers. He remained there, nurturing his precious solitude, leaving the island refuge only when required by his maker's commands.
Almost a century later he was directed to create offspring of his own. His people were gone, long concquered by the spread of the Christian faith, but they were still those who reeved across the seas, and Valrbjørn searched for a suitable candidate. Rather than snatch his progeny from the skeins of fate, he took pains to select one destined to die. He eventually found Blackburne, a notorious pirate, who had already been sentenced to death when the authorities at Port Royal realized she was a women hiding under a man's garb. Valrbjørn took her from her cell, leaving an addle-minded blood doll to hang in her stead. This became the law of his line: that no childe shall be embraced save upon the eve of its certain death and a substitute sacrifice left in its place, so as to not risk the ire of the Norns.
Blackburne traveled with her maker and learned his laws, before the two returned to Iceland. Eventually, she struck out for the New World, and had offspring of her own. Those offspring begat more, and so his lineage was born: a bucanner, a patriot, a gunfighter, a gangster, all rebels against the stifling laws of society, each trading the hangman's noose for a new existence. They had no name for themselves, merely being of the line of Valrbjørn; but this was eventually anglicized to "the line of Valorborn", and eventually simply the Valorborn
THE WESTERN LANDS
At the end of the twentieth century, the Jyhad between Clans Brujah and Ventrue had entered a precarious detente, as a struggle between Methusilahs in Switzerland echoed down their vast lineages all across the world. Deceneus supported his Broodmade, the Methusilah Guillaume, in the conflict. In 2017, Valrbjørn recieved new instructions from his maker, and directed his offspring to travel to Seattle, a city far, far to the West, upon the coast of the New World, where a Brujah challenger had just displaced a Ventrue Prince, claiming Praxis.
Valrbjørn, ever dutiful, summoned his lineage to him, and together they journeyed to the West, there to descend upon their new home, and guard it's newly minted sovereign against all claimants.
Whatever the Thracian's inscrutable purpose, it did not last long; after less than half a year, the old Brujah unceremoniously informed the Prince that he was on his own. Within a fortnight the Primogen were already sharpening their knives and considering who to elevate in his stead. In the mean while the Valorborn, their tour of duty in Seattle complete, prepared to return to their private existences. They were forestalled when hunters struck at Blackburne's vessel, sinking it, and trapping the Brujah linage in the city.
What followed was an object lesson in brute force. When the dust had settled, Blackburne stood as Prince over a reluctant Primogen council, and within another fortnight the hunter cells that had dared to strike at the Valorborn were visited by the two eldest of the line, who carved a path of biblical violence through them.
A mere month later Justicar Theo Bell left the Camarilla, decrying the treatment of his clan within the Ivory Tower. Blackburne took the opportunity to place Seattle itself in contention, and bolstered by her maker and their lineage, forced an increasingly alarmed Camarilla populace to accept their decree. The decision would be made upon the Longest Night, and Seattle would either remain within the Camarilla, or be forcibly converted to the Anarch Movement.
Upon the Longest Night, before a mass gathering of Kindred, Blackburne announced that Seattle would remain within the Camarilla, but that in recognition for the wrongs done to Clan Brujah, a tithe of territory would be ceded to the Anarch movement. In the stunned silence that followed, Valrbjørn's eldest abdicated the throne, and his entire lineage abandoned the Camarilla in favor of the Anarch Movement.
(Please feel free to add In-Character quotes and rumors by here)
- "Valrbjørn has thrived despite the madness such a violent life can bring. He has risen above time and again, and even when the rage threatens to consume the last shreds of his soul he remembers to fight back. Not every battle is bloodshed, politics, or violence. He still rises victorious." — Mila Rurik
- "His demeanor does little to hint at what a terrifying warrior he is. It is hard to square that gentleman with the horrific acts he has performed." — Mickey Oleary
- "He is my brother; centuries removed, born of vitae and warrior-spirit rather than some accident of birth, but my brother still. Together unstoppable, but not inseparable, as we fight and disagree as brothers do. I rightly envy the peace he seems to find in his long solitudes, that alluring fiction being ever elusive to me. In turn he rightly resents that I have oft been the messenger sent to break them, compelling him to stain his hands red again and again." — Carden d'Vergobret
- "Hrm.. let's see how first impressions play out because 'old' and 'intimidating' followed by 'I think that's approval?' just proves how the neonate struggle is real!" — Kweene
- "There are ones among us who speak warmly of those in their lineages. This is, however, not the relationship I share with him. He made me as I am now, but he is not my father. He is not my friend. He is a wise man, a dutiful one, one that I hold deep respect for...but this does not make him a good man, nor a kind, sentimental one. We can at times go for decades without speaking, neither of us feeling any keen loss at this distance...and yet blood runs thickest and all he must do is speak the word and I again willingly return to his side and his service as long as I am bid, however I am most useful. This. This is the nature of our relationship." — Blackburne
- "Intimidating doesn't even begin to cover it." — Zach Staley
- "Yeah, like that dude like totes like threw me into a wall, because he was like all in his like feels. Like fuck, no I'm not like mad, like why do you think I let him? Sometimes you're just like in need of like a little violence, and like his is totes delish." — Karma
- "Watching Elder Valrbjorn in Vancouver - the closest comparison I can make is to the first time I saw Edwin Forest's Macbeth. Forceful and Primal. That impression lingers even nights later." — Olivia Collins
- "It isn't difficult to navigate around Valrbjørn, but few people follow the advice I freely give. Keep your speech short, your points crisp, and leave out everything but the most critical details and you should be fine. Folks tend to want to philosophize and editorialize when speaking to this ancient monster, not realizing that they may end up paying a high price for what they believed was a cute quip. Talk to Blackburne if you want to be social. Talk to me if you want an opinion on something trivial. Talk to Valrbjørn if what you want immediate and terrifying action with little control over the outcome." — Arlignton, while he was in the Camarilla and still a dutiful servant.
- "It didn't have to be like this. All you had to do was accept that sometimes, you ain't the biggest and scariest monster in the room. I'm sure you fought against some famous general or led some high speed group of Archons into a dangerous situation and forgot yourself. I understand. Damn man, I remember the time I drew down on him in a moment of rage. Guns just magicked themselves into my hand and I was pointing them at him. That's when I knew. I didn't see a human, or even a Vampire looking at me. I saw the Fenrir Wolf. I saw a hunger for destruction. If you think I'm a quick draw, you should see how quick I was to holster those Peacemakers. When you fix yourself, you can talk to Blackburne about a properly worded apology." — Arlignton
the Anarch, speaking to an unnamed Kindred laying in a wrecked heap on the floor, slowly knitting himself back together after delivering a really witty zinger to Valrbjørn.
- "Interesting. He seems to have come so far without moving an inch. An iceberg towed by time. I would suppose that many broken ships lie in his wake along this course, as well. One to watch." — Gereon d'Aquitaine
- "It's amazing how well things can go if you just listen to Arlington about Valrbjorn. He tells you exactly what you need to know. It's fair warning, fairly given, man. You just gotta show respect and not waste his time." — Jimmy Kincaid
- "So, I have seen some terrifying things in the trainwreck that is my life and undeath. That said, Elder Valrbjorn is terrifying. The real deal terrifying. But, he sees something in me. My heritage from my grand-sire. The old norse songs. I feel bolder knowing it is others who must be afraid of him. Not me." — Brenda Bittersea
- "Once, long ago, I came to his island to teach him wisdom. He has taught me loyalty, in return, and for that, I am grateful." — The Dowager Countess Valeska Oldenberg
- "It's easy to get distracted by how intense and intimidating he is. But there's depth there, too, if you have the patience and courage to find it." — Jo Harris
- "I have shaken his and, and looked into his eyes. It was if if I gazed into the eye of a tornado, or held the paw of an 'asada from my homeland. As much predator as force of nature - by itself that would be sufficient to give one pause. That such force is governed by a mind as sharp as a Danesman's axe - then you begin to grasp how truly formidable he is." — Kha ibn Hafaz Al-Basir
- Valrbjørn has nurtured a millennia-long star-crossed love affair with an Elder Ventrue; never quite realized, and now made increasingly impossible by the growing animosity between their Clans.
- In the 1940's Valrbjørn's sire directed him to use the chaos caused by the Nazi occupation of France in order to root out rivals and destroy their holdings. He co-opted and ghouled a cohort of Wehrmacht, leading them personally under German colors.
- In 2018 he was called, amongst other elder Brujah, to a meeting of his Clan’s ancients. There he met his Founder, and was drafted into the final war between vampire-kind.
- Blackburne: "When faced with a choice between the hangman's noose, and a life of genteel obedience, she choose to hang. Such courage ought be rewarded. Alas, this world is not just: instead, I made her my childe."
- Mila Rurik: "When I have wandered too far from myself, she is there, to remind me of the cares I once had. Even if they are but echos, it is still good to remember."
- Anaïs Palomer: "I traveled with the crone and witnessed her magics, the power to bless or curses. All too often, the two were indistinguishable."
- Carden d'Vergobret: "He, the favored son. I, the prodigal. He, embraced to be our sire's brother and peer. I, created to be his butcher. He, crowned in gold and glory. I, steeped in blood, hounded by the wails of the innocent. He, restless and discontent in his gilded grandeur. I, grateful in my peace and isolation, until he comes once more, to wrest me from it."
- Arlington: "He may believe whatsoever he wishes. He may harbor doubt, or resentment, or fear in his secret heart. That is the coin I pay for his loyalty: that he need never pretend to agree with what must be done. So long as he answers the call."