A copper for the tale of a skald great shieldmaid?
May your horn never be empty of mead and your bed never bereft of men. Your tale for your coin…
In years before when this was still a virgin land, pure as the peaks of ice, fresh as a new-caught bondsmaid, the great pine forests in the foothills of the Worgstead mountains were haunt to a terrible beast. Eich Halgarr, hetman of Shadhalla sent many of his huscarls to slay the beast that was preying on the farmers and steaders but none prevailed. Their bodies found crushed and caged in the roots of the ancient pines.
Soon no man would venture into the woods and no hero would take up the cause. Shadhalla fell into despair and poverty and the people began to leave. Only the Eich and his most faithful remained, tilling their own soil like common folk.
From the east came a ship, seeking new lands of their own but finding the place occupied and being men of honour they took up the Eich’s hospitality and neither the Eich nor his closest told the tale of the beast in the forest. Instead, hoping for a hero they offered a hero’s price if one from the ship would fetch them wood from the forest, to repair their ailing hall.
Hroth, the one who cut the wood for the ships, a woodcutter of note back in his home, took up the challenge and with his axe he took to the forest to cut the wood that the Eich demanded.
It was not long until the beast found him. A great, trollish thing of sap and bark, of stone and wood. The pain of the forest made flesh in vengeance against those who would cut its ancient trees. It bellowed and Hroth bellowed back at it. It reached for him and he hew at it. He was not a warrior, he did not seek to fight it. Rather he sought to fell it, and therein stood his victory.
Even as it smashed at him and bloodied him. He picked himself up and he cut and cut and cut, hewing at the same spot on its great leg until it was cut clean through and the beast fell, fell long enough for him to bury the axe between the beast’s eyes.
Hroth returned and was heralded as a champion. What remained of the wealth of Shadhalla was given to him and the Eich’s daughter was promised him to wed.
Hroth was angered by the trickery. He took the girl and the gold aye, and the Eich’s head too. Claiming for himself the lordship of Shadhalla. They say his axe remains there, all these years later, in the lost treasury of Shadhalla the Great, the City Hroth built until the ice came. It bears the scars of his battle with the beast of the forest… and that deed remains a part of the metal’s soul… so they say. A rare weapon, made great by a rare man.
Hroth’s axe is a simple woodcutting axe, but the blood and sap of the creature that he slew has indelibly left its mark upon the blade. The axe cleaves through wood, stone – and metal – as easily as it cuts through flesh.
Hroth’s Axe: Great Axe 1d10+1 Damage, +1 bonus to attack. Anyone and anything attacked with Hroth’s Axe is considered to be unarmoured. That is, they only get an AC of 12+Dex Bonus. For monster, remove half of whatever AC they have over 12 rounding up.
EG: AC12=12, 13=12, 14=13, 15=13, 16=14, 17=14, 18=14