Tuesday, 25 August 2015

An evening with the nomads

From the journal of Kendall Nintendo -  self-proclaimed explorer, archaeologist of dubious merit and suspected charlatan
"I found myself invited to a banquet of one of the savage northmen's petty chieftains, a man called Carn Bjorn, of Clan Drakkar. The banquet was held in the Carn's feasting yurt - a massive tent, formed from the hides of 36 mammoths, set at the heart of a sea of tents, yurts and the wheeled sheds the nomads call 'Kampacans'. The feasting yurt had a great bench set across the far wall, and three massive fires in the centre. To one side, food was being served on rough tressel tables - hunks of reindeer and mammoth, flat breads and dried fruits. On the other side the band were getting ready for the nights merriment, tuning guitars, checking drum skins and polishing flutes.
In the centre of the bench sat a large man in a red tunic, baggy trousers and dark blue caftan-style coat draped over his shoulders. A bushy beard, fur hat, and long straight sword hung from his broad belt finished off the ensemble. He was flanked by even larger men, clad in long coats of chain mail, their burnished helmets reflecting the light of the fires. This was Carn Bjorn himself, slayer of a hundred mammoths, said to be the favoured grandson of the great war godess Kalash and her twin brother Nikov.
I  hung back, whilst a small man in characteristic tattered clothing of an upcountry scav prostrated himself before the mighty Carn. Such men are often found outside the major cities, peddling tat excavated from among the ruins of the Ancients. The scav raised his head, digging in the sack next to him, and pulled out several rusty lumps which he pushed across the floor towards the Carn. The armoured man on the right of the Carn leant forward with interest, but at that moment a wild figure with spiked hair lept in front of the Carn.  It was his technomance, a shamechanic of the lowest grade, who proceeded to wave his wire bedecked rhythm-stick whilst chanting protective apps incase the acheotech carried Malware curses into the heart of the tribe. Fools. Surely they must know that Malware can only be dispelled by the application of the proper rituals to invoke the mighty god Norton himself?!
The scav had flattened himself at the technomancers appearance, but had now half stood and was chanting back a litany of uninstallation to counter the technomagic. Guards from the Carn's Vaktar-gang had come rushing in drawing pistols, swords and axes. Seeing the oncoming mass of chainmail, fur and weapons the scav evidently decided that a possible technomagic virus was better than a rapid disemboweling. He put his hands up, and was dragged bodily out of the tent to face prosecution by the  clan's law-speaker. The Carn nodded his thanks to the technomancer, and I decided that I would keep my distance for a while whilst the guards calmed down. I circled the feasting yurt, taking in the sights of a barbarian camp - the men's costume was varied, and it seemed that baggy trousers were in fashion, protruding from under the skirts of tunics and jackets. Furs, long hair and beards added a savage note, further excentuated by jewellery made from animal teeth and fragments of old tech. The clan's ladies typically favoured long dresses, with cloaks and aprons instead of the men's furs. Several were dressed in a similar manner to the men, and from the weapons stuck through their belts I gathered that these must be the famous nomad shield maidens, but before I could engage any in conversation the band started.
The  guitarists started shredding heavy rifts, whilst the drums pounded and the pipes wailed. There lead singer began a most extraordinary song,  practically growling out his words in a savage frenzy. The effect was mesmerising. The crowd in the tent went wild, violently shaking their heads in time to the music, causing their long hair and beards to swish rythmically. I  had heard tales that the certain sects, the metallurgists, of the ancients had once practiced such music and dance as part of their rituals for controlling iron and steel... ''

The rest of the page is unreadable, the ink having run from a spilled drink or partial submersion.

- Xander