|It goes like this...
Following skermishes between the Saxons and Iceland, the parents of three
brothers were forced to leave their firstborn, Jon, with a family
of friendly Mountain Elves because someone may have been after them.
They settled in the village of Valhalla, and raised their two other
sons there, Veleif and the youngest, Vertrlidi, but were
killed by unknown hands before they could retrieve him.
He was raised by the Elves until his early adulthood, when the tribe was wiped out mysteriously. Finding them dead when he returned from a hunting trip, he traveled Scandinavia looking for his real family, and becoming a Viking warrior and rune caster in the process. Eventually, he found Valhalla and his two brothers.
By then, having grown up without their parents for most of their lives, the somewhat badly adapted Veleif had become an shipbuilder working on his father's drakaar and Vertrlidi, calling himself "Finehair", became a roguish skald and player of games. Jon the Brave's goal thus became to reunite his family and keep his brothers out of trouble.
Previously... When Sigrun came to town, she shook things up, and not just with her beautiful voice. All three brothers found her interesting though it would be Finehair who would court her more actively.
Not that it was all fun and games! Finehair had to deal with a rather untrustworthy whale hunter by the name of Olvir le Huileux, and Jon had to contend with the intolerant Christian provincial lawman Valgrad. And what of "model" citizen Daark, a rich Jarl who knew their parents and seemed to be hiding something? It sometimes seemed like their only friends were the king Thorbjorg, who was a friend of their parents, and young Skeggi, Jon's saga-addicted page.
They were never able to prove that Daark was behind the hijacking of multiple convoys bringing supplies to Valhalla by pirates bearing yellow shields, and when the supplies ran too low, the brothers went (not all voluntarily) to the Wood Elves to trade for some.
After some forest challenges, they had the stuff, including an old scroll and a dagger with a strange inscription. This clue led the brothers on a quest to find its owner, a thief who may have stolen and hidden a golden helm of great value. But before they follow up on it, the elves that helped them now attack Valhalla because they've fallen victim to a disease from something traded to them. The great hall is defended, and in the process, Finehair makes friends with one of Olvir's men, sympathetic Gundr "Swordarm".
Now following their leads, they travel to a number of coasts, all the while disturbed by dreams of wolves come to revenge themselves on the owners of weapons used to kill the elves. The helm will be found in a cemetary defended by undead, and it allows the brothers to at least pay off Finehair's debts.
On this trip, they meet Lupita, an Spanish pirate Johnny wants to bring to justice, but she gets away (without her merchandise). Veleif seems interested in her, but he kinda smells, you know?
Back home, Finehair decides he'll go to Iceland soon to compete in a Hnefatafl tournament, and then there's another attack on a convoy. Jon goes out to stop them and his boat loses the wind and isn't able to help. Deep questions as to the effects of a first Shift are explored, but no answers come up. Investigations into the convoy hijackings turn up nothing even with the help of Aguardiel, an exiled Christian elf known by Jon.
When Olvir asks Finehair to throw a game at the tournament, Finehair refuses, but still gets his ass kicked by the mysterious Lupita who may be cheating. The event will end in a disaster when a hot spring blows right there, gravely injuring Sigrun and Daark, the latter pulling through rather easily. The brothers visit Sigrun's bedside and again mystified by a Shift, they try to collect their wits before they are sent on an expedition along the fjords to survey for a precious metals. On the way, they find a clue to the identity of the convoy hijackers - a piece of yellow shield that the runes tell Jon have a connection with Daark...?
The brothers come across a wounded dragon that attacks them, and which they must drive away. Following its steps leads to a cave in which they find an egg! As they reach the surface with their prize, the animals held by Jon' runes inform them that fire has hit the already sick tribe of Wood Elves, and destroyed it completely.
Upon their return to Valhalla, it is attacked by wolves, and Daark claims someone has angered the spirits. The brothers are sent to make amends since it may be them.
They find the true culprits, Normand pirates camped out near the village. They also discover that they are working with Daark and are most probably the pirates that have made their lives difficult. They beat the bad guys, but also confront Daark, who shows his hand by admiting he killed their parents, as well as hinting that he too, shifts. The confrontation turns violent as Daark squares off against the brothers with his magic fire giant-made sword. The Great Hall is badly damaged in the ensuing inferno, sending the village into chaos, and then Daark is finally killed by the coast. His body is not recovered after it fell into the sea.
Through this incident, Valhalla gets wind of a dark plan by other allies of Daark's, evil dwarves, to kidnap Vikings, eat their brains and in the process become smarter. Investigating, Jon is kidnapped as well. He's rescued, of course, and Thorbjorg approves an attack on the far side of the mountains, where Daark's secret underground base is apparently dug, an attack and rescue, as it turns out.
The damage of the last few days leads to a hearing by the thing (of course called by Valgrad) in which Olvir tries to frame the brothers. Finehair proves him a traitor instead and kills him during an oily escape. The other fallout from this is that Veleif is offered a place on an expedition to Vinland to further keep him out of trouble (outside his brothers' influence). He leaves by drakaar for the New World, but leaves his brothers their parents' journal, in which they find mentions of possible shifting on their parts too, as well as examples of a strange language that never changes from shift to shift.
Attending Olvir's funeral, Finehair is challenged to a duel by Olvir's brother Gilli Graisse-de-Baleine. It will end badly for Gillil, who gets his ear sliced off and falls off a cliff. Meanwhile, Finehair can't see Sigrun because her father Hord Half-Dane has come to town to see how her husband selection is going in his cousin's court and doesn't approve.
Thorbjorg is later murdered and Valgrad asks the brothers for help in the investigation. They find that he didn't want to trade with dangerous supporters of the Germany-Poland war, and they had him killed. Jon and Finehair eventually stop a plot by these extremists to boil the North Sea with evil magicks, which fizzles out more or less harmlessly in the fjords. Gilli Graisse-de-Baleine returns briefly during this episode, minus the ear.
As Hord Half-Dane takes fillial kingship of Valhalla, putting the brothers' positions in jeopardy, they have a scribe, Bardi, investigate the strange script in their parents' journal. He makes headway, but it is stolen by explorer Fridgeir the Fast, recently arrived from his 80-day trip Meditarenean. Confronting Fridgeir, they discover he's a artificial man of clay.
When they bring the artifact that was at his core to Bardi, it gives him they key to the alien alphabet - it's from the lost island of Ys! Jon then has Aguardiel call her Christian friend Leif Erikson who brings them to fog-shrouded Ys. They are all captured there, and the brothers, referred to by the people of Ys as "shifters" are thrown into a different cell... with a man called Tolv. [Click here for Tolv's history]
They discover that Tolv is a shifter too, and while they compare notes, Leif breaks them out. In getting back to his drakaar, they discover that the Ys seem not only to know about the Shifts, but may be able to control or at least initiate them. They manage to reach the airlock and the longboat despite Ys guards running after them with bows. Once aboard, they hightail it out of there, and when they get back on the bridge... SHIFT>
Recently... are told by Leif the Lucky that any debt owed to Aguardiel is wiped clean. He drops them off near Valhalla, but the village is in mourning for the loss of Sigrun. She's been taken in the night by trolls. Mad with love, Finehair goes after her, and with the help of Jon and Tolv, reaches the troll lair.
They only want Sigrun to sing a song that will replenish their mine, so after a game of King-board won by Finehair, an alliance is made with the trolls that Sigrun will be brought there to sing every 10 winters. Returning home as heroes, the King warms up to the brothers, and even offers Tolv his freedom.
That freedom is contested by Valgrad before the thing, but it is finally given, though a vision he has of a sinking longboat makes the Vikings wary and start to plan their next expedition a little better. SHIFT>