There Will Be War: Geir’s Testament

(That’s weird, I could have sworn I clicked ‘publish’ on this yesterday. Most odd.)

I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired this week. But since we had a small ingame reward for writing these AARs, I wrote this anyway.

I, Geir Jonson, being of sound mind and failing body, do hereby set out my last Will and testament.

To my eldest son Olaf I leave the farm Geirvirke, and all its lands and people, to have and to hold in udal right, for him and the heirs of his body, for as long as men shall live in Norway; excepting only that I lay on him and his the task of fostering the sons of his brothers, and their sons, even to the tenth generation, and giving them training at arms as I have taught him.

To my son Håvard I leave my good ship Halkjells Minne (*), and charge him to remember always why I named it so, as I have told him in the past, and to tell his sons in their turn.

To my son Ragnvald I leave the axe Manbiter, and my best byrnie, and a hundred marks silver; and him I charge to make his own way in the world, and not to forget his descent as I have told it him, nor to let his sons forget it.

And to all my sons, I leave this advice: Never forget that our kinsmen are few, and that there are none who love us. Stand together against all outsiders, whatever your private quarrels; and always consider how the land and the Folk may be made stronger. Never again permit civil war to ravage Norway; we are too few in this country, each fallen is brother and friend.

Remember always that all men have their pride, and that even the meanest has the power of his fists and his mind; and give no offense needlessly. Let a beaten foe retreat with all the face you can give him, although you strip him of everything else. If you must fight, strike mercilessly and instantly. Hesitation has killed more men than any sword.

Teach your children to fight, but teach them also to read.

Listen to those who come from Dovre mountain. They know many things. But they are not all-wise. Listen, and then make up your own minds.

Do not put your faith in castles, nor in horses. Men on foot can throw back any charge, if they will stand; and no castle can hold whose defenders lose heart. Build ships and spears, and make our enemies be the ones who need walls. If all else fails, it is no joke to fight in Norway in the winter. We have the mountains at our back, and they will fight for us if we need them.

Have pride in your blood and your skill, but never allow that pride to become paramount, or to substitute for thought. We are children of a land where the mountains meet the sea, and our souls have a part of both elements in them: Granite that stands firm against any assault, and water that flows around any obstacle. But the sea is the stronger of the two. Only the sea will last forever.

Such is the counsel and intent of Geir Jonson’s testament.

(*) Roughly, “The Legacy of Halkjell”, the sleeping King-under-the-mountain in the previous history. The vastly detail-minded may note that there is actually a minor continuity error here: the king in question was not named Halkjell, but Olaf Halkjellson. I was too quick when I looked back at my previous postings. But no worries, there are so many Olafs about that Halkjell is more memorable anyway.

Blah, I’m uninspired this week. Nonetheless, I managed to push out 515 words, so make my wife pregnant, please. 🙂


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