Brother Eldjárn (Geirulfr)
A master metalworker and solitary monk in service to Odin
Brother Eldjarn wears the gray, thick, wool tunic of a monk in service to Odin, with a plain leather belt and a silver medallion bearing Odin’s mark around his neck. His long gray hair and beard hang untidily around his shoulders. When travelling abroad, Eldjarn carries a shield and spear and wears a hauberk of wolf hides that covers his back, arms, and head, with a giant wolf’s head serving as an imposing hood. The old gray furs are caked in a black crust.
Brother Eldjárn (which means “fire iron”) is an aging but thick-framed, well-muscled, and broad-shouldered man. His face and hands are heavily lined with weather, experience, and more than a few scars, and his dark gray beard and hair are long, thick, and scraggly. He lives as a solitary monk in service to Odin in a one-room monastery built into a little-used passageway of House Orpheus. He is a master metalsmith, with a special forge dug directly under the monastery. He lives his life in relative isolation with his daily portions typically brought to him by a house servant and left outside his door. In the moments when he is met in public—typically for House banquets or when he heads to the market to procure his ores and ingots—he often comes across as gruff, unpersonable, or intimidating. He gets along well with Mecone’s two specialty ore merchants, though both these men have similar personalities. Despite this reputation, he does have a few people in House Orpheus with whom he converses regularly and that would call him friend.
Brother Eldjárn’s arrival in House Orpheus is something of a shrouded legend. Popular opinion is that he was moved from the Skarragh into House Orpheus some 20 years ago at the direct request of Laomedon, the ruler of House Orpheus at the time, who prized Eldjárn’s unparalleled steels and unique alloys for the city’s engineers and inventors—alloys that otherwise have only been duplicated at great cost and with mechanical intervention. People’s idle talk, however, has mingled with Eldjárn’s isolation to breed all manner of rumors. Some claim to have seen Brother Eldjárn pay for ores in the marketplace using a House signet ring, suggesting that he was given a limitless budget for his work or that he was some ancient but undignified heir. Some say that he is in exile, banished for slaughtering hundreds in a berserker’s rage. Others claim that when the forgefire burns brightest—spitting yellow flame some ten full feet above the chimney into the midnight sky above House Orpheus—on these nights, they’ve heard savage cries from his monastery: low, mournful, wolf-like cries, pierced with thunder from the forge and echoing down the darkened back halls of House Orpheus. A few are willing to say it’s no monastery or forge at all…but a prison built to tame an old, gray werewolf.
As a very young man, Geirulfr lived as a farmer/woodsman on the Skarragh as a distant relative of House Orpheus. He was the only surviving child of his family, some of his siblings dying as a result of the harsh living conditions of the land…but most as a result of goblin raids, being stolen in the night. A well-built and strong youth, Geirulfr fashioned for himself a sturdy shield and spear and prepared nightly for the annual goblin raid. When the small band of goblins arrived to collect him, he instead slew several of the raiders. They never returned.
Soon after, Geirulfr fell in love with a young woman from a neighboring village, and as soon as he had built them a home, they were married. They lived happily and heartily for several years, being blessed with two small children.
One day as Geirulfr was returning home at dusk, his world forever changed. As he walked the path to his home, he found the roof ablaze, walls collapsing. A pack of wolves stood in his way, bloody and tearing at fresh flesh in the path leading to his flame-engulfed door.
Geirulfr’s grief was immediate and fierce. Though the wolves defended their meal, Geirulfr waded through them savagely, tearing them limb from limb with the strength of his hands. It was when he saw the ever-familiar green-fletched goblin arrows protruding from the corpses, however, that his heart went truly black.
Already bathed in blood and gore, he draped the carcass of a large wolf across his shoulders and head, entered the remains of his blazing home, and exited unscathed with his shield and spear. He charged into the forest howling like an animal, headed for the ravine where the goblins were said to dwell. Sure enough he found them, and he slaughtering the entire enclave to the last individual—first fighting them en mass as their swords and arrows glanced impotently in his rage and later overtaking them in turn as they scattered and fled for their lives. He collapsed in utter exhaustion, laying for two days among the goblin corpses. He never returned to his home.
His victory made him a quick legend. He developed a grief ritual for berserkergang involving alcohol and gore, having fashioned the wolf pelts into an intimidating berk. He went viking several times as part of House Orpheus’ armies, and each time he went berserk his rage deepened and his rampages escalated in savagery. When not viking, he lent his strength toward smithing. The repetitive ritual helped sooth his mind and soul.
After a particularly brutal berserkergang in which he slaughtered several of his allies, Geirulfr was exiled to three years in the Skarragh. By the end of the three years, Geirulfr had adopted the solitary ways of a monk in service to Odin, and had established himself as a master metalworker even from his workshop in a mountain cave. Geirulfr responded to Laomedon’s request to return to the house in its service, but he requested that a small monastery to Odin be constructed for him. He then dug the basement forge, wherein the House is kept safe from his frenzy when the heat and exertion of his work occasionally drive him into a rage. It is this rage, however, which allows him to produce some of the most unique alloys in the land. Were it not for his urban hermit lifestyle (and the rumors of lycanthropy), he would certainly be a legend for his work.
Geirulfr keeps his old spear and shield hung on the wall in his basement forge, stained black with old blood and draped in the original wolf-berk of his making. Few, if any, in Mecone have seen his forge or these items.