Berserker Lore

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You look upon me, and you feel no fear. Why have you sought me? Are your dreams haunted by a savage cry? Does your blood burn, kindled by battle into a frenzy? Aye, you hear the Calling. I can see it in your eyes. You must become Berserk, a Child of Rage, or you are doomed.

After Hjallmar's Horde invaded the Southlands four hundred years ago, many battle brides bore half-Northman sons. In time some of them raged. At first the Rage was thought of as an illness, a madness of the blood, or perhaps the foul attentions of wicked demons. They knew nothing. Listen, then, to the lore of the Berserk, and learn the truth.

Do you know the Sagas? There was one at the root of all, the Weltwyrdangssaga that Vorrdan All-father wrought upon the Cliffs of Fate before the Sun was born. Vorrdan saw all that is, was and ever would be when he learned the Runelore, bought from Jordmangundir the Serpent at the roots of the World Tree. The Serpent warned the All-Father that he would pay a price, but Vorrdan took no heed. We are that price.

It was the serpent's venom, burning in Vorrdan's blood, that brought madness and wisdom. Indeed, when the visions passed that venom stayed in Vorrdan's blood, was in it even when he wrought the Danir, those firstborn the Southlanders call Titans. When the All-Father gave them life by letting his blood upon them, the Serpent's venom came into them as well, and so into all who were begotten of them. Thus it is that a beast lives in the soul of every man, and that some are so taken by it that they are born with an animal's soul, and don beast shapes to howl at the moon. The Skinchangers are our kin, but different: they are the souls of men in beat bodies, while we Berserks learn to give in to the Rage, and let beast souls run in the body of a man.

The bloodlust that consumes us has a simple beginning: the feeling we Berkerkers first feel at the end of childhood, a tugging known as the Calling. The Calling is a voice, begging you to listen and look within yourself. It is the Beast that calls to us, looking upon the World with malice and hate. The Call is born of fury, and no man may hear it and walk away unscathed. Once a Berserk gives in to the Calling, it transforms into the Rage, and then in a glorious frenzy the Berserk's anger is released. The strength of the Berserker is redoubled, and he becomes immune to pain, living only to smash and rend and kill. Although the Rage lurks within every man, within most it lays asleep. Not one in one hundred ever hears its call, or feels its hunger gnawing at him.

So, you have heard the Calling, eh? If you would endure it, you must be prepared to walk a lonely path, and forsake some of what makes you human. Men will fear you, but you will be capable of feats that astonish even the greatest knights. Beware, however: for all our talk of frenzy, control and will are the keys to the Path of Rage. Submit to the Rage too quickly and it will consume you like fire. Resist it too long and the Calling will drive you mad. You will never tame the Rage or chain it. You must learn to ride it instead. Once you chose the Berserker's path, there is no going back – even death will not release you. Choose wisely.

You are not afraid. Nor should you be. Soon you shall feel the rage, and bathe in hot blood!

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