Barak - Common Knowledge Background

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Barak - Common Knowledge Background

Post  Barak Daas on Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:15 am

Barak was born in Ygesdram at the turn of the century to a part of clan Dass, so distantly related to the clanhead, that most didnít even realize they were related to The Valhakar. His father, Abryn Dass, was a fisherman working a navik down the river in to Lake Imua and Voldefjord: his mother, Stefa (age 39), was a simple fishwife. Barak was their second child, with an older sister Jyal (age 21), and three younger brothers (Mikhyl (19), Selbraal (17) and Lyvan (13)) and baby sister (Charva (9)).

Barakís childhood was a normal one, playing hoop round the family croft, fighting with the other boys, learning to sail at his fatherís side, fishing off the sandy beach, and learning to use simple tools in the thranís shipwrightís slips. For the son of a fishing family he has one major weakness Ė he could not tolerate shellfish; eating them made him sick. Since he could not live on dried cod alone, he soon learnt about other sources of meat: hunting and trapping. His inseparable best friend of the time was Osrin, the son of a longshoreman who worked for Skorri the mercantyler. All that ended nine years ago, shortly after the birth of Charva, when his fatherís boat was tragically lost in a ice-storm in Leimenfjord. Stefa, widowed with a young baby, had no choice but to marry Abrynís close friend and cousin Jnarri Daas, who was a helmsman also on a fishing navik.

Though Jnarri felt obliged to take Stefa in as his second wife, he always resented the extra burden of the second family, and favoured his own children by Bavryk, his first wife. Barak, shocked by the sudden loss of his father, and by the attitude of his step-father, turned away from fishing. He spent as much time as possible in the woods and mountains surrounding the thran. Here he befriended trappers and hunters alike and gradually learnt the basics of their skills. Though he continued to do his minimal duty on the naviks, fishing the lakes and fjords, repairing nets and boats and learning the lore of the sea; but his heart was not in the task.

Always willful and independent, when Barak was informed by Jnarri that it was time for him to drop his boyhood passions, take to working the naviks full time, and learn his trade as a fisherman, he replied angrily and bitterly that he would not. Barak and Jnarri continued to have a blazing row that Stefa tried and failed to calm, which lead to Barak storming out of the longhouse proudly declaring that he would never be a fisherman, and heíd rather be a starving hunter than stay a moment longer in a house where he was so hated and where his opinions mattered so little. Stefa begged her husband to go after him, but Jnarriís brother Swen, who had been shocked by the exchange, counseled that it was better to let him go as it meant one less mouth to have to worry about feeding. Jnarri did nothing.

Barakís first tenday fending for himself and being a hunter was a disaster. He caught no more than a couple of squirrels and a diseased hare: he had to beg bread off of his friends. His shelter collapsed and he nearly lost all his meager possessions to a flash flood following a storm. Osrin, by now working as a longshoreman, arranged for Barak to sleep in a quiet corner of Skorriís warehouse, safe if uncomfortable.

Barak was saved from starvation or a humilitating climb-down with his father, by Thuri an old hunter, who taking him under his wing and taught him his craft. Barak spend months quietly following Thuri, tracking, making snares, setting nets: slowly being able to catch more independently. He learnt how to take care of himself in the wilds, how to forage for fruit, nuts, tubers, and leaves that were safe to eat, and which were not. He practiced his fishing skills, learning to fish in rivers and lakes. Barak slept rough with Thuri for night after night, learning to build shelters and care for himself in all weathers in the woods and mountains, alpine meadows and snowy icelands of Daslund. Barakís personal passion, after hunting, was practicing the shortbow against straw targets, and learning how to maintain it and make new arrows.

Thuri was instrumental in ensuring he has an reliable income by introducing him to Sordi the hideworker and to Skorri the merchantyler, as a seller of pelts and meat. The day when Thuri failed to wake up one morning was a devestating day for Barak. He burried Thuri in his favorite wooded glade according to his wishes; later informing Cunate that he had one less hunter.

The Valhaar agreed to Barak taking over Thuri's hunting domain in return for a number of conditions. His foremost condition, was that Barak has to pay a fee of one eighth of whatever he caught (beyond feeding himself) on clan Dass lands, either in kind or in coin. Secondly he required Barak to return to living in the settlement since he want no young Daas lad living alone in the wilds. And thirdly, he was to report to Thaldirs Daas to undertake training in the spear and shield and to take on his responsibilities of defending the thran. Barak agreed to the conditions and has been careful to never break any of his vows to Cunate.

Fortunately Barak was able to make an arrangement with his "uncle" Jabor. In return for Barak providing the occasional catch (the odd artic hare, brace of ptarmigan or manglana goose) to Jabor, and helping out in the meadhall in the evenings when it is busy, Barak was allowed to sleep with the servants and keep his small amount of personal effects securely in the hall.

Shortly after taking up lodgings in the meadhall, Stefa visited her son. They had maintained a loving relationship despite all the trials and tribulations of Barakís decisions to leave home. She brought him an heirloom, a valuable necklace once owned by an aunt of hers. She wanted him to sell it to support himself and to equip himself in his chosen career. Barak, as always, wanted to look after himself and has not sold the jewelry. He keeps it still for sentimental reasons, but also because he realizes that he may need its value someday. Though Barak has never returned to Jnarriís hall, following on from this visit Barak has rebuilt a strong relationship with siblings, especially Charva whom he adores, and with Stefa.

Barakís militia training under Thaldris went well. As with hunting, Barak worked hard to learn the sheild and spear, until he was as good as the huscarls with these weapons. His skills were recognized and Thaldris often called on him to go on minor raids with the warband, or defend against (imagined) threats to the thran. Barak worked hard and learned all the skills of the warrior. However, when Thaldris suggested he might want to join the huscarls, Barak tactfully replied that he was too independent of nature to be permanently tied to the thran; his heart was in the mountains and he would never make a good warrior.

In truth his heart had a much closer tie, to Gelda, who is five years his senior, and who is one of the Orbaalese slaves and prostitutes who work in Jaborís meadhall. Barak has been far to bashful to do anything but flirt with her, but they have a sound friendship: Gelda often doing small tasks for Barak, and Barak providing her with some of the luxuries that make her life more tolerable. Jabor is aware of the situation but has done nothing to interfere with it.

Baraks friendship with Gelda has blossomed over the years, eclipsing that with Osrin that is waning. He has has earned the respect of Jabor and Thaldris, and a has a good reputation as a hunter with Skorri and Sordi. He has even been invited, as huntsman, on a couple of hunting trips with Cunate and other clan Daas members.

However, one relationship that has quickly soured is that with Kelsi Grebel the trapper. Kelsi believes that Barak's hunting activities threaten his trapping business. Barak believes that trapping is an indiscriminate and lowly art form not as skilled as hunting by other means. Never being able to see eye-to-eye and both working against each other for animals over the same land, Kelsi now delights in scaring the game that Barak is stalking, and Barak dosn't care if he accidently steps on one of the traps left by Kelsi.

Much to Kelsiís disgust, Barak was invited to join a sealing trip - his first Ė last year where he learned to use the haakapik and take on the mighty seals. Luckily he was quick on his feet and managed to avoid major injury. He returned to Ygesdram with the other seal hunters, feeling, at last, truly a grown man, able to take on anything that challenges him.
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Barak Daas

Posts : 1635
Join date : 2009-09-14
Location : Letchworth, UK

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