Banner Wars 2016
The Saga of the Corsairs
The Beginning of the Saga by Sir Morluk the Merciless.
I am known as Morluk the Merciless but there was a time before when I was called Muireadach of Moor Loch. This is my story and the Saga of The Corsairs of Asgard who became legend and how my given name became forgotten.
As best as I have been able to recollect and the recollections of those who joined me after, the year was 965 on the Julian Calendar. As I was a young boy then I can only recall fragments from this time, mostly flashes of my then family and the coming of the longships. It is the latter that is most vivid so I will begin there. I must have been of around 11 years of age and was helping my family gather peat on the Moor. I was shaken by the shrill cry of my mother who pointed toward our village a short distance away. I too looked to the hovels and buildings in the distance and could see plumes of fire and smoke. I began to run in the direction of the conflagration thinking of my friends and loved ones who must have needed help to quench the flames. My father stopped me in my tracks and bade my mother, sister and I to remain at the peat bog while he went to see what was happening.
That was the last time I would see my father and as the hours passed the flames died and horsed riders of a kind I had never seen came at a canter gait toward us along the road to the bogs and the loch. They were large bearded men clad in furs and maille with the strangest markings on their faces and bodies. My mother screamed “the devils have arisen from Hell” and grabbed my sister and I and began to run in the direction of the Loch. We were spotted easily as the terrain offered no shelter aside from the few patches of thistles and were quickly surrounded by the horsed invaders. My mother leapt at the lead horseman and was knocked unconscious by a single blow of an armoured fist. My sister and I ran to her side and wept for her to rise. Filled with anger I also tried to unhorse the beast who had felled my mother and blackness took me as well.
I must have been out for some time and when I awoke I found myself draped across the hind quarters of a large steed. The master of the steed must have felt me stirring and stopped tossing me to the ground. I found that my hands were tied and man who had dumped me from the mount held the lead of the rope that bound me. I would later find that is name was Leif Iverson of Clan Iverson and in time I would call him father and mentor. We trekked for some days to the mouth of a river and were forced into the longships beached there. My sister and mother along with all the other women were in one ship and all of us young boys in another. I would never see them again and was told in my later years they were taken to Haithabu and sold as goods. As for us boys we were taken to Birka. Some of us were sold as labor to the nobles there but for some reason the man who had taken me was moved by my courage and having no sons of his own took me as his own. Unable to pronounce my given name I was called Morluk by Leif and the people of our fjord, a shortened version of Moor Loch the body of water and the village name of my childhood. I was taught the ways and beliefs of the Northmen and in time had forgotten nearly all that I knew before the raiders came. As I grew I joined them in their adventures seeking glory, fame and riches. I went on many a Viking and under the tutelage of my father became a respected warrior, feared and followed. Soon I had garnered the fealty of the warriors with such names as Larce de Loeper, Zyax Blackraven, Lorn Ironwolf, Tyranny Darkthorn and Hellspawn and the ships to move them. With tales of the riches of Constantinople and the glory of the Verangians we set sail for the rivers of Poland and Ruthenia to grab our share of destiny.
Our boats filled with slaves, amber and honey we left the Baltic shores and travelled the rivers looting and trading along the way. After many full moons we reached the Black Sea and the gates of Constantinople. It was a place like we could have never imagined filled with silks, spices, trade and lucre. As we peddled our wares we were approached by Kievan Rus who had heard of our arrival. They promised us the chance at glory, loot and the avenue to Asgard and Valhalla if we so chose. We accompanied them to the Palace of Emperor Basil II who had need for us to quell rebellious nobles to the Northwest and into Greece. We swore our oath of fealty to him for 10 years and accepted gold coin which was a rare sight for us in abundance as payment for our loyalty. For 10 years our wrath was known by Basil’s enemies and soon all came to pay their duties to him. After Greece we were ordered to quash the pirates of the Abbasid Caliphate who had shunted trade from Africa and murderously killed all who would not submit to their religion. We were given hand to kill all we came across and send a message to these and any other would be disruptors. We hunted the Abbasids everywhere we could find them, raided their port towns and killed their women, children and stock to the last. Their ships and men being no match fell prey and were captured and burned with all hands. The word of our ferocity and cunning spread quickly among them and we became to be known as the Corsairs of Asgard and I Morluk the Merciless. Corsair being the regional name given to pirates and marauders, and Asgard the land our gods dwelt and feasted in the Halls of Valhalla. It was on hearing the exploits of his Verangian marines under my command Basil bestowed upon me the Arms of Byzantium, the bi-capitated sable eagle of the Empire which I made my device displayed on a field of sable in a pile of argent.
It came to pass that our 10 years of fealty had expired and those of us that remained alive longed for our lands in the North. We bade farewell to Basil II and Constantinople loaded with riches sailed back up the rivers and entered the Baltic under my banner of the double headed eagle. Before we could reach our beloved homeland we were beset by storm and seas of a swirling vortex. Try as we might we were unable to escape its pull and were consumed by the monstrous toothless maw of the angered sea. It seemed we were spun and then turned upside down but no one fell from their oars then suddenly vomited back out upright in the doldrums of a windless sea. We rowed for days until we caught a wind not knowing where we were or where we were going. The stars and the taste of the sea were unfamiliar to all. At last we spotted land and beaching our craft we were met by Heimdale the guardian of Bifrost who told us it was him who gave life to our sails. Asking him what land we trod he spoke “You have left Midgard and nor are you in Asgard you are in the Untangard lands of chaos. This one land you shall keep our history and legends alive for eternity. It is known as Amtgard.” And with that last word he was gone.
And thus began the Corsairs of Asgard’s place in the legends and Sagas of Amtgard where centuries later and to this day the descendants and peoples of their settled lands still ply the seas in search of glory and fate flying the banner of their ancestors which is now not the eagle but a phoenix symbolizing the eternal rebirth of our beliefs and creed.
The Corsairs are one of the oldest fighting companies of Amtgard. Founded by Sir Morluk the Merciless in March 1983. Of the still active companies the Corsairs are the third oldest in the game and the only company to remain continuously active for the life of the game. Originally known as the "Satisfiers of the Temple of Tyr" the name was changed to "The Corsairs of Asgard" in 1984. The company has produced more Sword Knights as well as other orders of Knighthood than any other company, and has the notoriety of being home to the Sword Knight First Knight of Amtgard. Additionally the first Warlord and Weaponmaster as well as many other distinctions including the most Belted and Crowned in the most Kingdoms.
We remember and revere our lost Brothers and Sisters who await us at the end of our journey:
It's good to be a CORSAIR!