< Shrinelands
SC - Futharkr

Released: 11/12/2019

*Flight from Caliban*

A treatise of historical speculation presented to the 75th annual meeting of the Origin Society of Explorers and Affiliated Organizations, November 2949

Presented by the right honourable Bilfor of Luminaire to the Sub-Committee for Historical Research under annual grant



The Arch-e-ologists Guild

with major consideration by


and a grant from

The Treasury of the
Origin Society of Explorers

in addition to generous support by

Origin Jumpworks, gmbh.

A bright, clear aria wavers throughout the gallery of the massive luxury Spaceliner Herodotus

“over the seas,
and far away,
awaits our home
and a brand new day

sleep now, chi-ld,
safe inside our hold,
no waves will rock you,
no pi-rates bold.

on a sun-bright beach,
someday we'll stand,
and build our future
with new-world sand.

we sail for freedom,
we sail for wealth,
we sail for safe-ty,
we sail for our health.

sleep now, chi-ld,
safe down in our hold,
no waves will rock you,
nor van-duul 'ere bold

from Cal-i-ban, we sail,
for life, and limb, we flee,
our chil-dren's chil-dren
re-turn from the black sea

sleep now, chi-ld,
safe, down in our hold,
no waves will rock you,
no dan-gers old.”

A tall man in tails-and-tophat adjusts his monocle and turns his gaze dramatically from the panoramic view-roof of the 890's main hall. He pivots on one heel to address attendees in-the-round, which sets a myriad of medals and ribbons clinking. The mock-brogue affect of his voice borders on the offensive.

“Thank you, my dearrr, for that stirrring rrr-endition of the Futharrrkrrr Lullaby.”

His voice carries with only slight amplification into every corner of the pregnant silence; seventy-odd of his colleagues wait impatiently for the customary introductions.

“Honourable Gentlemen and Ladies of the Origin Society of Explorers and Affiliated Organizations; I am Apprenticing Chancellor, 13th degree, Bilfor of Luminaire; historian, explorer, imbiber, financier.

“Surely, my credentials are well known throughout our fine halls, so I shall not bore you with their rrrrrecitations.” he made a grand extending gesture from under his noticeable paunch as he bowed slightly, and paused for effect.

“I come before you tonight, on the cusp of this auspicious new half-century, to relate to you a tale of existential woe. The tale I have for you will set the tone for our next decade of exploration! When you have heard it, you will hardly be able to restrain yourselves from throwing credits at the stage for my next expedition into the Black!”

A chuckle here, a groan there. Down in the bowels of the ship a dish clattered, followed by a muffled expletive.

“Be not hasty to dismiss it, for my tale will frighten and titillate! Entertain and educate! Bewitch, and bewilder!”

“Get on with it!” came a shout from below the main dias. The crowd tittered; the Secretary General tapped his cane for order.

“See, my friends and colleagues? Your excitement for my tale is unrestrainable! I suppose I should cease with the dramatics and let the tale speak for itself. It all began many centuries ago...”

Somewhere, deep in the darkness of our galaxy, the bones of the massive hauler DOKKHEIM lies locked away. Her cargo is long-since plundered, her hull stripped to rib and bulkhead. The slumbering derelict floats, lightly restrained by microgravity at the center of her asteroid tomb.

She slumbers, silent and still, in the carved, spherical chamber.

Every face of the cavern bears intricate carvings innumerable. Bordered belts of chiseled dots weave above and beneath each other in stark relief. They chase and cross, cupped and swirled, chiseled hard-edged against the asteroid’s corestone. Here and there, a figure emerges from the chaos; a massive tree bearing nine circles, a serpent encircling a planetary globe, a wolf writ large swallowing the DOKKHEIM whole.

A single bridge of exquisitely carved stone delicately extends into the failing gravity, deigning to kiss the bow and its docking ring.

Behind the bridge, extending up, away from the asteroid’s core, a wandering chasm leads to the surface, to the temple of Óðinn. To the infinite black beyond.

DOKKHEIM sleeps, waiting.

Released: 11/12/2019

Anselmo Shipyard, Earth orbit

As the largest in her class, the DOKKHEIM cost her captain a sizeable fortune to commission. She was to be his retirement present to himself, a comfortable, relaxed command of friends and family offering economical, if slow, transport to and from the farthest extremes of the Sol system.

“Slow and boring,” he though to himself as he donned a fur collar, adjusting it against the mirror. “Sounds perfect.”

After a lifetime of serving the interests of other men and nations, Ofthur Erlingsson was preparing to determine his own destiny. The dual pensions from the North American Alliance and the State of Asiatica, the major opposing powers of a bicameral Earth, supplemented fifty years of shrewdly-invested profits from various (and variously legal) political dealings. Today he had signed the final inspection for the massive ship and took posession. Tomorrow he and his crew would spend the day moving into their new home. Tonight, they would feast.

“A blot? What's that?” The diminuative Crewman-First-Class Emile Fanzen piped up. She stood abreast the buffet waiting for Comms Officer Paul Fielding, bald and slim, to finish loading his plate.

“A blót is a special feast held to honor the gods, or ask the favor of the spirit of the land… that sort of thing. To you and me, it means party!” He put a little flourish on the last word and shook his plate. “To the Captain, it's a whole… thing. Just smile and nod, drink the mead, and tomorrow we'll be living that sweet Space Barge life.” They were approaching three long, benched tables arranged in a U-shape in the rear of the shipyard hotel's dining hall.

“So, the Captain's into religion, huh? What's uh… what's that like?” Her tone was more curious than concerned.

“Well, you get used to it. He's from a family of Norse reconstructionists; Odin, the Old Gods, all that. Mostly it's just a little flavor aboard ship, he's not going to try and convert you or anything. Though, I have to admit, sometimes it's fun to play Space Viking with him.”

They arrived at the tables and picked out seats amongst the assembled crew. As they sat, a giant blonde man several places down called out over the din.

“Paul! Paul - you remember the blót we had before the coup in occupied Tibet?” He stripped a chicken thigh to the bone between shouts. “I couldn't belive it when the Dalai Lama tried to keep pace with the Captain! I didn't think he could drink!”

Fielding stepped over the bench seat and sat between a pretty, if stern looking, Lieutenant and a haggard Sergeant. “I think it's more that he doesn't drink, not that he can't, Williams.” He gave a wink at Emile, who seemed duly impressed.

Williams responded around mouthfuls of chicken. “Call me Bjorn now, Fielding. I'm getting into the Cap's ways. Speaking of that, WHERE'S THE MEAD?!” He slammed a great paw onto the table in mock outrage.

Just then, the doors behind the tables slid open. The Captain stepped through with a cask on a handtruck. “Right here, big guy,” Erlingsson's voice boomed through the spartan dining hall. “Come and get it!”

The other patrons of the dining hall did their best not to notice.