Character's full name: Mursi Storvold (most recent alias – he "grabbed" the Storvold when his people began using last names based on locale)

Aliases: Originally Mursi, then dubbed Mursi the Rider by his Chieftain, has dropped the Storvold and returned to just Mursi; has gone by many names over the years, depending on the year and circumstance.

Played By: Diane

Character Type: Immortal

Hair Color: Blond

Eye Color: Blue

True age: 1089

Apparent age: 30

Sex: Male

Height: 5'9''

Nationality: Norse

Distinguishing characteristics: Goatee, distinct sword from his family line that he has managed to hold onto. A few old battle scars from before first death (chest and arms mostly).

Any other languages: Norwegian and most other Nordic/Germanic languages, fluent in English though with an accent.

Personality: Laughs often and without fear – his old Viking brethren used to threaten to change his name to Mursi the Fool, though his Chieftain and leader would often refer to him more respectfully as Mursi the Joyous. Unafraid to speak his mind and skilled at manipulating a situation to find the truth, both in battle and in life. Still believes in the old gods and ways to the extent that he believes he should live his life to the fullest until the gods determine it is time to end. Brazen and full of tricks in battle.

Any special skills: Archery and riding were his strongest points in the old days; his smaller stature has leant him the ability to fight well in swordplay, which he has worked very hard and consistently at over the years.

History: Born 913 A.D. Norway, Mursi's father, brothers and grandfather had all been sailors and fighting men first (before then settling down as farmers or blacksmiths) as Vikings of Norway. From the time he was old enough to speak and walk, he was training to sail, fight and fish on the longboats in all sorts of weather, as well as blacksmithing, though his mother and sisters sheltered him more than his older brothers. He was spoiled, being the youngest living child of seven, two of whom had already fallen in battle.

As he grew, Mursi took first to riding and second to archery, with a passing interest in swordplay. As with most archers, when in battle or on raids, he generally found himself taking up the rear or closing in on the sides on horseback, still able to hit his mark with accuracy. This earned him the name Mursi the Rider.

As with most Norsemen of his time, Mursi carried the code that raids were honorable forms of challenges. In the mind of the Norse people, raiding was very distinct from theft. Theft was abhorrent and one of the few acts that would condemn a man to Niflheim, the place of torment after death. On the other hand, raiding was an honorable challenge to a fight, with the victor retaining all of the spoils. In fact, to leave a people alive and take their goods was thought to be no better than stealing, whereas to challenge them to a fight and "win" those items by killing them was honorable. Likewise, his own village was open to the same dangers, and on more than one occasion, he found himself defending it against other raiders.

Mursi was also raised with the belief that for most people, there was no existence after death. Death was the end for all but the chosen warriors who enjoyed the pleasures of Valhalla after death. Oath breakers, thieves, liars and the like would be taken to Niflheim for eternal torment (these are beliefs that Mursi still clings to today deep inside, though he has trouble admitting it). Since there was no afterlife, the only thing that survived after death was one's reputation, one's "good name".

The second key belief of Norsemen is that the time of one's death is predetermined by fate at the time of one's birth. Therefore, nothing one did could change the moment of one's death. Therefore, one ought to make the very best of every moment of life, since one couldn't effect the time of one's own death, which was predestined anyway, and there was nothing to lose and everything to gain by being bold and adventurous.

All of this said, Mursi worked hard to become a one of the best archers on his boat. He excelled most in land battles on horseback, as well as defending his village at sea. But it was in successful defense of his own land against Saxon invaders in 946 that Mursi would find himself cut down, on a foggy morning, confused and turned around by the dense mist. He was knocked from his horse by a javelin that pierced his armor and his chest. All he knew was shock, numbness, and an uncontrollable shaking that overcame him as his vision blurred and darkened. Finally, he blacked out.

When he awoke, he was not in Valhalla, but in what must have been a mass gravesite outside the castle – or a pile of bodies destined to become a mass gravesite. It was not yet dawn, so he extracted himself and made his way back to his village, where all were in shock to see him alive. He, too, was puzzled, especially seeing the blood around the hole in his breastplate, yet seeing there was no wound on his chest. He had remembered the feeling of being wounded, the pain, the feeling of slipping away; was this some sort of magic?

They consulted Astrid, one of the women healers whose knowledge often seemed to run beyond that of normal medicine. She had a gift for reading the ancient runes and predicting the outcome of battles, and in Mursi's case, she had strange news. Astrid told Mursi and the Chieftain that the gods had placed a special ring around him. She stated that no harm could come to him and though he would not die as they would, he also could never be reunited with his elders in Valhalla, as he was not truly one of them. She warned him that he was still vulnerable to others like him, and could still be cut down if he were decapitated, so he should beware the two. Mursi did not understand the young woman's words, as she herself barely seemed able to explain them, but he agreed to heed them.

Word spread, however, of Mursi's miraculous recovery, and the King, Haakon the Good – the first Christian -- felt this was an example of devilry that should be squelched. He sent soldiers for Mursi, but the Chieftain hid Mursi aboard his own longboat, with only time enough to say good-bye to his family before setting sail for Ireland.

Mursi the Rider became a traveler who followed causes that struck him. He grew less fearful of not finding Valhalla and more fearful instead of never meeting his own predestined end. Surely, he thought, there must be one out there for him, and when it found him, he would be only too glad to meet it. With this in mind, he returned to fighting in wars he believed were worthwhile: against the Crusades, against the English (his time in Ireland and Scotland made him grow to hate the British imperialist armies), and occasionally against the Germans and French, depending on the war or battle.

It was not until 1320, some years into the great famine and plague that reduced Europe's population by one-half, that Mursi met another like him – in Sweden. This German, named Auberon, was older and more knowledgeable than Mursi, and given the weakening of the population, he reached out to the Norseman to form at least a temporary alliance. Mursi, never having met another like himself before, accepted the stranger's proposal, and took in all the information and teaching that he had to offer.

He soon found Auberon to be a peaceful soul who reawakened the more joyful and life-loving side of Mursi. He had nearly forgotten the sound of his own laughter, but with a friend and teacher who knew the life they were to lead, and who could answer at least some of his questions, he felt a huge burden lift from his shoulders.

The pair stuck by each other loyally on and off for many years, drifting across northern Europe as the political climate would take them. He met up with a few other friendly immortals over time – and some very unfriendly ones as well; there was one Belgian immortal, very new to the life and with much to learn, whom he stayed with in France for several years; at the time, she went by Marguerite duPont, but her true name was Pandora Renard. Theirs was a partnership as much as it was a romance, and eventually the romance fizzled out and it turned into more of a friendship. By then, the American revolutionary war was calling to Mursi, and he and Pandora, ready each to be on their own, said their fond farewells.

Mursi was met by Auberon in America and stayed there, finding the possibilities for exploration and expansion far too tempting. He spent much of the next two hundred plus years traveling, working, and then traveling some more, moving on whenever he felt his roots might become exposed as growing a little too old for his face. He moved from Maine down the New England coast post-war, working as a fisherman mostly, before eventually heading to the Pacific Northwest, where he worked as a lumberjack for some years until it became far too mechanized for his liking. He most enjoyed working outdoors, with his hands, so he found himself most often returning to sea.

Mursi was working as a salmon fisherman in Westport, Washington when Captain Tripps first broke out. Thinking it was just a flu epidemic at first, he scrambled to make up for others' sick time, and checking up on them at while at shore. Soon, it became apparent that it was much bigger than the flu, and as the death toll rose, he knew it was bigger even than the plague of 1315. He wished Auberon was here to guide him, but his good friend and teacher had fallen a few years before. He knew other immortals – there was Duncan, a friend of Auberon's whom he'd met after Auberon's death. He had also kept in touch with Pandora, and the last he'd heard, she was in upstate New York, but that had been a long time ago, when her husband was a young man. Locating either one now would be impossible, since all lines of communication were down…but the dreams pointed to one possible way.

His dreams showed him two paths – one to the mountains of Boulder, and one to the south. The cooler climes of Boulder were in his blood, and rang far more true than those from the south. So, with his mortal friends gone and no one left to care for, Mursi finally began heading east, en route towards Boulder, hoping he might run into others like him who were of peaceful mind. And if he ran into the others…well, that would be too bad for them.



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