Ketil Gormsson

LOCATION: Chicago, U.S.A.

CHARACTER NAME: Ketil Gormsson

RACE: Gotlander
AGE: 30
PROFESSION: Merchant ship's officer
BIRTHPLACE: Kallunge, Gotland
RELIGION: Frey (though for the past year or so he has prayed more often to
Ran and to Groa, a distant maternal ancestor viewed by his family as a
guardian spirit)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: A richly dressed but deeply tanned island Swede of
average height with a blonde beard, who wears his hair in a single braid.
In full array, he wears a fine coat of chainmail, a riveted steel helmet
(dented from an axe-blow) with Gjermundbu-style eyeguards, a magically warm
cloak made for him by his sister-in-law Godbjorg, an impressive-looking and
also magical scabbard, and jewelry won from the hoard of Skjalg the Wyrm,
including a pair of thick gold-and-silver arm bracelets bearing
Byzantine-style reliefs of soldiers on the march, and various rings, plus a
plain silver ring that was once given him by Thorolf Oddvarson, the
legendary Auroch, in exchange for a poem. On very special occasions, he
wears a magical pointed cap.  Ketil arms himself with a steel longsword with
silver inlays on the hilt, though he refuses to part with a plainer iron
sword that his brother Froki gave him long ago in exchange for a set of gold
scales, Ketil's first trade as an independent merchant.  He also carries a
shield and a bow.  Wry and charming by nature, Ketil's harrowing experiences
on board the Nidhogg and the burden of vengeance he now bears have made him
prone to fits of melancholy, and since he has become captain he bears
himself with much more authority --- to secure the respect of others, not
because he is vain.  Long experience trading has given him the talent of
masking his emotions in the presence of others.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Ketil has worked the eastern trade routes for  long
enough that his Gotland accent --- already quite distinct from that of the
Swedish mainland --- includes an occasional Slavic or Turkic twang.  He
walks with a slight limp, especially when tired, as his left leg was badly
broken at the siege of his brother's hall in Grobin.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Ketil is the fifth son of a prosperous Gotland
trading family.  Restless by nature and a late son to boot (with little
prospect of inheritance) he took ship at an early age, serving as a junior
officer on merchant ships of various types, trading with the peoples of the
East: Slavs, Rus, Kufis, and Khazars.  He speaks the major Southern trade
languages quite well, and has acquired smatterings of a few others.  For
years he journeyed between Gotland, the major Rus settlements and trading
centers, and Byzantine ports on the Black Sea; he joined the Nidhogg in
Kaupang, hoping to put his knowledge of Russia to profitable use, after his
previous captain went bankrupt and sold their ship.

After the Angle trader Wulfram Aelleson betrayed the river fleet assembled
by Haakon Haakonarson and the Gormssons to Eirik Heorogarsson's warships,
Ketil bound himself to an oath of vengeance against his enemies, which he
now pursues both in memory of his brother and his captain and as a practical
matter for the preservation of his ship and crew.  But, despite all this and
his newfound fame, he has never felt truly comfortable with his career as a
Viking.  He hopes to transport his family and friends to Iceland, where they
can claim land and live in strength and prosperity with no more need for
warfare and dangerous ventures.

well-travelled, cool-headed.

FIVE BEST SKILLS:  Languages, seamanship, trading, navigation, naval warfare



NEXT OF KIN: Ketil is betrothed to his brother Froki's widow, Godfrida
Ospaksdottir, with whom he already has an infant son, Gorm Ketilsson.  His
father, Gorm Silverguts, lives and prospers on his farm and around his
warehouses in Gotland.  Several brothers and cousins survive, mostly
sedentary and well-established in family trading concerns around the Baltic.
Ketil would be welcome in their households, but the price King Harald
Fairhair has placed on his head and the aggressive enmity of the Jarls of
Nidaros make him hesitant to put them in danger.

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