Name: Oysteinn, the Immortal King of the North
Personality traits: Kind, Brave, Gregarious, Easily Angered, Content.
Skills: Political manipulation, an extensive knowledge of magic, immortality
History: Once a great king reigning from lands far to the north, the mere mention of his name struck fear into the hearts of the lesser kings. Coming to power at the age of 18, inheriting the throne after the death of his grandfather, Haukr the Cleansing Flame, Oysteinn ruled for many years in the vein of the kings before him. Steadily conquering lands, pillaging the holdings of weaker neigbors, sailing west on massive raids, Oysteinn’s rule could be considered decent at best - he could hardly live up to the legacies left by Bjorn Ironside or Bagge the Merry.
Driven as he was, this fact troubled Oysteinn. He wished to be the greatest rule Svijod had ever seen. However, his reign was threatened when he fell ill to a plague that had quickly swept through every city and every village within his realm and beyond. Desperate, on the verge of death, and horrified by the prospect of his own demise, Oysteinn sent word for every mage, shaman, and doctor in the pagan lands. All rejected him out of fear of the plague - but one. A woman arrived at Oysteinn’s court, offering not just to cure his disease, but to offer him a chance to become immortal.
Absurd? Perhaps. But despite Oysteinn’s skepticism, he was in no position to turn this witch, Idunn, down. In exchange for her work, Oysteinn would provide her with all necessary materials as well as a bountiful salary (which was of little issue given that the plague had already killed off most of his court). In order to be kept alive, Idunn placed him in a form of cryostasis. Working tirelessly through the nights, over the course of three weeks Idunn had finally completed what she needed to make Oysteinn immortal. Releasing him from crystasis, a dying Oysteinn had his soul bound to a shard of Eternal Ice - only a fire from deep within the earth could melt it. Idunn was never seen again.
With immortality now achieved, Oysteinn quickly recovered. However, his kingdom had been left in disarray due to the (now passing) pandemic. The following years saw many governmental reforms at the hands of Oysteinn. What once had been more of a collection of scattered holdings (the title of King was smore or less a figurehead possition) became strongly centralized, providing Oysteinn with more and more power. Although Svijod had been hit hard by the plague, Oysteinn’s neighbors had been hit even worse. A period of rapid expansion ensued, either by integration out of fear of conquest or conquest itself.
It is during this time that Oysteinn had achieved what was his greatest achievement - a unification and reformation of the Northern faiths, with him as the head. With authority over the religion and the government, Oysteinn had achieved near absolute control. The next 300 years would see a dying of the once powerful and feared middle kingdoms, and a rise in power of the South and the North.
It should be known that nothing in this world is permanent - all things come to an end - and an end must come to all rulers. There had been a resurgence of power in the Middle Kingdoms. For the last few years Oysteinn had been losing wars and territory. Harsh winters, increasing taxes, and invasions by neighbors had left a large portion of Oysteinn’s people angery and destitute. Fleeing to the city walls for protection, overcrowding and disease became more and more of an issue. Oysteinn’s rule would soon come to an end. Riots began to burn down cities and rebellions organized in the country side - the Immortal King was facing a full scale revolution. This revolution culminated in the climactic Battle of Hatuna - the great capitol of Oysteinn’s empire. Tens of thousands stormed the city, which was mostly home to government officials. Hatuna burned and the streets ran red with blood. Oysteinn, however, managed to escape.
Oysteinn now unable to return to his thrown, was left again to be King only in name. The decades after his ousting saw severe unrest - factions vying to take control, famine and disease, as well as the ever present threat of invasion from the Middle Kingdoms. Oysteinn, destitute and alone, spent most of this time incognito, fearing execution. After 30 years of severe instability, the Royalist faction had seen its popularity further and further on the rise. Their goal was simple - restore the throne. Seeing safety in the rise of the Royalists, Oysteinn was finally able to return from hiding. The return of the once great warlord sparked a massive wave of Royalist support through out Svijod - Oysteinn would be quickly returned the throne.
King yet again, Oysteinn found Svijod in more of a crisis than ever. This time however, the damage was too great for Oysteinn. Although the mounting military pressure coming from the Middle Kingdoms had been somewhat reduced in the years after Oysteinn’s restoration, they quickly struck back with a vengence. A massive invasion had begun of the crumbling empire of Svijod. Unable to compete with their superior numbers and weaponry, Oysteinn faced defeat after defeat after defeat. It was at the Battle of Kusto that Oysteinn saw his final loss. His final stand, 100,000 men fighting against a force 5 times larger (the largest battle the world had ever seen at this time). A great defeat, Oysteinn had once again managed to escape death. And again, he had nothing. The allied armies marched on Hatuna and Svijod was divided among the Middle Kingdoms.
And what became of the shard of Eternal Ice that is bound to Oysteinn’s soul. No sickness or wound (bar perhaps decapitation) could kill so long as it remained in tact. Oysteinn, understanding the great importance of this object, sealed it away long ago. In the deepest, darkest depths of the Catacombs of Nidaros it is said the Crystal is guarded. Many have tried to take the Catacombs and seize the Eternal Ice (perhaps to become immortal themselves), but all have failed. The few who have managed to return tell of winding mazes guarded by unspeakable abominations.
As for Oysteinn, nothing is told of him after the Battle of Kusto. Some believe he may actually be dead - decapitated or killed by some unknown form of magic. Some believe he still walks the earth, waiting to restore his kingdom.