The game will consist of three groups of characters:
The town doesn’t have the best of reputations. It is Hammar that is host for this years Brudpris, so the men’s council of Hammar has the final word etc.
Hammar has more men that is ready for marriage than they have girls, which is a rare sight these days.
The Bjørn Family – The Alderman’s family
A high status family. A very solid family, but the trouble between the boys might put cracks in the Aldermans surface.
As the Alderman, Bjørn is responsible for the town working well and he gives this work his every ounce of energy. He wouldn’t be able to do it without the inspiring Naya at his side. Bjørn knows that many of his fellow leaders in the Men’s Council are troubled by things happening in their families, but honor keeps him from helping them directly. Instead he has taken charge of leading the communal efforts wherever possible, but he still wishes he could do more for them on a personal level, especially his brother Emil who is a bit slow, but unendingly kind and brave. Bjørn is blessed with two strong and clever sons, always trying to outdo each other to prove their worth and value. The competition has gotten fiercer as the reality of the year Beyond and the trials afterwards came closer, but no son of Bjørn would ever back down.
Brother of Emil.
Propriety and good manners are what sets the Bjørn family that little step above the other families in Hammar, which Naya has made sure of. She loves setting the example and being a guiding light to the women of the town. It’s been hard with the two boys always being at each other’s throats in all things, but she could always count on Bjørn to back her up when situations need a man.
Except that now for the first time, Naya wishes her husband would focus more on his sons than politics. Before the rituals conclude, he must choose which of them will succeed him. She knows they aren’t perfect and she herself would never be able to pick a favourite, but her husband must do so. Maybe one of them grew while away?
Aksel is the oldest boy in the Bjørn family. He is an emotional and tightly wound boy, who isn’t good at being social with the other kids. But he has two very close friends: Gustav Emils and Folke Tages. They have been inseparable since forever, always playing and exploring together. Just boys having adventures. Then Folke turned darker as he grew older and the group began to bully the children in town. Aksel is terrified of losing his only friends if he breaks with Folke, so he goes along with whatever Folke decides to do.
Lately it’s been harder not thinking about what he is doing, as Folke has turned his mean streak towards Gustav. Aksel desperately want to believe it is better to be on top, than out in the cold. The problem is also that his younger brother Erling has grown bigger, so Aksel can’t beat him as easily anymore. Still, with the help of Folke and Gustav, Aksel can keep his position as strongest in the family. Strong enough to inherit his father’s title. Though being on top in this way is less fun, than Aksel it used to be when it was just a brotherly matchup. He hates how it’s driven a wedge between him and his brother. Aksel wishes he could just call the contests off and have his brother back.
Erling is the younger brother. Erling is kind where Aksel is rude, but Erling is also soft, when Aksel is strong. Still, Erling has never lost a race or a stick fight to Aksel if you ask him, not one that mattered anyway. Erling has always had competitions with his brother and is too stubborn to give up on anything. Erling knows that he is the cleverest of the two, he usually wins by outsmarting his brother. Erling also believes himself better suited to the role of Alderman than his brother. Once they’re men, Aksel can no longer lean on his friends, but Erling will still have his smarts and determination. Maybe if Aksel could stand up to his friends, he might have what it takes to be Alderman. Erling doesn’t know what his brother would do if he didn’t get to follow their father and he dreads to find out. Erling doesn’t want to be Alderman if it costs him his brother.
The Lauges Family – The Oathkeeper family
The Oathkeeper family in Hammar. The family is of very high status and many expect that Lauge will be just as good or even a better Oathkeeper, than his father was. The family might be new to the task, but they are ready for it. But they also know that this Brudpris will be very important for how Lauge will be viewed as a Oathkeeper in Hammar, but also in Dalen and therefore the rest of Mo. So there is no room for mistakes, not from Lauge nor from his family. Which means the family has to put a lid on any issues that arise and Ina need to step up to the job as the Oathkeeper’s wife flawlessly.
Lauge is a young man and a very recently appointed Oathkeeper. He is a firm man and who does not accept any objections on things in his domain. Lauge keeps his household with a strict, but fair hand. He has raised his two girls to be prize examples of what a woman of Mo could be. Even without a boy he didn’t worry about their Brudpris being a problem. But then Birka ran off one dark night and didn’t return. The rumours started swirling and he became less certain of the future. And how much he would have to pay to get his remaining daughter married well.
Then, on top of that his mentor suddenly passed away. Lauge was cut adrift without his guidance and wearing the heavy mantle of Oathkeeper. But Lauge would not let that break him. He rose to the challenge and even managed to secure a Brudpris exchange with the more respected town of Dalen, on good terms.
This will in fact be his very first Brudpris to run on his own after the old Oathkeeper‘s death. But Lauge is not afraid that he will be unfit for the task of upholding the standards of the Brudpris, but more if Oathkeeper Sondre from Dalen will accept Lauge in the lead, as is his place as visiting Oathkeeper. And as long as there won’t be any distractions on the home front…
Ina knew at an early age, that she would marry well or extremely poorly. Her whole life she has struggled to keep her dark sides under control, and she hasn’t had much time to think of anything else. It took all of her self-control and luck, but she got herself married to Lauge, the next Oathkeeper of Hammar. Lauge’s firm hand has helped Ina immensely since then, and she is forever devoted and grateful to him. Almost grateful enough, to forgive him for letting her daughter run away. Ina will not let him do anything wrong with her remaining daughter, Ronja.
As the Oathkeeper’s wife, Ina is responsible for the women’s ritual. She has done this several times with the old oathkeeper wife, but this is the first time on her own. Ina is happy that the Brudpris is together with Dalen, it will mean a better future for the children of the town. But most of all, it means that Ina will have a very experienced Oathkeeper’s wife present, that she can impress. And with the many women and girls coming from Dalen, Ina is sure that this is going to be a powerful and perfect ritual, so Lauge can be the man he is destined to be. And for Ronja to find a husband, that will help her grow into the woman she was meant to be.
Ina is the sister of Linn Magnes.
Birk Lauges – formerly Birka Lauges
Birk knew from an early age that he could never have someone telling him what to do. Even as the young girl Birka, he was defiant and willful. Later came the doubt and confusion about who he really was, but never any doubt in his desire to be free from the authority of others and that the growing vitality would shackle him hard, if he didn’t act. Birk knew his life was meant for bigger, grander things than being some forgotten wife. The only person who really knew why Birka was such a troublesome child was his sister, Ronja. The two girls have always been close and shared secrets and plans, backing each other up. It was utter agony, leaving Ronja without a proper goodbye, but a girl running from Mo can’t afford to take risks.
The time in the Beyond was paradise at first. There, women are free to do or be anything they want. Birk threw himself at the opportunities with little thought. But the bigger world is also cruel and uncaring. Soon Birk felt the tugs of homesickness and the heartache of not seeing his sister. So he made a hard choice and chose to return. But as a boy, soon to be man. Birk is knows that he will pass the test and be counted as a man, he is too much your father’s daughter to let anyone or anything stop him. The real question is if he can be enough of his father’s son to take on inheriting his office?
Ronja has been told to expect her life to change when the vitality grows within her. That she will be a danger to all. That she will need a hard hand to steer her. But that hasn’t happened yet. Ronja is a quiet, thoughtful girl who dutifully listens to her mother’s teachings onhow to be the wife of an Oathkeeper. But will that happen? Will she ever be the fountain of life everyone tells her she is destined to be?
Ronja used to be so sure, when she sat up at night whispering with her sister Birka. The two of them picturing their grand futures and finding comfort from their fears. But that disappeared with Birka leaving one night. Leaving Ronja alone, as the only one who knowing why her sister left. The questions hung over the empty seat at dinner, but Ronja didn’t dare reveal her secrets to her parents. Instead she doubled down on being the good, obedient girl that made her parents proud. If Ronja could find a good match, maybe her parents would find some peace.
When Birk returns instead of her sister, the doubts will reappear too. Who is Birk now? Is their friendship still as intimate as before? What will it mean for Ronja’s own future? Would a future Oathkeeper marry someone from a family like hers?
The Ulfs Family – The Steward Family
Used to be a family with a quite high status, even for a Steward. But when the two first boys of the family went for their year Beyond, they never came back and even their first daughter also went missing in the same year, some honour and status was lost.
Ulf is a powerful man in Hammar. As the Steward, he is in charge of making sure all practical matters are in order. He has done this infallibly for many years. He has five kids in total, three with the first wife Ester and two younger with the second wife Liva. The three elder kids, two boys and one girl all went beyond a few years back and none of them came back.
Ulf have not had time to really grasp the loss of his three eldest children. Or to grieve. His beloved first wife Ester has needed him strong ever since, he’s buried his own feelings and pain deep. Ulf doesn’t blame Ester, no matter how hard she is to live with. He just does as a man should, even the hard things. But nothing seems to help her. Nothing he or his other wife, Liva, does has eased the suffering. Ulf is afraid of how the family will be after the remaining children leave the household.
He knows he needs to pass his mantle of Steward to someone ready to take over soon, so he can devote more time to his women. But is his last son that right man to be Steward?
Ester is the first wife of Ulf.
Ester is a broken woman. She lost all her three children to the Beyond. She is constantly haunted by images of what could have happened to them. And why her daughter would run away too. She fears having been too hard on them, too strict and demanding. Or too soft and yielding. There are no answers. Just a void. She wants to scream at Liva and beg her to do better with her own children, but the words turn to angry reproach and demands instead. Ester knows she is a heavy load on the family, but she just has too much pain to stop herself. She wants Ulf, Liva and the children to be happy, but she can’t figure out how to say it. Maybe she can find a way to show it at the Brudpris, before it’s too late.
The second wife of Ulf.
Ester and Liva used to be a perfect example of wives working together. They ran the communal kitchen and supported each other. But then Ester’s children went away to the Beyond. And never returned. Ester’s heart broke and her mind nearly followed. Ulf and Liva tried to help her through the grief, but everything they tried seemed to only make the dark feelings worse. She lashed out at everyone. Ulf could barely contain her outbursts. Liva drew back and in that, closer to Ulf. Liva tries hard to never do anything that would make Ester jealous or hurt her. But it has been hard, when also preparing her own to children for the rituals:
She worries that the effect Mille Tages has on Trine is bad and she needs to make it stop before this Brudpris. Liva also knows that Linus is not ready to be the steward of Hammar, but he is her son and since Ester’s sons are not coming back, the office must go to Linus or Ulf will lose honour. Therefore Liva must make sure Linus will understand what is needed of him.
Taking Ester through a successful Brudpris will hopefully ease her suffering. Luckily, Liva has heard of a woman in Dalen, named Sanna, that has the answers when keips and Oathkeeper’s wives don’t know. Liva hopes she holds the key to bringing Ester back.
Trine thinks that Ester was too hard on her kids and can see why her older half-sister ran away. She knows how to show the facade of a good girl, but dreams of what sort of life her half-sister might live in the Beyond when no one is around. But Trine doesn’t dare to run away, she has heard to many horrible things about the wars and misery in the Beyond. Trine is effective, always on the move, either working or pursuing fun. She has lots of friends in Hammar, especially Mille Tages, the two have spent a lot of time together. Much better than wasting time on her younger brother. She doesn’t have a lot of vitality and she hopes that by being a good girl, she can help regain some of the lost family honour. It’s not hard, when she is now the only girl in the family and she doesn’t have to compete with anyone. She just needs to talk her dad into prioritizing that she gets a good marriage. She has the skills to be a good wife to someone important. Being wife to the alderman sounds like a plan.
Is the youngest of five kids and of three boys. He never had to worry, because his two older brothers always took care of things for him. Neither did he think that he would be anything special, which was sort of a comfort. Linus could spend his time on his own quiet pursuits. But now his father looks to him to become something. To be the one to carry the honour of his family to the next generation. The year Beyond was terrifying. Linus had nightmares of what might have taken his two older, stronger brothers. He wishes he had been brave enough to search for them, but ended up just keeping his head down and surviving the ordeal.
On the way home he met a group of outsiders. One of them was a Mo boy named Malte Geres. Linus realized that Malte and the group was heading for Mo without any real plan. Linus knew that it had been a problem that there was not enough boys at Brudpris, for some time now. So he invited the group to come and stay at his father’s place and to participate in the coming Brudpris, using the Mo rules of hospitality. Linus did this to gain some honour in bringing some more boys home to the Brudpris. Malte seemed relieved at the offer, Linus hopes he will repay the favour somehow.
The Magnes Family – The Magistrate Family
A family of close to high status. A very well functioning family, where all rules are kept. But underneath the strict surface it is a family of love, at least it was before Thormod left for the beyond. Now the family is a bit crippled and the future is uncertain.
Magne is a calm man and holds his office well. He has solved many a issue about status and honour in Hammar and is well liked in the town. When Magne is forced to take status from a family, he always make sure that the man losing the status knows why and what he must do to regain status and honour.
When Thormod did not return from his year away. Magne had the worst crisis of his life.
He had to give his promise of inheriting the office to Tage to raise the funds to get Tuva married, despite how her dreamy behaviours will make her hard to match. Magne has felt awful about this choice ever since.
And to make things even worse, now Thormod is back and Magne really whats to give his office to his son and thus break his word. He knows that his honour will suffer from this, but will Thormods honour suffer worse?
When Magne, or Agnes as he was called back then, was nearing the time to become a woman, he knew that he was a man. So he ran away from home at the same time when the boys from the town left for their year beyond and returned the next year, to become a man. Back home again after passing the test, all the things that had been wrong before was now right: she became he and Agnes became Magne.
It was not in her plans to get married to Magne, and she was quite unhappy about it in the start. But soon she found out that Magne was a nice and caring man, but also firm enough to keep Linn’s vitality in check. She has grown to love Magne and sees him only as the man he really is. And with love came the children, after long sleepless nights.
Linn’s heart almost exploded with joy when she saw Thormod walk out of the forest together with the other boys. Linn doesn’t care that he is late and have missed his planned time to be a man. She is just happy that he is home. She is sure Magne will sort things out. The only thing that can make Linn more happy than to see Thormod take the office from his father, get married and live the life Linn had planned for him, is to see Tuva grown into a woman and get married well.
Linn does not understand Magne well enough to understand what is happening in his head right now. She knows what is the right solution, but that doesn’t seem to help Magne’s inner turmoil.
Linn is the sister of Ina Lauges. They are very fond of each other and Linn has often used her sister’s knowledge to guide her in the family life with Magne
(It is up to the player of Linn to find out who is the actual parent of the kids.)
Thormod was always a good, strong boy. He respected his elders and learned how to keep track of the town lineages and promises as the future Magistrate. He was the obvious choice to take over his father’s office. But when he went for his year beyond, he did not return.
Thormod had to face a reality where things did not go along straight paths and nothing made the sort of sense he had learned to expect. He soon fell into trouble too deep to escape. His naivéte still makes him shudder.
Now Thormod returns. One year too late. Resolute and scarred from his captivity in the war-torn world outside. All the time, Thormod feared losing his place as his father’s successor while trapped in the Beyond. The only thing keeping him alive during his captivity, was romantic fantasies and memories of all the good things in Mo. Thormod comes home expecting a lot from his family, but will they deliver?
Tuva enjoyed life as a privileged child. Has tried so hard to be a good girl, ever since Thormod disappeared, to be less of a burden to her father. She had to grow up much faster than her friends, but she is very resilient and resourceful. She pities her father, but respects her mother.
She is held in high regard among the other girls, and many expect her to be married to the next Alderman, as she has a fair amount of vitality, but is very well controlled.
But Tuva is lonely. She has a secret longing for a husband that will – unlike her father – be a real friend and a worthy partner. This is against everything that the Mo culture thinks about what a marriage should be and she knows this. Still, she cannot help dreaming of the perfect man.
The Emils family
Proud family with not that much money, troubled children and a deep secret.
Emil is a very proud man of Mo. He knows that he doesn’t really understand other people, but his loving wife Laura helps him with it and the kids are simple enough for him to understand. When it comes to the community life, he leans on his brother Bjørn, the Alderman, whom he adores faithfully.
On top of that Emil has managed to completely avoid sex with his wife and is very proud, that he has been able to shoulden his burden that well. His wife is so very full of the vitality, that she has given him three kids anyway. Emil knows that he is probably supposed to have sex with his wife, but she seems happy and they have gotten the kids they need. So Emil does not really see this as a problem, except when the Oathkeeper brings it up. Hopefully it won’t be a problem once the children have been married. Emil is a bit worried about the Brudpris negotiations, he has never been good with numbers and is very afraid someone will cheat him or his boys.
Brother of Bjørn.
Laura is quite happy with her husband, who treats her like a Mo man should. With that little exception of them not having sex. Ever. Laura knows that she is full of vitality and has some needs, so she has them satisfied elsewhere and Emil seems not to care at all.
It lead to more children than she planned for and they have grown hard to handle as they approached adulthood, especially since Emil doesn’t see or punish their misbehaviours.
Emil is generally nice to Laura too and she makes sure he does not have any reasons to be hard on her, except a few times in public, to keep up the appearances of course.
It is very important to Laura that no one finds out, that Emil is not the father of her kids, as that will ruin the simple and free life she has now. She could end up an outcast, or even worse, the beating she would get could take her life.
(It is up to the the player of Laura has to find out who is the actual parent of the kids. It could be Karl, It could be someone else in the game or out of the game.)
Life is unfair to Troels, he gets bullied by his younger brother and his sister plays tricks on him. He has a clear idea that something is wrong with his life, his father and mother and the way they live. It is somehow different from the other families in Hammar, but he can’t figure out exactly what. It seems to be some adult thing, he hopes to learn once he is a man.
Troels has always suspected he was cut out for more, that his suffering held had a secret fate and a grand gift somewhere as reward. He had planned to stay Beyond and do glorious things there, but when he discovered how harsh life was in the outside world, he returned, older and smarter, but now certain that his grand fate (whatever that is) will be fulfilled in Mo. He’s still a daydreamer. When will he wake up? But no matter what, he still knows he will be a better man than his father.
Gustav feels lost and alone. All of his childhood he was part of an inseparable trio of boys with Folke Tages and Aksel Bjørns. They did all sorts of things together, that Gustav would never have been brave enough to do on his own. Later, as they grew bolder and bigger, they were respected by the other kids, than feared. Gustav rather enjoys being feared. Even his older brother is scared of him and his friends.
But right now Gustav is the one who is afraid. Afraid of Folke, who one day decided that Gustav needed to be bullied and beat up. And Aksel just followed. Gustav knows that if he breaks with Folke it would be the end of him. No one else in town would want to be seen with him, for fear of retribution. So he just saves it up inside and dreams of better days.
Luckily, it won’t be long until the trials and marriages. For Gustav that is a chance to start over, with a good wife, a farm of his own and strong sons of his own. No more pack. Just a chance to be like his dad, a good, solid Mo man.
She is looking forward to getting her own family started, but doesn’t really know what it entails, since hers is not exactly a good example. Instead Niela tries to act like she is much older and wiser than she feels on the inside. So she hates when people treat her like a child and can turn quite contrary.
Niela knows very well that something is not normal between her parents but everytime she tries to ask, it is just hushed to silence by her mother.
Niela really wants to prove herself in front of the other girls, which means she can be persuaded into doing a lot of stupid things. Last harvest they got her talked into singing out loud on the town square. She still bears the marks from the punishment she took after that. But the look on the other girls was it all worth it. Niela is afraid of nothing.
The Tages family
A mid status family with good wealth, but a strict and angry dad who can’t control his children.
It all started when he married the wrong woman. Tage was supposed to marry a strong woman, to show his strength as a man. But he was tricked in the negotiations and ended up with a nice, well-mannered girl, with no great prestige and no office in town. On the outside it’s all a good, solid Mo family. But it could have been more. Should have been. His unfulfilled ambition has burned inwards.
And then finally, last year Tage was named to be the next Magistrate in Hammar. Before that it was the plan that Thormod Magnes should had taken the office from his father, but he did not come back from the outside. So Tage took over instead, for a promise to cover some of the Magnes family Brudpris.
And so although this is actually a good thing for the family honor, Tage is not quite satisfied, with how it came around! Also, Magne made the announcement without talking to Tage first, which made Tage seem even weaker and less in charge of things. He still hasn’t forgiven Magne for this.
Gertrud is the one who smiles in the face of fear. Gertrud has learned to read her husbands moods and outbursts, as a sailor reads the sea. She still remembers the proud and handsome young man she married, but it’s been harder day by day. Gertrud knows exactly what her kids are up to, but as long as they are better than their dad, Gertrud thinks she has improved them. She doesn’t care that they abuse others. Just as long nobody hurts her children.
Gertrud was born in Dalen and the love of her life was one of the men from there. They have explicitly agreed that they will never do anything to risk the life they both have now. But now it’s time for the trials and anything can happen…
They have both given up so much, for honor, and to make their families happy. The though of one night of happiness is keeping her going through the trials.
(It is up to the the player of Gertrud has to find out who is man from Dalen is, it can also be one of the Keips or one not in the game.)
Folke fears his fathers unpredictable moods and quick temper. He tries to stay away from home as much as he can and it’s only gotten easier as his father’s disappointment grows. Instead of family, he found his place as the leader of the boys pack in Hammar. With his loyal childhood friends Aksel Bjørns and Gustav Emils, he can do pretty much as he pleases when only kids are around. The three of them have had many adventures together. Folke enjoys the feeling of power and freedom he finds, that is the exact opposite of how things are for him at home.
He has always protected his younger sister, both from their dad and from everybody else in the town. Folke knows that Mille often crosses the line of what is acceptable, but he does not care. Mille is his sister, she will be a strong woman and Folke wishes he could make sure that only the right one will get to handle her in the future. Folke hates that his awful father will be in charge of finding matches for him and his beloved sister Mille. He hates not being able to control what might be the most important choice in his life. Instead, he’s started taking his frustrations out on Gustav. Folke knows he is probably being too cruel with his friend, but he just can’t help himself.
Mille felt the vitality in herself at an early age. The boys were so fascinating and she found that they became flustered and easier to handle if she showed them her interest. Mille loves getting the boys in trouble. It makes her feel as powerful as her brother. Though sometimes she goes a little too far and has to use him as a threat. She’s even begun to try and see how the grown men react to her. Just never anywhere her father might catch wind of it. Mille can’t really see how the whole marriage thing is going to play out. None of the those poor, innocent boys in town could tame her. But maybe some of them grew up during their time away, better test them and see.
She spends a lot of her time with Trine Ulfs and they have a lot of fun together. Trine still hasn’t understood the fun boys can be, but who can blame her with that silly brother.
Keips of Hammar
Karl was a kindhearted boy, an absent-minded dreamer. Karl was and still is hopelessly in love with Laura Emils. Except it all so much more complicated now, than when he was a boy. When he realized he would never get to marry her, he choose the way of the keip instead. As a Keip, Karl is teaching the young boys to become responsible and honourable men. The sort of men that don’t let their feelings lead them into mistakes and heartbreak, so no one else ends up in the same situation as him. And he teaches the girls to be proper and decent women.
He believes that the customs and values of the Mo are as near to perfect as anything could be, and his views are deeply conservative. His own experience is such clear evidence that the Mo way is the only way to deal with things.
The city of Dalen has a higher status than Hammar. But the fact that Dalen doesn’t have enough boys for their girls, has forced them to the Brudpris with Hammar, to make sure they’ll get all their girls married away.
The Sondre family – The Oathkeeper family
The Oathkeeper family from Dalen, a family of high status. The first wife of Sondre died in childbirth of her 3rd child about 15 years ago, but now goes to the Brudpris with his second wife and her inseparable twin daughters.
Sondre is an older, wiser man than anyone in Dalen. He has been oathkeeper for more than 30 years.
Sondre knows that he is not in charge at this Brudpris, that he is the invited guest here, but he knows that the Oathkeeper of Hammar is a young man and that he might need some help. Sondre is willing to give this help, so that Hammar, where a lot of the people from his town will live soon, will be a better place.
He has answered every question a villager could ask of him, it’s like he almost knows what people will say, before they open their mouths. Sondre has very few illusions left, just a unwavering belief in the eventual success of the Mo ways.
Still, this Brudpris does present a conundrum for Sondre: His two youngest daughters are just as full of vitality as the rest of his women, even more so when together. Should he try to marry one off as the wife of the next Oathkeeper of Hammar? Would she be as vital once away from her sister? These are big questions with no easy answers. It’s been a long time since he had those on his mind.
Mette is the second wife and mother to Silla and Britta. Mette was a troubled and vital girl from a poor family, married to the aging Oathkeeper for her own safety. Things did not get easier when she bore him twin girls. She has learned the hard way to be honest with her husband, since he sees right through her. Surprisingly this is slowly becoming a relief for her, despite the harsh solutions to her problems.
Mette has done the women’s rite for Dalen for several years now and helped the first wife before that. Hammar’s young Oathkeeper brought a first wife, so of course she will lead this year, but Mette is ready with both advice and reproach, as needed. Even for Sondre, if he doesn’t let the young Lauge do his own duty.
Silla is the oldest of the twins. By two hours. She uses this fact to be the boss of her sister. Not that there is any love missing between the two girls, they’re thick as thieves. Sille is a bit afraid of what will happen after they both get married, will she be able to be herself without her sister. She is so used to be Silla and Britta as a unit, that she is not sure who Silla is by herself.
In Silla’s mind the best thing that could happen, was if they were married to the same man and could be sister wives as well as real sisters. Would that be a joy? It must be possible somehow.
Both Silla and Britta are happy and dutiful girls, that will be easy to marry off if nothing changes. But if Silla doesn’t get her way, she can show that she has inherited her mother’s vitality.
Britta is the youngest of the twins. But not by much, so she considers herself the equal of her sister. Though sometimes, she has to trick Silla into believing that she actually came up with their shared ideas to make them happen. There is a lot of love between the two girls. Britta is secretly excited to find out how life is once she is not with her sister, but also understands her sister’s fears. She doesn’t want to hurt Silla.
Both Silla and Britta are happy and well behaved girls, looking at easy marriages. Britta has, just like her sister, inherited some of her mother’s vitality, but Britta is much better than Silla to keep it controlled. Except from the part about looking at boys. Britta loves looking at the boys work. Sometimes she can forget what she is doing, if a pretty boy walks by or if a boy’s shirt comes undone.
The Natås family – the magistrate family.
Small family with a happiness that cannot last. Has the honor of having keip Morten living under their roof.
Natås is a proud man and the magistrate in Dalen. He is married to Tyra and together they have a very happy marriage. This, of all things, causes Natås some concern, he knows that because of his standing, he shouldn’t continue with only one wife. But he doesn’t know how a second wife will affect the great balance and love already in his home. He is afraid that it will make Tyra unhappy. However, it is the honourable thing to do, he must bear his Burden, and if honour dictates it, he has to do it. He just needs to convince Tyra first. Natås wishes he didn’t always overthink so much about everything.
Natås and Stellan are childhood friends. They have agreed that they’ll do everything they can to make sure that his son, Olle and Stellan’s daughter Asta will marry, to join their families and stay in Dalen together. Natås knowns that Stellan maybe doesn’t have the money, but he is willing to lend him some.
Natås is happy that his weak hearted son Olle seek a lot of guidance from the Keips. But he talks too much with Sigge, Natås would prefer the stronger lessons of Keip Morten.
Tyra is very happy with her husband. She hides this as much as possible, to not make a fool of Natås and to not fall victim of undue gossip herself. When she was married to him, Tyra used all her womanly wiles to edge Kirstin out and marry Natås instead.
Now, Tyra tries her very best to appear as strong as possible to onlookers, to make Natås look weak. If Natås is weak, he cannot be burdened with a second wife, and they can keep their loving home uninterrupted. But Tyra knows that she can’t push it too far. That would make Natås look too weak and he would lose honour. It’s a balancing act that she deals with every day.
Tyra often worry for the children, and for completely different reasons. Tinka is a bully and Tyra is afraid that she will be married to a hard man. She might not be bursting with vitality, but she is putting herself up for mean gossip, which can harm her prospects just as much. Olle is a sweet boy, far too sweet. Tyra can’t imagine how he will manage a household and sometimes finds herself hoping he will fail the test.
Tinka is from the richest and nicest family in town and she makes sure the other children knows that. For a long time she would be on her best behaviour as long as there were adults around, but even that grace is starting to slide.
Tinka is very charming and can be very sweet. She knows that her father’s position gives her some status and she is taking advantage of that, as much as possible. It’s not Tinkas fault that the other children are lower status than her, so why should she feel bad about it? You have to know your place, and Tinka knows that her place is on top.
Having grown up in a very loving home, Tinka is not without compassion or love. She loves her brother very much, but there is still some resentment. Tinka teased Olle a lot and usually told him that she was more of a man than he would ever be. She hopes to see that changed after his year beyond.
As one of two boys his age in Dalen, Olle grew up surrounded by girls. He never seemed to be able to connect with Lauri, the other boy, and the older ones scared him too much.
Still, Olle was quite content as it was. He didn’t care much for the rough play the boys did anyway and enjoyed the quiet company of the girls. Maybe a bit too much, since Olle has a tendency to fall in love easily. In fact, there is probably not a single girl in Dalen that Olle hasn’t been in love with at some point.
Olle is in general a sensitive boy and he is terrified of having to be patriarch. He really wants to become Keip instead, it suits him so much better, but he also knows that it would break his father, if he failed the test of the men. Living with keip Morten has given him a lot of insight into the life of a Keip, however Olle feels much more akin to keip Sigge. If it was up to him, Sigge would be living with them and not Morten.
The Stellans family.
A family with low status, too many women and not enough money. Stellans brother Valter died a while ago. Leaving a wife and a daughter behind. Stellan has taken her into his family, as an extra burden until the next Brudpris, where it will be decided what fate the two shall have.
Stellan has four women to marry away for this Brudpris and he does not have that kind of money. It’s been a hard time as the only man in a house full of vitality, but soon it will be over, somehow. Up until now Stellan has had to use every ounce of willpower and then some the keep all the rising vitality in the house in check. So it’s no wonder, that sometimes he lost control and had to hit Hanna in anger to show her, her place in the family. He hates who she is turning him into, not like the peace of having his dead brother’s quiet wife in the house.
Natås and Stellan are childhood friends. They have agreed that they’ll do everything to make sure that his daughter, Asta and Natås’ son Olle will marry at a low price, so they’ll join their families and all stay in Dalen. Stellan knows that it might be expensive to marry Asta off and he hopes she’ll behave at the Brudpris, so her price will not go up by too much, otherwise this plan might not work. If he can’t pay his own way, Stellan would have to call off the deal to save his honour. So maybe it’s better if Stina manages to marry as a man and bring money for his real daughters.
Tina is the cornerstone in the Stellans family. Everybody in the family likes her and they can all rely on her. She always knows when her kids are having troubled times and has a kind word or a shoulder to cry on for everyone, no matter how busy she is. And for Stellan tries to be the perfect wife and gives him the support he needs and she tries to control her vitality, now that they have two children. It’s not always successful, since she would really like to have a boy. This longing for a boy has been reactivated with Sten. Tina throws a lot of energy into making sure Sten becomes a man, so she maybe can have the son she dreamt of and not harass Stellan like now. Tina knows there are other reasons for the change, but her own reason is the most important for her.
Not that she would ever show it, but being the strong person for the rest of the family is hard. Very hard. Always be the one who supports the other and not getting much support the other way. It is a good thing she has Sanna Ebbes. They are close friends. Tina borrows a lot of strength from Sanna and gets a lot of good advice about handling life. Tina hopes that she can help Sanna as well if she ever needs it.
The widow of Stellan’s brother Valter. After his death, Hanna moved in with the Stellans, where she feels that she has been an unfair burden on Stellan and Tina. She is not sure she is ready to be a second wife and intrude on yet another family, but there is no good place for a woman like her.
The time in the Stellan family has been long. Stellan is a firm and decent man, much like his brother was and Tina is a powerhouse of a woman. Hanna has never really found her role in the family, but she likes being with them nonetheless.
Hanna fears what might become of her daughter Stina. She knows that Stellan does not have the sort of money to get her well married. She would likely have ended up as a second wife and she is too good of a girl for that. So perhaps, it is better to lose a daughter and gain a son, then. However much it may hurt now. At least she’ll be in control of her own life in the future.
Asta is strong-willed and independent, so she often gets into conflict with the kids in town when they don’t follow her plans. When Asta grows up, she wants to be like her mother. Being the person in a family everybody can rely on. So all she needs is a man and some children, then she start that part of her life. She can’t wait. Everything is planned out in her head.
Asta and Frida Ebbes has been friends forever and they are not looking forward to being separated. Worst thing that could happen is that they end up in two different villages. But they have a plan. They want to make sure to both end up in Hammar, away from their families and on their own. They are not sure how to fix this but they’ll try.
Asta knows of her father’s plans of marrying her off to Olle Natås, but she feels nothing for him. Plus the chance of both her and Frida ending up in Dalen after marriage is simply too small for Asta to entertain the idea of Olle.
A happy, extroverted and good girl, truly the daughter of her mother. Tilde looks to be an easy match without a high price. Tilde knows that she has what it takes to be the wife of an important man. She just has to find the boys that are lined up to succeed their fathers in office. She also know that her father does not have the status to bring her that sort of marriage on his own, so she just has to shine even more.
Up to the time Stina left, Tilda helped her learn how to act like a man, just like when they played house together as kids. This time it was just more serious than their usual play. Tilde has spent some of the time while Stina was away to find a understanding girl from Hammar for Stina. Tilde enjoys playing at matchmaking and thinks that she has figured out how to control who she is going to marry. And maybe if she can sweet talk her mother to help it won’t be a problem.
Sten Valter-Stellans, formerly Stina Valter-Stellans
The daughter of Valter and Hanna.
Stina and her cousin Tilde have been friends for a very long time and played together constantly as kids. That play became very serious after Valters death. It became more like training to shape Stina into something she is not, but needs to be in order to help her family. And Stina thinks highly of them, of her mother, of Tilde and even Asta is not as bad as others see her.
Stina has now been beyond for a year and returns to take the test as a man, which is even being backed by Stellan and Tina. Stina’s year on the outside has shown her a world where equality can work and she liked it there. In Mo, all she can hope for is to marry an understanding girl if she’s lucky. So the only real reason Stina choose to return, is that she knows that if she didn’t come back with enough money and succeed in becoming a man, all the people she knows and loves will suffer terrible fates.
The Ebbe family.
A mid status family. Outward the man look like one who is in control of his family.
All of the family knows that they can not reveal the fact, that Ebbe is not in control of his family. The loss of honour will be to great. The kids knowns that their family is wrong.
Ebbe is a good farmer, he was left a small piece of land from his father and that is now a working farm that continues to grow. Ebbe is only really happy when he is in the fields and doesn’t have to think about what’s going on at home. Because at home he is not the master of the house. That master is his wife Sanna. Ebbe is pushed by Sanna and then Ebbe pushes Kirstin. Sometimes Ebbe thinks on how life would have been easier if it was only him and Kirstin. Then they would have been a normal Mo family.
Ebbe and the family are of course hiding the truth, that Sanna are in fact ruling the family, when they are out among the other families. He is not looking forward to keeping up the facade for the coming ceremonies.
When Ebbe was younger he tried standing up to Sanna, but soon learned how cruel she could be when things didn’t go as she wanted. And besides, she turned out to be right in so many cases.
Sanna sees how weak the foundations of the family are and tries to use her force of will to fix it. Without her strength the whole mess would fall apart.
Sanna’s only weak spot is her daughter Frida, whom she cannot bear to show the realities of the Mo life or let Ebbe punish her. She has no such reservations about her son Lauri, he needs to toughen up.
Sanna is popular among the other women in Dalen, as she is full of good advice and tricks for how to handle their husbands. And the advice is good as well. Just a shame Ebbe is such a weak man, so she really can’t use any of her own advice. Only brute force works with him. Sanna knows that if it is ever found out that she is in control of the family, Ebbes honour will drop like a stone and that will severely affect the entire family. So Sanna needs to keep her control a secret.
Sanna has also secretly put aside some money and hid them from her husband, so she can help tip the balance on who her kids will marry.
The number three in the family. When Kristin attended her Brudpris, not enough men were available. Kristin was thought of as a good girl and had a low brudpris. But for some reason, unknown to Kirstin, she ended up as a second wife to Ebbe instead of first wife to Natås as she expected.
If it had only been her and Ebbe, it might have been a good family, but Sanna is so mean to Ebbe, who then in turn is forced to be mean to Kristin.
Sometimes Kirstin wants to expose Sanna, either to the Men’s Council or to Mette Sondres, the Oathkeeper’s wife. But she knows that if she does that, Ebbe will suffer even more and even he does not deserve that. She has had long talks with the Keips about this. With their help she is getting better and better at accepting her life. Which would be fine, if only Sanna would let her have some kids with Ebbe, but Sanna has always made it impossible. Now it is Brudpris and Kirstin craves getting pregnant, one way or another. She will have her kids now. She will make a family for herself.
Having grown up in a family dominated by women and a town full of girls, Lauri never felt able to be himself with anyone in town. Instead, he closed off, lived in his own head and learned to only trust his own counsel. It’s been a lonely childhood, but going out in the Beyond was even more lonely. Nothing there made sense. So now Lauri is back, hoping to make friends with the boys and men from Hammar before it is too late. If he does right, he will be able to outshine his useless father and impress someone enough that he will get an office and the respect that follows. He is a proud boy that sees a bright future for himself, though maybe he doesn’t exactly know how to make it happen.
Frida has never been good with people, they all act so weird. The only exception is Asta Stellans, who understands her perfectly. Frida and Asta have been friends forever and they are not looking forward to be separated. Worst thing that could happen is that they end up in separate villages. But they have a plan. They will make sure to to both end up in Hammar. They are not sure how, but they will fight to end up together away from their families.
Frida knows there are bad men out there, but seeing how her mother Sanna has taken control of the family, has been an inspiration to how Frida wants her own life to be. And most certainly not like Kirstin, begging for scraps in her own home. She has also studied how to behave from the Stellans family, so she doesn’t feel as unprepared and unrealistic about adult life as her brother seems to be.
Keips of Dalen
Because Dalen is such a big town, the role of magistrate is too big for one man. So Natås has gotten a Keip to help him in this role. That Keip is Morten. Morten lives with the Natås family and thus has an influence, albeit small, on the Men’s Council in town. This is a bit above the usual place a Keip takes in Mo society, so not all approve. Morten has to tread lightly around some of the townsfolk, but still does his duties wherever they are needed, even though the disapproval can get to him at times. He has been busy, first toughening up the boys for their trip to the Beyond, then pushing the girls the last bit of the way to womanhood. He considers it a point of personal pride when they are married off well and the town lineages are kept as strong as possible. There is an extra layer of importance to this for Morten, considering his position in the town. It’s important that he proves himself, if he does a good enough job, perhaps the disapproval will disappear.
Sigge is soft and caring. That was obvious from a young age, taking care of wounded animals he hid from his father. Most in town could see that he had too much empathy to actually lead a household and put a woman in her place. But his own father never noticed him much. His men’s trial was brutally short and he failed spectacularly. He didn’t get to see his family after that, as he was sent off to be the newest keip in Dalen. That was almost worth it, for not having to face his father again. Keip Sigge may seem to have a lonely and sad fate, to some in Mo, but he is quite content having the freedom to go anywhere and be there for anyone. He loves helping the children grow into beautiful adults, giving some of the attention he never got himself.
Keip Sigge has taken special care of Olle Natås. That boy is too much like himself. But Olle’s father would rather have Keip Morten’s brand of strict instruction.
They have deserted from the war and gone the only place where they know there is no war: Mo. In Mo they must try to fit in or else they’ll have to go back and most likely be shot as deserters.
(These characters are of course really good stick fighters, because war. Make them fight with a different style, so they look foreign)
Elizabeth Clark (Young character)
Elizabeth is dead sick and tired of war. It was her who talked the others into finally deserting for real. After all she is the one with the highest rank among them.
She knows that Tommy is deeply love with her. Elizabeth is fond of Tommy, which is why she agreed to marry him, and she sort of looks forward sharing a life together. This is something that Malte says could be possible in Mo and even though he has warned Elizabeth that she has to be very clever and keep their feelings hidden, she is sure that Malte must be exaggerating how hard it is.
Elizabeth is happy that she managed to convince Sandra to come with them. They both need a real friend, and Sandra is exactly that. Sure, she might be a little far out with her religious views, but she is a soft counter to Elizabeths hard shell.
As a beyonder-woman Elizabeth is very much used to gender equality and she is not prepared for the Mo ways, even though she thinks she is, after hearing Maltes stories. Malte was just a boy when he left, he doesn’t really know about the adult life in Mo, so how bad can it really be? If all else fails, Malte told Elizabeth that a woman can become man in Mo.
Malte Geres (Young character)
Malte is an impulsive Mo boy. During his year beyond, he met with a conscription officer, who easily talked him into joining the army. Later, when the truth of war came close and the talk went to desertion, he was the one who suggested that they should all go to Mo and live sheltered from the war. He has told the others about the the language, customs, and traditions of the Mo people as well as he could. And how they could fit in there. They all agreed that is was likely their best option.
Malte has worried about what will happen when he returns, all the way back. He has been Beyond for four years and fought in the war with the outsiders. This is why he didn’t want to return to his father’s town for Brudpris, he constantly feared what it would mean for the family honour. This also meant that he couldn’t think up a specific plan, something he didn’t dare tell the others, about returning to Mo. Thankfully, on their journey home they met Linus Ulfs, who convinced Malte to bring the group to his town for Brudpris. There is honor in hospitality and Linus is someone who could use that.
Tommy Miller (Young character)
Tommy is more of a follower and would probably never have left the army if it wasn’t for Elizabeth and Malte. Even though Malte has spoken fondly of Mo, explained what a great and peaceful place it is, something seems not quite right to Tommy. The customs doesn’t feel right, but it’s the best chance that he and Elizabeth have to live together, away from the war and the stress that comes with it. Above all, Tommy values peace and quiet, the exact opposite of what he has been living for the last couple of years. The war has taken its toll on him and he hopes that the nightmares will lessen once they settled down in Mo.
Even though a constant feeling of being on guard has Tommy in a tight grip, he manages to be able to reason himself out of it. His intellect, and the fiery Elizabeth, is what is holding him together. He doesn’t want to admit it, but conversations with Sandra about her religion, and religion in general, has calmed his nerves. Maybe it’s the rules and guidelines, there is no room for surprises, that does it, or the soothing thought that in the end there will be peace no matter what.
Sandra Hawks(Young character)
Sandra values and follows her religion from the bottom of her heart. Her faith prohibits her from harming other people in any way, which got complicated as she was drafted two years ago. She didn’t want to go to war, but had no choice. Thankfully she was sent to guard supply trains, after her first months in training camp. However, a while later she was transferred to Elizabeths unit, to go to the front. Sandra refuses to cross a line drawn by her religion, so when Elizabeth started talking about deserting, she quickly jumped to the idea.
Sandra learned about Mo from Malte and it is a terrible place. She has tried to tell both Elizabeth and Tommy that going to Mo is a bad idea, but Elizabeth won’t listen and Tommy would never go against her. A small positive for Sandra is the opportunity to mission, perhaps save a soul or two. That is all she can look forward to.
Still, she would rather run to Mo and live there, than to be forced to kill at the front. Her choices are down to kill or Mo.