goat herding

High Fantasy concept

A kingdom of Dwarves are cursed by a god to never set foot below the peak of a mountain, cutting them off from their mines, their caves, and even most surface settlements. So, being stubborn, they begin to grow and breed vast trees on the tips of their mountains, living in tunnels insides the trunks. Farming the wood and refining it they in particular treasure sap, and sap and amber craftwork replaces jewels and gold for them. They also tame a local herd of goats, farming not just milk and hide but their methane, to refine crude alcohol for warm controlled fires on the cold nights. And also drinking. Eventually centuries later they manage to use the methane to make hot air balloons poured by simple Diesel engines, allowing them to spread beyond their mountainous trees to drop saplings in the surrounding lands, letting them expand their wooden mountain range. Elves and druids prefer these dwarves over their underground companions, though some feel the dwarves ruined forests by engineering this new breed unnaturally.

So yeah, tree dwelling airship riding dwarves. It’s a thing I think about.

anonymous asked:

I hear the term "weights" often in heathen circles. I know little more than that they are land-spirits. I would like to learn more about them and how they were honored and their place in old nordic practices. I thought you might be willing to share some of what you know, or some resources you recommend I explore? If it's not a hassle.

Sæll (eða sæl) vinur,
(Hello friend,)

No question is ever a hassle, my friend. I am more than happy to share my knowledge regarding vættir (nature spirits). Not all vættir are land sprits, though, for those are often referred to as landvættir. Still, vættir of the land seem to be the most common and most often interacted with, so I will focus our discussion on them specifically. To be honest, they are a particularly favorite subject of mine! I wrote a lot, so I am structuring this answer as an essay, which I hope you do not mind. It should help to organize the content!

On Landvættir: An Exploration of Primary Source Examples and Suggestions for Further Reading.

It is not surprising that we know fairly little about them, because they are quite elusive in our surviving texts. This is mainly because they are not always referred to directly being ‘landvættir’, but rather are referred to indirectly. The landvættir, from what I know of them, do not even appear in our eddic sources, but perhaps indirectly and vaguely, if they do. I also do suppose some people align the landvættir with the álfar (elves), which is reasonable. If this is done, they do appear in eddic material, in a way. Yet, even so, they still remain quite vague even in those sources. In the end, references to the landvættir seem to mostly be hidden gems scattered throughout other materials, such as Landnámabók (Book of Settlements) and the Íslendingasögur (Sagas of the Icelanders).

What are ‘Vættir’?

It is good to begin with solid footing, so let’s begin with a bit of an introduction to what a vættr (weight, or nature sprint) is:

“There were various kinds of nature spirits that the Icelanders (and other Scandinavians) believed in, and sometimes gave sacrifices to. There are early references to elves (álfar) in mainland Scandinavia. Like their modern-day equivalents, the “hidden people” (and expression used in both Norway and Iceland), these would have been of human size. Even close to nature were the guardian spirits of the land, or landvættir which inhabited the landscape. The welfare of the inhabitants of the country depended on their welfare and support, as can be seen in Egil’s Saga, ch. 58, when Egil raises a scorn-pole (níð) facing the guardian spirits of Norway. According to Ulfljot’s Law, people approaching Iceland by sea had to remove the dragon-heads from the prows of their ships to avoid frightening the guardian spirits.”(1.)

From that, we can gather a few things: that there are many more types of vættir than just those who inhabit the land (although those will be the ones I mostly focus on in this discussion), that there is a long, evolving tradition surrounding them that lasts even into current times, and that they held considerable influence over the lands they inhabited, and even over the people who lived in those lands.

The Landvættir Today (Iceland):

Speaking of modern-day representations, the landvættir live on in Iceland’s coat of arms (a dragon, a bird, a bull, and a mountain giant):

Their story is told in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla, or more precisely in The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason contained therein:

“King Haraldr (as in Bluetooth, the son of Gorm) told a man skilled in magic to go in changed shape to Iceland and  find out what he could tell the king. He went in the form of a whale. And when he came to the land, he went westwards round the north of the country. He saw that all the mountains and hills were full of land-spirits (landvættir), some large and some small. And when he came opposite Vápnafjǫrðr, then he went into the fjord and was going to go ashore. Then there went down along the valley a great dragon, and with it many snakes, toads and vipers, and spat poison on him. And he swam away and westwards along the coast, right up to Eyjafjǫrðr. He went in along that fjord. There a bird went against him, so large that its wings reached out to the mountains on both sides, and a multitude of other birds both large and small. He went away from there and westwards round the coast and so south to Breiðifjǫrðr and made to go into that fjord. There a huge bull went against him and waded out into the sea and began to bellow horribly. A multitude of land-spirits came with it. He went away from there and southwards round Reykjanes and tried to go up onto Víkarsskeið. There a mountain giant came against him with an iron staff in his hand, and his head rose higher than the mountains, and many other giants with him. From there he went eastwards along the whole length of the coast.”(2.)

Thus, these landvættir have a long history, stetting far back into at least the medieval period. From this example, we can tell that they were very powerful. Not only that, though, but that the land was “full of landvættir.” Yet, this example shows their menacing power to outsiders, but what about those living among them? For this, we shall turn to the Landnámabók.

Examples from Landnámabók:

Iceland seems to have provided us with the unique opportunity of gaining some minor insights into how native settlers treated the landvættir. Below are three examples of three different settlers interacting with these spirits:

Bjorn Gnupsson (Hafr-Bjorn):

“One night Bjorn dreamed that a cliff-giant came and offered him partnership, and that he accepted the offer. Afterwards a strange billy-goat came to join his herd of goats, and his livestock began to multiply so fast that soon he was a wealthy man. After that he was called Hafr-Bjorn (Goat-Bjorn). People with second sight could see that all the guardian spirits of the land accompanied him when he attended the Althing, and Thorstein and Thord (his brothers) when they went out fishing.”(3.)

In this example, Hafr-Bjorn befriends a landvættr that is referred to as a cliff-giant, or, in some other versions I believe, as a cliff or rock-dweller. He was actually offered this friendship from the landvættr itself in a dream, which demonstrates a possible method for communication with a landvættr. Furthermore, this example reveals the benefits to such a relationship, which was usually prosperity in land-related activities, such as the raising of livestock and fishing. Hafr-Bjorn and his brothers must have treated these spirits with great respect to have earned their friendship, and the benefits of such relations are clearly worthwhile. Also, this example shows us that seeing the landvættir required a special skill, or “second sight,” so not everyone could nor can see these spirits.

Olvir Eysteinsson:

“Olvir Eysteinsson took possession of land east of Grims River where no one had dared to settle for fear of land-spirits, since Hjorleif was killed there.” (4.)

Hjorleif was a blot-brother of Ingolf’s, the alleged first settler of Iceland.(5.) He was killed by a another man’s (Dufthak) slaves while looking for a bear in the woods.(6.) Yet, it was also mentioned earlier that he “would never sacrifice to the gods.”(7.) Regardless, his death laid a bad omen across that land, which is felt even when, many years later, a settler named Olvir comes along (as told above). This example, although short, demonstrates even the native fear of the power that the landvættir held, and that if their land was disrespected, it would likely not result in peaceful times for the settlers living there.

Thorstein Red-Nose (son of Hrolf Red-Beard):

“Thorstein Red-Nose was a great sacrificer. He used to make sacrifices to the waterfall and all the left-overs had to be thrown into it. He could see clearly into the future. Thorstein had all his sheep counted and they numbered 2400; after that they all jumped over the wall of the fold. Thorstein had so many sheep because each autumn he could see which of the sheep were doomed to die, and he had those slaughtered. That’s why he always had so many. The last autumn of his life, he said at the sheep-fold, ‘Now you can slaughter any of the sheep you life. Either I’m doomed to die or the sheep are doomed, or all of us are.’ The night he died, all the sheep got swept into the waterfall by a gale.”(8.)

This example is fascinating, because we kind of must piece things together to truly get the depth behind it. Thorstein was sacrificing the a landvættr that lived in a waterfall. It seems that this landvættr granted him this ability of foresight to enhance his skill in maintaining his sheep. I find this to be the case because, at the end of this example, the sheep are ‘returned’ to the waterfall once Thorstein passes away, therefore connecting the sheep to the waterfall through Thorstein. Once he was gone, the connection was broken and the landvættr took what was rightfully its.

All of these examples serve to demonstrate the various aspects of the landvættir that you asked about. They were honored much like the gods themselves were, it seems, although suitable information to ‘prove’ this is still to be desired. They either came to you in a dream, like one did with Hafr-Bjorn, or they would be won over through generous sacrifice, as was seen with Thorstein. They were respected and given appreciation to keep them in good spirits. After all, when angered or ignored, they could cause fear, as seen with the case of Olvir, or even destructive and threatening, as seen in the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason.

Examples from Icelandic Sagas and Tales:

If Landnámabók was not quite satisfying enough, there are still a few examples to be explored from Egil’s Saga and The Tale of Thorvald the Far-Travelled. For those reading this that are already well-read, it may seem odd for me to be leaving out Bard’s Saga. That example deals with vættir-related subject matter intensively, and I would rather recommend that as a full reading than except it as an example on this post, so I will return to Bard momentarily.

Egil’s Saga, chapter 58:

“He (Egil) took a hazel pole in his hand and went to the edge of a rock facing inland. Then he took a horse’s head and put it on the end of the pole.

Afterwards he made an invocation, saying, ‘Here I set up this scorn-pole (nið) and turn its scorn upon King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild’ - then turned the horse’s head to face land - ‘and I turn its scorn upon the nature spirits (vættir) that inhabit this land, sending them all astray so that none of them shall find its resting-place by chance or design until they have driven King Eirik and Gunnhild from this land.’

Then he drove the pole into a cleft in the rock and left it to stand there. He turned the head towards the land and carved the whole invocation in runes on the pole.”(9.)

In this example, we can see that people can actually ‘control’ the wrath of vættir, and they can even turn this wrath onto others, if they are skilled enough. Yet, in the case of Egil, he was wronged, and so he had right on his side (see footnote 9 for detail). Perhaps, then, vættir have a sense of justice even. Nonetheless, I suppose this is a sort of ritual, in which one would target their enemies with strong words, runes, and insulting imagery. Yet, it does hint that the vættir did play a social function as well. This was already indicated by the landvættir, who often protect the land and the people who dwell there, if they have a good relationship with them, of course. Thus, vættir can either protect people or attack them, depending on their relationship with the user and his or her skill.

Thorvald the Far-Travelled, chapter 3:

In this example, the ‘theme’ of a vættr is used very strategically by the author, so we must take caution in how we read this source. In the quote below, Thorvald talks with his father, Kodran, about converting to Christianity. Kodran responds (at first) by telling Thorvald that he has a ‘prophet’ who lives in some nearby stone, and that this prophet helps him in many ways. The author treats this prophet as a demon, although it seems that this figure is being built upon the tradition of the vættir.

“ ‘But I have another prophet of my own, who is very beneficial to me. He tells me many things which have not yet come to be. He takes care of my cattle, and reminds me what I should do and what I should avoid. That is why I have great faith in him and have worshipped him for a long time, but you are your prophet (a bishop named Fridrek) and your religion disparage him a great deal, and he dissuades me from making any agreements with you, and especially from taking your faith.’

‘Where does your prophet live?’ asked Thorvald.

‘He lives here, close by my farm,’ said Kodran, ‘in a large and imposing stone.’

Thorvald asked how long he had been living there.

Kodran said he had lived there for a long time.”(10.)

A few things should sound familiar by now. This is a landvættr, for he dwells within a stone. It also seems that we can conclude that landvættir are prophetic, because both here and with Thorstein Red-Nose in Landnámabók. The landvættir also tend to earthly things, such as livestock and farms, as we have seen with Hafr-Bjorn (goats), Thorstein Red-Nose (sheep), and now here with Kodran (cattle). The ‘prophet’ is also very old, which would not be surprising for a landvættr. Thus, it is not unreasonable to notice the connection here with landvættir, even though this tale never explicitly uses the term, which brings back a point made earlier that references to landvættir are like hidden gems scattered throughout our sources.

Recommendations for Further Reading:

It may be troublesome to randomly read sagas and tales with the hopes of stumbling upon one of these gems. Of course, I have already named a few that touch on the topic, but they are generally centered around other ideas and motives. If you want the short-cut method (other than just reading this post), I highly recommend you take a look into this source:

H.R. Ellis Davis, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions(Syracuse University Press, 1989). 

This book would be the best way to learn about the material from a reliable place, and without scavenging the primary source material for information. Google has an eBook version that contains a preview, if you would like to check that out before purchasing. For the most direct information on landvættir, I recommend special attention be given to pages 102 through 133. In fact, I tried to make use of the examples discussed in her book as well, so that, if you choose to read it, things should be more familiar to you already. The whole book seems to be quite the gem, though, so you may be interested in that text for other purposes as well.

Regarding primary sources, you can investigate any of the sources I covered in this post by looking at the relevant footnotes. I will say, though, that I have mostly pulled what is relevant from the sources that you would have easy access to. For example, I would hate to recommend Egil’s Saga just for you to only have that portion of chapter 58 to read about regarding landvættir.

As I mentioned briefly before, I do highly recommend a complete reading of Bard’s Saga, although it may be difficult to acquire the text. I have done research on what English translations are available for all the Icelandic sagas and tales (you can see that information on this post), and, in this endeavor, I found that Bard’s Saga seems to only be reasonably accessible (in English) via this book: 

Ralph O’Connor, Icelandic Histories & Romances. (Tempus, 2004).

If you have trouble, don’t hesitate to let me know, because I would be more than happy to try to help you find a way to read that saga.


So, in the end, what have we learned?

  • Vættir are nature spirits, and people often sacrificed to them. Many of these vættir were called landvættir, but only those who lived in features of the land, such as waterfalls or large stones.
  • Landvættir (at least) can be in the form of animals, so they do not always take a human form.
  • Vættir could be friendly, but they could also be spiteful when angered, ignored, or disrespected.
  • Some landvættir protected entire regions or countries, whereas others protected local farmsteads. Sometimes they did not protect for the sake of humanity, but for themselves, and so if you are not on friendly terms with them, they will likely cause you great trouble.
  • Many people gave offerings to the landvættir to build a stronger relationship with them and the land. These offerings were not always material, but could also be offerings of respect and recognition, because some landvættir became friendly with people without the need for a formal sacrifice. Sometimes they would come to people in dreams, but only if they wished to.
  • A landvættr could offer a friend many gifts, but mostly prosperity in regards to the raising of livestock, in farming, and even in advice. Another frequent gift they would offer would be the gift of prophecy or foresight.
  • The vættir could be ‘manipulated’ in such a way to incite trouble for a foe, although this seems to require careful skill, for the user would not wish to disrespect the vættir him- or herself, lest they wish to incur their wrath. Yet, this could also be due to good relations.
  • Not everyone could see vættir, for this required a special ability referred to as “second-sight.”
  • Despite not holding a prominent place in Eddic material, other sources suggest that the vættir placed a very central and regional role within the confines of Norse heathenism, and even beyond. Many of the practices told above would ahem been a part of daily life, and can best be summed up as a deep respect, and sometimes fear, of the power of nature.
  • The tradition surrounding the vættir has lived on for quite a long time, existing likely even before Iceland was settled. The vættir still live on today in folklore and in national images such as Iceland’s coat of arms.

Seems like we have learned quite a bit! Of course, this is perhaps only just the surface of the complexity that surrounds the vættir, but it is still quite rich and rewarding. Besides, I have only discussed examples from Iceland. Nonetheless, I do hope that you and others benefit from this post, despite its possibly daunting length. Feel free to reach out to me in the future if the need arises. I am always happy to discuss these things!

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)


1. Viðar Hreinsson, Reference Section: Glossary, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, Vol. V, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 413.

Fig.1. Coat of Arms of Iceland, Wikimedia Commons.

2. Snorri Struluson, The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason, in Heimskringla, Vol. I, translated by Alison Finlay and Anthony Faulkes. (Viking Society for Northern Research: University College London, 2016), 168. (Chapter 33)

3. Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards trans., The Book of Settlements: Landnámabók. (repr., 1972; Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2012), 125. (Chapter 329, Sturlubók)

4. Ibid., 126. (Chapter 330, Sturlubók)

5. Ari Thorgilsson, The Book of the Icelanders: Íslendingabók, translated by Siân Grønlie. (Viking Society for Northern Research: University College London, 2006), 4.

“It is said with accuracy that a Norwegian called Ingólfr travelled from there [Norway] to Iceland for the first time when Haraldr the Fine-Haired was sixteen years old, and a second time a few years later; he settled in the south in Reykjarvík.”

6. Pálsson trans., The Book of Settlements, 20. (Chapter 8, Sturlubók)

7. Ibid., 19. (Chapter 7, Sturlubók)

8. Ibid., 134. (Chapter 329, Sturlubók)

9. Bernard Scudder trans., Egil’s Saga, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, Vol. I, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 114. (Chapter 58) I recommend referring to the Penguin edition (page 119), due to the expense of the version I have used in writing this post.

I actually stubbled upon another bit of information, a poem this time, contained earlier in this chapter (Verse 29, page 110. Penguin: page 114). This actually explains why Egil did not incur the wrath of the landvættir, because he had right on his side. Think of it as a treat for actually reading these footnotes:

“Land spirit, the law-breaker        – (‘land spirit’ appears here as ‘landalfr’).
has forced me to travel 
far and wide; his bride deceives
the man who slew his brothers.
Grim-tempered Gunnhild must pay
for driving me from this land.
In my youth, I was quick to conquer
hesitation and avenge treachery.”

10. John Porter trans., The Tale of Thorvald the Far-Travelled, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, vol. V, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 360. (Chapter 3)

The new babies meet the herds den mother! Donkeys are such delightful, underappreciated animals. I’ve told people before how gentle, and even maternal, the donkeys are with their tiny charges, but this illustrates it perfectly. Look how careful she is when the tiny babies get near her hooves! I really think caring for her little herd of goats helped her get over the loss of her own baby. Latte is wonderful

Satyrus, Lost at Sea

Anthologia Palatina 7.397 = Erycius of Thessaly (Hadrianic period?)

This wretched tomb does not belong to Satyrus,
Nor does Satyrus sleep beneath this pyre,
Despite what people say.  But if you’ve heard
By chance of a certain sea, that bitter stretch
That surges near Mycale where goats are herded,
It’s in those eddying, unfruitful waters
That I lie still, reproaching raging Boreas.

 Οὐχ ὅδε δείλαιος Σατύρου τάφος, οὐδ’ ὑπὸ ταύτῃ,
    ὡς λόγος, εὔνηται πυρκαϊῇ Σάτυρος·
ἀλλ’ εἴ πού τινα πόντον ἀκούετε, πικρὸν ἐκεῖνον,
    τὸν πέλας αἰγονόμου κλυζόμενον Μυκάλης,
κείνῳ δινήεντι καὶ ἀτρυγέτῳ ἔτι κεῖμαι
    ὕδατι, μαινομένῳ μεμφόμενος Βορέῃ.

Seashore with Shipwreck by Moonlight, Caspar David Friedrich. ca. 1830

A List Of Things I'd Rather Listen To Than Whoever Sings The Anthem Tonight

- my dogs barking at a turkey that comes into our yard everyday.

- that sound tractor trailers make when it starts to brake.

- a baby crying on a 9 hour flight.

- Mike Fisher and James Neal colliding into each other and then hitting the ice in Game 5.

- Seth Rogan’s laugh.

- three cats fighting.

- someone kicking a tin can down the street.

- a car alarm.

- a herd of goats, all yelling.

Add your own.

anonymous asked:

Ooh awesome!!! Tysm! I always thought that they become 100 percent more willing to do impulsive crap when they're together so maybe having a quiet secret wedding at Telma's with their friends right before their royal wedding??? Idk something like that!

Nonny you genius! I’m setting this in the same universe as my Zelda sneaks out of the Castle to go see Link fic you don’t have to have read that one first to understand this one

 This took way longer than I thought it would, and ended up being way longer than I thought it would.

 Hope you enjoy.

It took him a few months to realise it, but Link hated weddings.

Keep reading

Mongolia 2156

The bitter cold stung her face as she reached the peak. The repeated gusts of wind from the drone landing behind her didn’t help. Once the great Eagle situated itself the pair looked over the steppe with sharp eyes. The various herds of goats, sheep, horses, camels, and yaks from the nomads looked like ants against the great snow covered peaks on the other end of the valley. Nothing out of the ordinary to report.

Temulin and her Eagle drone had the responsibility of watching over the Nomads and protecting the herds from bandits. With international relations crumbling in Central Asia the Border Defense Force played a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of the Mongolian nation. A local to this part of the steppe, Temulin felt at home up the mountains. Settling in for the days watch the two of them continued their vigil, ever at the ready to protect the Mongol way of life.

Inspired by: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26969150


Though countless calendars are used across Muka, by far the most widely-used is that of the Uratemba Hegemon, which marks its first year as the date when the legendary king Vidzo consolidated the Uratemba states into the Uratemba Paramountcy. The current year is 732 ALC; seven hundred and thirty-two years after the Leopard Crown.

This is a short timeline of events known (or theorized) to have occurred on Muka from the perspective of the Uratemba Hegemon. Much of it may not be wholly accurate.

~13,000,000 BLC: The universe begins. The early universe is filled with a hot, roiling mist, with constant winds that blow in a great vortex across the whole of the cosmos at such great speed that no worlds can form. Strange beings inhabit this windy expanse; large flying creatures with great intelligence sadly wasted on their featureless home glide along the gusts of wind at the edge of the universe, constantly hunted by living clouds that cannot move of their own will but devour any flesh that passes through them.

~5,850,000 BLC: The winds and heat of the early cosmos dissipate, leaving a cold, quiet universe with little movement. The creatures that had come to exist during the earliest times slowly die out as they starve one by one, and their bodies break down into dust and water. Some of the largest of these bodies begin to collect into large spheres, which become the first planets, and some continue to gain even more size until they become stars. It is during this time that the planet Muka takes form, as well as its sun.

~400,000 BLC: Life begins on Muka. Humans emerge soon afterwards. 

~80,000 BLC: Deities begin to settle in the cosmos around the planet Muka. Human worship of these deities may have occurred. It is still some time before the arrival of the deities known to modern humans. The earliest gods that came to Muka moved on to other worlds before the advent of recorded history.

~30,000 BLC: The ancestors of the Uratemba people spread northward from Sitepe, introducing nomadic cattle and goat herding to much of southeastern Pakate. Likewise, the Perqai cross the Chagar Toktar and spread westward, displacing the Ostis-Weiksai as they do so and encountering massive beasts, which they slaughter in great numbers.

~20,000 BLC: The ancestors of the Achak people begin to practice magic in relation to their honored dead.

~15,000 BLC: The ancient Matkat begin their westward trek towards their modern home of Rikamatka. The Pibbern discover metalworking.

~12,000 BLC: Agriculture begins on Pakate. The Perqai slaughter all land-dwelling megafauna south of Aus-Notlom and drive the Ostis-Weiksai northward.

8000 BLC: By this point, all deities now acknowledged to exist in the cosmos around Muka have arrived. Human societies slowly begin to recognize their presence over the next several thousand years, and the religious practices of today take form.

~6000 BLC: The Worijaya begin to colonize the mainland of western Pakate and make contact with the Chran Nong.  

5290 BLC: Chatsrilan Achak comes to rule the people of Brasat Hot. They build the city of Krong Saraob with their bare hands and slay an army of one thousand tomb-defiling sorcerers before disappearing from Muka altogether. No corpse is ever seen.

4000 BLC: By this point, agriculture has reached nearly all the peoples of Pakate. The Pibbern have perfected the art of bronze casting.

3960 BLC: The Ultïn Haganate is founded by an unnamed hagan. The Jasïr dynasty begins.

3928 BLC: The Jasïr dynasty ends with a brief civil war. It is replaced by the Tolkustai dynasty, founded by Hatun Hulkarïm I Tolkustai. The Haganate capital of Talarïn is founded.

~3900 BLC: The early city-states of the Uratemba begin to emerge. Mukotange is founded and is one of the earliest cities on Pakate to be built from stone.

~3000 BLC: The dual gods Moqos-Yorunnos, likely with assistance from many other deities, construct the Dawn Beacons, two anchoring points for an unimaginably complex array of transmundane mathematics that act as a cosmic barrier preventing the entry of any more deities into the cosmos around Muka. Wizards come to recognize the existence of these anchors, and worship of them as two minor gods, called the Sweirai by the Perqai, becomes widespread.

~2800 BLC: The city-states of the Ashibtu begin to emerge. The first dedicated places of learning for non-divine magic are likely founded.  

~2400 BLC: The horse is first domesticated.

~1800 BLC: Metalworking begins somewhere on Pakate. 

1200 BLC: By this point, much of Pakate is familiar with the casting of bronze.  

~800 BLC: Written language first emerges on Pakate. Three distinct writing systems are developed: one by the Achak, one by the Uratemba, and one by the Ultïntar. Most written language on Pakate today is either derived from or heavily influenced by one of these three systems.

~700 BLC: The Pibbern discover how to smelt iron. The chariot is invented.

680 BLC: The Ultïn Haganate, making use of advanced bronze military technology and early chariots, conquers much of central Pakate. At the peak of their empire, their holdings represent nearly one third of the continent’s landmass.

400 BLC: The Achak people learn how to use the magically-preserved spirits of their ancestors to imbue their warriors with ghostly power. The Ultïntar abandon the forests of Prai Staeng Hao and Prai Klar Chrantaet to focus on holding the Moldweru, an invaluable source of timber, against the Perqai.

350 BLC: The Prekstai use magic to temporarily make all the plants in the Moldweru extremely poisonous. The Haganate abandons the forest to focus on holding the mountains to their east.

200 BLC: By this point, most magical and priestly traditions on Pakate have developed to largely resemble their modern forms.  

140 BLC: The Pibbern construct several dozen Nilpin Brillimp, confluence-towers, allowing safe travel between the surface world and the Pibbern Warren. Most are abandoned and fall into ruin as the Pibbern discover that the surface world is not as interesting as they had hoped.

60 BLC: Northern raiders – perhaps Medgas in origin – begin to harass the city-states of the Uratemba. 

0 ALC: The poet-king Vidzo, honey-tongued child of a traveling merchant, convinces the leaders of the Uratemba city-states to unify into one state in order to repel the raiders. His plea is made in the form of a song; they are so impressed with his poetry that they unanimously elect him king of their new state, called the Uratemba Paramountcy. Mukotange, seat of the most influential among the old city-states, is selected as its capital.

40 ALC: The Uratemba Paramountcy conquers the islands to their west. They begin to expand northward.

216 ALC: The Paramountcy stops its conquest. The Chambered Seas and Idinu-Mush-Ut mark the borders of their territory. 

200-400 ALC: The Paramountcy grows wealthy from trade in the Chambered Seas and begins to develop ambitions to conquer their northern coasts.

491 ALC: An influential organization of disgruntled nobles and powerful wizards forces Kupongesi Ya Vidzo, final monarch of the Uratemba, to abdicate the throne. The Paramountcy becomes the Hegemon, ruled by a senate rather than a monarch. Senate membership draws heavily from the noble families of the Uratemba, and wizards, much to their disappointment, are prohibited from holding political office.

~520 ALC: The Uratemba discover the secret of smelting zvachosimbi.

547 ALC: Instituting several reforms to their military and equipping their soldiers with weapons and armor of zvachosimbi, the Hegemon conquers Idinu-Mush-Ut and Gam-Riktu from the Haganate with little difficulty.

606 ALC: The siege of Dannu-Meru ends with victory for the Hegemon. The realm of the Ashibtu is now fully under Uratemba control.

650 ALC: The Uratemba Hegemon makes contact with the continent to their east, which they learn is called Yakni. Though the inhabitants of Pakate had been made aware of this continent through magical observation centuries ago, no successful voyage had yet been made to its landmass. Dignitaries from the city of Tichay Puk on Yakni visit Mukotange and offer the Uratemba very profitable trade opportunities in exchange for zvachosimbi.

650-732 ALC: The city of Tichay Puk equips mercenary armies with foreign zvachosimbi and expands its territories by a factor of more than ten, becoming the dominant political entity in the far south of Yakni.

690-698 ALC: The Uratemba Hegemon conquers Bweikstanom and moves on to take several islands from the Warosmai.

712 ALC: Warrenlord Tilb IV of the Pibbern contacts several of Pakate’s most influential leaders and extends his greetings to them. The Pibbern Warren begins construction of two massive elevators powered by Pibbern magic outside the cities of Mukotange and Krong Saraob.

729 ALC: Sporadic raids by well-armed warriors and competent battle-wizards from the Perqas tribes begin to harass the Hegemon’s northern border. 

732 ALC: Hatun Tïrïmek II Japïlak takes the throne of the Ultïn Haganate after her father abdicates due to illness. She claims she has secret plans to reclaim her nation’s land lost to foreign invaders over the past several centuries and assigns an absurd number of wizards to her court at Talarïn.

anonymous asked:

Hey! Love your blog :) Could you maybe do some tips on how to make an application stand out for med? Everyone I know basically wants to go into med school and there is some fierce competition.

Hello! And thank you :)

Some day I’ll try to write a proper ‘how to do a personal statement list’ (I’m sorry, I would have done it sooner, but writing truly long posts wipes me out!), but until then, I’ll try to share my edited highlights:

The main thing about your personal statement is that it needs to tell a story. It should start with a little hook about how medicine caught your eye, and then flow naturally. NEVER steal random anecdotes or other people’s personal statements online; it’s really easy for them to check. And every year you read in the paper (or hear from university applications teams at talks) about how many people wrote that they decided to go into medicine after they set their pyjamas on fire. Weirdly, quite a few people used the same truly bizarre anecdotes for a few years! Nothing on the internet is original, so never be tempted to plagiarise!

Usually, it explains the skills you’ve learned, and how you are suited for medicine. The key thing here is this: there’s an unspoken list of qualities they want in a med student.  In the UK, it’s not even unspoken; google the GMC’s Tomorrow’s Doctors document, and it flat out tells you which qualities the GMC want medical schools to look for. Althogh we might never have thought of it that way, it kind of makes sense that they are looking for particular qualities.

You need to show that you embody these qualities, which means that you need to weave a story explaining how your studies, extracurriculars, reading, work experience etc all combined to give you the qualities they want. Which, given that you will have put a lot of effort into getting into medicine,you will almost certainly be able to do. The biggest problem is, nobody tells you that this is what they want.

These qualities are simple. They want to know that YOU know what you are getting into. And when I, as a doctor, think of what I would assess in a wannabe medic, I’d think along the lines of:

  • you need to have a realistic understanding of medicine.
  • You need to be able to handle stress, and to acknowledge that medicine is stressful and entails responsibility.
  • you need to make it clear that you know how to look after yourself/relieve stress/have a life outside of medicine including hobbies and interests.
  • You need to be organised, and good at managing your time.
  • you need to be able to recognise when you need help, both personally and professionally. This includes knowing your limits, and recognising that this is important in medicine.
  • you need to be compassionate and understand patient autonomy.
  • You need to have a decent grasp of basic ethics.
    You need to understand the importance of leading, but also following/working as a team.
  • They want to be able to see your commitment to medicine.
  • You need to be passionate about science and about learning; medicine is a lifetime of learning and hard work, and they want to know that they aren’t picking someone who will get bored after a year.
  • Respect for other healthcare professionals. We are a team, and we are not above our colleagues.
  • amongst other things which I have already discussed in detail here. You could probably think of your own list of things a med school might want, too! It’s not necessarily a hard-and-fast list. This just happens to be my interpretaiton. My #ukmedschoolsfaq tag might also be helpful, though it’s very UK-specific.

However, they don’t want just a list of qualities; they want you to prove that you have them. This is where what you did comes in. They want to know about the subjects you studied. The work experience and voluntary work. The books about medicine you read, or the magazines or papers you follow. These are the kinds of things that you have to do to be considered; so everybody will be mentioning the same thing.  It’s well known that applications are pretty samey, and like the ratehr NSFW Amateur Transplants song I linked to, eventually you’ll be laughing at the kinds of thing you had to write in your application. It’s difficult, because describing yourself in that way isn’t natural for most of us. However, it’s something we have to do throughout our careers, not just when we get into med school.  It’s a constant process of working out how you can descibe your positive points to their best advantage.

They want to know if there’s any topical subject that’s recently caught your imagination. They want you to say, in more than words, that you are committed, and know what you are getting into. Remember, they don’t nessarily care what subjects you did (as long as the pre-requisites are met), or exacty what you do in your spare time. You don’t have to be a goat-herding techno yodeller with a side-business creating apps.  It doesn’t matter exactly which medical books you’ve read.  Of course, if you have any interesting hobbies or interests, there’s no harm in mentioning them at some point of your personal statement; they can easily become an interesting talking point.

But although we like to imagine that uniqueness is to do with what we do, but that’s not always the case.  Sometimes uniqueness is about how we weave the story. So your personal statement shouldn’t read like a shopping list. They don’t want ‘I read this book then this book then I did work experience here’. Rather, they want a narrative of the skills you have and what you’ve learned. Which of the wanted skillls or attributes does each of your points embody or teach you? Perhaps your work experience taught you about teamwork, or ledership. Perhaps your hobbies taught you how to manage your time, as well as teaching you how to blow off steam. There’s more than one thing each thing can teach you. 

What matters is getting across that you are exactly the kind of person they want, preferably in an enjoyable way. Yes,  most of us end up saying similar things, but rather like you can still have an entertaining film about lycra-wearing vigilantes after the last 50 superhero films, you can still spin a slightly more entertaining ersonal statement.

Hope this helps :)


A trip to the Wyoming border. Camels, bison, horses, cow stockyards, a rancher teaching his cattle dog to herd goats, and pronghorn antelope. Just chillin.

Also border fireworks, because jurisdiction matters. What does it mean, “come see why there is nothing ‘free’ about ‘buy one get one free’” - should I be worried? Hidden costs? Losing a hand?

Dwalin’s Kids. Every spring Thorin goes up to the pastures to inspect the new kids born to the goat herds. It’s not necessary, really, but when he does his royal inspection he always makes sure his captain of the guard accompanies him. 

Dwalin grumbles about how it takes so long to get up to the pastures then he grumbles about how long Thorin always takes and must they look in every pen? And talk to every goatherd? Who cares how much the goats ate over the winter?

He generally makes a pest of himself until Thorin dismisses him for the remainder of his inspection which is when, Dwalin the big mean captain of the guard, makes a beeline for the nursery where he’ll spend hours feeding the new kids and laughing at their antics.

Thorin says nothing of their little ritual or about how happy and relaxed Dwalin is for days afterwards.

He does, however, draw the line at Dwalin keeping goats in his chambers. Which hasn’t come up… yet.. but Thorin has prepared arguments just in case.

I have such a soft spot for big gruff dwarves who have tender moments with animals! Especially baby animals! My headcanon Thorin is 10-ply soft towards his favourite ravens and when he gets kittens? Oh forget about it. He’s putty in their paws. I don’t know if it’s obvious but the kid on the left is trying to launch itself off of Dwalin’s back and there is another kid in his arms being bottle-fed. Pentel 0.3mm mechanical pencil on Paris Bleedproof paper. If i were to try to take this picture further, I’d finish it off with a regular HB pencil before scanning it.

Medics log

AHHH ok so as with most things I write I kinda went over board? This was just gonna be a little thing, maybe a few paragraphs, but I got really into writing the character so it’s pretty long!! I hope it’s not too ooc, I’m pretty out of it right now so I’m not sure how well I really represented the character… but I hope you like it!!
Also I know some of the details about rank labels/titles are incorrect, but I don’t have the spoons to go on a bender looking for obscure Star Trek trivia right now… also it wouldn’t make sense for them to use last names so I just switched it to first. I’m using Alex as a placeholder name for anx, since we don’t know his real name yet.
Expect some poly sanders in the future, and it’s there if you squint, but Im keeping it ambiguous… for now 👀
Blood, wound mentions, death mention (very brief, and no character actually dies), insect mention, reptiles, medical operations, sarcasm.

Medics log. Stardate…. who cares. First medical officer Alex reporting.

I have another excitement filled report about how I am trapped on a ship full of idiots! I really… really wish it was less exiting. Do you know what alien garbage monster I got to pull out of a flesh wound today? A lizard. First Officer Logan will tell you it’s a flagogis- flagogas- whatever, but it looks like a lizard, eats bugs like a lizard, and tried to bite me, so it’s a lizard. Unsurprisingly, the idiot it was attached to was our chief engineer. Just like the man-eating plant last week. And the spider thing the week before that. And the- you know what. It’s in the record. I’m not going over it again.

Look. This is why I don’t go planet side anymore. And why I didn’t go into space before that! Yes, lets fling Alex into a depressing, deadly vacuum on a tin can maintained by and emotional baby, flown by an egomaniac, and run by a teacher pet! Great idea, star fleet! A++ thinking there, pal! What’s that, can’t come back for five years? Good! Just what the doctor ordered! Except it isn’t! Because I’m the doctor! And this was exactly the opposite of what I wanted!

Speaking of being a doctor. I should actually finish my report…
Initial surveys of the planet informed that while potentially dangerous, it had the appropriate level of oxygen for a planet side mission. Since it didn’t seem to have any established sentient life, Captain ‘Operatic’ sent an away team of First Officer Logan, Ensign Adams, (who would have been much more useful in the med bay as a nurse, instead of where they are now, in the med bay as a patient, but I’m just the guy keeping you from dying so who cares what I say,) and Chief Engineer… I Still don’t know his name. I looked at his file. It literally says Officer Dad. I have no idea how he did it.
Anyways. I did my best to tell Captain Romance that that was a horrible idea, this was a horrible planet, and that it would be much better to fly off into the distance to the nearest alliance base and have them run at least five more scans on the local wildlife. Yknow. Or however many scans it takes to convince me that nothing that lives on that planet will be living on, in, or around my crew when we leave.
That reminds me. The lizard is fine. The idiot I pulled it out of insisted I name it. I told him it’s name is lizard. He suggested Brian, and kept making puppy dog eyes at me… Brian is a stupid name. I’m calling him Harold. But only because he tried to bite the captain. Nothing else… and no one needs to know that. These logs are private until the end of the mission. And I will have run away and become an alien goat herd by then. Probably.

Right. Back to the disaster of the hour. First Officer Logan got the Captain on his side, through “sound reasoning”. Sure. If that’s what you call having someone wrapped so tightly around your finger that it cuts off blood flow. He gets so dorky about new ecosystems. I generally get stuck on the “could kill you” thing. Bit of a deal breaker for me. But not the Captain. His deal breaker was that there was no possibility of a heroic rescue of attractive alien species that no man has ever romanced before! God. He could break the prime directive 8 times just by looking at it. Speaking of breaks… (great morbid segway there, Alex, how very cheerful of me…)

To summarize the mission ended predictably; with about eleven stitches to the chief of engineering’s leg who I am not calling ‘dad’ unless by gun point. Then I’d consider it. Maybe. Luckily ensign Adams only has a mild concussion. I’ll keep an eye on him for a few days, the put him back to work. The engineering team better have a good back up, because I’m keeping Officer Idiot here to see if any of the lizard bites are poisonous. My initial scans didn’t find anything recognizable, but I’m nothing if not thorough…

I’m also putting in a request to pull him from planet side duty. The way today went… he could have died. He knew it, too. I’m pretty blunt about those things, and even he knew that a wound that big means trouble. But he just kept… talking… to the lizard. Trying to keep it from being scared. Of course it was scared… hell, I was scared. He should have been freaking out too. But he kept coaxing it, calling it nicknames, trying to tell it everything would be ok… *ahem*
The point is, he’s going to get himself killed. And we need the ship to keep running. So. I medically recommend that Officer…. “Dad”… not be reinstated for active duty planet side… no matter how many times he says please.
Head Medical Officer Alex, signing off.