An eagle flies through a rainbow as a storm clears one of the many small islands on Lake Vermilion. The fifth largest lake in Minnesota, Lake Vermilion contains over 75 small public land islands covered with birch, pine and spruce. Some of the islands have boat-in campsites, and many are only large enough for one site, ensuring that you can have an entire island to yourself! The Bureau of Land Management works with the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe (also referred to as Chippewa) to protect traditional-use areas and cultural sites on the islands. The lake is popular for fishing and contains a diversity of species including largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike and perch. Photo by Bob Wick, (@mypubliclands) Bureau of Land Management.
Today we’re celebrating our national bird, the bald eagle, for American Eagle Day. On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was placed at the center of the Great Seal of the United States and remains a symbol of our proud country. After a dramatic recovery, bald eagles are found in every state but Hawaii, soaring high and inspiring the nation. Photo from the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
Now I’m a huge fan of the show Vikings, and my heritage comes from all over the world including that particular line. But my mother repeatedly expressed her pride on 3 of her ancestors, Native American’s, Germans, and the fuck mothering Vikings. It got me thinking… How the hell would we politely inform an alien that our past ancestors not only excelled at torture and bloodshed, but some cultures like Vikings took it to an unbelievable level. I imagine it would go something like so:
————————————————————————— “Human-Erica, I have a question regarding something we had discussed in our,” Grek’laz cleared his throat and moved one of his elongated arms to cover his mouth, a human like movement he had adopted while attempted to gather his thoughts upon speaking to one of the six humans aboard their ship. “Our um,” he tried to find the right words to discuss what he had learned, “Our Human Cultural Class. It was a brief history detailing the predatory and hearty nature of humans.”
Erica brushed her hair behind her ear, raising a brow curiously. Grek’laz among many other species had often come to her and the other humans with questions regarding their Death World up bringing, it was rather fun seeing them learn something new about their species. “Grek you can ask anything, I told you all before. What’d you learn today?”
Grek’laz pointed to above Erica’s bed with two of his tendril like fingers. The tall alien creature easily dwarfed the human before him, but the stories they had heard made him instinctively hunch forward, a method his species used to appear non-hostile. It didn’t help the humans had told him the smaller of their species could be the more violently inclined, a claim he hadn’t yet learned was a joke or serious. Where he pointed at, there lay a blade behind some ancient and primitive symbol. The blade had strange yet simply carvings, and was rusted by the thousands of years it had been handled by the family. “That weapon, the… You claimed it was a sword, if my words are correct. We learned those symbols belonged to a tribe of warrior humans from you pre-technological era. Called ‘Vi-kin-gs’,” he slowly pulled the words out as he expressed it with the upmost respect.
Erica kept her brow raised and nodded slowly, “Yes, and?” she encouraged him to continue.
“We heard that these… Vikings… Were some of the most concerning warriors of their time? But that they… Revealed in battle? Craved it even?” He asked with hope that it was not true. He knew humans were seen as a military force not to be trifled with, but the ones he had known were peaceful, to think there use to be a clan that craved nothing more than battle was, to him, terrifying.
Erica merely nodded, “Yep, my ancestors were Norse, or viking as they were called as well. They were some crazy bastards, the old beliefs they held said that to enter the highest of the heavens with honor meant you had to die bravely in battle. Only true warriors did. This lead them to be pretty creative, to say the least, in areas of hurting.”
Grek’laz gulped, rubbing the back of its neck nervously, “I… I do not understand?” He questioned. He was morbidly curious. Though part of him did not wish to know.
“The Blood Eagle, was something one of my ancestors went through if you want to believe the old tale.”
“B-Blood Eagle?” He gulped again, “That sounds terrifying alone, dare I ask what it was?”
“Do you dare?” She smirked, showing off the dense and wicked teeth all humans possessed. He nodded, much to his own dismay. “It was a fascinating process, though admittedly brutal beyond all standards. One of my ancestors had made a grave offense and attempted to steal the land of a Jarl, a ruler of such, and this Jarl was brothers to the King of all the land. My ancestor was punished with the Blood Eagle. It was said if you could take the pain without wincing, you would enter the heavens called Valhalla. But if you winced or cried out, you be damned.” She cleared her throat, hoping to spare Grek some of the details. The Elorians were more pacifist than most species. “They started by cutting your back open with a knife,” she could already see him flinch and look more and more nervous. “They then break open the back of the ribs, sometimes hammering them open. Then finally they pull the lungs out and rest them on your shoulders to look like the folded wings of an eagle.”
Grek’laz looked as though he was about to vomit, just imaging the process made him sick. “Your ancestor … I weep for the torture, he must’ve been in such pain.”
“Who knows? Stories say he never even made a sound, other then to scream to the Gods they believed in that he was coming very soon.” She chuckled softly. This was funny to her? Grek was truly terrified.
“Your world truly faced a monster, no offense, Human-Erica.” Grek gulped again in a panic.
“Oh those were just the Vikings, humans all over the world were doing stuff on that level.”
“THEY WHAT?!? YOU’RE KIND ACTIVELY TRIED TO FIND MORE CREATIVE METHODS OF INJURING AND HURTING EACH OTHER?”
“Oh Grek … I really hope they tell you about the Spanish Inquisition,” Erica laughed before patting his side, for his shoulder was at least 2 feet higher than her. “I’m heading to the mess hall, join me if you want,” she nodded before making her way out.
“I believe… I have lost my appetite,” he grumbled quietly. Humans… They were terrifying because they remembered these practices, whose to say they didn’t plan to use them if their enemies deserved it?
like the eagle, they soar above the land and pick their enemy, calculating how to tear them apart, slowly.
they strive to find the most original, find the most extreme way to overcome their obstacle; or they create a plan that suits them just best. because ravenclaws hold the world in their hands and can crush it in a heartbeat.
but they don’t; they don’t want to take over the planet because the world is interesting and there’s so much to do. because they haven’t discovered all the creatures or found all the plants, they haven’t uncovered the secrets behind the buried whispers of old, ancient artifacts.
or simply, because they have not read all the fanfictions on the website.
there’s so unearth, so much to say and ravenclaws want it all. their hearts crack and cave because not even a lifetime can carry out all the dreams they wish to achieve.
they try, try, try their hardest to fit in the things they love because everything doesn’t last forever. if that means watching netflix until one am before a big test? screw it. because ravenclaws hold the knowledge of creativity and acceptance that even though they are intelligent, being intelligent isn’t everything.
because ravenclaws have learned through anxious times when life became hard. they learned through hunched sobs and heavy hiccups that friends and family and love are crucial to happiness instead of one’s grades and they pity the ones who aren’t content.
because ravenclaws won’t hesitate to shred a person to tears. won’t hesitate to rip them to pieces when they are backstabbed—
left in the dust. they know they deserve what they received, but they never fail to create a low, petty competition. because ravenclaws knows that that everything is just a climb to the top, and if they can’t sit on the throne, no one else can. no one can come close.
because ravenclaws are eccentric and quirky and the have the ability to understand why they are the person that they are. because their wisdom diverges into so many rivers and it all leads to one place. acceptance.
because through time, ravenclaws strip away the dirt and the grime from a rock to divulge a diamond. because ravenclaws are striking in a way that no one else is, accepting their own being and being joyous.
because ravenclaws hold the world in their hands simply because they are motivated and competitive and happy.
The lion roams the open plains, its head held high, its footsteps sure. Sunlight glitters off its golden fur, creating a radiance unlike any other. The heat is warm and welcomed. The lion treks through the grass and the dirt, lifting its head to watch the birds circling in the sky. It pauses, gives chase, and lingers for a moment as it considers returning home. But it does not. There is always a new chase, the lion knows. A new adventure, something exciting just over the horizon. The lion tips its head back in a roar. And then it steps forward.
The badger pokes its head from the entrance of its burrow. The morning air is edged by the sharp chill of last night’s frost, but the badger does not feel the cold. It continues out of its hole and into the small field of frozen grass and flowers. There’s something beautiful about them, the ice glittering along the petals, their stillness as they’re frozen in standstill. The sun will come soon, the badger knows, the sun will come and the ice will melt. Then, their beauty will be different, but neither better nor worse. Beauty it knows, is an evolving thing, and there is no one way for an object to show it. They will still be the flowers it knows and loves, they will still be beautiful. It digs its claws into the earth. And it waits for the sun to shine.
The eagle soars through the sky, held aloft by the drafts of air that ruffle its feathers. Up here, the air is cold, thin, but the eagle does not mind. Here is a place for thinking, a place where trouble is few and far between and answers are easy to find. The eagle scans the land below, trained eyes catching on the things that others would never notice: a flower blooming, the melting of snow, a cricket beginning its song. From up here, everything is so small, so trivial, so simple. Everything is merely a single piece, a little part of the world. Up here, the eagle feels as though it can truly understand. And so it flies onward.
The snake slips through the shadows, unnoticed by the ones who pass it by. The scales on its back shift as they’re dappled with with different arrays of light, and the snake allows itself to rest for a moment in a patch of sunlight. Somewhere nearby, it can hear water running, the soft gentle hiss of shifting pebbles and hidden currents. The sun beats against its back, and it finds that it enjoys the peace of the moment. The warmth, the running water, the concrete moment in time before a future where everything can change. But then…the snake is no stranger to change. It sheds its skin, it moves from light to shadows. For all that it loves this warmth, this peace, it knows that change will only make it stronger. Wind rustles through the trees above its head. And it slips away.
“Listen, listen: a pigeon… no, no, wait, an eagle flew in, landed on the stove, and caught fire! The baby, seeing this, jumps across the apartment to the mighty bird’s aid! The eagle, however, misconstrues this as an act of aggression and grabs the baby in its talons! Meanwhile, the faucet fills the apartment with water! Baby and bird, still ablaze, are locked in a death-grip, swirling around the whirlpool that fills the apartment!”
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Michael Collins piloted the command module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon’s surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent just under a day on the lunar surface before rendezvousing with Columbia in lunar orbit.
Context: My party of four has traveled to the elemental plane of earth and we found some mudhills that seem to go on forever and have massive and constant landslides. Our goal was to obtain a certain flower beyond the mudhills. We are trying to figure out how to get past the hills and our half-elf Druid (named Vae) suggests that she can beastshape into a giant eagle and polymorph someone into a giant eagle at the same time. Our tiefling wizard (named Armonia played by me) includes that she can polymorph one person as well to help.
Vae: If it takes more than an hour I’d have to end my beastshape and cast polymorph again.
Armonia: We could probably find a safe hill to land on so we can recast everything.
Vae: Well I could probably un-eagle as we’re falling and try and not land at all.
Armonia: How long does it take to re-eagle?
DM: (starts laughing hysterically) That was probably one of the best one-liners I’ve heard in this campaign so far.