My name is Torgeir Ulvensønn, born in the year 1474 AD to Ulfr and Valeria of the port city of Nidaros, Norway. The port of Nidaros has been the home of my family for six generations, though we have never been more than sea traders throughout the years. Living in a port city, my family is one of the lucky ones, having survived the Black Death from near the beginning. My father says that my great-grandfather Goren would tell him stories of the suffering and fear that permeated the streets during those times, and of the screams and moans of the dying, which was broken only by the sound of death rattles and the vomiting of blood.
One of the more beneficial aspects of living in a port city was the ability to pick up a trade that was very much in demand. My ancestors have been sailing out of Nidaros since their arrival, and nothing but good has come from it. As such, when I turned ten, I began learning at the hands of my father Ulfr, and my grandfather Baldur, the trade of sailing and the skills associated with such a profession. In the first year or two, I was never allowed to do more than the simple tasks, but this changed as I grew older. Though my father never saw it, I had taken a special interest in navigation and manning the helm, and spent most of my free time learning from the various navigators and helmsmen we sailed with.
By the time I had turned sixteen, I had become much more aware of the politics and social idiosyncrasies of a larger part of the world, which only served to focus my attention on the situations of similar consequence within my own country. I learned of the Kalmar Union, and of the political stresses it placed upon all, no matter how indirectly they were involved. It is through an increasing political awareness that I grew to understand that, while the land you are from may shape who you are, injustice and political strife have an odd way of making those from other lands seem just as familiar as they are foreign.
At the same time, I had begun to seek out my own work as a sailor and novice navigator, taking any opportunity that presented itself. Though my father did not like the idea of me setting off on these journeys away from his watchful eye, he realized that there was little he could do to prevent it. Rather than try to persuade me away from my path, my father sought to teach me the importance of know how to defend myself. Being a sea trader, he knew little in terms of martial proficiency, though he was able to secure some lessons through the port guard.
This was enough to get me by, as I would spend the free time I had practicing what I had been taught. Over the next year, I made a fair living serving as a navigator for merchant vessels, growing increasingly weary with the political troubles of the time. It was around this time that I came to realize that I cared little about the country I was from, as the political machinations of aristocrats caused an ungodly amount of strife both within and without of my homeland.
This was also near the time that I signed on as a navigator for an independent vessel. Later, I came to realize that the independence the vessel commanded was forged by the actions of piracy that were committed by the crew.
This was where I came to learn the most about myself. The freedoms that I had while aboard that ship were much greater than any that I had possessed while sailing as a trader under the law. I had learned to respect the governance of he who is command, no matter which company I was a part of. I also learned to rely on those men who stand beside you in battle, as it will be those same people who rely on you, whether it was to watch each other’s backs or trust in the quality of a completed task.
I remained with that pirate vessel until the early spring months of 1492. We had sailed to the warmer waters of the Mediterranean Sea for the winter months, and had spent most of our time trying, and failing, to land anything that was worth our time. Thus, when we had landed in the port of Messina, Italy, I made it point to never return to that ship, as I had lost all respect for the man who captained it. You would expect it to be easy for a navigator to find work in a port city, but I had little such luck. The few opportunities I had before me were taken by more experienced navigators, which left me stranded in the port. Desperate for work, I saw a golden opportunity in signing on with a mercenary company that had arrived in late January the same year. This was an excellent time for me, as it gave me time to hone the basic fighting skills I had acquired, as well as train with the different weaponry that the company uses. The time we spent there was nice enough, as the work was moderate, and the risk was low, as we were serving as city guards.
The best part about my signing on with the Willensstark Fahnlein, was the steady pay. Having been used to the long periods without pay that seem to go hand-in-hand with piracy, it was a well-received change for me. The men I serve with are sturdy enough, and all have proven reliable as the time passes. Possessing no loyalties to my homeland, I found much camaraderie in the ranks, and have found a great deal of respect for the Captain and Master-At-Arms, who have done very well for the company. Having passed through several battles and many skirmishes since my signing on, my loyalties and bonds have come to lie with the Fahnlein, and with the people who are part of it.
As we are, we find ourselves just outside the city of Calais, where we are spending our time in search for new recruits.