It was in the short story I wrote for Human Head Studios' game Rune that I created Jun, apprentice to the Norse god Bragi. From the moment the characters coalesced out of the roiling mess of my notes and research, I used them whenever possible on Rune-related projects. Those who explore the game thoroughly will find a couple subtle references to the characters that I inserted while doing a polish on the dialogue script.
When work began on an add-on pack and it was decided that a female warrior character was going to be included, I was honored when they chose to name the character Jun. It's always fun to see something spring from your head into a more tangible (if still virtual) existence.
Writing this short bit of fiction for the manual to the add-on pack, Rune: Halls of Valhalla, I used Jun and Bragi to try and preemptively answer the questions people would have about the characters, the game, and the world--and do it in under a thousand words.
I love the characters and would write about them again in a heartbeat. See, there's this time Jun became a messenger between Loki and the Norns...
Bragi looked up to see a pair of valkyries walking into his chambers. Inscribing one last rune on the scroll before him, he rose as the female warriors stepped apart to flank the doorway and another young woman entered between them. She wore quilted leather armor over a bright blue cotton tunic, with a fur cloak draped over her shoulders. From a leather belt cinched around her waist there hung a battered scabbard inlaid with bronze. In the sheath, Bragi knew, was a dwarven work sword, hard won in the battles beneath Thorstadt.
The woman waited quietly while the old man inspected her, and shared his smile when he met her eyes. “Hello, old friend,” she said. “It’s been a long time.”
“Jun,” he said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “It’s good to see you after so many years. I’m certain there are many stories to share, but let us do so by the hearth. Fimbulwinter comesI feel it in my bones.”
“ ‘The last days fast approach, each cold as a giant’s heart’,” she quoted, taking his arm and leading him to a fireside chair. “You’ve told me the tale many times.”
The old man settled into his chair and warmed his hands by the fire. “As you’ve so often told it yourself. Your fame as a warrior is surpassed only by your repute as a skald and storyteller. But tale is soon to become history, and the Aesir make their final preparations.”
“Is that why you’re here in Valhalla?” Jun asked.
“To witness the final training of the warriors,” Bragi agreed. “And to remain well beyond the reach of Loki. Though it happened long ago, I still fear that the trickster will call his due for the rescue of my wife.”
Jun crossed to the room’s expansive window, looking out across all of Odin’s mighty fortress. “I’ve seen much of the Nine Worlds, and yet each time you call me to your side I prepare to be surprised yet again,” she said “So many different warriors, so many different battles...”
“As many as are required.”
“But what of the others I see? Dwarves, zombies, even Sark Amen!”
“Brought to Valhalla by Odin himself. The children of the north must never forget the ways of the enemy.”
“And who are the strangers dressed in peculiar clothing, in unfamiliar armor?”
“They come from places far away and beyond the veil of time. The Allfather knows their skills served them well on Midgaard, but his warriors must master all the ways of the blade before the final battle.” He gestured for Jun to return to the fireside. “But now it is time for you to tell the tale. How did a child of the Vanir come to wear a horned helm?”
A valkyrie arrived with mugs of mulled wine. Taking one for herself, Jun handed another to the old man. “It’s a long story,” she began, “but it all began the day after I met Ragnar’s mother.” Bragi raised his mug to take a sip of wine and smiled as she continued the tale…