Ulfr

This is the only written account of a berserker’s transformation ever discovered.
The book it is written in is bound in leather and filled with scraps of paper, some of which are torn and smudged. The ink has faded considerably, and is illegible in places. None of the entries are signed with a name, only with the date.
The journal has been translated from its original German.

July 2nd, 1001
I came upon the tribe of ashmen (Note: ‘Ashmen’ was a word used by the Germans to refer to the Norse people) three days ago, when I spied them hunting elk in the fields. I must have spooked their prey, because I was soon surrounded by the ashmen, with the elk nowhere to be seen.
I conversed with them in my best Nordic, and somehow, I persuaded them to allow me to return with them to their village. There, we dined on hare cooked over an open flame, and a man clad in heavy furs related to us a story about a god they call ‘Odhinn’, who ‘fights with most ferocity’, he says.
I think perhaps I will stay with the ashmen for a while, and see what I can learn about them.

July 3rd, 1001
I have befriended a young man, named Ulfr, who is about to begin a ceremony into manhood. He has agreed to tell me about his transformation from boy to man, so that I may document it for myself.
Ulfr looks to be about 12, but I must guess at this: when I ask him his age, he responds with a word I am not familiar with.
Ulfr tells me that his transformation began last night, when his father took him out to the edge of the woods and told him about his upcoming ceremony. He tells me that the ceremony is a very secret event, and he is bound to never tell anyone what happens there. However, he has told me where I can hide to witness the ritual myself. I will go and hide myself there tonight, when the moon rises.

(This part is smudged and sloppy, as though written in a rush)
I must write this down before I go to sleep, so it is fresh in my mind.
The ceremony began with the tribe’s father sitting next to a blazing fire. (I had watched some of the maidens build it earlier that day) Ulfr entered on the opposite side of the fire and knelt before the father, who pulled one of the thick furs from his back and draped it around Ulfr’s shoulders. The father summoned the tribe’s shaman to his side, and she threw a bundle of herbs on the fire and helped Ulfr and the father to their feet. The shaman bent and pulled a handfull of ash from the fire, rubbing it into Ulfr’s face and clothing. He did not cough or choke, but his eyes glazed over and he began to dance wildly around the flames, baring his teeth like a dog and throwing up his heels like a hare. The shaman began to sing, and- (Here, the rest of the page is torn away)

July 4th, 1001
Ulfr came to talk to me only once today, to ask me if I had seen the ceremony as I had promised. I assured him I had, and he left my hut for the rest of the day. I did not see him at dinner, but no one seemed concerned.

July 5th, 1001
I have not seen Ulfr since yesterday morning, and though no one else seems worried, I am a bit concerned. I have decided to look for him in the woods- there are few places to hide for long here.

I have not found Ulfr, though I followed his tracks out of the village. I lost them when I crossed a nearby stream, and haven’t been able to recover the trail since.
I can’t help but become a little frantic, however: Where ever I found his tracks, I found drops of blood nearby. I hope he hasn’t been fed upon by the wampir, (Translates: Vampire) or he will be dead by morning.

July 6th, 1001
Against my better judgement, I stayed the night in the woods, away from the tribe. I have found no evidence of wampir bites this morning- I don’t think they came to me in the night.

Around high noon, I found a human tooth in the dirt, covered with blood and flesh. Around it I found shed fur, caked in blood. I fear the worst for Ulfr. I don’t think I will find him alive.

July 7th, 1001
I have spotted Ulfr. He has been afflicted with the madness: he jumps around and howls at the sky, and blood drips from his mouth by the bucketful. I have not dared to let him see me.

I watched Ulfr extract another of his own teeth. As I hid close-by, he picked up a thick stick from the ground and shoved it between his jaws. He began to gnaw violently at it, and with a hideous crunch, I heard the tooth break free. Later, when he had moved on, I moved closer in order to examine it. It looked almost identical to the last one, but for the splinters of wood that had cracked the tooth and stuck between the pieces.

Frequently now, Ulfr turns his head from side to side, sniffing enthusiastically. I worry he can smell my sweat from the trees.

July 8th, 1001
With my own eyes, I watched hairs push themselves up through Ulfr’s skin. I watched him scratch them, pulling away large chunks of flesh. He did not seem as though this hurt him, or even felt uncomfortable. On the contrary, he seemed very relaxed throughout the ordeal.

I realized that I have been watching so closely that I had failed to notice how close we had come to the edge of the village. I am afraid of what will happen if Ulfr goes back to the tribe: I fear for their safety. I do not think Ulfr is well.

July 9th, 1001
I have decided I do not want to bear witness when Ulfr returns to the village to masacre his people. I will leave now, and hopefully I will be too far away to hear them cry out when they are killed.

This is the end of the journal. The remaining pages are splattered with blood.
This journal was found- alongside the remains of a 20 year-old man- several miles from the place that the berserker village was rumoured to be.
It is believed that this particular village survived until around 1025. Our author did not.

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