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What is Told is a five-part short story written by Alex Thomas in 2012 to introduce gamers to the lore of The Banner Saga. It features Bersi and a young mender named Hafr.

Plot[ | ]

The story is set shortly before the Third Great War, as a young mender named Hafr travels across the countryside to complete an errand assigned to him by his guild. Hafr is however soon knocked unconscious and awakes to find himself tied to a tree, with a varl sitting right next to him and reading his books. The varl explains that he was looking for something valuable, but found nothing in his bag except books. After asking his name and introducing himself as Bersi, he states that he and his partner realized that he was a mender upon seeing his patterned stick, so his partner took it to his guild to negotiate a ransom. After being mocked by the young mender, Bersi goes away and states that they will talk tomorrow.

Upon waking up the next day, Hafr once again sees Bersi reading a book. As the varl mocks it, Hafr states that he has read worse, and Bersi then decides to play with him, knowing he is thirsty. He asks Hafr how the Second Great War started, and after realizing he has no choice, Hafr states that the dredge decided to retaliate after repeatedly being slaughtered by the varls for no reason. Bersi however mocks him, telling him that what he has learnt is false to his shock, and states that it was raids by a human prince on the dredge that led to the war. As the varl claims that his race had to deal with the mess created by humans, Hafr berates him stating that it was the Menders who drove the dredge back. Bersi however states that he is wrong again and asks if he at least thinks he doesn't know everything. When Hafr replies yes, he tosses over a waterskin to drink from before leaving again.

Awaking on the third day, Hafr finds himself tired and starving. Bersi comes there again and starts reading the Mender primer teaching about the art of mending. As Bersi starts to pretend that it talks about the first menders weaving the memories of all beings into threads of time after the Death of the Gods, Hafr realizes he is lying and attacks varls as a cross between men and yox. Bemused, Bersi tears a page from the book and tells him to mend it back, goading him with a piece of jerky. Hafr manages it with much difficulty, and is finally given food in return. He then asks how long will they repeat this process and claims to Bersi his partner is dead, which he states the varl has already realized but is refusing to accept. Bersi in anger stabs him in the thigh and tells him to mend his wound, warning him that he will repeat it every day till his partner returns.

After trying to mend his injury for hours, Hafr gives up and instead tries to free himself by loosening the rope around his neck. He succeeds after much trying, and walks away while limping due to his wound. Upon coming across a cliff face, he finds that there is no path that he can take to escape, before soon finding Bersi coming up behind him. After staring at him for a long time, the varl sits on a rock and starts reading another book. The confused Hafr eventually decides to flee back to the city he came from. An elderly mender meets with Bersi after the sun sets and offers him a job where he would accompany the prince of humans Ludin as he goes to meet the Varl King, so the Mender Council would know what is going on. Initially reluctant, Bersi agrees after learning that it would be less bloody than his current job of toughening up apprentice menders. Before leaving, he tells the mender to say hello to Hefr for him, but is told to his disappointment that he had died shortly earlier due to his wound.

Notes[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • The true nature of Bersi's job before becoming a bodyguard for Ludin wouldn't be mentioned again until The Banner Saga 3.