Sunday, 27 January 2013

Wolf Guard: Barungr and Varungr

True brothers amongst Space Marines has become a bit of a trope now for something that's supposed to be very rare, so my decision to have two brothers amongst my Space Wolves is perhaps a little questionable. Still, I quite like the idea so I went ahead and came up with Barungr Half-said and Varungr Helblade.

I wanted these two brothers to be quite contrasting in style, hence Barungr wields an assault cannon while Varungr has a frost blade and storm shield. I did, however, try to choose their heads quite carefully. I needed to use two that looked distinct yet similar enough that they would be convincing as true brothers.

Incidentally, some of you may remember my WIP post for Varungr. Good to have him all finished.

Okay, so let me tell the tale of Barungr and Varungr.

Blood brothers

Barungr Half-said
It is a rare thing that more than one warrior is taken by the Wolf Priests in a single battle, but it is rarer still that two brothers are so taken.

This is what happened to Barungr and Varungr, the two sons of a warrior of the Fandari tribe of Fenris.
Varungr Helblade

Varungr, the younger of the brothers, was always the most tenacious, forever trying to outdo his elder brother. Barungr, who was of a more tranquil nature, never minded, but never pandered to his brother and never allowed him to win at anything. In his mind, to do so would teach Varungr nothing.

Once Barungr reached the age where he could begin training to be a warrior, Varungr could not help but feel jealous of his brother and vowed than when he came of age, he would rise above his brother to become the greatest warrior the Fandari had ever known.

Such ambition was not to be met, however, as shortly after Barungr began his training the Fandari were attacked by a neighbouring tribe. The brothers' father, seeing the desperateness of the situation, handed his bow to Barungr, his sword and shield to Varungr, and hefting a mighty axe bade them to defend their kin and die well.

The two brothers stood before their home, Barungr reaping a bloody toll with bow and arrow, while Varungr cut down any warrior who made is past his brother's accurate shooting.

But, eventually Varungr was cut down, his shield failing him and allowing a blade through. Barungr, grief-stricken, fought on, but without his brother to protect him, was overwhelmed.

Their efforts, however, did not escape the attention of the Sky Warriors.

Battle brothers

As Blood Claws, the two brothers were inseparable. They drank together, they trained together, and they fought together. They remained great rivals, however, and each kept meticulous tallies of their kills to see who could reap the bloodiest tally.

Already the two differing styles and temperaments of the two brothers were becoming evident. Barungr preferred to fight at range, level-headed and clinical.

Varungr on the other head preferred the maelstrom of close combat, howling and bloody.

The two styles worked well together and their packmates grew to value the balance they brought to battle. When one or the other were unable to fight due to recuperating from wounds (as is inevitable for warriors), the pack was never quite the same.

During their time as Grey Hunters, the two brothers still fought back-to-back in battle as they always had, as close as ever. But circumstance ended up turning their friendly rivalry a little more bitter when their pack leader was killed and Barungr was chosen to lead the pack in his stead. Varungr was jealous of the honour done to his less extravagant brother, though he never spoke of it. To do so would have shown disrespect unworthy of a son of Russ. Instead, Varungr tried ever harder to outdo his brother on the field of battle and in the training cages.

More than once was he warned by the Wolf Priests to rein himself in. To his credit, Varungr recognized his failing and was sure to correct it.

Still, Varungr could not help but feel a pang of envy mixed in with his pride as Barungr was chosen by Rikkard Threadcutter, Jarl of Fyf, to join his Wolf Guard.

For the first time in more than a century, the brothers were separated.

The elevation of Barungr

So it was that Barungr was the first of the two brothers to become part of their Jarl's Wolf Guard, just as the elder brother was the first to do all things in their lives. The honour was bestowed upon Barungr after he single-handedly repelled eldar raiders attempting to breach the southern gate of Castle Forstus on the Imperial world of Talinar IV. Barungr and his pack were sent to garrison this unimportant stronghold to pacify the braying Governor of that world whose family owned Castle Fortus. However, it turned out to be the pivotal location of the conflict.

What none realised, except, it transpired, the Governor, was that the family residing at Castle Forstus had been keeping a relic of the eldar in their crypt and the eldar desired its return. So after a series of diversionary raids, the eldar attacked the castle en masse.

The castle had three gates: a large northern gate, a smaller western gate, and a single passageway at the south leading to the mountains. When the attack began Barungr quickly positioned his squad to cover the north and west gates while he and his brother Varungr left to defend the south gate.

En route to their position, the two warriors were ambushed by eldar assassins who materialised as if from nowhere. Varungr was caught by surprise and critically wounded, but Barungr managed to slay the attackers. Thinking his beloved brother dead, Barungr was forced to leave him behind to defend the gate alone.

The eldar approaching the southern gate had expected to find a weak point in the castle's defences, however what they found standing in the narrow gateway was a lone warrior, enraged at his brother's fall, and determined to make his foe pay in blood. Barungr fought as if Russ himself were watching, slaying so many that his enemies had to clamber over the bodies to face him. The eldar soon realised that they would not find a way in through this gate and, with the rest of Barungr's pack holding off the other attacks, decided to retreat.

Not one to be outfoxed, Jarl Rikkard boarded his Thunderhawk and flew to Castle Forstus as soon as news of the attack came in. He arrived with his blood up expecting to have to re-take the castle. Instead he found a badly mauled pack of Grey Hunters singing songs of victory, although Barungr was not amongst them. Rikkard found Barungr still standing watch at the south gate, his armour rent and torn and caked in blood. Upon seeing the number of dead foes and realising the significance of his action, Rikkard immediately offered Barungr a place in his Wolf Guard. Barungr accepted believing Varungr dead and grasping for some hope of a new beginning. Of course, he soon discovered that Varungr still lived though he was gravely wounded. Never one to betray a promise, Barungr joined the Wolf Guard where he serves to his day. His heart sang with joy when Varungr was himself raised to Rikkard's Wolf Guard.

Barungr has become very highly respected amongst the Wolf Guard of Rikkard, and amongst the wider company of Fyf. Like most of Fyf's Wolf Guard he wears terminator armour and he wields a fearsome assault cannon which he has named Deathbringer. It was with this gun that he earned perhaps his greatest honour. During the conflict against the Demagoue of Hersa, Barungr personally slew over 1,000 enemies with Deathbringer. So impressed was Rikkard with this feat of arms (not just in the accuracy and martial skill, but the technical ability to keep his gun firing after so long) that he bestowed upon Barungr his personal sigil, The Wolf that Hunts the Sun, as a sign of his esteem. Barungr proudly bears this emblem on his right shoulder pad.

Barungr is a taciturn warrior if ever there was one. It is for this reason he is named the Half-said. Barungr would never use two words when one will do. However, when he does say something his fellows know that it will be worth listening to.

The elevation of Varungr

Naturally when Barungr was raised to the Wolf Guard, Varungr, ever the competitive younger brother, desired the same honour. Gravely injured during (and to his shame taking no part in) the battle which saw Barungr honoured, Varungr returned to duty with a vigour that surprised even his packmates. He sought every opportunity to excel and he made a name for himself as a ferocious warrior.

It was after Fyf's battle barge, The Howl of Russ, was boarded by a piratical band of Night Lords that Varungr finally achieved his ambition of becoming part of his Jarl's Wolf Guard. For it was Varungr who rallied the dispersed warriors on board into a cohesive fighting force. It was Varungr who led the charge down the central arterial, carving a bloody path through the elite terminator-armoured warriors of the Night Lords. And it was Varungr who breached the bridge to take back the ship, slaying the leader of the Night Lords warband in personal combat.

It would be the most cold-hearted Jarl who would not reward such mighty actions with a place in his Wolf Guard. Not only that, but Jarl Rikkard named him his personal champion. And so it was that Varungr was reunited with his elder brother. Once again the two warriors would fight back-to-back as they had done ever since they defended their home as young boys.

Varungr is most unlike his brother, preferring close combat to ranged warfare. He is more headstrong and quick to anger, never needing to be asked twice for his opinion on some matter.

In battle Varungr wields a mighty frost blade named the Helblade. This monstrous weapon is traditionally awarded to the warrior named as Fyf's champion, and the warrior himself is in turn known as "Helblade". It is a fearsome weapon, reputedly able to tear open even battle tanks. In years past, champions have wielded the weapon double-handed, but Varungr, ever the individual, has elected to use it one-handed in order to bear a storm shield to battle. Perhaps he values the added protection, or perhaps he uses it simply because his brother advised that he should not. Still, whatever the reason, Varungr uses his wargear to terrible effect on the battlefield and if Jarl Rikkard bids him slay an enemy champion, that champion can expect nothing more than a bloody end.


Well I hope you enjoyed these two brothers-in-arms. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


  1. I liked the giant chainsword before, but now I love it! Great work.

  2. I agree. Great work. I love the name 'Half-said' - fantastic. I wish I had come up with it!