My story begins on a small moon of metal, which came to be known as Jötunheim shortly before I was born. It was hard growing up in such a place, especially since food was hard to come by. Fertile land was next to nonexistent, and often only the most powerful of warlords controlled those areas. My clan was one of the lucky ones; we had food in abundance and the ability to defend it against those who would seize it for their own. Eventually, through a series of wars and, in some cases, purchases, my clan united all the peoples of my home.
It was through these wars and purchases that we discovered that our race was not the sole sentient race of our home, but rather the dominant one. However, up until we united the clans, we had no knowledge of this other race save through the various myths and legends present in our culture. Where we stood seven to eight feet tall on average, they stood at least fifty. Assuming the possibility to shrink them down to our height, they would be half-again as wide and twice as muscular as one of my kin. Every single one of them had a thick, natural iron carapace covering the entirety of their bodies, and absolutely no hair. They introduced themselves as the tribe of iron. We came to refer to them by a different name: the Jötuns.
If one were to tour the various cities present on Jötunheim's surface, one would notice that both my people and the Jötuns have equal rights and various positions within our economy. Such has always been the case, for my people and the Jötuns needed to form strong bonds of trust with each other to survive on Jötunheim's largely desolate surface. This is of course before technology allowed us to expand our crops well past naturally fertile land, but of all the old habits of those of Jötunheim, the good ones died hardest, if at all.
Soon after I came to rule, I was invited to join a union of interstellar empires, a group which has long since died out. I came to be friends with its members, especially so with its leader, Uryu Ishida. We laughed together, discussed various subjects together, even fought together when the time came.
Eventually, after five years of research, we were finally ready to populate a new world. The first one we chose was a crystal moon, known to us as Ásgarð. As with Jötunheim, we met another race there, which we came to call the Æsir. They looked just as we did, and stood just as tall, but thousands of years of tireless battle had strengthened them well past even the abilities of the Jötuns. Naturally, they were angry at first that we had claimed their planet as our own. But then we invited a representative of their race to Jötunheim to see how we lived. It was the Jötuns who convinced their representative to join us in peaceful union, and to work alongside our two peoples in the betterment of our collective civilization.
After another year, my civilization had colonized two more worlds: the planet of stone known as Svartálfaheim, where the dark elves, better known as the Dvergar or dwarves, called home; and the volcanic moon of Múspellsheim, where we found the Jötun tribe of fire, who had a natural carapace of glowing hot magma. It was during this time that my civilization had been drawn into conflict with a member of the Interstellar Alliance, known to us by his own introduction as Death Knight. It was only through the intervention of Uryu that the conflict ceased, but it taught me an important lesson: always put up proper defenses, or my subjects will suffer for my neglect.
Within a few more years, in which my group had merged with another, my people had colonized the worlds of Vanaheim and Álfheim, where we met and accepted the Vanir and Álfar into our civilization, as well as the barren worlds of Drekkamoldheim and Raufmoldheim. It was by this time that my civilization had become truly prosperous, to the point where we could sustain continuous construction projects without halting for more supplies; we had too much to stop.
Eventually, my group had merged with two other groups, being the Farm and Hellz Bellz. The Farm eventually came to be known as Revolution, and now as SAW. I came to become close friends with various members of Hellz Bellz, most notably Belisarius, the group's leader. However, the cohesion between me and the two groups was spotty at best. Rarely, if ever, did I get along with the entirety of the two groups. However, it was through their help that I gained Niflheim, the home of the Jötun tribe of ice, who had a natural carapace of ice, Miðgarð, my race's home world, and the barren worlds of Aptrvatnheim, Steinnbœrheim, and Steinnríkrheim.
As my civilization got closer to being capable of producing the next class of warship, known to my group as the Dreadnought, I asked Belisarius whether I should continue producing Battleships to make up for what I had recently lost, or to wait until I could produce Dreadnoughts. He chose the latter, so I pursued that course. However, several others in the group decided to ridicule me for not having as many ships as they did, ignoring that Belisarius had told me what I should do. Because I had chosen to defend myself with words, however, I was banished by Belisarius from the group for "hateful language and refusing to produce warships."
All hell broke loose. Within days, my so-called "friends" had occupied the entirety of my empire and destroyed all but the few ships I could send to safety. I myself had escaped deep within the surface of Jötunheim, slowly building up a resistance force to free my subjects. It took me years to rally what people I could and oust the majority of them from my empire. Even then, the scars of war remain, and some of them still retain holdings of my empire. I build to oust them, but it will take several years before I am ready.
Eventually, I joined a small group called TimE, and through them I have been able to recover much of my empire's former prosperity. I have also helped them prosper further by bringing in several others in my area. Unfortunately, being a small group, one of our biggest issues has always been the defense of our worlds. Some of our group don't know how to build proper defenses. Others leave too many ships in orbit. The rest simply don't have the technology they need. But I feel that, eventually, TimE will be one of the groups standing tall in this universe.
My race is blessed with extraordinarily long lives. The oldest of my race have lived for five thousand years or more, though on average we live for about three thousand years. I have only been alive for three hundred years, but dire straits have since taken away what innocence I once possessed.
My name is Virsteinn. I have ruled for 160 years now, and I work tirelessly for the future of the Akdari civilization.
This story was submitted by Virsteinn for the AE Stories Event. Find Details on sending your own Story here.