Knut Whitebear

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Spoiler alert: The following text contains spoilers relating to Edge of Destiny, the personal story, Living World Season 1, Living World Season 2, Living World Season 3, and The Icebrood Saga.

Knut Whitebear

Knut's the papa bear around here. Nothing happens without his grunt of approval.

Lizbet Fleister

Knut Whitebear is an elder of the norn, husband of Gaerta Whitebear, and father of Skarti Knutsson and Sigfast. The Great Lodge is his steading, and as the Master of the Lodge he is a defender of Hoelbrak, the settlement that has been erected around the lodge. The Great Lodge was founded by Knut's grandfather Asgeir Dragonrender, the hero who had severed the Elder Dragon Jormag's fang and led the norn south during the norn exodus.[1] Some might call Knut a leader of the norn, although in truth the concept of 'leadership' in norn society is poorly defined.[2]

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

A grand moot was held in Hoelbrak to celebrate the birth of Knut Whitebear, grandson of the norn hero Asgeir Dragonrender.[1] An unknown human, who was present during the moot, wrote down the words of a norn skaald in a letter that would eventually end up in the archives of the Durmand Priory. The letter explained how the skaald had told a tale of a person who had been chosen to follow Bear's path but who had ultimately found his true totem animal in Wolf instead after rescuing and feeding starving wolf pups who had been lying near the corpse of their mother.

As Knut grew up, he eventually inherited the Great Lodge which his grandfather had built, and became known as the Master of the Lodge. He married the enchantress Gaerta Whitebear who bore him two sons: Skarti Knutsson and Sigfast. Knut raised his sons and acted as an arbitrator in disputes within Hoelbrak while Gaerta, driven by wanderlust, often left the lodge on lengthy hunts to build her legend in the wilderness.[3][4] The couple's years together, and Gaerta's hunts away from home, did not diminish Knut's passion for his wife even when other norn women desired him for his qualities as a strong hunter.[5] Knut viewed his sons fondly, and denizens of Hoelbrak would remark that the brothers were the light in Knut's eye.[6]

Priory scholars eventually discovered an old fireside song which contained a prophecy seemingly predicting Knut Whitebear's death while including the ominous phrase "...and the muttering voices will call for his blood." The scholar Finn, however, argued that his fellow scholars were interpreting the prophecy too literally and that it did not necessarily predict Whitebear's demise.

Tales tell how Knut proved himself to be a wise arbitrator of disputes among hot-headed norn while trying to keep Hoelbrak peaceful and organized. He named Ayslin Hovde the chief tradesman of Hoelbrak; he would ensure that prices were reasonable, that wages were appealing, and that the artisans and workers in the various trades had all the materials they required.

At one time Knut had to make a choice between keeping peace in Hoelbrak using violence or wisdom when he broke up a bar fight caused by a quarrel between two brothers divided over a woman. He knew the brothers were good and just eager to impress the woman, so he called them over and told them that the first one who could knock him out was worthy of the woman. The brothers were unsure, but stopped fighting each other and circled Knut. He never laid a hand on them despite proving himself a superior combatant, however. Instead, Knut dodged the brothers' blows, but praised them for working as a team as they attacked him. He let them come at him until they fell over exhausted. When the brothers got their strength back, Knut took them aside and told them the bonds of family were stronger than a passing fancy. The brothers took the lesson to heart and never quarreled again.[7]

Knut agreed with the norn elders on waiting for the norn of prophecy who would be destined to crack Jormag's fang before the norn marched north to confront the Ice Dragon. Some younger norn disagreed with Whitebear, however, believing that only the elders could stay behind while the rest of the norn either fought as individuals or pooled their strength together to confront Jormag.[8][9]

Despite his wisdom, Whitebear was not above acting on impulse from time to time. When a norn criticized Hoelbrak's defenses for being too weak, Knut kicked him out, right into a blizzard.[10] Sons of Svanir, a norn cult revering Jormag, saw Knut as past his prime and that he should have died long ago and that the Svanir should be the ones to kill him to prove their worth to Jormag.[11] Although Knut was aware of the cult's troublemaking ways, he tolerated the Sons of Svanir in Hoelbrak as long as they did not cause any trouble, and only had the Wolfborn punish troublemaking individuals, not the cult as a whole. Occasionally he would show mercy on the younger Svanir and let them back into Hoelbrak show they could atone for their actions.[12]

Edge of Destiny[edit]

The Dragonspawn, a champion of the Elder Dragon Jormag, terrorized the countryside around Hoelbrak. Every time the norn sought out the Dragonspawn's lair to slay the champion, the men returned as icebrood while the women did not return at all, and the Dragonspawn cast devastating blizzards around the Shiverpeaks in retaliation for any intrusion into its lair.

In 1319 AE, a particularly sizable icebrood horde, consisting of corrupted norn, attacked Hoelbrak. Knut himself participated in the defense of the settlement and fought alongside Eir Stegalkin, the dire wolf Garm, and other norn heroes.[13] Following the battle and seeing many of her friends being killed by the icebrood, Eir resolved to find a way to defeat the Dragonspawn for good. She eventually returned to Hoelbrak with the asura Snaff and Zojja who had offered their golems to help Eir and Garm in the hunt for the Dragonspawn. The party boasted about their upcoming victory in Hoelbrak before they left to confront the Dragonspawn, and Knut learned of their bold attempt as news spread.

Eir and her companions failed to slay the Dragonspawn who had turned out to be more cunning than they had expected, and the dragon champion unleashed a devastating blizzard on Hoelbrak and the surrounding countryside in revenge. Knut confronted the weary heroes as they entered Hoelbrak and told them about the many lives that had been lost in the storm. He banished Eir, Garm, Snaff and Zojja from Hoelbrak, telling them not to return until they had found "real warriors" to fight the Dragonspawn rather than relying on mere golems.[14]

Eir and her companions returned to the Shiverpeaks two weeks later while accompanied by their latest recruits: the charr Rytlock Brimstone, the human Logan Thackeray, and the sylvari Caithe. Knut confronted them at the gate and was told that the party had formed a guild called Destiny's Edge. He learned how Eir, Garm, Snaff and Zojja had defeated the previously invincible gladiatorial trio in Lion's Arch and recruited them to assist in the hunt for the Dragonspawn. After listening to Eir's story, Knut decided to give her another chance to prove herself while warning her not to fail again or the Dragonspawn's wrath would fall on all the norn.[15]

Destiny's Edge prevailed against the Dragonspawn and returned to Hoelbrak in triumph. Out of all the the people in the settlement, Knut was the most appreciative as he greeted the heroes. He placed an ermine cloak on Eir's shoulders and announced that Destiny's Edge would always be welcome in Hoelbrak.

When Eir pointed out that Whitebear should never have doubted her and that she intended to accomplish even greater things, Knut took it as a challenge. He led Eir to the Fang of the Serpent and asked her if she would challenge Jormag's tooth and prove if she was the norn destined to break it and lead the norn against the Ice Dragon. Eir hesitated, however, and focused Knut and everyone else's attention on the upcoming feast instead.[16]

However, Knut's words weighed on Eir, and she decided to challenge the fang later on in a public event. Knut eventually learned of Eir's attempt and that, despite her best efforts, she had failed to crack the fang and had left Hoelbrak to battle other Elder Dragons' champions to grow in strength and experience.

Personal story[edit]

In 1325 AE, Knut captured the great wurm Issormir in Lostvyrm Cave and brought it to Hangrammr Climb where he intended the contesters of the Great Hunt to battle it to prove their worth.[17] Knut and his sons Skarti and Sigfast attended the Great Hunt alongside Eir. As Master of the Lodge, he approved of the trophies the hunters brought to him and Ido the Tanner and stated that the hunters were both skilled enough to defeat their prey and wise enough to revere their spirits. They witnessed a norn contestant defeat Issormir and earn the title Slayer of Issormir as a reward for the feat.

Following the Great Hunt, Knut hosted the Big Brawl with help from Eir and his old charr friend Balteus Bloodletter. However, unlike previous years' brawls, he decided to invite contestants from various races to participate in the event to decide who got to challenge the reigning champion Mikkel Toivosson. The Slayer speculated that Knut may have allowed other races as contestants in the traditionally norn-only competition in order to test the norn's strength against them.

Knut attended the preliminary free-for-all to decide which two norn out of all the participants would be allowed to progress through the following rounds. After the Slayer had bested the combatants, Knut told the Slayer to either defeat the Son of Svanir named Nollarr who had been causing trouble around the Shiverpeaks, or help the merchant Hekka Ravenswealth hunt down aggressive murellows.

After the Slayer had triumphed over the challenge and other contestants Balteus had gathered, the Slayer returned to the Championship Fight which Knut was attending. The Master of the Lodge was excited to find out which of the contestants prevailed as both were full of passion and purpose. After witnessing the Slayer prevail in the final brawl, Knut announced that seeing the Slayer come back from last year's defeat and rise even higher than before was a lesson that every norn should take to heart.

Around this time, the Gear warband led by Ballista Geargrind arrived in Hoelbrak, demanding to recruit the Slayer who had lost Ballista's valuable tank during a drunken joyride with Mangonel Gearstrip. Only Ballista's respect for Knut, who had decided to get involved in the dispute upon learning about the warband's accusations, kept the arguments from escalating into violence. Knut ordered Eir to handle the matter peacefully, and Eir in turn helped convince the Slayer to work for the Gear warband until the Slayer's debt had been paid. Instead of getting angry at the Slayer for nearly jeopardizing Hoelbrak, however, Knut decided to use the commotion to his advantage by making three skaalds work on "The Ballad of the Wayward War Machine", inspired by the Slayer's drunken mishaps, for the next moot.[18]

Later that year, news spread to Hoelbrak about dredge attacking the Durmand Priory facility of Scholar's Cleft and slaying a Vigil patrol, leaving behind bodies with strange wounds. Priory, Vigil and Order of Whispers representatives were arguing about what approach to take and asking for someone unaffiliated with the three orders to provide them with an outsider's view. Knut knew the Wolfborn had to remain neutral in the matter in order to not favor one order over the others, so he sent Skarti to ask Eir to represent the norn side to the orders. Eir refused, however, as she believed her time as a hero had ended after her failed attempt to defeat the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik, and she instead suggested the Slayer to act as the norn representative in her stead. The Slayer helped the orders defeat the dredge, which Knut would eventually learn.

In the same year, Knut began training the Wolfborn with extra intensity as he slowly came to realize that neither he nor Hoelbrak would be safe from the Elder Dragons.[19] He also ordered Skarti and Sigfast to stay in Hoelbrak and postpone their hunts so they could keep the lodges safe.[6] Rumors began spreading about friction forming between Knut and Sigfast, while Skarti was torn between his father and brother on whose side to support. Although the topic of the dispute was said to be secretive, Sigfast suggested that he had taken issue with the way the norn were not being proactive enough in reacting to the growing threat of Jormag.[20][21][22]

The Priory reached out to Knut as they needed to ask his permission to start excavations at Lake Mourn in order to recover old, painted pottery with images of Jormag. The Priory hoped that the paintings would give them a clue to the Ice Dragon's weak spot.[23] Queen Jennah of Kryta sent Lady Sarah Marduke as ambassador to meet with Knut and discuss the future relationship of humans and norn.

Living World Season 1[edit]

Living World Season 2[edit]

Living World Season 3[edit]

In 1329 AE, a year after the Elder Dragon Mordremoth's demise, Knut continued addressing several norn who demanded sylvari to be banned from entering Hoelbrak as their origin as Mordremoth's minions became common knowledge. Despite his fellow norn's insistence, Knut allowed sylvari to access the lodges under the Wolfborn's protection as there had been no evidence of sylvari turning after the Jungle Dragon's death.

Knut attended a vigil which her son Braham had arranged to honor the memory of Eir Stegalkin who had lost her life during the Pact's campaign in the Heart of Maguuma. He sent a letter to the Pact Commander, inviting them to attend the vigil as well. During a discussion that followed, Knut speculated that the reason Braham had neglected to show up for the memorial was that he was still coming to terms with Eir's passing and trying to find reasons that justified her death.

Knut gently allowed the Commander to honor Eir in the way they saw fit, whether it was via talking with Eir's friends and celebrating her triumphs or paying their respects privately. During the vigil, Knut was among the first to notice the Commander's charr ally Rox arrive with Garm, and he informed the Commander about it. As the crowd gathered around the weary pair, Rox revealed that she had spent a long time searching for Eir's dire wolf in the jungle. Knut immediately sent for a healer to tend to Garm's wounds, and he watched the Commander do their part to ease the dire wolf's pain as well.

After Garm had been tended to, the Commander gave a speech to everyone present and asked them to honor Eir's legend with a toast. Knut was the first person to respond although he had to clear his throat due to being overcome with emotion.

As the celebration continued, Knut received a letter meant for the Commander and approached them to deliver it personally. The letter was from the Commander's asuran ally Taimi who urged the Commander to visit her in Rata Novus as she wanted to show the Commander a breakthrough in her Elder Dragon research. The Commander departed after informing the norn present about the details of the campaign in Maguuma and the circumstances surrounding Eir's last stand.

The Icebrood Saga[edit]

Following the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik's fall in 1332 AE, Knut dediced to revive the Dragon Bash festival of Lion's Arch to celebrate the fall of Elder Dragons and hosted it as a grand moot in Hoelbrak. Knut contracted the skaald Bodmodr Svartkelson to write a welcome speech for the festival although he ultimately ended up changing most of the speech and paid Bodmodr with Zhaitaffy much to the skaald's annoyance.

Knut had an asura record a hologram of himself giving the speech. He was unaware of how to present himself and which parts to cut out as he was not used to dealing with holograms. By the time the visitors poured in and finished listening to the hologram, Knut himself showed up to take them on a tour of Hoelbrak, anwering questions and enjoying the attention he was getting.[24]

Location[edit]

Shiverpeak Mountains

Story involvement[edit]

Personal story[edit]

Living World Season 1[edit]

Living World Season 2[edit]

Living World Season 3[edit]

Combat abilities[edit]

Effects

DefianceDefiance bar teal.png

Dialogue[edit]

If attempting to sit on Knut's throne
(If norn)
In case your eyes are failing you, this fine chair is already occupied, Slayer.
(Otherwise)
In case your eyes are failing you, this fine chair is already occupied, stranger.
Talk end option tango.png It would be rude to force the issue.

Quotes[edit]

Greets
I hope this is important.
What do you need?
Hello, friend.
How can Hoelbrak's finest serve you?
Care and respect will serve you well here.

Related achievements[edit]

Trivia[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Thyrie Bylund
  2. ^ The World Summit Knut Whitebear: I do not command an army. My people make up their own minds and follow their own legends.
  3. ^ Raghild
  4. ^ Tresse
  5. ^ Raven Lodge ambient dialogue
  6. ^ a b Lizbet Fleister
  7. ^ Skaald Stjarna
  8. ^ Aesbjorn
  9. ^ Shelter Rock ambient dialogue
  10. ^ Hall of Legends ambient dialogue
  11. ^ Shape of the Spirit
    Svanir Hunter: I wish I was out killing something.
    Son of Svanir: Soon. In time, Dragon will call us to the slaughter. The world will be tested.
    Svanir Hunter: I want to start with Knut Whitebear. That old man's been ready to die for years now, I tell you.
    Svanir Hunter: I'd be doing him a favor!
  12. ^ Helbiorn
  13. ^ "Chapter 1: Fools and Followers", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
    There was no more time for words. The group ran onto a bridge that stretched from Hoelbrak out to the fields beyond. At the end of the bridge stood a wooden defense-work that already bristled with warriors, including Knut Whitebear and his handpicked warriors—the Wolfborn. More norn streamed in each moment.
  14. ^ "Chapter 11: In the Cold", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
    A week later, when Eir, Garm, Snaff, and Zojja straggled into Hoelbrak, they found a city buried in snow. Many roofs had collapsed, and most lanes were impassable. And in the main lane, opened by the work of hundreds of hands and shovels, stood an imposing figure.
    The snow-mantled man strode toward Eir and her friends. Light washed across him, showing an old, battle-scarred face wreathed in silver hair. The norn's blue eyes, though, shone with the fire of a young man.
    "Knut Whitebear!" Eir gasped, dropping to her knee.
    "Rise, daughter of snow."
    Eir did, a chill running down her back. No one had called her daughter since her own father had died. It was as if he stood before her once again, disappointed.
    Knut Whitebear brushed snow from his pelts. His eyes were grave and kindly. "You are so strong, so determined," he said, lifting his hand to straighten the tangled hair that fell to her shoulder, "it is hard to remember that you are just a child."
    "I am not a child!" Eir replied.
    "Oh? You march a pair of windup toys through my town. You tell everyone that they will kill the Dragonspawn, only to bring upon us a millennial storm that buries us alive?"
    "We almost did it," Eir said. "We were so close. We were in the inner sanctum."
    Knut's face stiffened. "This storm was worse than the icebrood. It has killed more—"
    "What are you telling me?" Eir asked.
    "The doors of my lodge are closed to you," he said simply.
    "What?"
    "You and your wolf and your companions."
    Tears rolled down her face. "How long?"
    "Until you can return with real warriors, not clockwork toys."
    "We got further—"
    "You failed," Knut said plainly, "and we have paid the price."
    "But I will succeed. I will stop him! I'll bring better warriors."
    Knut did not answer, but only turned to leave.
  15. ^ "Chapter 18: The Calm Before", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
    Just then, the first guard returned, followed by a broad norn warrior with much scarred skin. Knut Whitebear's eyes were black pits beneath his glowering brows.
    Before he could speak, the second guard blurted, "Do you know who this is?"
    "Eir Stegalkin," Knut said, addressing her.
    "Not just her, but these are Destiny's Edge—the best gladiators ever with the band that beat them!"
    Knut ignored the guard. "This is your band?"
    Eir met his gaze. "Rytlock is a Blood Legion soldier, and Logan has fought for Queen Jennah. They, with Caithe, one of the firstborn sylvari, slew an ogre chiefling, his warband, and his hyenas. They killed devourers and destroyers and went undefeated in the arena in Lion's Arch—"
    "But the rest of these are the same hapless creatures you took before—"
    "The rest of these defeated this undefeated team in combat not two weeks ago," Eir said flatly.
    Knut nodded, impressed, but doubt still lingered in his eyes. "What of those blasted clockwork creatures?"
    "Do you see any?" Eir asked. "This is a force like no other. We go north to destroy the Dragonspawn."
    Knut gritted his teeth. "You'd better not fail again, or his wrath will fall on us all."
  16. ^ "Chapter 20: The New Champions", Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King:
    But the one who seemed most appreciative of all was Knut Whitebear. He waited for the honorees outside the hunting hall, flanked on both sides by the Wolfborn. A smile lurked within Knut's braided beard, and his eyes sparkled like flecks from a glacier. As Eir and her friends approached, Knut lifted arms mantled in white bearskin and said, "Welcome home, daughter of Hoelbrak, daughter of the norn." He stepped forward, unfolding an ermine cloak.
    Eir knelt so that he could set the cloak on her shoulders.
    "You who once were outcast have returned to us victorious, as a norn should. Well done. You and your friends"—he paused to look at each of them—"are welcome now and forever in Hoelbrak."
    The crowd cheered, and Knut Whitebear clasped Eir's hand and raised it overhead.
    She shot him a fierce look. "You should not have doubted me."
    He grinned, not looking at her. "I did not doubt you. I doubted that anyone could do what you set out to do."
    "I have greater things I will do."
    "I hoped you would say that." Still holding her hand, Knut Whitebear led Eir and the others into the great hall of Hoelbrak, to the fang of Jormag, embedded in the ground. The fang was a sacred relic from the dragon, harder than diamond. Thousands of norn had tried their blades against it, but none could even dent the fang. Walking beside it, Knut leaned his head toward Eir. "So, when will you challenge the dragon's tooth?"
    Her smile faded slightly, but she turned to the revelers all around and cried out, "Let the feast begin!"
  17. ^ Lodge Keeper Kevach
  18. ^ Unexpected Visitors
    Eir Stegalkin: We've got trouble, Slayer. Knut Whitebear wants me to handle it...peacefully. This legionnaire says she's here to collect on a debt you owe her warband.
    <Character name>: What? That's crazy. I've never seen them before.
    Mangonel Gearstrip: Boss, the norn was too drunk to remember, just like me. Look, friend, you and me took the warband's chugger out for a spin after the moot.
    Ballista Geargrind: And neither of you drunken, joy-riding idiots remember where you parked my ordnance. So, Slayer, it's only fair that I take you until I get it back. [...]
    Eir Stegalkin: Ah, Slayer. That's not an easy vehicle to lose! Just remember to thank Knut Whitebear. He kept Geargrind from getting violent.
    <Character name>: I suppose I should thank him for that. Why did he get involved, anway?
    Eir Stegalkin: When an angry charr warband shows up in Hoelbrak, Knut gets involved. We're lucky Geargrind respects him, or you'd be fighting for your life against your former drinking buddies.
    <Character name>: And that should only happen at the moot, not after. Was Knut mad?
    Eir Stegalkin: Not really. He's already got three skaalds working on "The Ballad of the Wayward War Machine" for the next moot. [...]
    <Character name>: I thought Knut Whitebear would have more important concerns.
    Eir Stegalkin: He does, but everything that happens in Hoelbrak is his responsibility. He and his whole family keeps it running. In many ways, the Whitebears are Hoelbrak.
  19. ^ Skuld
  20. ^ Might and Main ambient dialogue
  21. ^ Sigfast
  22. ^ Skarti
  23. ^ Rynald Tarmino
  24. ^ Dragon Bash ambient dialogue