Hord is a character that appears in Wolf Brother, the first book of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (which takes place 6000 years ago in prehistoric Europe during the Stone Age).
Before Wolf Brother
Hord was born roughly nineteen years before Wolf Brother as a member of the Raven Clan. His father was the clan chief Fin-Kedinn's brother, and his mother would later be known as Seshru. When Hord was roughly six years old, his mother left to join the Healers. Later she returned to have another child to make for herself a tokoroth. That child was saved by Saeunn the Raven Mage and would later be known as Renn. When Hord was in his early teens, his father died and Fin-Kedinn took him and Renn under his wing.
Shortly before the beginning of Wolf Brother, Hord was fostered for nine months by the Red Deer Clan. He was approached by a man who appeared to be a crippled wanderer from the Willow Clan. He tricked Hord to hunt for him a bear cub. Then he used the Fire Opal to summon an elemental (the strongest type of demons) and trap it inside the bear's body. The newly created demon bear went rampage across the Forest and Hord guilty of being tricked.
Hord captures Torak and Wolf along with Renn and Oslak, accusing the boy of stealing a roe deer from their lands and taking him back to the Raven Clan Camp. When Fin-Kedinn allows Torak to fight for his life, Hord volunteers as his opponent. Torak wins the duel by blinding Hord with steam from a cooking. This, together with the dog whistle Torak has made to summon Wolf, makes Fin-Kedinn and Saeunn regard Torak as the possible fulfillment of a prophecy about a "Listener". The prophecy states that the Listener who "talks with silence and fights with air" will offer his heart's blood to the World Spirit and thereby kills the demon bear. One interpretation of this prophecy is that Torak must be sacrificed and his blood should be taken to the Mountain of the World Spirit. (Hord supports this interpretation fervently.) Torak is locked away while his fate is debated over, until Renn releases him and Wolf because she believes that Torak has to go to the Mountain himself.
Nearly a month later, shortly after Torak, Renn and Wolf have found the three crystallizations of the Nanuak (a flowing life-force that's in every living creature) that must be given to the World Spirit so that it would destroy the demon bear, and the Raven Clan face off the bear, Hord recaptures them and takes them to the Ravens' temporary camp. He argues there strongly for himself to sacrifice Torak and take his blood and the Nanuak to the Mountain of the World Spirit, but ultimately Fin-Kedinn allows Torak to take the Nanuak with Wolf.
When Torak and Wolf climb the Mountain with the bear hot on their trail, Hord — who has followed them all the way — attacks them, believing stubbornly that he has to offer the Nanuak to make amends. However, as he has the upper hand over Torak and the bear reaches them, Torak realizes that his "heart's blood" mentioned in the prophecy is Wolf. He orders Wolf to take the Nanuak to the mountain. As Hord tries to follow Wolf, he slips and falls right into the bear's grip. The World Spirit accepts Torak's offering and engulfs the bear and Hord by an avalanche, killing both of them.
Hord is described to be handsome, tall and strongly built. He has dark red hair like with his sister and uncle and a thin beard of same color. His eyes are light blue.
Torak finds Hord's clothes to be impractically decorated: they're finely sewed with red twined sinew and cornered with green colored bird pelt. Like with other Ravens, he has raven pelt sewed in his coat and three thin blue-black lines tattooed on his cheek. He wears a noisy necklace made of red deer teeth.
Nearly a month after his duel with Torak, he has become a shadow of his former self. His eyes are red for staying awake, and he has gnawed his finger-nails off.
Hord gives the impression of being at the same time haughty and insecure: he has a desperate need to be the best, yet fears of being always the second rate. He indeed wants to be best in everything. He became a foster of the Red Deer Clan because they tend to make the best mages of the Forest.
Hord loves to be the center of attention as shown in his duel against Torak. When he loses, it's hard to say if he's angry at Torak or himself, but he doesn't take losing well and storms into his cottage. When nervous, he gnaws his nails.
Hord's want to make sure he comes to the top leads him to volunteer dueling against the twelve-year-old Torak, claiming that it would even the odds. He also drinks strengthening elder drink without offering Torak some, making Renn to give that to Torak.
Hord doesn't care much for his sister Renn, disliking her like most of their clanmates due to her nearly black eyes and her gift at Magecraft. He's known to tease her of a lot of things. While Fin-Kedinn is silent for three days after Renn's quiver is found from a river, Hord doesn't feel sad, thinking that she has betrayed their clan and disgraced him for releasing Torak. When she protests against him for treating Torak like an outcast after he has found the Nanuak pieces, Hord punches Renn in the face and disowns her.
Hord tries repeatedly to make himself look good in his uncle Fin-Kedinn's eyes, bragging in front of him like he had captured Torak by himself (who was actually Oslak). He says that if Fin-Kedinn dies from the wound gained from the demon bear, he'll make sure that he becomes the next chief.
Ultimately, Hord's gnawing guilt at helping in the creation of the demon bear, coupled with his glory-seeking tendencies and inability to accept Torak as the Listener, makes him desperate enough to try and kill Torak so that he could deliver the Nanuak himself. This combined with his impatience proves to be his downfall.
Powers and abilities
Hord is an experienced fighter with a knife, spear, ax, bow and hand shield. He moves smoothly as lynx in spite of his size.