The Swordlands

Homecoming (Part 2)

Emerging into the dazzling light after several days underground the adventurers were met by an awesome vision. Ahead of them, the snow field climbed across the roof of the glacial range to a solitary peak that rose far above those around it. Squinting in the glare, they could just make out a structure, a tower maybe, sitting at the top of the peak. Howl stopped in his tracks. He knew that he was looking at Byfrost Mountain, and that it was the Crown of Byfrost that sat at its summit. This was the legendary home of the Legion That Waits, his home, which he had not seen for some 500 years or more.

And then the realisation took hold of them. Squinting up into the bright sky it could be seen that, while the sun had risen over the peaks to the East, to the West had appeared another orb, as bright and as fierce as the first. There in the sky above them had finally appeared Surtur, ‘lord of the fire giants’, ‘ancient primordial’, ‘The Prodigal Sun’ had returned to the Swordlands once more, and with him Ragnarok. Steams of melted ice ran through the snow, the air now was oppresively hot in a land which had only known ice and chill for some thousands of years. Now at the end of time, Byfrost Mountain shone under the twin suns with more radiance than ever Howl could remember.

The adventurers trudged across the deep snow fields under the baking heat of Surtur. The oppressive presence of the sceond sun burned their eyes and stole their breath. Soon every onward step became an effort, every upward glance became a threat. The each party member found themself retreating into their own minds in an effort to shield themselves from the gaze of Surtur.

Infront Karl could be heard to be muttering to himself. “You pathetic excuse for a Gnome, call yourself a Death Dealer? You will keep walking and you will not stop, or else you’re gonna cut your own throat real slow and real nice, got it?!”

Some way behind him, Howl laboured onwards, his weighty steps carving deep tracks through the snow. He was lost in his thoughts, thoughts of what might await him at Byfrosts Crown, thoughts of revenge against Siegmund for taking the Legion Ghulra from him, thoughts of furious anger and rage, at the end of which may or may not lie the answer to his torment.

Behind him, Aengus walked with his hands clasped together infront of him, clutching the Nightshade Bloom that contained his mothers soul. Like will-o-wisps, arcane sigils danced around him, spells he had woven to protect both mind and body against the furious onslaught of Surtur’s vision. Despite his considerable arcane might, his step faltered on occasion. He wondered should his magic wear off, would there be a price to pay?

Just beside Aengus walked his Drow father, Dian Cecht, wearing now just a tunic and fine breeches due to the sweltering heat, his long white hair matted across with furrowed brow. Fatherly affection had never been strong between them, Dian Cecht had always known that Aengus would have many battles to fight as he learned of his heritage, and that familial bonds would likely stand against, but as they neared the foot of Byfrost he saw Aengus stagger to one side, whereupon he caught him by the shoulder and looked his son quickly in the eye. At this Aengus regained his composure long enough for them both to reach an overhang where they found Karl and Howl pausing for a moment for breath.



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