Alone on a mountain of bones sat Serkeljof, king of Himinborg. Lost in thought, his gaze wandered over the remains of Himinborg’s defeated enemies. All about lay giants and sea-monsters piled high about the three thrones of the Great Hall, until his gaze finally came to rest on the bones of Nidhog, the great faerie dragon herself.
At length a warrior arrived, the creaking doors allowing a wedge of red sunlight to break the dim and dusty peace of the windowless hall. Tall, broad and advanced in years the braided knight approached the throne where the king sat quietly.
(Translated from Old Norse) “Sire, We have word from Kindraed, Konigshelle, and Karlsbad on the Eastern shore. We have word from Braekonsgard, Braeborg, and Brershalle at the Southern Edge. We have word from Igglingsborg, Wayweary, and Thruthgelmir at the World’s End. We have word from those that yet remain on the islands of the Kindersee. They will all answer the call. They will all make for Skeinwael and await your order.”
Serkeljof remained silent for a time, as the aged veteran patiently waited for a response. “Imagine, if you will, that you were a loyal servant of Kord,” began the king quietly, “Would it not be appropriate to kneel on entering the Hall of Rivenhart, as it has been for the five centuries or more since it was built?”
The warrior quickly knelt.
“Kindraed, you say?” continued Serkeljof, “I was not aware that goats and pigs could be trained to bear arms.”
“The thirteen families and the lands around have proffered several hundred fighting men, sire. They seem quite spirited. They will not fight in the name of Kord, but they will fight nonetheless.” explained the veteran.
Serkeljof leaned forward on the plain wooden throne. “And what of Thruthgelmir? I understood that the Auslanders had rendered that acursed hall vacant.”
“Indeed my lord. There we have the pledge of Queen Rusalka to send archers numbering near a thousand, but as mercenaries requiring gold, or gems even.”
“I should have kept that sword of Siegfried’s. It would have fetched enough to pay for twice that many.”
The veteran shifted uncomfortably as he stood up. His knees troubled him more these days.
“How long before the southern edge forces are on the northern shore?” asked the king.
“Fourteen days, maybe less with favourable winds. The Auslander witch says that Kord will bless their voyage.”
“How kind.” declared Serkeljof, as he rose to his feet and stretched out his crooked spine. “Then what remains, o valiant Fruhli, Knight Himinborg?”
The veteran Knight Himinborg and champion storyteller thought on this a while. “Er, provisions and supply trains are in progress sire…”
“Hmm, no. There must be something else…” pondered Serkeljof.
“Our scouts are searching the mountains for Siegmund’s camp, we expect to receive word any day now.”
“No, no. I’m sure there is something else.”
Fruhli thought some more. “There has been no contact with the Auslanders for near ten days…”
“Pah! There is one other thing, i’m certain…”
“I know not what my lord.” returned the baffled veteran.
Serkeljof looked skyward in despair. “My armour, perhaps?” he sighed.
Fruhli bowed quickly and strode out of the hall, calling for the king’s armour. Outside the hall he descended the muddy wooden stairs through the streets of Himinborg. All about, in the blood red light of the Cycle of The Sword, the remaining elite veteran knights were readying themselves for one final ocean voyage.