“Thunder… is it you? I have failed, brother. My duty… was to wait, but I could not. It has been…. so long.
The Rainbow Bridge is the source of all divine knowledge. Our creators understood that Ragnarok would one day come, and in their wisdom they created the Bridge so that we would be mindful of the powers above. They also saw fit to create the Einherjar, warriors such as you and I, so that when the end came we would bear the salvation of mankind. As creators, nurturers, and protectors we have maintained our vigil for countless aeons. It has always been so, rebirth follows destruction, as it was since the beginning of the world.
But it has come to pass in this age that men have sought to use the bridge for their own ends, and set upon each other with sword and spear. It was the ancient kings of Thruthgelmir, Mycklegarth and Hamingjen, whose greed led to a century and a half of war. One by one the kingdoms of the land were consumed by the desire to possess the unknowable secrets of Byfrost, and one by one they destroyed themselves in a war which took this land to the edge of extinction.
We Einherjar had always served mankind. Ours was the land above the clouds, and here from the Crown we watched as humanity began to tear itself apart. We were created to protect mankind, but we could not protect it from itself. The council of the Legion met to decide on a course of action, and finally it was ordered that, as we could not fight the enemy we had sworn to protect, we would instead ´wait´, taking the secret of the Bridge with us.
The Legion disbanded, each of us taking to the farthest corners of the realm where we have remained ever since, awaiting such time as mankind would need us in the last days. Each legionary made their refuge in a hidden place, and when the call sounded we would be ready to serve once more.
From amongst the Legion I was appointed the rank of Awakener, I, a lowly acolyte whose only virtue was… patience. While all others of our kind took to the earth, I was to remain. It was my solemn duty to awaken the Einherjar when Ragnarok came, mine was to sound the call at the end of time.
And so I kept myself hidden from the eyes of men, but those were dark years. I witnessed war on a scale we never had known, and such suffering as I care not to mention. The rivers ran red with blood and the dead fell like leaves upon the fields of battle. In their desire for utter destruction men unleashed weapons that should have remained lost. The great wyrm Nidhog was the among the most terrible, but there were many so powerful that the kings themselves could not control them.
In those desperate times I saw that I had no choice but to emerge from the shadows. I began to fight. I fought countless monsters in defence of mankind, battle upon battle, death upon death. I walked through the fields of the fallen, I climbed mountains of bones, while the wind carried the cries of the dying to the worlds end. I had been ordered to wait, but I would not, I could not. I could not stand by and watch as humanity was destroyed, as all that we have strived to create and nuture was erased. Tell me Thunder, had you stood in my stead, would you not have acted? Would you not have done as I did?
It took me close to 30 long years of slaughter before I finally faced Nidhog, by which time I had learned much of ending lives, more perhaps than anyone should ever know. It was I who slew the wyrm to finally bring an end to the war. But there was still much work to do, restoring order to a fractured people. If it became known what I was and the secret I carried, the Crown would once more be placed in danger, and so I walked amongst them as one of them.
We built the hall of Himinborg from Nidhog’s bones so that all would remember the folly of war, but I had gravely underestimated human nature. They wanted to make me king, imagine, a legionary made a king! I refused the throne of course and gave it instead to a human, who in all those dark years I had come to call my friend. He was a good king, and had been a loyal ally, but in time his strength failed and the throne of Himinborg fell to another, and then another. Soon, the Crown Wars were forgotten, and men looked at the newly formed Beastlands and found cause to take up arms and march once more. I sometimes wonder what would have been had I taken the throne of Himinborg all those years ago. Unlike mankind our strength does not fail, our will does not wither, and the years do not desert us like sand through a glass.
It has been 500 years since I built the hall of Himinborg and sat in the seat of the first knight, and in that time I watched as mankind reasserted itself. If they are not at war they grow restless, if they are given power they become greedy, given wealth they become jealous, and if they are free they become a danger to all around them. The council believed that we could not save mankind from itself, but I have found otherwise. I journeyed long into the underworld in contemplation, and in the darkness I learned how we could fulfill our promise. There I found Hel. She taught me her secret magic in return for my Ghulra. It was not lost, it was given. It was an easy price to pay, as my soul had died long before that day.
I had in my possession the answer to the riddle. Mankind could be saved from itself. It could be free from greed, jealousy, lust, savagery. It could be pure, free from the pains of the world and the ravages of time. I returned to the light bearing the secret of undeath, for what greater gift could a soldier grant to those he protects but immortality.
And so with this new magic I began my work. It was no simple task but without sleep nor rest I laboured for many years until I had completed my first ‘awakening’. I watched as the dead rose from their war graves. Everything that lay in the earth saw the light of day once more. I found for this new legion a purpose. I put them to watch over our brothers and sisters in case someone should come looking for them. I knew they would not understand what I was doing. I was the Awakener, but it was not the Einherjar that I would call to duty.
This was the time that men call the Curse, but it was a gift! From the bones of the dead that lay in the ground I awakened immortal beings, crude magic as it was, and imperfect. These creatures clung to the memories of their former lives and betrayed human thoughts and reasoning. The vampires of Skienwael and their mind-games, the ghouls of Glorium and their whispered insinuations, this was not the creation that I had dreamed of.
My next ‘awakening’ will be better, for now my magic is much improved. I have finally learned to harness the power of the Crown, the power with which we were given time and time again to restore humanity to the land. Now I have achieved what once I only dared to imagine: undeath, with the ability to procreate, with no former human life by which it may be corrupted. I have created a new king, who shall take the next age as his own.
When Ragnarok comes, Surtur and Thrymm will play their part and visit ruin upon the land, and then I will play mine. Into the wasteland I shall create a new legion, and mankind will dwell once more in this land, but this time there will be no more war, no more suffering. This time it will be perfect, and it is close, so close brother.
You have lived in the company of men, as I did many years ago. You have seen their bloodlust, their greed, their hunger for power, and their thirst for vengeance. What is life but desire and destruction? Why do you seek to preserve this? If this is life then life is not sacred. If this is life then I bring the gift, the gift of unlife as an answer to the riddle.
“At night I look to the stars, for it is they who speak of the coming end. The gods forged the world in war. Their fury shook the skies, the bones of the fallen made the mountains of the mortal realms, their tears filled the oceans, and from their blood were born men and beasts. As it was made so shall it be unmade. Surtur, the lord of fire, shall come. Thrymm, the lord of ice, shall follow. The great primordials are almost upon us. Fire shall fall, and Ice shall remain it’s wake. And, as ever, the Crown shall remain, and we in it. For he who holds the Crown holds the Bridge, and from the Byfrost Bridge shall the last among men watch the giants fall.”
Lvl 20 Solo Warforged Death Knight
Medium Natural Humanoid (Undead Construct)
Init 30/20/10 (see powers below)
Senses Perception +20 HP 800
AC 35 (30 if dazed/stunned)
Fort 34 Refl 30 Will 32
Saves 0/ +2/ +5 (see below) Speed 5
Immunities: Disease, Poison Resistances: 10 Necrotic
Str 24 ( +15) Con 30 ( +22) Dex 26 ( +16) Int 18 ( +10) Wis 24 ( +15) Cha 20 ( +11)
- Warforged Resolve: Gain 20 temp HP, save vs ongoing damage, if bloodied, regain 20HP
- Uncanny Riposte: 1/rnd when melee attack against Rivenhart misses, +14 vs AC, 2d8 +6, slide 1sq
- Reflect Ranged attack: 1/rnd when ranged attack misses Rivenhart reflects it back at the attacker, +14 vs original defence, half original attack base damage
- Will Of Iron: If Rivenhart is dazed he loses his initiative 10 action. If he is stunned he also loses his intitiative 20 action.
- Resilience: -1sq from any push/pull/slide effect, 1/rnd save vs any teleportation effect at +5, if he saves the effect is reversed
- Accept Your Challenge: When Rivenhart is marked by a foe, the foe is marked back. Rivenhart gains 10hp. The marker cannot finish their turn further away from Rivenhart than when they placed the mark or the mark ends.
- Combat Challenge: Any foe that Rivenhart hits is marked until the end of his next turn
- Code of The Legion: If Rivenhart attacks a foe that is stunned, helpless, blinded or unaware of him he loses 20HP
- Armour Spikes: Rivenhart can suddenly sprout dozens of razor-sharp twisting spikes from his body. Any opponent that attempts to grapple Rivenhart will automatically take 2d8 +6 damage on their turn. If he loses his sword at any point he can use these instead to make attacks. He attacks at -4, -1 dice damage, -4 damage bonus.
- Legionary Attack: +20 vs AC, 2d8 +12
- Legionary Defence: +20 vs Fort, push 2sq
Initiative 30 (Victor Of A Hundred Thousand Battles)
Begin the turn by shifting up to 2 squares
- Masterstroke: +20 vs AC, 2d8 +16, crit (18-20)
- Deep Cut: +20 vs Fort, 2d8 +16, push 2sq, immobilised until end of next turn, can use as a charge
- Feint: +20 vs Refl, 2d8 +8, shift 2sq, pull target 2sq, dazed until end of next turn
- Weave Through The Fray: Shift 6sq, make 1 attack at any point, +20 vs AC, 2d8 +6
- Storm Of Parries: Melee and Ranged attacks have 50% Miss chance until start of next turn, shift 2sq
- Summon Sword: Rivenhart can summon his sword from 20sq. It flies through the air. If it is held he makes an opposed Str vs Str check.
End the turn by making 1 saving throw at +0
Initiative 20 (Saviour Of The Crown Wars)
Begin the turn by shifting up to 3 squares
- Nidhog’s Blinding Strike: +19 vs Reflex, 3d8 +8, blinded (1 turn)
- Fenryr’s Savage Frenzy: close burst 5, +19 vs AC, 3d8 +8 (must not be dazed, stunned or immobilised)
- Angrbode’s Mighty Clutches: +19 vs Fortitude, disarm and knock prone, take hold of targets weapon or shield
End the turn by making 1 saving throw at +2
Initiative 10 (Sold His Soul To Hel)
Begin the turn by shifting up to 4 squares
- Hatred Of Life: Leap (shift) 4sq, +18 vs Fort, 2d8 +10, 1 healing surge, each round target must move speed away
- Wraith Storm: Range 6, close burst 1, howling spirits assail the will, +18 vs Will, 2d6 +10 Necrotic, slide 2sq, lose 1 healing surge per round (save ends) recharge 5/6
- Vile Embrace: Close Blast 4, stomach erupts with metallic/organic tentacles, +18 vs Refl, lose 1 healing surge, immobilised , ongoing 10 necrotic (save ends both) recharge 5/6
- Distended Maw: Range 3, horrific sound of tearing metal as jaw distends and neck elongates, +20 vs Refl, 2d10 +10, slide (throw) 4sq, lose 1 healing surge, ongoing 10 dam (save ends) recharge 5/6
- Stop The Heart: Razor-sharp talons punch into foes chest and grasp the heart, +18 vs fort, 2d10 +10, lose 1 healing surge, immobilised, ongoing 10 dam (save ends both) recharge 6
- Withering Gaze: Soulless eyes fix an opponent and age them, +18 vs Will, 2d8 +10 Necrotic, stun until end of next turn, ongoing 5 Necrotic, lose 1 healing surge per round, -1 all checks and attacks (save ends all) increase by -1 each failed save, recover check penalty at 1/rnd after save recharge 6
- Blade Barrier: Range 8, Wall 8, Height 2, Opponent takes 2d8 +10 on their turn, ongoing 10 necrotic (save ends), recharge 6
- Hel’s Mark: Close Burst 20, +18 vs Will, 2d6 +10 Necrotic, dazed (save ends), teleport to any space in the burst
End the turn by making 1 saving throw at +5
Knowledge Religion +22, Arcana +22, Engineering +22, History +22
The gods forged the world in war, in fire, and in ice. At the dawn of the First Age the giants rode in from distant lands to challenge the heavens themselves. Their fury shook the skies, the bones of the fallen made the mountains of the mortal realms. Their tears filled the oceans, and from their blood were born mortals.
When the horn blows from across the rainbow bridge the giants shall rise again, wielding fire and ice. Then the gods shall call the finest of mortal warriors to fight at the end of time.
In the Second Age, as those that had begat them, mankind learned to make war on each other. The armies of kings destroyed each other and civilisation was plunged into darkness. The Gods were forgotten and monsters beset the land. Ledgend tells that three great kingdoms of the age waged war without mercy upon one another for hundreds of years.
As greed turned to hate, the minds of men set to unleash terrible beasts upon the land. When the beasts themselves turned on their masters there emerged a single man from among the ruined armies of mankind. His name was Rivenhart, the greatest of mortal heroes. He slew the hellish creatures of mans own making and brought order to the land once more.
He slew the great Serpent of Himinborg and built the hall about its bones so that mankind should not forget the price of war. Rivenhart was the first Knight Himinborg, and the greatest exemplar of their purpose: to defend the good of mankind. Finally, Rivenhart thus brought the worship of Kord back to the Swordlands. Rivenhart took up a quest to journey into the underworld, never to be seen again. His loss marks the beginning of the third Age.
A warrior emerges from the chaos and slays the three monsters Fenryr, Angrböde, and Nydhøg, one after another. He is named as Rivenhart, bearing a stylised eye on his shield, similar to the insignia of the Legion That Waits. King Vingolf is depicted sitting on the throne in a great hall built on the bones of the fallen wyrm Nydhøg. To his right sits Rivenhart in the seat of the first knigt of Himinborg, and to his left, Queen Brichta. King Vingolf and Queen Brichta are said to have ruled Himinborg some 500 years ago.
In the final panel, the warrior named Rivenhart sails a boat away from Himinborg and through the gates of the underworld upon a river of knives. Here awaits a beautiful and mysterious woman, black on one side of her face, white on the other. On the shore from where he came King Gylfi looks out across the ocean as Rivenhart sails away. Iben recogises the female figure as a fey spirit known as Mistress Night and Day, who tends to the souls of the damned in the underworld, otherwise known as Svartlheim, or the Feydark. King Gylfi is known to have lived some 250 years ago.
With the severing of the conjunction with the Feywild, it is revealed that Rivenhart was a soldier of the Legion That Waits. Appointed to the rank of Awakener when the council decided that the Einherjar should sleep until Ragnarok came, Rivenhart was to remain apart from mankind until it was required of him to summon the legion to duty once more.
For seven days and nights the wounded knight lay amongst the dead dragon’s bones. When finally Vingolf and Brichta came upon him he arose and there they built a hall from Nidhøg’s bones and named it Himinborg: The Mountain Of Bones. The dead dragon’s bones were to remain here forevermore, and serve as a reminder of mankind’s folly, and to deter all those who would, in years to come, think once more of war. When the great hall of Himinborg was completed and the firepit was dug, three chairs were set where all could see.
‘Here shall sit the king of this great hall’ said the people, ‘To his left shall sit his queen, and to his right shall sit his champion.’ They then turned to Rivenhart and said ‘He who has delivered us from these wars of ruin, he who has given sight to the blind, he shall be king of this new hall.’
Rivenhart gave thought to this a while and returned, calling instead his battle brother Vingolf to his side. ‘Let the first king of Himinborg be he who was blinded but then returned to sight. Let it be he who has lost his father, brother and son, yet now stands before you.’ Vingolf thus took the king’s chair and said ‘Never again shall the throne of Himinborg be given freely, for we are few and danger lurks yet at our borders. By conquest and victory shall this throne be won, that we might know our king’s by their quality and all shall owe allegiance. So Kord wills it.’
Rivenhart took the champion’s chair but was saddened deeply at his battle-brother’s speech. ‘That you would still contest that which is given freely, that you would guard jealously what belongs to all men, that you would speak of war when it was the desire of kings which brought us to the edge of ruin, that shall be your doom my brother, for I shall slay no more dragons.’
Vingolf took Brichta for his wife and ruled for many years. The land was rich with the blood of the dead and the wheat grew plentiful and his people grew strong. When the peoples of the eastern shore looked across the sea for spoils Vingolf subdued them.
In time great king Vingolf of Himinborg was bested in combat by a knight named Bren the Shield Splitter, who claimed the throne as his prize. Vingolf, grey haired and trouble-browed held his sword in his good hand as he died and took his place amongst the stars that dance in ripples upon the surface of the Kindersee. Bren, already a valiant captain of men, led an army north to find that new god’s had made their way into the hearts of those who lived beyond the mountains. Where once was found the Western Edge at World’s End was now the Endless Sea, or the Endless Wood, or some endless land. and beyond that endless road lay Aelfheim from whence the new gods had wandered, bringing with them this folk and that, un-named and unknown to the old kings who battled them in bogs and dens unworldly. Many were the battles that were fought between men and beast, and Rivenhart saw this and fell into despair.
The throne of Himinborg was won by knight after knight until the time of Gylfi Beast-Skull, named so for the bones of his defeated foes that ornated his hall at Himinborg. No king before him had furnished Kørd’s church with as many conquests. Wyrm-kin, wolf-braer and Jotunbrud, beasts long, tall, scaled and horned he claimed in the name of the One God. Blessed he was with strength and skill in equal measure, and his knights followed him above all others. He one day asked of his champion ‘Rivenhart, my armies now make for the lands far to the west. Will you not fight with me and make peace for our people once more?’
’At night I look to the stars
For it is they who speak of the coming end.
Ragnarok approaches and all your warring will count for nought.
But this you should know, great king Gyfli Beast-Slayer:
There is no further salvation
Byfrost is lost to you for the wars of your forefathers
And with it the Crown that was meant for your safekeeping
I made a vow in the sight of Kørd
I know now that I have been unwise
I vowed to protect you against any foe
But I cannot protect you from yourself
If there is an answer to this riddle it is not here in the world of men
And I must follow my destiny
I will take up one last quest
And journey deep into the underworld
There lies below a land of darkness
Born of men’s misdeeds and Faerie magic
Where my journey will end I cannot say
But my time here is past.’
And with that Rivenhart, First knight of Himinborg, took off his badge of office and cast it into the firepit. He sailed a small boat out of the harbour and took the first tide northwards, never to be seen again.