The Rift – Part VI (Seks)

The Rift – Part VI (Seks)

It didn’t take long for the Abel and Daealla’s troops to reach Ymir’s Corridor. Kieran had been leading the elven forces alongside his mother until they neared the passageway. Abel had asked for some time alone with Daealla when they arrived, so Kieran slipped back among the ranks. He stayed within sight of the two, but not close enough to overhear any of their conversation. Abel seems to be a good man after all. He would make an excellent ruler of the realm… and a wonderful suitor for mother. What an alliance that would be.

Kieran was sitting on his Akhal-Teke bareback, like most wood elves would, while pondering how different life would be if his mother united their people with the humans of Rosewood. He then noticed Abel quickly ride off to meet one of his men near the entrance of the parlous cavern system. The wood elf prince slowly made his way through the crowd of human and elvish soldiers up to his mother. “Well, what are the plans now, Mother?” Kieran Questioned the second he was within earshot of Daealla. 

“Abel has decided to send a handful of his men into the entrance to scout our descent into Ymir’s Corridor. Apparently the door is covered in ancient runes. Better to send a few scouts in to test the waters rather than risk our entire army. They aren’t going too deep within, so Abel expects them back no later than nightfall. I have decided to send three of our elves in as well. We will rest here for the night and head into the caves on the morrow, with or without the return of our joint scout team.” Daealla turned Kadin and continued moving closer to the entrance. Kieran dug the point of his boot into Beyaz to quickly catch back up to his mother’s side.

“I see… are we sure this is the best idea, mother? Maybe trekking through a cave plagued with the lore of demons and monsters isn’t the best way to send our troops. Especially days before what could be the most important war this realm has ever witnessed.” Daealla gazed at her son before dismounting her mare and slowly making her way towards the massive doors that led into Ymir’s Corridor. She looked back over her shoulder as if questioning Kieran why he was not accompanying her. He climbed down from his steed to follow her. 

“The truth is, Kieran… I do not know if this is the right thing to do. I do know for certain that our only other option is the wrong thing to do.” Daealla paused with uncertainty for a fleeting moment before continuing. “We know we will be ambushed by Harald and Orrowyn if we attempt to traverse the pass into their lands, yet the path we are on now could end up being much more treacherous. Sometimes a leader must make decisions off the certainty in their gut, and I am beyond certain that Ymir’s Corridor can be no worse than a guaranteed ambush at the pass.”

Kieran took in everything Daealla just explained before answering. “I understand, Mother. I trust your judgment with my life.” I hope she is right. If we lose any men in these caves we will lose this war. We are already outnumbered, and if Harald is smart enough to keep men guarding the exit of Ymir’s corridor on his side of the mountain we will surely not be of this realm much longer. This human king could be the death of us all. For the last few hundred feet, the two walked in silence to the doors, but as they neared they noticed Abel and his few scouts standing quietly in bewilderment.

“Abel, are these the men you intend to send into the corridor?” Daealla questioned.

“Yes, but… we’re… we can’t seem to get the door to open. There are no handles and the door is completely sealed.”

Kieran hadn’t really noticed anything other than the door’s size while walking towards it, yet now he could not take his eyes off it. It was standing nearly thirty feet tall and surrounded by ivy, ferns, and moss on all sides. Above the door jutted three massive boulders that’s perch housed two strange-looking ravens that quickly flew away once they’d been spotted. The doors looked to be made with Nordic Buloke, the strongest of all the woods in Delahden, and inlaid with hundreds of ancient runes that encircled one large rune. They were faintly emitting a mixture of colored lights, ranging from the soft seafoam on a sunny day near the coast of Asothas while others were darker than the jade found within the ancient dwarven mine of Edarascûd. Above the door were two more ominously large runes. Both mirrored each other exactly, glowing a bright shade of turquoise and resting atop mismatched joineries of Ebony and Burlwood. Each door also owned massive, ornate carvings that stretched from the very top of the door all the way to the floor. It was a masterpiece. 

This must’ve taken ages to complete. There’s no way it was done by anything other than giants. The doors are too colossal to have been moved by any man. This may even be the work of Odin himself. “Mother, what are those two runes above the door. And more importantly, why are they such a different shade than the rest of the warnings?”

“I am not certain, but I believe these runes belong to one of the oldest of Delahden’s languages. I know it as the Tongue of Giants, but many have also called it Odin’s Tunga.”

“Can you read it?” One of Abel’s scouts inquired.

“Not all of it, but most. The main rune in the center actually looks to be two runes in itself. The outer box rune and small circular runes in the middle are some sort of lock. Clearly it has never been broken as the rune is still sealed and it emits the pulse of a living rune. The others above and below the circular runes are more bindings. Typically those would be used to bind something to an object, but I fear I am unsure how they’re being used here. The final four runes surrounding the lock are known as Odin’s Illusion, but there is no sole meaning for those. They’ve always been tied to godly magic, but that is the extent of which I know. Outside the door, on the outer edges, we have two more distinct runes. Alone, they mean nothing. However, together they represent a giants gateway.”

Daealla paused. She seemed disturbed by the two mirrored runes that had seemed to just grow brighter atop the doorway.

“Daealla, I must know everything about these runes before I willingly send my men into this unknown place. What do the final two mean” Abel interrogated?

Daealla remained silent. I have never seen mother this scared. “Mother…”

Daealla averted her eyes from the massive pulsing runes and looked down towards her feet. “Those refer to absolute and utter madness.”

Abel’s scout’s faces froze with terror. They all began looking at one another, but before any of them could speak Daeall chimed in one last time.  I’m not sure how the whole of these runes together equate to anything, but if I had one guess I would think Ymir’s Corridor is filled with things that will test our drives and morals. Those wooden inlays disturb me as well. I have no clue what they pertain too, but it cannot be good for us either way.”

Kieran turned his head to stare at the carvings. “It almost looks as if they tell some sort of story, Mother. Both sides are almost identical, yet I can distinguish some irregularities as you move down the carving. Granted, I am not sure if they’re meaningful or if they’re just miscues by the door maker, but there may be something there.”

“No, you’re right Kieran. Daealla, look here.” Abel pointed towards the lower quarter of the left side of the door. At first glance, it didn’t look like anything more than misshapen carvings of wood, but as Abel bent down to point it out to Daealla, Kieran noticed what it was. 

“Its that some sort of ancient writing? The unraveling of the lock on the door, perhaps? Kieran blurted out.

Vokt dere for sjofel skapninger innen. Døden venter de med frykt.” Daealla whispered. They briefly stood in silence before they heard the eerie creak of the door as it slowly swung open to reveal the black abyss that was Ymir’s Corridor.


Be sure to check out the entire Rift Series here!

The Rift – Part V (Fimm)

The Rift: Part V (Fimm)

Daealla could see Abel’s forces marching their way to her camp from atop the tree she was perched. They were to meet days ago to embark on their journey towards Harald and the Nordic lands. Daealla had received news from one of her elves the day before that one of Abel’s scouts had rode ahead to give the news. Apparently the human’s armor weighed the carts down and that led to many becoming stuck in the soft, muddy grounds before The Shivering Valley. Daealla briskly climbed down the tree and set off to find her captains. 

The Woodland Elves had a smaller army than most, but that never mattered. They were always regarded as the more adroit people, and even though no wars had been fought in ages they kept up their training all the same. The army comprised of three captains, each in charge of roughly twenty-five hundred men. Each of those captains then had sub-captains, and those sub-captains had others to serve them, and so on and so forth. Daealla’s Captains were special though and had been with her for almost the entirety of her reign as queen. She was also lucky enough to have one of her own sons as a captain, and that was who she was searching for now.

It didn’t take her long to find him. As she expected, he was in the war room with a few of his soldiers perusing the lands that both armies would soon be traversing. 

“Hello, mother. My men have told me that Abel has finally arrived. Shall we begin packing our tents and set out tonight? Or would we be staying another night to allow them rest before this treacherous journey begins?”

“That is why I am here, Kieran. I would like you to ride with me to his caravan and see what he plans.”

“Of course, mother. Saeval, fetch my horse… and grab your queen’s mare as well.” The man nodded and hastened himself out of the tent. 

“Have you found anything new regarding the pass that lies at the end of the Shivering Valley?” Daealla quizzed her eldest son.

“Not much. It seems as if it is the only road we can travel on to reach Harald’s army though. It is unwise for us to split our army here, but without doing so we leave ourselves open to attack. If we go high, we risk the mages raining fire from above, or even destroying the ground beneath our feet and plummeting us to our death. But if we go low we are certainly asking for Harald’s men to bombard us with arrows from above.”

“I agree.” Daealla could hear the neighing of her prized horse as it neared the war room. “Come, we must go now. Hopefully Abel has more that can be of use to us.” The two made their way outside and mounted their Akhal-Teke. It was nothing for these horses to maneuver themselves through the camp, and before long the two were out in the open field. Daealla’s breed was one of the rarest palomino’s. It had an iridescent cream coat that shone gold in the sunlight, and a thick, pale smoke mane. Kieran’s was a much more ordinary chestnut color, yet it possessed a magnificent mane of ivory that was speckled with muddy brown markings. 

After a few minutes galloping, the mother and son had reached the fringes of Abel’s now halted army. It was massive, over ten thousand troops if Abel’s counts had been correct. It will take us forever to find this man in a crowd so large. And none of his men are even acknowledging us. 

“You there, where can I find your leader?” Daealla blurted to the nearest soldier. But before he could stop and turn to answer, she noticed the massive man riding toward her. She quickly recognized him as Abel by the golden armor he was decorated with, and the massive longsword that was strapped to his back. The sword was a Rudland family heirloom, passed down from father to son every generation. Night’s Fate was known as one of the oldest swords in Delahden, and received its name from the swordsman who crafted it. It was originally Knight’s Fate, as it determined the fate of many knights in those ancient times. Yet as it was passed down the Rudland line, and as those Rudlands became keepers of peace across their lands, its name took on a different meaning from the eternal night it brought on to all of the evil fates its path crossed with.

“Daealla, my apologies for the delays. If you’d be so kind as to follow me, I have my quarters being set up now. We must discuss our plans moving forward, and with haste.” The king quickly turned and rode off, giving Daealla no choice but to follow. 

“Well I guess that is our answer then.” Kieran muttered to his mother as they began trodding after Abel. 

“Quiet, Kieran. We do not need to cause problems in our first meeting with the king’s people. Keep silent and let me do the talking for now.” Her son looked agitated, yet he knew she was right. Their horses quickly caught up to the slower, bulkier horse the king rode, and within a few hundred yards they arrived at an already erect tent. Inside awaited Sage, the king’s most loyal advisor, and six of his other highest ranking captains. The seven of them were seated around a makeshift table, and all were already engrossed with whatever books, scrolls, and maps had been laid in front of them.

“Sage, if you’d be so kind as to show Daealla and Kieran the notes from our scouts. I need them caught up as soon as possible.” Sage stood immediately and began rummaging through the stack of scrolls on the table. 

“Ahh, here it is.” He turned and walked it over to Daealla before handing the slightly charred rolled parchment to her. Daealla swiftly skimmed the notes and handed it back to king’s advisor. 

“So it is true then. There is no other way to pass and Harald’s men are already setting up for an ambush?” Daealla asked the room.

“Theoretically… yes. It is our only reasonable option at this point.” Abel stated.

“Reasonable? So there are other options? I will like to risk as few elven lives as possible in this journey to an unknown north, Abel. None of us know what we will face once we make our way through the pass, but I for one would like to have as many of my people alive when we do. Tell me, what is this unreasonable option.”

“One of my men’s families used to live near the pass. He said that he knows of a cave system that will lead us a few miles past the pass, but that it is incredibly dangerous and could lead to even more deaths than simply fighting off Harald’s ambush.”

“Ymir’s Corridor… I have heard rumors of this in the past, but never thought them to be true. It was said that the monsters unfit to roam our world were cast there by Thor himself. But there is no way this can be true. Abel, we must explore this option. If we can save our people’s lives then we MUST at least think about taking this route instead of the other.”

“I do not like it, and honestly wish you would have not liked it either, but I agree. These caves could save countless lives, and it will all but ruin whatever Harald has planned.”

“What makes you think that Harald wont have men waiting for us outside the entrance to these caverns on his side of the pass?” Kieran probed. Daealla’s eyes shot to her son. I told him to keep his mouth shut. He oversteps the king.

“That is a great question, son. He very well could set an ambush there, and we could essentially be forced to retreat back into the caves. Yet, Harald is a stubborn man who thinks he knows best, and he knows this is something I would never willingly submit my people to. He will not guard our exit out of this corridor your mother speaks of, and this may be our chance to turn the tide in our favor before the war even begins.”

Kieran nodded in approval before gazing over to his mother. “When do we set out then, Abel?” Daealla asked.

“We leave now. Sage, have the men get their things packed and await my command to march. Hudson, split the lore we have on Ymir’s Corridor with Daealla’s men. We need to know as much about what may lie within before we reach the entrance. Return to your people Daealla, prepare them. What lies ahead may not be pretty.”

Daealla turned and exited the tent with Kieran on her heels. 

The Rift – Fimm

The Rift: Part V (Fimm)

Daealla could see Abel’s forces marching their way to her camp from atop the tree she was perched. They were to meet days ago to embark on their journey towards Harald and the Nordic lands. Daealla had received news from one of her elves the day before that one of Abel’s scouts had rode ahead to give the news. Apparently the human’s armor weighed the carts down and that led to many becoming stuck in the soft, muddy grounds before The Shivering Valley. Daealla briskly climbed down the tree and set off to find her captains. 

The Woodland Elves had a smaller army than most, but that never mattered. They were always regarded as the more adroit people, and even though no wars had been fought in ages they kept up their training all the same. The army comprised of three captains, each in charge of roughly twenty-five hundred men. Each of those captains then had sub-captains, and those sub-captains had others to serve them, and so on and so forth. Daealla’s Captains were special though and had been with her for almost the entirety of her reign as queen. She was also lucky enough to have one of her own sons as a captain, and that was who she was searching for now.

It didn’t take her long to find him. As she expected, he was in the war room with a few of his soldiers perusing the lands that both armies would soon be traversing. 

“Hello, mother. My men have told me that Abel has finally arrived. Shall we begin packing our tents and set out tonight? Or would we be staying another night to allow them rest before this treacherous journey begins?”

“That is why I am here, Kieran. I would like you to ride with me to his caravan and see what he plans.”

“Of course, mother. Saeval, fetch my horse… and grab your queen’s mare as well.” The man nodded and hastened himself out of the tent. 

“Have you found anything new regarding the pass that lies at the end of the Shivering Valley?” Daealla quizzed her eldest son.

“Not much. It seems as if it is the only road we can travel on to reach Harald’s army though. It is unwise for us to split our army here, but without doing so we leave ourselves open to attack. If we go high, we risk the mages raining fire from above, or even destroying the ground beneath our feet and plummeting us to our death. But if we go low we are certainly asking for Harald’s men to bombard us with arrows from above.”

“I agree.” Daealla could hear the neighing of her prized horse as it neared the war room. “Come, we must go now. Hopefully Abel has more that can be of use to us.” The two made their way outside and mounted their Akhal-Teke. It was nothing for these horses to maneuver themselves through the camp, and before long the two were out in the open field. Daealla’s breed was one of the rarest palomino’s. It had an iridescent cream coat that shone gold in the sunlight, and a thick, pale smoke mane. Kieran’s was a much more ordinary chestnut color, yet it possessed a magnificent mane of ivory that was speckled with muddy brown markings. 

After a few minutes galloping, the mother and son had reached the fringes of Abel’s now halted army. It was massive, over ten thousand troops if Abel’s counts had been correct. It will take us forever to find this man in a crowd so large. And none of his men are even acknowledging us. 

“You there, where can I find your leader?” Daealla blurted to the nearest soldier. But before he could stop and turn to answer, she noticed the massive man riding toward her. She quickly recognized him as Abel by the golden armor he was decorated with, and the massive longsword that was strapped to his back. The sword was a Rudland family heirloom, passed down from father to son every generation. Night’s Fate was known as one of the oldest swords in Delahden, and received its name from the swordsman who crafted it. It was originally Knight’s Fate, as it determined the fate of many knights in those ancient times. Yet as it was passed down the Rudland line, and as those Rudlands became keepers of peace across their lands, its name took on a different meaning from the eternal night it brought on to all of the evil fates its path crossed with.

“Daealla, my apologies for the delays. If you’d be so kind as to follow me, I have my quarters being set up now. We must discuss our plans moving forward, and with haste.” The king quickly turned and rode off, giving Daealla no choice but to follow. 

“Well I guess that is our answer then.” Kieran muttered to his mother as they began trodding after Abel. 

“Quiet, Kieran. We do not need to cause problems in our first meeting with the king’s people. Keep silent and let me do the talking for now.” Her son looked agitated, yet he knew she was right. Their horses quickly caught up to the slower, bulkier horse the king rode, and within a few hundred yards they arrived at an already erect tent. Inside awaited Sage, the king’s most loyal advisor, and six of his other highest ranking captains. The seven of them were seated around a makeshift table, and all were already engrossed with whatever books, scrolls, and maps had been laid in front of them.

“Sage, if you’d be so kind as to show Daealla and Kieran the notes from our scouts. I need them caught up as soon as possible.” Sage stood immediately and began rummaging through the stack of scrolls on the table. 

“Ahh, here it is.” He turned and walked it over to Daealla before handing the slightly charred rolled parchment to her. Daealla swiftly skimmed the notes and handed it back to king’s advisor. 

“So it is true then. There is no other way to pass and Harald’s men are already setting up for an ambush?” Daealla asked the room.

“Theoretically… yes. It is our only reasonable option at this point.” Abel stated.

“Reasonable? So there are other options? I will like to risk as few elven lives as possible in this journey to an unknown north, Abel. None of us know what we will face once we make our way through the pass, but I for one would like to have as many of my people alive when we do. Tell me, what is this unreasonable option.”

“One of my men’s families used to live near the pass. He said that he knows of a cave system that will lead us a few miles past the pass, but that it is incredibly dangerous and could lead to even more deaths than simply fighting off Harald’s ambush.”

“Ymir’s Corridor… I have heard rumors of this in the past, but never thought them to be true. It was said that the monsters unfit to roam our world were cast there by Thor himself. But there is no way this can be true. Abel, we must explore this option. If we can save our people’s lives then we MUST at least think about taking this route instead of the other.”

“I do not like it, and honestly wish you would have not liked it either, but I agree. These caves could save countless lives, and it will all but ruin whatever Harald has planned.”

“What makes you think that Harald wont have men waiting for us outside the entrance to these caverns on his side of the pass?” Kieran probed. Daealla’s eyes shot to her son. I told him to keep his mouth shut. He oversteps the king.

“That is a great question, son. He very well could set an ambush there, and we could essentially be forced to retreat back into the caves. Yet, Harald is a stubborn man who thinks he knows best, and he knows this is something I would never willingly submit my people to. He will not guard our exit out of this corridor your mother speaks of, and this may be our chance to turn the tide in our favor before the war even begins.”

Kieran nodded in approval before gazing over to his mother. “When do we set out then, Abel?” Daealla asked.

“We leave now. Sage, have the men get their things packed and await my command to march. Hudson, split the lore we have on Ymir’s Corridor with Daealla’s men. We need to know as much about what may lie within before we reach the entrance. Return to your people Daealla, prepare them. What lies ahead may not be pretty.”

Daealla turned and exited the tent with Kieran on her heels. 

The Rift – Fjórir

The Rift: Part IV (Fjórir)

As Orrowyn walked through the camp he remembered how warm the Nordic lands used to be. That was over 75 years ago, and much has changed since then. Harald had his men constructing cheval de frise to surround the city it seemed. They wouldn’t do much good against the woodland elves Akhal-Teke, but it would slow down the humans. I’ll need to have Sharik and Ezadel reinforce those barriers with some magic, just to hold off as many men as possible

“Excuse me, sir. The King would like to see you.” Orrowyn turned and spotted a very young man, maybe 17 years of age. Not an ounce of muscle on his body or a scar that told a tale. Must be Harald’s new squire, Orrowyn thought to himself.

“Where shall I be heading young one?”

“Through those tents ahead. Then make a right and walk until you reach the stairs. Go up and follow the parapet around to the castle. Harald should be out front waiting for you.” 

The man turned and walked away without another word. Harald’s men follow his orders to a fault. I wonder if he is that much of a leader or if they’re all just scared for their lives. He was stopped twice more by Harald’s men while on his way to the castle. The first group of guards were curious as to what business he had at the castle. He told them the king had sent for him and they reluctantly let him through. The second time, however, he was stopped by an older man. He was well past his day but was still eager to fight for his king. He also knew of Orrowyn and his past. 

“Me mum use ta tell me stories of ya when I was a child. The Great Orrowyn, master mage and slayer of evil. She also told me ya had a spell that kept ya young, and invincible too. What say ya cast it on me so I don’t die fighting in this battle to come?”

Orrowyn chortled at the question. “Clearly your mother was mistaken, can’t you see how old I look now? Tell me sir, what’s your name?”

“Charles, but the men ‘round here call me Gaffer since I’m the oldest in the camp.”

“Well Charles, if I had that spell I would gladly cast it on you. You’re the only man in this camp who has treated me with respect since I’ve arrived.”

“Oh don’t take that personal, sir. Most of the men here just don’t know who ya are. Once they see what y’are capable of they’ll give you that respect ya seek.”

“Haha whatever you say, Charles. Thank you for the conversation. I’ll be seeing you again soon I’m sure.” The man nodded as Orrowyn began for the castle again. After another minute or so he could finally see it. A hulking stone beast that was originally hid behind towers and barracks for the king’s higher tiered soldiers. As he passed through the gate and neared the courtyard a few hundred yards away, Orrowyn could already hear Harald’s booming voice over the clanging of swords.

“NO. No, no, no, wrong, no! You all will get killed fighting like that. You must be quicker on your feet. The woodland elves will run through you all if you don’t. They fight with a subtle grace that is dangerous because you cannot always tell what they are going to do. They will not fight like the humans. Johan, come here and spar with me. I’ll show you how the elves will fight.”

Harald grabbed one of his men and pulled him to the center of the crowd of soldiers. The man looked absolutely terrified to be fighting against his king. Orrowyn stopped where he was to watch the two spar, as he didn’t want Harald to know he was here just yet. Harald slowly circled the man before starting his attack. The man put his sword up to block the attack but Harald side stepped with ease before slamming his sword into the man’s ribs. He fell to a knee and Harald proceeded to smack the flat of his blade against the man’s skull. 

“One of you come join Johan, I’m in need of a real challenge.” Two men stepped forward at once. They looked at each other and as the second went to turn away Harald began laughing. “Haha. Both of you, attack!”

They looked at one another again before they slowly walked to opposite sides of Harald. Johan was still rattled, but he stood and joined the other two. They all charged at once, yet not one of them landed their blow. Harald ducked under the first swing as he swept his leg around to knock Johan’s feet out from under him. The third man thought he had Harald. As he brought his sword down past Harald and into the dirt, Harald had dropped down and spun on his left knee to end up behind the man. He stood and kicked the man in the back of the knee before he even had a chance to turn towards Harald. All three men writhed in pain on the ground before their fellow soldiers.

“Do you see now? You must take this seriously! I am quick, but the woodland elves will be quicker. Start worrying about avoiding attacks rather than being the first to strike. Patience is key when fighting an elf, you must wait for the most opportune moment to strike.” Harald sheathed his sword and turned to say something else to his men, but that was when he noticed Orrowyn standing in the distance.

“Orrowyn, how nice of you to finally show yourself. Walk with me, we need to discuss our plan of attack against Daealla and Abel.”

Orrowyn began walking through the crowd of men towards Harald. As he neared the king, the two continued through the crowd and into the street behind them. They walked together for a few hundred yards before Harald began talking again.

“My scouts have told me that Abel and Daealla have began their march towards us. It will only take them two, maybe three, fortnights to make it to the pass. I’d expect the woodland elves to travel on the high roads above the pass and Abel’s men to stay down low, just to avoid an ambush from above. What say you so far?”

“I’d agree. There is no way they haven’t thought through every detail of this trek across Delahden. I highly doubt we will be able to surprise them, unless we attack from behind.” Orrowyn answered.

“And how in fuck’s sake would we get behind them mage?” Harald clearly thought Orrowyn was not taking this conversation seriously.

“My men can create portals for us. The problem is they don’t last very long and are incredibly obvious to those who know how to look for them.”

“So Daealla and her elves? You want us to give our location away before we even ambush them. I thought you were smarter than that Orrowyn. Plus you will not find a damned man in my army who’d be willing to travel through one of your portals. They have nothing against magic, but they will never use it themselves.”

“You’re a great leader Harald, convince them. We would only need about 1,000 soldiers to go along with myself and my men. That would be what, roughly five percent of your army? We would travel back to a place two days behind where your scouts have last seen our enemies armies. That should be more than enough for Daealla to not notice the portals. Your thousand men should be more than enough to intimidate the rear guard. Once the army is facing two directions, you encircle them with your riders and have the brunt of the force attack head on.”

“I don’t like it. Not one bit. I told you already, my men won’t go through your portals. It may be a solid plan, but I won’t do it.” Harald bit back.

“Well what would you have us do then, Harald? Simply sit and wait and let their army lay siege upon your city?” 

“DO NOT insult my intelligence Orrowyn. You damn mages always think that you’re better than us all. Of course I don’t simply want them to attack the city… But I do want them to think that’s their best option. I will send a scouting party of a few hundred to attack their forces and scare them. Make them think it’s an ambush and catch them off guard. Hopefully that will rattle their plans and they will be stupid enough to attack the city. Then you and your mages can teleport behind them and do as you please. My men will be able to hold the city without you. Now leave me, I have men to train.”

Orrowyn stopped and stared at the king in disbelief. He has already gone mad. Drunk of the little power he thinks he has. We will lose so many men with a plan this ignorant and half-witted. I must find a way to convince him of this folly. “Of course, Harald.” Orrowyn turned to leave, but Harald stopped him one last time.

“Oh, and Orrowyn… henceforth you will refer to me as king. Be sure to let your men know as well.”

The Rift – Part IV (Fjórir)

The Rift: Part IV (Fjórir)

As Orrowyn walked through the camp he remembered how warm the Nordic lands used to be. That was over 75 years ago, and much has changed since then. Harald had his men constructing cheval de frise to surround the city it seemed. They wouldn’t do much good against the woodland elves Akhal-Teke, but it would slow down the humans. I’ll need to have Sharik and Ezadel reinforce those barriers with some magic, just to hold off as many men as possible

“Excuse me, sir. The King would like to see you.” Orrowyn turned and spotted a very young man, maybe 17 years of age. Not an ounce of muscle on his body or a scar that told a tale. Must be Harald’s new squire, Orrowyn thought to himself.

“Where shall I be heading young one?”

“Through those tents ahead. Then make a right and walk until you reach the stairs. Go up and follow the parapet around to the castle. Harald should be out front waiting for you.” 

The man turned and walked away without another word. Harald’s men follow his orders to a fault. I wonder if he is that much of a leader or if they’re all just scared for their lives. He was stopped twice more by Harald’s men while on his way to the castle. The first group of guards were curious as to what business he had at the castle. He told them the king had sent for him and they reluctantly let him through. The second time, however, he was stopped by an older man. He was well past his day but was still eager to fight for his king. He also knew of Orrowyn and his past. 

“Me mum use ta tell me stories of ya when I was a child. The Great Orrowyn, master mage and slayer of evil. She also told me ya had a spell that kept ya young, and invincible too. What say ya cast it on me so I don’t die fighting in this battle to come?”

Orrowyn chortled at the question. “Clearly your mother was mistaken, can’t you see how old I look now? Tell me sir, what’s your name?”

“Charles, but the men ‘round here call me Gaffer since I’m the oldest in the camp.”

“Well Charles, if I had that spell I would gladly cast it on you. You’re the only man in this camp who has treated me with respect since I’ve arrived.”

“Oh don’t take that personal, sir. Most of the men here just don’t know who ya are. Once they see what y’are capable of they’ll give you that respect ya seek.”

“Haha whatever you say, Charles. Thank you for the conversation. I’ll be seeing you again soon I’m sure.” The man nodded as Orrowyn began for the castle again. After another minute or so he could finally see it. A hulking stone beast that was originally hid behind towers and barracks for the king’s higher tiered soldiers. As he passed through the gate and neared the courtyard a few hundred yards away, Orrowyn could already hear Harald’s booming voice over the clanging of swords.

“NO. No, no, no, wrong, no! You all will get killed fighting like that. You must be quicker on your feet. The woodland elves will run through you all if you don’t. They fight with a subtle grace that is dangerous because you cannot always tell what they are going to do. They will not fight like the humans. Johan, come here and spar with me. I’ll show you how the elves will fight.”

Harald grabbed one of his men and pulled him to the center of the crowd of soldiers. The man looked absolutely terrified to be fighting against his king. Orrowyn stopped where he was to watch the two spar, as he didn’t want Harald to know he was here just yet. Harald slowly circled the man before starting his attack. The man put his sword up to block the attack but Harald side stepped with ease before slamming his sword into the man’s ribs. He fell to a knee and Harald proceeded to smack the flat of his blade against the man’s skull. 

“One of you come join Johan, I’m in need of a real challenge.” Two men stepped forward at once. They looked at each other and as the second went to turn away Harald began laughing. “Haha. Both of you, attack!”

They looked at one another again before they slowly walked to opposite sides of Harald. Johan was still rattled, but he stood and joined the other two. They all charged at once, yet not one of them landed their blow. Harald ducked under the first swing as he swept his leg around to knock Johan’s feet out from under him. The third man thought he had Harald. As he brought his sword down past Harald and into the dirt, Harald had dropped down and spun on his left knee to end up behind the man. He stood and kicked the man in the back of the knee before he even had a chance to turn towards Harald. All three men writhed in pain on the ground before their fellow soldiers.

“Do you see now? You must take this seriously! I am quick, but the woodland elves will be quicker. Start worrying about avoiding attacks rather than being the first to strike. Patience is key when fighting an elf, you must wait for the most opportune moment to strike.” Harald sheathed his sword and turned to say something else to his men, but that was when he noticed Orrowyn standing in the distance.

“Orrowyn, how nice of you to finally show yourself. Walk with me, we need to discuss our plan of attack against Daealla and Abel.”

Orrowyn began walking through the crowd of men towards Harald. As he neared the king, the two continued through the crowd and into the street behind them. They walked together for a few hundred yards before Harald began talking again.

“My scouts have told me that Abel and Daealla have began their march towards us. It will only take them two, maybe three, fortnights to make it to the pass. I’d expect the woodland elves to travel on the high roads above the pass and Abel’s men to stay down low, just to avoid an ambush from above. What say you so far?”

“I’d agree. There is no way they haven’t thought through every detail of this trek across Delahden. I highly doubt we will be able to surprise them, unless we attack from behind.” Orrowyn answered.

“And how in fuck’s sake would we get behind them mage?” Harald clearly thought Orrowyn was not taking this conversation seriously.

“My men can create portals for us. The problem is they don’t last very long and are incredibly obvious to those who know how to look for them.”

“So Daealla and her elves? You want us to give our location away before we even ambush them. I thought you were smarter than that Orrowyn. Plus you will not find a damned man in my army who’d be willing to travel through one of your portals. They have nothing against magic, but they will never use it themselves.”

“You’re a great leader Harald, convince them. We would only need about 1,000 soldiers to go along with myself and my men. That would be what, roughly five percent of your army? We would travel back to a place two days behind where your scouts have last seen our enemies armies. That should be more than enough for Daealla to not notice the portals. Your thousand men should be more than enough to intimidate the rear guard. Once the army is facing two directions, you encircle them with your riders and have the brunt of the force attack head on.”

“I don’t like it. Not one bit. I told you already, my men won’t go through your portals. It may be a solid plan, but I won’t do it.” Harald bit back.

“Well what would you have us do then, Harald? Simply sit and wait and let their army lay siege upon your city?” 

“DO NOT insult my intelligence Orrowyn. You damn mages always think that you’re better than us all. Of course I don’t simply want them to attack the city… But I do want them to think that’s their best option. I will send a scouting party of a few hundred to attack their forces and scare them. Make them think it’s an ambush and catch them off guard. Hopefully that will rattle their plans and they will be stupid enough to attack the city. Then you and your mages can teleport behind them and do as you please. My men will be able to hold the city without you. Now leave me, I have men to train.”

Orrowyn stopped and stared at the king in disbelief. He has already gone mad. Drunk of the little power he thinks he has. We will lose so many men with a plan this ignorant and half-witted. I must find a way to convince him of this folly. “Of course, Harald.” Orrowyn turned to leave, but Harald stopped him one last time.

“Oh, and Orrowyn… henceforth you will refer to me as king. Be sure to let your men know as well.”

The Rift – Prir

The Rift: Part III (Prir)

“But Abel, we cannot attack the Nordic tribes head on. I understand that we outnumber them, but they have retreated back to THEIR lands. We do not stand a chance at defeating them within their own terrain.” Sage pleaded with his king, but deep down he knew there was no changing his mind.

“I do not care. Harald will pay for what he has done. How could he kill my only boy? He was so young and had so many things yet to accomplish. And all over a stupid barkeep’s daughter! I will not rest until he befalls the same fate as Alexander. Harald Leif’s head will rest on a spike for eternity when I am through with him.” Abel Rudland furiously pounded his fist on the war table where he had seated himself. Most of the war pieces tumbled and fell off the sides from the force of the human kings rage. 

“I know what he did was uncalled for, sire. I’m sure we can meet with Daealla and Orrowyn and they will join our cause. Then we can vote him out of command and replace Harald with a new leader,” Sage bleated as he slowly kneeled down to pick up the fallen pieces. “And then if it comes down to it we would at least have allies for the war that breaks out.”

“Oh bet your ass war will break out, Sage. Orrowyn himself fled before we awoke. That bastard probably helped Harald plan all of this. I’ve known for quite some time the mage thinks this whole treaty is a pointless waste of time, but I didn’t see him rushing to Harald’s side to kill my boy.” The king paused for a moment as his eyes wandered over to his son’s armor in the corner of the room. They had found the boy’s body in the barkeep’s shed the day after his severed head had been found. It was cold and lifeless, laying in a pool of blood and already starting to rot. He had been planning on giving his son his new set of golden armor as they made their way back after the treaty, but now he regretted not giving it to him sooner. 

“Whether the woodland elves and mages side with us or Harald, the treaty has been broken. I plan on attacking that miserable excuse of a man no matter the cost. It must be done. In the name of Alexander Rudland, it must be done.” The king stood and slowly walked out of his solar, leaving Sage to himself. Abel had been fuming since he found Alexander’s head plunged on to that spike. It had been nearly four days of rage, but now the grief was settling in. As he paced the halls of his castle he realized he was subconsciously making his way towards Alexander’s room. He continued heading that way, but as he got to the door he stopped. He couldn’t bring himself to enter the boy’s room and he knew that he would never be able again unless the man responsible for his death had been punished. He turned and decided to head to the kitchens. It had been four days since his son’s death and four days since Abel’s last meal, but he now knew what he must do would require him to be at full strength.

After his meal he paced back to the war room in hopes of finding Sage. As he neared the door he heard voices inside and assumed Sage had called the king’s other trusted advisers for a meeting. He opened the door and was shocked to see Daealla within the room with Sage. “Daealla, what are you doing here? How did you get in? I have the city on full guard and -” 

“Abel, you know I have my ways. Full guard or not I can make my way into any city unnoticed. But that is beside the point, I am here to talk strategy. I know what you are planning to do.” 

Daealla stared into Abel’s soul. She had the most beautifully ominous eyes he had ever seen, and it was almost as if her gaze was calming him by the second. “Good, Ymir knows we could use the help.” Abel walked to his chair and sat across from Daealla as Sage pulled a chair by his king. “Have you heard anything from Orrowyn Daealla? I want to know if that coward had anything to do with this and if he will side with Harald or us.” Daealla averted her gaze from the king for the first time since he entered, and the calm feeling vanished.

“I have heard nothing from him, but I know he had nothing to do with your son’s death. One of my children saw everything that happened that night. I will spare you the details bu-”

The king cut off the Woodland Queen. “You will do no such thing. I will know how my son died, it is a father’s right to know.”

Daealla nodded, but didn’t speak right away. After a moment had passed she finally explained the details of that night to Abel. By the end of the tale the king was shaking with anger. “And your boy, why didn’t he step in to do anything? Why didn’t he run to tell anyone?”

“He is only 15 years of age, Abel. What would he have done against a man such as Harald? He was scared out of his wits that night and hid behind the bar until well after the Norsemen had left. And I would’ve told you sooner as well had you not left for your city’s walls so quickly. I know you are grieving Abel, but we are on your side and behind you no matter what. What Harald did… there is no excuse for it. He must pay for his crimes and we MUST return peace to our lands. Unfortunately, I believe the only way to do so will be to start a war that will remove him from power.”

“And Orrowyn, what of him? I know you two have been close for many years now.” Abel questioned.

“We don’t know of his true involvement, but it seems as if he has sides with Harald. We will do what we must Abel, and if that involves removing Orrowyn from this world then it will be a sacrifice I must make.”

Abel leered at Daealla. He wasn’t sure she would be able to kill one of her closest friends if it came to it, but he knew he would have no issue doing what she could not if Orrowyn had anything to do with the death of Alexander. The human king stood and turned to the door. “It is settled then, we will meet just south of The Shivering Valley. Head back to your people, Daealla, and be sure they are prepared. We head for war at the next full moon.”

The Rift – Part III (þrír)

The Rift: Part III (þrír)

“But Abel, we cannot attack the Nordic tribes head on. I understand that we outnumber them, but they have retreated back to THEIR lands. We do not stand a chance at defeating them within their own terrain.” Sage pleaded with his king, but deep down he knew there was no changing his mind.

“I do not care. Harald will pay for what he has done. How could he kill my only boy? He was so young and had so many things yet to accomplish. And all over a stupid barkeep’s daughter! I will not rest until he befalls the same fate as Alexander. Harald Leif’s head will rest on a spike for eternity when I am through with him.” Abel Rudland furiously pounded his fist on the war table where he had seated himself. Most of the war pieces tumbled and fell off the sides from the force of the human kings rage. 

“I know what he did was uncalled for, sire. I’m sure we can meet with Daealla and Orrowyn and they will join our cause. Then we can vote him out of command and replace Harald with a new leader,” Sage bleated as he slowly kneeled down to pick up the fallen pieces. “And then if it comes down to it we would at least have allies for the war that breaks out.”

“Oh bet your ass war will break out, Sage. Orrowyn himself fled before we awoke. That bastard probably helped Harald plan all of this. I’ve known for quite some time the mage thinks this whole treaty is a pointless waste of time, but I didn’t see him rushing to Harald’s side to kill my boy.” The king paused for a moment as his eyes wandered over to his son’s armor in the corner of the room. They had found the boy’s body in the barkeep’s shed the day after his severed head had been found. It was cold and lifeless, laying in a pool of blood and already starting to rot. He had been planning on giving his son his new set of golden armor as they made their way back after the treaty, but now he regretted not giving it to him sooner. 

“Whether the woodland elves and mages side with us or Harald, the treaty has been broken. I plan on attacking that miserable excuse of a man no matter the cost. It must be done. In the name of Alexander Rudland, it must be done.” The king stood and slowly walked out of his solar, leaving Sage to himself. Abel had been fuming since he found Alexander’s head plunged on to that spike. It had been nearly four days of rage, but now the grief was settling in. As he paced the halls of his castle he realized he was subconsciously making his way towards Alexander’s room. He continued heading that way, but as he got to the door he stopped. He couldn’t bring himself to enter the boy’s room and he knew that he would never be able again unless the man responsible for his death had been punished. He turned and decided to head to the kitchens. It had been four days since his son’s death and four days since Abel’s last meal, but he now knew what he must do would require him to be at full strength.

After his meal he paced back to the war room in hopes of finding Sage. As he neared the door he heard voices inside and assumed Sage had called the king’s other trusted advisers for a meeting. He opened the door and was shocked to see Daealla within the room with Sage. “Daealla, what are you doing here? How did you get in? I have the city on full guard and -” 

“Abel, you know I have my ways. Full guard or not I can make my way into any city unnoticed. But that is beside the point, I am here to talk strategy. I know what you are planning to do.” 

Daealla stared into Abel’s soul. She had the most beautifully ominous eyes he had ever seen, and it was almost as if her gaze was calming him by the second. “Good, Ymir knows we could use the help.” Abel walked to his chair and sat across from Daealla as Sage pulled a chair by his king. “Have you heard anything from Orrowyn Daealla? I want to know if that coward had anything to do with this and if he will side with Harald or us.” Daealla averted her gaze from the king for the first time since he entered, and the calm feeling vanished.

“I have heard nothing from him, but I know he had nothing to do with your son’s death. One of my children saw everything that happened that night. I will spare you the details bu-”

The king cut off the Woodland Queen. “You will do no such thing. I will know how my son died, it is a father’s right to know.”

Daealla nodded, but didn’t speak right away. After a moment had passed she finally explained the details of that night to Abel. By the end of the tale the king was shaking with anger. “And your boy, why didn’t he step in to do anything? Why didn’t he run to tell anyone?”

“He is only 15 years of age, Abel. What would he have done against a man such as Harald? He was scared out of his wits that night and hid behind the bar until well after the Norsemen had left. And I would’ve told you sooner as well had you not left for your city’s walls so quickly. I know you are grieving Abel, but we are on your side and behind you no matter what. What Harald did… there is no excuse for it. He must pay for his crimes and we MUST return peace to our lands. Unfortunately, I believe the only way to do so will be to start a war that will remove him from power.”

“And Orrowyn, what of him? I know you two have been close for many years now.” Abel questioned.

“We don’t know of his true involvement, but it seems as if he has sides with Harald. We will do what we must Abel, and if that involves removing Orrowyn from this world then it will be a sacrifice I must make.”

Abel leered at Daealla. He wasn’t sure she would be able to kill one of her closest friends if it came to it, but he knew he would have no issue doing what she could not if Orrowyn had anything to do with the death of Alexander. The human king stood and turned to the door. “It is settled then, we will meet just south of The Shivering Valley. Head back to your people, Daealla, and be sure they are prepared. We head for war at the next full moon.”

The Rift – Part II (Tveir)

The Rift: Part II (Tveir)

Just outside the city of Rosewood was a small village named Bush Hollow. It was nuzzled in the heart of all four of Delahden’s lands, and was the location of this year’s Meeting of the Leaders. It was well into the fourth night, and even though most were asleep, the Norsemen were still wide awake celebrating another year of peace. Among them were a few of Daealla’s older sons, Orrowyn Brovkos, and Alexander Rudland himself.

Along with Alexander, were a few of his fathers men; all of whom had taken a liking to the young man early in his life. He was a remarkable boy – loved as much, if not more, than his father among the human race. He was one of the most talented bowman in the northern part of Delahden, which was an exceptional feat for someone only seventeen years of age. He was still a boy at heart and thoroughly enjoyed the frivolities of drinking with the men.

He had been talking with Harald Leif for most of the night now, and the two quickly developed a friendship. Leif was much older than the king’s son, yet that did not seem to matter to Alexander. There was somewhat of an age gap, but both seemed to have many similar tastes and interests, especially when it came to women.

One of the barkeep’s daughters busted through the inn’s door with more ale for the men, and both Alexander and Harald were mesmerized. She was a short girl, probably closer in age to the Norse leader, yet very youthful in her looks. She had long, dirty blonde hair that hung to her waist and a smile that lit up the entire room.

“Beautiful girl, come here. I want to ask you a question,” Harald yelled over the din of the group’s debauchery. She slowly made her way through the drunk men handing over the flagons of ale that she had brought from the store rooms and up to the table where the Norse leader sat.

“Good Evening Sir, is there anything I can do for you?” She didn’t seem tense at all that she was talking to one of the most dangerous men in the realm. That or she just had no idea who he was, which was probably better for her anyways.

“You can come sit on my lap, that’s what I’d like!” The men within the bar guffawed at their leader’s answer to the woman.

“I… I…”, and before the girl could react, Harald pulled her over to him and attempted kissing her. She pulled away almost immediately and ran off through a back door of her fathers bar.

“Hahaha,” the Norse leader laughed. “Seems as if the girl doesn’t have a taste for northern flesh tonight. Maybe I’ll convince her to warm my sausage for me on the morrow.” He looked out at his men who, Once again, were dying at the remark from Harald.

Alexander’s look of amusement dissipated almost immediately after the barkeep’s daughter had left. Harald asked him a few more idiotic questions, but Alexander was barely paying attention. He excused himself from the table and stumbled out of the bar deciding that he was going back to his Father’s tent for the night. His father’s men began to follow, but were quickly distracted by another one of the establishment owners daughters who had clumsily just spilled all of the drinking horns she was carrying.

Harald had paid no mind to the boy leaving, and didn’t even notice he was missing until he had finished three more of the clumsy girl’s horns of ale. He decided he was going to go find the barkeep and make him a proposition for his daughter. She was one of the most alluring women he had ever seen and Harald wanted her to finally make him a father. He had been unlucky in that regard with his prior three wives all dying in childbirth, and the children shared the same fate as their mothers.

He stumbled drunkenly around for a few minutes before noticing what appeared to be a lit lamp in the shed near the backside of the bar. He slowly made his way over, but stopped for a piss about halfway to the door. As he stood in silence attempting to urinate, he noticed could hear two voices in the shed, one of which sounded like Alexander’s.

Excited, Harald quickly pulled his trousers back up and rushed over to the door. “Ahh my boy! Alex who’ve you found for yourself ton…”, and as he shoved open the door the two of them stood there stark naked. Harald’s excitement quickly turned to disgust as the two love birds attempted to put their clothes back on. “What in the fuck are you doing with my woman?” he grumbled.

“She is not your woman, Leif. She has no interest in you, and the way you threw yourself at her earlier was plain disrespectful to her. And not to mention…”. Harald backhanded the boy before another word could leave his mouth.

“How dare you talk to me that way, boy. You should watch your tongue… just because you’re the son of a king doesn’t mean shit to me. He is not my King, and I will NOT tolerate insolence from a child.”

Alexander spat blood from his mouth. “A child!? I’m nearly eighteen and a man grown. My father will hear of this. He will remove your hand and feed it to you for laying it upon me.” Harald violently pulled his sword from its hilt, and then the girl screamed. In the blink of an eye, Harald had plunged the sword deep into her left breast. As he pulled it out blood spurted all over his face as the innocent woman dropped to the ground. He licked the thick, wet blood from his lips as he turned towards Alexander.

“You do not frighten me you coward. You… you… you will be punished.” Alexander bent down to grab his shirt from the ground, but before he stood upright again there was a flash of steel. The boy’s head was removed with such force that it flew through the thin wood of the shed. Harald sheathed his sword and then bent down to grab the blood soaked head. He slowly made his way back to the bar, wondering what he had just done. He lost his temper rather quickly, as most Nordic men, and when he saw red everything typically went black.

Upon entering the bar Harald noticed a lot of men had left, with all that remained being his men, Orrowyn, and Alexander’s guards. At first, no one noticed that Harald was drenched in blood, or that he was holding the boy’s severed head. After a minute or two, one of the king’s guards noticed that Harald had returned holding a head, and then he noticed who it belonged to.

“What have you done!?” He yelled as he reached for his battle-axe leaning on the wall behind him.

“Kill them, kill everyone besides him”, Harald mumbled to his men as he pointed at Orrowyn. Before the guards could react they all had axes and knives wedged into their bodies. Harald shifted his gaze back to Orrowyn and then slowly walked towards him. “You will tell them what happened here tonight mage, and if you’re smart… you will side with me in the battles to come. Men, pack up your things. We leave tonight.” Harald briskly walked to the door of the bar, turned back to give Orrowyn one last menacing lance, and then walked out. His men followed soon after, but first they hung the dead men from the rafters and carved their tribal signs into each body.

Orrowyn stayed within the bar after they had left for quite some time. He wasn’t sure how long after he stayed, but he pondered everything that had happened that night. He had his own issues with Abel and Daealla, but he would never go so far as to kill the king’s only son. As he walked outside into the muggy dawn air and back towards the camp, he noticed that all of the Norsemen’s tents were gone and in their place stood two spikes. On the first spike was the barkeeps daughter. They had removed her clothes, and it looked as if they had their way with her. She was impaled through the stomach with her intestines oozing from multiple wounds on her back. On the other… Alexander’s head. As Orrowyn walked near the heads he noticed a rolled piece of parchment in the boys mouth.

This is what happens when you overstep a TRUE king. I am through with your childish peace treaty. I’ll be waiting.


-Harald Leif, Ruler of Delahden

Orrowyn rolled the piece of parchment back up and stuffed it into his robe. As he made his way towards Abel’s tent, he decided that he did not want to be on the bad side of Harald. He turned around and went to a few of his men that were awake on their side of the camp. “Pack your things, and tell the others to do so as well. Leave as soon as you can, there will be bloodshed if you don’t.” As those last words sunk into his men, Orrowyn turned and vanished into thin air.

Abel Rudland awoke that morning to his steward telling him that the mages and the Norse men had vanished in the night. He quickly donned his armor and went out to see for himself, knowing that something awful must’ve happened. He roamed the fields and contemplated why the two groups would leave in the midst of the renewal of their annual treaty until he noticed a group of people encircling something off in the distance. Abel pushed his way through the crowd before he finally saw the two spikes. At first. He did not realize what everyone was staring at, it was just some bodies left behind to scare his people. But as he walked closer to the severed head he noticed the crest of his family on the boy’s earrings, he dropped to his knees and wept.

The Rift – Tveir

The Rift: Part II (Tveir)

Just outside the city of Rosewood was a small village named Bush Hollow. It was nuzzled in the heart of all four of Delahden’s lands, and was the location of this year’s Meeting of the Leaders. It was well into the fourth night, and even though most were asleep, the Norsemen were still wide awake celebrating another year of peace. Among them were a few of Daealla’s older sons, Orrowyn Brovkos, and Alexander Rudland himself.

Along with Alexander, were a few of his fathers men; all of whom had taken a liking to the young man early in his life. He was a remarkable boy – loved as much, if not more, than his father among the human race. He was one of the most talented bowman in the northern part of Delahden, which was an exceptional feat for someone only seventeen years of age. He was still a boy at heart and thoroughly enjoyed the frivolities of drinking with the men.

He had been talking with Harald Leif for most of the night now, and the two quickly developed a friendship. Leif was much older than the king’s son, yet that did not seem to matter to Alexander. There was somewhat of an age gap, but both seemed to have many similar tastes and interests, especially when it came to women.

One of the barkeep’s daughters busted through the inn’s door with more ale for the men, and both Alexander and Harald were mesmerized. She was a short girl, probably closer in age to the Norse leader, yet very youthful in her looks. She had long, dirty blonde hair that hung to her waist and a smile that lit up the entire room.

“Beautiful girl, come here. I want to ask you a question,” Harald yelled over the din of the group’s debauchery. She slowly made her way through the drunk men handing over the flagons of ale that she had brought from the store rooms and up to the table where the Norse leader sat.

“Good Evening Sir, is there anything I can do for you?” She didn’t seem tense at all that she was talking to one of the most dangerous men in the realm. That or she just had no idea who he was, which was probably better for her anyways.

“You can come sit on my lap, that’s what I’d like!” The men within the bar guffawed at their leader’s answer to the woman.

“I… I…”, and before the girl could react, Harald pulled her over to him and attempted kissing her. She pulled away almost immediately and ran off through a back door of her fathers bar.

“Hahaha,” the Norse leader laughed. “Seems as if the girl doesn’t have a taste for northern flesh tonight. Maybe I’ll convince her to warm my sausage for me on the morrow.” He looked out at his men who, Once again, were dying at the remark from Harald.

Alexander’s look of amusement dissipated almost immediately after the barkeep’s daughter had left. Harald asked him a few more idiotic questions, but Alexander was barely paying attention. He excused himself from the table and stumbled out of the bar deciding that he was going back to his Father’s tent for the night. His father’s men began to follow, but were quickly distracted by another one of the establishment owners daughters who had clumsily just spilled all of the drinking horns she was carrying.

Harald had paid no mind to the boy leaving, and didn’t even notice he was missing until he had finished three more of the clumsy girl’s horns of ale. He decided he was going to go find the barkeep and make him a proposition for his daughter. She was one of the most alluring women he had ever seen and Harald wanted her to finally make him a father. He had been unlucky in that regard with his prior three wives all dying in childbirth, and the children shared the same fate as their mothers.

He stumbled drunkenly around for a few minutes before noticing what appeared to be a lit lamp in the shed near the backside of the bar. He slowly made his way over, but stopped for a piss about halfway to the door. As he stood in silence attempting to urinate, he noticed could hear two voices in the shed, one of which sounded like Alexander’s.

Excited, Harald quickly pulled his trousers back up and rushed over to the door. “Ahh my boy! Alex who’ve you found for yourself ton…”, and as he shoved open the door the two of them stood there stark naked. Harald’s excitement quickly turned to disgust as the two love birds attempted to put their clothes back on. “What in the fuck are you doing with my woman?” he grumbled.

“She is not your woman, Leif. She has no interest in you, and the way you threw yourself at her earlier was plain disrespectful to her. And not to mention…”. Harald backhanded the boy before another word could leave his mouth.

“How dare you talk to me that way, boy. You should watch your tongue… just because you’re the son of a king doesn’t mean shit to me. He is not my King, and I will NOT tolerate insolence from a child.”

Alexander spat blood from his mouth. “A child!? I’m nearly eighteen and a man grown. My father will hear of this. He will remove your hand and feed it to you for laying it upon me.” Harald violently pulled his sword from its hilt, and then the girl screamed. In the blink of an eye, Harald had plunged the sword deep into her left breast. As he pulled it out blood spurted all over his face as the innocent woman dropped to the ground. He licked the thick, wet blood from his lips as he turned towards Alexander.

“You do not frighten me you coward. You… you… you will be punished.” Alexander bent down to grab his shirt from the ground, but before he stood upright again there was a flash of steel. The boy’s head was removed with such force that it flew through the thin wood of the shed. Harald sheathed his sword and then bent down to grab the blood soaked head. He slowly made his way back to the bar, wondering what he had just done. He lost his temper rather quickly, as most Nordic men, and when he saw red everything typically went black.

Upon entering the bar Harald noticed a lot of men had left, with all that remained being his men, Orrowyn, and Alexander’s guards. At first, no one noticed that Harald was drenched in blood, or that he was holding the boy’s severed head. After a minute or two, one of the king’s guards noticed that Harald had returned holding a head, and then he noticed who it belonged to.

“What have you done!?” He yelled as he reached for his battle-axe leaning on the wall behind him.

“Kill them, kill everyone besides him”, Harald mumbled to his men as he pointed at Orrowyn. Before the guards could react they all had axes and knives wedged into their bodies. Harald shifted his gaze back to Orrowyn and then slowly walked towards him. “You will tell them what happened here tonight mage, and if you’re smart… you will side with me in the battles to come. Men, pack up your things. We leave tonight.” Harald briskly walked to the door of the bar, turned back to give Orrowyn one last menacing lance, and then walked out. His men followed soon after, but first they hung the dead men from the rafters and carved their tribal signs into each body.

Orrowyn stayed within the bar after they had left for quite some time. He wasn’t sure how long after he stayed, but he pondered everything that had happened that night. He had his own issues with Abel and Daealla, but he would never go so far as to kill the king’s only son. As he walked outside into the muggy dawn air and back towards the camp, he noticed that all of the Norsemen’s tents were gone and in their place stood two spikes. On the first spike was the barkeeps daughter. They had removed her clothes, and it looked as if they had their way with her. She was impaled through the stomach with her intestines oozing from multiple wounds on her back. On the other… Alexander’s head. As Orrowyn walked near the heads he noticed a rolled piece of parchment in the boys mouth.

This is what happens when you overstep a TRUE king. I am through with your childish peace treaty. I’ll be waiting.


-Harald Leif, Ruler of Delahden

Orrowyn rolled the piece of parchment back up and stuffed it into his robe. As he made his way towards Abel’s tent, he decided that he did not want to be on the bad side of Harald. He turned around and went to a few of his men that were awake on their side of the camp. “Pack your things, and tell the others to do so as well. Leave as soon as you can, there will be bloodshed if you don’t.” As those last words sunk into his men, Orrowyn turned and vanished into thin air.

Abel Rudland awoke that morning to his steward telling him that the mages and the Norse men had vanished in the night. He quickly donned his armor and went out to see for himself, knowing that something awful must’ve happened. He roamed the fields and contemplated why the two groups would leave in the midst of the renewal of their annual treaty until he noticed a group of people encircling something off in the distance. Abel pushed his way through the crowd before he finally saw the two spikes. At first. He did not realize what everyone was staring at, it was just some bodies left behind to scare his people. But as he walked closer to the severed head he noticed the crest of his family on the boy’s earrings, he dropped to his knees and wept.

The Rift – Part I (Ein)

The Rift: Part I (Ein)

Long before The Age of Men ended, Delahden was inhabited by four races that spanned a massive continent. Each race was unique in its own way and was scattered amongst the land, yet all still managed to live in harmony.

In the northeastern corner dwelled the five Nordic tribes. They were hulking men and women, said to be direct descendants of Ymir himself, and well known for their ability to track, hunt, and fight. Their lands spanned roughly a third of Delahden and were plagued with steep, rolling hills and harsh climates. As one traveled further north the terrain became much more treacherous, which is where the leader of all five tribes could be found.

Harald Leif was the largest Norseman anyone had ever seen. He came from a long line of tribal leaders, all of which had led their people to unimaginable successes over the years. His great grandfather was the first to stop the fighting between the tribes, and his father had drafted the treaty that brought true peace to all Norsemen. Harald had no children, though he had been close many times. He was now on his fourth wife, with the prior three all dying during child birth. Unfortunately, the children perished as well, with none of them surviving more than a month before succumbing to the elements of the northern lands.

Moving west, stretching from the northwestern edge all the way down to the wooded peninsula and over to the Lake of Prosperity was where the human race resided. Their lands were covered in glowing sea foam fields of shin-high switch grass that stretched as far as the eye could see. Unlike the Nordic lands the terrain here was flat and almost void of danger.

The humans were the most populous of the four races and had known nothing other than monarchy for the last few hundred years. Their current king was Abel Rudland, the first of his name and longest reigning king of his kind. He had one son, Alexander, who he was most proud of. Both father and son were majestic swordsmen and would continue to lead the human race into prosperity over the foreseeable future.

From the southern corner of Delahden all the way to eastern coast, the fields of grass began transforming into thickets of Banyans and Sequoias. These towering trees housed the small-statured woodland elves as well as a remarkable array of flora and fauna. Many believed these elves grew straight from the trees themselves due to their woodish looking skin and affinity for protecting the trees at all costs.

Leading the woodland elves was Daealla Paeris, one of the most beautiful queens the elven race had ever seen. She was much larger than the other elves, yet still minuscule in comparison to the other races. She had nine young children, but only two of those were her own. The others all came from families that had befallen unfortunate circumstances, or in some cases had died unexpectedly. Daealla was known after all as the “Magnanimous Queen” among her people; she was constantly sacrificing something of her own to help better others lives.

In the south-westernmost point of the realm, the beautiful sea foam colored grass faded to a dark amber orange from all of the salt that sprayed in from the two surrounding seas. The thickets of trees that en-housed the elven race vanished, and the mages replaced their smaller neighbors on the larger of Delahden’s peninsulas. The mages were unlike all the other races in the fact that they typically were known as drifters, and because they were actually a mixture of multiple races. Most are some mix of wood elf and human or wood elf and viking, but all began their trek south in hopes of understanding more about The Gift. Those who develop The Gift earlier on clearly stand out from the ones who develop it later however. They mature at a more rapid pace than the late blooming mages, and have a knack for all things magical. All mages tend to outlive other races as well, since the magic that flows through their bodies is that of the gods.

In command of the mages was Orrowyn Brovkos. He was chosen as leader over fifty years ago, and many believed he was well past his two hundredth day of birth. He was the greatest mage Delahden had ever seen and it was rumored he had mastered all forms of magic by the age of seven. Orrowyn had also been working on a new branch of magic that involved scarce ingredients and more developed powers, but no one outside of his few trusted council members had any specifics on the matter.

Each year the leaders, their most trusted advisers, and their families traveled to the center of the realm to discuss the future of Delahden. They met for six days to discuss bettering their people’s lives and to trade for goods certain regions did not have. It was a joyous time for all as they explored each other’s cultures and celebrated another year of life. But of course, all good things must come to an end.