Tears of the King

A Vengeance, Finally Sated

In a room that was once fine, still throbbing with unholy energy, a would-be necromancer lay bleeding.

Broken.

Beaten.

He tried to speak, failed. Spat blood into the growing puddle on the floor. Tried again, with more success: “Wait! I have information! I know things that could save you! Only spare my life!”

A party of heroes, grim architects of his defeat, turned to the back of the room, where a tall figure stood waiting. They stood aside, clearing a path for him, their breath steaming in air that was suddenly freezing.

Raethrekr, his tarnished silver armor a startling contrast to the golden raven shining on his chest, stepped forward.

“Do you know me, conjurer? Do you recognize this sigil?”

He raised his blade, the ebony blade rimed with black frost.

“Do you recognize this blade? It belonged to my father. Perhaps you’d recognize him, if he were here.”

He raised the sword, and the room was suddenly filled with whispers.

“If you hadn’t had him murdered.”

Raethrekr touched the tip of his sword to the floor, and ice raced across the floorboards, enveloping the cowering man.

“For you, there will be no forgiveness. Tell me what you know, and I will give you a clean death. Hold your tongue, and you will meet my mistress, but you will suffer first.”

The wizard’s face hardened. He shook off the ice, and stood up, gathering whatever dignity he could muster.

“Then my knowledge goes with me to the grave.”

The armored man, a paladin of Hel, smiled, a bleak and terrible thing.

“Suit yourself. Give my regards to the Dark Lady.”

There was a flash, and then the old necromancer knew only darkness.

He awoke into agony, hanging upside down from a cross outside the gates of Jarlshof.

The paladin walked towards him, carrying a shield marked with an obsidian raven. His head was down, as though he was praying. He suddenly thrust the shield forward, touching the raven to the wizard’s chest. The wizard screamed, overcome by the new agony, his chest branded with the raven’s outline.

Raethrekr turned to his companions.

“Hoist him up.”

As the cross slowly rose towards the top of the gates, blue fire began to pour from the raven brand, enveloping the screaming man in cold flame.

One of the paladin’s companions, a cleric of Sunna, raised his voice, his golden aura flickering in the afternoon light.

“Is it over, then? Is your thirst for vengeance finally sated?”

“Is it over, cleric? For me, yes, I suppose so. For him? Never. He will scream for my mistress’ cold embrace, but she will not have him. His soul is barred from entering her cold domain.”

“For what he did to me, for what he did to countless others, he will burn.”

“Forever.”

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The Ritual Continues

Then spoke Kollsvein, “Fiercely adverse have they been
To me, and to my fathers, and my party;
So that several times I scattered them.
If they were banished, they returned on all sides…”

Epic of Kollsvein
Canto X, Lines 253-257

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Light the Dark

And Hel came forth there with great shieldcrush;
And the Odinsfolk became as sheep flanksshowing the wolves of Nifelheim.
Hel graincut the eversouls with much despair and frostscorn.
One by one they fell; Bolverk with menslain cried out a final wish:
Are all Odinsfolk forbidden from Valhall?
Where are the Valkyries and gildhorns?
O Aesir! Why have you have betrayed us?
I am the last Odinvesselman; Let me save my people!
And Sunna heard him.

Epic of Kollsvein
Canto IV. LL 7125-7133

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The Ritual Of Purification Begins

Until he shall have driven Her back to Nifleheim,
There from whence envy did first let Her loose.
Therefore I think and judge it for thy best,
Thou follow me, and the Light shall be thy guide;

Epic of Kollsvein
Canto I, Lines 140-143

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An Invitation

DM

You awoke one day to find that a courier left a note for you.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have recently been made aware of your uncanny ability.
Please compete in my games and show the world your skill.

Should you be victorious and defeat your opponents,
you will find your pockets lined with a prize of 20gp.

The games will take place in the coming weeks near the
village of Ă–stersund.  Please make arrangements to attend.

Prince Moldof Reinn
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