Hammersfall: Saga of Verbjorn, Part 11: A Tale of the Gods.
“Our world was born in darkness and ice. Great monsters and foul spirits wandered in the darkness, feeling their way among the mountains and over the frozen oceans. The only place there was light and warmth was in the halls of the two Lords, Tormir and Ingvi. Ingvi had captured the spirit of Fire, and had it contained within his hearth, warming all who entered his hall. Tormir could only use the great mirror of his wife, Jerga, to reflect a small amount of the light and heat to those within his home.
Lodic, being dedicated to making troubles for all who are in his company, offered to help warm the chilly halls of Tormir. Lodic’s bargain was a simple one; he promised he would bring the same warmth to Tormir’s hall as was in Ingvi’s, if he might be able to borrow Jerga’s mirror to protect him from the intense heat and being blinded by the light.
Tormir quickly agreed, and though Jerga protested initially, she reluctantly relinquished the large circular mirror at the promises of warmth in the hall. Tormir allowed Lodic to take the mirror and a great chain to bind the fire spirit with him. When he was outside, Lodic called his daughter Surda to help carry the chain so that he could better manage the huge mirror.
Surda was a strong girl and with her help, Lodic made excellent time to the great Hall of Ingvi. The great lord and his guests had all retired after a great Simbul and left the hearth unattended. Surda and her father stealthily made their way past the empty goblets and mead pitchers to the hearth and secured the fire spirit with the chain, while hiding behind the mirror. The fire spirit roared menacingly and burned hotter, making the chain hot. Surda asked her father for help, but Lodic had had his hands full with the mirror and could not spare a hand. Surda attached the chain to a sturdy loop of metal on her belt and fastened the belt snugly around her waist.
Releasing the great gates to the hearth, Surda and Lodic were both trying to hold the mirror, certain that the chain and belt would allow them to drag the spirit with them. The spirit took them by surprise and charged for the door, dragging Surda along the floor trailing the mirror with Lodic dragging behind that.
As soon as the fire spirit hit the outside of the Hall, it leapt skyward, jerking the mirror out of Lodic’s hands, leaving him in the snow, spitting and sputtering. The fire spirit tried to shake Surda from the chain, but the belt and its metal loop were too strong and all that happened was that the Mirror went flying into the sky, only to get stuck against the great dome. Surda cried out for help from her father, but the cries were too far away to be heard. Taking matters into her own hands, Surda pulled and yanked on the chain, trying to force the spirit to fall to the earth. Each time she pulled, sparks showered out and stuck against the dome of the sky, creating pinpoints of light against it. Finally harnessing the beast, Surda managed to direct it along the dome of the sky from Ingvi’s hall to Tormir’s hall, then down below the oceans to cool the chain and rose again near Ingvi’s hall. Surda continues to ride this path to this day, making fire serve Man and bringing us the day as well as burning down the homes and places of those who are unjust or have otherwise angered the gods.
Lodic, having lost the Mirror was berated by both Jerga and Tormir, but they could not accuse him of breaking his oath, for as soon as the fire was in the sky, it had started to warm the entire world along its path and melt the ice and snow. The halls of Tormir were indeed as warm as the halls of Ingvi. The snow quickly retreated from the lands except for the very high mountains and the very far north, which was off of the path that Surda follows. When Surda takes the fire spirit below the seas to cool the chain, you can still see the mirror and the sparks in the sky, even tonight.”
Nottulfr blinked twice slowly. She tilted her head, and nodded a little. She said she had heard differently, but it was good enough to give him the boon he requested. She called to one of her pups, who trundled out of the brush and instructed him to bark for Verbjorn, who had made ready the small leather sack. The pup barked and the sack appeared full, and Verbjorn quickly tied it off and put it away for safe keeping. Nottulfr looked at him and told him the way back to the others, promising him that the wolves would allow them to pass safely this time.
Verbjorn thanked her graciously and wandered back into camp well after midnight, where Condul and Gildhund were waiting, worried. He told them of his adventure, and they bedded down for the night, comfortable with the knowledge that they were a little safer.
They awoke with the sun, the fire had burned itself out and in the frost they could see a ring of wolf tracks circling their camp, as though they were being guarded while they slept. They ate a cold breakfast and headed off of the trail into the foothills, as it seemed more likely to encounter an eikvif in the wild than along a well traversed path. They walked well past midday and were just about to have a rest and a meal when a delicious smell wafted down the hill toward them. Curious, they crept through the light trees to the edge of a clearing and peered through the underbrush.