The snow was up to his knees and the wind was blowing the snowflakes sideways, he lost feeling in his feet and hands an hour ago, he hadn’t been this cold in a long time, and Bjorn the Ironbreaker was loving every second of it. He had been tracking a deer before the storm hit and could tell that he was gaining on the beast, he was far away from Stragosa but he needed to be away from that place and needed time to think, also pride wouldn’t let him call off the hunt because of a little snow. He was gaining on the creature when he heard something familiar in the woods, the sounds of iron on iron and the cries of men dying. Pausing to get his bearings he heard a familiar shout of a friend carry over the wind.
“In the name of the Lord, Die!”
Bjorn ran to his friend with all the speed of a Barsark unleashed.
He came to a spot in the woods where a small road cut through the deepest parts of the forest an overturned wagon and a dead horse marked the beginning of the ambush. He saw his friend surround by a half a dozen deformed creatures that might at one point have been human holding crude weapons and some having cruel claws, on the ground was a half dozen more smashed apart by his friend. His friend was wounded though and freely bleeding from cuts all over his body his weapon making his body sag with the weight, Above them all on a fallen tree was the largest of the creatures chanting a foul name. Coming onto the road Bjorn roared “I am Bjorn the Ironbreaker and I am your doom!” and fell into the crowd of foul creatures.
“Bjorn!” his friend shouted “what are you doing here?”
“Well Whitefire I was hunting but then heard you were having a good time without me!” laughed Bjorn as he hacked off an arm of a heretic. “Are you going to be ok you look a little rough?”
Whitefire smiled as a small trickle of blood escaped the side of his mouth. A cold chill ran up Bjorn’s spine, he had to get his friend healed and fast. The seconds stretched to minutes as adrenaline took over and he felt rage rising, then in a moment he was separated from his friend by a wall of flesh and watched with horror as the large heretic leaped over all of them and slammed his sword through the back of Whitefire. The mob of heretics screamed with joy as whitefire slumped to the ground supporting himself by his weapon the monster’s sword impaled through him. With one final burst of energy Whitefire drew his knife and twisted around and plunged the dagger into the Heretic’s heart up to the hilt. Both of them tumbling over, the mobs cries of joy turned to horror as they watched their leader die.
Bjorn wepted for his friend and envied his glorious death, he would survived this to tell everyone he met how he fell surrounded by his foes. He cut down the rest with white hot fury screaming “Whitefire!” with every blow. After the last was cut down he ran over to the body of his friend and rolled him onto his back hoping that his Lion God was watching over him this day. Whitefire was coughing up blood and smiling.
“Bjorn” he smiled blood flowing from wounds and his mouth, a sword sticking out of his chest hilt buried in his back. The only thing keeping him awake now was shock and battle fury. “Did we win?” the storm was breaking now as the snow slowed and finally stopped
“Oh yes we did” Bjorn said his eyes searching and trying to figure out how he was going to patch up his friend and make it back to town during the storm. “We are getting you a shield when we get back to town after we get you patched up my friend.”
“I don’t think im making it that far Bjorn” he said ending his sentence with a cough that brought a bubble of blood up to his mouth.
“What are you talking about Whitefire? You’re tougher than old boots you’re going to to walk this off.” Bjorn was panicking trying to stem all of his wounds while keeping a smile up, he didn’t even want to think about how he was going to remove the sword in his chest without killing him.
“Enough Ironbreaker, just stop, we both know I’m dead, let me go, and don’t bring me back this time, tell no one of this i do not wish to grief my friends” Whitefire sighed his face growing pale.
“No, I’m not going to lose you here, and besides you can’t die we have so much more to talk about, I still have so much more to learn from you.” Bjorns hands moving frantically now.
The light was beginning to fade from Whitefire’s eyes. “im sorry my friend but someone else has to teach you now i have one more request from you. take this.” His fingers numbly grasping his holy symbol, the Lion on it covered in martyrs blood now. “The key inside will unlock my chest” his words were fading fast now “take everything you find inside of it and” he never finished his words as his head sagged as his spirit left his body.
Bjorn let out a mighty howl as the clouds broke and a ray of sunlight bathed the broken body in warm light. The rest of the day was spent clean the body of its wounds and wrapping it in a sheet provided by the wagon. Hosting his friend over his shoulders he marched to a small church outside of Stragosa. It was a long walk slowed by the snows and the weight he had to camp for two days.
“You know for being a shorter man Whitefire you are very heavy, of course i have been carrying you for two days And you’re not getting any lighter. Let me sit you down for a moment and catch my breath.” Gently he set the body down leaning against a tree, bjorn took a long drink from his water skin. “I miss you already my friend, I miss your boldness and drive, and that quiet confidence that was around you wherever you went. I don’t think we shall see that again in the valley for a long time, especially from the other priests. I miss your understanding and kindness.”
They arrived at the small church just before dusk, Bjorn gently knocked on the door and an old Gothic priest came out. “father i have a body for you to bury, he was killed by heretics on the road, he needs a good burial.” The priest took them out behind the church and handed bjorn a shovel and with a small smile said “young man could you please dig the grave my back isn’t what it use to be, and tell me about your friend so i can send him off to the Lord properly.”
Bjorn smiled and took the shovel and started to dig. He told the old man how Whitefire’s blade was never sheathed in the face of evil, about their first meeting, about fighting hordes of the undead in the church district failing at first, facing down witches and heretics, burning down forests, fighting kauralites, and finally freeing the church district and slaying the creature far below. Then Bjorn told the priest of his arrest, and Whitefire’s visit to him in jail and how his words comforted and uplifted him and tilted his world view and made him no longer as afraid of the Gods. Finally he told him of his trial and how he was set free.
The priest was quite throughout all of it listening intently, and the end he asked on question “What was Whitefire’s given name? I want to make sure i get it right.” Climbing out of the finished grave Bjorn said with a smile, tears marking his face “Caelius”