Jordermund’s Fist

“Hear, mighty prince, of the scourge that assails us.
Borne on black wings, hatred incarnate,
Child of the storm and child of the wasteland,
The wake of its passage is sorrow unending.”

The people called out to the prince of the mountains.
Jordermund, iron-thewed, blood-hardened, answered.
In the mead-hall of Breitheske the war band was gathered,
Neath smoke-darkened oak, where the elder songs sounded.

Bjorgir, the eldest, veteran and wise one.
Gray-crowned, branded the Unyielding Mountain.
In Jordermund’s youth, long days and nights
Spent teaching the path of the heroes of Njordr.

Skaedve, the Rager, impassioned and eager.
Once mortal foe, now a blood-brother,
Their paths joined together after Helvarsa,
Where together they felled the Giant of Egwend.

One more was there, his face hidden in shadow,
His eyes hooded, his envy unspoken.
He drank with the prince and joined in the skald-song,
Showing no sign of the treachery coming.

Bjorgir the Learned spake of the dragon.
“Terror dwells in the eyes of the monster.
Horror to choke the life from the warrior,
Icy dread spreading, freezing the lifeblood.”

“Biting teeth like swords of obsidian,
Claws long as scythes, wider than axes.
Brothers, will we answer the call of the people,
Strike down the beast born of darkest Malefic?”

As one man they roared the challenge’s answer,
The brave men of Njordr, the heroes of legend.
Death holds no fear for the mighty of spirit,
For those raised on mead, on songs and on steel.

Together they sought the trail of the monster,
In the far frozen wastelands they came to its lair.
Before them, the fortress of ice and black granite.
Jotunkoenig, seat of the King of the Giants.

They entered its halls, where the King waited for them.
But clouded with anger was the giant-lord’s visage.
“Humans, you dare to walk among Jotunn?
Thou shalt pay the price for thy ignoble trespass.”

Wise was Bjorgir, with faith in his war-band.
He stepped forth and offered himself up as hostage.
“Take me as prisoner, to vouchsafe their passage.
If they insult thy people, let my own life be forfeit.”

By the Old Ways, the king was forced to accept them.
Jordermund’s band went into the castle,
As great as the spreading Vale of Helvarsa,
As tall as the mountains that tear through the storm-clouds.

To the highest of towers their quest took the heroes,
Abandoned by Jotunn, now nest to the dragon,
Filled with the bones of cattle and human,
Devoured and discarded by the rampaging horror.

On the rampart they faced it, yelling defiance.
The wind mixing howls of human and hell-beast.
Jordermund and Skaede facing the monster,
The other behind, harrying and driving.

It turned on the harrier with its baleful ice-stare,
His hand faltered, knees weakened, heart filled with terror.
Unmoving, he stared up at black doom descending.
Then the Prince and the Rager leapt onto the monster.

Angered and wounded, the beast took to wing.
Up to the sky the warriors ascended!
To the blackness where stars look down on the world,
Dark blood and rimefrost coating the heroes.

Skaedve took up his mask of the blood-rage,
Onto his face the cold iron settled.
Brutal was Skaedve, his axe flashing forth,
The Frozen Slayer deep in the skull of the dragon.

Lifeless, the monster fell to the ground,
Carrying the heroes back to creation.
At the edge of the rampart its body met cold stone,
The warriors riding the corpse as an avalanche.

Skaedve stood, proclaiming the victory.
His boast cut short, blood from his mouth;
A dagger protruding from the back of the hero
The Betrayer, cruel and jealous, had slain him.

Jordermund’s grief howled through the caste,
Even in far forests stags paused to listen.
Jordermund rose, anger overflowing.
He took up the rage-mask fallen from Skaedve.

Jordermund cursed the name of the Betrayer,
Never again shall the skalds sing his stories,
Only in shame will he be remembered,
The one who betrayed the trust of his comrades.

Jordermund’s Fist rose over and over,
Delivering justice, the maul was relentless.
Broken was the Betrayer, cast down in ruin,
His body unmarked and unmourned forever.

Jordermund’s blood flowed from his brow,
From his chest and his back, from the wounds he had suffered.
His mortal strength leaving him, his spirit still dauntless.
Even as he died, he rose to face Sveas.

At the gates of the Underworld the mighty do battle,
At the gates of the First Ice Jordermund fought Sveas.
At the gates he defeated her, his legend enduring.
Over warriors he watches, and lends us his strength.

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