The Cold Embrace of Death

So many of the warriors here talk about the heat of battle, the feeling of blood rushing through your veins, the feeling of time both getting longer and shorter. Clashes feel like they take hours, but moments during them feel so fleeting. I felt a different side of this when looking for the sword of this mysterious potential saint, Rannveig. Their hatred for Sveas and her minions was palpable even in spirit when I met him in my vision, but I learned just how deep that ran. When I came upon the field just outside the eternal storm, I felt…calm, peace knowing this was the place I was sent to visit, that this great warrior would no longer be lost to time or held only in respect through fallible stories, and that my long journey wouldn’t be for naught. As this peace settled, my vision darkened. I rubbed my eyes to clear my vision, but when I came to, I was no longer in the warm sun of the late summer skies. Snow covered the ground, but I found no chill in my bones. In my hand was the sword I was looking for, and before me was a hoard of Sveas’s minions, the undead. My heart swelled, but again a peace washed over me. Death wasn’t something to be feared, but faced head-on. I prayed for strength, wisdom, and endurance in this battle and marched forward toward the encroaching sea of bodies.

A roar escaped my lungs as I swung my blade and immediately cut down four of these creatures, a light flashing on every connection of my blade. These were nothing. There were no weapons or armor on them, just a cold, bloodthirsty passion in their gaze. This wasn’t a battle of skill, but of endurance. I kept my wits about me as I cut down dozens, then hundreds. There was a break in the chaff, and I spotted more coming for me now armed and armored. This fight was only beginning. They rushed me this time and attacked with more coordination and tact, yet they were still no match for me. I focused but felt fatigue setting in. This was the touch of Sveas and I would not let her win. I let out another roar and took down the three that were flanking me. I rushed with determination through the ranks of these monsters and locked eyes with ones that could be considered my equal. They were much larger, and I felt the cold aura of Sveas even from the distance I was at. I rushed toward them, taking down undead left and right.

“Finally, a potential challenge. Here I thought you were toying with me, Sveas. I’ll take down your champions and whatever else you throw at me. I am not your slave. I am Rannveig the Death Defiant.”

I leapt towards the beast, and steel clashed in midair. Blows were traded, cutting down the surrounding troops, and for once, I was taking injuries. They felt cold and numb instead of the typical wounds I’ve felt before. At last, I slashed an arm off the champion, his sword arm, and took the chance to separate its head from its body. It slumped to the ground defeated, and behind it, two more warriors of similar stature approached, cleaving a path of their own troops.

“I thought that was too easy for the god of death. Let’s really see what you have for me.” I cleaved both of them, steel clashing, iron ringing, and my endurance fading. Between the wounds, the supernatural cold, and me fighting for what felt like hours, my abilities were dulling. I collected more injuries on my leg and arm. I took to one knee and felt the grip of Sveas tightening on my wounds. I took a painful breath in, and let out one final roar.

“I AM NOT YOURS, SVEAS! YOU WILL TASTE MY VENGEANCE!” I spun and cleaved the two fighting me, decapitating them in the process. I leapt at those surrounding me and continued my rampage. I knew my time was limited, but I would take as many as I could with me. A long sword slipped between my armor, a hammer battered my arm, a great axe knocked me off balance, and that was it. My injured leg gave out as I fell on my back. The hoard didn’t descend upon me, but instead one more champion walked through a part in the surrounding crowd. With a great sword in his mighty hands, I knew what was to come.

“Even in death you will not take me Sveas. My soul is not yours.” The champion impaled me to the ground as my vision again blurred.

I was back in the field, lying down as he had, sword in hand. The vision of Rannveig the Death Defiant was still humming in my mind. Even during all of that mayhem, I still felt calm. He felt calm. He did not fear death and, as such, faced it physically head on. I will make sure to honor him as best as I can.

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