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The Second Circlet: The Old Places - 7. Segment 7: Gungnir

The Hall of the Elves was formidable in size and in grandeur. It was very ‘Viking-like’ with everything being made of burnished wood, much like an old sailing ship might be. The woodwork was just as ‘Elfish’ as you might imagine. Fantasy authors like Tolkien probably didn’t know how on the mark they were about Elvish architecture, but the real thing is just as beautiful and just as ‘filigreed’ as one might imagine Elf places to be. Not a bit of the wood in the place was left untouched. Everything had some sigil, design, or carving that made of it a piece of artwork in itself. Sean had the feeling that when these guys weren’t eating and playing music, they were carving wood!

For some reason, Sean had been singled out from his troupe and allowed to sit at the ‘Big Table’ with the patriarch of this family of mythical manifestations. The patriarch was named Seigjërd Earl. Sean figured that put in more English parlance he’d be better described as Seigjërd, Earl of Elfland, or some such.

He seemed taller and older than the rest of the elvish people around them. It was hard to tell except by some kind of instinct that Seigjërd was older than the rest. None of the Elves seemed to have an age range. They all seemed like ‘young people’ in their 20s or late teens resembling University First-Years except with pointy ears, snowy complexions, and large slanty eyes. The ages were more written in the faces of the elders - a certain . . . weariness that could only come from longer lives spent with long experience. The ‘younger’ Elves seemed ‘brighter’ somehow. They were lighter and more spry with their movements and not quite so languid with a graceful tiredness.

As the only man at the table, Sean felt almost elephantine. The Elves were as tall as he was or even taller, but much thinner and insubstantial. They seemed like mere wisps next to Sean’s human solidity and bulk.

Despite their delicacy in shape, the Elves certainly knew how to eat! None of the food was strange or bizarre to Sean. It was simple faire of potatoes, meats, cheeses, and ‘mead’ - the very honey-beer Sean had sometimes stocked in his bar, mostly for his own consumption. Sean had ever been a devotee of meads! Now, in light of his newly discovered ancient Nordic heritage, his strange love for the nonstandard ale made a lot more sense. He also seemed to be able to metabolise it better than most Irishmen since good mead packs a powerful punch. This elvish mead was no exception! If anything, it was more potent than Sean’s normal drink.

“You take to the mjöður as if you were suckled upon it by your mother!” Seigjërd Earl told Sean appreciatively as they clinked their two metal steins together. Sean wanted to believe that the stein was made of gold since it was a yellow metal, but it was much lighter than a gold mug would be! It also glittered with a ‘belt’ of polished gems!

“Let’s leave me poor sainted mother out of this, will ye?” Sean gave one of his charming winks at the elvish earl who seemed just as jolly as a Christmas elf! The elf let go with a surprising deep belly laugh and downed his draught with an impressive slurp.

“Gœða was right about you, Sean Gata Augu! You do still seethe with the blood of your ancestors! Behold, our little cousins from Avalonheim, already they dance their dance like Freya’s Blessed Fools!” Seigjërd gestured gracefully toward the two Leprechauns who were already making a fine mess of the table they were dancing arm-in-arm upon with cheeks red as apples!

The ladies, Moira and Viviane, had temperance enough to request wines for them both - cloudberry wine apparently. This vintage only seemed to make them comfortably relaxed as they daintily tucked into their meat and potatoes.

The Faery Lady had remained outside as the Elves could not allow one of her kind within their walls. In a way, Sean was glad of this. He was not sure he could trust her any more than the Elves could. She’d been nothing but amazing to them all up until this point, but Sean’s gut was telling him something was off! Somewhere, something, or someone was not who they were purporting themselves to be!

“Do you know of the Draugr, Sean Gata Augu?” Seigjërd Earl asked.

“Can’t say that I have, M’Lord. I must say that I’m a might distressed by the named creature. Your sentries seemed not to care for the thing.” Sean attempted to sound nonchalant, but it was clear he was more than just a little nervous about facing something called a ‘Draugr’!

“It seems not to be a legend that has translated well along the paths of history and storytelling. Though we know the Outer World does seem to take more interest, these days, in the Old Ways, it is clear it is a very superficial interest.” Seigjërd Earl remarked with a touch of melancholy.

“But, know you, Sean Gata Augu, that the Draugr were the most feared of all the Norse legends! The fact that such things are not legends should be cause to freeze the blood of any noble Viking Warrior who’s wit was worth more than a simpleton’s.” Seigjërd Earl leaned into his words direly, staring Sean deep into his eyes. The sharp focus of the Elf was daunting enough, but the horror of the mental images that accompanied that stare no mead could blunt or dampen!

In Sean’s mind suddenly wheeled images of a dark coast inundated with an eerie fog aglow with unnatural phosphorescence. Small lamplights and fires within a village near that coast twinkled in the night, but were then suddenly extinguished as the fog drifted over the town and consumed it!

Deeper in the stygian fog, red glowing eyes pierced through the gloom and the shadows of half-men appeared. They were ‘half-men’ because their shadows, backlit by the eldritch mists, oft revealed bare bones where flesh should be! Those that shambled in the fog were half rotted away by the sea and their fleshless bodies were supported by preternatural energies well neigh incomprehensible to any sane man.

These skeletal undead horrors bore weapons of the sea - tridents, fishing spears, whaling harpoons, and great fish hooks! All these they would bring to bear on hapless townsfolk foolish enough to be caught in the Draugr’s Fog by night! None dared open their doors or windows to this fog for where the foggy mist went, the demon Viking undead were sure to follow bringing with them death and vengeance.

“God in heaven! You are tellin’ me those walk the earth in truth?” Sean had looked down into his mead while the vision played out, but their blue glare flashed up to meet Seigjërd Earl’s. The sympathy in the Elf Earl’s eyes reflected the fear found in Sean’s own. To think that zombie stories going back hundreds of years could have some basis in reality! To think that the Undead walk the earth seeking blood and vengeance upon the living! Sean had seen legends walking, even right before him now, but up until now they’ve been friendly, beautiful, if strange and sometimes unpredictable. But, this was the first time he was threatened with a confrontation with legends of horror and evil! Mother Mary, what had Sean gotten his fool self into now?

“You look upset, Sean. Are you ill?” Moira was suddenly at his side and as he looked up at her it was with a surprised start. A surprise as if she were a sudden stranger to him and she’d just popped out of the woodwork to talk to him. But, Sean did manage to come back to himself long enough to respond to this woman he should want to know more than any other.

“Ah, the good Seigjërd Earl and I, here, have just been talkin’ about what lies ahead of us if we’re to get this artefact the Blue Fairy out there brought us to find. Seems . . . it might be a rough row to hoe, Moira, me lass.” Sean said with a new weariness he hadn’t had before engaging in this conversation with the Earl.

“What . . . sort of thing, Sean?” Moira pressed, but it was Seigjërd Earl who answered.

“Draugr, your Majesty!” Seigjërd Earl said as he stood and then gracefully knelt and genuflected before Moira. Sean blinked at that one. ‘Your Majesty’?

“Erm, you may refer to me as Moira, Lord Seigjërd. I am no queen. I’m just a mere archeologist finding herself in the most amazing archeological study since the opening of King Tut’s Tomb!” Moira tried to wave off the bizarrely grand honorific.

“You carry Excalibur, M’Lady! You are High Queen now! You are the one to which we must all pledge ourselves! You are the one that must save us from the doom that awaits us!” Seigjërd Earl said, still knelt to the floor with his beautifully embroidered robes spread out about him getting dirty.

“He’s right, ya know! The Earl is right! Here we have been so busy cavorting about with our Elvish brothers and sisters that I totally forgot the protocol!” Joraan was with them just then along with My’n. Both knelt and then the whole place knelt!

Seigjërd Earl rose then and proclaimed: “Long live the Queen of Avalon the Great, Moira Salvis Regina! Long may she reign!” Everyone raised a glass or a stein and followed suit in the proclamation.

Moira simply stood in complete and utter shock! Sean looked up at her from his knelt position and held out his hand to take hers. This made the picture of a knight taking the hand of his sovereign, pledging his undying fealty for all time!

“Now, we rest, for tomorrow we must find Great Gungnir for the High Queen’s Viking Paladin! The legends of old are made manifest, my children! Behold, The Company Of The Queen!” Seigjërd Earl gestured to the assembled travellers and signalled to his subjects that it was time to release their joy at the coming of a new age into this tired old world! Musical elvish cheers sounded and then beautiful elvish music filled the hall.

This devolved into sleep for all within the closed hall. Cushioned mats and fur blankets were provided for all and The Company Of The Queen found themselves asleep despite themselves. Even Sean found sleep, though things walked in his dreams that made that sleep fitful.

Perhaps, something more disturbed Sean’s rest other than just simple nightmares. Perhaps, it was something lurking outside the hall as a misting fog drew around. A misting fog that . . .

. . . glowed!


Outside, something in shadow stirred in the eerie mists surrounding the Elven Hall. There were Several somethings, actually. They were shapes, difficult to make out, but clearly humanoid and ambulatory. The shadows moved in the mist with a slow, dreadful resolve. The fog glowed about the beings and from behind them such that their figures became clearer in their silhouettes.

The dreamers in the Hall were fortunate in their oblivious sleep. This was so because what resolved out of those shifting shadows in the glowing mist was deeply, mind freezingly terrifying!

About the area a stench arose not unlike rotting fish or decomposing seaweed. Clanking noises of chains and metal instruments filled the still air as the misting fog silently moved of its own accord thickening against the walls of the Hall.

Shambling toward the heavy carved wooden doors to the Elven Mead Hall came Draugr - nightmare images of living death vomited up from the sea! They came to stand in front of the great portal. They were skeletal, worm ridden, and half-clothed in rotting cloth and flesh. Armoured portions of their garb clanked and clinked against bare bones or worse . . . against an instrument of death each Draugr carried in its hand. All of them razor sharp. All of them deadly!

The tallest of the Draugr stepped forward. It seemed to have been a captain of men, once. It still sported a tattered cape that may once have been very grand and this Draugr still wore a helm of command. The helm had golden wings untouched by the ravages of the sea. Unfortunately, what was inside that helm was ravaged completely for not a shred of flesh was left on that unliving skull. Somehow sinews still held it together so that the skull wouldn’t fall to pieces within the golden helm.

Horrifyingly, upon reaching the door, the skull’s eye sockets lit with glowing pinpricks of light and the Death Captain raised his cutlass and rapped heavily upon the Elven gate.

Within, everyone woke to full alert. Everyone, except the poor humans. One awoke bleary eyed, another woke with an irritable growl, and the other had to be awakened with a hefty shake from a small four fingered hand.

“Wake up, ya shebeen! Something strange is happening!” and this from another ‘something strange’ manhandling Sean with surprising strength for his size. Immediately, Sean’s head spun. The mead!

“What, in the Devil’s backside, is wrong with ye now, Green Jeans? Can’t a man sleep one off?” Sean blustered at Joraan who winced at the strange new appellation.

“Look and listen for yerself, ya ‘Viking’ ya!” Joraan gestured at the array before them. Elves, everywhere, bows up and arrows drawn, aiming toward the front door! A front door that was the source of the resounding pounding, not poor Sean’s hungover head.

Doom, Doom, Doom - went the great front doors! Something on the other side was relentlessly pounding in measured beats. That something had to be incredibly strong to keep knocking like this. Sean figured it would take a battering ram to make such a noise against those heavy doors! Then . . . the relentless pounding ceased. It was as if whoever or whatever was on the other side of those doors knew that they had gotten the attention of the Hall’s contents.

“Bring forth the Candidate. Gungnir calls . . .” a deep voice like cracking ice resounded and echoed through the deathly silent Hall! The voice was fit to send a wash of chills down poor Sean’s spine! Instantly, his hangover grogginess was gone and replaced by primal dread. Something out there, something terrible, was calling for . . . him! He was the only ‘Candidate’ for Gungnir that he knew of in the room. The freaky question was: how, in Mother Mary’s Blue Linens, did it know he was here?

“Open, bring him forth! Bring him forth or . . . join us in Death,” the grimly damned voice shivered through the Hall with calm finality. Especially, the word ‘Death’ seemed to be spoken with measured affection!

“What, in God’s Green Earth, is that, ya think?” Moira was suddenly there at his side, but even her tranquil presence was insufficient to quell Sean’s fear. It was deep now! It was real fear! The kind that sinks into you like the icy grip of an engulfing avalanche. Sean wanted to work up words, but found his voice box paralysed with fright! He could only shake his head and try to gulp at the stone in his gullet!

“Do not be terrified overmuch, Seany! Remember, you have mates now that can handle quite a few strange things. Even this.” Joraan, at Sean’s other side, drew from his scabbard the golden glaive Claíomh Solais. With it’s nearness to wherever Moira had hidden Excalibur, the magical blade verily scintillated with fire!

“Aye, alone you’re not nor shall you ever be.” My’n chimed in as he drew his new silver dagger, Carnwennan, that shone bright enough to light their area of the darkened Hall.

Viviane said nothing, but rose her staff defensively at My’n’s side.

“WHO DARES TO DEFILE THE SANCTITY OF THIS SACRED HALL! WHO DARES ACCOST THE ELVISH KING OF THIS LAND OF BOTH FIRE AND ICE?” Seigjërd’s voice rang out like a clarion and as his voiced sounded, Sean could hear the tightening of what must have been hundreds of bows readying to let loose their volley of arrows upon their hidden enemy. With these things, Sean suddenly felt much less afraid!

“We who were bound to this world by Woden. We who have been bound in the keeping of Gungnir for time spent in ages. We seek our rest at last. Bring forth the Candidate. Gungnir calls to its new master!” The Death Captain’s toneless words almost seemed to have just the faintest note of longing.

Seigjërd Earl muttered ‘Draugr? Here?’ or so it seemed to Sean. The Earl of Elves certainly took on a hue impossibly paler at his revelation! Sean suddenly didn’t feel as confident anymore!

“Candidate? What ‘Candidate’? Gungnir is lost! BEGONE FROM MY HALL AT ONCE, FOUL FIENDS OF FENRIR!” Seigjërd Earl’s voice rang harder. His revelation that the only reason Sean came to this bleak land was ‘lost’ added a touch of despair to his swelling anxiety.

At that, a tendril of a greenish glowing mist found its way through a seam of the great doors. The tendril moved like a living thing to where the lock for the doors could be found. Once it found what it was feeling for, the tendril yanked the lock right off its bindings! Horrors!

The doors then slowly parted allowing more of the strange green mist to flood in upon the floor of the Hall.

“Hold fire until you see them!” Seigjërd Earl commanded of his people. Sean heard the leather of Joraan’s glove tighten upon the hilt of his glaive. It was at this moment Sean wished he had something of his own with which to protect himself. A nice AK-47 would be nice!

Shadows shifted within the eldritch mist and with a fright that almost made Sean’s very hair stand on end, red glowing eyes appeared at the heads of these shadows!

“Eldurrr!” Seigjërd hollered and a flurry of arrows sang through the air and out into whatever was lurking in the mist! Knowing exactly what was about to happen, Joraan roughly pulled his two human charges down as My’n did the same with Viviane! Not seconds later the arrows shot over their heads!

The arrows hit nothing! They simply splintered as if a wall of invisible ice had appeared ahead of the Draugr that still stood at the door.

“Set flame volley! Though we may burn ourselves, we will end these things of Death before they can enslave us as they are enslaved!” Seigjërd Earl regaled. That didn’t sound terribly auspicious to Sean at all! He neither wanted to be cut to pieces by Monsters In The Mist or burnt to a crisp by his ‘allies’.

It was then that every flame in the Hall guttered out all at once! They died away as if sucked up by some vacuum! But, light did not allow the Hall to be plunged into eerie darkness. The light at the door that stood between the Draugr and the Elves seemed to banish all darkness! Even the mists cleared about it!

The light resolved into the form of Myra, standing angelic with her gossamer gown and crystal wings. She was radiant in a way Sean had yet seen her! Despite his misgivings about her, Sean had to admit that Myra was beautiful as the dawn!

“FAE! KILL HER! QUICKLY! QUICKLY BEFORE SHE CASTS US ALL TO HEL!” Seigjërd Earl screamed out in uncharacteristic terror! Sean found that remarkable! Behind Myra’s beauty stood things so ghastly that not even the most dreadful nightmare could conjure such horror. Yet, the Elves were far more terrified of Myra than they were of the walking dead! Sean had to wonder . . . just what had he put himself up against? These Fae . . . they seem demon-like! What hope has any of us against something that powerful set on destroying all humanity!

In demonstration, as the Elves prepared for another volley, Myra waved a sparkling crystal wand at them and their weapons just crumbled into dust! Sean now knew he had judged Myra perfectly! She was evil! She WAS an emissary of this Morgana and she was going to kill them all where they stood with powers beyond comprehension!

But, it was not so.

“Hold, valiant Elves of the Ice Lands! I mean you no harm and neither do my companions! We come not in enmity, but as allies to the same cause - the restoration of Gungnir to a rightful Norse hand to the perdition of the Fae Betrayer, Morgana! You remember that name, do you not?” Myra spoke with authority into the room and all was silent.

Until, “Yes, we remember that name! We know ALL the Fae fell to her command to destroy all the rest of us! We fought the Fae and were nearly made extinct by them! If not for the Aesir, we would have been made extinct! We know you also, Myrex! Waiting, watching for the opportunity to finish what Morgana started! We also have been waiting!” Seigjërd Earl retorted hotly.

“Then you have waited under falsehoods, my Earl, for I waited for no one. I was made an outcast by my people because I would not be put under Morgana’s folly! I am the last of my kind, Elf. All the others have turned demon-twisted beyond the veil and yet they have found a way back! All of us must prepare to face Morgana again, this time for the last time!” Myra proclaimed.

“In any case, Elves, think as you will. Survive as you can. I have not brought the Draugr for you, but for Sean Pierceye!” Myra pointed directly at Sean causing him to shrink in fear! But, that fear instantly lifted as he heard Myra’s calm, consoling voice in his head.

“Fear not, Pierceye! These Draugr have not come to kill, but to escort. They keep Gungnir. They were cursed to guard it for centuries under the will of their Aesir god, Odin. Gungnir was the only Aesir weapon left on Midgard before Odin was bound away from the affairs of men by something called the Aegis. Gungnir is the Odinspear! It is one of the most powerful weapons on this planet and it is time for you, Sean Pierceye, to claim it in defence of Moira and the rest of mankind!” Myra explained.

Sean blinked and shook his head, trying to make sense of the visions suddenly playing out before him in his mind’s eye. A platoon of Vikings hauling ashore. They carried something wrapped in a blue velvet cloth adorned with two ravens, one black and one white. A corner of the cloth caught the wind and folded back just enough for Sean to see the tip of a glittering spearhead shaped like four crescent moons back to back! The Vikings hauled the heavy objected up to a volcanic mountain where they tossed the great spear into the depths of a lava pit. Sean recognised the peak! It was the one not too distant from where they were in the Hall!

Sean knew his destiny then. He had to go to that mountain. He had to retrieve Gungnir, somehow, even if it was encased in a boiling pool of lava.

“Just so, then. I’ll come.” Sean said and made to get up, but was yanked at by Joraan who looked up at him with fearful warning. Moira too was shaking her head, not understanding what Sean had to do.

“Let me go, Joraan. Myra has shown me my destiny. I must get Gungnir . . . whatever comes.” Sean gently wrested himself from Joraan’s grip, but then got up to stand from his crouch.

“You ye won’t be goin’ alone, Lad! I dare not trust the Fae and I don’t think one can ever trust the Undead, so someone needs to have your back.” Joraan said with finality.

“You all should stay with the Elves. I must do this alone. It is the . . . Viking way,” and before any of them could make to accompany, stop, or cajole Sean from his self-appointed duty, he was marching swiftly through the throng of Elves to the front door!

“Where think you go, Viking? These will make of you one of them. We cannot allow such a thing, Mortal. Too long have the Draugr frustrated us and our mission. You shall not be joining them and Gungnir will not fall into the hands of a child of men.” Seigjërd Earl said with deadly calm as he raised his own gilded bow and aimed a silver arrow right at Sean!

The sunshine blade that clove right through Seigjërd‘s magical weapon was irresistibly powerful and needed no proximity to do its work! Excalibur can cut as well at a distance as it can up close. It can also cut through . . . anything!

“You’ll be shootin’ nothing at anyone, you treacherous elf! If Queen you proclaimed me than Queen I am to you. You will all stand down! You will all desist! Myra is truth personified! If she speaks, it is truth! We will all remain here and await Sean’s return, as he asks of us. Any one of you that attempts to hinder him in any way will answer to me!” Moria stood, Excalibur raised and glittering with its singular power! She spoke like a Queen because, despite her own feelings to the contrary, she had to be a Queen, now.

“Return to me Sean! Do not fail me.” Moira called out to her beloved.

“All the powers of Hell couldn’t hold me back from that, Moira, me Heart.” Sean favoured Moira one last longing look and then was outside in the cold night, a glowing fairy at his side, and a grim sight before him.

The Death Captain advanced, Sean held his ground, though he shivered in instinctive terror. A gentle hand came to rest on his shoulder that helped him bolster himself.

“Be calmed, Pierceye. Monaegleth was noble in birth and, despite the ravages of time and death, he remains so.” Myra assured.

Looking into that death’s head under that golden helm, Sean couldn’t help but think of Darth Vader if that villain had been uglier.

“Come, Pierceye. The sooner we are done with this, the sooner I can rest.” Monaegleth’s voice hadn’t warmed an iota since earlier. It still had all the charm of cracking ice.

“Lead on then, er, McDuff!” Sean managed to squeeze out of his fear-strangled larynx.

In a most human gesture made creepy by what was doing it, the Captain of the Draugr chuffed what seemed to be a scoffing laugh. Sean could even bring humour to the Dead, apparently.

“Heh, the Living . . .” was the Captain’s scoff. Majestically with tattered cape billowing in the chill fog, Monaegleth turned and gestured his charge to follow. The other Draugr, much to Sean’s chagrin, closed ranks about him and they began the long hike to the volcano holding Gungnir.


The hike, through the dark, was arduous on Sean, night blind compared to his rank and rotting companions, he stumbled over rocks more than a few times. Fortunately, Myra was proving herself with each stumble as she was right there to lend assistance with some gentle stabilisation. She couldn’t bring forth her light because the Draugr couldn’t abide it. Being things from the Darkness, light ‘hurt’ them in some way.

Before very long, in the wee hours of the early morning darkness, Sean found himself suddenly bathed in a warm glow. The glow got warmer and warmer as they closed in on its source. As a matter of fact, closer still, Sean found himself beginning to sweat and swelter from a heat that must have gone into the thousands of degrees to be hot at this distance.

Before them stood their volcanic destination, a rent in the earth that looked like a great cone with a slash down it’s length on its northern slope. Falling like some hellish waterfall, a flood of molten lava washed down the cut in the volcanic cone. By the half-a-kilometer depth of the fissure, the lava fall must have been at work there for years, if not centuries!

The fall of fire fell into a lake of lava that bubbled, splattered, exploded, and hissed with noxious gases. The pool of lava oozed out and away from where the Demon Falls splashed into the lake of fire. The incinerating tide became a cooling sludge and then superheated basalt as the flood neared the lake’s edges.

The motley group stood quite a distance from the lake and yet, Sean felt his skin burning! Wherever they were going, it couldn’t be closer than this. Sean would surely burn to death before ever getting close to that doorway into this living Hell! To prove the point, Sean’s body started to fail him and he fell to his knees painfully on the sharpened lava rock. He was near to passing out from the heat.

“Can’t go on! Can’t . . . get any closer! Burning alive! Can’t . . .” Sean’s world began to spin as he felt himself go over and seem to fall forever into black unconsciousness.

“The Living cannot get closer than this to the Hel Gate. Such was Odin’s will that we warriors were killed so that the flames of Hel could not kill us before securing Gungnir. Only we can retrieve the Spear Of Destiny. We do so gratefully. Once the spear is with its new charge . . . we can die at last!” Monaegleth intoned with his dead cracking voice.

With this, the team of Undead Warriors shuffled forth toward the billowing lava lake. As they neared it, the remains of their clothing caught fire and disintegrated. Armour melted and fell from the Draugr in metallic drips. Soon they were all bare skeletons, walking inexorably into their Hell Pit like the damned souls they seemed to be. Without the slight bit of pain, they all entered the lava lake as if they were entering into a swimming pond! The lava covered their smoking and blackening bones and then . . . nothing.

Myra wondered if this had all been some delusional trick or some devilry of the Black Dragon to set them off the path to Gungnir. Sean began to rouse as Myra provided him fresh water from the curve of one of her four gossamer wings.

“Where did our zombies go?” Sean asked Myra. She merely shook her head acknowledging that even she could not guess! This concerned Sean greatly! Had they come all this way for nothing or was this some terrible trap. Sean had read where lava fields could be treacherous in that, even though the encroaching lava was slow moving, it had a tendency to advance irregularly. It could cut one off from escape easily if one was not paying attention.

“We’ve been Shanghaied, haven’t we?” Sean asked rhetorically. Myra made no answer. She was trying to use every one of her elemental senses to figure out what was going on with the Draugr.

Then . . . it happened!

The centre of the lava lake seemed to bubble up extraordinarily and then ‘BOOM,’ the bubble exploded sending some dark shard sailing toward them at the speed of a Tomahawk missile! The shard arched into the sky and then angled down right where Sean was still kneeling! Myra used her power to throw Sean clear as the shaft, ejected from the lava, embedded itself right where Sean had just been! If not for Myra, Sean would have become a shish-kabob!

There, embedded, was a golden hilt that led down to where a four-way cruciform blade penetrated the basalt!


Sean was concerned about reaching out for the handle of the spear. He figured it would be hundreds of degrees hot and that he would be liable to fry his hand off if he tried to touch the prize.

Interestingly, shockingly, amazingly, when Sean’s hand raised to take hold anyway, Gungnir unloosed itself from the rock and flew right into Sean’s hand! The handle was cool as the surrounding air was! Coolth came because, as soon as the Great Spear abandoned its idle posting in the lake of fire, the fires of the Hel Gate abated. The lava stopped flowing from the fissure into the lake and the constant burbling and popping of the liquid rock slowed and then ceased entirely!

It dawned then on Sean that Gungnir had been the cause of all the volcanic activity! Once freed, the Spear Of Destiny no longer needed its eternal elemental protection from greed infested men. Sean had to marvel at the power this device had! At the same time, Sean refused to be intimidated or bewitched by that fact either. Gungnir would be just a tool, like a drill or a hammer. It had a singular purpose, to defend Moira from whoever or whatever tried to harm her! For anything outside of that, Sean wouldn’t even contemplate using the Odinspear!

The Draugr did not return from the fire once they had divested themselves of Gungnir. Sean felt a sudden sharp pang of pity for the horrific beings. What kind of existence must it be to ‘unlive’ as a shambling, rotting corpse where burning away in hot lava seemed like an agreeable alternative? Sean put that thought away. Madness led that way!

“Well, that’s that, I guess. Let’s get back with the others and get out of this icy-hot carbuncle on the face of the world!” Sean motioned toward Myra, who followed dutifully the marching Viking Knight.

“Oi! The task is done! Let’s get while the getting’s good, folks.” Sean called into the Hall.

No answer.

“Hey! I’ve been hikin’ me hone off out here in this misery for hours! The least you could do is come out and join me to plan our next move! Moira?” Sean called out worriedly.

“She and the rest of her compatriots can depart this place just as soon as you hand over Gungnir to us, the rightful owners of that Dwarf Wrought spine.” Seigjërd Earl said with veiled menace as he and four of his armoured mates exited the Hall to face Sean and Myra.

“Uh, no. That wasn’t the deal we signed on to when we came here, your Grace. Gungnir has a purpose only for me, Moira, and Morgana’s backside. You’ll be steppin’ off then, so I can bring out me companions to finish just that purpose . . . or do you want this trouble?” Sean lowered his head and snarled the last part of his commanding warning. Instinctively, he stamped Gungnir by it’s butt onto the basalt earth below him. When he did, the area around rocked with a short if violent earthquake!

The effect it had on the Elves was to knock them to their knees and to cause sounds of fright to emanate from inside the creaking Mead Hall. For his part, Sean felt anchored to the earth such that he maintained perfect balance as Gungnir rocked all else.

“No mere mortal should wield that power, Pierceye! That is a god’s weapon! You soil it with your very touch!” Seigjërd Earl refused to back down and with a swift stroke of his arm in Sean’s direction, the Earl’s four bodyguards readied and unleashed four fiery bolts from their crossbows in Sean’s direction!

Again, with more Gungnir’s idea than Sean’s, the spear spun in his hand with lightning quickness effectively creating an impenetrable barrier between him and the bolts racing toward Sean. Each bolt shattered upon impact with the magnificent weapon. The bodyguard’s were stunned and looked at each other incredulously!

“Fools! Must I do everything myself?” Seigjërd Earl growled at his entourage. He then unsheathed a long, curved sword from the scabbard Seigjërd Earl concealed under his cape at his back. With the lightning reflexes and agility of a Mountain Lion, the Elf Lord launched himself at Sean with the intent of ‘unhanding’ the man to take the weapon to be the Earl’s own!

With similar lightning swiftness, Gungnir lifted itself in Sean’s hand and aimed itself in the oncoming Earl’s direction. A hot yellow-gold beam of searing brilliance released from the spear’s quadroon bladed tip. Upon striking the woebegone Elf Lord, Seigjërd Earl erupted in flame and was disintegrated before he could even cry out!

Furious, the Earl’s itinerate guard roared their shock and anger and they too raised their own curved swords to ready a charge! Gungnir’s Lance (as the beam has been called) disintegrated them as well, leaving no elf left alive outside of the Hall.

“I . . . I didn’t want that! Does this thing not have a ‘stun’ setting or some such?” Sean said, horrified at what he had just done.

“Gungnir is a tool of justice, Pierceye. It reacted as Odin would have at foul treachery and betrayal. These Elves posed as friends, but were, in fact, in league with our enemy. Even unawares, their actions tell me that the Black Dragon has corrupted them as well. It is no wonder this place feels so dead, so cursed, and why the Draugr were necessary. How unimaginably pitiable!” Myra said with deep sadness.

“Pitiable? They’re a vile bunch, from what I’ve just gathered!” Sean replied in disgust.

“They were not always so, Pierceye. The Elves of the North were among the most noble and beautiful people of the Earth. For them to have devolved so . . . almost makes me feel that the Sídhe were the fortunate ones in their passing. Their valiance in the face of this Darkness has justified their spirits remaining as holy elementals in this world of pain.” Myra said, mysteriously.

“Sean!” Moira came running and Sean found her soft warmth a delight to justify almost any violence. Apparently, the Elves inside wanted no more to do with ‘Pierceye’ and his named spear, Gungnir. In actuality, Sean felt he was only borrowing the weapon and he was none to happy about how little control over its reactions to things he had!

The others came around - Joraan, My’n, and Viviane - marvelling at the Odinspear and at Sean’s apparent ‘mastery’ of the terrible weapon.

Hold my spear, my courageous one! I will guide you with its use! That I could taste the blood of this Fae enemy for myself, but this shall have to suffice! Do me Glory, Son of my sons.” A voice sounded in Sean’s head that caused him to look up. In the distance, he could just make out the shadowed figure of a tall bearded man in a peaked hat, overcoat, and with two pet ravens on his shoulders!

One moment, the vision was there, the next all that remained were three birds - one black raven, one white, and one large eagle flying off with them into the North.

Comments are always welcome!

Michael DuMonte
  • Love 2

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