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The Second War of Flesh

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His words were weighted the salt from a voyage made once hundreds of years ago, but a thousand times in his heart only yesterday. The children were intrigued, they knew this would be a new story…

Plot points for temporary view:

1. Sveigthir’s gifts for Agliss & Slagfidd, search for the gift for Varland.

2. Failed to find gift for Varland, Varland’s experimentation with mechanics.

3. Gift of Sveigthir’s soul. Forging of Nothung.

4. Murder of Slagfidd

7. War between Agliss & Varland.

8. Fleeing of Agliss’ sons, Refusal of Slagfidd’s sons to leave.

9. Aftermath (Alfheim Burned, Alfödt threat, Descendants of elven kings and their nations.)

Grandfather glanced about the children gathered before him, making sure neither younglings nor humans were present. He coughed lightly before resting his thousand-year-old body in his ten thousand-year-old chair. Grandfather’s voiced gently scratched its way into the the ears of those present, "Settle down boys and girls, settle down.

"Today I am not going to tell you a story dragons, nor men, nor elves like us, nor heroes," Grandfather noted the dissapointed sighs of the children, "Today I speak of kings. Not of the kings of men who sit on their thrones and fatten themselves off their people’s barren teats, but the old kings, our kings who fought and died for their people alongside them.

"The tale begins when my grandfather sat me on his lap, and told me tales, though I could barely utter a word myself. It begins with the Forge King Sveigthir and his three sons, Agliss the brave and strong, Slagfidd the wise and honest, and Varland, gifted in the forge. Sveigthir was greatly pleased with his sons, and awarded countless gifts upon them, saving the most important gifts of all for their one hundredth birthdays.

"To Agliss, Sveigthir gave the magical spear Gungnir, forged by the finest smiths from Adamant and sunbeams, so he could have a weapon as ferocious as himself. To Slagfidd, Sveigthir gave the iron shoes Vidar and Tidar, cobbled by the finest cobblers from lead and the leather of lindworms, so that he might have shoes as steadfast as himself. For Varland, Sveigthir could find no gift, and this bothered the king greatly. Varland himself did not seem to mind, but Sveigthir devoted himself to finding a gift for the youngest of his sons.

"One hundred years passed, and then two hundred, and still Sveigthir could find no gift for his son. Then another hundred years passed, and then another two hundred, and still Varland had no gift. It finally came to Sveigthir’s deathbed, before Agliss would be crowned King, that Sveigthir bestowed upon Varland the greatest and most cursed gift of all, his soul."

Again, grandfather paused, letting the shock slowly wear off the crowd. "Of course, Agliss and Slagfidd objected, how could they have their own father break the Cycle of Souls? Varland, too, was shocked, but he knew his father would not be satisfied without being able to give one final gift. For accepting such a sacred violation, however, the newly crowned Agliss banished his brother to the far north.

"Varland Wandered ‘til even the sun seemed a cold and distant star, stopping only when he found a mountain as black as the as the breath of a murderous nightwind. This, Varland knew, was Carmot, the metal of death. Immediately, Varland saw what he must do. In order to regain his right has a son of Sveigthir, he must remake Sveigthir. From lichen and bone he built his fire, from rock he took his anvil, and from the vapors of his father’s soul, and the blood-black earth of the mountain, he forged an oathsword, and named it Nothung, so that even the gods could not deny him his task.

"Over the years Varland slowly built his forge, winning the help and trust of the wild and primitives elves of the north by teaching them foul magicks long ago cast away by our people. But Agliss had not turned a blind eye to his brother; hearing of his dark ways, he bid Slagfidd to find Varland and entreat him to take his own life.” The children murmured, obviously disquieted, and Grandfather motioned for them to quiet. “You see, children, Varland had broken our most ancient laws. Not only did he allow the Cycle to be broken, but he willfully taught the secret arts to outsiders. Agliss still loved his brother, and wished him an honorable end. It was the only thing to do.

“But Slagfidd found the way north harder than it had been when Varland made the same journey. The land itself was fouled with darkness, and the harsh and terrifying monsters of the north had grown even stronger and more aggressive. Had it not been for Vidar and Tidar urging him on, even after his horse was slain, Slagfidd would not have made it. And perhaps, when he arrived, he wished he never had.

“Smoke billowed endlessly from the top of Black Mountain, and every along its sides and tunnels were the emaciated and enslaved North Tribes. But nothing could compare to the terrifying sight that awaited Slagfidd inside. Standing eight feet tall and made of gleaming adamant and black metal, was a cruel effigy of his father, Sveigthir. No, it was his father.”

“Grandfather!” A petulant child interrupted, “That’s impossible, Sveigthir was dead.” Grandfather leaned forward in his chair, rapping the child hard on the nose with two fingers, “Don’t tell me what’s impossible, child! I was telling stories five-hundred years before you were a glimmer in your father’s eye. Clearly you needed to pay more attention to your mother’s lessons on manners and to my story; and perhaps you would have heard when I said Varland had Sveigthir’s soul.” The child’s lip quivered, and he leaned far back before making his next objection, “I heard you Grandfather, but even so, how could he put his soul into metal?”

Grandfather let out a long, exasperated sigh, “Who knows? Such an art is truly forbidden to us, and to even investigate how such a monumentally evil task could be done is therefore a mystery. But you ask your ancestors who still bear the scars of the Second War, for they know well it is true.” Grandfather pushed up his sleeve, exposing a long, deep scar, as black as midnight. As the children gathered around to see, he croaked, “It is the utmost importance that this tale is told, for one day, Varland’s foul creations may some day return. Now, if I may continue?”

The crowd nodded vigorously, and Grandfather returned to his tale-spinning voice, “The mass of metal that stood before Slagfidd was his father, and thusly it called to him in his father’s voice. What it said, we may never know, but the horror sent even steadfast Slagfidd fleeing with all his might. As he ran he was overcome by a foul poison from the air of the mountain, and by the time he reached Alfheim again, he was near death. As Agliss held his brother in his arms, the dying Slagfidd told him his tale.



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