He rose from the bloody snow that surrounded him. A dark red, almost black in colour. A tainted snow that would have normally drank the blood if it was not for this Thulean cold that came with the winds from the far north. Holding his sword in his right hand and a half shattered oaken shield in his left, Thörgrimr looked up to the heavens expecting to receive another volley of arrows from the enemy’s front line but the darkening skies were empty except for the gathering clouds announcing the storm. As if the desolation around him wasn’t the result of such a devastating blizzard of blood and iron. The sound of steel against steel, axes against wood and sharpen blades penetrating flesh in a grandiose opera of chaos and fury. In the distance, all that remain are the fading moans of the dying.
Amidst this frozen ocean of death, only the Nordhman remained half standing. His ice-blue gaze trying to gather the immensity of the carnage that filled his sight to the farthest horizons. To him, it seemed that the broken bodies and torn banners flying in the wind reached the very roots of the mountains. And then, the silence broke. With a terrible sound that ripped through the gelid valley, the giant bronzen horn of Valaskjàlf thundered with the might of a thousand hammers against the early morning cold. The battle was won. But at what price? That of a thousand sons of the north? All too many having not even seen their twentieth winter. Oh, such is the sacrifice one must pay for the survival of ones folk.
And as the echo of the horn traveled upon the windswept ocean of snow, Thörgrimr raises his arms to the sky and gathering all his breath, he roars a victorious hail to the Sky-Father. A yell carried throughout the northern landscape and captured in the wind billowing overhead. A hail that Odhinn, in his golden halls up-high, himself hears as he rejoices from the battle that just ended. For only in the fury of combat can a man truly know himself and measure his worth before the gods.
Tonight’s feast at his village of Njärdsholm, will be a feast of victory and remembrance for those who fell. But no tears will be shed as they have joined their ancestors at the oaken table of Odhinn. Songs will be sung and mead will flow as the glorious dead names will be engraved in runes on Valrkòna; the stone of the fallen.
Yet, despite all this joyful merriment, Thörgrimr remains deep in thought. Brooding at the end of the long table…