Beyond the Ragnarok Chapter 8

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Leave Taking

Dyvia was awed by the dagger. It was so well made, almost art. The intricate patterns and beautiful carvings spoke volumes of the skill that had gone into making it. Dyvia could study and slave away her whole life and never be able to create anything quite like this. Something close to it, but not close enough. And in it dwelled ancient magic. If Dyvia was right the dagger could draw away the life force of whoever it was used on. It took someone coldhearted to use it. Someone coldhearted, or selfless as hell.

Dyvia glanced at where Sigrid was eating fried meat with her jolly bastard bandits. No way she'd tell that bitch what this dagger did. Sigrid would only use it foolishly, not thinking about the consequences. So Dyvia slipped the dagger into the pouch she had on her belt. She's escape before Sigrid would ask it back.

Dyvia froze at the same time with the rest of the bandits when they heard the singing. It was eerie, high-pitched and sounded like it echoed from another world. But no, Dyvia recognized the voice. She had only heard the elf talk once but Dyvia never forgot faces, or voices. So she was prepared when the elf walked close enough for her and the bandits to see her. But Dyvia wasn't prepared for the horde of trolls that followed after her, growling viciously. Hungrily. Dyvia couldn't have been happier.

"Holy shit!" Sigrid yelled when the trolls appeared and attacked the camp. Couple of bandits at the edge of the firelight died in seconds. Dyvia jumped up and climbed on top of the forge, crouching there, and assessed the situation. The bandits were now in chaos, each trying to keep herself alive. The trolls were indeed vicious but not invincible. They were dying from the arrows and swords the bandits used on them. But with every troll at least one bandit died as well. It was a bloodbath.

Dyvia was grinning like crazy "My my, what a lucky break."
But Dyvia had noticed that the trolls saw her, awknowledged her, but didn't attack. That was very strange, so creepy. What, she wasn't tasty enough to be troll fodder? Gee, thanks a lot.

Dyvia saw the woman from earlier at the end of the troll horde, next to some big mutant beast. It looked like it had once been human, but not anymore.

Dyvia took the dagger from her pouch, stood up and yelled.


Then Dyvia threw the dagger with all her might. Then she dropped down from on top of the forge and sneaked inside the temple. Her plan was to reach the armory before the bandits. Dyvia didn't stop to see whether the lady caught it or not. Dyvia knew she would catch it.

Tiella looked up from the slaughter to see a silver glimmer arching through the air before her. She snatched it deftly in her right hand and stabbed it into a nearby bandit feeling the flow of power draw into her body as the womans life force was drained away. She watched the dwarf that had thrown her the weapon turn and disappear into the temple and she increased the pull of energy from her victim. The bandit screamed and burst into flame before falling to the floor a smoking husk.

Tiella gave allowed herself to smile. She had not drained anyone dry like that in decades and it felt good, she felt alive. She looked around her as he battle raged between the trolls and the bandits. Borrs had charged into the centre of the fray and was was battling the leader Sigrid with wild abandon. The woman was hard pressed.

Tiella marched forward towards where her husband was being held. She looked over to Luna who was free of constraint and able to cast her magic. Shadows whirled around the elf and bandits screamed as Luna enveloped them in nightmare darkness. Tiella looked down at her free hand and allowed the blood magic to flow out, its white light playing over her fingers. A bandit stepped in front of her and she released a jet of light into the womans chest punching a hole the size of her fist while at the same time plunging the dagger into the back of a nearby troll. The life energy from the troll was different somehow, warped in some way. As the creature dropped to the ground the energy surrounding Tiella hand took on a sickly green tint and began to spit and spark.

Sigrid flew across her field of vision and came crashing into one of the supports that held up with smithy roof. As the ceiling collapsed on the bandit leader Borrs tore in towards her claws outstretched. Tiella calmly walked on dispatching any obstacle that got in her way with cold efficiency, be they bandit or troll. A small warning played in the back of her mind. Blood magic came at a price, as the power grew the mind became calm until at last it was void of all thought and emotion, a clear conduit for power, she had trained for years to master it but it had been a long time. She took a deep breath and tried to steady herself.

An arrow pierced her shoulder and she barley felt it. She plucked the barb free releasing a spout of blood and then allowed the magic of the dagger to well up within the wound. There was a small flash of light and she was whole again. The arrow she infused with power and sent it launching back towards its owner. The bandit fell without a sound as it pierced her eye socket with white hot accuracy.

Almost at the temple now Tiella faced off against another bandit. The woman held a broadsword which she launched towards her head, she ducked out of the way and closed the gap between them, slicing at the bandit with the dagger. The weapon scored against chain mail and the bandit kicked out knocking her to the ground. Tiella looked up as the sword came down again but before it could strike a troll came flying in from the side taking the bandit down and tearing into her raised arm and unprotected face. The dagger did not make her invulnerable, she must remember that. It was a trick of the power.

She scrambled to her feet to come face to face with Luna. The elf looked concerned as she reached out to help her up. Tiella fought down the call of the blood magic as it urged her to drain more power.

"That is a dangerous weapon you carry." Luna said quietly. She had cast a shield around them that for the moment was keeping the battle at bay, it glimmered around them like shimmering moonlight and the staff in the elfs hand was glowing.

"Let's get inside and save my husband." Tiella replied. He hand shaking as it grasped the daggers hilt. The life force of an elf would open up new levels of power to her, the likes of which... the image of her fathers face came to mind and then her brother and she growled as she pushed them away.

"Tiella? Are you well?" Luna asked.

"I am fine, let's go."

"I think there’s a way to help both Majvoc and Balar as far as the magic sickness goes” Luna said as they started to run to the dungeon.

Luna muttered something under her breath and her shadow familiar appeared beside her. “They're in the armary.. this way." it hissed before moving on ahead of them.

“Tiella this way” Luna called out as she grabbed theh half-elfs wrist and pulled her after the shadow.


Inside the temple Dyvia tried to remember the way to the armory. The bandits had blindfolded her but only idiots were restricted by that trick. Dyvia walked along the curling path and was about to turn from the corner that led to the dungeons, and armory, when she bumped into someone. Dyvia saw the sneak, followed by the big man, and automatically checked her pouch. Nothing taken. Yet.

"Good, I was about to see to you two. Nice to see you're not completely helpless like I feared. Big man, your woman is pretty awesome. And sneak, did you get your weapons yet?"

"Quick with me." Dyvia said as she led the way through the temple. Balar frowned at the sound of fighting outside, what the hell was happening out there. He shrugged, what ever it was at least Tiella was out of it now.

The moved through several dark passageways until they came at last to a guarded room. The two mercenaries who were watching what appeared to be the armoury were already alert and on edge, hearing the sounds outside and as the three approached they turned and raised their weapons.

"We are being attacked and we need weapons to help." the guards looked confused for a moment but a moment was all that was needed for Dyvia to thrust her shoulder into the midriff of one woman and sweep the legs out from under the other. Balar and Majvoc then fell upon the two beleaguered bandits, raining blows down upon them until they were rendered unconscious.

Majvoc dashed forward into the armoury and grabbed his weapons along with anything else that looked valuable and easy to carry. Balar followed after and turned just as Majvoc made to leave the room.

"Where are you going?" he hissed but the thief just gave another of his non committal shrugs.

"I have some things to take care of.." Majvoc answered, and then he was gone.

No sooner was the thief gone than Luna and Tiella came running full pelt around the corner and the all stumbled into a confused heap. They exchanged hurried greetings and hurried after their new Dwarf companion who seemed to know her way around the cursed place.


Happily dancing out of the camp with a sack packed to the brim with pointy swords and other ouchy looking things, Majvoc thought it was best to leave the companions to fend for themselves. He was busy, he had things to do. People to do, privates to see. That was the phrase, right?

Well, it didn't really matter anyway as Majvoc soon found himself down from the slope of the Hoff and onto the long and winding road that led to the next city. And promptly coming down that road was a slowly shuffling wagon dragged along by a tired looking horse.

As it got closer, Majvoc could make out the details more clearly. It was a large, enclosed caravan with lanterns dangling from the sides. They cast their soft light in a protective shell from the dark. The roof of the caravan was made of colourful canvas, propped up in the centre by a pole. It was like a tent on wheels.

'Hail,' said Majvoc, flagging down the caravan and trying not to drop his looted items at the same time.

The caravan slowed from its painfully slow pace to an even slower grinding halt as it pulled up beside Majvoc on the side of the road. On the top of the caravan, holding the reigns of three horses, was a squat man. Or it could have been a dwarf, Majvoc supposed. He had a red piqued cap of the of the Vǫlsungr Merchants, a powerful clan of traders that had de facto control over Trenø, a city-state nestled in the crook of land where the mountains met the sea.

'Traveller,' murmured the suspicious driver, 'What can I do for you?'

'I don't suppose you would be able to take us to Trenø?'

'Us?' grunted the driver.

Behind Majvoc came a bundling of characters. Balar, Tiella, Luna and the newcomer Dyvia all crashed into a pile as they fled the chasing bandits that were crashing down the hill.

'Us,' said Majvoc with a pained smile, 'Why is it now us?'

'It won't be cheap,' said the driver, eying the approaching bandits, with Sigrid at the spearpoint. Then his eyes drifted down to the bag of valuables at Majvoc's feet. 'How about you give me that bag and I see what I can make from it when we get back to Trenø?'

'How about half?' said Majvoc.

'This is not the time to be bargaining, thief,' said Balar, and the bear of a man grabbed the sack and hauled it onto the seat next to the driver. Majvoc tried to protest but was silened by Tiella, who equally had had enough of Majvoc's antics.

'We'll be in Trenø the evening of the day after next. Oh, and try not wake my passenger. They won't be happy you did.'

The companions bundled into the back of the caravan and the driver cracked the reigns, sending the horses flying in a gallop.

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