Hofund Speaks

Balar dreamt of music. The mournful sound of a flute carried through the darkness on the wings of a cold mist. In the shadow of his mind he thought he saw the shadow of a man sitting beneath a mountain. The mountain moved.

Drawing a sharp breath Balar sat. He felt wide awake but this could only be a dream. The Ice Giants had left them to make camp outside a large set of double gates. A wall of spruce logs had stretched out either side to encircle the Jotuns village. All of that was gone now and Balar sat in the darkness alone with not a tree in site.

"Do you never sleep?" came a voice from the shadows.

Balar stood reaching for his weapon and cursing as he realised he had none. His axe had been lost in the battle with Hel and the dread blade Hofund was nowhere to be seen.

"Who is there?" is breathed the question into dark watching his words turn to mist.

A tall figure stepped out of the darkness, a familiar figure.

"Jorrick!" Balar gasped.

"I start to prefer Heimdall." the dead Aesir sighed. "I have waited long for you to dream so that I could reach out to you."

"It has been an interesting few days." Balar shrugged, "What is this? We saw you die. Fenrir..."

Heimdall flinched at the mention of the name and waved Balar to silence, "Death is no simple matter for those who would claim the mantle of a god. The body is but a shell and should an appropriate vessel be prepared in advance then..."

"Hofund." Balar gasped, "You are within the blade."

"Very good my friend, very good. The blade was forged to hold my spirit though I knew not at the time. The mortal souls trapped by Cali over the forge of the Dwarf were freed within the realm of Hela and now here I dwell."

"We will free you." Balar promised and Heimdall laughed, it was almost a cruel sound.

"Such a thing is beyond you, even Cali could not undo what she has wrought."

"Then why? Why take refuge in a prison you can not escape?"

"In time I will be set free. One will claim the blade who is worthy of my power and through him I will be born anew."

"So I am not worthy?" Balar smiled grimly. Heimdall gave him a level stare,

"Be glad that you are not my friend. You will soon reach the pool of Hvergelmir, when you get there throw Hofund into her depths, will you do me this service?"

Balar only hesitated for a moment before agreeing, "Of course."

"Good." Heimdall breathed, "That is good. Now there is much to discuss. How fares the witch Caligari?"

"She is well... she is much changed but she is..."

"She is to be watched." Heimdall warned, "She opened herself to the soul of a goddess, to death herself. She claimed the throne of Hel and if not for Fenrir would be a goddess herself right now. The claim remains unanswered, Fenrir can not take the throne."

"Why not?" Balar asked.

"Beside the face that he does not want it, Hela is not entirely dead."

"What?" and then in a dull monotone he repeated the words of Heimdall, "Death is no simple matter for those who would claim the mantle of a god."

"You are learning." Heimdall gave him a pat on the back that almost sent Balar reeling forward.

"So I should watch Cali and beware the shade of Hela." Balar muttered, sounds simple enough, "Anything else?"

"I am afraid so." Heimdall replied, "You and your friends have been marked by the wolf god. He seeks vengeance for the death of his sister and he will not stop until his hunt is complete."

"Any advice?"

"Yes but you wont like it."

"Go on."

"In the history of the nine worlds I know of only one being who has turned away the hunt of Fenrir and survived his curse. He and only he holds the secret to evading the wrath of the wolf. You must seek out the demi-god Harlequin and bargain for his aid."

"Of course we fucking well do." Balar snarled, and then in a moment of sheer madness he laughed out loud, "By the balls of the all father of course."

He was still laughing when Tiella shook him to wakefulness moments later. He sat up to see the camp in turmoil.

"What is going on?" he asked, "Is it the Jotun?"

"No." Tiella breathed, "It is Dyvia. The demon within her stirs."

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