Posted: Aug 10, 2019, 6:59am
It had seemed like an age had passed since A Man had begun his journey upriver. A winding path, beaten to ruin by the elements, had led him away from the roar of the frozen river. Silence once again suffocated him, broken only by his own soft footfalls and the rustle of the trees. Not even the great beast Níðhöggr had broken the skies in search of him. Only the fading memory of song and music drifted in A Man’s mind.
As A Man crossed over the crest of another hill, the forest broke open and let free the view below. There was Hvergelmir. It must be Hvergelmir. Yet it was vast and it was empty. Empty. A Man began to rush down the hill, leaping over rock and root. His light footsteps carried him quickly over the thick and deep snow. His breath never became ragged or his chest heave from exhaustion. He was like a ghost gliding across the ground.
Before long A Man barrelled to the bank of the spring. It was dry and dusty. Not even any snow seemed to fall within the dark and black bowl of dirt. Husks of snakes littered the ground of the spring’s bed, all life dead and gone.
Then there was a sound. It was irritatingly quiet, too quiet to make out what the noise was. It danced and jingled, coming closer. It was a set of bells, hoping and prancing as if on a jester’s feet. As the sound made itself clear and heard, a tiny set of green sparks exploded in the air with each jingle, dancing to the sound. The sparks reached the ground and with a triumphant final jingle -
The Harlequin. The memory of the poisonous jester burned bright and wild, filling A Man with emotion he had not felt since he came to this forsaken place.
‘You’re a long way from home,’ said the cracked, glazed smile of the beast. Teeth split a pale face open as the tall thing figure bent down to speak to A Man’s face.
‘I could say the same for you,’ said A Man, fixing The Harlequin with a cold stare.
‘Oh, come now, I don’t have a home. You on the other hand, most certainly do. Or did, at least.’
‘What by the Gods do you want?’
‘I would quite like you to hold up your end of our little bargain. You do remember, don’t you? The one with you and your little friends that sent you halfway around the world?’
There was a faint stirring in the back of A Man’s mind, a memory dislodging itself. A realisation dawned upon A Man about who he was.
‘Aah,’ continued The Harlequin, ‘You seem to be a bit confused as to who you are. A little problem with being half-dead, I assume? Draugrs do have the most terrible memories. Majvoc the Draugr - a bit more grand than thief or coward.’
A Man was Majvoc.
Majvoc sighed with relief, his shoulders sagging. Everything now seemed to slot into place. A great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He glanced out at the bare and dry Hvergelmir. A name or no name, the land of the dead was to take his life anyway.
‘I still don’t know what you want,’ said Majvoc, masking his gratitude to The Harlequin.
‘I want you to get on with the next stage of our little contract. Hel might be dead, although with little help from you, but there are two others that require my knife in their backs. And you are to hold my knife.’
‘What’s in it for me?’
‘Other than what you were promised all that time ago, in that little tavern so far away?’ The Harlequin’s eyes seemed to bulge and glisten as he spoke. ‘That prize you asked for when you spoke of Jjarlford?’
Majvoc wanted to say no, but the temptation of the prize tasted too sweet. But then bitter bile ruined the thought. ‘Prize or no prize, I cannot leave the land of the dead and I cannot enter the land of the living.’
The Harlequin sighed. ‘You mortals are ever so tiresome with your fretting over death and life. How about I sweeten our deal somewhat then. Kill the next person on our little list, and I’ll give you this.’ The Harlequin pointed a finger in the air and summoned, in a shower of green sparks, a long thin vial. It stood precariously upright on the tip of his finger.
‘This is the last few precious drops of the water of Hvergelmir, Majvoc. It’s just enough to cleanse your soul of the death that now clings to it. Kill our target, and it is yours.’
‘Where is our target, then?’ said Majvoc, without hesitation.
‘Good, good,’ said The Harlequin, clapping his hands and jingling his bells, ‘That’s the spirit. However, the location of the target isn’t something I can provide yet. I can, however, give you the name. Fenrir.’
‘Intent on killing all your family?’ said Majvoc.
‘Only the ones I don’t like.’
‘Fenrir won’t be easy to kill. He did, after all, kill Odin in battle all those years ago.’
‘Then how do you expect me to kill it?’
‘Oh, you won’t be doing it alone. Your little band of murders is still alive and kicking - for the most part. And don’t worry, I even have a little hint to get you going. The answer lies in Ásgarðr upon the throne of the All-Father. Sit upon the seat of power and the wolf gods bane will be made clear to you.’
‘Oh, and how are we meant to get to Ásgarðr?’
‘Come now, everyone knows this one.’
‘The Bifröst is broken, clown.’
‘Then fix it,’ snarled The Harlequin, ‘You are a bright bunch. Now, I’ll give you one last piece of help.’
‘And what is that?’
Then The Harlequin was gone. And so was Majvoc.
<<OOC - Eh, probably not my best one tbh>>