Surtr : The Great Fire Giant
The Flaming Sword
Surtr left the relative safety of Sinmara' s cave, and began to travel to the farthest point in the north. The volcano had seemed much closer when viewed atop the cliff, but from ground level the reality of its distance was quite stark. Towering high above the rest of the landscape, it also was much more imposing and terrifying than anything that Surtr had ever seen before in his life.
The Fire Giant took weeks to reach the base of the great volcano. As he traveled over each mountain, and through each rocky valley, he could see why this massive volcano had been given the name " The Fires of Skafta " ( Skaftareldar ). In every direction Surtr looked he saw the solidified remains of ancient flows, many of which stretched from horizon to horizon. Surtr was surprised that the grey - black colors of the hardened lava in no way diminished the beautiful natural structures that were formed many millennium ago by the intense heat of Muspelheim's core .
When Surtr began to climb the great mountain that was formed by the volcano, the ascent was not especially difficult, but as he climbed higher the mountain became steeper and steeper. Just below the rim of the volcano's cone the wall of stone became almost vertical, and the rocks, which had been rough on his hands throughout his journey, now became as sharp as glass. With each hand - hold that he managed to grab onto, the rock edges cut deeply into his hands. Exhausted, bleeding, and in a great deal of pain, Surtr had to make a choice to go on, or to give up and go back. Seeing that the distance to the top was much less than the climb back down, the rebel leader decided to push on.
With what seemed to Surtr to be the very last of his strength, the Fire Giant reached the top of the volcano, and peered over its edge. When he did, a blast of searing heat from the lava below hit him in the face singeing off his eyebrows, and burning off some of his hair. As Surtr looked below, barely able to stand the intense heat, he did not see the sword left by Muspell according to the ancient legend told to him by Sinmara. All the Fire Giant saw below was a mass of bubbling, smoking, red-yellow lava. Surtr, like most Fire Giants could stand intense heat far better than any other beings from the nine worlds, but even he was certain that he would not survive the great temperatures being generated in the cauldron below.
Surtr sat back down on the outside of the crater, with his back to the lip of the volcano, and was once again faced with a monumental decision. The Fire Giant asked himself a question : " Would it be better to die, or return to his comrades without ever having tried to obtain the sword of Muspell ? "
The Fire Giant did not think for long . Surtr jumped over the edge of the volcano, and into the firestorm ! As he began to walk down the slope toward the bubbling magma, he could feel his skin begin to blister, and burn. Realizing he did not have long to live in such harsh conditions Surtr ran down to the edge of the molten lava, and fell against a ledge of hardened rock that formed a border around the magma. The Fire Giant realized that he now had only moments to live when he looked down and saw that his skin was beginning to smoke and burn. Moments later his eyes cooked in their sockets from the searing heat !
Surtr heard in his screaming mind Sinmara's words : " Remember, you must reach out with your faith if you are to possess the flaming sword ! "
The Fire Giant struggled to get one last breath before his lungs became too seared to function, and as he did he saw Hiti' s brave face as he had nodded for him to kill the mapmaker. With a blood curdling scream Surtr thrust his hand into the boiling lava, and the pain faded away.
Surtr was sure that he had died ! He no longer felt any discomfort, nor did he care. Then he realized that through the rising waves of heat he could see his distorted arm in the lava, but the moment was to surreal for him to capture fully in his tortured mind. In the same moment he realized that he could see, he felt something in his hand. Something hard ! An object that should not have been there !
As though he were watching someone else perform the act, he slowly removed his arm from the lava. When the lava flowed off of his appendage it appeared not to be burned or injured in any way ! When he pulled his arm completely out of the molten mixture he noticed that his hand was wrapped around an object that shone as bright as the sun. And yet to the Fire Giant's amazement it did not hurt his eyes to look at it !
Surtr sat studying the light for a moment before realizing that it was shaped like a sword, and as he followed the light blade down to his hand he saw that it had a golden hilt. It was then that he heard in his mind a voice. " I have deemed you worthy to carry the sacred sword. Wield it honorably, and it will defeat your enemies, and protect you from harm ! "
Slowly Surtr began to gain back feeling in his limbs. What he felt, however, was not pain. It was a new sensation that he had never felt in all his life. It was as though the sword' s white hot flaming blade was giving him a strength he had never dreamed possible before. The Fire Giant smiled broadly as he stood with his eyes transfixed on the burning sword. He felt as powerful as a God, and he decided to test his new found strength.
Amidst the heat, and the noxious gases, Surtr stood up. His eyes shone as bright as the gleaming sword as he pointed the blade toward the southern hemisphere. As Surtr thrust his arm high into the air the heavens lit up, and the sky burned red with flames !
In the southern most region of Muspelheim King Aska looked out over the vast domain that he ruled. The sky was dark with ash and smoke from the many volcanoes erupting across his kingdom, and Aska thought it a beautiful sight. He grinned, an evil grin, because he knew that he was the most powerful Fire Giant in all of Muspelheim.
When King Aska turned to head back inside his great hall to pass judgement on several treasonous warriors, the sky suddenly flashed with a bright light that emanated from the north. As the king watched in fascination the sky in the distance began to burn. At first the king was intrigued by the spectacle, but when he realized it was heading in the direction of his hall he quickly ran inside, and closed the door behind him. Those already in the hall did not understand what was happening when their king entered, and then sank down on the floor against the doors trembling.
King Aska, normally a confident and fearless Fire Giant, sat shaking with fear as he wondered what could have caused such a terrible conflagration. Then deep down inside of his very soul he felt something very ominous building. He sensed that a great power was coming, and it was coming for him !
- End Chapter 6
- Next Chapter 7 : Muspell's Sons !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.