Surtr : The Great Fire Giant
Having been given such a tremendous power, Surtr felt the great weight of responsibility that went along with such an honor. The Fire Giant could have unleashed the full power of the flaming sword, and burned the entire southern territory to the ground, killing all of its inhabitants. Surtr knew in his heart that not all the Fire Giants were evil, and therefore did not release the full fury of Muspell's sword. It did bring a smile to his face, however, when he thought of all the Giants in the south trembling under the burning blood red skies that he had created.
The long journey back to Sinmara's cave was much easier than the arduous and dangerous hike had been out to the volcano. The sword not only generated a great power for destruction, but it protected its owner from harm as well. The rocks that had cut and bruised him before, were of no concern at all to the Fire Giant during his return to Skafta, and Surtr barely exerted himself as he climbed up the mountain to the cave entrance.
Surtr expected to find Sinmara alone, as he had before, by the fire making weapons. As he entered the cave, however, he could see multiple shadows flickering in the light of her fire. Taking no chances Surtr drew his mighty sword ! The light the blade generated immediately flooded the cave, and exposed all those within. What Surtr saw shocked the Fire Giant !
" Put your sword away my son ! It is hurting my eyes ! " Eldur exclaimed as he shaded his face with his hand.
Bergkvika then chimed in : " Yes, my friend, the light is a bit much for us ! "
Surtr placed his sword in its scabbard, and looked around the cave' s interior from one end to the other. Standing with Sinmara from right to left were his father, Bergkvika, Vikrar, Reykur, Goshver, Gufa, Gigur, Logi, Hraun, and Bruni.
With a puzzled look upon his face Surtr asked : " Why are you all here ? "
Logi stepped forward and placed his hand upon Surtr's shoulder. " I brought them here! For I, as well as Sinmara, have heard of the legend of Muspell's flaming sword, and I knew the moment that I met you, that an honorable Fire Giant such as yourself would once again wield the greatest weapon in all the nine worlds. " he told the rebel leader proudly.
Sinmara looked carefully at Surtr as he spoke with Logi. He had changed ! His hair had turned ash grey, and his skin had gotten darker...... much darker. Sinmara had thought him a handsome Fire Giant when she first met him, but now in her eyes, he was perfect ! As she examined him closer she saw something strange in his eyes. The pupils were still black as night, but now there was a light that shone within them. When she stepped closer she realized that his eyes burned with flames that were brighter than her own stove fire !
King Eldur stepped forward, and placed his arm around his son' s shoulder. " I have positioned the Northern Army just outside of Skafta. They are ready and waiting for us to lead them south against King Aska. And I do not think that we should keep them waiting for long. " he told his son.
Surtr smiled as he looked his father in the eyes. Before he spoke he noticed something in his father's demeanor that he had not seen for a very long time. He saw that his father was proud of him, and it made the young Fire Giant feel extremely honored. " Then we should leave at once ! " he told his father quietly.
One by one they climbed down the cliff to the ground below, until only Surtr and Sinmara were left in the cave. Sinmara walked over to Surtr and looked deeply into his burning eyes. " You made an oath to me my love ! Will you keep to your word ? " she asked playfully.
Surtr kissed her gently on the lips. " Tonight will be the first night we spend together, and every night thereafter I shall spend with you as well my beautiful maiden ! I will do this not to fulfill a pledge, oath, or even a promise. I do this because I love you ! " he told her as he held her in his arms.
Surtr kissed her again and then gently pushed her away. " But now my love we must go ! " he reminded her with a huge smile.
As his father had promised the Northern Army stood ready to march south to confront King Aska. When the northern warriors saw their king and his son approaching from the north they drew their swords in a salute, and a hearty cheer rose up from them. The king nodded and waved his hand to acknowledge the honor. Surtr, however, drew his sword as well, out of respect for his father's warriors. The moment Surtr's sword was exposed to the rich sulfuric air it burst into flames.
The warrior's cheers quickly turned into gasps of astonishment at the sight of such an amazing weapon. Then, to the great surprise of every northern warrior, their swords burst into flames as well !
King Eldur turned to his son and gave him a questioning look. Surtr in return nodded confidently. " Now we are all truly the sons of Muspell ! " he shouted proudly for all to hear.
Eldur slowly removed his sword and pointed it toward the heavens. The king almost dropped his weapon when it too burned like the sun ! When the surprise had faded King Eldur pointed his burning sword at his men, and shouted as loud as he could : " For victory ! For Muspelheim !! "
After the cheers died down Eldur assigned all of the rebel commanders to lead a section of the Northern Army. All that is except Bergkvika who declined. The former Southern Army commander asked instead for permission to lead the rebels into battle. King Eldur proudly agreed to his commander's request.
When all was ready the small Northern Army, only two thousand five hundred strong, began to march south along with the four hundred rebels. King Eldur would never have allowed such a small force to go up against the ten thousand Fire Giant army of the south if not for Surtr, who led the way with his flaming sword, which lit the sky like a guiding star.
That night they reached the northern most outposts of the Southern Army. The enemy knew that they were coming by the strange light that lit up the entire horizon as they approached. They knew they were coming, and had prepared well for the battle that was about to take place. What the southern warriors had not anticipated was that their enemy would be fighting with flaming swords that shone like the sun, and burned as hot as molten lava. Those who were brave enough to stand and fight never had a chance, and died quickly. Many, however, dropped their weapons and surrendered to the Northern Army. King Eldur, unlike his opponent KIng Aska, was a magnanimous leader who accepted their surrender, and allowed them to live.
The next day, as the sun's light filtered through the thick ash particles that constantly circled their world in the upper atmosphere, the two great armies met on an ancient lava flow. King Aska and Kveikiefni spent most of the day positioning and re-positioning their warriors to gain any advantage that could be achieved. King Eldur and Surtr did not move their Fire Giants, nor did they show much interest in what the Southern Army was doing. They were confident that no force could stand before them.
As the sun began to fall from its height, and sought to hide behind the horizon, King Aska and his second in command walked out between the battle lines. King Eldur motioned to Surtr, and together they left the safety of their position to see what the king of the Soutern Army had to say.
There were no pleasantries. King Aska ignored Surtr altogether, and spoke directly to Eldur. " You are a fool Eldur ! " he shouted at his opponent with an angry laugh. " Do you really think you can defeat me with a puny force such as this ! ? " he asked as he pointed to the Northern Army. " Surrender now and I will let your warriors live. Only you and your son will have to die ! " he told Eldur .
King Eldur did not speak to his opponent. Without acknowledging the southern king at all he turned his back on him and began to return back to his lines.
Surtr ignored King Aska, just as he had been ignored, when he spoke to his former leader Kveikiefni. " Prepare to die ! " he told him in a calm voice. Then Surtr turned and followed his father back to their position.
King Aska was left standing there with a look of disbelief on his face. " You stupid bastards ! You are all going to die !! " he screamed at the northern leaders as they walked away.
When King Eldur and Surtr reached their lines they turned and faced their enemy. Surtr stepped forward, and proudly drew his sword from its scabbard. The great blade burst into flames lighting the heavens. The warriors in the Southern Army quickly shaded their eyes with their shields to block the intense light that radiated from its blade.
Then Surtr spoke as the skies above him caught fire and burned. " Any warrior holding a weapon to oppose us will die by the might of the Spoiler of Twigs ! " he shouted over at the southern position. " Drop your weapons or die ! " he told them to drive home his point.
King Eldur then ordered his men to draw their weapons as well. Almost three thousand swords were raised to the heavens almost simultaneously, and each instantly caught fire. The crackling of the burning swords, and the flaming sky drowned out the horrified gasps of the southern warriors. Hundreds of them dropped their weapons and knelt on the ground to show that they were surrendering.
King Aska could not believe what he was seeing ! " Are you afraid of a little fire !! " he screamed at his terrified warriors.
" Pick up your weapons or I will have you all killed after we dispense of these magicians ! " he shouted in a tone that sounded crazy.
The result of his tantrum was the opposite of what Aska had expected. Many more of his warriors defiantly threw down their weapons and knelt in surrender.
Kveikiefni stood silently for a moment before dropping to his knees. Unlike the other southern warriors, who had given up, he kept his sword held tightly in his hand. Aska's second in command had also heard of the legend of Muspell' s flaming sword, and as he knelt their on the ground, staring at Surtr' s blazing sword, he knew that his end had come.
Surtr waited a few moments longer to give the southern warriors one last chance , and then he pointed his sword at the southern army. A blast of flaming light, so bright that it blinded those who looked directly at it, shot out of Surtr' s sword and sped over to the southern position. Like a hand with thousands of fingers the flames shot out, and touched every southern warrior's sword. As their swords melted under the intense heat, the warriors themselves burst into flames. The battlefield quickly became a horrifying scene of warriors screaming in high pitched shrieks as they were consumed by the flames that covered them. What came next was worse. The smell of burning flesh and hair hung over the battlefield like a stinking black cloak of death.
In a matter of moments every southern warrior, who had refused to surrender, was reduced to a smoldering charred corpse. The warriors who had surrendered were so horrified that they were crying and begging Surtr for their lives. Only King Aska remained standing. Unlike the thousands of his warriors who now lay dead upon the ground he had not had the courage to draw his weapon.
Surtr placed his sword away and called Bergkvika to his side. " I will leave the southern king's judgement up to you my friend. " he told the former southern commander.
Bergkvika narrowed his eyes as he pointed his finger at King Aska. " I sentence you to die in the same foul manner that you killed so many of your innocent subjects ! You ,....Aska.... will die slowly, and very painfully in a lava flow !! " he shouted at his former king.
King Aska threw down his sword belt and tried to run away, but he was quickly tackled by his own warriors who had surrendered. Then, escorted by the rebels, the former king of Muspelheim was taken to a nearby active volcano, and died shortly thereafter. Aska was a coward to the end, and cried like a child as he begged for forgiveness ! But no one cared as the former king died alone and unwanted, the way tyrants all ultimately meet their end !
- End Chapter 7
- Next Chapter 8 : The Guardian Of The Frontier
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.