When Magic Ruled The Worlds
Their differences did not end with their height. Each had a personality that contrasted greatly with the other two. Vidolf was calm and very quiet in nature. Her mind lay as much with seeking the future as it did with understanding the present. As they hiked up the mountain she would often go for long periods of time without saying a word. Then, without warning, she would suddenly stop and stare straight ahead as if in a trance. After a moment or two Vidolf would nod her head as if she understood what she had been shown, and then tell the others what her visions had revealed to her. At first Svarthofdi and Vilmeid did not fully appreciate her visions. However, when Vilmeid took a shortcut to reach the next plateau and slid fifty feet down the mountain after being told by the seer not to take that path, the Elf and the Dwarf began to pay more attention to what she had to say.
Svarthofdi was not quite as quiet as Vidolf, but this was not due to the little Elf being shy, or unfriendly. The sorcerer simply believed in speaking only when and if he had something of relevance to say. His mind was constantly analyzing everything that was going on around him, and he shared his conclusions only when they were necessary. Of the three he was the first to point out that despite the change in elevation the temperature was continuing to rise, and the depth of the snow was decreasing the further up the mountain they climbed.
Vilmeid was the complete opposite of the other two. He was very nervous, and never shut up despite having little of importance to say. In short he was a fool who proved his imbecility every time he opened his mouth. He had begun to complain the moment they left Vidolf's cave in Jotunheim, and had offered little if anything substantial to help the others to this point in their long journey. And the fact that the Elf and the Jotuness had begun to ignore him made him feel neglected and he began to talk almost nonstop.
" Sorcerer ! Can you heal my hands ? I scraped them raw when I slid down the mountain. Can you heal them,... can you ? " he asked Svarthofdi in an annoying tone.
The Elf gave the Dwarf a cold stare before responding.
" If you had heeded the volva's warning you would not have placed yourself in such a predicament ! " he scolded Vilmeid.
The little Dwarf pouted for a moment before turning his attention to Vidolf.
" Don't you think we could stop for just a moment so the sorcerer could heal my scraped hands ?! " he asked in a pathetic pleading voice as he showed her his injured hands.
Despite stopping immediately upon hearing his request Vidolf did not at first answer the Dwarf. Her face had become as expressionless as the moon in the night sky, and she did not move, frozen in place like the snow through which they had been walking. Suddenly, as if waking from a dream, she turned to her two comrades and spoke in a calm but firm voice.
" We are being hunted . " she announced.
In a flash the burning pain in Vilmeid's hands seemed not to matter at all. As his head turned from side to side, like a nervous ground squirrel, he moved closer to the Giantess and whispered up to her.
" What shall we do !? " he blurted out nervously.
The seer pointed to the top of the mountain as she responded.
" We continue to climb. This creature does not like the warmth that lies on the other side of these heights, and it will not follow us there. " she stated.
Svarthofdi accepted what the Giantess was telling them as fact, but his analytical mind needed more information before he could deduce the best course of action.
" How far away is this predator ? " he asked.
Vidolf pointed to the west.
" Approximately a mile in that direction. " she told the Elf.
Svarthofdi followed her pointed finger and strained his sharp eyes, but despite his best effort he could see nothing.
" I do not see anything there ! " he told her.
The Giantess gave the Elf a cold stare.
" The creature has white fir and blends in well with this environment. By the time we catch sight of the beast, that will one day be known as Arctotherium, it will be upon us and it will then be too late for us to escape its clutches. " she explained.
Vilmeid's eyes nearly popped out of his skull as he whispered in a terrified hoarse voice.
" Arctotherium ! " he blurted out before turning and running as fast as he could for the summit.
Vidolf was about to tell the Dwarf that the creature was a type of bear, and that it could smell fear, but he was already twenty feet away by the time she attempted to respond.
The Giantess drew her stone axe, and immediately took off after the Dwarf. For she knew that a fleeing prey would only stimulate the Arctotherium to begin its attack sooner. The seer did not know if she could defend Vilmeid from such a creature, but she was willing to try.
Seeing his comrades flee up the mountain Svarthofdi took off after both of them, but not before removing his wand from his belt. As he ran the sorcerer kept his eyes on the spot where the creature was said to be. The Elf then followed this up to where Vilmeid would be near the summit and drew a line in his mind between the two.
" There ! That is the point at which I must perform my magic ! " he whispered to himself as he slid to a halt in the snow.
Svarthofdi raised his wand over his head and closed his eyes. In his mind he envisioned what he was about to do, and then he began to chant.
" From the depths seismic demons awake,
force this mountain to shiver an ache,
loosen the snow cover on top of this quake,
cause an avalanche to fall for Vilmeid's sake ! "
Vidolf's large strides allowed her to reach Vilmeid long before he made it to the summit. With one of her massive hands she lifted up the Dwarf and threw him behind her. Then, as if magically transformed, she turned into a warrior Giantess to meet the great bear that she was certain was drawing near to them at a great speed. When the creature was only a hundred yards away she finally spotted the well camouflaged beast, and raised her axe out in front of her. She braced herself physically and mentally, for she feared that at any moment now she might be injured or dead. Neither dark prospect, however, made her back down even an inch.
As the Giantess pondered her own mortality the ground suddenly began to shake beneath her feet. Vidolf tried to steady herself, but due to the earth's undulations she fell backwards onto what felt like a flat rock. Before she fell, however, the Sibyl saw the mountain shift, and in the blink of an eye a huge avalanche sped down the mountainside taking with it the helpless Arctotherium.
A muffled " Ugh, mmm, ugh ! " was all Svarthofdi heard when he reached the Giantess.
Svarthofdi tried his best not to giggle, but even his logical demeanor could not block out what his sense of humor was seeing.
" Seer ! You might want to role over and allow poor Vilmeid a chance to breathe ! " was all he managed before he doubled over with laughter.
Vidolf frowned for a moment before realizing that the flat rock she had fallen on top of was actually the little Dwarf she had been trying so valiantly to protect. And now he was suffocating under her immense weight ! The Giantess quickly rolled over onto all fours, and looked down at the the poor little dwarf who was pressed so deeply into the snow he could barely be seen.
" Are you hurt ? " she asked in a sympathetic tone.
After taking several deep breaths Vilmeid, with a little help from the giggling Svarthofdi, crawled out of the hole he had been forced down into by the Jotuness.
" I think it would have been more merciful if the arcto,...., bear thing, would have killed me swiftly instead of being caught in between a vise, whose jaws were a Giantess and solid rock, and nearly crushed to death ! " he stated angrily as he brushed the snow off of his trousers.
Realizing that the angry little Dwarf had survived with everything but his dignity intact Vidolf joined the Elf in a hearty laugh at the expense of Vilmeid's pride.
- End Chapter 4
- Next : Chapter 5 : The Inland Sea
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.