Ulvath, the Dying King's Champion
Ten Thousand Gates > An Impromptu Picnic in a Starlit, Ancient Arena

You're as any daughter of the Shield Hall, too pretty for this darkness, but tales as you tell are spun from naught by ax-crippled and thieves - aye, the broken and fit for neither saga nor warring the Witch-Queen's slaves. You've the look of Anseme and her kith, mind, enough for any of the King's Hall to raise ax in your name. Ulvath too, were I not bound by rune and oath!

Aye, and fain I'd stay in this witching place to see the Hunger as frights you and you made to meat for my ax-arm, for the King's Champion has cleft troll and worse ... but if a tale is your hearth fee, you who know too much, then the telling of it you'll have. Then we'll be to what we'll be.

Tis a time come upon Tulsrealm, the good cold from the Godlands smothered by witchery - not the honest casting of runes, but things from the cracks betwixt runes, called by a woman! Year after year, ice melts and warm rot spreads, Halls charmed by the Witch-Queen and troll and beast gone mad for want of good clean snow!

King's Champion am I, but Tulsrealm is witched sick, and so too the King. Ax and spear we take against the Witch-Queen and her foulness, but even in winter the blood of battle does not freeze. Faugh! The ax of Ulvath cannot fight a sickness, and the old men of Rune Hall cast runes for nothing while King Vult lies dying - empty kegs and broken shields they are!

Aye, and how Ulvath came to be here, not taking ax in service to King and Hall. Blood, snow and ice, how I came to be here! Maggat, now, he came to the King's Hall two years past. Came to Tulsrealm atop the last crashing iceships from the frozen sea - what is left. Master of runes he claimed, and soon enough was straddled atop Rune Hall and King's advisor. Aye, and might the least boy of the coast halls have taken rock and ax to Maggat on the rocks and spray - for here I am, cast far with trickery!

By the bearded runes, I vowed before King Vult's pale face I would climb the First Icefall and chip true ice from the Eternal Icicle with my ax. My ax, that slew the Witch-Queen's spawn! I'll vow so to any, may warm rot and hunger-mad wolves take Maggat and all he intends!

Tis the ice of Godlands will bring Tulsrealm to clean cold once more, break the Witch-Queen's hold, restore the King, keep the vow of Ulvath, King's Champion! Maggat's smile upon my vow, upon my stepping to his runes - the smile of a troll it was. Aye, and I knew, but I am Ulvath, son of Ganvir, and my vow will tread the chill-wrapped lies of Maggat to mush! May he wear that smile when I return, for I will cleave it asunder! Aye, he will taste my ax for casting me into the rune-cracks and to this place. Aye.

[ Posted by Reason on March 30, 2006 ]