Ragnarok Fantasy Part One
by, November 6th, 2010 at 11:41 AM (1605 Views)
I'm Damon Dane, the author of Ragnarok, an apocalyptic fantasy series inspired by Viking mythology and prophecies from the Book of Revelation.
I'll be posting Ragnarok on my blog week by week. I hope you have a chance to read it! All feedback is welcome! For maps and background info you can visit my site http://www.ragnarokfantasy.com.
I hope you enjoy Ragnarok, and thanks for reading!
DAMON DANE'S RAGNAROK
FLY WITH ME
I was born in the Age of Giants, when great sheets of ice covered the earth. I was hatched from an egg in the frozen depths of Castle Dragonheim, and my mother named me Huginn. Of course, I was no raven back then - I was a Norse dragon.
I flew out across the world as a young dragon hatchling, no bigger than a vulture of the cracked and broken Darklands, although in time I grew to become one of the mightiest of the Norse dragons, and my name was known right across the world of Xanadu, from Kurganhall to Jotunheim, from Hyperborea to Banjaran; even as far as the Sunset Lands of Shangri-La across the Ancient Ocean, now but myth and dying memories in the lore of men.
Thousands of years passed, aeons came and went, and I witnessed the fall of the giants, the exile of the Ursans to the frozen North, and the rise and fall of mighty empires across the open steppe, where men beyond numbering roamed, loved, killed, conquered, and died.
Then I grew old, as we all must. My eagle eyes blurred, the flesh withered from my colossal bones, and my golden scales lost their lustre and fell to the earth, like autumn leaves whispering across cold cobblestones. The time had come to return home, so I flew the final journey to Castle Dragonheim - the icy home of the Norse dragons at the very top of the world. Thinking never to return to Xanadu, I laid down in the tomb of my ancestors and breathed my last.
But I did not die.
Stargard the Warlock, who is Father of Dragons and Grandmaster of the Holy Order of Hyperborean Knights, came to me upon a steed of swirling storm clouds, and in a voice like thunder roared, ‘Huginn, do not die.’
He wove great magic to transform me from a dying dragon into an immortal guardian spirit, as formless and invisible as the wind passing across the Dragon’s Back Mountains, although there are times when I take the form of a starry-eyed raven. If ever you see such a raven in Xanadu, perhaps watching you curiously from a pine-green bough, then you may be sure that it is I, Huginn, the teller of this tale.
The Warlock also granted me powers of magical sight and hearing, so that I may watch over all the world, and even read the very thoughts of men. Then he commanded me to fly out from Castle Dragonheim, beneath the Northern Lights, through swirling blizzards, over the icy Jotunheim tundra where the frost giants roam, southward to the chaotic realms of men, so that I might serve as his eyes and ears on Xanadu when his mystical journeys take him along the branches of Yggrasdil to other worlds, other times, and other places, for it is the calling of the Warlock to journey across the worlds not only of men, but also to travel among the shifting astral planes of ghosts and spirits and demons, seeking out wisdom and power from across the universe, so that he may prepare all the peoples of Xanadu for the great battle at the end of time, which shall be called Ragnarok, the War of Endings.
This is my story, the story of the Age of Endings, of a misty mountainous magical world called Xanadu, of brave heroes and mighty dragons, of terrible wars and Machiavellian politics, of empires built and empires smashed and great fortunes gained and lost. Most of all it is the story of Ragnarok, and of a scruffy blond boy called Ragnar, who… well, you shall see.
So come share with me this cup of wild wine for the darkness in our hearts, come dream with me of Xanadu, come fly with me, across the sea, across the mountains, across the sky…
BENEATH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
Armageddon rumbled across the dark northern skies. Thunder boomed, lightning cracked and tore at the earth, and in the frozen wastes beyond the Dragon’s Back Mountains, a darkness beyond imagining was rising. These were the Dark Ages, and moment by moment, the darkness grew darker.
A Norse dragon flew through the night, soaring across the vast sheets of snowy tundra spanning the frozen North from horizon to horizon. All is changing, he lamented, thinking of the chain of events he was about to set in motion to try and save the world from tumbling into hell at Ragnarok, the War of Endings.
All is ending.
For a day and a night the dragon had been flying, making the epic journey back to the realms of Xanadu from Castle Dragonheim - the fabled home of the Norse dragons a thousand miles north of this place. Bold Barbarian mapmakers labelled this land “The Top of the World”, but in truth not even those dauntless explorers knew what was here: their maps of the vast wastes were guesses sprinkled with myth, fermented in tankards of winter ale and bolstered by boasts of, ‘I saw it once, but long ago. ‘Twas in my younger years, when neither snow nor storm nor leviathan could bar my way.’
But no man could sail his longship across a solid sea of ice, and not even the most intrepid explorers had trekked more than a few hundred miles from the North Sea coast, clad in mammoth coats and sustained by whale blubber and the relentless longing of the Northman to discover what lies beyond the horizon. But even the toughest Norse dreamers had limits to their endurance, if not their madness, and none had ever set foot upon this swathe of howling tundra. Only the Norse dragons and the Sons of Ymir had come so far from the realms of Xanadu; only they knew what was here. But the dragons did not speak of such things, and the Sons of Ymir were the grim frost giants, who avoided lands where either sunshine or men were to be found in any significant quantities.
The dragon was rushing southward for three reasons, all of them compelling: firstly, he had seen the hordes of Gehenna gathering beneath the Banner of Sorrows Promised, arming themselves with great clanging industry for the invasion of Xanadu.
Secondly, the King of the North, the Lord of the Paladins, the Angel of the Lord, would soon be born into this world; a holy paladin foretold to unite the realms against the Horde of Darkness. The Angel of the Lord had to be found, and prepared for his sacred calling.
The most compelling reason for the dragon’s haste was his concern for his friend the knight, who would die if he did not reach him soon, and the knight was a vital link in the dragon’s Machiavellian plans.
But I am already too late, he lamented, flapping his broad wings. Too late by far. The Dragonheim library has far too many old books to distract and enchant, and to steal time like a thief in the night. If only the months did not pass like hours each time I bury my head in those superb tomes of antiquity. Dear oh dear, with each passing century I really do become more and more the absent-minded old boffin.
Yet the dragon did not look like an absent-minded old boffin who has spent centuries among musty tomes, for he was vibrant and vigorous, glowing with a magical aura sparkling in all the colours of the rainbow, and radiating so much energy that little bolts of lightning crackled and zapped up his golden spine and down over his seven-horned head, reflecting from armoured scales glittering in swirling blends of pink gold shaded with pure gold blending with streaks of white gold across his crown and neck.
His jaws were lined with rows of six-inch teeth, though he rarely opened his mouth to reveal them, needing neither to eat nor speak as mortal creatures do, for he was blessed with powers of telepathy, and sustained himself not upon the flesh of beasts, but by drawing freely upon the primal energies of the universe itself.
Strangest of all were his extraordinary eyes - as black as the night sky, splashed with a cosmos of bright stars in every colour, all spinning and flashing in the whirling dance of creation, for these were not so much eyes as windows to eternity, shining with the wisdom of unknowable aeons, glowing with powers beyond the most power-crazed dreams of mortal men - powers lost to the world after the fall of the Holy Empire of Hyperborea, nearly 666 years before.
On through the night the dragon flew, worrying about the knight: If Gothia does not survive this ordeal, then who will prepare the Angel of the Lord for Ragnarok? No other warrior is as... qualified... as Gothia.
Don't die Gothia,live.