Friday, May 02, 2014

The Tale of Holthvar

Holthvar the dwarf dwelt far from the haunts of his kin. He built for himself a house of stone and wood. It overlooked a wide, fast paced river, with falls that thundered day and night. He dwelt there, content with all the world and honed his skills as a stonemason.

In time, his house grew and he spanned the waters with a bridge of stone and built buildings that paid his debt to the All Father. He was filled with pride in his work and his skills, but there were none to admire his skills, so in time he traveled to the village of his people and cast about for companions.

There he met his love, the maiden Eigluna, and he offered her his realm as a home and she accepted. So they retired to his home upon the river and he built it ever greater in her honor. And he loved her like nothing else but for his stone.

So it was that the Red God found the pair and he called upon them as a guest. Holthvar gave him refuge, food and drink. There the God stayed for many days and he spoke ill into the ears of Holthvar and made him believe that his kin looked upon him as a lesser creature and kept secret knowledge from him.

Holthvar, bewitched by the Red God's words, became wrathful, cursing his people and all that they did and believed. But the Red God cast him a line and said: "But let me teach you what I know, for my knowledge is such that I can give you immortality and you can built a city of stone the likes of which the world has never seen."

And Holthvar agreed and called Eigluna to join him upon this journey with the Red God. But Eigluna spurned him and ordered the Red God from her house. "We have given you refuge but you have overstayed your welcome. Be off with your poisoned words." Holthvar was shamed and bowed his head and in that moment he missed the twisted smile of death the Red God sent Eigluna and did not see that she was stricken.

So the Red God left into the wilds.

And in time Eigluna grew weary and ill so that she could not rise from her bed. And she died when the sun was in its zenith with the light of the fire upon her brow.

Holthvar, stricken with grief, collapsed upon the ground and there he sat for a full moon of the world while she decayed. And there the Red God found him and took him up, promising him a life everlasting. He took the bones of Eigluna and lay them out, carefully upon a bier of stone.

"She is gone, but she shall live forever, so long as you carry her memory."

"Then give me your knowledge Red God, grant me the life of an immortal."

So the Red thought upon him and his spirit became bound in the husk of his body for all time. But Holthvar felt the weight of his life immediately and knew that chains were upon him and he looked down and saw a single link upon his chest, hanging in his clothing. And, from that, a tether ethereal hung, following it, it came to his love and he saw her spirit, bound to him. And she was afraid, for the Stone Fields were denied her.

He took up her skull and carried it ever after, pining for his love and wondering what price he had paid. But the price was greater than he know, for indeed he could not die, but all those that he slew were bound to him. A new link for each victim and their souls were tethered as was Eigluna and the Red God's curse followed him in the guise of hundreds of spirits, invisible to all but those who can truly see.

And thus Holthvar became a goblin of eldritch abilities and wandered the world, loving the Red God's gift, and cursing it as well, all the while pulling the host of dead behind him.

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