The Gathering Storm
How the Alfather lost sons and gained a daughter
How the Alfather lost sons and gained a daughter
Or how the Maiden came to be.
The Alfather was not always childless. Before his brother took the long walk, and long before his wife donned the dark cloak of the Raven Queen, he had seven sons. As his sons had come of age he sent six off to find brides and kept the youngest son, Lucian at home. He could not bear to be parted from all his sons. The adventuring sons were supposed to bring back seven brides, but they found a king with six daughters and wooed them, forgetting their brother. They spent the summer feasting within the king’s hall and walking in the woods with the daughters until the time for them to return home was close at hand. The first snows of winter had already begun to fall when they began their trip home, princesses and all, and they passed through the Dragon Spine Mountains to make their trip shorter.
It was in these times that the great Dragon Lord still lived, and he saw the couples and their merrymaking and noted how they did not take the time to make the proper offerings for entering his domain. Raging the Dragon stormed down the side of the mountain and crushing them with his teeth and burning them with his breath. For such is the way of dragons.
When they did not return, the Alfather, their father tried to prevent their brother from following, but Lucian went anyway. The boy took his favorite horse, which he had raised since a child, and together they set out for the Dragon Spine Mountains. On the way, Lucian stumbled across a starving raven. He shared half his food with the raven who, in thanks, pointed the boy in the direction of the Dragon Lord’s lair before flying on his way.
Next, Lucian came to a large river and saw a salmon stuck on the shores of the river. Having shared his supplies with the raven, the boy was dangerously low on food and felt fortunate that this salmon was out of the water and on the shore for him to gather so easily. However, when Lucian approached the salmon it pleaded with him not to eat him, but to instead throw him back into the river. The boy, feeling sorry for the fish, tossed the salmon back into the river. Thanking the boy, the salmon pointed the direction to the Dragon Spine Mountains before heading off.
Soon Lucian’s swift horse had carried him to the edge of the Dragon Spine Mountains, but try as he might he could not find the entrance to the Dragon Lords Cave. Finally, after days of searching and with no remaining food, the boy sat down to rest. It was then he noticed a large wolf looking down on him. The boy quickly drew his sword, but the wolf did not attack. It told him how hungry it was, how the Dragon Lord left no prey in his domain and how the wolf and his tribe had to live by eating the scraps outside of the dragon’s lair. The boy explained his desire to find the lair of the Dragon Lord and the wolf agreed to take him to the lair of the Dragon Lord. The wolf led the prince to the dragon’s lair and for his help the boy gave him his horse to eat. For his kindness, the wolf repaid Lucian by consoling him and telling him that he would encounter not the Dragon Lord, but the princess he kept prisoner.
The prince entered the Dragon Lord’s lair and found, instead of a dragon, a beautiful maiden being held prisoner. Forced to serve the Dragon Lord, the maiden could not flee because she could escape the mountain range on foot. When Lucian told her he would slay the Dragon Lord she told him that as a god he could not be hurt by any mortal weapon, and that only the magic of the elves or the weapons of the dwarves could possibly hope to injure him. The Elves, Dwarves, and Dragon Lord had been allies since the dawn of time, so there was little hope of slaying the Great Beast.
Lucian and the maiden rode the wolf away from the dragon’s lair and were a third of the way home when the Dragon Lord returned and noticed his was prize missing. Furious he sent his servants, the gnolls, to capture them. The gnolls swept down over the mountain side, but where attacked by wolves. Gnolls still hold a grudge with the wolves to this day.
When the prince and the maiden arrived at the great river the Dragon Lord sent his servants, the lizardmen, to capture them downstream and drown them in the surf. Lucian and the maiden dove into the river and, instead of floating downstream, were carried swiftly up the river by the salmon and his friends. The Lizardmen, realizing they had failed their master left the rivers to hide in the marshlands where they hide to this day.
With only one more chance to stop them, the Dragon Lord sent his most vile servants the undead to stop Lucian and the maiden. Corpses rose from the empty battlefields surrounding the Alfather’s castle. Moving slowly on foot, the two were soon surrounded. Ravens poured down from the sky and attacked the corpses, picking at their eyes and raking their flesh.
The Lucian and the maiden made their way safely to the castle, and the king rejoiced