The Heroes who Broke the Curse of Hel’s Needle were feasted and celebrated by Ingvard and Magnus in Evingard. Those great people and all clans present toasted to the Heroes’ victory and the end of the deathless polar bear threat to Evingard though some of the Wolf clan undoubtedly resented the fact that the Heroes succeeded where they could not. The gaze of the All-Father is surely upon the victorious over those who fail.
The Heroes were richly rewarded with weapons, armor, shields, and trinkets… all of arcane power. The gifted Hero, Warg, inscriber of runes, divined each items’ power as nothing magical can hide from his sight. In their possession, the Heroes have a tower shield of great defensive power which the stalwart Hero, Grond, wielder of Friðrgefa, claimed and would use to life-saving effect; graceful armor which allows its wearer to move rapidly and avoid all attacks; Hel’s Wrath, a longsword that makes it wielder more and more defensive the more spiritually harmed they become; a Nilfheim Death Bone spiked shield of strong protection against the spiritual; a brooch of inverted ice that is a double-bladed sword – its wearer does not feel the cold but heat and fire are intensified – the Hero Ragnar, Druid of the Forest and master of trees, proudly wears that brooch; and lastly, a necklace that strengthens the spirituality of the wearer. Alas, the Heroes felt no strong need for that item and sold it off to help fund their upcoming journey.
Brimming with confidence over their success at Hel’s Needle, the Heroes paid a visit to Magnus and got the story of the mines and the thrall revolt. An unheard of situation. The slaves rose up, killed their taskmasters and took over the mines. All envoys to the mines did not return. Obviously someone or something is behind the slave uprising and Magnus needed the incident rectified immediately. All ore production stopping in the mines is a disastrous event. Viking warriors must be trained, their mettle tested in battle, their lives ended in glorious combat, received in Valhalla and returned to Midgard for the final battle against the Jotun. The Heroes who Broke the Curse of Hel’s Needle were tasked with ending the slave revolt in the mines so that the all important ore production can resume.
Normally a 10 day journey from Evingard to the mines, the Heroes (the aforementioned Warg, Grond and Ragnar along with Borga, daughter of Ásta, master of beasts, rider of the tenacious golden boar War Pig) did the trip in just 7 days due to the pathfinding skills of Warg. All was uneventful through the endless twilight and never ending cold of Fimbulwinter until the Heroes came upon a thriving and bountiful tree in the distance. A lone man, rugged, handsome, middle-aged, danced nakedly around the tree, singing prayers to Njord, the Vanir god of the fertile. The Heroes had heard rumors of the mad druid Ivar while in Evingard and, upon conversing with the man, that had indeed found him.
While wild in appearance, Ivar was not wild in the mind and seemed completely conscious of a great many things and had an underlining intelligence of the cosmos beyond all the Heroes. He spoke of a need to have Ingvardson brought to him to be taught and mentored to greatness. He also spoke of some evil… some sickness… at the Cornerstone of the World where the cosmic tree, Yggdrasil, connects with Midgard. The miners dug too deep and released some evil upon the Cornerstone. Ivar sent a spirit of the land down through the mines and into the Cornerstone to heal the corruption but it never returned and Ivar feels that the spirit is engaged in a mortal battle with some evil there. The Heroes were needed once more and they agreed to help… though Borga’s assistance was extra special.
The Heroes returned to Ivar’s abode in the forest where he would enact a lengthy and vigorous all-night fertility ritual (with Borga’s “help”) to create the necessary potion that the Heroes would bring to the Cornerstone and give to the spirit to help it in its battle. Ivar’s home was a pitiful shack on the outside but a glorious hall on the inside. Druidic magic abounded. Ivar was tended to by various women who felt a bit unnatural. They provided food and mead to the Heroes while Ivar and Borga partook in the fertility ritual (several times).
Indeed, something was off about that place as upon awakening in the morning, Grond, son of Trond, wielder of Friðrgefa, needed more feminine clothing and is now more apt to be called Grond, daughter of Trond. It remains to be seen if this transformation is everlasting or not. Grond preferred not to discuss these complications with the other Heroes and wished to be on the road again posthaste.
Ivar bid the Heroes farewell and warned them to be wary of wolves… particularly of one called Frageir. The Heroes had another day to travel to the mines and were guided by an abnormally intelligent squirrel on Ivar’s request. Upon sighting the mines in the distance the next day, howling shattered the darkness. The wolves had found the Heroes.
Closing ranks and preparing for gruesome battle, the Heroes saw a lone wolf as massive as a polar bear in the distance. Borga urged War Pig forward and unleashed a flurry of arrows at the beast. Five in total hit the wolf though it seemed only to be pin pricks to it. The wolf charged forward at unearthly speed, crashing into and running over Warg, Grond and Ragnar; grievous injuries were done to all three as the momentum of the wolf was immense. However, the defensive magic of Grond’s tower shield made the damage less than it could have been so the three heroes were badly injured instead of being outright killed by the wolf’s charge. Additionally, the shock of the tower shield’s magic slowed down the wolf so that it remained close enough to the Heroes after its charge that the mighty treant that Ragnar summoned with his powerful druidic magic could reach the wolf and with two thunderous blows, the wolf was crushed and its lifeblood ran red in the snow. It was all over in mere seconds and Odin, the Enemy of the Wolf, smiled down on the Heroes from Valhalla.