“The Horn of Heimdall”
Impossibly, Brukhart watched as Hrothgar, Lord of the Keep on the Borderlands, transformed into a nine foot troll, leaping up onto the mead hall tables as his guests and subjects fell into a magical slumber. He looked over each of them, carefully, as hot drool slid off his chin to sizzle against the wood where it fell. The beast paused before his own son, the young warrior Wulfgar, and proceeded to rend the boy’s head from his shoulders as the sleepers were ripped from their eldritch nap to bear witness to the troll’s ravenous feeding.
The Brothers Ljunborg sprung into action as they desperately tried to fell the beast, aided by the remaining sons of Hrothgar. The troll was a fearsome foe as warrior after warrior fell to the creature’s savage claws, oblivious to the wounds it received.
Paavo, recalling the magical horn Hrothgar had boasted of stealing from the Dragon of the Caves of Chaos, sought to retrieve it, hoping its magics might aid them in their cause, but he discovered Hrothgar’s wizard, Sheathsson, robbing the secret chest in the Keep Throne. Paavo and his brother Rune confronted the wizard and they laid him low, recovering the stolen loot.
The fight with Troll Hrothgar was not going well, however. Paavo blew the horn, then joined his brothers Magnar and Brukhart in the fray as they all armed themselves with fiery logs from the fireplace, seeing that the creature had an aversion to flame. The beast cried out in fury, pained but far from vanquished.
Rune reached out with his magics and held the troll in place, binding him to his will. This allowed Brukhart to hurl the vile thing into the great fire pit in the center of the hall. Magnar delivered mighty blows with his axe, then Paavo crept in and beheaded the beast — its grotesque head morphing once more to reveal the countenance of Lord Hrothgar, their uncle.
Unfortunately, there was no respite for these heroes, for they quickly learned the nature of the Horns magic. Paavo had inadvertently summoned a horde of goblins from the nearby Caves of Chaos, intent on aiding the master of the horn — Troll Hrothgar. The keep was under attack.
The Ljunborgs mobilized the scant forces to defend the keep and took up positions on the walls as something akin to a hundred orcs stormed the fortress. Magically aided by the Seidr Witch, Lindy-Fay, the brothers were fearsome in their defense, felling scores of goblins as their bodies piled up at their feet.
Still, it was a massacre. The children defenders nearly all fell to a man, but the Ljunborgs, their stamina waning, fought on. Paavo begged to blow the horn once more, and Rune, realizing that the master of the horn was no longer in troll form, deemed it worth the risk, so blow it Paavo did even as the horde swept over the walls and into the courtyard below, barrelling toward Hrothgar last son, Skeld, and the warrior Bowen held the palisade that defended the entrance into the high court.
As the brothers caught their breaths, a distant horn resounded, and lo did they see another horde on the horizon, mounted warriors racing for the keep, and a throng of giants keeping pace with them…
to be continued…