CHAPTER 1.01 - THE SUNDERING OF GRIEFSWULDE

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CHAPTER 1.01 - THE SUNDERING OF GRIEFSWULDE

Post  Admin on Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:39 pm

Wolfram Constantine grimaced with pain and gasped for breath as he ran for his life across the hard frozen ground. Ahead lay the forest tree line, briefly illuminated in the moonlight as great clouds wheeled overhead. It began to rain, big fat heavy raindrops and the air temperature plummeted rapidly. His breath misted before his eyes, hunger gnawed at his mind and his strength was ebbing away. Wolfram was fatigued and tired. He felt cold and was frightened.

Behind him, at the far end of the vast open field and cresting over a small hillock came the riders with their hounds. And in front of them were others, the simple pleasant village folk of Griefswulde whom he recently befriended. They too ran for their lives as the horsemen gained ground and set their hunting dogs upon them, ripping and rending.

The sky flashed brightly, and in that instant Wolfram swore he saw the riders and their hounds had disappeared. The drumming of their hooves upon the ground and the hounds fierce baying ceased and a quietness descended over him as he looked back. Then a raucous hammering of thunder rolled in and boomed loudly, cracking the sky overhead like Odin's hammer.

More flashes, more thunder. The horse riders and their hounds were still there and getting closer. Wolfram resumed running for the tree line. He tripped as he neared it, having failed to see a small shallow depression in the ground. His ankle twisted, delivering more excruciating pain.

And then the clouds parted to reveal the full moon again. In that moment the rain stopped and the riders pursuit changed direction. Wolfram lay still and watched the riders wheel eastward with their hounds barking and howling before them, driving the few villagers who had kept in ahead of them forward towards a lake. Behind the riders, where the hapless villagers had fallen or been devoured, there was silence. And driving the hounds and survivors forward, in the midst of the riders, was a giant helmeted man who brandished a massive whip made of iron wire and spiked chains.

Wolfram saw them reach the lake's edge and as they did so he saw the man with the whip move into the lead, reaching the water's edge first, and this man raised that whip to strike the water. As his riders swept forward the remaining villagers were overrun and transformed into wild dogs. Then the lake parted into two permitting the riders and their hounds to cross through the middle.

Then on the horizon dawn approached. The helmeted man sat astride his fierce horse and looked back towards where Wolfram lay and called, mocking him.

“Day Walker, why do you hide from usssss? You are afraid. You are one of usssss. Why do you taint yourself with the frivolous life and fetters of these mortals? Tyr has forsaken you. You cannot escape usssss. You cannot escape me, your master!”

And Wolfram yelled back in pain. “I cannot follow you! Your heart is darkness and I am not of your kind, by mighty Tyr, I have sworn to fight chaos and its agents. You cannot take me before my time, Reisen Morgus. My spirit has not been broken. I am still a free man.”

As the sky lightened the helmeted man and his mount faded, with his voice trailing to an ominous hissing whisper. “But you are weak and mortal. You are a stain on these innocents. You will answer for the suffering you have caused with good reason to claim. We will find you Wolfram. We will find you again ...”

Wolfram remained still with his breath ragged, his ankle damaged and his shoulder seriously wounded. He had been bitten by a hound four days ago and the wound became infected. Greifswulde had seemed a haven from the servants of Loki and Fenrir that followed him in this land. The villagers had taken him in, cared for his injuries and treated his wounds. In kind he had repaid them with strength and hunting knowledge, and brought the teaching of Tyr to the people.

This was a cold, frosted morning. The harshness of the daylight glared through grey clouds and showed the whitened trees, capped by a light dusting of snow some one hundred metres away. Gathering his furs around him, Wolfram tried to stand. It proved difficult though, with a convenient branch he found nearby, he managed to use the support to stagger and limp into the woods. He heard birds overhead and could see the tracks of a small deer amongst the scattered leaves on the ground.

Hunger gnawed at him and his stomach rumbled. He felt weak. Shelter and food. Those were Wolfram's immediate priorities. He knew he needed to find them quickly to keep his sanity.
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