Abridged History of the 10th Age
The giants groan. || The wild warrior
has gained the field. || Upon the outcrop
stands the soldier, || hammer-ready, hard.
Wrathful in war-gear || countenance kept
hidden by helm. || Ivaldr son of Ivar,
champion of the king, || hefts the Hammer.
Shafts of shining || light lancing
from golden grip, || forward steps
the son-slayer. || Crying children
are the giants. || Helgar Styrkhjalm,
king’s consort, || unsheathes her sword.
Together triumphant || advance the heroes
against the enemy. || Fergum Flametongue
rises to resist || them. Throwing
boulder brought || from side of mountain.
The Hammer howls || and splits asunder
the rumbling rock. || False friends,
the giant folk. || ‘neath borrowed banners
had they hallward come || to ask the eldest
son of Stone || to write them weapons
of steel and sorrel, || of gem and grit.
Hilts were hewn || from icy iron
and shields struck || to tower tall.
Baldr-king had then bestowed || on them offerings
of war weapons. || To son of Stone
they pledged friendship || for fierce fighting
they had to do. || Urhame stood spoiling
for brutal battle || with puissant Pernag.
Two tribes || of great giants
one grown grief-ful || one mad with murder.
But Baldr first || found Urhame’s word
so for Baal’al || Baldr cast his coin,
cursed coin || wielded for war.
Baal’al was king || of evil Urhame
and trusted only treasons || to win his wars.
His reavers raped || his cousin’s cities
of potent Pernag. || Urhame-usurper
the Pernag people || called that king.
To Baldr bravely || Pernag’s people
pled their plea. || Baal’al bellowed
that he should not take them. || Baldr blanched
not to aid the ailing. || Through hidden halls
he saved the suffering || and Pernag’s peoples
fled Urhame’s fires. || Baal’al nightly brooded
on ways to weaken, || to destroy the dwarves.
For Baldr had taken || the kin of the king
from Pernag’s ruin || but they boasted blood
that could kill Baal’al || and end Urhame.
“Pernag’s princes,” || bade king Baal’al
“have to be handed || into my keeping.”
“I destroyed dragons,” || spake son of Stone,
“I fear no fires || of grasping giants.
Our friendship falters, || it is broken, Baal’al.
You are a usurper. || True-born tyrant,
fiery fiend, || false friend.”
Gainst giant strength || a gate may give.
Many halls they harrowed || as they searched for sons
of Pernag’s lord. || But dwarf-king Baldr
could stand not by || and grant the giants
the freedom to set fires || in the halls of Harnholme.
Against common enemy || stood tolfolk and strangers
the giants of Pernag || made fast their friendship
yet their numbers were sadly || not great enough.
For fierce fiery foes || had come to the Harnholme,
and in high hills || did dragons still dwell.
Baal’al bade the wyrmfolk, || wise in the slaughter
of sons of the stone, || to make common mis’ry
of dwarf-halls their cause. || Darkness descended
as demonic bargains || were struck gainst the people
of Baldr, bold king. || So too came the Ogres
and terrible troll-folk. || Overrun were the folk-halls;
the dead left to fester, || their spirits full shamed
by the ill grace of giants. || The Stonemother sorrowed.
The Earthfather wept. || The warriors donned war-gear
the women their weapons, || the wealth of the slaughter.
Baldr-king fought || with woeful blade
and Dalnr, Recorder || of tales fought too,
took up the battle. || And there at last
stood there Ivaldr, || heroic in stature.
With him marched Helgar, || bed-mate to Baldr,
defender of dwarves. || The dragons now drive
the giants onwards. || Baal’al flicks his whip.
Frost there and fire || are all arrayed
against them. || A cracking crashes
through ranks of the foemen; || Fergum the Flametongue
is laid out for the grave. || “Send me another,”
Ivaldr swears in a shout || and Baal’al obeys.
Wyrmcry rips || through mountain mists
and thund’rous monster || tumbles toward the heroes.
Helgar cries out, || a blooming of breath
of potent poisons || covers champion and queen.
Symesh the Green, || sovereign of swamplands
folk-foe and ruiner, || reaver and ravager,
who had slain Ragnar, || and all of his kin
now swoops from the heavens || to humble the heroes.
No movement nor motion || Helgar betrays.
But Hammer-strong Ivald || stands like the stone.
Son of the sword || truly is he!
His heart heavy with murder, || the Hammer protects him.
Rage! Rage rumbles forth || frothing in madness.
As bold Baldr weeps || for his fallen mistress.
Ivald’s eyes are as ice || and shuddering screams
flow forth from his lips. || He has no shadow;
his Hammer finds home || in foul Symesh’s scales.
His shrieks shatter hard-hearts || break boldness to pieces.
He teaches them fear. || Now forward comes king,
his ancient axe answers || his tally of grief.
The dragon is driven || to the lands of the lifeless.
It’s poisons spill silent || as Eiri’s axe ends it.
Gutted it lies, || a warning to giants.
Now comes the splitter, || the sky-sunderer Vorone,
wyrm-prince whose belly || holds bright bale-fire.
From his lips lick lightening || into Ivaldr,
but still the dwarf stands. || “Send me your giants!,”
the champion demands || “enough weakling dragons!”
He lets fly the Hammer || into the heavens.
The waster of halls || is smote in the breast.
The smasher of cities || flies no further.
He who slew Harfn || and buried the Brandhal
in mountains of corpses || is himself slain.
The Hammer flies home now || to Ivaldr’s right hand.
Now through the army || angry, yet artful,
emerges the enemy || the king of the kin-slayers.
Baldr and Baal’al || king facing king.
But the dwarf-lord’s strength || cannot stand gainst a giant
and the king of the kin-reavers || crushes him to earth.
The tree-tall hammer || in enemy’s hand
smashes the kingly || son of the stone.
Dwarf-work, that weapon, || given in gladness
now unmakes its maker. || But no hand ever crafted
the ever-strong Hammer || save Eiri’s alone.
As king-kin is crushed || by Baal’al’s cruel sledge
the other sings sweetly || a song of slaying.
Out from his eyes || goes the light of Baal’al
his burning gaze snuffed || like the life of the king.
Ivaldr has triumphed, || the army rejoices.
But there on the stone, || lies the king and his queen.