THE UDYRFRYKTE (part 1 of 2)


I took the five pelts with me back to our tent, where I found Laurenna. "Where have you been?" she asked. "Weren't you selling some of the stuff to the smith?"

I explained about the boy in the well, and my short little adventure, as well as the reward of the five pelts. "I have a few more of these in the tent." I said. "Wind-Eye isn't back yet, so why don't we head over to Thirsk and have something made of them, and we can enjoy some of that mead they have?"

Well, I didn't have to twist her arm over that one.

We gathered our stuff and headed towards the mead house of Thirsk.


We didn't bring anything else, as the way to the lake, and Thirsk had been clear for several days.

Just before arriving at the lake, however, we found that the Ricklings we had killed earlier had been replaced with more Ricklings.

"Want to head back and get our weapons?" asked Laurenna.

"Not necessary." I replied.


I reminded Laurenna of her Chameleon amulet that her granny had given her. She used it, and faded into the background, almost invisible. I used my own Amulet of Shadows and did the same.

We then proceeded to walk right past the Ricklings, totally unaware of our presence.


By the time we approached the eastern shore of the frozen lake, the spell had worn off for each of us, but since we were well past the Ricklings, it no longer mattered.

We decided to go to the smith's hut and deal with him first before spending some time in the mead hall.

Always business before pleasure.   


Brynjolfr was busy in his hut, but gave us a look of surprise as we came in.

"Hm, I'm surprised to see anyone here," he said, "especially after what just happened."

"Why is that?" I asked.


"Oh, it was horrible." he explained. "I had finally found someone interested in my custom snow bear and snow wolf armor. We were talking about prices, when suddenly this hideous black beast came up from the ice lake. It killed my customer! Then it went inside the mead hall! I heard screaming, sounds of battle! Then the thing came out again, pierced with arrows! It headed back toward the lake, but first it came back for my customer, and dragged off his body!"

That sounded most serious, of course. I told him I was here to purchase some snow bear greaves. He took the pelts and gold, and said to come back same time next day.

"You might want to check in the mead hall as well. Sounded like there was quite a battle there a while ago."

We decided to follow his suggestion and headed to the mead hall and find out what the story was on this huge beast.


The door to the mead hall was ajar, so we headed in cautiously. Inside, we found the place was a shambles, with dead Nords everywhere.

"Is anyone here?" I shouted.

From behind the bar we heard a moaning sound.

We rushed over and found one of the victims pinned under a support post. Between Laurenna and myself, we were able to free her from the damaged post.


It was Svenja Snow-Song. We helped her to her feet. She had a few cuts and bruises, so I gave her one of my healing potions.

"What happened?" asked Laurenna. "Who or what did this?"

Svenja seemed a little dazed, but the healing potion helped.

"He...he came to the mead hall and killed....killed everyone he could! There was no warning." she explained. "My clan fought bravely, but they were no match. I rained arrows upon the beast, and finally drove him off. But he'll be back! It all happened so quickly. We were just standing here, enjoying our mead and the warmth of the fire, when he struck. Never have I seen a creature so savage. If I didn't know better, I'd say the monster that did this was the Udyrfrykte, but how could that be?"

I looked at Laurenna. She recognized the name. I could tell by the look in her eyes. "You know of this creature?" I asked.

"Only in legends and campfire stories that parents tell their children so they'll behave." she replied. "The Udyrfrykte is supposed to be a remorseless monster with a taste for human flesh."


"Yes," continued Svenja, "and according to legend, he has been sealed within his lair for centuries. The entrance is on the shore of Lake Fjalding, but it's covered with ice. How could he have escaped? Why now?"

"Eldorf, the fire in the lake..." started Laurenna.

"That might be it." I said, agreeing with her.

"It must be how this creature escaped." said Svenja. "I do not know what sorcery caused that fell flame, but it must have melted the ice! If this is true, the Udyrfrykte is free to walk the lands!"

She looked at me. "Mage, the beast must be stopped! You're no stranger to combat. I can see it in your eyes."

"Well, I have done a few good deeds here and there." I said, not wanting to blow my own horn.

"Do you have the power to slay the beast?" she asked. "Do you have the courage?"

"Well, I...."

"Skjoldr Wolf-Runner was the last chieftain of Thirsk." she continued. "He took possession of the hall when he slew Griss the Yellow and placed his head on the pedestal. But now Skjoldr is dead, and Thirsk has no chieftain. If you can kill the Udyrfrykte and claim some kind of battle trophy, you might be found worthy to rule over Thirsk. What say you? Will you slay the Udyrfrykte?"

Well, I wasn't so sure about handling the day-to-day affairs of a mead hall, but it was clear that this was a monster that needed to be slain.

"Yes." I replied. "I'll kill the Udyrfrykte and claim the chieftain's throne of Thirsk."

Svenja smiled, as did Laurenna, a fellow Nord. "Your words honor me and my fallen comrades." she replied. "The Udyrfrykte makes his lair in the ice caves that run beneath Thirsk. The entrance is located on the shores of Lake Fjalding, just to the west of here. I'm sure you will find the creature there, licking his wounds. If you can manage to slay the Udyrfrykte, make sure you claim some part of the best as a trophy. Bring that trophy back to me, and I will name you chieftain of Thirsk, for that is our way. Go now, and good hunting."


"I should be back in a few..." I started.

"Oh, no you don't." said Laurenna. "These are my people, too, and I don't like monsters eating Nords. I'm coming with you!"

"Well, I can summon armor and weapons." I replied, "But if you're going to insist on coming along, we'd better find some sort of armor and a decent weapon for you first."


We checked out several of the dead Nords in the mead hall, and found several pieces of armor. None of it matched, but it would be more than enough protection for her.

I found a broadsword for her, but she refused, grabbing a rather large battle-axe instead. She swung it around a bit, getting a feel for the weight and balance of the weapon.

"Yeah, this should do nicely." she said.

That done, we headed out the door. "Where is this lair?" she asked. "By the lake, according to Svenja." I replied.


Sure enough, right on the eastern shore of the lake, we found the entrance to a cave that had previously been hidden under a pile of snow and ice.

One could smell rotting flesh coming from the cave. This had to be the place.


We made our way inside the dimly-lit cavern and made our way down part of the tunnel. There was a light up ahead, either from a torch or from sunlight filtering through the icewalls.


We continued down the tunnel when suddenly, Laurenna whispered "Eldorf, I think I just saw something moving up ahead!"

Straining to see in the dim light, we could make out a large, bulky shape just ahead of us, moving around slowly, and dragging something in it's large fist.


Yes, it was none other than our friend, the Udyrfrykte, and it looked as though we had just interrupted his dinner time.


He was not happy to see us. Or, perhaps he was. Probably saved him the trip of hunting for his next meal.

Well, we'd make sure he leg he was holding would be his last.

With a loud roar, the creature charged forth from his lair, up the tunnel, directly at us.


Laurenna couldn't wait to get at this creature. For her, it was a matter of avenging her people's honor. "I get first blood!" she demanded.

The Udyrfrykte swung at her with the Nord leg he seemed to cherish so much, but the blows didn't seem to hurt her.



PAGE 039