The two warriors stopped and peered at the desolate surface of Jotunheim around them. A frozen snowflake landed on one of Keldon's eyelashes, and he brushed it away with a finger. He glanced around, searching for a landmark they could use to find their way back to Yggdrasil, the world tree. Taking into his memory a strangely shaped rock, he turned to Bronlonius. His companion had already set out towards a mountain. Keldon rolled his eyes and ran to catch up with the other man.
'Wait for me, Bronlonius!' he called. 'There could be Frost Giants about. Believe it or not, caution can be a good thing!'
'Keldon, nothing will happen. Look, there's no sign of life anywhere near here.' He waved his hammer in a large circle and let out a ringing shout, then
grinned at Keldon. Keldon lifted his double-bladed axe immediately when Bronlonius shouted, ready for battle at a moment's notice. He held his position for a full minute, scanning the horizon with sharp blue eyes. When he was sure that nothing was coming, he relaxed, lowering the point of his axe.
'Bronlonius, you could very well have gotten us killed there,' he admonished his friend.
'True,' said Bronlonius. 'If there had been anyone to kill us anywhere near. See, there's nobody around. Come, let's explore.'
Keldon relaxed a bit more. 'Perhaps I was being a bit too paranoid,' he admitted. 'Yes, let's find something to do here.'
Bronlonius grinned widely and slapped Keldon on the back. 'That's more like it, old friend!' He set off again, still heading towards the tall mountain. Keldon followed him, brushing aside his uncertainty.
Half a mile into their journey, the ground took an unexpected dip, plunging into a valley filled with tall rocks. Bronlonius climbed down without a second
thought. Keldon followed him, looking around them, more than slightly uncomfortable in the midst of a field of tall rocks without much view in any direction.
He returned his staff to its previously guarded position, looking around warily. The brothers continued through the valley, unaware of the many pairs of red
eyes carefully monitoring their progress.
Keldon abruptly brought his axe around to point it at one of the taller rocks. His volcanic blue eyes narrowed, and his body tensed. Bronlonius looked around at him.
'Keldon? Did you see something?' he asked, slightly alarmed at the look in Keldon's eyes. Keldon looked at him.
'We're not alone,' Keldon murmured, shifting his axe in his grip to get a wider range of attack. Bronlonius immediately lifted his hammer, looking around
them anxiously. He silently crept towards the rock, prepared to attack. Keldon grabbed his arm in an attempt to pull him back, but Bronlonius shook him off.
Keldon motioned urgently back towards the way they had came. Bronlonius took no notice of him. He suddenly leaped behind the rock swinging his hammer, catching the concealed Frost Giant hard in its chest, crushing its ribcage and killing it. Keldon pulled back in surprise. Yells echoed through the valley, and Frost Giants appeared from behind many rocks. One leaped at Keldon, swinging a sharp club of ice attached to the end of its arm. Keldon ducked the blow aimed at his head and swung his axe under the Frost Giant's arm and into its chest. It gave a horrible gurgling yell and crashed to the ground, dead. Keldon stood for a fraction of a second taking in its immense size, then turned to Bronlonius.
'Bronlonius, we cannot stay!' he called. 'There are too many!' Bronlonius hurled his hammer in Keldon's direction, and Keldon heard a crunch as it killed a Frost Giant about to stab him from behind.
'I'm just getting started!' Bronlonius called back. 'Let's at least get some of them!' Keldon sighed and turned around in time to slash another Giant. He had a strange feeling this wouldn't end well. He bit back a cry as he felt a sharp shard of ice slice into his leg, and he spun, taking off his attacker's head with the blade of his axe. He looked down at his injured leg, and saw snowflakes stained red by his blood clinging to the wound. A shadow fell over him, and he whirled around, bringing his axe up. A block of ice attacked to a Giant's arm crashed into it, the force of the blow driving Keldon onto one knee. The Giant kicked his wounded leg, and Keldon fell onto his back with a cry of pain. A grin spread onto the Giant's face, and it raised its arm to strike. Keldon heaved his axe and swung it sharply at the Giant, and it fell off him, clutching its chest. Keldon got to his feet and cast his eyes about, looking for Bronlonius. The older boy was fighting two Giants at once, and a third was coming up behind him. Keldon made his way to Bronlonius as fast as his injured leg would allow and slashed the Giant as it was about to stab Bronlonius. Bronlonius finished off the other two and nodded thanks to Keldon.
'Bronlonius!' Keldon shouted. 'We must go! There's no way we can kill all these Frost Giants ourselves!' He stopped to kill an advancing Giant. 'Please
Bronlonius, let's get back to the World Tree!'
Bronlonius nodded reluctantly and smashed in a Giant's skull. 'Let's get out of here then!' He broke through a small group of Giants and started climbing out of the valley. Keldon was right behind him, trying to ignore the aching in his leg as he forced it to push him up. Bronlonius stood up and reached a hand down to help his friend up. Keldon reached for his hand, and suddenly felt an iron-hard grip on his right ankle.
He kicked out hard and felt his boot connect with something. The grip on his ankle vanished, and he heard swearing from below him. Bronlonius pulled Keldon partway up, then stumbled as something struck him in the back. The tumbled back down into the valley, a Frost Giant standing where Bronlonius had been.
Bronlonius's head knocked against a rock, and he collapsed in a heap at Keldon's feet.
'Bronlonius!' Keldon shouted, shaking his friend. 'Bronlonius, please, wake up!' Bronlonius didn't respond, and Keldon spun to face the advancing Frost
Giants. One of them made a grab for Keldon, and got the arm cleaved off with Keldon's axe. It fell back with a howl and glared maliciously at Keldon. One of the Frost Giants stepped forward and addressed him.
'You know not what you're doing, boy,' he snarled. 'Come with us peacefully, or we will force you to come.' He turned to another Giant. 'Get the unconscious one,' he said, motioning at Bronlonius. Keldon moved so that he was standing between Bronlonius and the Frost Giants. He raised his axe at the leader.
'Do not touch him,' he growled. The leader considered him for a brief moment.
'Take care of that one,' he said to a third Giant. It moved forward to grab Keldon, and the warriors axe swung in a large arc at the Giant, catching it between the ribs with the sharp blade. It collapsed, and was promptly replaced by four more. Keldon's eyes widened, and he backed away so that his back was to the side of the valley and Bronlonius was lying right behind him. The Giants advanced, their ice clubs raised and ready. Keldon slashed at one of them, killing him, and the remaining three rushed him all at once. Keldon swung his axe in another large arc at one in an attempt to slow them, but it batted the blade away with its ice club. One of the Giants reached for Keldon's arm, but pulled back at a shout from their leader.
'Do not freeze them!' he shouted. 'They could be valuable. We're taking them back to the citadel!' The Giant growled under its breath, then reached for Keldon again. Keldon slashed at it again, fear and determination shining in his blue eyes. It dodged the blow. The two others got on either side of him, and one grabbed his arm, making sure not to freeze it. Keldon started to turn to cleave it, and it took hold of his other arm. The Giant twisted Keldon's right arm sharply until he dropped his axe with a cry. Keldon twisted in the Giant's grip, trying to break free, but its grip was unyielding. It forced his arms behind his back and turned him to face the leader. Another Giant picked up Bronlonius and carried him over one shoulder. Keldon struggled to get away, kicking the Giant holding him. It cursed, but did not loosen its hold on him. The Frost Giant leader advanced towards Keldon and shed his ice club. He grinned evilly at Keldon and drew his bare fist back. Keldon tried once more to break free of the hands restraining him, but to no avail. The Giant's fist came around, and Keldon felt a sharp, intense pain on the side of his head, and his vision went dark.
The Frost Giant leader sneered as he took his position at the head of the column. 'The northern dog was no match for us, but I have to admit he was quite a savage beast. It will be fun to break him.' The sound of guffaws could be heard from the rest of the burly Giants as they marched across the tundra towards the Frost Giant Citadel, not realizing that they had captured the last survivor of House Bhaeraleon, Lion of the North, Duke of Blackwinter.
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Nice story, well written. Thanks for fixing up the wordwrapping
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