When the elves emerged from the treeline to the right, one of the Iceborn let out a sharp whisper. "It's the Skraelings!"
Sigdar grunted and quickly sized them up. He looked like he was about to say something, but then the trolls erupted from the undergrowth even closer. They looked revolting, like nothing the Iceborn had ever seen before, and they were as vicious as any wild monsters.
"Beasts!" Sigdar roared. He drew his axe and gripped it tighter, beginning to walk towards the trolls. With each stride he seemed to grow further consumed by a growing rage. He boomed loud enough for half the clearing to hear, "This is Kjorn's first test: sever their heads before they defile this sacred ground!"
Sigdar's menacing walk broke into a wild charge towards the nearby trolls as he loosed a ferocious battlecry. The warriors behind him were quick to draw their weapons and follow. They created a sheldwall as they moved to close the gap, but by the time they reached their enemies Sigdar had already fallen upon the trolls like an avalanche.
Scout Oredhel once again scanned his surroundings. It looked like trouble. They had not come here to fight nor to make friends, but it may equally be in his people's service to find out more about these strangers and observe whatever might take place. During their ranging the scouts had made plentiful contact with the giants and it was a relief to see them here, with the interest of safety in numbers he made the decision that they go join up with them. It would create welcome distance between themselves and the human warband as well as the trolls. It would also bring them closer to the dark elves who, while their kind always inspired discomfort, were an intriguing sight after what happened to their people in the Dark Woods. He sent Fingon to go gather the ash that they had come for and then rejoin them as they made their way towards the giants.
They had not gotten far when the great battle cry erupted from the Iceborns. Battle had already begun. Oredhel shouted for Fingon to hurry, but their plan to head for the giants remained the same.
The Blood Trolls, responding to the human aggression with fierce battlecries of their own, slammed their spears into their shields or their axes together, and charged in unison without organization - it was simply as if it was the first natural thing that came upon them all at once.
They were equal in number to the Iceborn, almost two dozen, but Sigdar came upon them way ahead of the others. Much to their anger and frustration, the beast of a man could not be bested even when taking on the entire group. He swung his axe in wide arcs, either wounding trolls or forcing them to back off. Then the rest of the humans arrived, and battle was joined.
Axe met shield, sword met sword, spear met flesh. The Iceborn had brought their greatest warriors, and theirs was a legacy of war. The trolls, despite bloodthirst, stood equally matched against the humans but their leader tipped the scales. Sigdar was simply too powerful to be counted as a single man.
Then, one of the trolls pushed away whatever Iceborn he was locked in combat with, and took two steps back. Almost simultanously, the others followed suit. All of them flexed their muscles, brandished their great tusks, and roared into the skies. A blood-red hue, even more sickening than their skin and the blood that stained the ground began to emit from their bodies. As if a fire had lit within them, their eyes lit up in an almost demonic glow.
Then they threw themselves back at the Iceborn, suddenly fighting with increased ferocity. All the while, the surrounding groups were stunned at the display of combat.
Scout Leader Trapper glanced around the clearing, somewhat concerned with the various factions that had gathered together in this clearing... even if the fact that the forest itself seemed to have... led them here was unnerving.
Watching as the beings that had enslaved their kin launched an assault against the trolls, Trapper quickly made a decision; with some sharp barks, two of his number were selected to act as messagers to quickly run towards the two groups of strange creatures that had gathered that weren't already actively fighting in order to judge their intentions (one to the Dark Elves, one to the group of elves and giants).
As for the rest of the scouting party, a hand signal was all that it took to make his intentions clear; Crossbows were readied and aimed towards the battle raging between the trolls and the humans. While the humans were clearly the targets they were taking, the only reason that they were giving a damn about not hitting the trolls outright was because they were willingly pinning the humans down and they didn't want to turn both
factions against them at once.
When the troll immediately before him backed off and began to fall into its savage trance, Sigdar did not just stand and watch. As it howled to the sky, Sigdar swung his axe and cleaved the troll in half by its waist. Another one leaped at him then, but he split its skull in half before it could plunge a dagger into his chest. From the side a spear lunged forward and its edge grazed him, but he felt nothing. He grabbed the polearm and snapped it in two, then gripped the troll by its tusks and flung it ten feet back.
The other warriors had only enough time to catch their breath and tighten the gaps in the shieldwall before the trolls threw themselves forward once more. Where before the Iceborn warriors had used their iron weaponry and rigid formation to push back the trolls and slowly gain and advantage, now the trolls were fighting with such wild strength that it was the humans that were slowly being backed away. And then a hail of crossbow bolts rained down.
Two struck Sigdar, for in that moment he had cleared away the trolls about him and he made for a large target anyways. The rest of the Iceborn were less exposed for having their shields raised and having the trolls immediately between them and whatever was firing upon them; in the heat of the moment they couldn't even tell where the bolts were coming from.
But Sigdar saw. He stepped to the side and wrenched his axe free from the troll that it had been buried in. "Gilbin vermin! I'll water the fields with your blood!" he roared in their direction, pulling out one of the crossbows lodged in his shoulder as if it had only been a splinter.
On the other side of the grove, the giants had been waiting patiently, observing the battle much like the seemingly passive Dark Elves to the south. The Children of Artemon came up to the Giants, only four in number but more than enough if push would come to shove.
"Hail, children." the lead giant spoke in his deep, gentle voice. His name was Modimus and was familiar with the elves from prior encounters.
"It appears we have a battle on our hands. Those humans seemed to recognize you, and so do the Dreamers over there." Modimus continued, and pointed at the Dark Elves as he referred to them as dreamers.
"We have no intention of fighting. We came here to see what the Great One had sent from the skies during the deluge... It seems others did too."
Modimus' gaze went to Sigdar on the far side of the grove.
"I think we found it."
"It pleases us to hear that, Modimus, we have no desire for violence either." Oredhel replied, all the while he and his companions stood tense with their eyes set on the conflict erupting on the other side of the crater. "But these dreamers.. what do you know of them?"
As the goblins quickly reloaded their crossbows in order to fire off another volley (and start a fighting retreat if need be; No shame in luring the bigger buggers through the trees where their size would work against them), one of their number paused for a second as he suddenly had a truly wicked idea; As he pulled his bolt out but before he loaded it up, he took the bolt and wiped his ass with it before loading it up and taking aim. This might have just been a battle, but there was no harm in taking steps to help win the war.
A goblin ran through the ash covered crater in order to meet up with the strange combination of the tall and pointy humanoids and the absolutely giant group of... well, giants that they had started to intermingle with. With a somewhat squeeky voice, the goblin asked "Hmm... Who are you guys and what are you doing here?"
Even as he spoke, another goblin had rushed over to the dark elf group, asking the same question in her somewhat high pitched way as well.
Modimus hummed low as he pondered his answer. "The dreamers are dwellers of the Dark Forests south of our village. We know little of them, only that they are very protective of their forests, and--"
A goblin ran up to them, out of breath from running across the crater. "Stay back, wicked creature. If you seek us harm, we will not be polite in return. If you seek to know us, first tell us of yourselves." replied Modimus to the Goblin, furrowing his brows into a frown.
The Dark Elves observed the Goblin as it made it's way towards them. When they thought he had came close enough, one of them raised his bow at the creature. They were close enough to talk with slightly raised voices, but not close enough to feel the goblin's stench. The elf didn't fire - he merely helt the goblin at a distance as their leader stepped forward, his hands clasped low in front of him. Once they had made the distance clear, the bowelf lowered his bow and went back to simply observing.
"State your business, creature." the lead Dark-Elf said in a slow but not aggressive tone. In fact, he seemed quite calm. He was passive, perhaps friendly even at best, but obviously did not hold goblins in high regard. Despite the goblin having already asked his question in his squeeky tone, the leader Elf did not budge. It seems answers wouldn't come simply from neither the elves nor the giants.
Lucky the goblin, still breathless from his run across the crater, looked up at the giants and elves as he regained his breath before speaking. "We are not here to fight you. We are here to attack the Ripdip.." He had used a word in his native tongue... before pausing as he tried to think of an alternative "False Friends, who betrayed, slaughtered and enslaved our kin. They might seem friendly at first, but as soon as they know where you live they will plot against you."
Song Bird looked at the elves with her hands raised to about head level, making it clear that she wasn't a threat to them as she cleared her throat. "We are here to avenge our fallen kin who were betrayed by the seemingly friendly Ripdip and slaughtered or enslaved by them. We mean you no harm and we would expect the same from you in turn."
Sigdar's bellowing towards the goblins seemed to elicit no more response than another volley, but it was cut short anyways by the troll that he had just flung backwards. Casting down the shaft of its broken spear, the monster snatched up the dagger of the one that Sigdar had just slain and the shield of the other troll that had been cut in half earlier.
It jumped forward with its shield raised. Sigdar's rune-covered axe slammed down upon the shield in a downwards stroke and punched through, but it was stuck. The troll seized that moment and used the dagger in its other hand to slash at Sigdar's belly, but Kjorn's champion leaned back and narrowly dodged the swipe. Having held his grip on the haft of the axe as he did so, Sigdar ripped it out of the shield and swung once more.
The troll blocked the axe again, but it left the shield shattered. It threw itself forward and had its dagger arm severed at the elbow, but the bloodlust in the troll's fiery eyes made it hardly even feel the pain. It was practically on top of Sigdar, so close that the human could smell the metallic blood gushing from its wound as well as the blood on its rancid breath. There wasn't even enough space for him to swing his axe. The troll leaned in and tried to gore him with its tusks, but Sigdar pressed the flat of his axe against the thing's chest and held it back. Then a crossbow bolt intended for Sigdar struck the troll in the back of the head and denied Kjorn's champion the pleasure of mangling his own enemy.
Sigdar stole a quick glance towards his warriors. Two had fallen by now, but they were still holding off the blood trolls especially now that Sigdar had just fought off three of the beasts. Another bolt landed inches away from him, and on its tip he noticed some putrid toxin. The savage gilbins with their strange weapons were perhaps an even greater threat than these trolls.
Sigdar looked to the shield that the troll had just picked up, but his axe had left it in pieces. So then he looked at the sorry troll before him, no longer moving but breathing if only barely. 'You'll do,'
he thought. With his axe in one hand, he hefted up the unconscious troll by the throat with its other. Using its body as a shield, he began to make his way towards the gilbin pests.
As bolts flew from Goblin crossbows, hitting human and troll alike, some of the trolls further in the back took note of their new aggressors. Three of them broke off and charged at the goblins, heaving wild insults and screams in some guttural hellish language. It sounded like calls to a God.
As Sigdar made his way toward the Goblins as well, with a gurgling dying troll held up as a meatshield, he heard a familiar groan from the shieldwall. He glanced back, never stopping his advance, to notice that Bjern, a very competent warrior and a friend of his, had been impaled upon a troll spear. The hulking beast now held him up in the air at the end of the spear, slowly sinking downward as the spear goes through his body.
Despite his rage, the God of War did not grant him the boon he had during the battle with the Deep Ones. Either that meant this was a test and Kjorn was watching him, or the God did not see these enemies as fit of a proper battle. If so, was Bjern's death dishonorable? No... He died thrashing on a battlefield. He would enter the halls of the Gods.
Another bolt pierced the troll he carried. Further back, some trolls groaned as they were hit with bolts, and two of them fell to the ground. The others simply ripped the bolt out of their sturdy skin and kept fighting. Sigdar could hear the sounds of weapons smashing against shields...
As the giant of a man actually picked up a dying troll to use as a meatshield and several of the other trolls had broken away from their group to start heading towards them, Trapper made a tactical call; It was time to fall back. With a sharp whistle and a quick hand signal, the goblins started to fall back into the forest where their small size would benefit the most at avoiding their larger, stronger enemies while giving them good oppotunity to occasionally take a shot back at their pursuit.
Seeing that the gilbins had ceased their organized volley and were fleeing back into the treeline, Sigdar threw down his living shield and left the comatose monster to die of its wounds. Unhindered by its bulk, he was able to move much faster and was rapidly closing the gap. In the underbrush of the woods, he followed the sounds of frantic movement and caught a glimpse of a green goblin. With a roar, he charged through the bushes and knocked aside the branches in his way.
As the goblins reached the treeline, they quickly seperated into smaller groups in order to split up and take advantage of pathways that favored the small size of both their individual parties and their physical bodies in order to move quickly... expect for one. Once he had broken line of sight with the monster of a Ripdip that had chased after them, Trapper had ducked behind a tree to hide as he loaded up his crossbow and waited.
He doubted that he would be able to kill the beast of a man with one shot... but he hoped that a surprise bolt into the back of his knee would slow him down enough to allow himself and his people to gain the upper hand and just pelt him from range where he couldn't reach them... or possibly just murdered by the pursing trolls. Either or.
The wait wasn't long; hardly a moment passed between the bolt being locked into place and the brute of a man bashing his way through the leaves and emerging on the other side of the tree. He had lost sight of his quarry and there were no more frantic footsteps to be heard. The hairs on his neck stood up, and Sigdar spun around just in time to take the bolt to his thigh. But the one that had shot him was mere feet away. With little more than a grunt of pain, he lumbered forward and roughly snatched at the goblin.
There was only a brief struggle before the human overpowered his much smaller adversary and tore the crossbow out of Trapper's clutches. One of the blood trolls burst out and roared. It wasn't clear whether it intended to strike at Sigdar or Trapper, but it hardly had a chance to react in either case. Sigdar threw the crossbow at it with enough force for the weapon to contort into an unusable state and for the troll to stagger back in a daze, and then he grabbed the goblin and began to drag him back out of the woods.
There was no contest that Trapper would be able to face the larger creature in hand to hand combat; Even under normal conditions, the size difference and the reach of the larger man was simply too great. However, as the man turned to fling his crossbow at the troll the goblin refused to go quietly into the night! Pulling out one of his remaining crossbow bolts, he charged the human man and attempted to leap onto his leg while he was distracted, his intent being to try and ram the bolt into the back of his knee personally and either keep stabbing him there with it over and over again... or failing that, break the bolt off into the wound.
In the moment that it had taken to fend off the troll, the gilbin rat scrambled onto Sigdar's leg and stabbed at the back of his knee with some crude implement. Before it could do more, he grabbed its arm and twisted it until there was a snap and the creature released its weapon.
With a fresh limp in his step, Sigdar began to drag the struggling giblin out of the treeline. None of its friends seemed to have any objection. Perhaps the craven creatures were happy to sacrifice one of their own, or perhaps the trolls were seeing them off.
Modimus looked at the small green-skinned creature in confusion. "Rip... dip?" he repeated, but let out an audible breath of "ah" as the goblin explained the meaning behind the word. "False friends, you say..." Modimus looked at Oredhel, his somewhat confused expression trying to ask the elf of help with the conversation.
Oredhel did not greatly value the words of fiendish little goblins, but he could see the savage fury of the Iceborn with his own eyes. Even the fool Falnor suspected the friendly nature of the men he met and now the danger was entirely apparent. There was a choice to be made and it could drag the Children into another war. "It is not safe for us to talk here, goblin. We will not leave with you, but to the west there is a river. Follow it inland and we will find you should you wish to speak with us."
Song Bird the goblin was eyed from head to toe by the lead elf. He nodded at his companion, who lowered his bow and arrow pointed at the small female. "We have no interest in joining battle against any of you. I'd advise you to return to your kin, but... It seems they have left you here."
He turned his head to glance back at his companions. He spoke some orders to two of the group, an elf man and an elf woman, and they nodded in return. The woman left to walk towards the High Elves and the Giants gathering to their left, while the elf man ventured down into the crater. Song Bird noticed he carried a large number of pouches on him and no weapons.
Song Bird waved the concern away. "I know how to catch up with them. Thanks for not killing us." Before turning to flee into the treeline after her kin.
Lucky glanced over his shoulder at the battle that was raging before turning back to the group he was talking to. "If you'll excuse me it seems I need to go." before darting into the nearest line of trees; His path was going to be somewhat longer and more round about, but he was a trained hunter and tracker of the Conclave; Finding his team again wouldn't be that
On the other side of the grove, the Trolls began to pull back. They had spilled blood in glorious combat as was their ways, but too much troll blood had been spilled in turn. While the bulk of the group held the Iceborn off, others picked up survivors and even what dead bodies (those who weren't cleaved in two) they could find. They began retreating back into the treeline, successfully fending off the Iceborn now that Sigdar wasn't there to dominate them in melee combat. One by one they slipped back into the forest, and just like that the battle was over.
Three mutilated troll bodies lay on the ground, plus another troll limb or two that didn't belong to any of the slain. The rest dead or wounded had been carried off, but the Iceborn counted at least seven casualties inflicted upon the trolls. Their numbers were equally hurt however, as four Iceborn warriors lay dead on the ground while another three were injured, lightly or worse.
The troll that Sigdar had dazed by throwing a crossbow in his face had recovered fast and had at first began to pursue them, but when he saw the rest of his kin start to regroup among the trees and bushes he too pulled away. Before he left however, he pulled out a dagger from his waist and cut his palm. He clenched his fist and let the blood drip down into the soil, all the while staring at Sigdar with hatred. It elicited a response in the form of Kjorn's champion spitting upon the ground in scorn.
A vow of vengeance had been made, sealed in blood.
Sigdar dragged his goblin captive back into the open and roughly pushed it onto the ground before his remaining warriors. Those that were not wounded or tending to said wounded looked to him for orders. "Bind it so that it cannot escape," he commanded.
"We have no rope."
Sigdar snorted and looked Trapper in disdain. A tingle of pain crept through the back of his knee. "Then break one of its feet."
While that order was being carried out, Sigdar looked upon the faces of each of his fallen. His gaze lingered upon his friend Bjern for a while longer, but then drifted away. Their glory was to be envied, and in a way so too was their ultimate fate. For the rest of the Iceborn, there would be more battles to come.
It was only then that Sigdar looked up and saw the other arrivals; the familiar skraelings had made their way over to some strange giants and were mingling with them. He wanted to approach these skraelings and those giants, for the legends of the Iceborn said many things both ill and fond of giantfolk, but there was a more immediate concern.
Almost directly across the clearing stood a party of strangers that looked sort of like the familiar skraeling 'elves', but these were different. And one of them approached Kjorn's mark with pouches!
Sigdar immediately began to make his way towards the middle of the clearing, directly towards that elf. In one of his hands, he still openly carried his runed axe. So seemingly determined was he that each of his great strides were like two and a half of a normal man's, even with that limp rendered by the giblin filth.
As he approached the dark elf near the center of the clearing, its fellow skraelings farther back looked towards him. He did not quaver, and nor did he lower his axe. He stopped only when he had come to a distance perhaps ten strides away from the dark elf.
"Halt!" Kjorn's champion boomed. "Why do you tread upon this sacred ground, skraeling? What are the meaning of those pouches?"
The Dark Elf stood up, seemingly done with their business. Sigdar hadn't seen what the skraeling had done, but he could deduce from the handmarks upon the ash-covered ground that he had collected the ash in the pouches.
"The great dreamer has awakened, and we stand upon the scar left of his wrath. Who--" the elf started, but the leader called on him from further back.
"Return to us, Erenel."
That was when Sigdar noticed the rest of the Dark Elves had their bows aimed at him with cold eyes.
"I have said too much. Worry not, human. You are not the only ones who tend to these holy grounds."
And then he turned and left, back up the hill to his kin. He had a devious look upon him, and despite the words he spoke seeming friendly, his tone had a sharp edge to it.
"This is no work of your dreamer, but of the warrior god Kjorn," was spat back for an answer. "And a true warrior does not rest to dream. Remember this when he spurns you and bids his Chosen lay siege to your hovels."
The Dark Elves did not respond. They simply turned and retreated back into their forests, their leader leaving a lingering gaze at Sigdar before joining his companions and disappearing into the thick of the forest.
Further away, Lucky the goblin left the giants and high elves as quickly as he had appeared, leaving the two groups quite confused for a moment before continuing with their prior conversation.
"Hrrmmm..." grumbled Modimus. "Silly tiny creatures, always in such a rush... You slightly bigger folk always seem to be fighting each other, too. No matter. You were wondering about the Dreamers... They claim dominion over the Dark Woods, south from our camp. They protect it fiercly, only journeying out of it when in need. It seems they needed something from here, else we would never see them. I wish I could tell you more, friend Oredhel, but I knew little of them from the start."
Oredhel couldn't help but crack a smile at the giant's description of his people. "They seem an aloof people, but they treated us with a certain kind of mercy. Tell me Modimus, what do you make of these humans? We met them previously and they seemed entirely capable of peace, but the things we have heard and seen here makes them appear evermore uninterested in it. I fear that they could pose a threat to both our peoples."
"Hrm. Should push come to shove, my friend, we would aid you. But as has always been the ways of the giants - we prefer to stay away from needless conflict. In my mind, we have nothing to fear from the humans if we have nothing they want. They have already made enemies here today, it would be best not to add to that number."
"We agree, but I fear that inaction may lead to greater problems in the future. Though equally we should not be too hasty to act on our fears." Oredhel replied.
Then Modimus brings out a small trinket from under the pelt covering his shoulders. It is a small wooden figurine, carved into the image of a giant. He places the small totem on the ground and sits down before it. His giant companions do the same.
"Now that the fighting is over, we may offer our respects to the great one who has made his presence clear here. You saw it too, didn't you friend Oredhel? The great bolt of lightning that struck the ground? This is his mark upon the world, the great one, Kôr. It would appear the humans revere him as well."
Modimus then held a short ceremony where he hummed deep and low a verse in his own language. It didn't take more than a minute, but the words were long and drawn-out. Oredhel, or anyone else hearing it for that matter, couldn't understand the words but the tune was quite heavy and filled with gloom.
When he was done, he resumed the conversation with Oredhel. His companions stood up, but Modimus remained seated in front of the totem.
The dark elves having vanished as mysteriously as they had come, Sigdar turned back to look upon the other elves and the giant-folk that their group had mingled with. As with the rest of his people, Sigdar knew of these skraeling 'elves' from what tales Yngvar had told of his expedition's journey upriver. He had neither seen nor heard of the other beings of much greater stature, but those strangers were recognizable enough from the Iceborn's legends. They must have been the kindred of Lolk the Giant.
With his axe lowered and at a slower pace, Sigdar made his way back from the center of the clearing and towards the assembly of giants and elves. "Hail, Children of Artemon," he called out to the elves. But he was distracted and looked towards the giants and their totem. They were what intrigued him. "And hail, Lolksfolk. Have you come to offer praise to Kjorn?"
"Lolksfolk..?" Modimus repeated, surprised. He stood up, eyeing the human warrior from head to toe more thoroughly as he approached. "Could you possibly speak of Lokir the Allfather?"
"Allfather?" Sigdar asked as his brows furled. "He is a clever god and father to many things, but not all. But you must be among his folk; how else would you stand so tall?"
Modimus scratched his chin slowly in thought. After several long moments, he opens his mouth to speak. "I ... Suppose we could be considered Lolksfolk. Aye, we came to offer prayers to Kôr. It would seem we worship the same God, human, as you seem highly devoted to the mark he has left upon this world. But there is something about you... The runes that cover your body and your axe - I recognize them. What makes you different, friend?"
"Prayer is but the first step of a long journey," the warrior proclaimed back in cryptic response. "To gain Kjorn's favor as I have, you must do more than pray. You must devote your life to conquest in his name and the honing of your strength, and only once you have mastered the craft of war shall you have his favor. That is what I have done. So how much do you offer to Kjorn, Lolksfolk? Mere words, or your every breath?"
The giants seem reluctant to answer the proud warrior, but not due to ignorance but rather, it seems like they wish not to tell some secret of theirs. "Your devotion to Kôr is admirable. Indeed, it is inspiring. I am Modimus, and these are my kinsmen. These here elves I understand you have already met; the Children of Artemon."
Modimus slowly bends as he gestures to the elves and picks up the small idol, putting it back somewhere underneath his pelts. Then without a word, the rest of the giant companions begin making ready to leave, seemingly.
"We came here to acknowledge the mark of Kôr and to look upon his reaching into our world. We found both it and his most devoted, it seems. But it is time we make our way back to our camp. Perhaps we shall hear of one another again, champion of Kôr."
"Then farewell, Lolksfolk." It was no small thing to ask that they join the ranks of Kjorn's Chosen, so he was not surprised when they said no more. They were like most men. But still, Sigdar felt disappointment; he had hoped that these giants would be greater in more than stature and their bravery and devotion to the gods might similarly surpass that of most ordinary men. But alas, he seemed to be wrong. "Should your strength ever fail you or the dormant flame in your blood ignite, come to these lands and find me once more. I, Sigdar First-Chosen, will teach you Kjorn's ways and lead you to glory," he called out to their backs. At least one of the giants glanced back at him as they left.
And then Sigdar turned to the elves. "Yngvar spoke highly of your kind and the bow that you gifted unto him is the envy of every one of my tribe's huntsmen. Am I well met by more than have come to worship Kjorn?"
Oredhel waved his hand at Fingon, who turned to leave. "It is good to hear, our craftsmanship is our greatest pride and word will be passed on to the maker. Falnor spoke well of Yngvar's amicability, but nothing that prepared us for the great ferocity you displayed here today. However we have not come here to worship. The storm and the great lightning bolt were felt from our homes and we came here to see to see the impact ourselves and gather whatever may be necessary to deepen our understanding."
"So in the storm you saw Kjorn's power, and in battle you witnessed mine. My tribe has many enemies, and after today we shall have even more. But they are snowflakes before the avalanche that is us. If you will follow Kjorn, this power can be yours too."
The barbarian's words awoke memories of his people's persecution and Oredhel couldn't help but let a tone of distaste slip into his words. "We have no need for your gods. Orowuen, our creator, watches over us and his kin guide us. You will find no luck in turning Artemon's most loyal worshippers into the servants of a war god."
"If your god taught you to craft weapons so well, I do not think that Kjorn would mind him. But so be it! Fletch your magical bows, and may this strange creator protect you when trials come."
The conversation seemed over, unless Oredhel had something to retort. But Sigdar did not move. He stood there as an unflinching statue, ignoring the pain behind his knee and refusing to show weakness by shifting his weight onto the other leg. If the skraelings would not worship Kjorn, they would certainly not desecrate holy ground so long as Kjorn's champion drew breath.
The elves had what they came for and there was little left to discuss. "May you find peace, Sigdar." Oredhel made his exit, bringing the rest of his companions with him.
In Sigdar's mind, there echoed a final thought. He wasn't sure if it was his own. 'Peace breeds comfort. And comfort breeds weakness.'
With that, the elves began their journey home.