APOCRYPHA OF THE DARK CRUSADE
ODYSSEY INTO OBLIVION
“Larson!” The hardy shout broke yet again through the thick mist.
“Here!” He came back, thinking he recognized the caller. “Thorson?”
“And Oleg!” Announced a second voice. Then through the night haze, Larson
could see them as faint moonlight glimmered off Thorson’s helmet and shield and
Oleg’s war hammer.
“Here!” Larson answered again as he sat hunkered by the ocean’s shoreline.
Together, they waited beside Balfin, Brika and Gruff. Zwolf, Gromm and Holk soon
joined their bondi clansmen to sit in the dark and to wait as they watched the stars
through the clear patches of dark clouds wobbling on the water. Off in the distance they
could occasionally see the tiny flickering of flames from countless other encampments
that had also gathered in vigil by the sea’s edge. Dragon heads of the long Drakar
black ships bobbed in and out of the low-lying fog that had settled in the fjord. Still, the
warriors sat in stoic silence, each alone with his own thoughts and wounds. It had been
a long day and a hell of a good fight. Magnessen wondered what it would be like. Oleg
prayed to Odin. Thorson was fiercely proud of their many heroic deeds. They had
braved many brutal battles, defied the jaws of Aegir and had sailed across the vast sea
to discover a New World. Larson felt the same sense of Norse pride. What more could
Odin ask of a warrior, he wondered. This was what it meant to be a Viking in the year
Holk reflected as he brought the cold night air deep into his lungs. Had they all fought at
Ragnarok and died? Larson knew not. He only knew that upon the field of Vigrid, they
had fought the good fight and now the Viking sun stone in his hand had turned from
yellow to blue. The wait would soon be over, sure Valkyrja was on her way in Naglfar to
carry them to the halls of Valhalla.
In quiet mass, all rose to meet her approach as the mist crackled into dry air.
Ascending, the tiny point of light on the sea’s horizon soared, burning the night sky into
day in a matter of moments. The warriors felt the heat from her purifying, blazing
inferno. Larson, closing his eyes, raised his sword and shield high above his head and
wailed “Valhalla! Valhalla!” Others chanted as they beat their shields and pounded their
chests with their red-hot swords. Their long hair and fur cloaks blew to ash in the
swirling heat wave, as leather and wood burst to flame and searing metal melted into
What Valhalla held for them, Larson knew not. He only understood that upon this world
he was a Viking who feared not death and that in the afterlife to come, a Viking is what
he would always be, a warrior waging war, for eternity and beyond, wending havoc in
the dark crusade.
The sky ignited as the fiery light descended, consuming their flesh and bone and their
spirits were as Niflungar without armor. And as for Larson and his Norsemen Clan, they
would all span yet another vast sea, to live again to fight another day, on yet another