Happy Monday morning – said no one ever. I’m toiling away getting ready for the release of Game Over next week and figured it was time to give a sneak peek at the first chapter. It sets the stage for the entire book, so with out further rambling or grumbling – Two Dudes, Brews, & Books Punlishing presents:
“It is as I say my king. I do believe with this knowledge we can help the Son of Fenrir.”
I read over the notes Izek had given me. “This is quite the research. It is such a shame the Allfather will not allow us…”
The doors to the chamber opened and Kacey Jones walked in. Mumbling, “We will discuss this more at length later Izek.”
He took his notes back. “Of course my lord, I shall begin compiling my research.” He bowed to me and gestured to Kacey on his way out.
Time was of the essence. “Lady Jones, I take it you have everything you need?”
She looked scared. “Yes sir. Are you sure I have to leave?”
Tymon entered the throne room. “Lord Hargna, the Allfather is almost here. If we are to leave…”
I shook my head. “I will not be leaving. Only you and the Lady Jones will be journeying from Svartalfheim today.”
“But my King, I cannot allow you to willingly sacrifice yourself!”
The young elf was just as uptight as his old brother Ustin. “The Allfather will not kill me, if that is your concern. However,” I motioned towards Kacey Jones, “he may take his anger out on innocent parties. Please escort her from the realm. Algrim will be waiting for your arrival at the base of the mountain.”
Tymon could see I was not going to budge. “Very well my liege. I will do this but let the record show it is under protest.”
He reached into a pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. Tymon looked at it and stuck it in his jacket. “Your protest is noted, now leave!”
“Hargna,” Kacey walked up to me and gave me a hug, “thank you for everything.”
“You can show me your appreciation by enduring this. We will see each other again soon.” I gave her a wink, a sign that her secret would be safe.
She let go and joined Tymon. With one last look, the pair headed to the backside of the throne room and left. The tunnel there would bring them close to the realm’s exit. Hopefully they could avoid whatever Einjerhar the Allfather stationed there.
I took a seat on my throne. This was still my realm, dark elf territory, no matter what the Allfather thought. Try as he may, the Aesir would not be taking over this realm after the loss of their own.
The doors opened and the Allfather entered with Heimdall at his side. I was weary of the Watcher and his role in all of this. Where was he when the light elves attacked both of our realms? I also could not help but notice Jack’s dagger hanging at Odin’s side. Was this some sort of trophy to him?
“Hargna, word has arrived that your daughter is trying to break into Gandvik and free the human. Tell me you did not know any of this?”
His words were controlled, but a great fury was just under the surface. “I knew my daughter would try something stupid, but I never expected her to succeed in her endeavors. Surely you have sent some of your people to bring her back.”
His cold eye never broke its gaze with me. “Tyr has left to engage her. I told him to be very gentle in his negotiations with her.”
By negotiations he meant force. “I truly hope the princess of the realm returns soon. As I also hope your son returns as well.”
“Thor will return, he always does.” Being a father, I knew when we were lying to ourselves about our children. The Allfather did not expect to see Thor return, at least by his own will.
“Is there anything else I can do for you this day?”
The Allfather closed in on the throne. “Hargna, let us be frank. You do not like the Aesir occupation in Svartalfheim. But until this war ends…”
“You are correct; Svartalfheim is home to the dark elves. We do not like being ordered around by the Aesir and having our resources and materials plundered. You are not the only ones preparing for war.”
He said nothing. I had raised my voice loud enough that even Heimdall heard. I shot him a look, as if to dare him to speak to me.
“If we are to succeed, our two realms need to work together.” He turned his back to me and began to leave. “I would hate for the Aesir and the dark elves to come into a conflict.”
I was no fool, the veiled threat lingered in the air. “As would I Allfather.”
“Before I leave, I wish to speak with the human, Kacey Jones. Summon her and I will escort her personally to my temporary base of operations.”
The way he said the word temporary bothered me. “I do not know where she is at this current time. Alas, today was not my day to watch her.”
He slammed the butt of his spear into the ground. “She may have information about the traitor Freyr. If I find out you are harboring an informant…”
“I promise you,” I gave a mock bow, “that the human is not in my custody. I will grant you to search both here and my stronghold in the den of the monster.”
He turned to Heimdall, “Go and fetch a squad of Einjerhar. As a precaution, we must make sure the human is not here.”
I watched as the two Aesir left the throne room. I slumped down into my throne and began to laugh. It must have taken one of my advisors by surprise. “Lord Hargna, what is it that you find so amusing?”
I looked over at the older elf, Yeddin, “How foolish were we? Why did we agree to his request to rebuild Valhalla in the halls of one of the lost clans?”
“My lord, we did not have a choice. It was part of the agreement for protection.”
Yeddin was right, we had no choice. “We only have ourselves to blame for giving him the power to control all the realms. We were blind and now we will reap the rewards of our stupidity.”
I had my gun in my hand. “I hope Hargna knew what he was doing.”
“I am quite sure the king does.” Tymon looked at my gun, “Kacey, what does that do?”
How to explain a gun to an elf that’s stuck in the medieval times? “Umm, think of this like a bow and arrow. Instead of pulling a string, I just have to pull the trigger.”
With the gun topic covered, we kept moving along the darkened passage. In the limited light, I had to trust Tymon to make sure we were safe. I hadn’t known the little guy long, but apparently he was really close to Jack.
That was a sore subject with me. In the aftermath of the battle, Jack had gone crazy. Granted, his dad was murdered right beside him by some nut job, but he went all wolf monster on us. Like a fantastic friend, I avoided him like the plague in the days after. Even at his own dad’s funeral, I couldn’t get up the backbone to go offer my sympathy.
Freyr told me that it was okay to be scared, but he was still our friend and all around good guy. It was only after this Odin guy locked him away in prison that I realized what a terrible person I’d been. When Freyr told me his plan to go rescue him, I wanted to go. I wanted to make it up to Jack.
However the quest was deemed too dangerous and I was left here with the dark elves. At first I was pissed, but Hargna managed to talk some sense into me. I really like Hargna; I hope he’s okay.
Tymon’s voice brought me back to the present. “Up ahead is the exit to the tunnel. I am hopeful that we should encounter no resistance, but if we do, be prepared to use lethal force.”
All I could do was nod. It was moments like this I missed my patrol along the I-95 corridor around Washington, D.C. I brought my gun up, ready to fire if I needed to.
We came out into the open behind some well placed statues. “Use these as cover. I will check out the area before we go forth.”
I hunched down, low enough that no one should be able to see me. I watched Tymon slip out and disappear. I learned quickly that these dark elves are like blasted ninjas. Much like a stake out, waiting is always the worst part. You never know what danger is around the corner.
Tymon’s head popped back around the statue, nearly giving me a heart attack. Undaunted by my gasp, “The coast is in the clear. Come, we must hurry.”
I followed him in silence. I didn’t even really have a chance to take in the beauty of the realm below me. As much as I wanted to take out my cell phone and click a couple of pictures, I overcame that urge and kept pace. A couple Einjerhar were coming towards us and we needed to get to the tunnel.
Tymon made it in time and sliding like a baseball player, I slipped in. We slumped against the wall, breathing hard. “That was close.”
The young elf smiled. “Nothing like a little action. I do not like things too boring around here.”
“You know?” I begged to differ. “I really could go for some boring.”
“Maybe soon, but for now we must meet with Algrim. He will be waiting for us at the bottom of the mountain.”
Sulking, “Okay, let’s get going.”
The trip through the exit tunnel was pretty uneventful. There were two guards about hallway down, but they gave us each a smile and went about their business. I got the feeling that Hargna had all his bases covered. He’d make a damn good police chief.
It was dark and cold when we exited the tunnel. The snow didn’t help matters at all, but thankfully I had a heavy jacket on. Tymon pulled down some awesome looking goggles over his eyes. “Hey, where did you get those?”
“These are a prototype Algrim gave me before he left. They apparently detect body heat.”
No way, these damn fools had infrared tech! “Ohhh, give them to me, we use those all the time on Midgard!”
He took them off. “By all means, I do not like the effect they have on my eyes.”
I grabbed them and slid them over my eyes. “Damn, Algrim did a really good job.”
The mountainside was lit up in the greenish light. I scanned everywhere and sure enough, at the bottom of the path, just off to the right was a heat signature. Pointing, “Someone is down there. Is that the meeting point?”
Tymon pulled out a small piece of paper with weird looking writing on it. “According to the message Hargna gave me, yes. Algrim left us a message in his smithy in Druhir. No one but a dark elf would be able to read it.”
Tymon took the lead again, this time as we descended down the icy path that was carved into the side of the mountain. Again, the beauty of this land was almost breathtaking. I hoped I survived whatever was coming so I could come back and take it all in.
The path was much longer than I anticipated. The way it winded around and everything made a relatively short distance much longer. The sun was starting to break over the horizon when we finally got to the bottom.
A stocky, well built dark elf saw us from the distance and waved us down. Not wanting to waste anymore time, Tymon and I picked it up.
As we closed in, “I am glad you two made it. Were you seen at all?”
Tymon bowed to the elf. “No Master Algrim, no one knows we have left the realm.”
“Good, good.” His eyes gazed back towards the mountain we’d just left. “I have made arrangements for us to get to a safe place.” He let out a low whistle, towards the forest.
I focused in the direction he whistled, just in time to see a large eight legged horse emerge. I’d seen this creature before, but I still couldn’t help myself. Sleipnir was a sight to behold.
“Has everyone arrived?” His deep voice didn’t match his beautiful appearance at all.
“Aye, Tymon and Lady Jones were the only ones to leave. Hargna gave me strict orders to see Master’s Freyr’s lady to safety.”
The horse looked at me. Its great big intelligent eyes were a bit unnerving. “I have spoken with Lady Sigyn and Mistress Hel. We will be safe in her realm, for now.”
Algrim looked around, as if trying to find something. “Is Garm with you?”
“No, the hellhound has not returned from his other business. However, for now we must make it to the rendezvous spot. We can worry about other issues later.”
Sleipnir lowered his front four legs. Algrim got up and on the horse. He turned back to us, “Hurry up kiddos. And get ready to hold on.”
I gave him my hand and he helped me up. Tymon was the last one to mount. Once all three of us were set, the horse took off into the forest at a speed I’ll never comprehend.
You can find all my work, including “Game Over,” @ www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston