Clad in gleaming mail, Hodeurn stood amongst his generals. After spending too long in his felid form, his face and posture appeared more and more catlike. Far from his home in Ysgard, he stared at the fey army gathered across the plains of the Fire Steppes.
“How can we stop an enemy who embraces oblivion? Even if we defeat the army, we cannot throw chains upon the void. This Entity, this force consumes all yet shows not its maw,” Thorleif slammed his spear into the ground as punctuation.
“Now is not the time for doubt or hesitation general,” Hodeurn growled. His purple-black skin struck an otherworldly contrast against his polished armour. “The stronghold beyond the Steppes may hold a key to The Entity. These fey were allies hitherto. Perhaps we will learn of the machinations or spells which turned them against us.”
A rhythm pounded into the earth. The army of fey warriors stamped sword against shield, boot against ground, annihilation against preservation. Numbered five hundred thousand strong, the army would have emptied the realm of warriors and still needed to call upon farmers and millers to meet that number.
The rhythm broke into a cacophony as the army surged across the plain.
“Stand ready, Ysgardians! While our fathers waylay The Entity in other realms, we must resist. We must break its attempts to sway us. We must chain down Oblivion!” Hodeurn roared. His skin ripple with fur and his face shifted into the likeness of a purple and grey furred tiger. He bound forward with generals, and army of one hundred thousand mauraders, valkyrie, and berserkers, following in his wake.
Though outnumbered, Hodeurn and his fighters spilled into the fey, breaking their lines of pikeman. Fey cavalry tore from the west and split the vanguard. The fey washed over the separated army as a tide.
Heaving to his feet, Hodeurn threw down his helmet to wipe the blood from his eyes. Thorleif let out a wet and ragged cough. The other generals lay slaughtered around them. Maddened battle cries bellowed from the fey army and not once did they speak. A long shadow cast before Hodeurn, from a tall sylvan clad in gold armour. Intersecting plates made him look like a fortress. He hefted a maul forged of silver and gold, though the head of it was wet and red with blood.
Encircled, Hodeurn and Thorleif stood back-to-back with weapons drawn. Beyond the thousands of fey which barred them in, a darkness approached. The land and sky beyond the Steppes blinked away as if a great black curtain were drawn against it. As the curtain reached the armies, a hush fell upon the field as it stole away the crazed sylvans, man by man.
Hodeurn looked about him, puzzled by the sudden silence and thinning circle. The fortress clad sylvan strode forward raising his maul before disappearing. Behind him the world was black. The Ysgardians stood for a moment on an island around an ocean in the darkest night.
Struck by a crashing wave, Hodeurn and Thorleif stumbled on the stony ramparts of a ruined castle. There was earth and sky before him. Hooves clacked on cobblestone.
“I am sorry I did not come sooner,” the horse’s rider said. Hodeurn stared at the tall rider, clad in black and an eyepatch of woven night upon his eye.
“Allfather,” Hodeurn stammered before Odin. “Valhalla has fallen. But from this we know how to defeat The Entity. There is hope,” Odin looked upon Hodeurn and wept.