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The Chronicles of Eirfell: Part I
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Whispers in the dark

Photo by me

Trudvang — Mittland — Runvjiik — Vajne — Coppershed — The inn The Frozen Wanderer

In the warm embrace of the inn’s fireplace five unlikely people sit around a wooden table drinking ale and forging a plan. A plan to take over the village. Outside in the cold reality the heavens heaves snow down upon the land, the lakes have turned to ice and war seems far away. Nobody is none the wiser that in six months the unlikely people will rule the whole region.

All of them young people, none of them has seen more than twenty-two winters and the youngest only sixteen. The oldest one takes a large sip of ale and his long blond hair with iron rings in it clanks at the table edge.

“We should take over the village.”

“And how should we do that Altheric?” Says the freckled raven haired lady.

“We take over the mine first Eidlynn.” Altheric says with a sinister smile.

“And how the hell should we do that?” The youngest man with blood red hair asks.

“Exactly Tulfe. Altheric they are not going to give it to us!” Says the scarred warrior next to him.

The large half-troll sits quiet drinking his ale, nodding in unison.

“We steal the papers for the mine.” Says Altheric with a straight face.

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The next night the red-haired youngling Tulfe prepares to break into the mine. His lindwurm-blue eyes watching the edge as he’s sharpening his dagger. He hides his braided hair under the grey cape. He sneaks to the door making sure not to wake his grandmother and steps out into the night.

The cold winds from the north hits his juvenile skin and he pulls the cape closer to his face. He arrives at the copper mine outside Coppershed and looks around for people. None in sight. He unhooks the latch on the foreman’s door with ease and enters. Inside he looks through the mine’s papers and tomes. Someone named Sootfoot receive part of the copper ore.

Back in Coppershed, Eidlynn and Altheric is drinking with the owner of the mine, Maujar. At the end of the night he is too drunk to walk, so they offer to help him home. It is easy to drink someone under the table when they do the work for you. In his home they find a ledger for the mine. Peering through the ledger in candle light they find some inconsistencies. It seems that some of the foremen are stealing from the workers.

Albrecht, the scarred warrior lets out a stern shout to his fellow housecarls.

“We will go out into the forest and track the bandits that wander around. Ready yourselves!”

His right-hand man is the half-troll Rifwand, who holds a leash to a tracking dog. They tie their horses at the edge of the forest and proceed on foot. The search for bandits is fruitless, they only find an old fireplace. But they get a shiver down their spine when they find remnants of the blue clay. The same clay that forest trolls decorate their bodies with.

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At dawn, Eidlynn Eichraidh wakes up in her family home outside Coppershed. Her surname means horse breeder and was given to her family a long time ago. But most of her relatives are not even Mittlanders. Her lineage reflects the family business, trading. She is half Stormlander, quarter Westmarkian and only a quarter Mittlander. That’s why she has raven black hair in a part of Trudvang more known for its affection for pale hair. In the summers you can see her freckles, but her apple cheeks and full lips is a constant reminder of her heritage. After a quick breakfast she helps her father and mother to prepare for the caravan due this week.

Tulfe Bladesharpener works in the smithy all day to earn some money for his grandmother. It pains him to see her starve. Even though he is still drowsy from not getting enough sleep due to the break in last night. With his last energy he sneaks into the mine owner Maujar’s house. There he leaves a letter before getting his well-earned sleep.

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At midday, the next day the anticipated caravan arrives. It’s uncommon for traders to defy the snow. But these men have been around long enough to know which roads are good enough. All the people in Coppershed go out to the village square near the well. The traders have set up their wagons in a half-circle. They sell large and small things like: strange herbs from Viranne, exquisite silverware from Silvtrundr and warm wool from Bysente.

Eidlynn and her father Eorynn buys some warm wool but are unable to sell their strong horses. They walk home disappointed.

Some of the village people frown at the last caravan wagon since they also sell slaves. They will probably sell the slaves in the east where it’s more accepted. This time they have captured humans from the south of Westmark who are for sale. They are dark haired and tanned and usually quite muscular. The raging wildfire in the Thoorkalians’ skin, eyes and heart has turned to a mere cindering glow.

“Do you have anyone that’s good for farm work?” Altheric asks the caravan leader.

“Him there.” The leader says and points to a muscular man at the end of the wagon.

His whole body is shivering from the cold weather and it looks like he hasn’t eaten in days. Altheric looks at the man with a suspicious eye.

“Did you drug him?”

“Yeah, a little brew to make him look alive”

“I’ll give you twenty silver for him”

The caravan leader shrugs. “At least the double.”

“He is old, haggard and you won’t be able to sell him until you reach Majnjord. I’ll give you 25 for him.”

The caravan leader’s eyes open wide and his eyebrows raise.

“Goddamnit, fine, take him.”

The caravan leader weighs the silver coins as Altheric walks to the end of the wagon. He reaches out his hand to the man who grabs the hand with caution and steps down. The man’s face shine when Altheric puts his mantle around him and talk of food. Altheric gives the man his small basket with herbs to carry. The man takes it with new eagerness and straightens his back. As they walk towards Altheric’s house it is still clear who the master is, the man is walking one pace after Altheric.

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“So, you stabbed him with a dagger?” Tulfe asks.

“Yes, because he was… trying to… force himself… on me.” Ilwa responds with a lowered gaze.

Ilwa Beowan Gryphonclaw is a maid at The Frozen Wanderer. Her red hair flows like a banner made from autumn leaves. She moved to Coppershed after the gruesome incident. Leaving her family back in Falconholm. After a quick courting, she married Albrecht Gryphonclaw. She now bears his child but the rumors about her still haunt her. Not only did she kill her own uncle but someone started a Warg Sickness-rumor about her. She has outbursts of anger whenever the moon is full.

“He was a bandit in the north, right?“ Tulfe continues.

“A long time ago he rode with someone named blackfoot.”

“Could it have been Sootfoot?”

“It could have been, it was a long time ago.”

“Thank you, I’m looking into some murders for Albrecht. I don’t want to give him false hope so don’t tell him that we spoke.”

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Edard Dunhall is a middle-aged land owner and part-owner of the mine. A few years ago, he tried to become the next chief of Coppershed by giving a great speech. But something went wrong when he spoke, he started to stutter and forgot words. Also being a practitioner of the Eald Tradition did not sit well with the rest of the village people. Most of Coppershed practice the Tenet of Nid. So instead they chose Maugbard an older man and devotee of the Tenet of Nid, as their new chief.

When Edard went home from the Frozen Wanderer one late night, Altheric was hiding in the shadows. He whispered the word, Skenplauga, and made a gesture with his hands.

In his drunken stupor Edard did not hear or see him, and faltered home to sleep the ale off.

The very next morning Altheric Ironring heard a hard knocking on his door. Outside the door, a young boy stood.

“Are you Altheric Iron-something?”

“Ironring! Yes, what do you want?” Altheric said with a tired voice.

“Edard Dunhall needs your help with a sickness.”

“Okay, run along and tell him that I will pack my healing bag and be with him shortly.”

The boy stretched out his hand. Altheric fetched a few coppers and handed it to the boy.

“Run along now, hurry!”

Altheric closed the door but couldn’t prevent to smile as he did it.

It had worked.

He packed a bag with herbs, small clay pots and everything else you need to cure diseases. Or at least enough to make it appear that way.

“Come in, quick!” A young fair woman said.

Altheric was still twenty paces away from the door. He made no effort to speed up towards Edards front door. He stared with intensity on the teen who shied away her gaze.

“Here hold this.” Altheric said and dropped his walking stick and cape on the young girl.

“Where is Edard?” He continued.

Surprised by his actions, she staggered out the words.

“In”

“the”

“kitchen.”

He walked straight into the kitchen but making note of the fine furniture and tapestries on the wall. On a bed made from bear fur he found Edard, near the kitchen fireplace. The room stank of herbs and a sour acidic fragrance that almost made him sneeze. He pulled his shawl up, above his nose.

“Altheric Ironring, healer and scribe to your service!” Altheric said with a rehearsed voice.

“Make… the… pain… go away.” Edard muttered in a weak voice.

“Where does it hurt Edard?”

“Everywhere! And I have black spots on my arms and thighs. Help me.”

“I will look at you first” Altheric said with a calm voice and pulled of the fur blanket.

Revealed under the covers was a healthy man with soot marks on his body. His body was shaking like a fever and sweat had formed on his forehead. His armpits were leaking like a waterfall. Altheric proceeded to poke and prod Edard’s body, asking if it hurt. During all this he was humming and nodding as he went along.

“It should be nothing but a fever. I will heal you.” Altheric said with a soothing voice.

“But… but… the dark spots?”

“They are a problem, but it’s not a plague.”

Edard let out a big relieved sigh and his eyes gleamed of hope.

“I will make you a brew that you will have to drink daily until you are healthy again.”

Altheric looked back at the kitchen entrance and said to the young woman.

“Make sure that he drinks this the first thing when he wakes up every morning.”

“Okay, will that cure my father?”

“Father? You must be Eona then.”

“Does it really work?”

“Pleasure to meet you.”

“Thank you” She said with a confused hesitation.

“Yes, it should cure him.”

She stared at the young strange man as he walked away from their house, still not sure what had just happened. Looking over his shoulder he said.

“Send for me if he worsens.”

Part II — Swarm of swallows is long overdue but on my todo.

 

Forum admin or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love “Prune Users”

Personal spam bot kill count: 2307

I’m an admin of a forum for a Swedish fantasy tabletop RPG publisher, RiotMinds. One of the owners has told me about spam bots and how they moderators have removed spam posts. We upgraded the CAPTCHA on the forum a few times and none have been particularly great. Right now we use Q&A, an user needs to answer a human-like question. But they have gotten through that too, probably because the question size is quite small.

So I started to look at the problem, well first the e-mail confirmations stopped working because sending an e-mail with PHP is so great! /s

So we disabled e-mail activation until it could be sorted and required no activation. This led to about 20 spam bots in a few days, less than I feared.

So I started to look at the users, searched for users with no posts and started looking for patterns. Firstly a lot of junky e-mail providers like mail.ru and fesabok.ru (yes really!), so I filled in *@mail.ru on the Prune Users admin page. Pressed search and it allowed me to delete anyone with that e-mail provider. Doing this a few times allowed me to kill around 1600 spam bots in half an hour.

The rest of them took longer, some were using unique e-mail providers and some a bunch of garbage gmail.com e-mail addresses like s.f.e.sdf.gfdg.12@gmail.com. So again I started to look for patterns.

It was a dredge to find and delete lots of users that way. Looking at all users, checking to see if they had posts, if their e-mail address was looking weird, if it somehow matched their username and looking at joined and active dates.

Someone with the username azzmazzter300 is probably (hopefully) not a legitimate user.

Someone with the e-mail business_opp@topfiles.net is not a legitimate user.

Someone with the e-mail thomas.wells021@gmail.com and the username MonicaS is not a legitimate user (I hope, sorry otherwise.)

Someone with a joined date and last active date that are on different days is probably a real user.

The forum software phpBB doesn’t allow me to look at the members of the forum and select users to delete, I can either do it manually for each user or use the Prune Users. Both are great, but for bulk deleting users based on different search criterias and needing some human eyes on the users they are not suitable.

So I modified the member list HTML to display e-mails as well and then I could cross reference the username, e-mail, post amount, joined date and last active date more easily. This allowed me to open all the spam bot users in a new tab.

Then with a macro recorder I was able to create a small script that pressed the Administer user, scroll down to Delete User, click Confirm, wait a bit, close the tab and repeat this for a hundred tabs.

Then I got the right SMTP information and could re-enable user registration with e-mail activation.

So Prune Users is a great tool buried in the User & Groups tab in phpBB, but the best way to kill spam bots is to use a bot.

Fight Fire With Fire!

The attack was over in seconds
 Illustration and inspiration by SalvadorTrakal

Illustration and inspiration by SalvadorTrakal

Disclaimer: This is not a polished story, simply an exercise in writing.

The attack was over in seconds. The target was dead but so would they be if they remained here any longer. Bullets were flying over their heads as they looked for a way out from there. Derek leaped from behind the pillar over to the half-wall as bullets filled the void left behind him. He looked over to Aneya and saw her curling up into a ball behind the pillar.

“Come with me if you want to live!”, I yelled.

She looked up with terror in her watery eyes. The tiny woman’s body scoots up behind the pillar, gripping her AEP17-pistol with both hands and she seems to calm down. Two seconds later she leans forwards towards the dead body.

“Be careful!”

She pulls out the combat knife from the dead body, strokes the blood off the sharp blade on the victim’s shirt and then puts the knife down into her holster like it was nothing. How can she suddenly be so calm?

Bullets keeps hitting the pillar and chunks of the bio-plastic are blasted off. Then a burst of lead come towards her from the left. She falls down to the floor, gripping her right arm and manage to let out a gruelling cry for pain. Derek raise his pistol and lets loose the whole magazine in the direction of the shooter.

“ANEYA!?”

Her pistol glides over the fake-marble floor towards him but stops in between them. With a jerk in his wrist he releases the empty magazine and like routine his left hand is already reaching for another fresh one. His eyes are fixed on the pistol in the middle, his mind makes plans on how he can save her.

Dereks pistol starts firing as soon as he leaves his cover. His cybernetic left arm keeps the pistol aimed steady even if he moves. He moves towards her pistol, crouched down to avoid the bullets being spewed from the other side of the corridor.

A bullet hits his bionic arm, tearing away the Kevlar-cover and crushing the carbon-nanotubes inside it. The bionic hand locks up, holding down the trigger and spraying bullets in a wide cone. The automatic fire from the gun startles him. As the bullets run out of the pistol he drops down to the ground and in a quick manoeuvre picks up her pistol and rolls behind the pillar.

“Fuck! You need a doctor.”
“I’m fine, really”, she says with a tired voice.

A small pool of crimson blood has formed under her arm and more is slowly pumping from the wound. At least it didn’t hit an artery, Derek thinks for himself.

“Reg…”
“Reg, what Aneya?”
“Regen, left pouch.”

He looks at her puffy jacket and finds the zipper for the pocket. He reaches in and grabs a green striped white cylinder with a red cap. He pulls of the cap revealing a thick needle, he plunges the Regen into her thigh. As the needle pierces her skin a small gunpowder charge goes off in the cylinder. The auto injector shoots the drug into her muscles in a few milliseconds. She moans from the forceful injection. He knows that the pain will only rise.

He loosens the grip of his bionic arm and reloads his pistol and takes a few shots from behind the pillar. Aneya stares at her open wound and waits until it starts to close itself. The CORPSEC-forces seem to have called in reinforcements as loud and fast footsteps can be heard from the other side of the corridor.

“AAAAHHH!”

He looks down in fright at her. His gaze wandering over her body, observing for more wounds. He sees the Regen starting to kick in and feels relieved as he takes a few more shots at the CORPSEC-forces.

The hurt goes away but not the pain. As she feels the nanobots pulling her muscles together, repairing her veins and pushing out bullet fragments, she is reminded that this pain has no likeness. It’s a burning sensation combined with the most gruesome muscle ache. But the worst part is the skin tightening so fast that it feels like it will pull itself off.

Moments later after a series of blackouts and flashes of vision from the shot up office area she manages to stay awake for more than a few seconds. She feels the cold Kevlar-arm tightly wrapped around her waist. She sees only his back, legs and heels of his boots as they are walking.

She still feels pain from her arm but now it has gone towards a warmer feeling. Her right arm is still limp. Derek takes determined steps, kicks open a door and proceeds. By the signage on the walls they seem to be heading towards the garage section.

Her groggy mind hears running boots. She pulls out her AEP-17 from her hip holster with her left hand.

BANG! BANG!

Two CORPSEC-guards fall down behind Derek. Two shells from her pistol tinkle on the hard floor. She blows her blond hair away from her face.

“We have to speed up Derek!”

His old but muscular legs start to slowly jog through the corridor. The garage door slams into the wall as he kicks it open. She nearly loses the grip of her pistol from the force of the impact. Her once groggy mind is now on full alert.

She feels the rocking motion of each stride as he starts to jog towards the matte black APEX ST94. She compensates the swing to keep the gun aimed true.

Three doors swing open as more CORPSEC-forces run towards them. She raises the pistol and let it rip through the magazine. The sound is deafening and the muzzle flashes makes everything feel like a high-end night club. When Derek puts her into the car she doesn’t hear the door close or the engines turn on. She only sees flashes of guards firing at the car as it flies out of the garage.

“I’m going to kill Aedar, this mission was far from easy.”
“Yeah, he’s gonna get fried”
“The attack will be over in seconds!”
David Malmström
I pretended to be a pilot, and that is when the murders began.
  Illustration and inspiration by  ND ZK

Illustration and inspiration by ND ZK

Disclaimer: This is not a polished story, simply an exercise in writing.

I am not a great liar, except the time when I flew the super VIP-taxi for the large corporation Novis Mytos. It did start as a lie and then I just went with it, keeping the initial lie floating until nobody disbelieved it.

It had been months rummaging around the vast city of Protarys looking for work. Any work, any job, at the time I did not care what the job entailed. I was just so desperate for creds [ed. money] that I could probably have shot someone for a warm meal and a beer. I did have some creds for emergencies like when the police pick you up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then you need creds to get out of holding or else you will probably be forgotten in the system.

This day I had searched the ghetto-like western districts and the reception was lousy so I did not see the notification from my friend Korb until later when I got back downtown. The message said:

“Found a job for you, taxi driver for Novis Mytos. You said that you had experience with piloting the APEX models right?”

I stared down at my watch, fixated on the words. I was relieved, it took me another thirty seconds to process the message. With a small cloud of smoke from the wide tires my motorcycle thrusted on to Wuylon Strada. I held on tight, feeling the g-forces in my stomach almost peeling me off the bike. This was the best feeling in the world, moving fast, swerving between other cars and imagining the wind blowing through my hair (I never got the AR-add on for my helmet.)

The bike came to a quick stop at my garage, and I looked down at my watch and it had only taken me 20 minutes to get home instead of the 45 that I expected. I got of the bike and turned it off with a push on my watch. With a glance down the street I entered my apartment complex, looking, watching for police or CORPSEC [ed. private police for corporations] that would arrest me for speeding. But the street was calm.

I gathered my things, some new clothes, my trusted gun and transferred money from the emergency account and was out the door in five minutes. My neural implant sent a message to Korb alerting him that I was coming over and for him to prepare the ID-forgery machine. I was feeling confident that I could fake my way through the application process.

The bike shot out from the garage and onto the street directly in the path of a delivery truck. I swerved hard right and barely avoided a crash. “Fucking lorries” I thought to myself, they always drive so slow.

A few minutes later I parked outside Korb’s tragic excuse for a home. Three young punk were trying to open a car on the other side with a plasma cutter. I made sure to use the SecureLock locks that I bought for theses situation. Too bad that I cannot afford a few more hours of SecureLock per month. “If they steal my bike I’m going to murder them!“, I thought.

It took some effort to open Korb’s door since there was a huge pile of trash right behind it. I stepped over the trash, locked the door and went straight for his workshop.

“Are you going to clean this mess?”, I said loud enough to let him know I had arrived.

No answer, I proceed into his shop-room, finding him deep connected to some virtual reality game. I pulled one of his earpieces out and repeated the question. He twitched in sudden fear and shot away from me with his chair.

“Are you MAD Derek, you cannot just pull someone out from VR!”
“I told you I was coming; did it not say urgent in the message?”
“Nah, it must have gotten lost in translation.”
“Never mind, just take off the machine. I need a piloting license.”

He took off his remaining VR-gear, revealing a thin man in his twenties. Sitting in worn-out clothes, jacked up on sensory amplifiers and with a twitch in his leg as the lack of stimuli made him restless.

“So, you are going to take the job I take it.”
“Korb, you are bad at small talk; just fix my license.”

The ID-forger was an old model but it crafted a pilot license for me in a few minutes and I transferred almost all of my emergency creds to Korb. He proceeded to jack into the game and left me with a “Good luck.”

“Yeah, good luck to you too, junkie”

He just flipped me off and got comfortable in his chair.

I drove more calmly over to Novis Mytos’ Taxi-department. Fearing again to be ticketed or put in holding. Now it wasn’t just the g-force that made my stomach feel funny. I was nervous and I am usually never nervous about anything. But if I screw this up, I am totally fucked. Out of creds, no job, no way to pay off the bike, no nothing.

The Novis Mytos building was built with real concrete and glass instead of bio-plastics. The entrance has a huge revolving door made from glass and steel. I took confident steps into the lobby and up to the receptionist.

“Derek Moors for the taxi job.”
“ID and pilot license, thank you.”

I gave her the license and pressed my thumb on the scanner. A jolt of anxiety flashed before me but I managed to calm my nerves down. I should have taken downers before this.

But didn’t need the neurotransmitter blockers, the application went through without a hitch.

“You are clear for work sir. You can pick up your things in staff area to the right. Any questions?”
“Uhm…”
“Good, have nice day.”

Was it that easy, they must really be in dire need for a driver I thought to myself.

She pointed haphazardly to the right at a door marked “Employees only”. I went into the staff area and picked up a CORPID-card complete with my name, picture and relevant personal statistics along with some work clothes. My watch beeped. It was instructions for a trip and the location of the taxi.

I made my way up to the taxi hangar and picked up my taxi, an APEX model ST94, matte powder black with all the luxury options. I held my CORPID against the door handle and the door opened and I got in. I pressed the start button and the engines revved up more silent than my bike. I was amazed by the quality of the car and the silence was refreshing. I drove out from the hangar to the pickup location.

A private helipad on the side of a towering building came up on my right. My landing was smooth and really got the feel for how the ST94 handles. A woman dressed in dark leather pants, black boots and a puffy black jacket ending at the waist approached the black taxi. I made sure to make myself presentable.

“This is it”, I said quietly.

The door was opened with nonchalance and the woman got in. She brushed her blond hair back with her hand.

“Do you have the location?”

I checked the cars positioning system and on the dashboard display a map with a point had been marked.

“Yes miss”
“Then what are you waiting for? Drive.”

The ST94 took off fast and quiet but I could feel the engines roaring to keep the metal box flying. This woman looked no more than nineteen what could she need with a private taxi. I persuaded myself that was none of my business.

We came around to the location where she wanted to go, a building in the finer area of the western district. Probably a shopping mall or something. She leaned forward and held in her hand a credstick [ed. similar to cash].

“There is five thousand credits on this, it’s yours if you keep the engines going and don’t ask questions. Lijie?”
“Yes I understand”

I grabbed the credstick. She stared straight at me with a seriousness in her blue eyes that I never thought I would see from this teenager.

“Yes I understand”, I repeated.

She let go of the credstick and exited the taxi. Fifteen minutes later the woman returns, opens the door carefully and gets in. I can hear that she is winded, her blond hair is tied off in a bun and she has black gloves on. What did she do in there? I do not ask, and I drive away with both her and me in silence.

I drive her around Protarys for maybe three hours and then return to her helipad. She swipes a blank CORPID at the payment badge. She exits the taxi and before closing the door says:

“I will need you to come here tomorrow at 14:00.”
“Yeah... OK miss.”

I drive back to the taxi hangar, park the ST94 and get on my bike home. It’s when I get home and my home terminal boots up that I manage to add one and one together. On the news feed I hear that the head of security for Terminus Incorporated has been murdered and data stolen from their data centre in the western district.

That little girl is a corp. assassin. Right then and there I decide to not keep quiet the following day. That’s the day that all the murders started.

FictionDavid Malmström
Utdrag ur min Svarta solen-kampanj
  Photo by  Nikolas Behrendt

Rollpersonerna befinner sig i Vinterskogen, skogen där det varit vinter i fem år. De vaknade upp och märkte att det hade snöat under natten, nu blåste det lätt och snön virvlade sakta från himmeln. De åt en enklare frukost och började traska nordväst, dit där trollen bor.

Efter någon timmes färd såg de en låg stenbyggnad på håll, de smög fram och kom fram till en sexkantig byggnad med fyra ingångar. Inuti byggnaden fann de en igenfrusen källa och ristningar på väggarna. Ristningar som ligger i de fyra väderstrecken föreställer personer. I norr en högrest, vild krigare, i öster en vacker ung kvinna, i söder ung man och den västra en ståtlig, vis kvinna. De drog slutsatsen att ristningar föreställer de fyra årstiderna i mänsklig form. De påpekade också att det här kan vara ett bra ställe att vila under natten.

De fortsatte nordväst och kom fram till en stor trädörr i bergsidans nedre delar. De spejade efter trollen men kunde inte se några, de smög fram och noterade fotspår i snön som ledde bort från grottan. Efter en snabb ögning från vildmarksmannen Egil visade det sig vara ett stort och tre små troll. De gick då fram till dörren som var låst med ett stort hänglås. När missdådaren (ogärningsman) Björn-Ragnar undersökte låset hördes vargbestljud från andra sidan av dörren. De andra drog vapen, blåblotaren (första prästrangen inom Gerbanis)Ragnvald började be en bön till Storme för ökad styrka.
Björn-Ragnar dyrkade upp låset, drog sin dolk och öppnade dörren. Ut flög två stycken vargbestar som försökte bitas och klösas.

Efter tjugo sekunder ligger två döda vargbestar på marken och både
Björn-Ragnars dolk och Ragnvalds stridshammare har smakat blod.

Men Ragnvald hade även blivit klöst några gånger och var skadad. Inuti grottan fann de fällar, massvis med skräp och småprylar på golvet. De tände en fackla och började leta igenom rummet. Vid ett bord bredvid en fin fåtölj hittade Björn-Ragnar ett fint utsmyckat silverskrin med tobak i och en utsirligt snidad pipa, uppenbarligen tjuvgods från något utav trollens härjtåg. Han fann även ett brev som han räckte till Ragnvald som läste tyst. Brevet som var präntat i blod var skrivet på ett språk han inte förstod, det enda han kunde utläsa var namnet Blodughadda. I en kista fann de även tre blanka och fina guldmynt. Bakom en liten dörr hittades lite förnödenheter i form av bröd, öl och saltat kött. Med risk av att det var mänskligt kött och att Egil inte identifierade vad det var för typ av kött lämnades de köttbitarna kvar.

De bestämde sig för att jaga ned trollen även fast de är färre än dem. Bakom ett par granar såg de trollen ligga och lurpassa mot skogsvägen. Det var värre än de hade anat Björn-Ragnar visste att det stora trollet var ett stentroll, tre meter högt och hård hud som sten. Björn-Ragnar vänder sig mot Egil och säger: “När du ser att jag anfaller trollen eller att jag springer från dem, skjut dem.

Björn-Ragnar smög framåt för att försöka lurpassa tillbaka på trollen. Egil ville ha en bättre vy men misslyckades med att komma upp i en gran så han övergav den tanken. Ragnvald stod lungt och väntade bredvid Egil. Efter en stund såg de trollen röra på sig, bort från dem, Björn-Ragnar såg sin möjlighet och tänkte knivhugga en av de små medan de vandrade.

Björn-Ragnar smyger framåt och endast fem meter från trollen trampar han för hårt ned och trollen märker honom. Han försöker fly men stentrollet är snabbt fram och sätter sin stora yxa i Björn-Ragnar. Ett litet troll springer fram och försöker hugga honom med ett svärd men missar. Björn-Ragnar springer fort bakåt. Egil avlossar en pil som sätter sig i en trädstam bredvid stentrollet. Småtrollen springer efter Björn-Ragnar och stentrollen springer mot Egil och Ragnvald. Egil missar ännu en pil och flyr sedan. Ragnvald börjar åkalla sin gud Tyrd och be om hennes vrede.

Han skriker “I såren skall sanningen göra sig påmind”, stentrollet får ett brännmärke på bröstet och skriker utav smärta.

Björn-Ragnar springer fort bort och tar med sig sin bror Ragnvald. Egil snubblar på en trädrot men är snabbt uppe på benen igen.

Framåt kvällen anlände de till stenbyggnaden glada över att fortfarande vara vid liv. De gjorde upp en eld men var lugna bara en kort stund. Utanför byggnaden hörde de vargylanden, beredda på en vargattack väntade de säkert en timme innan de gjorde kvällsvard. De hade vakt den natten.