Epilogue: Iphigenia & Goblins

Through the research of Alcmene and Dag Amundsen, the two were able to compile a comprehensive understanding of the history of House Iphigenia, the Conspiracy against House Orpheus, and the motives of Lady Megaera. Though the file wouldn’t be publicly released for several decades (due mainly to the machinations of the Council, who expressed concern at the political implications such information would have), eventually Alcmene informed the world of House Iphigenia. The repercussions were fairly severe, though the majority of the responses were focused around gratitude for Alcmene’s ending of the Aegishjálmr war. Here is the information she and Dag published.

House Iphigenia was one of the original Houses formed after the initial war between the Achaeans and Ymirons. (Heavily suspected that Iphigenia was a major influence on creating the ‘caste’ system – Dag). Though Iphigenia was old, it never became terribly prominent, incapable of acquiring a significant amount of money or prominent reputation. Iphigenia was known for its mysticism, possessing some of the most powerful and devout priests in Mecone until the Seidhrmenn war. It was Iphigenia that learned the secrets of Seidhr first, and it was their priests that enhanced the walls of Mecone against the powers of Freyja until they could bring about the end of the war. As soon as the Ephebeia was established, Iphigenia had its members in the school, both as teachers and students, and they embraced Seidhrmenn and Thaumaturgy with the same vigor. Over the next two hundred years, Iphigenia contributed little to the world besides mystical proficiency. It wasn’t until over three hundred years after their origin that they would gain any true prominence.

When Iphigenia became obsessed with goblin origins is not known. Several goblin skirmishes and even a minor goblin war did come to Mecone during their existence, though there is no indication that Iphigenia investigated the origins of goblins after these events. What is known is that Iphigenia had somehow discovered the procedure by which goblins turn people into goblins. (See The Monsters of Our Creation, by Dag Amundsen -Alcmene). Curious, the Seidhrmenn of Iphigenia began experimenting with alchemy, as it was an essential part of the goblin transformation. Finding the correct concoction, they worked on protective magicks. When they had enough proficiency with those two abilities, House Iphigenia decided to take in a sudden amount of Thralls, claiming that they were attempting to expand their House and would need basic workers. The Thralls were more than happy, especially since Iphigenia all of a sudden became quite nice to their Thralls over the last two years. Knowledge of these events would gone unnoticed if one of the Thralls had not escaped and ran into one of the rangers from House Orpheus returning from a hunting trip. After a few days of investigation, Orpheus marched upon Iphigenia and apprehended their members, forced to kill several of them in the process. House Iphigenia was disbanded almost immediately.

One hundred years, Megaera was born with innate and strong Seidhrmenn abilities. Due to her families disreputable past, as well as her families fear of magical abilities, Megaera was taken away from Mecone and raised in the Saana Fell. Megaera learned of her abilities early on and took a naturalistic take on them, using her abilities to manipulate the world around her. It was then that she began an interest in misdirection. She would go on hunting parties and alter the physical world, growing bramble and brush in areas that hid traps, or shifting the ground around to scare animals towards their hunters. When she became seventeen, Megaera expressed a desire to travel the world, and started with Mecone. As soon as she entered the city, she was taken care of, respected, feared, avoided, and served without question. Curious about her ancestors, she went to the Temple of Athena and learned of House Iphigenia. At the time, the historical records contained a significant amount of information, both on her House directly, and on her House indirectly. Megaera’s mind turned to vengeance and a plan formed in her mind. To enact it, she required a substantial amount of funds. To this end, she stayed in Mecone for a year and developed several contacts, acquiring a small house from which she could operate. Once she had a home, she left Mecone for almost five years. She traveled to the Reykjavik province and established several diplomatic connections there, increasing trade from the University of Alchemy and Technology to Mecone, as well as increasing the relationship from the Jarl to Mecone. Next she arrived at Port Erinyes and increased trade to Mecone by ten percent; a significant economic boost to the city. She also developed major diplomatic contacts and formed relationships. From there, she traveled back to Mecone, stopping briefly in Galdholandet to establish a military training regime for Mecone’s soldiers. Upon returning to Mecone, Megaera was rich and an incredibly prominent name outside of the city. She had also gathered lots of information on House Orpheus.

Megaera, during her travels, became interested in causing the downfall of House Orpheus, which was increased by her knowledge of Akademos. When she heard about Akademos’ brash nature and interest in suspicious characters, she formed a plan in her mind to subvert his character and destroy his House’s reputation. The first thing she heard of House Orpheus when she began investigating it was that it had only one heir; a cousin of Akademos who had taken interest in trading with Sumarem, the continent far to the north. While she was in Port Erinyes, Megaera contacted Narcissus, the captain of Andromeda’s finest ships. She appealed to his ambition and convinced him to agree to conspire against House Orpheus, beginning with arranging for Akademos’ cousin to die at sea. Next, she needed to make sure Akademos did not produce children. She sent one of her Ymiron guards to Galdholandet to convince a man who sells Akademos tea to place a sterilizing agent on the tea leaves. Megaera, now content that Akademos would be the only ruler to House Orpheus, began creating more contacts with the Alchemists Guild in Mecone, needing for people to develop deadly toxins and poisons. However, she was unsure of how to create her own as a House after Orpheus fell. It was Narcissus that fixed that problem. Returning to Erinyes after killing Akademos’ cousin, he presented Megaera with an black ingot he had stolen from Sumarem. The ingot was inscribed with the Aegishjálmr symbol, a mysterious symbol at the moment Megaera saw it. When she absorbed its power and gained information about it, Megaera smiled, many lines of thought connecting all at once. It was through the power of the Aegishjálmr that she would recreate House Iphigenia, that she would fix any problems resulting from Akademos’ death, and that she would continue the work her House began; creating a goblin army. When Megaera returned to Mecone, she arranged to speak with the Council’s most powerful man; Tyndareus. Immediately, she dominated him with the power of Aegishjálmr and they became aligned in their goals. Through him, Akademos was publicly antagonized, his retaliation making his House look brash and ambitious. Also through Tyndareus, Megaera learned more about the history of Orpheus’ members, even if Tyndareus himself remained unaware. Megaera found out about Ivar and Anselm’s heritage, and from there created profiles for several members that she would use to blackmail them if they didn’t disband the House immediately. Finally, House Orpheus ready to crumble under its own weight, Megaera enacted her plan and had Akademos murdered. She was unaware of Alcmene, who was the first hurdle that Megaera would be unable to get past. As the House continued to prosper and gain allies, Megaera attempted increasingly desperate acts, resorting to murder, regicide, and brutality. In her mind, there was no way House Orpheus would withstand the aggression of her vengeance. She miscalculated.

While enacting her plan to disband House Orpheus, Megaera began preparing her Ymiron Seidhrmenn (all of whom were illegal) with the Aegishjálmr powers to establish permanent over her newly constructed goblins. It took several months to gather enough of the Aegishjálmr repositories to ensure that the goblins would be under their control. Though Megaera didn’t understand why or how the Sumarens could store magical energies in obsidian ingots, she also didn’t care and used the magicks to her advantage. Through her alchemical contacts she gathered the appropriate ingredients for the destructive toxin and her own Seidhrmenn research had given her the abilities required to grant the protective magicks. Though House Orpheus had not fallen, she assumed Alcmene would die during the war, as Megaera hired several person to assassinate her during the battles. With the death of Alcmene, the House would be disbanded no matter what, and so she continued with her experiments with creating a goblin army. Megaera saw a strange future in which Achaean’s would use their mental dominance and understanding of the Aegishjálmr to control all of Midgard, both human and inhuman, before moving onto Sumarem.

The Iphigenia conspiracy was comprised of (as best we can tell) Megaera, her personal guards, two members of the Alchemists guild (Antenor and Varin), two alchemists from the Great Houses (who were found after the Aegishjálmr war), two Seidhrmenn from the Great Houses (one of which died during the Goblin war), Jarl Kjeld (who funded much of the Conspiracy), Anakes Tyndareus and Deiphontes, at least one member of the Merchants Guild (more were suspected, but nothing could be proved), three Skalds, and Narcissus. All of the members of the Conspiracy were killed or arrested.

Excerpt from The Monsters of Our Creation by Dag Amundsen

From our interpretation of Brother Eldjárn’s prophetic vision, our historical investigations, oral history taken from the Thrall storytellers, and some guess work, we believe that goblins came about approximately two to fifty years after the beginning of the current political structure in Midgard. The cause is, as best we can tell, the forced subjugation of Midgard citizenry into Thralldom, especially by those that were impoverished but not uneducated. Some of the initial Thralls appear to have been prominent herbalists, as alchemy was not a science that existed back then. Others appeared have burgeoning Seidhr abilities. In response to forced enslavement, a small cabal appears to have formed and performed the first goblin metamorphosis. How successful it was, we can’t be sure. Perhaps not everyone was turned, perhaps it was as effective then as it is now. Regardless, here is the procedure.

The Alchemical reagent, a vile and thick black substance that smells strongly of putrid materials, is a highly toxin poison that tears apart the body’s insides. Death is fast and pronounced, the victim vomiting out their internal organs, though the organs are turned into liquid and evacuated in other means as the victim dies. The esophagus and other cavities are dissolved violently, and the death is painful. By itself, the substance kills quickly. The other part is a potent protective Seidhr that gives the body abnormally strong resistance to hemorrhaging and allows the internal organs and basic functions to continue even through extreme trauma. When the two are combined, a strange metamorphosis takes place, in which the body attempts to correct for the sudden loss of internal organs, as the victim continues to vomit out their innards. The correction takes the form of violent muscle and bone growths, sudden organ generation, and massive bodily alteration. At the end of this procedure, which takes anywhere from twelve hours to several days, the goblin is born.

Although goblins are far estranged from us, we must remember that we are the ones who made them. They’re aggression against us, while unjustified, was born of our mistreatment. Should they be exterminated? Probably. But it was only through our actions that they even came into being. No gods cursed us with this, no monsters came from dark places we have never known. We are their creators, and they seek vengeance upon us for crimes committed generations ago. Always, we must keep this in mind, even as we strike them down and curse their progeny.


Alcmene laid down for what felt like the first time in years. óþyrmásbrandr fell to the ground with a clank. She closed her eyes and slept.

Alcmene would become the most prominent woman in history. Although she was the first female Anax, female leaders were not completely unheard of, yet none were as influential as she. Her valor during the Goblin War is undisputed, and many attribute Mecone’s survival until Jarl Kjeld’s arrival as a direct result of her tireless efforts. Her decisive end to the Aegishjálmr War is noteworthy, though she insisted until her death that more of the conspiracy was discovered by her House than by her. She is still historically credited with the destruction of House Clytemnestra and with the death of Megaera. After the War, her influence brought about cultural and political changes, including more rights for Thralls and Ymirons, increased protection for Mecone’s citizens, and she often attempted to increase Mecone’s relationship with the Jarls through trade, though much of Council wished to ignore the rising Jarl threat. Alcmene was also an outspoken voice for increased rights for women, another issue that fell on deaf ears across the nation.

Alcmene spent the fortunes of House Clytemnestra and House Chrysippus on the city’s reconstruction efforts and worked closely with Delegate Laërtes to help rebuild Mecone’s Commercial and Residential districts. For several years, she focused herself almost exclusively in that capacity, which increased revenue and attention for the project. Although she would never pick up her sword again after the War, she continued to devote herself with the same vigor and passion with which she fought. Although Laërtes was a competent and energetic man, the help of Alcmene was greatly appreciated. The two of them formed a bond then, though they wouldn’t act on such feelings for many decades.

Alcmene continued in the tradition of Akademos and helped fund and research technological inventions. House Orpheus shifted from being the lead in hunting and naturalism to one of the most progressive and innovative Houses in Mecone. Many of Orpheus’ members joined the Scientific Academy in Mecone when it was created and would form the backbone behind the success of the Academy. Alcmene also dabbled in inventions, though most restricted herself to politics.

Alcmene began suffering from health problems only a few years after the War and was pretty soon incapable of fighting, if she wanted to. Her closest friends speculate that Alcmene’s health problems came from the poison her body somehow rejected, though she preferred to keep details of that event quiet. Most believe she had simply worn herself out during the War and suffered more wounds and bruises than any human is capable of bearing.

Almost forty years after the Goblin War, Alcmene and Laërtes married, though the two were too old to have children, their union was celebrated widely in Mecone. Alcmene had held her feelings for the Delegate back for decades, believing the union would distance some of her closest friends, but as they began to die, she turned to Laërtes for comfort. Soon the two became inseparable. As they grew old together, Alcmene assisted her husband substantially in his political affairs, especially when he became King. Thought Laërtes was certainly his own person, many believe Alcmene came up with most of his better executed plans.

Alcmene died of severe health complications at the age of eighty three. She told everyone as her body started to shut down that she had lived a good and long life and that Hera had finally determined that her service to the world was complete. Her death was mourned by all in the city, and Laërtes died only two short years after she did. For over one hundred and fifty years, Mecone (even when it was no longer the capital) continued to annually celebrate Alcmene’s life and accomplishments in a week long festival.

Epilogue: Jan

Jan had found Rekjarvin, the Thrall historian, in the aftermath of the War and had spent many hours chatting with him about Iphigenia. With Megaera’s death signified the end of the Iphigenia line, again, and Jan wished to ensure that such an event did not simply happen again in one hundred years. His first step, he felt, was to get all the information he could from the Thralls that still had stories of the frightful House.

After a long interview, Jan went back to check on Harald, hoping that his wounds weren’t so severe he would not recover. Instead of finding Harald, he found a note on his bed. Jan, You little bugger. I’m fine. Thanks. Headed off, too much death in this city. Finding my own way, don’t follow. This time you won’t find me. Thanks for looking out for me. Best, H

Jan absently gathered his belongings and sorted through his journals and papers as he got ready to set off in search of Harald when Alcmene opened his door. “Going somewhere?”

“Yes. Harald’s doing something dangerous again and I—” Alcmene walked up and stopped him from packing.

“Jan, Harald needs to do his own thing. It’s time you did yours. And we need you here.” Alcmene still sounded weak from the War, but her voice carried with it a weight that impressed Jan.

“He saved my life. When I was young.” Alcmene nodded.

“And you saved his.”

Jan stayed in Mecone and dedicated the next twenty years to the acquisition of knowledge about House Iphigenia and their dark secrets. To this end, he also published several works of history detailing early Thrall stories, which would later serve as the basis for Thrall rights activists. When Jan’s historical work was completed, he joined the burgeoning Scientific Academy, learning more about new inventions, and helping them create many of the finer inventions of his time.

Jan did not cope well with Rhadamanthys’ Seidhrmenn laws. He was a vocal protester of the increased restrictions, for they created “a sense of paranoia about a typically beneficial supernatural power.” Jan tried to get the Council to see that increasing laws for Seidhrmenn drove the populace into a frenzy whenever a young person displayed magical powers, to the point where they were often killed on sight. Such paranoia was bad for the society, and it restricted the potential benefit of Seidhr. His cries fell on deaf ears, and he stopped using his gift in fear that it would get him killed, even though he was recognized by the government as one of the individuals allowed to display acts of Seidhr.

Jan’s participation in the Goblin War and the Aegishjálmr War was notable, as he helped reinforce bulwarks for the city while it was under siege, and also helped root out the pervasive and vile threat of Megaera. It was for these reasons that Jan was one of the Seidrmenn not specifically requested to serve under the watchful eye of the Council. Instead he was given an incredible amount of autonomy, namely because Jan’s story became one of the primary stories of the ‘gift of Seidhr,’ instead of the more common ‘the curse of Seidhr.’

When asked about Jan, Alcmene always spoke highly of his acceptance of the Thrall, his pursuit of knowledge in all things, and his almost child-like innocence. Once someone asked if it was wise to allow so powerful a Seidhrmenn free reign throughout the city. Alcmene simply smiled at the accuser and said “Find me a Ymiron more optimistic and helpful than Jan, and I will elect him King. Do not question his loyalty to our city, for it runs deeper than the gold veins of Skarragh.”

Epilogue: Uthar

Uthar looked at the ravaged land of the Folkvangr. The land itself was burned and damaged, but the real problem was the town. The small farm houses were gone, piles of ash and scorched wood, and the small town a few miles south was destroyed, every building burned to the ground or collapsed at the structures. He looked at the purchased property of Orpheus and saw the goblin holes still peppered the land, though they were filled with snow. There was much work to be done.

“All right, guards, I want you going from hole to hole, smoking the little bastards out. Archers, be ready. Craftsmen, lets start unloading materials near that farmhouse. The rest of you, set up camp and get a fire going! I don’t want anyone wandering out alone!” Uthar commanded his group of over two hundred as easily as he commanded a small squad. Most of the men with them were soldiers tasked with retaking the Folkvangr, and Uthar was at the lead due mainly to his expertise with Goblin and Orc tactics. He knew it would be a long winter while they recovered the land and rebuilt the towns. Still, he thought, what more worthy goal could there be?

Uthar of House Orpheus was instrumental in the reconstruction of the Folkvangr. In a month, he had reestablished Orpheus’ farmlands and was ready to start farming, though it was too late to start on winter vegetables. In three months, he had restored four towns and over one thousand acres of farmland. By the time the snow melted, almost forty percent of the Folkvangr had been rebuilt and began farming again. It had been a hungry winter for everyone in Mecone and the valley, but through Uthar’s leadership, they regained control of the area in record time. For several years, Uthar lived in the Folkvangr and provided a significant financial boost to Orpheus, as he was not only the first Hersir for his House, but the only Hersir in the Folkvangr for two years. Uthar’s leadership in the valley was much appreciated and served to increase Orpheus renown, respect, wealth, and also helped regain Mecone’s economy.

Uthar’s participation in the Goblin War and the Aegishjálmr War earned him a significant commendation from the Military over the following years, to the point where Uthar was given a large amount of property, all of which he dedicated to House Orpheus. His insistence on Militarism and sacrifice did not go unnoticed by the Captain of the Guard, and as Uthar entered into his twilight years, he was made Captain of the Guard of Mecone, a prestigious and significant job. Under his command, the streets of Mecone were the safest they had been in decades, and the guards physically fit and capable.

When asked of her Hersir, Alcmene would often praise his duty, his honor, and his valor. She believed that without him, many more of her House would have fallen, and he always fulfilled an obligation of protection to the common man. “He is the highest example of what we, as a people, should aspire to be; true guardians.”

Epilogue: Harald

Harald looked on the broken ruins of Mecone and saw the large tents erected in various parts of the city, the spots of campfires like small lightbugs dotting the slopping city, and plumes of smoke rising from the piles of burning dead. He was getting old, and he had finally had enough of the city. Without a word, he left, confident that Alcmene could bring change and progress to the stagnation of the battered city. He had left his lord a note and figured that would be good enough. Never been good at good-byes.

He wandered down to the Ingolfur Port and stepped into the familiar grunge of the Slippery Hagfish. Faces there were long and the rumors of war dark. They knew that the Goblin War was over, but still felt weary that perhaps the goblins would come for them. Harald ignored them all and ordered an ale, intending to drink until he felt like stopping. “What bothers you, Harald?” The barkeep had known Harald for years, and therefore was one of the few who knew when Harald was upset.

“Just so much death. More than this old ranger wants to see.” Harald drank for many hours, quiet about the horrors he had seen. He was headed towards the backdoor, knowing that it led to a private outhouse to which he had access, when he saw Narcissus walk in, his neck bandaged and looking murderous. Harald hid in the back and watched Narcissus walk to the bar.

“Give me… hhhhgrgg! Give me some damn food!” Narcissus gurgled and sputtered when he spoke, and his voice whispered as though a strange wind came from his throat. Harald slid into the kitchen.

“Mind if I cook the next one, Rolf?” This wasn’t entirely uncommon, and Rolf was glad for a short mead break. Harald cooked a delicious ham meal, throwing all of his stranger fungi into it, even the ones he had intended to save for himself. Quietly, he handed the plate to the barkeep and Narcissus ate quickly, spilling food and making a mess. When he was done, Narcissus stood and left, not paying for anything. Harald followed.

Narcissus’ footsteps lead to a dark alley where the man was lying on his back, groaning and wheezing. Harald knew he was having a bad time. Harald stepped over the man and bent down, making Narcissus look at him.

“Did you kill Akademos?” At first, Narcissus just rolled his eyes around his head, a soft moan gurgling out of his throat. Harald slapped him and asked again.

“I…. I remember! I hired… Antenor? Ah! GODS! She looked at me with these eyes, gods these eyes! Gave him a name, Akademos? Gods, I wanted him dead. Hated him. Akademos always thought I was responsible for his cousin’s death. I killed his cousin. Weak fool. But her eyes! Like spiders, like serpents! OH GODS! HELP!” Narcissus tried to scream, but little noise came out and his bandage started to turn red. Harald had heard enough. He ripped off the bandage and left, letting Narcissus try to scream for help as his throat emptied itself onto the cold snow.

Harald Svamp became one of the strangest legends in Mecone. His involvement with House Orpheus was renown, and his actions against the conspirators became part of the canon of the Aegishjálmr War. Harald’s gathered knowledge of Thrall History was released after his departure from House Orpheus and proved to be the basis for many of the rights activists that would form twenty and thirty years after the end of the War. In the retelling of the events, Harald is often shown to be an enigma; striving for equality and truth on the one hand, and hateful of his position and status in the other. His disappearance is equally as enigmatic, as his last known location was the Slippery Hagfish. Many claim that he tracked down Narcissus and executed him for his crimes against House Orpheus, while others believe he simply vanished and went to live in the Myrkvior. Others believe he died of injury after he left the Slippery Hagfish. In short, few people know what happened to Harald, Ranger of Orpheus, but he was deeply missed by many, most notably Alcmene.

Harald, after Narcissus’ death, took over a small ship and sailed to the Sumarem continent, establishing trade routes and learning more about the strange culture. It was on the sea that he died, captaining the ship on its way back from Sumarem. His crew loved him, though he was a demanding and ruthless captain. His name faded away into obscurity among the sailors, and he passed away without mention or history.

Alcmene held a small service in honor of Harald every year, serving various types of mushrooms and fungi at a feast and hosting an archery contest in his name. When others asked about the ranger, she would always smile and say “he paved his own way, in all things.”

Epilogue: Marc

As the Aegishjálmr faded from Marc’s forehead, he looked around and saw Alcmene still lived, but saw Sydney had been several injured by his own arrows. Angry at himself, he ran to his bear and removed the arrow cautiously, bandaging the wound and staying by the bear, praying to Artemis for it to live. As the hours burned and Marc waited in Megaera’s foul house, he heard a strange commotion below. Curious, he ventured off and began searching the house. It was when he entered the basement that he saw them; over two dozen goblins, hiding in the dark corners of Megaera’s house, terrified of discovery, but curiously non-combative. Marc felt a rage brewing in his soul against the forlorn creatures, and he began unleashing his quiver upon them. At first the goblins cowered, but as more of them fell, they turned upon Marc and ran with unearthly speed towards him. He was not afraid.

A goblin jumped into the air at him, its long claws pointed towards his face. Marc ignored the goblin for a reason he couldn’t quite place. Just before the monster landed on Marc, a massive bear paw smashed the creature to the ground, crushing it underneath. Sydney slowly approached Marc’s side, blood oozing from his head, but with a rage that paralleled Marc’s. With a roar, the bear charged the retreating goblins, and Marc’s bow sung.

The dead proved useful to the investigation in Megaera’s doings, as the Aegishjálmr could still be seen branded onto their foreheads. Between that and the torn rags of Thralls, most agreed definitively that Megaera had indeed been constructing goblins in her basement out of Thrall refugees. The precise method was unknown and remained unknown, lest the information be passed to the wrong hands. Alcmene walked into Marc’s stable several days after the battle with Megaera, a smile on her lips at the good news from the investigation.

“Marc.” Marc turned around and bowed before his Anax, thinking she was just as beautiful as ever. Alcmene, since the end of the war, had taken to wearing long dresses and elegant finery, representing herself as the very model of distinction. “My lady.”

“I wanted to thank you for killing those goblins in that… witch’s house. They proved invaluable to us. What will you do now?” Alcmene sounded curious. With the dissolution of two Great Houses and so many dead, many from Mecone had left to rebuild elsewhere, and many of the hunters were now living in the Myrkvior, hunting daily to try and provide food and pelts for the survivors. Marc cleaned his hands off with a small cloth, his hands customarily dirty from tending to so many animals.

“I will continue to serve you, my Lady, for as long as you will have me.” Alcmene smiled. So did Marc.

The legend of the beastmaster did not fade into obscurity as the War passed. Indeed, stories of a bestial man and his bear-pet succeeded Marc Singer even after his death. For several years after the war, Marc devoted himself to hunting, often taking his bear with him to the hunt bigger game. One year after Akademos’ death, Marc traveled to Reykjavik with Sydney. He returned several weeks later dragging a massive wurm behind him. When the guards asked what he had with him, his response was “a gift for my Lord.” Alcmene approved Marc through and recognized the Jormungandr serpent immediately. They feasted on the creature all night, telling stories of Akademos and toasting to his glory early into the morning.

Marc continued to support Thrall enslavement, much to the displeasure of Alcmene. His voice was one of the defining voices among a large group of people who objected to an increase in Thrall food donations and rights, even to the point of providing adequate housing for the caste. Marc’s controversial views were not uncommon, and while Alcmene might not have fully agreed with her adviser, she understood and respected his opinions. Marc’s main complaint was the Thrall’s inability to provide for themselves. When asked if he felt one could be trained, he laughed and said “Artemis would never allow such tripe on her hunting grounds.” Several rights activists trained a Thrall to be a hunter, but he was killed during his first hunt. Marc used this example for many years to come.

Shortly after the war, it was found that Medea, the head-priestess and leader of the Festival of the Hunt, was killed during the war. While a new head-priestess was found, she rejected the position of leader for the Festival. After her, Marc was the obvious choice. Though he was a Ymiron, he was allowed to lead the Festival and, as such, gained full access to the Inner City to visit the Temple of Artemis. Marc prayed there daily. When the ban on inter-racial breeding was lifted, Marc spent several days at the Temple, praying to Artemis for guidance. His love of Alcmene was strong, but he did not believe she would be interested in such a union. After several days of introspection, he renewed his faith in Artemis and his desire to emulate her in all things. The subject of his love for Alcmene was never brought up again.

Marc turned the Festival of the Hunt from a moderately large event into a massive city-wide participation, involving Ymiron’s and Achaeans in a joint celebration of Artemis’ glory. Craftsmen of all kinds were involved, whether they were skinning the animals for pelts, cooking the meat for feasts, carving wood for decorative purposes, or smithing statues of the Virgin Goddess, all of Mecone began celebrating Artemis annually. Even the head-priestess was impressed at Marc’s zeal and once called him “the truest form of conviction and devotion I have ever seen.”

For many years, Marc examined the Hirfahlr arrow he had found in the forest, trying to ascertain whether the arrow was cursed or not. Finally, having no other option, he presented the arrow to Alcmene, telling her the story of its discovery and voicing his concern. The resulting investigation into the arrow revealed its true and vile nature, and the arrow was given over to the Council. After a long time of deliberation and investigation, it was determined that the arrow would be kept with the King, locked away lest someone find it and use it for some foul purpose. Marc would often lament not using the arrow on Anselm, whom he believed was more involved in the attempted destruction of House Orpheus than suspected. Still, he believed it was fate that Artemis never provided him with an appropriate opportunity.

Marc died at the altar to Artemis, praying to her to allow him into her sacred hunting grounds. The priestess who found him said he died at peace and of old age. For many years, stories were sung of the Beastmaster and his valor.

Epilogue: Ixion

Ixion felt like he could sleep for a week. He and Alcmene sat on the floor of House Orpheus’ great hall, both letting their weapons rest on the ground and feeling exhausted. Ixion looked at Alcmene, praying that she would finally let herself rest. His mind felt broken as he reflected on Megaera’s foul magics. He felt they still remained, for as he looked at Alcmene, he saw blood dripping from her eyes and tears mixing with her blood. He felt reminded of a dream he dreamt an age ago.

“We didn’t die…” Alcmene almost sounded upset. Ixion nodded, feeling like death might have a welcome rest. “True.”

Alcmene laid on her back and looked at the ceiling. She felt broken and battered. In a few minutes she fell asleep. Ixion sat against a wall, looking at her curiously. He wondered when Alcmene would get him killed, he wondered how he was the only Huskarl to live, he wondered when he be able to sleep. He wondered many things, but he stayed awake and watched over his Lord, as he had before and would until his death. Many hours later, Ixion closed his eyes for a moment.

Ixion is wading through cold water. All about him, the water rushes and stings, freezing past his legs, howling past his ears as the storm picks. Off in the distance, he sees nothing but the lapping waves of the cold, dark waters. As his hair sticks to his face and water mixes with his blood, he sees a giant wave coming towards him. The waters pick up speed, crashing into his legs and almost toppling him as the wave draws nearer. Ixion takes out his shield, shouting a prayer to Ares louder than the winds that rage around him. The wave crashes into his shield and water sprays around him, but his legs hold, his arm steadies, and he weathers the titanic waters. When he next moves his shield, he sees an endless and barren land, no waters around him, no mountains or snow to be seen. Behind him stands Alcmene, wearing a long and flowing dress, she holds no weapons, wears no armor, and uses no Seidhr. She looks to the horizon and watches the grass grow. So does Ixion.

Ixion was Alcmene’s only Huskarl until his death, as she refused to replace the Huskarls lost in the War. Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as she did not participate in any skirmish during Ixion’s lifetime, and the rest of his life was quiet and solitary. He served Alcmene as an adviser as much as a guardian, for she valued his opinions and feelings almost more than any adviser she acquired after the war. Ixion and Alcmene were largely inseparable, and many speculated that she took advantage of Rhadamanthys’ inter-racial breeding decree immediately. Those that knew the two knew that was not the case, though neither Ixion nor Alcmene cared enough to correct the public opinion. Unlike the other heroes of the Goblin War, Ixion’s part was largely overshadowed by Alcmene, much of the glory and honor going to her instead of him. He never felt resentful or upset at this, and instead took it as part of the task of a Huskarl. When asked about Alcmene, Ixion often said “everything for the glory of my Lord.”

As he entered into old age, Ixion became incapable of defending and took after the style and manner of his old friend, Kormak. Indeed, Ixion’s harsh and often blunt manner of speaking and acting reminded Alcmene of Kormak; a memory she looked fondly on. Ixion’s advice on the strengthening of Mecone’s walls was taken seriously by General Hlod, who remembered Ixion as the faithful guardian of Alcmene, and it was through his tactical assessments that the walls of Mecone came to be considered impenetrable. Ixion’s knowledge of goblins helped fix several underground problems Mecone suffered, including the sewers and several unstable pieces of rock upon which walls were founded.

Ixion was a notably outspoken antagonist of the Alchemist’s Guild, claiming that it was through incompetence and irresponsibly relaxed laws that the assassination of Akademos was made possible. Though it took years, the Council finally looked into the restrictions on the Alchemist’s Guild and found their rules lacking. Jorgan did not take kindly to the investigation and eventually disbanded the Guild instead of submitting his members to what he claimed where “absurd and invasive investigative procedures.” Most of the Guild members would later form the Scientific University and became prominent inventors, but of that Ixion had no comment. He felt justified at having been instrumental at removing a potentially dangerous and unchecked threat.

Ixion died at peace from old age. His funeral was a grand ceremony held by Alcmene, who considered him a brother and mourned his passing. Many attended, and it wasn’t until after his death that his deeds were known. Posthumously, Ixion became a famous legend and stalwart defender of Mecone, though during his lifetime he was simply another Huskarl. Many years after his death, a commemorative shield was made for Alcmene that had the insignia of House Orpheus surrounding his name written in Achaean, as a symbol of the highest degree of defense and bravery. Alcmene cherished it until her death.

Epilogue: Dag

It was a few days after the end of the Goblin War that Dag finally sat back in his chair, feeling tired and even a little old. His voice hurt from the innumerable amount of funeral songs he had sung, his feet hurt from the hours of standing at funerals, and his spirit felt beaten down from all the funerals. He hoped to never see death again. As he sat, his body wanting sleep but his mind still too active, he look out his window on the ruins of Mecone. Smoke still rose into the sky, rubble still adorned the roads; but progress was being made. It made him feel better. He even smiled.

In the back of his mind, he could hear a low voice speaking in a guttural language. The Joining is inevitable, Dag… He knew he had escaped something strong, something that was patient and would wait decades. For now, he would relax, knowing the monster didn’t dare step foot in his city yet. Hilda walked up to him and knelt at his side, crying tears of relief and joy that he still lived. He held his wife close, feeling like a new dawn was rising, somehow, amidst the grief and destruction.

“What shall we name our child?” Hilda was trying to keep the mood light; a quality she had that Dag had always appreciated. He laughed and walked her over to their bed, where they laid and looked at the ceiling, naming names with no particular interest choosing one over the other.

Dag Amundsen became the most notable Skald in Mecone’s history. His actions during the Goblin War did not go unnoticed, but it was his participation in the Aegishjálmr War that made him particularly noteworthy. For many years after the War, Dag tried to keep the Performer’s Guild in business, but when it was revealed that three of the Skalds were directly responsible for several assassinations around Mecone (related to the Iphigenia conspiracy), many decided to reject the Guild’s legitimacy. Eventually, the Guild was dissolved, though many of the performer’s formed specific theater troops, musical groups, or became renowned poets. Dag, now entering into his older years, chose not to enter into such an unknown lifestyle. Instead, he dedicated his twilight years to academia and research, trying to find out more about the goblins, orcs, and Jotun. It was Dag that informed everyone of the goblin language, which would remain a source of interest and research for many decades after his death. Dag insisted on finding the truth about all things, and began a long project that was finished many years after his death into the origins of man. His final theory was that Thralls and Ymirons were no different except by social construction, a theory he developed after investigating Thrall history and folklore in other areas of the country. Though he would not see these claims justified, and it was a theory held in high disdain by the scientific community, he believed it to be true.

Dag would serve House Orpheus for the rest of his life, dutifully recording Alcmene’s work and life, and serving the House to the best of his capacity in all things. His children grew up to be great inventors, poets, and scientists, and he was proud of all them, even if he maintained a disdainful view of technology until his death. Dag’s name became almost another word for Heroism in Mecone, and he was regarded as one of the finest Ymiron’s in history by many. The surname Amundsen would carry weight in Mecone for decades after his death.

Dag did not die of natural causes, for as he spent time researching goblin origins, so he became increasing paranoid that the goblin-mage would hunt him down and transform him into the foul creature. As he researched, he began to set up failsafes to ensure his death over capture, though no such assault came. Finally, when he was very old, goblins sprung from the ground all around him and grabbed him. Too feeble to fight them off, Dag took a page from his old friend Minos and mixed a few alchemical potions he kept on him at all times. The resulting explosions ripped Dag’s body to pieces, and killed the four goblins that attempted to apprehend him. His death was a hard loss for many, including Alcmene, who had come to view the old Skald as a close friend and adviser. Still, the story of his death was a symbol to all of the old man’s determination and valor, smiling at the face of death and embracing Valhalla with the strength and convictions of a true Ymiron.

Epilogue: Anselm

“This is for Akademos, you arrogant, stupid, self-righteous bastard!” Each of Anselm’s words were shockwaves, the ground ripping and tearing, snow bursting into the air, and Jarl Kjeld’s armor vibrating and buckling under the stress. Kjeld ran at Anselm as his men chased him with a blank look, each of his Huskarls screaming about ‘the Jotun’ as they struck the Jarl down.

“How dare you turn my men against me, you gods-cursed whoreson!” Kjeld swung at Anselm, who vanished into thin air, his forehead aglow with a brightly purple Aegishjálmr brand that linked him with the traitorous Huskarls. Kjeld’s armor was torn open by his men and blood burst from the holes in it.

“Damn you!” Kjeld swung wide and smashed his great sword into two of his Huskarls, tossing their bodies aside like dolls. The other three assault Kjeld with an increased vigor, one smashing his left arm to pieces, the other broken his right leg. Kjeld started to fall as he screamed about cowards and traitors. With a sense of vengeance, Anselm launched one final scream at the Jarl, his words tearing the air apart with an unearthly shriek; “Die!

As Kjeld died, several guards tackled Anselm from the side, hitting him in the head with their sword hilts until he fell unconscious. Quickly, they gagged him, tied his hands and feet, and dragged him away as Kjeld’s Huskarls came to. Njall, realizing what he had done, immediately shoved a dagger into his throat. The others looked around for their assailant, hoping to exact revenge. They were unaware of Anselm’s forced departure. The only other person they saw was Alcmene walking towards the Council chambers holding a severed head and her iconic sword.

Anselm came to in front of the Council, his body battered and badly hurt. He tried to shout, but the gag impeeded him. He tried to teleport away, but his bindings prevented him. Without any mobility, his powers were weakened to the point of requiring more concentration than he was able to provide in his current injured condition. He looked up at Tyndareus, who leered down at him.

“So this is the rogue mage we’ve heard about? I was wondering who he was…” Pygmalion walked up with a knife in his hands.

“We knew there was something strange about him. Now we know. I say we kill him immediately, Councilor. We can’t take any chances.”

“But we know so little about his particular style of magics. If we were to get a Seidhrmenn to magically bind him so that we might study it, perhaps…” Anselm’s head swam and he closed his eyes, letting the world shift about. He couldn’t focus. Is this the end? Gods… I can’t… I can’t…

Anselm struggled against his bindings before collapsing again, trying to save his strength. He heard Tyndareus laughing at him, and he felt a need to rip Tyndareus’ throat out. The foul bastard. He conspired to kill Akademos, I just know it! In an explosion of noise that alerted even Anselm in his groggy state, everyone looked at the entrance to see Alcmene standing in the doorway, a bloody severed head in her left hand. She looked at Tyndareus with murder in her eyes. Alcmene tossed the head at him, letting it roll down the chambers.

“C-Councilor, this is highly unusual!” Iamus was hoping Alcmene had just gone insane, as if she was still in control of her facilities, such a display portended more tragedy.

“Tyndareus! You are under arrest—”

“What nonsense? How dare you!”

Silence!” Alcmene pointed her sword at Tyndareus and electricity shot out of it, wrapping itself around Tyndareus’ body such that he couldn’t move without electrocuting himself. “Tyndareus, for the crime of conspiracy, murder, intentionally hiding a dangerous threat to this city’s safety, and regicide, I am placing you under arrest. Guards, arrest him at once.”

Iamus looked from Tyndareus to the guards to Alcmene. He stuttered at first, hardly able to comprehend what was happening. “My… My lady, please, what is happening? Who… was that?” Iamus pointed to the severed head.

“That… foul person, Councilors, was named Megaera. A vile conspirator that was descended from the Iphigenia line. She created goblins from our Thrall refugees, she conspired with Tyndareus to create House Clytemnestra, and she controlled my men to kill King Tiresias. Over the last month, we have slowly put the pieces together, but in the end, the only missing link was Tyndareus. The mastermind, the one who could put all the pieces together. Tell me I’m wrong, Tyndareus.”

“You lie!”

“Tell me the truth…” Alcmene’s voice took on a strange tone and Tyndareus’ eyes fell back for a second. “Bitch, ambitious whore! You sp-sp-speak… true.” Tyndareus’ words were forced, but everyone could sense the god-inspired power Alcmene had forced upon Tyndareus, keeping hum under the watchful eye of Aletheia, the spirit of truth.

“Arrest this man.” Iamus nodded at the guards, who all immediately walked to Tyndareus and waited for the electrical field to drop. Alcmene let it fall and looked at Anselm. No one noticed the hair on Anselm’s arms rising as though from static, no one noticed the knots binding his arms loosening, the rag pulling itself out as from an impossible source. Alcmene walked past him, her sword low and cutting through the bindings on Anselm’s feet without barely a sound. She ignored her adviser and walked up to Tyndareus.

“Anything to say, traitor?” Tyndareus spit in Alcmene’s face. She nodded and grimaced at him. “I thought not.”

Iamus breathed deeply and looked around. “Where is the mage? Gods damnit, where is the mage!” He ran out of the Council room, screaming for guards. All that was left of Anselm was the rag lying on the floor.

“What a coincidence, wouldn’t you say?” Tyndareus spoke with a harsh and violent manner at Alcmene. She continued to look at him vengefully, without a word.

Outside of Mecone, a soldier wandered into camp. He had suffered an arrow wound and several broken bones and bruises. A physician came to aid immediately, telling him it would be all right. All the soldier could do was grab the man’s shoulder as he muttered “she saved me,” over and over again. It would be several days before the man recovered.

What became of Anselm is unknown. Alcmene issued an alert on the man’s last known position, saying he was dangerous and had assassinated Jarl Kjeld, but giving no relevant information on the man. Many believe he died of his substantial wounds, others believe he ran off to Port Erinyes, living among the lawless and criminals. Whatever the case, the name Anselm became known among Mecone. Many speculate that his actions were among the main reasons for which Rhadamanthys instituted harsher penalties on Seidhrmenn. When asked of Anselm, Alcmene had little to say except that he was a loyal and dutiful adviser. Many believe Alcmene held a strange concern for the criminal, though she refused to say more on the matter.

A man who only went by the name Monk wandered his way into Port Erinyes one day. He looked at the sea with a sense of calm and belonging. He had no possessions and little money, but seemed content. Someone walked up to him and asked where he was going. The monk smiled and said “Only where Odin wants me to go.” His past was a mystery, his purpose unknown, and his identity hidden. No one knew the man, and he walked about the city with a strange look on his face. Only Jarl Katja watched the man, a smile on her face as though she was looking at a long-lost friend. She didn’t bother him, but told her Huskarls to let the Monk stay where ever he wished for free.

All she said was “He is welcome.”

Epilogue: Geirulfr

His eye went wide. His back arched rigidly as the second unseen blow fell across his spine. He dropped his ancient spear, his trustworthy friend, his crutch, his purpose. Sweat and blood mixed with sobbing tears and soaked his grizzly, beard face. Svana? My love. He looked down at his chest as a gleaming blade burst from it with a faint shimmering amethyst edge. Geirulfr was dying.

Alcmene removed the sword from Geirulfr’s chest and his body collapsed. He could barely feel her hands holding his face, her could barely hear her words screaming “This isn’t what I wanted!” He wanted to laugh through his pain. Odin’s visions had come true, but not as he thought. Always, always they come true. The last thing he saw was a grand future, a new beginning for Thralls, Ymiron, and Achaeans. And his wife, dearest Svana, beckoning him to join her at a table. His vision fades.

At Geirulfr’s feet, swans look up at him and wait. His old hands hold an axe in one hand and scepter in the other, rusted and dripping in ink which falls to the red-clay earth and splashes, forming the Skarragh rock. He nods. He feels young and like he has a place. Akademos waves him over to an icy river. He smiles and drops the axe and scepter, letting them roll down the Skarragh to the sea. He is content.

Alcmene stood in front of a massive funeral pyre outside of Mecone. On it was only Geirulfr. In front of the pyre was all of House Orpheus, many from the other Houses, Delegate Laërtes, King Rhadamanthys, Henrik and many from the Thrall caste, and many of the surviving merchant and craftsmen. No one had spoken yet, for Alcmene was in command of the funeral. She ignited the pyre and let the fire slowly creep up to the top, giving her time to speak. Alcmene turned and showed everyone the tears that fell freely from her face.

“I never had a father. He let our family’s past beat him down and sap him of life. When I was born, he left, abandoning me to my mother. Since I can remember, I have resented my father for the coward he was, his weakness showing me the true face of Man. Now I understand why Hera took my father away from me. Eldjárn was my true father. Not from birth or lineage, but from spirit and strength. He embodied the fire that burns in my soul! He embodied the determination that forbids weakness and folly, that demands strength and valor, and that creates purpose and meaning! He has saved my life many times over, and it began with the finest weapon made by Man!” Alcmene raised her sword to the sky and it glittered in the firelight, glowing with an amethyst hue. She appeared to be on the verge of emotionally breaking down, but she continued to talk.

“Of the old monk, I have so many words, so much to say and thank. I wish he could hear me… I wish things had been different. But I can say this; his life was the most heroic I’ve ever seen. In the face of adversity, he never faltered; in the face of impossibility, he never backed down. Many were afraid of him. But his soul was the most… gentle I’ve ever known.” The flames had reached the pinnacle of the pyre and flashed across the grizzled monk’s body. Alcmene walked into the crowd and turned to watch the flames burn, her body shaking and her tears free. Dag Amundsen walked up with several other Skalds who carried instruments. As the fire burned for hours, so Dag sung of brother Eldjárn many accomplishments.

The story of Geirulfr before his death was shrouded with mystery and foulness. Many thought the man was a lycanthrope, a cannibal, a mad hermit, and so forth. His name in Mecone was synonymous with barbarianism and the worst kind of Ymiron. After the Goblin War and the Aegishjálmr War, the name Geirulfr took on a different tone. His name became a symbol for the relentless heroism of the classic Ymiron warrior. Many had stories of the ‘spear-wolf’ during the final night of the War, during which the old monk was a whirlwind of destruction to the enemies of Mecone. Many attribute Alcmene as the catalyst for the old man’s fervor, as she gave him a second chance to redeem himself in the fires of war, but the common man began to refer to Geirulfr as ‘the Avatar,’ though which God Gierulfr invoked changes from person to person. For some he was the Avatar of Thor, others of Tyr, the more religious said he was the Avatar of Odin, and so forth. Though goblins would not even attack for almost one hundred years, during the next goblin skirmish, warriors would invoke the name of Geirulfr, ‘bane of Goblins.’ At the end of his life, Eldjárn gained more fame and recognition than he ever had. Until her death, Alcmene kept his spear and shield above her bed, praying to the gods for his peace and repose every night, and keeping in her mind his memory every day of her life.


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