Lore of DAoC: Catacombs Midgard
The Burial Grounds of Midgard
The History of the Kobold Undercity
The Abandoned Mines of Midgard
The Underground Forest of Midgard
The History of the Valkyrie
The History of the Warlock
The Burial Grounds of Midgard
It has always been said that the beginnings of the great city of Jordheim can be attributed to the bold heroes and brave leaders that came to Midgard so long ago. These leaders were said to have put their bravery, their fierceness, and their determination - the very spirit that drove them to explore and settle a new land - into the foundation of Jordheim. The people of Midgard have always believed that the story of Jordheim's founding were told to inspire that same valiant spirit. What most of them do not realize is that the foundation of Jordheim does literally hold the spirits of the heroes and leaders of the past.
When the different races came to Midgard, they settled in different places. The Norse located an area of land near the water that seemed to provide some safety from the dangers of a new land. Food was plentiful, the area was easy to defend against strange creatures, and there were plenty of trees with which to build their homes. Once a small village had been established, the leaders and adventurers often would head out into the wild, finding new areas to conquer and inhabit. If one of these brave people happened to die while out adventuring, the Valkyries took their spirit to Valhalla, while their body was brought back to the village for a proper burial.
At first, large stone cairns were constructed for the burial of the deceased. In the process of gathering stones for the cairns, a young Norse man named Relder Autansonn made an interesting discovery. As he moved one stone away from a pile, Relder noticed that the stones were arranged in such a way that they concealed a hole. Upon his discovery, Relder fetched his father Autan and his brother Rilden. A quick inspection with a torch revealed that there was a cave beneath the rocks. With their father's permission, Relder and Rilden entered the cave and began to explore.
The brothers discovered a series of tunnels and chambers inside the cave, and immediately realized the potential of their find. Excited, they clambered back to the entrance of the cave and announced their find to the village.. No longer would they have to struggle to build the stone cairns. The cave that Relder had discovered could be used to bury the dead. The leaders of the village ordered the cave's opening enlarged, then went in to look and ended up agreeing with the brothers. Soon after, burials in the caves began.
When one of the leaders or great heroes died, a chamber within the cave system was prepared for them. A person's rank in the village determined the size and location of their burial chamber. When the founder of the village died gloriously in battle against a fierce creature that threatened the village, a magnificent chamber was prepared for him within the caverns. Normally, the dead would be placed upon a small boat and carried into their chamber to be laid to rest. But with the founder of the village, a more elaborate ceremony was necessary.
The longboat that had carried the founder, his crew, and the first round of villagers to Midgard had been preserved as a monument to their bravery for venturing into the new land. Now that the founder had journeyed on to Valhalla, the longboat would be his resting place. Because it was too large to fit through the entrance to the caverns, the massive longboat was carefully dismantled and carried piece by piece into the equally large chamber. Once all the pieces had been brought in, the longboat was carefully reassembled. When it came time for the funeral, the founder was laid upon a bier and carried from the water's edge, through the village and down into the burial chamber below. There, he was placed in the prow of his ship as a symbol of respect.
Typically, a burial chamber was sealed right after a person was laid to rest, but this time the villagers refrained from doing that. As each of the boat's original crew died, they too were placed within the massive longboat as a symbol of respect for their courage and loyalty. When the last crewmember had finally been laid to rest, the chamber was sealed to protect it from looters.
Over time, the other burial chambers were filled until there wasn't any room left. The entrance to the caverns was sealed, and a small building was placed over it to help protect the caves from grave robbers. Soon, another building joined the first, then another and another. Before long, the city of Jordheim was under construction. As generations passed, the burial grounds beneath the city were long forgotten by all but those who still dwelt beneath the surface.
The History of the Kobold Undercity
The Norse people were not the first to find or use the caverns that became their burial chambers. Nor were they the first to set foot on that particular part of land. Unbeknownst to the Norse, a race of small, blue people originally settled in the land where the Norse built their first village, as well as the great city of Jordheim. These small, blue people were called Kobolds, and this is the story that the lore-keepers tell to those that seek out the history of the Kobolds in Midgard.
The origin of the Kobolds is shrouded in mystery. Those who ask the Gothi of Ymir would hear the fantastical tale in which Odin plucked maggots from the decaying body of Ymir and transformed them into Kobolds, Dwarves, and Trolls. Those who speak to the eldest of the Valkyn will hear another tale of long before even their ancestors' ancestors lived, when the Kobolds and Trolls looked more like the primitive Morvalt. Though their past remains a mystery, one thing is known for certain. The Kobolds first appeared on the island of Aegir, around the same time as the Trolls and Dwarves.
Upon their arrival, the Kobolds, Dwarves and Trolls struggled to survive in the wild lands of Aegir. The Kobolds built homes and villages only to have them destroyed by bands of raiding Morvaltar. They moved to the safety of nearby caves and dug into the earth to make their homes as the Trolls and Dwarves did, but still the Kobolds were assailed by Morvalt attacks. Fearing the destruction of his people, the leader of the Kobolds, Hallvaror, chose to leave the land of Aegir. They bought passage to a new land called Midgard upon Troll ships in hopes of a safer existence.
After a long journey, they found themselves ashore in the new lands. These lands, now known as the Vale of Mularn, promised to offer the Kobolds just the shelter they'd been hoping to find. In their first few days in this new wild territory, the Kobolds made up crude shelters and began to gather edible plants. They hunted the creatures of the land for food and started to make plans to build a new village where they hoped to live in safety and prosperity. Alas, just as they began the construction of the village, the weather turned. A freezing wind blew out of the north, alternatively driving icy rain and snow into the cracks in their makeshift shelters. Desperate to keep safe, the Kobolds set out to search for a drier, warmer place to sit out the winter.
It was to a young Kobold named Skolmir whom the others owed their gratitude, and their lives. While returning from a fruitless search for new shelter, Skolmir became lost in a blinding snowstorm. Fearful of the fierce wind and driving snow, Skolmir clung to some rocks to seek shelter. As he crouched down deep into the snow, he noticed a dark gap between two large rocks. With half-frozen fingers, he pushed and pulled at one of the rocks until it gave way, revealing an opening in the ground.
Carefully, Skolmir lowered himself into the opening and fell a few feet to a small ledge. Sheltered from the elements, he managed to light the small torch he carried with him. As the torch glowed and his eyes adjusted to the light, Skolmir knew he'd found the solution that he'd been searching for. A small cave opened up below the ledge. With great care he climbed down to explore the cave. After a quick look around, he discovered a tunnel leading deeper beneath the earth. Cautiously, he followed the tunnel as it wound through a series of small caves. He reached what he thought to be the last cave, and was just about to turn back when he discovered yet another small opening.
Skolmir squeezed through the tiny crevice and emerge into a vast cavern. Carefully, he set out to explore the vast space, and determined that it would be large enough to hold all the Kobolds waiting frozen in the makeshift shelters on the surface. In fact, this cavern offered ample room for thousands more than the number that had traveled from Aegir. Excited by his find, he explored further, circling the stalagmites that thrust up from the floor to touch the stalactites until he came to a large placid lake. As he drank the fresh icy-cold water, he knew he had found the place where his people could shelter for the winter. With a newfound hope for the survival of his people, Skolmir hurried back to entrance near the surface and waited out the storm.
As soon as the violent weather let up, Skolmir excitedly shared his discovery with the other Kobolds, whose shelter had actually only been a few paces from the cave's entrance. The Kobolds quickly moved themselves inside of the cavern, narrowly missing the next merciless storm that blew through the land. All winter long, Hallvaror, Skolmir and the others set about making plans for the great city they would build on the land above the caves. They found food in the strange mushrooms that grew there beneath the surface, and drank of the cave's cool, plentiful water.
When spring finally arrived, Hallvaror sent Skolmir to the surface to open the way for the others. The plans to build their city were complete, and all were anxious to get started. Skolmir rushed to push away the stone that hid the entrance, but stopped himself as he heard voices coming from outside. He waited to emerge from his hiding place until the voices faded. Then, crouching low amongst the rocks, Skolmir studied the strangers. Disheartened by these new arrivals, he returned to Hallvaror and the others waiting in the safety of the cave.
All the Kobolds listened intently as Skolmir told of the strangers above. He described them to be much taller than they, with pale skin rather than the blue. Their hair came in shades of yellow, white, brown, or black, and they spoke in a strange language. He explained that these new men showed him no aggression toward him as he watched them, but Hallvaror was still worried. After the experiences with the Morvaltar, he was not about to place his people in danger again.
Hallvaror quickly organized two groups. One was sent to the surface to watch for the tall, pale strangers. The other was sent tunnels adjoining the vast cavern in order to dig new tunnels to the surface. As soon as these new tunnels were complete and disguised from prying eyes, Hallvaror had the main entrance to the cavern blocked. He ordered his people to only venture to the surface when necessary, for their own safety.
For many years, the Kobolds lived underground in peace. The stalactites and stalagmites throughout the great cavern offered a unique foundation for their homes, shops, and meeting-places. The Undercity thrived, but not all the Kobolds were content to stay underground. Hallvaror reluctantly agreed to let them leave the Undercity, but he made them swear an oath that they would keep the city's location secret. When they came to the surface, Kobolds discovered that while they had been underground, the Dwarves built their settlements on the surface, and the Trolls had expanded their villages. Already friends of the Kobolds, these two groups helped them to extend their friendship to the tall people, who called themselves the Norse.
After a short while exploring the surface, the small group of kobolds returned to the Undercity to describe this new friendship to the others. When they heard of the lands above, they too wanted to leave. They appealed to Hallvaror, who knew he could not force them to stay. Instead, he warned that he would be sealing all but a few of the entrances to the Undercity. His utmost concern was for his people, and so he would do his best to guard the location from possible invasion by the other races. All seemed pleased with this decision except for a small group of Kobolds.
Led by a female kobold named Astrior, they pleaded with Hallvaror not to let the others go to the surface. Many of them had lost loved ones to the devastating attacks of the Morvaltar, and had little trust for outsiders. They feared that sealing the tunnels would not be enough. Worried that the Kobolds who left for the surface would reveal the location of the Undercity, they took their belongings and left. They journeyed deeper into the earth, down a rarely used tunnel, and began to build their new home, which they called Nyttheim.
Over the years, as Hallvaror and Skolmir grew old and died and line of their descendents ruled over the Undercity. Statues honoring Hallvaror and Skolmir were erected. Skolmir's statue was built at the entrance of the Undercity, a tribute to his discovery of their home in the great cavern. In the main part of the city, a statue to Hallvaror was erected in honor of his skilled leadership and brave decisions to keep them safe. The two main groups of Kobolds, those in the Undercity and those on the surface, maintained contact with each other for a long time after. Over time, though, the Undercity Kobolds became increasingly busier dealing with matters in their own city, and the contact between the two groups faded. Every now and then a group from the Undercity would travel to the surface to join the others, or those on the surface would return to the city.
The residents of Nyttheim also continued to maintain contact with the Undercity Kobolds. An outpost was built just outside of Nyttheim, for ease of traveling between there and the Undercity. Rarely, though, did they hear from each other. Eventually, those who fled into the depths of the earth faded from the memory of all other Kobolds.
The Abandoned Mines of Midgard
When Hallvaror and his people began the Undercity, they needed supplies to help them with construction. Hallvaror discovered a small opening in one wall of the cave. Once the opening had been enlarged enough for a Kobold to enter, Hallvaror went in and discovered a rich amount of ore and gemstones. Hallvaror knew that the ore would be useful in building the city, and both the ore and the gemstones could be used when the Kobolds needed to trade with the Dwarves, Trolls, and even the Norse. Soon tunnels were being dug through the earth to harvest the riches and the Kobolds celebrated.
Hallvaror would only let the Kobolds that dwelt within the Undercity mine the ore and gemstones found throughout the tunnels. But the Kobolds that lived on the lands above would not be denied their share of the riches within the mines. They dug their own entrances to the mines from other caves they found scattered through the land. Hallvaror was not pleased when he discovered what the other Kobolds were doing but he soon realized he was being greedy. He agreed to let the above-ground Kobolds take ore and gems from the mines also. A main entrance to the mines was built to allow the above-ground Kobolds to have easier access, and tracks were built to transport all Kobolds to the riches below.
Over the years, as Hallvaror grew old, the Kobolds continued to expand their mines, digging farther from the Undercity and deeper into the earth. What the Kobolds did not know was that the ground under the mines was not the most stable, and the active digging of the Kobolds was weakening that ground. Although the Kobolds would shore up the tunnels to prevent cave-ins, the weakened earth would shake from time to time and tunnels would collapse, trapping or killing a few Kobolds but still they continued to work the mine. It wasn't until a very strong earthquake caused one of the main tunnels to collapse that ancient Hallvaror ordered the mine closed. All work in the mine was abandoned and the entrances boarded up to protect all from the dangers of the mine.
It was with great trepidation that the current leader of the Kobold city, Hallvaror's descendant Odagi, ordered the mine entrance from the Kobold city reopened. Stone was needed to build the wall to protect the city from the evil forces poised to attack. Even now the stone is being carefully harvested from the mines to repair the wall from the brutal attacks of the hordes that roam the Frontlines.
Long ago, when Hallvaror decided to allow the Kobolds to go to the surface and live with the other races of Midgard, it made a group of Kobolds very nervous. Although those who went above ground had promised to keep knowledge of the city secret, this group, lead by a female Kobold named Astrior, still feared that those from above would invade their underground home Astrior pleaded with Hallvaror, begging him not to allow the others to venture above ground, but Hallvaror had made his decision and would not change his mind. Hallvaror's decision angered Astrior and the others, all of whom had lost someone in the attacks by the Morvaltar so many years ago. They did not want to stay in a place they considered unsafe, so the decision was made to leave the Kobold city and venture out on their own - not above ground, but further into the depths of the earth.
Long before, when the kobolds had begun construction on the Undercity, they discovered a tunnel leading to another, much larger cavern beneath the one where the city was being built. Busy with construction, Hallvaror did not send anyone down to thoroughly explore it. This is where Astrior and her followers began to search for a place to live. Deep within this expansive cavern they found a passageway that led to a smaller chamber. Although this chamber was not as big as the Undercity, it would suffice.
Astrior and her people began the arduous task of building a new cityin this chamber. Hallvaror offered both supplies and people to help, but Astrior and her people refused; they wanted nothing more to do with Hallvaror's people. When the new city was done, Hallvaror attempted to maintain contact with Astrior and her people. He even set up an outpost near the entrance to this new city, called Nyttheim by its residents, but his attempts were met with a cold politeness. While they were not forbidden from entering Nyttheim, Hallvaror's people were never made to feel welcome. Only those who agreed to give up their ties to the Undercity were welcomed into Nyttheim. Surprisingly, over the first few years, quite a few Kobolds did move there. Over the years though, the people of the Undercity became busier and busier and contact between the two groups was lost and the outpost abandoned. Eventually, Astrior and the others said disappeared into the dark solitude of their new home.
While Hallvaror and his people continued their lives in the city above, Astrior and her people explored the areas beyond Nyttheim. Often led by Astrior's daughter, Kolfinna, groups of Kobolds discovered a vast underground forest in the cavern beyond their city. As Kolfinna and the others explored the underground forest, they discovered they were not alone there. Other races had also come to explore the forest. The most important and ultimately devastating discovery, though, was the cave that lay beyond the forest. The cave was a focus of power for an ancient evil of Midgard, which was just waiting for the opportune moment to break free of its prison and unleash its chaos. No one at the time, not even the ever-vigilant Astrior, realized just how dangerous the evil spirit really was.
The evil spirit, that of a long dead woman named Gullveig, managed to take control of Kolfinna. One by one, over the course of many generations, Gullveig ensnared the Kobolds of the new city, Nyttheim. As each one was lured under Gullveig's control, her power increased. Her evil flowed out of the cave and into the grotto of trees. That is when Valda, a descendant of Astrior and Kolfinna, finally sensed the encroaching evil. In a desperate attempt to save her people, Valda pulled them all back to the very edge of the city. For a long time, the strongest Kobolds were able to hold out against Gullveig's power, but eventually, they too fell under her thrall.
With the Kobolds now in her complete control, Gullveig's power was strong enough that she could send out a call across land and time to summon even more creatures to her. The creatures filled the grotto of underground trees, and eventually spread out into the vast cavern between the two Kobold cities. With each creature that answered her call, Gullveig became more powerful.
Now her power has reached its full capacity, and Gullveig has set her sights on the Kobold Undercity, for it alone lies between her own forces and all of Midgard.
The Underground Forest of Midgard
When Astrior and her people had settled themselves in their new cavernous home, they began to explore. The first place they explored was a vast cavern that was linked to their cavern. When the first group of Kobolds, led by Astrior's daughter Kolfinna, exited the tunnel that connected the two caverns, they came to a sudden stop, for the path ended before them. As they peered down over the edge, all they could see was a faint glow beneath them. Determined to investigate the glow, the Kobolds searched for a way down to the bottom of the cavern.
With some careful searching, Kolfinna found a ledge that led downward, following the curve of the cavern. Slowly the Kobolds followed the ledge down to the cavern's floor. As they reached the cavern's floor, they were amazed by what they saw before them. The glow they had seen from the cavern's entrance was slightly brighter here, allowing the Kobolds to see that they stood on the edge of a vast underground forest. But it was a strange forest, filled with what looked like trees, although no Kobold had ever seen trees like these before.
The trunks of these trees varied in color from white to a very pale yellow, and were spotted with a black slimy substance. The tops of the trees were not filled with leaves but were capped with a curved structure, like that of a mushroom top. These caps varied greatly in color from more whites and pale yellows to bright oranges, reds and yellows. At the base of each tree was a small mass of twisted roots that disappeared beneath the floor of the cave. The floor itself was littered with rocks, dirt, and pale curving, intertwined roots. After a quick investigation by Kolfinna, she determined that the glow that surrounded the Kobolds came from the trunks of the trees themselves. Fascinated, the Kobolds continued their exploration through the forest.
Things seemed to be going well for the Kobolds. They hadn't encountered a single creature or person as they wandered through the forest. Then, without warning, the Kobolds stumbled across a group of people like none they had ever seen. These people, who conversed with each other in a rapid language, had golden-orange skin that was patterned with red swirls. From their heads, ears, and wrists, spiky horns grew. The Kobolds were frightened by these strange people and launched a few arrows at them. The Kobolds hoped the arrows would scare away the strangers, but when they didn't, the Kobolds turned and fled into the forest for fear of their lives.
As the Kolfinna led the Kobolds through the forest, they received another shock. As Kolfinna and the others crashed through the forest into a clearing, they came to a sudden halt at the sight of another group of strangers. Unlike the first group, these strangers were very different from the first. They were about the same size as the Kobolds, but their skin was white tinged with a pale-bluish color. Their eyes were huge, as if made for seeing in the dark, and their faces were very angular. Again the Kobolds launched a few arrows at the pale strangers then fled into the forest again. They thankfully did not encounter anyone else in their flight back to Nyttheim.
Once back in Nyttheim, Kolfinna and the others made their report to Astrior. They told her of the orange skinned people, who turned out to be called the Shar, and the pale people, called the Inconnu. Although Astrior wished to close off the forest entrance, Kolfinna persuaded her not to. She encouraged her mother to post guards at the entrance, but allow her and the others to continue their exploration. Kolfinna believed that if the other races were out in the forest, there must be something out there, and she was determined to find it before they did. And find it she did in spite of the fights that broke out when the Kobolds encountered both the Shar and the Inconnu.
The first thing Kolfinna found was a hidden tunnel that led upwards. As Kolfinna followed the tunnel, it spiraled up and up through the ground. As she continued upwards, the air in the tunnel grew chill with cold. Finally Kolfinna reached the end of the tunnel. After having a few of her group help in clearing the entrance, Kolfinna and the others emerged onto a high mountain top. Kolfinna knew she had discovered a way for the Kobolds to enjoy fresh air and sunshine without having to interact with the other people of Midgard. Astrior was pleased with Kolfinna's discovered and arranged for guard patrols to escort Kobolds to the secret entrance. But the mountain top, named Freya's Brow by the Kobolds, was not the only place Kolfinna was to find. Her next discovery turned out to be the most important and the most tragic for the Kobolds.
As Kolfinna and some other Kobolds were out exploring, they happened across the entrance to a mysterious cave. Kolfinna and the others decided to investigate the cave. Everything seemed normal as they explored until Kolfinna approached the far corner of the cave. It was then that a wave of fear and evil unlike anything else passed through the Kobolds and out into the room. The Kobolds with the exception of Kolfinna were frozen in fear. One of them managed to find his voice to call out to Kolfinna but she ignored him and continued moving towards the corner. Just then another wave of evil and fear washed across the room and this time it even stopped Kolfinna. Shaking as if she was just waking from a bad dream, Kolfinna turned and ordered her group out of the cave. As they began to run from the cave, they caught sight of a group of Shar fleeing before them even as the Kobolds nearly tripped over a group of Inconnu that were also in the cave. Not caring that she had been seen by the enemy, Kolfinna led her group back to Nyttheim.
Back in Nyttheim, Kolfinna told her mother of their experience in the cave. Astrior listened with skepticism to Kolfinna's tale, but allowed her daughter to take her to the cave. As she neared the corner, she realized that her daughter was telling the truth. She could feel the malevolent force emanating from the area. She ordered all Kobolds to avoid that area until both the source of the evil and a way to stop it could be found. As time passed, Astrior became busy with the daily routines of ruling Nyttheim and forgot about the cave, although Kolfinna hadn't. From time to time she would remind her mother only to be told that it wasn't such a big problem. Later when Kolfinna ruled Nyttheim, she too became distracted and did nothing about the evil presence in the cave.
If Astrior and later Kolfinna had taken the time to search for a way to deal with the evil, perhaps it would not have escalated the way it did, nor become such a threat to the Kobolds of both Nyttheim and the Undercity. What no one realized was that the wave of evil was Gullveig's way of scanning the minds of those in the cave for information she could use. When Gullveig scanned the mines of Kolfinna and the others, she found a way to draw upon their energy to strengthen her power while slowly draining them of their free will. Through her connection with Kolfinna and the others, Gullveig's evil was able to spread from the cave and into the forest and the mountain top beyond and ultimately into Nyttheim where she now controls a good portion of the Kobolds.
Many generations have passed from the time the group of separatist Kobolds went deep down into the earth to create their own city. When Odagi took over as leader of the Undercity, he found notes his ancestors had left regarding this lost group of Kobolds and the city that they called Nyttheim. Intrigued, Odagi sent a group of Kobolds down into the caves below the Undercity to see if these lost Kobolds still survived. Armed with torches and supplies, the Kobolds went down into the cavern beneath theirs.
The group slowly began to explore the large, dark cavern. The few signs of habitation the group found were old and crumbling with age. It became obvious to the explorers that no one had been in the cavern since Hallvaror's time. But the Kobolds did not give up hope of finding the lost ones, for they were a feisty race and would not easily give up. The group continued to search the cave, but all they found were stalactites, stalagmites, and puddles of water that dripped down from above. In the far corner of the cavern, the Kobolds found an old outpost left over from generations past when contact was still being maintained between the Undercity and Nyttheim. Tired from exploring the cavern, they group decided to rest before entering the city below.
While they were resting, they heard strange noises coming from the direction of the entrance to Nyttheim. Carefully they peered out from their hiding places to see strange creatures emerging from the old city. The creatures were like none the Kobolds had ever seen before but immediately the Kobolds realized these creatures were dangerous. But most shocking of all was the haunted, possessed looking Kobold leading the creatures. They strained to listen as this Kobold told the creatures that the army in Nyttheim was almost ready to advance upon the unsuspecting upper city and that patrols must be increased to make sure the people of the Undercity suspected nothing. The strange Kobold sent the creatures off in pairs then returned to Nyttheim. All was silent as the hidden Kobolds processed everything they had seen and heard.
Knowing that Odagi must hear of this, two of the Kobolds left the safety of the outpost and their friends to begin the long trek back to the Undercity. They were forced to pick their way carefully through the treacherous footing to avoid the roaming patrols of creatures. Finally, they arrived safely at the city and delivered the warning message to Odagi.
Immediately, Odagi flew into action. He gathered up brave volunteers to return to the outpost, armed with weapons and supplies for building a safe wall around the outpost, for it was essential to keep track of what the strange Kobolds of Nyttheim were up to. He also empowered them with the ability to set up a fast way to travel to and from the outpost. Once the guards were on their way, Odagi ordered a huge wall to be built to protect the city. It was to be built quickly, before the creatures in the deep would learn of its existence, and all Kobolds were to aid in its building. When it was pointed out that the Kobolds had no suitable supplies for building this wall, Odagi ordered the old abandoned mines to be opened and rock to be quarried from there. Work quickly began on the wall.
As the last stone of the wall was set into place, a messenger arrived from the outpost announcing that the first wave of creatures had left the old city to attack the new. Guards were stationed on the walls and when the creatures finished the long march across the cavern, they engaged them in a fierce battle. The guards were able to drive back the creatures this time, but the creatures would not give up so easily. Odagi decided not to wait until the creatures attacked again, but sent bands of guards out into the wild cavern to engage the creatures there. Using the newly fortified outpost as a staging point, guards even tried to enter the possessed Kobold city, although often their attempts were unsuccessful and in response the attacks by the creatures became fiercer.
Odagi realized that his people were losing the battle. It was becoming harder and harder to defend the wall, and he was losing more Kobolds in skirmishes with the creatures. He was being forced to do the one thing he did not want to reveal the location of the city of the Kobolds, but he knew it had to be done if any of his people were to survive the brutal attacks by these creatures and his former brothers and sisters.
The History of the Valkyrie
The Order of the Valkyries was founded by two orphaned twin sisters named Sigrun and Brynhild, who, since childhood, have claimed to be able to hear the voices of the honored dead speaking to them from Valhalla. The identities of the girls' parents remain a mystery; what is known is that they were found as infants, wrapped in blankets of gold and white, on a muddy plain where warriors from Midgard had thwarted an attack by a large Hibernian force the day before. As the surviving Midgard troops set about gathering up their dead, a soldier named Halker stumbled across the girls, inexplicably unharmed and in seemingly perfect health.
Halker, a Warrior and devout follower of Odin, had earned great honor during the battle. When he was summoned to Jordheim to be decorated, he took with him the baby girls, who he had named Sigrun and Brynhild after two of Odin's legendary Valkyries. In his eyes, his miraculous discovery of the infants was surely be the will of Odin, whom he would honor by raising the children to the best of his ability. Following the ceremony, Halker was granted property and wealth. He retired from active service in the army to serve as a trainer to other Warriors, and to devote himself to his newfound role as a father.
As the girls grew older, they displayed a voracious interest in the martial disciplines. Even Halker, who had known a great many warriors of considerable skill, was impressed by their natural athleticism and strength. When the girls began to speak of the voices they could hear of those long dead, Halker did not doubt them. It little surprised him, then, when the twins also began to demonstrate considerable magical aptitudes. With their combination of prowess in battle and the powerful magic they could wield, the girls were seldom defeated in their training matches.
One night, Halker was awakened by loud screaming. Leaping from his bed, he ran to the girls to find them both in tears. The flaxen-haired twins both claimed that the honored warriors of Valhalla had called out to them in their dreams and showed them a vision of their land in ruins, conquered by an evil force that would rise up from the depths of the Earth. A time would soon come, the spirits said, that the girls would be called upon to gather a special troupe of female warriors and lead their realm in battle against this mysterious new threat. Embracing his beloved daughters, Halker swore to help in whatever way he could.
The very next day, the three set out on a journey to travel the length and breadth of the realm. At each village, Halker, Sigrun, and Brynhild gathered the most able-bodied women and told them that any who wished to serve their realm in the field of battle should await the impending summons. The most capable among these, the three bade travel with them. By the time the company returned to Jordheim, their numbers had swelled to more than thirty.
Under the leadership of Halker, Sigrun and Brynhild, the young women who had come to Jordheim were drilled and trained night and day, and sworn to the service of Odin. Months passed and the recruits matured into formidable warriors. The twins informed each of the trainees that they would in turn be asked to go forth and train others when the time came.
Less than a week later, a delegation of Kobolds dressed in strange clothes appeared in the city streets, asking for an audience with the leaders of the realm. That evening, the twin girls awoke from a dream at exactly the same time. Waking their pupils, they told them to pack lightly, and gave each a destination to which she should travel as swiftly as possible. In this new dream, Odin himself had spoken to the girls. Deep beneath the earth, he had warned in a thundering voice, a terrible force was marching relentlessly toward the surface, the domination of all Midgard fixed in its mind. Odin's faithful Warriors would need aid in the coming struggle, and the time had come to put out the call and build the sacred Order of the Valkyries. Together, these servants of the mightiest of the Gods would lead the defense of the realm and bring hope in the coming struggle.
The History of the Warlock
Long ago, after the first Norsemen arrived in the land of Midgard, a young man named Relder Autanson discovered a series of caves running beneath the land of his peoples' village. These caves were deemed an ideal location to bury the dead, and so the villagers would carry those who had passed on below the Earth, that they might spend their final rest in peace.
Among the villagers of this earliest Norse settlement in Midgard was a young mystic named Aurana. Though barely out of her childhood, Aurana was keen of mind, magically adept, and deeply religious. When she first beheld the great caverns, she was awestruck. She knew that this must be the Underworld, and that the goddess Hel would not likely be pleased with the intrusion. Secretly, Aurana began to pray each night to ask for Hel's forgiveness and protection. In return, Aurana promised to build a sect to worship the goddess.
As the years passed, Aurana made good on her promise. Calling themselves the Daughters of Hel, Aurana's cult was made up of twenty women, and all served their goddess in complete secrecy. Each daughter born to one of the cult's members was in turn indoctrinated, so that their numbers might grow with each generation.
Led by Aurana, the Daughters prayed to Hel to grant them power. As if in answer, many of the women soon began to manifest unusual magical abilities. Able to manipulate the mystical energies in ways never seen before, the Daughters of Hel knew they must keep the nature of their unique abilities to themselves. Worship of Hel was largely unheard of, and the notion frowned upon. Aurana did not want to make enemies while the sect was still so small, but she hoped that one day, her members would stand forth and command respect among her people. Sadly, she would not live to see that day.
Late in her life, Aurana wished to grant one last boon to her fellow worshippers. Approaching the leaders of the village, she revealed the existence of her sect and asked for permission to build a temple to Hel. This, she explained, would allow her members to worship openly without the need for secrecy. Sadly, the village leaders knew that their people would never accept the presence of the temple. In response, they not only refused the request, but exiled the Daughters from the village. With a broken heart, Aurana commanded her faithful sisters in the sect to leave their homes, never to return. The women, not wishing for their bloodlines or religion to die out, took their children with them and departed under cover of darkness.
The cult took shelter in the only place that now seemed hospitable to them under the ground. There, where they could be closer to their goddess, they persisted, if not thrived, for generations. The male children who demonstrated magical talents were raised to become Warlocks, while the females were called Hexa. So it was that the worshippers of Hel lived, out of sight and memory, for many years.
One evening during a gathering, the members of the sect, now numbering in the hundreds, were shocked when a strange, short, blue-skinned humanoid clamored into their cave, grievously wounded and not far from death. This creature they nursed back to health, and when he could again speak, he introduced himself as a Kobold hailing from a great city under the earth where many of his people dwelt. These people were fighting a war with an unknown evil force that had launched an attack upon them from the depths of the Earth. His regiment had been scattered during a battle with the enemy forces, and he had become lost. When Fyndel, the leader of the sect, pressed him for more information, the stranger admitted that the situation had become desperate, and all of Midgard would soon be under attack if his people failed to hold back the enemy forces.
Fyndel, grasping fully the seriousness of the situation, made a fateful decision. Her people could not safely dwell in their hidden caves any longer. She knew that any threat that could destroy the realm would eventually find them. She must lead her people out of the darkness and make their presence known. If she offered to assist these strange underground dwellers and help to protect their city, she reasoned, perhaps they in turn would help her people to return to the surface and live their lives peacefully among the races of Midgard without fear of persecution.
Soon thereafter, Fyndel met with Odagi and agreed to pledge her members to assist the embattled Kobold leader if he would support her bid to have the ancient order of exile retracted. Odagi and Fyndel then met with the ruling council of Midgard and Fyndel was delighted to discover that long ago, another sect of Hel worshippers, the Spiritmasters, had been embraced by the peoples of Midgard. With the aid of Odagi and the realm's foremost Spiritmasters, Fyndel was finally able to secure a guarantee of sanctuary for her people. In exchange, Fyndel promised to send forth trainers that would instruct the magically-inclined denizens of the realm in the unique manner of magic the cult had developed. With the cult's Hexa and Warlocks aiding the forces of Midgard, Fyndel explained, victory would be assured, and the old rift between her people and the heirs to those who banished them would be healed.