Bellerius and the Demon Sword. Somewhere in the time before time, there lived a warrior named Bellerius. Brave was he, and a hero among the people of the village of Carahai, near the borders of the Isthmus of Doom. Now it came to be that the village was the target of evil ice creatures from the north, who demanded the sacrifice of a young maiden each full moon. Many a warrior had tried to fight the ice creatures. Tried and failed.
It happened that during one particular fell winter that Bellerius' true love, a fetching beauty known as Alaahna, was chosen to be the new moon bride, as was called the sacrifice to put a sweeter name on a bitter prospect. One might imagine that Bellerius was less than enthusiastic with the notion of giving his true love to the Kalta'hnk that came down from the north with the winter winds, but you would be wrong, only in so much that annoyed barely began to describe his ire.
It was five days before the full moon, when the Kalta'hnk would come a calling for Alaahna, and Bellerius set out to meet them. Strong as a paxen was he, with a heart of a caracal, he met them on a frozen lake. Tall were they, like trees on legs, towering above him and full of disdain for the mortal man.
"Who are you that dares stand in our way? We are coming for our tribute!"
"I am Bellerius! It is I who claim right over the woman that you seek as tribute!"
"Begone Bellerius, before our generosity wanes and we demand more from you than a single offering."
Bellerius was not about to be deterred. Taking his spear, he hurled it at the giants. The spear flew true and fast, faster than the Snow Falcon in a dive. It hit the lead giant in the chest, and a thunderous roar shook the world. Ice burst from the creature, but when all was said and done, the Kalta'hnk was unharmed and laughed at the hero.
With grim determination, and nerves of stone, Bellerius pulled forth his great mace and moved forward. He lept and swung. The great mace sang as it whistled through the frosty air until it found its mark. The gods themselves stopped what they were doing and looked down on the world and the noise that came from the attack of Bellerius. But noise was all there was, and the giant was unharmed.
With a sweep of its massive arm that bowled over nearby trees and caused a great wind to rush forward like a blizzard across the land, the Kalta'hnk swatted Bellerius aside like a bear swats at the flies around its face. Bellerius tried to dodge, but the creature was too fast, too cunning, and the hero was caught by the frozen hand. As man has dreamt of flight, Bellerius flew that day. High in the sky, over hill and valley, above the trees and beasts below, did Bellerius fly. For two days he did not touch the ground, making friends with the injera and drinking rain from the clouds.
On the third day, Bellerius did land, and he rolled for five strals. When he stood on his feet, he found that snow and ice no longer crunched beneath his feet. No longer did breath form clouds before his face. No longer did his eyes behold the white of snow, the green of trees or the blue of grass. The ground around him was bare, was sterile, was death itself. He stepped forward and steam rose from a hole in the world, followed by a spray taller than the tallest trees of water so hot that should tea be made from it, it could not be drank for one week. Standing there, surrounded by the striped hills, amongst the gods footstools, he was at a loss, and he began to wail aloud, callling for vengeance against the giants that threatened his love and the gods who did nothing to help.
A cry then issued forth from the ground, a cry so loud that Bellerius stopped his wailing and covered his ears until it stopped. Once the air was still, once the cry had gone, there was a silence louder than the trumpet of the thunderfoot. The world began to shake, and a rift opened up before Bellerius, a rift so long and deep that it appeared the world had split in two and the Void had rushed in to fill its place.
But Void it was not, for fire had filled the gap, fire that flowed and melted the rock at the hero's feet. Fire that boiled, fire that bubbled, fire that splashed and licked at the world around it, wanting to consume it all. But the fire was not alive, but life came from the fire, came in the form of a creature so foul that Bellerius stepped back and his heart beat in a way it had never done so before, it beat with fright. Skin the colour of glowing embers, eyes like the blackness of the midnight sky, fangs the colour of the injera, the creature rose from the fiery depths. It cast its deathly gaze upon the man who stood before it and saw that he was afraid.
"Who dares wake me from my slumber?"
"It is I, Bellerius of the Antislar."
"Bellerius of the Antislar, why do you wake me? Do you not know who I am? I am Gragach'or, Lord of the Molten Earth, master of the Kura'thun, the denizens of the fiery pools."
"I did not mean to wake you, oh great and powerful Gragach'or. I was sent here in my battle with the ice giants from the north who I wish to destroy to protect my people!"
The creature was moved, the creature was angered, the creature was loud, as its great maw opened to show its dagger like teeth, long as Bellerius' forearm, as it howled its rage into the air.
"Bellerius of the Antislar, I too share your hatred of the ice giants of the north. Long have they tried to destroy the Kura'thun. Long have we battled them and their deathly cold."
"Then, Lord Gragach'or, we Antislar have a saying; "Our hatred mingles like the seed of our fathers and makes us brothers in the battle to come.' Therefore, you are my brother and I will fight your battles with you."
"Very well, my brother of the Antislar, I shall bestow upon you a gift befitting a brother of mine."
The fiery lord Gragach'or then reached beneath the liquid rock and pulled forth a blade as long as Bellerius was tall, a blade so fine that the gods themselves could have forged no better, a sword so beautiful that the injera would cry, should it ever be destroyed.
"Take this, my brother, take this and destroy our foe. This is the Sword of Fiery Doom. Use this against our foes and you shall prevail. Whisper to it my name before you strike your first blow, and you shall see the power of the sword, and the true gift I give to you."
Bellerius took the sword that was a tall as he, the blade so fine the gods would covet, and the sword that would bring tears to the injera's eyes, and he strode forward. For two days he marched until he found the ice giants. The Kalta'hnk were gathered 'round the maiden, preparing to devour the one true love of Bellerius, his Alaahna. At the same time the creatures saw Bellerius and they did laugh.
"Insignificant mortal, do you not fear me yet? Do you not know the power that we possess? Do you not know that you shall perish if you strike me again?"
"I do not fear you, foul creature of ice! For I have power beyond that of you. And it is you that shall perish under the hatred of my steel."
The hero then held the sword before him, and passed his lips sprang the word, the whisper, the power of the name Gragach'or! At once the sword became a beacon of power, a shining strength that burned with the fires of Doom and the hatred of Bellerius for the creatures before him. He struck, the sword hitting the leader of the ice giants. A scream, a howl, a desecration of the stillness of the frozen air burst forth from the creature as sword bit into ice, gnawed at the frozen heart of the monster, chewed through the soul of the giant. Where once a single ice creature did stand, now two halves lay melting in the snow.
There was a pause, a hesitation, a stoppage of the world as the ice giants regarded their fallen brother. "Impossible!" cried one, "Unbelievable" shouted a second, "Inconceivable!" moaned a third. As one, they attacked. But, Bellerius was ready, and the flaming sword arced and sang through the air, delivering justice and death where it struck. One, then two, then three of the creatures fell, becoming puddles of evil on the frozen snow of the ground, until no creature stood. At once the sword gave up its fiery power, becoming a sword of man once more, and Bellerius was able to save his one true love, his Alaahna.
In the coming years, Bellerius would meet the creatures as they came for their tribute each full moon. Each time he would bring the sword, and whisper the name of Gragach'or. Each time he would dispatch the evil, the ice giants, the Kalta'hnk. And Bellerius passed on his sword to his children from Alaahna, and to each of his children he passed the gift of Gragach'or. And he passed on the brotherhood, the ally of the Isthmus of Doom, and the Lord of the Molten Earth, master of the Kura'thun, the denizens of the fiery pools.
And to the children of Bellerius, Gragach'or gifted the Sword of Fire, the Blade of Flames, and the Steel of Doom.