111. Adam and the Gathering
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Dun dun dun.


 

They dropped down from the Frostbridge, landing in the heavy snow. Prince Aksak and the others were ready to face the wrath of the storm, but there was no whipping wind or a heavy snowstorm, just a serene whiteness all around them.

“It seems the Winter Mother is ignoring us,” Aksak said, glancing all around them. The others looked to the Prince and then followed him and his guards.

Adam followed after, but stopped as he felt a pair of eyes glare into his back. The blue eyes which he hadn’t felt in so long. He turned back, his eyes whipping from one side to the next, before his eyes caught sight of a familiar form.

Standing right behind him, wearing her heavy white furs, was a tiny little girl. Freya stared up at him, her piercing blue eyes looking through him.

“Freya?” Adam called out.

The giants had stopped, noticing that the dragon and the half-elf hadn’t been following. Aksak spotted the girl, and then nodded to her. Freya then trekked forward, following the group.

Adam had asked Aksak for his word that Freya would be safe in the city. It seemed that the fates had other plans for Freya, and so he couldn’t complain. Freya remained near Entalia, who reached down to ruffle the girl’s hair. Freya didn’t respond, though her eyes did narrow.

They continue along the way until they came across a small village of giants. They greeted their Prince first, offering them various beasts to ride. The giants noted Adam, Entalia, and then the Winterdotr.

“The Gathering of Frost has some guests,” one said.

“The winds are changing.”

“We should prepare.”

The villagers saw the group off, letting them ride off in peace. Adam shared one of the trihorns with Entali and Freya. He sat behind Entalia, who held his arm gently. Adam could feel her satisfaction.

“Is everything okay?” Adam asked, his curiosity getting the best of him. “It’s not like you to be so quiet.”

“I’m fine,” she replied. “Are you worried.”

“Yes, obviously.”

“Did you miss me that much?”

“I was worried that something bad had happened.”

“There was a minor issue, but I dealt with it.”

Adam didn’t pry any further into the situation. If Entalia said she had handled it, then he’d have to trust her.

They continued to travel on their beasts, though Adam noted there were a number of runes which often glowed, and the landscape around them blurred. The beasts weren’t moving too quickly, but it seemed with each step they took, the beasts moved them further than expected.

Aksak dismounted, and the others followed suit. The Prince cut into his hand and placed his bloody palm against the ground. Runes began to light up all around them before the scenery around them shifted all around. It was then that the area revealed its true form, a large clearing with dozens of building all around the perimeter. There were nine buildings in each group and a large gap between the various groups. There were at least fifty different groupings.

Many clans had already arrived, and not just giants. There were a group of humanoids donned all in white, though were around Adam’s height. There were also creatures which looked to be drakken, humanoid dragons who were slightly taller than the average human. He spotted a few dwarves as well, each with icy beards.

Aksak led the group to their own buildings, which were massive. Each could easily house ten giants comfortably, and the three slightly larger buildings could easily hold double or triple.

Aksak and his guard took the building in the centre, slightly raised in comparison to the others, and the Chiefs took the longer buildings to either side. Then there were the smaller buildings, each which Adam could help himself to. If he wanted to, he could have his own building, and Entalia her own, and Freya could pick one too. However, Entalia stayed with him, and Freya with her.

Adam entered a building, looking all around. The area was massive, with wooden blocks all around. The blocks could be fitted together to form various furnitures, like beds and seats, and there was even a large counter which could be placed on top to form a table.

Adam walked around back to find that there was a small garden, and though he was sure they were made out of stone, one could easily look beyond it, able to see the other buildings as well as the sky.

He returned inside to put his items away. The Gathering of Frost would take some time, and he wasn’t in a rush to explore.

Entalia had finally removed her helmet, and she turned to face Adam. He stopped, staring up at her face. “Entalia!”

“Don’t worry,” she said, smiling down at him. Across her face was a large scar, four cuts which went from her left eye down to the side of her neck. “Doesn’t it look amazing?”

“What happened?”

“My brother and I had a small disagreement,” she said. “I managed to convince him to leave, but it cost me some trivial things.”

Adam’s mouth was agape. “Your brother did this?” His brow twitched and he clenched his fists together. “What kind of brother would scar his sister’s face?”

“I think it’s rugged,” she said. “I don’t mind it.”

Adam clenched his fists together tighter, his knuckles turning white. “I’ll be sure to talk with your brother thoroughly.”

Entalia smiled her smile and then reached up to ruffle his hair. “Once you’re a little stronger,” she said.

Adam frowned. If someone could scar Entalia like this, what could he do? Was he strong enough to handle her older brother?

There was a knock at the door. “We must take our seats.” Aksak’s voice called.

Adam was pretty tired after the long trek through the Frostbridge, but he followed Aksak out. Freya remained right behind him with Entalia. The other giants all stared at the last few figures, Aksak and his cohorts.

The Prince led everyone to a row of seats, though he did not sit down, and he looked at Adam. He was about to say something when Freya walked off. Everyone remained silent, their eyes falling onto the Winterdotr. She walked through the centre of the area, the various clans watching her as she walked towards the other end, sitting down at an empty seat. There were only five seats where she was, in comparison to all the seats the other clans had.

Adam glanced around to see the expressions of the various people all around, noting they were all glaring at the little girl.

“She is safe,” Aksak assured Adam.

“Should I sit with her?”

“No,” he said. “She has not picked you to represent her clan.” Aksak then stepped forward, motioning to Adam to follow him out. They trekked through the snow to stand in the centre. It was like a football stadium, and Adam wondered how he’d be able to shout for them all to listen.

“I will declare the start of the Gathering of Frost.” Aksak’s voice was carried away by the wind, which carried it to everyone present. “I have come to state a danger has come invaded the north. On the day of the black sun, it was not just Baktu who had threatened the world, but a creature of madness.” Aksak turned to face Adam, stepping back to let him speak.

When it came to the Gathering of Frost, there was no exchanging of pleasantries. Instead, Adam was expected to speak of the topic in great detail. The best way to explain the threat was to tell them all his tale.

“My name is Adam,” he began, slowly beginning to speak of the tale. He would sometimes stop to look at his notebook, checking to see if he had mentioned everything important.

Entalia listened intently, learning more and more about Adam. Though he didn’t reveal specifics, he did mention his dealings with the gods and the gifts he had received, and that he gained power quickly due to a gift given to him from the gods. As he spoke, a Prince would stand up and step forward, waiting for him to finish. By the time he was done with his story, every Prince has stepped forward.

This was confrontation. If a Prince or their cohort found an issue with something the person said, they would stand up and wait. The Prince who stepped up first would be answered first, until all the questions were answered.

The Prince who had stood up first was a man, with a thick beard which fell down to his gut, and he carried a giant greataxe, which he had planed into the ground to rest himself on.

Once Adam was done with his tale, he looked to the first Prince who had stood. “I am Adam, and I see you.”

“I hear you, Adam. I am Prince Oglok of clan Frostwind,” he replied respectfully. “I have heard your tale, and I believe you speak lies. These lies can only be paid by your blood. I, Prince Oglok, will allow you a chance to speak true of your deceit, and I will only remove one of your arms of your own choosing.”

 


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