So, I was mostly used to playing Valheim with my friends.
I was scared. Earlier, my viking buddies would be with me as we traversed the world of Valheim. However, they had shipped away. –Might as well have been called by Odin himself and taken away by his faithful Valkyries. Here's hoping it was for Valhalla. But in my heart, I knew for certain about one thing. I was alone.
So I did what I must. I grinded. –Not satisfied with my drab iron armor, I braved the sewage of the Swampland. I remember going in one of those crypts, looking for iron ore among the guts and bones of the ancients. I came across a foreboding sight, however. One chamber within must've been an important meeting place for the Draugr when they were sane. But this day, they were insane, and angry, and vicious. The elite among them were there, piles of guts on the floor. Somehow the draugr came alive in droves from within just one of them. There were many piles.
Bravery and desperation can sometimes mix, I think. Because on that day, I cleaved through the entrails while avoiding the powerful swing from a draugr that I thought was perhaps a prince, or even a king in his heyday. And this is despite it's missing limb, which was a boon for me. After parrying and smashing into meat that was dead and half-alive, I retired towards my portal that I placed atop the crypt for a much needed rest.
I continued to grind like that for days. All the while, I focused on upgrading my armor, polishing its defects and proudly displaying the ones that refused to bend to my hammer's touch. The iron needed to be carefully transported through the marshes before I could start my work. Skeletons and draugr alike must've hated the theft. But by Odin, I needed to take from them. I figured they were castaway by the Gods for good reason. So, I paid them my thanks with my mace and shield as I transported the ore away from them and towards my hearth and home.
All the while, my eyes always drifted toward the mountain tops. I wish I could say they were seducing me, but I learned about Loki, and I knew they were taunting me instead. As I slaved away at the anvil, I prepared a special mead that kept my belly warmer than usual. –Perfect for the frost that I would have to endure soon.
Each day I left the swamps was a day I got stronger. On one trip, I swear I saw a visage of Odin. By God, I hope it was him. Just in case, I visited my shrine of him that day. I laid soup out for him to tell him I was healthy, and the head of the strongest Grey Dwarf I've ever slain towards his blind side, so he'd see it last. By the Gods, Odin must know my journey, for Valhalla awaits.
The next day, I gathered my ship. It was long, hewn from the finest of woods, and nailed with the iron I had seeped from the swamps. I named it after the monster my friends and I vanquished. –The Bonemass. Its sails were the strongest I had ever come to remember in the afterlife. Perhaps before, too? Before I could accept it, I found a perfect landing spot with a tall Mountain – my first one – to explore.
Cautious of what I must do, I prepared passage to my hearth and home first. A teleporter was erected, granted to me by Odin's blessing. I could swear I felt my wishbone trembling every once in a while by the meadows. I wish I could say it was a good blessing.
After visiting The Elder, and praying for the Gods below his chopped head, I took my axe and murdered the trees below the mountain. I cleared a spot where they lay and used the wood to build a proper base. Another dark forest afforded me the copper I needed for a new forge. I took my time mining the resources. Many trolls came to attack me that night. I need to find a way to make use of their leather soon. The tin came easily to me. As I was chopping birch there, a curious shaman creature was too entranced by me to notice the wood that assailed him from above. It crushed him in an instant. I turned the location of his corpse into a funeral for the fool. May Odin bless him in his next virgin life.
All my preparations would be key for me in the Mountains, I would soon learn.
The howling of the wolves beckoned me. Screeches from afar, too. I did not know which creature emanated those horrifying sounds. Yet, I found out soon. As I trudged up the face of the Mountain, I could see boulders moving from afar. I avoided them. As I reached up, my breathing came up short, and I was gasping for more air. My skin felt like it was burning, so I immediately drank from my warm mead. Suddenly, the armor I was wearing felt less heavy, and the iron bars holding my skin became more bearable for me.
Then, the wolves attacked. For more than 200 days, I've heard their whining from afar. They were fast predators, and one bit down on my arm while the other flanked me from behind. I could tell they were angling for my neck. Using my mace was effective. It's hard to attack a man when your head is caved in. The other wolf faltered when he saw how his comrade would die, but I begged him for a fight. –I needed the fur.
I was soon resting in a shack I made. A blizzard, possibly conjured from the angry spirits of the wolves I had slain assaulted me. The fire did well to prevent the cold from reaching me, but did little to clean the soaked blood on iron. It was during this small respite that I noticed my wishbone beckoning me to search. Its sound was like that of an echo from the hammer-fall of Hephaestus. In this blizzard, I searched the ground highlighted by the wishbone's echoes. At one spot, next to a tree and some standing stones, the pace of the sound quickened. I took out my iron pick, and dug. I scraped away the snow and stone until something more shining than the winter blinded me.
I marked the spot for later. Not a moment too soon, I heard a screeching in the distance. Two flying lizards approached me. I later learned the name of the beasts for myself. Those pair of wyverns must have spied on me while I was digging the ground. Their scales were blue as ice, and they refused to come to meet me for battle face to face. Instead, they screamed and spit ice at me with alarming speed. Unlike the limitations of the bow, these creatures could fling their arrows thrice at a time! Thankfully, my hunting arrow was in my pack, and I pulled it out. I had prepared my weaponry efficiently. –There was plenty of resin from the grey dwarves below the mountain, where the wyvern's rarely flew. I nearly burned the entire batch of arrows in my pack as I rushed to meet ice with fire.
In the midst of the battle, something stirred. In the raging blizzard, the wyvern's changed their gaze. They looked directly below me, and off to the right side. All I could see were stones, but the wyverns knew more than what my eyes did. They shot their ice, and pummeled the boulder that emerged.
It reached out and slapped the closest one. The stones did. I was stunned.
My adrenaline almost failed my brain, but a damn golem must've joined the fray. It had no eyes, but it could sense me. I could tell when the boulders from within the golem grinded towards me. I ran. I was bloodied, and I recently fought new enemies. This golem was unlike anything I've seen before, and if they were anything like trolls, golems were probably better. I nearly broke my neck descending the mountain. Once inside my base, I shut the door, and prayed that Odin didn't see my folly. If I had died at that mountain, I could never forgive myself. But this day, I was still a sinner, who should fight instead of flight from the unknowable tests of the Gods.
So I hated myself, and I planned for what to do about it.
The next day, I stepped out to mine the silver I had found. I made to ascend the mountain with haste, and thanks to my diligence, I easily found the vein of silver I had uncovered from the ground. As I lay waste to the stone that held this precious commodity, the golem paid me a visit.
The day this time was clear. With nary a gust of wind, I witnessed the thing. It's stone shoulders stood apart from the rest of its body, which was afloat aside the legs of the thing planted upon the ground. By no rights should it move, but move it did, and it came towards me.
I decided to test it with my iron banded shield. The stone nearly splintered it, but my healthy diet of sausage, onion soup, and serpent stew gave me strength this day. I held on, and swung my refined iron mace at it. Some of the stone golem crumbled, and it shrieked. The hit must've been critical, and the golem was angry at me for it. I couldn't hide my grin from it. In response, it swung once, twice, three times on me. I tried deflecting with my shield, but I had no time to hold on. It must've broken my rib, and my shield arm was blazing with pain. I downed my healing mead quickly, and it gave me more strength.
I continued my onslaught of the golem, chipping away at it with my mace. I didn't stop until it stopped moving. –Though, I don't know when it did stop moving. I was enraged. I spit and cursed on it after I was done. The golem today was the object of my sins, and I was glad to be rid of the weight of guilt it had supplied me when I fought it that night in the blizzard.
The thoughts of the golem brought passion to my hammer that night. I had hauled the silver I mined from the mountain and used it to help adorn my new wolf cloak. With this new blanket, I could traverse the mountains without the need of my warming mead. I soon found out it made me comfortable even in the dead of night. Life was good.
But my glowing blue eyes were still drawn upward towards the hills that shifted and slanted toward the heavens.
To the mountains I go. Once more.