The Broken Sword

By Poul Anderson

Thor has damaged the sword Tyrfing in order that it can't strike on the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree that binds jointly earth, heaven and hell. yet now the robust sword is required back to avoid wasting the elves of their struggle opposed to the trolls, and merely Scafloc, a human baby abducted and raised by means of the elves, can desire to cajole Bolverk the ice significant to make Tyrfing entire back. yet Scafloc should also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling who has taken his position on the planet of men.

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Twill be worthy extra in the event you undercover agent out their power than in the event you kill 100 of them. ’ ‘We will do both,’ grinned Skafloc. He stood tall and stressed as a tender stallion, eyes alight in his lean face, the lengthy tawny hair tumbling from less than his glowing helmet. ‘I comprehend now not – i do know now not. ’ The elf-earl shook his head. ‘I consider, someway, that no stable will come of this journey, and am fain to halt it. ’ ‘If you do this, we'll pass anyway,’ acknowledged Skafloc. ‘Aye, so that you will. and that i might be mistaken. move, then, and good fortune be with you. ’ On an evening simply after sundown, the soldiers embarked. A moon newly risen solid silver and shadow at the crags and scaurs of the elf-hills, at the seashore from which they rose, at the clouds racing eastward on an excellent gale which appeared to fill the sky with its clamor. The moonlight ran in shards and ripples over the waves, which tumbled and roared, white-maned and offended, at the rocks. the sunshine flashed off the guns and armor of the elf warriors, eerie silver within the shouting evening. The black-and-white longships drawn up at the seashore appeared yet fleeting shadows and light-ripples. Skafloc stood wrapped in his nice cape, the wind streaming his hair, and watched his males embark. To him, a white loveliness within the moonlight along with her hair like silver and her eyes cloudy with chilly secret, got here Leea. ‘Now bid me farewell, foster-mother, and sing a track for my luck,’ cried Skafloc. ‘I can't bid you see you later appropriately, for i will come no in the direction of that iron byrnie of yours,’ quoth Leea in her voice that used to be like wind and rippling water and silver bells heard from afar. ‘And i've got a black feeling my spells will avail naught opposed to the unwell good fortune wafting for you. ’ Her eyes sought his within the fleeting moonlight. ‘I recognize, with a sureness past evidence, that you just sail right into a catch, and that i beg you, through the milk I gave you as a toddler and the kisses as a guy, to stick domestic this one time. ’ ‘That will be an exceptional deed for an elf leader, given command of a very good raid which may deliver again his foeman’s head,’ cried Skafloc in anger. ‘Not for you nor someone else might I achieve this shameful a specific thing. ’ ‘Aye – aye. ’ unexpected tears glimmered in Leea’s eyes. ‘Men, whose span of years is so bitterly brief, rush to demise of their adolescence as to a maiden’s palms. many years in the past I rocked you on your cradle, Skafloc, a number of months in the past I lay out with you within the gentle summer season nights, and to me, timeless, the days are nearly an identical. And no various, within the comparable blink of years, is the day your bloody corpse will lie stiff expecting the ravens. i can't ever omit you, Skafloc, yet I worry i've got kissed you for the final time. ’ and he or she sang in her attractive voice: Seaward blows the wind this night, and the seamen, by no means resting, upward push from condominium to take their flight with the gulls’ and spindrift’s questing. Woman’s hands, and firelit fireplace, kith and family, can by no means carry them whilst the wind past their garth of the operating tides has advised them. Spume and seaweed shall enfold them. Wind, ah wind, previous wanderer, grey and swift-foot, ever crying, lady curses, who, from her, calls forth guy to doom and death.

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