In the days after the World Making, the numbers of Middangeard’s beings were starting to grow. The tribe of Thunresfolc grew as well. Many of the Éotens and all of the Thyres, wished for lordship of the Seven Worlds, over all of the other creatures living in it. They were emboldened and attacking men and wights alike. Great was their fury. Thus the Ésa, who led men, and the Éotens are engaged in endless war.
A day came when one such Ésa, Thunor, came of age, sat in his seat in his hall, Mægensele, one of the many Ésaburhs. He was now of age to take his place as folk lord, having been ruled at the time by the First Mothers. Seeing the bloodshed of the war with Éotenkind, and the suffering that had been wrought, he desired to defend his folk in battle. That peace might be sown. That his tribe may grow.
So, to meet this threat, and prove his worth, he called upon his folk to assemble. The Great Folkmoot assembled. As they looked to him to lead them.
“My folk, I wish to keep us safe from the enemies that torment us. Yet, with my club, I can only do so much. I am not much for spear or sword, they do not serve me well. I have protected you with all that I can. Though I need more.”
The Idesa, wise folk mothers, spoke:
“You may look around our lands, and find nothing that suits you. If you desire no sword like the great Tíw, whose name is known wide, nor Ingui the Elf King. No spear like Woden, who never misses his mark. Though, at least try what we have here. Take up spear and sword, so that we know if you need aught else. ”
Heeding the words of the Mothers, he picked up a spear, with a sharp head, fastened atop the wood of an ash tree. He gripped it in his hand, and threw it against a target set up for that purpose. He missed the target, and the spear was buried deep in the earth. The Idesa laughed, and handed him a sword.
Thunor swung the sword, he then spun, so much that he fell dizzy. In anger, he snapped the sword in half. More laughter could be heard. He, at this point had no interest in trying the war seax that was offered next. He could not help but feel as though he had already let his folk down.
“It appears you were right. Since not sword, nor spear, nor war seax fit you, we’ve no arms in this hall that will do. We shall send you to Weyland. A greater smith there is not in all the seven worlds. He shall be expecting you. Go forth, to the Middangeard. Meet him. Get that which you seek, and know we are with you in that which you do.”
Thus, Thunor went. Onward he went to look for Weyland, who lived at the edge of a small town, just before a river, as smiths often do. He made his way to find Weyland. As he went about, he noticed the awe in which many of the townsfolk gazed upon him. He arrived, and saw Weyland sitting near his forge. As he rose, and limped forward to greet Thunor, he spoke:
“I have expected your visit. The Idesa sent you to me? Well, you see, nothing is so easily given, even to you, as loved as you are in this town. I make weapons worthy of the greatest, such as yourself. Though much ails our town, and thus brings me great worry.”
“If deeds are what you wish, see them done in my hands! If I’ve to prove myself to my folk, surely I can help you? Let me, in three risings and settings of Dæg’s Queen, do that which you may ask. I, Thunor, oath it thus!”
Weyland smiled. Then, just as quick, his face went again stiff, he says this:
“I shall appoint three tasks to you. See them done, and I will forge you a weapon that will be the symbol of hope to those who love you, and of fear to your foes. There have been folk falling in pain in this fair town. I fear I may be struck next. We do not know what causes this. Find out the cause, and I will consider it toward your worth. You are known for your strength, but I’ve no use of that right now.”
Dæg’s Queen rose to meet the world. Thunor left to search the town. A yell was heard, a man fell, clutching his shoulder in pain. Thunor swore he heard a laugh at a whispered tone. Yet, he saw no grin upon the faces of the townsfolk. He heard a rustling of leaves from the woods at the edge of the town. He then went out to search amongst the trees.
Footsteps could be heard. More laughter as well. Thunor stomped thrice upon the ground, and out of a tree fell two Elves. Fire began to burn in his eyes. They looked upon him in fear. He went to grab one and the Elf leapt over his shoulder. The other ran under and between his legs. He turned again, and they stopped in fear.
“Your rage does not serve you, Red Bearded. You see, if you do us harm, our Lord will exact a toll. He, Ingui, will call upon us to wage war upon your folk, and none will be left to marvel upon you.”, one Elf spoke. ”It is best you let us be!”, spoke the other.
“Ingui, you say? He and I are bound in friendship. I know him well. You would break this bond with your pranks? You would invite my tribe to war with your kin? If your fun is worth your death, I could grant you your wish. I will even let you shoot me first, with your bows that I see. Or, you could leave the townsfolk be, and Ingui need never know? Or I could kill you now…” Thunor fought back a laugh, drawing out his club.
The two Elven brothers looked to each other and ran. Thunor laughed as they scurried in fear. Knowing the nine herbs the great Woden once gathered long ago from all of the seven worlds would cure the townsfolk of the Elf Shot. He went back to Weyland to tell him the story.
“All in the town will know of your deed. Though, Warder, there is still much for you to do. If you would make your debt nearer to end, I would let you know the next thing I need you to do.”
With eager ears, Thunor listened.
“It would appear that the maidens of the town have been led out of their beds last night, carried away in their sleep. We have yet to figure out who is responsible. Though, we suspect that they were led out of the town, and through the forest. To the peaks beyond, where Éotens dwell. I shudder at the thought of what such terrible beasts may be doing with them. They demanded offering of one maiden, one moon past, and we refused them.”
With that, Thunor left for the woods. He stopped to ask the troublesome Elves he found the other day, flashing his club to trigger memory. They led him out of the woods, to the foothills, beyond which all feared to tread. For this was the realm of the Éotens and Thyrses. He looked out upon the misty peaks, the high hills looked to be empty of life. For but a moment, he hesitated, yet, to fulfill his role, he had no choice. He pressed onward.
For here, there seemed no joy. Nor comfort of home. No warm fires in meadhalls, with the sounds of merriment. All seemed missing from this place. In the distance, there was a large hall, which was to be seen. Where misery seemed to take hold. As if it were the home of Death. Echoes of footsteps. A slight shake of the earth. A massive Thyrse then approached.
“Hold spot! Do not move! You come where you are unwelcome. Turn back, or I shall tear you limb from limb!”
“I come for the maidens of the town. I was told may have been brought here. Though, if you speak to me in such a way once more, I will shatter you into tiny pieces. So that not the most skilled Dweorg crafter, nor spell of even the most skillful Drymann, Wicce, or Galdor will put you back together!”
This Thyrse, made of stone, laughed. “You could not even lift me, let alone fight me, weakling!”
“As arrogant as you are stupid. I’ve no doubt that I could lift you. My very cry makes the earth tremble!” Thunor’s red beard sparked in anger.
The Thyrse invited Thunor to try. “If you can lift me, and carry me, I will lead you. Though, if you strike me, it will no doubt wake my father, Drugotha who lives in the Stānsele, beyond these mountains.”
Thunor heaved and lifted with all his might. To the surprise of the Stone Thyrse, he began to rise! Thunor carried him on until high noon, when he heard a noise. He could hear the sounds of battle. The maidens of the town would not comply so easily! They could not pierce the Stone Thyrses with seaxes, but Thunor could hear the sound of the blades striking the stone. Something about that noise called to him, and he now knew exactly where he was going.
Though he did not tell the foul Thyrse this. He wanted to see if he would keep his word. The sound of the iron to the stones rang so true that his ears could not ignore the sound. For there was little time, he feared, that the young maidens had before things unspeakable might happen to them. Thunor shuddered in disgust at the thought.
The Thyrse lied, as Thunor suspected. He tried to lead the Oak Ward another way, higher up, where Ice Éotens dwell all year long. That is when Thunor dropped him. “You lie to me! I know the way now, it rings in my head, such a sound.” The Stone Thyrse, cold of heart, spoke, “I would not help a weaker man. I would leave you to the Ice Éotens, and let them all kill you. Father and I have bigger plans, and you will not stop their coming. I have had enough of you!”
He struck for Thunor, but he missed, and the high peak shook, for the Ice Éotens were sure to have been disturbed. Not that Thunor knew this. He took his club, and struck hard. A crack was left in the head of the Stone King’s son. “You cannot kill me with that wretched piece of wood!”, he yelled, and Thunor knew he was right. He could hurt him, but not kill him. Though, he did have another idea.
“Come forth then, I cannot kill you, but you are in pain. Come forth, and kill me if you can!”, Thunor knew what he was doing. The Thyrse ran at him, and Thunor grabbed him, heaved, and threw him off the peaks! The Thyrse cursed his name as he tumbled below. Thunor then turned for the hall. A daunting task this was to be, for he would have to save the maidens from beings he could not kill.
Thunor burst into the hall! He shouted and bellowed, drawing all attention away from the maidens. They took this chance to escape, and waited outside the hall, for they were smart enough not to go wandering through a place unaware of its dangers. Thunor swung his club in fury, he kept up his shouting, and the Thyrses were in such disarray. All while Drugotha seemed to sleep. The confusion was enough that Thunor slammed the doors to the hall shut, and it sounded like the Stone Thyrses were fighting each other! All looking for the glory of the kill.
Thunor continued to lead the maidens down the stone hills, and back into the woods. Without any further trouble, back to the town. The townsfolk cheered as Thunor arrived with the weary maidens. One maiden, whom they called Eastre, was the first to give thanks, and then led the other maidens to their homes to rest. Before she departed, though, she told Thunor that a Wyrm moved without a noise in the night, and that his glance entranced the maidens to follow him. Something about this news made Thunor very uneasy. For what could be worse than a foe he could not even find?
Before another thought could be had, the townsfolk asked what they could give to reward him. He said not a word, but pointed to two large oxen, one white, one black. Thunor then bound a cart to them, and made way for Weyland’s house.
Thunor came in, and sat with Weyland. Telling his tale of what happened earlier in the day. Weyland was laboring to keep up with how quickly and how much Thunor was eating! After eating half of the roasting lamb, three loaves of bread, and enough cheese to fill a barrel, Weyland joked that Thunor’s final task should be to bring him more food to refill his supply!
The next day would be the third day. Thunor slept well past sunrise. Weyland woke him, shivering. “Wake, you! The town is under attack! Ice Éotens have invaded! They come for our crops that we have just planted one fortnight past! Do this, and I shall have a weapon worthy of such a hero completed. I almost have it finished. Go, Thunor, lest we all starve, or freeze!”
These were the same Éotens that were disturbed on the peak the day before, Thunor saw this as his own fault. It appeared that his rage could do harm as easily as it could do good. Though, he had no time to think. With eyes ablaze, he went out to meet his foes. There were three, they saw Thunor’s anger, they cowered in fear. Thunor grabbed his club, “Come cowards!”. For Éotens are often without honor or courage. So, they surrounded him. Each bared their teeth and claws. Only to have Thunor strike each with his club. They charged upon him once more, and in a great flash, Thunor swung his club, and smashed all three in one mighty blow!
The farmers, when the fight ended, came to greet him. Some with hands bitten by the Éotens in their own attempt to fend them off. With the Éotens gone, their hands began to heal. Thunor lit a fire, so that they may warm their hands. They brought him another of their oxen. He had noted that they had already given him two. They said, “No, my lord. This one is to eat!”. They knew of his appetite. Together the farmers and Thunor feasted, and he consumed half of the ox himself!
In a rush, and after more than his share of mead, Thunor rode on his wain, also gifted by the people, back to Weyland. When he arrived, Weyland, the Great Smith, opened the door, and did not speak. He reached from the anvil, and presented Thunor with his gift. A hammer almost as long as a man’s arm. The handle made of oak, which was the same wood that made up the trees of his grove at home. Often Thunor spent his time in that great oaken grove.
The head was forged of a metal that held so tightly that it could not break. Weyland then directed him outside, to a large stone. Thunor struck it and it shattered the stone to mere pebbles, and shook the very earth! The light from the hammer looked as if fire struck from the sky. “Heofonfŷr!”, Thunor let out with a mighty shout. “So it is named, so all who see it shall know.”
Thunor saw that under the stone, the grass was burned. Thunor touched the scorched earth gently with his hammer. The next thing he knew, it started to grow back to life! The soil beneath it smelled sweet, and was dark and fertile. Through this hammer, he could bring death, or rebirth. He also knew that in his hands, Heofonfŷr could protect those who sought his aid. He could now defend his kin better than ever before. As Thunor thanked Weyland, he struck one of his ox with his hammer. So that they might feast once more.
After the meal had been done, and the bones and hide placed, he touched the pile with his hammer, and the ox sprang back to life! Such a great gift from Weyland. Though, as it was, he earned it. He also earned the respect and love of Men that day. He gave, and they returned, and to this day, such a gift cycle goes ever on.
The next morning, as he left Weyland’s home, and made his way back to the hall, he was approached, in haste by Hama, who rode out to meet him. “Thunor, I sought you out to tell you that our lands are under siege. I hope that you have done what you needed to do, and have been given that which you have sought. Drugotha assaults us. It appears he is looking for you. He rules beyond the fens in halls of stone. He wants revenge for his son. ”
Thunor recalled the day in the moors, and the father which the Stone Thyrse warned him about. He drew upon his cart, and thus the first Thunorrad began. With Heofonfŷr pointed ahead. He raced to the town gates.
In the haste, with the force and speed of a gale, he rushed, and stirred the leaves of Eormensyl itself. Awaiting his fate from the outside of the town wall. The pounding noise of stones, and the air seemed empty of life. The earth began to dry beneath the Eoten horde.
Thunor hastily looked to find his lands under siege by these Stone Thyrses. The fyrdsmen had told Thunor that their swords and spears had no effect. After all, try to slash or pierce stones! Thunor pulled out Heofonfŷr and his eyes were aflame. He heard his folk call his name, and saw that now would be his chance to defend his home, his kin, and stop them from taking Middangeard, which he had come to love. He had his wish, but it seemed as though he was alone. If he were to make his way back to the gate, he’d have to do it on his own.
So, he began. With a mighty roar, and swing of his hammer, upon his cart, his oxen charged, and he swung along the way, smashing Thyrses apart, making way for any stranded fyrdsmen to enter the hall. Without hesitation, they followed Thunor back through the gates. Thunor then turned to face his foes. Their touch upon the fields dried them, the fields of the great plain of Neorxnawang would dry, with Middangeard to follow.
The Stone Thyrses brought drought with them. The crops were quickly drying, and in the middle of the crowd of Thyrses, the Drugotha led them on. Thunor stepped off of his cart. He bellowed, and thus drew their attention, and he then struck so hard that nine fell in one blow. He spun as he struck, crushing and shattering their bodies, as they went flying and hit the ground hard, and in pieces. Some pieces fell to Middangeard, and can sometimes be found if you look around.
He then found himself face to face with the Drugotha. Who looked upon him, as he saw his son, the same who was injured by Thunor before, smashed to pieces at his feet. In a fury, he struck Thunor, who caught the mighty Thyrse’s arm, and shoved him back with a furious yell. He then picked up Thunor and threw him to the ground. Thunor got up, and struck twice with Heofonfŷr. Drugotha tossed him into the air.
The might of Drugotha sent Thunor high above. There was fear in the lands as none could see him. However, they heard him! His cry shook the earth, and the fire in his eyes could be seen from the sky. The Red Bearded held Heofonfŷr in his hand, and as he fell, Heofonfŷr crashed into DrugothaÉ, shattering him, and releasing the water. The hammer holder had won! He had glory! It was good.
Thunor then struck his oxen, so that their blood may replenish the waters of the seven worlds. Pouring down Eórmensyl, it was so. The folks of Middangeard then sacrificed oxen as well. In thanks to the Rain Bringer. In thanks to the Man Friend. Middangeard’s Warder. In thanks to Thunor.
The lands came back to life. Thunor slain his oxen to share his joy with his folk, and they settled in for a feast. Much meat and much mead were consumed, and much merriment was had. Thunor had saved his home, they, the people of the burh were proud to be known as Thunresfolc. He took his place amongst his folk as their protector. The Ésaburhs, where each Ésa sat high in their halls, rejoiced at this, for Thunor would defend them all.
Those in Middangeard who knew his glory oathed loyalty to him as well. Thunresfolc live in Middangeard as they do in Neorxnawang. Turning to him for protection and guidance, as they moved from the Old Lands to the New Lands. The Thunresfolc above came together to build Thunor a new home, Wolcenheall. It’s greatness was without peer. Each Ésa in their Ésaburh looked upon it with admiration. The Thunresfolc below kept to their rites to honor him, and made places to thank him, and worship him as well.
With the Idesa beaming with joy, the Wyrdæ weaving his thread impossibly long, from the roots of Éormensyl, to its very top. Along the thanks of other tribes for a war they did not want on their own gates, all went well. When Thunor awoke the next day, he touched upon the bones and hide of his oxen with Heofonfŷr, thus they woke, and he led them to pasture.
Thunor looked at his old club. It had served him well, and he did not forget it. He placed it in front of his hall, standing upright. With Heofonfŷr, he drove it into the ground, and then touched it thrice. From this old club, a massive tree of oak, the wood from which it was made, sprang from that very spot! The only things falling from it was three acorns, and one green leaf with nine nodes. All staying in the place they fell, undisturbed.
In all of this, the Éotens looked upon it with envy. They planned to rise again, to try and take, again, what was not theirs. For as long as Thunor lives, and Man has frith, Éotens will have war. The Hammer Holder, Red Bearded, Lightning Striker, Thunor, will stand against them.