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Haddock's Death

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"Haddock's Death" is an Extended Universe event that takes place twenty-five years after the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion, when King Haddock of the Wilderwest is fifty-six years old.

Summary Edit

Full Text Edit

Part 1 Edit

Sindri Stonegit Haddock: Sindri’s long hair nearly brushed the table as he leaned forward over three piles of books. He hardly even noticed its intrusion, so intent was he on reading the information within the texts. He mouthed the words to himself, eyes scanning first one text, then the next, then the final one. Sometimes, he would pause his reading to pull out a pen and jot down notes on the sheet of parchment resting neatly alongside the documents he read.

“Hey Signy,” he said in a soft but audible voice, glancing over to the curly-haired woman staring at the floor, “this is really fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Unbelievably fascinating. Have you happened to read ‘Morkinskinna’ by any chance?”

Still staring at the floor, she murmured, “Morkinskinna va et af de stolte handskrifter, som biskop Bryjolfur Sveisson kom i besiddelse af. Han sendte det, sammen med flere –”

“Okay, okay, I get it, you have,” he huffed. “I get it. Quit showing off.”

Suddenly the ground erupted under him and a Whispering Death and rider crashed into his books, scattering them all cross the floor.”

“Odin’s und – what – what – what – are you doing?”  Stuttering and racing after the books and hugging them his lithe form, Sindri turned to his twin brother and shrieked, “You know how valuable these are!”

“Sindri! Quiet!” Jonas jumped off his dragon, careful of avoiding the spines, and pushed down on both his brother’s shoulders to calm him. “Now is not the time!”

“But the – but the – history – and – and value and –”

Jonas barged into the other’s yammering. And his declaration shut the scholar up immediately. “Dad’s been captured!”

Sindri’s light eyes changed all at once. The worried hazel green darkened to a determined storm. “Don’t tell me it’s…”

“Yes.”

“Then they’re planning to…”

“Yes.”

“Are there troops on the…”

“Yes. Egil’s already on this one. He and his forces should be closing up on them by now. Screw it.” Jonas threw his fists down on the nearest desk. It made several of the pencils jump and fly out of their neat, parallel arrangements. Sindri yelped in spite of himself at the disturbance of his world’s perfect order. “Didn’t these guys have a problem with the Wilderwest like, what? Forty years ago?”

“Thirty eight and five months.”

Jonas glared at Sindri’s precision and kept ranting. “Either way, it’s well past illogical that these old political enemies still have to go out and take revenge for this! There never shall be peace if the old peoples of the Wildest North and the Wilderwest fight for such dumb past grievance.”

“Since when have politics been logical?”

“Textbooks. Theory. Philosophical treatises.”

“Never in practice.”

“Noted.”

Signy began quoting from an ancient political philosopher while her two older brothers bickered.

Sindri asked, thin eyebrows furrowing, “Does Egil need – does – does he need help? Can he organize everything – everything for a – for a rescue in time?”

“I think so. But it wouldn’t hurt for one of us to take to the armies as well just in case,” Jonas murmured. “I’m going back out there.” He hopped again onto the Whispering Death despite his twin’s protests.

From the corner of the room, Signy murmured to herself, “What sort of dream is that, Odin? I dreamt I rose up before dawn to clear up Val-hall for slain people. I aroused the Einheriar, bade them get up to strew the benches, clean the beer cups, the valkyries to serve wine for the arrival of a king.”

Part 2 Edit

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: They pulled off his blindfold.

The first thing Gareth saw was a strand of his gray hair in his eyes. The second thing he saw was an axe.

He watched as a grubby ham-like hand reached down, pulled on the handle of the weapon, and brought it before an impressive beer belly.

The headsman’s face was less impressive than his girth. His mouth housed approximately a third of the teeth it should have, and those poor residents still in business were dilapidated and rotting, more brown and caramel in color than the white they should have been. One of his teeth even looked as though it were about to fall out of the gums and onto the man’s hairy double chin. That was the only area he had good hair on his face, for the top of his head was heavily balding, and both of his eyebrows had been removed from scarring. Half of his face must have been cut apart from a similar blade to the one he held now.

The king could not sit up, not with his hands tied behind his back, so he simply glared at the man before him, wordless and seething while lying limply on his left side. It was hard to see out of the black eye puffing around his right cheek, but he managed to take in what he could and stare at every detail defiantly.

Apparently someone else was behind him, for a ringing, melodious but somehow still identifiably aged voiced sang out behind him.

“At long last the Wildest North shall have our revenge.”

Haddock recognized the voice. It was someone he had met in battle back when he was eighteen. “You’ve been living seeking out revenge for this long? What a pathetic life you must live.” The king said this as though it were an observation and not even an insult.

Of course it was taken as an insult. His torso crumpled from a swift kick to his upper back.  A heavy boot hit him - HARD -  right between the shoulder blades.

“Silence! We may both be kings, but you are beneath me.” The man speaking must have given a gestural signal to the headsman, for the big brute of a man reached down to pick the king up, dragging him toward a stone block.  It was quite narrow in breadth, longer in width, and the top was flat but for a semicircular dip in the center. He was dragged so he was facing downward, his neck in that dip. They tucked his legs beneath him, and he had no choice but to let them do it. He did, however, give a futile attempt to try to punch the headsman with his fists which were tied up behind him. That endeavor completely failed.

The King of the Wildest North still remained out of Haddock’s vision even as they set him up to the executioner’s block. The king could feel the cold of the stone pushing up against the bottom of his throat and stretching out the back of his neck to make it easy for severing.

The headsman stepped to Haddock’s left side and raised his weapon.

“Any last words?” his enemy mocked.

Haddock stared straightforward. He spoke out so his words were loud and clear, slow and defiant, proud and bold.

“Long… live… the… king.”

The axe fell.

Part 3 Edit

Jonas Aerin Haddock: Jonas’ Whispering Death rushed into camp. It sped past numbers of tents temporarily pitched up for the army. The dragon maneuvered quickly between startled Wilderwest soldiers until he located the largest and by far most extravagant tent, something so colorful it was an eyesore and moderate hazard to life. “Here, here,” Jonas told the Whispering Death urgently, and he threw himself off the dragon and barged into the tent.

A dagger shot by his head a second later.

Three seconds after that, an angry voice shouted, “Jonas! Don’t just run in here!”

His brother skidded to a halt.

Egil was leaning down, arms clutching the back of a chair, his shoulders slumped and turned away from Jonas. All his brother could see was Egil’s back. It was somehow both wilting and tense. In Egil’s right hand he held something else in addition to the chair back, some small object, though Jonas could not quite tell what it was.

But sensing his brother’s horrid mood, which suffocated the room like a raging fire, Jonas immediately backed away, letting Egil steam in the far side of the tent by himself.

“What… what…”

“The armies of the Wildest North just visited.” It was hard to hear Egil; his voice was quite quiet. And then suddenly his vocal cords exploded into unrestrained fury, loud and tight and with all the wrath of Hel. “Theyreturned him.”

“Egil, I don’t…”

“They returned his head.

Jonas paled.

And Egil turned around. What he held in his hand was a small golden object… a circlet of gold. The king’s crown. He spiked it across the tent, throwing it out with the full vigor of his arm, almost hitting his brother in the head.

“Leave me.” He stared at Jonas with a puffy, red face, cheeks swollen, eyes red and yellow more than brown.

“Egil…”

"Leave." This time his voice trembled.

"But…"

Enraged shrieks. “LEAVE. ME. ALONE!!!”

Jonas fled.

Egil threw himself back toward the far side of the tent, punched the wooden chair back with the force of all his knuckles, and then let his body tighten. He stood there, staring at the chair and the ground, stiff. Very stiff, trembling with rage. And then his shoulders shook harder. And his chest heaved. And he broke down into sobs.

Eventually he had not the strength to stand, but he also did not have the strength to move himself to the seat of the chair, so the new King of the Wilderwest found himself kneeling on the floor of his tent, melting beneath tears.

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