"Hel's Tests" is a Season 3 thread during which Stonegit wakes from his comatose state and the Warden leaves Haddock because both men pass their tests with Hel.

Summary Edit

Full Text Edit

Part 1 Edit

Hel: "King Haddock…" the voice in the King’s mind spoke, and the man suddenly felt the control of the Warden relinquished. 

Hel carefully eased the Warden off to the side of Haddock’s mind, letting him own his sense again. “It’s time…” she said. "It’s time for your test."

"…go get your bodyguard."

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: He heard her voice. Recognized it. Hel had returned to him.

Haddock had known she would, but it shocked him nonetheless, nearly making him stumble. So much had occurred over such a short time - talking to Mera, making a bargain with the Warden… and now this. But if what the Warden had said to him was true, Hel was the person who was able to take Stonegit out of his comatose state, Hel the person able to release Haddock of the Warden permanently.

He thus did not question her words. He headed straight for where Stonegit rested with a determined bolt.

Hel: Stonegit lay asleep in the bed, looking like a limp rag doll. But the Warden had taken care of him. He was alive, clean for the most part, and fed. Hel watched Haddock from where she loomed in the sky. “Take him to the lake outside of the fortress. The place where he was defeated in battle, the camp must see him.”

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: A part of Haddock questioned why him Hel’s name she would ask that of him… and then her remembered it was indeed Hel’s name asking him to do that… so he reached down to pick up Stonegit’s body. But then he paused, another question coming to mind.

"If I might… carefully… respectfully… ask," Haddock murmured aloud before stepping out of doors, "The people of the camp might not see to this well, being as they know the Warden has… well…" possessed me… ”…made my body…” attack my own wife "…do unpleasant actions. If they see me stepping through with Stonegit, this might not be well taken?"

Hel: "Oh gee," Hel said. “I hope they’ll listen to the god of the underworld and not ignore me,” she droned. "Gareth your concern is not to see if the people will believe this. Your concern, is finding out if you are worthy enough to even get this boy back into your life."

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I can’t lose someone within an arm’s reach again," Haddock said. His mind flashed back to Vox. Carefully, he leaned against the door and stepped outside, heading toward the lake.

Hel: "Well technically speaking you could," Hel said in his mind. "But enough of that, time to get all regal." 

With that Hel once again appeared next to the fortress, looming over everyone who lived there. Her piercing white eyes bore down on them and she extended a hand. “Behold mortals,” she said. “Your King hold his own mind again…for now. In his arms is Stonegit Elmiss. His guard, your ally, your enemy…” she straightened to her full towering height. “Today is a day of judgement. To see where life truly is meant to lie…King Haddock,” Hel said, her gaze fixing on him.“This…boy, abused his power, hurt your followers, attacked your home, he has proven to be not only a thorn in your side, but a threat. So my question to you, your test…”

"Do, you, want, him, back?"

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "What in Hel’s name do you think?" he hissed, and then snapped his mouth shut once he realized what he said, and to whom. He clamped his lips tightly together and his eyes positively bulged, mind thinking worriedly through the implications of his snap reply. 

Involuntarily he shuddered, thinking of what the Warden did to him for retaliation. What more could Hel do if he displeased her…

He closed his eyes and produced his answer more respectfully.

"I do," Haddock declared. His words held a lot of weight for being somewhat quiet in volume. "Very much indeed I want this man back."

Hel: Hel leaned down. “Oh but this just isn’t about you, he never hurt you when he decided to go mad. It’s them,” she motioned to the rest of the rebels, who were slowly gathering to see what was going on. "What do they think? Do they even want him? Go on your majesty, order them to comply, tell them that this is what is going to happen."

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "By orders of the deity Hel it is up to you all to decide if Stonegit returns to us and wakes from his current state," Haddock said, raising his voice so that the gathering people could hear his words. He looked up and around to them, though his eyes frequently returned to Stonegit’s expressionless face. "I admit I received little of the effects of this madness of which Hel speaks. I cannot comprehend the full negative impact of what he has done. He and I fought; you may have more issues to confront with him. And they very well can be serious; I will deny that. That is not for me to judge.

"But to think of what he has been in recent times, this last week, however long his trespasses may have continued… need you deny him an opportunity of life for that span of time? What more he has done for us. He has sacrificed himself for the good of us, for the people of the Grounded Dungeon. He has risked his life for me, has stepped determinedly to be someone worthwhile.

"And regardless of who he is, do you not think you would be more like the people of High Central if you denied him life? Did we not rebel against High Central for the opportunity of equal chance of life? 

"Then so give him this chance."

Treepelt Halfpaw: "You’re crazy."

Treepelt spoke up from the back of the crowd, clenching her fists, glaring at Haddock. The massive shadow behind him made her want to shiver and duck her head, but she adamantly pressed her point.

"There can’t be…there can’t be any reason for us to want him back. For me to want him back, anyway.” Her eyes dropped to Stonegit and her lip curled, baring her sharp teeth. “I thought he’d been getting better and I was wrong. We were all wrong about him. If he comes back, the cycle will repeat. We might even all end up in another dungeon!” Tree slashed a hand through the air. “Is that what you want?” she asked everyone angrily. 

Turning on her heel back to Haddock, she spat, “And I don’t care if you’re the Warden or the King talking right now. You’re being an idiot either way.”

Clover Rose: "I think we should give him another chance." Clover spoke up, taking a few steps forward. "I know some of you don’t trust him, I understand that perfectly well. But Stonegit changed so dramatically, I can’t help but feel that something else was behind it." 

Her gaze flitted to the massive shadow, and she suddenly felt incredibly small. She cleared her throat and continued. “I personally want him back. I’m not going to force my opinion on anyone, make your own choices.”

Grey Bergman: Grey was not sure what to think of this. Should they have Stonegit brought back…after everything he’s done? The brunette turned around and looked at Warren, Greg, and Asha standing beside her thinking back to her recent argument with Greg regarding Nalaagura. They had taken the time to get to know her and were pleasantly surprised at how friendly she was to them. If a demon could prove herself trustworthy, then Stonegit deserved the same. Determination flooded through her body as she stepped forward next to Clover and Haddock. 

"I agree with Clover," she said. "People do deserve second chances. Unfortunately, he let his grief and guilt get the best of him, but…hopefully, we as a rebellion can help him change for the better."

Blunt Donz: "Excuse me?!" another rebel stepped up. "But did we learn nothing from hiccup-the-seasick-viking? She was the one who said this was a bad idea, and we blew her off! Now look at what happened! Look at our fortress! It has holes in it! I appreciate what Stonegit has done but he’s to dangerous to bring back.”

"Hooooooold on a minute!" Blunt called, pushing his way through the crowd. "Thank you thank you, I’ll only be a moment," he chuckled. "Now…I have just one thing to say…you can’t go ball flipping insane in only a week!” He thundered, and then composed himself. “I for one need Stonegit to come back,  other wise I will never be able to redeem my family name. Give him this chance, let him come back, and if he is not welcome then I will take him back to Port Krum, and you’ll never have to see him again!” Blunt spread his arms, looking over the crowd, and then up at Hel. “Also,” he said, licking his thumb and smoothing out his eyebrow. “I must say goddess of my dreams, you, have what can only be describe as the perfect dragonest fig-!”

A grey bearded guard stormed up, punching Blunt right in the face and dropping him like a sack of bricks. He turned around, meeting Mera’s eyes from where she standing. She recognized him as the guard she had locked up, the first one to help her place Stonegit under arrest. “My name is Goat!” he declared. “And I foolishly followed that boy into madness. But! He gave me and my men chance after chance after chance, even after we betrayed him.” he shook his head, tears threatening to come to his eyes. “I never was given a chance…not by me mum…or my dad…or anyone. I stole a loaf of bread, and spent my adolescent and young adult years in that damned Dungeon. Then I was slapped with the role of a guard and have been screwing up ever since. The only one who ever spoke kindly to me was that boy, no matter what I did. We talked it over…and the GD guards aren’t going to be following his orders anytime soon…but we sure as hel are going to give him just one more shot at life.”

Mera Violet Haddock: Mera stepped forward, exchanged a knowing glance with her husband, and proclaimed, “I trust my husband’s judgment. But even if he hadn’t spoken, I would’ve still vouched for this young man all the same. I spoke to him, right at the start of this. Right before this all began. He was distraught. He was struggling through some emotional difficulties. But he quite had good intentions inside of him.

"These intentions can shine," Mera said, pointing to his unconscious body. "Yes, I know other things he has done have been a bit extreme. He even attacked me, but I am quite sure he was out of his mind at that point. Not at all what he usually does. Poor lad. What Blunt says makes sense. I saw him go from a good if somewhat unstable boy to a poor, completely insane kid. He’s better than that. I don’t doubt there’s a good reason why people choose to follow him even now." She looked to Goat. "It’s because he’s a good person.

"Everyone should have a second chance. This one deserves it."

Hel: Hel looked over the crowd. There was still a good portion of them that were not open to this idea. But between all the guards and the others that were willing…the majority was clear. "You let the people decide…" Hel mused. "How very unusual. Very well, now comes the part where you must make the decision as their king. They chose to follow you, this is no democracy, this is where the weight of your job comes to perspective."

"I am still not convinced you deserve him…so I test your conviction. I will give him back, but there is both a price, and a consequence. The consequence is that you Gareth Haddock…will lose. You will lose your title, your position, and your fortress.” Hel raised her head looking at the snow drifting in the sky. “It’s winter still…” she breathed before looking back down.

"The price Gareth…is not only your soul…but everyone else’s in this camp, is to be signed over to me. This is not just the price for this boy, but also a promise. If you give your souls to me I will see that your afterlife is at least…comfortable. I will give this boy back…and I will see that this rebellions name will live past the ruin to come. But this is your choice, this one you must make for you…and for your people."

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: His first sentence came quickly, jumping right on the end of Hel’s final comment. “I have no qualms losing my position and title for someone’s life.” He look straight at Hel and said. “I have lost it before, but have found gain.” His eyes turned to Mera, with a small nod, before returning his attention to the goddess. “The people for whom I stand mean far more to me than a title, a position, and a fortress, and it is for them that I dedicate my life.

"But if this means sending a substantial population to Hel, I do not believe I can make such an uneven choice. As Stonegit is, he will go to your gates soon. Do I bargain with you, he and all of us find ourselves in Helheim at the end of our days. And my people are incredible enough that even without the help of a god, we will be remembered through times to come. If I may ask so to a goddess,” and his voice rose, and became slightly sharp and rebellious, “where is the logic in this?”

Hel: Hel leaned back away from him, her eyes cool. "There isn’t…Well Haddock you and your posse have shown to be smarter than initially presented." she nodded. “I will consult with the boy…I’ll see if he even wants to bother coming back here.” she huffed, and then held up a finger. "Since you are so smart…keep this word to the wise. My offer stands…to have all these souls given over to me. Whenever you wish, whenever it, would, be, wise…to do something crazy like that. All you have to say is ‘I agree to Hel’s terms’ …kay?"

Hel nodded once. "Ok then, let’s see how this pans out." And with that the deity vanished.    

Part 2 Edit

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit stared at Hel as she floated down towards him. “You just tried to use me to hustle over a hundred souls…how…could you?”

Hel snorted. “Oh please, like I would ever go through all this just for one measly kid soul. I have bigger fish to fry. And don’t think you’re out of the woods, I’m going to get what I want, I always do. Haddock will be signing the rebellion over to me in a timely fashion I am sure. ”

Stonegit’s eyes slowly lowered. But then, as the thought of life back at the rebellion came to him, he carefully began shuffling over to the light, but Hel called out to him once more.“There’s only pain out there…and you know it. You don’t have to save Haddock this time. He knows who his enemies are and the Warden, as you call her, has turned over a bit of a new leaf…so…why not just move to the afterlife, where there is no pain?”

“Oh you understand why,” Stonegit quipped.

“I understand that you’re stupid!” Hel suddenly snapped, growing into her large, black ethereal form and consumed the sky above him.  Her fog swirled around him. “You’re going to crawl back right into the lap of a toxic relationship. Think about it, you’ve done everything reasonable for him. You compromised and minded your tongue around Haddock, kept Haddock’s precious public image safe, catered to Haddock’s self entitled illusion that no one should challenge him! And what has he changed? I mean really changed for you? Nothing!”

“Shut up Hel!” Stonegit yelled up at her, but Hel continued to rage.

“The closest he got in making an effort to help his friendship with you was what? Cordially accepted your terms? What a laugh, you matter so little to him he’s not even willing to learn how to take a joke! But you’re simply desperate to feel like you are his friend more than his guard. But you don’t feel that way do you? Because you have to curb every word you say just to make sure you don’t offend him, and get accused of being a disrespectful shit…now who does that remind you of?”

“No NO! Shut up shut up shut up!” Stonegit screamed, clutching his head and gritting his teeth.

Hel flew into a rage. “You beg me to stop but you can no longer lie in my presence. You don’t deny it, you /can’t/ deny it! Haddock is willing to shove you away, snap at you, ‘put you in your place,’ and look down on you. …until…of course, there is a risk of you resigning. Remember when you went blind? He was ready to move me and high water just to reel you back in…and he did,” she added with a sneer. “Then what happened? Where things any different?”

“Yes!” Stonegit yelled. “They were! He told me he cared about me. He told me what I meant to him!”  

“Sure he did, after banished you for forgetting to answer a simple question! After he mistook your fright and confusion for insolence! After he shook you and slapped you and sent you into a panic attack!” Hel gasped, the sound like a harsh wind as he glowing white eyes got right in Stonegit’s face. “And you’re still afraid! You’re still afraid that one day that little messed up brain of yours will cause you to lose your temper, and that you’ll say something stupid in a moment of weakness. And then it’ll be all over and you’ll be sent packing, on the road…or in a jail cell…or with another dent in your head. And this terrifies you because you know…its…true.”

“Haddock would never, ever hurt me! Not really!” Stonegit said desperately, backing away from her.

“Not really?” Hel said sarcastically. “Not really hurt me, oh because hurting you a little bit is perfectly fine…tell me.” Her form and voice changed, becoming raspy. “How come me prancing around in Orskaf’s only skin annoyed you?” Her formed changed again, the image of Haddock now starring into his eyes. “But the angry words and demands for respect from this man scarred you so badly you became delusional? Face it boy. Haddock’s mistake is falling in love with sassy people.” Hel’s breath caught again in a mocking sort of way. “Oh but I couldn’t help but notice…How he never threatened to leave Mera because of her comments to him, which by the way were far more humiliating then some of your deemed /insolate/ remarks.” She said, knowing that word hurt and stick to Stonegit.

“That’s because she’s his wife!” Stonegit roared, his voice deep and breaking with emotion.

Hel leaned slowly away from. “Pretty sad excuse for treating a man like a shit bag…a man who broke his body and soul just to keep him safe no less…” She heaved a mighty sigh. “And I guess…dear boy, that your mistake was falling in love with a man who was cut from the same cloth as another.”

Yelling with rage, Stonegit threw a punch but it merely swept through the image, Hel once again turning ethereal, her voice calming, and becoming gravely serious. “You’ll try and try to get him to swallow his pride, and every time you’ll invoke his anger. And eventually…he will hurt you…his temper will see to it. Because you have no idea how to be true to yourself…and still be able to be around him.”

Stonegit dropped to the floor, curling up into a ball.

Hel leaned over his shoulder. “You knew all this was true the moment you he was done hugging you at that banquet…I’m just admitting it for you. And boy, no matter how much you think I’ve blown things out of proportions the bottom line is you are pathetically dependent on verbal affection, physical affection, and the feeling that you are safe. And with Haddock, you have received little to none, and you most defiantly do not feel secure in your partnership…so now tell me, am I wrong?” There was a long period of silence. Long enough for Hel to silently admit to herself that she finally saw the merit and maybe even the enjoyment of physiologically breaking a human. Before hand she had never understood some of her grandchildren’s seemingly redundant and pointless exercises. There was a quiet whisper, and Hel inhaled quickly, leaning down. “What was that?”

Mouth and voice dry, Stonegit inhaled shakily again, whispering to her. “I’m not going to give Haddock a reason to lose his temper at me, not anymore.” He swallowed. “His friendship, ourfriendship, is worth far more to me than my desire to be treated as an equal.”

“Well good for you,” Hel mocked. “You fought so hard against Orskaf and the elders and Tal for a decade. Then Haddock waltzes and you abandon yourself. Well done well done indeed.”

Stonegit licked his lips, feeling tired, and drained. “But Haddock is worth changing for. I have other people I can banter with…and I can try again…Haddock will change.”

“NO HE WON’T!” Hel thundered at him. “He’s stubborn! He’s a monarch!  His pride his worth more to him that you are!”

“He will!” Stonegit croaked again, his voice finally finding some strength. “Because it’ll be different this time, and it won’t require some stupid verbal agreement.” He panted heavily. “But I…but I…” Stonegit took a few rapid breaths, forcing himself to say the words. “But I know you are right Hel…!” Stonegit winched, expecting that admitting the words would hurt, and afraid that he would now think less of his beloved King. But instead, the words gave him freedom, and his affection only settled to the point where Haddock was no longer on some high pedestal. Instead, it was simply on the top of the list of most important people to Stonegit, with faults and qualities all accounted for, and recognized.

Eyes wide with relief and a new resolve, Stonegit weakly pushed himself into a seated position, inhaling deeply. “I’m going back to be there for him like I always have…”

Hel twisted her mouth to one side, rolling her eyes. “I see that look in your eyes boy…you have another stupid plan don’t you?”

Stonegit nodded solemnly.

Hel shook her head. “You stupid human…you passed as well. And I am so…so glad this will be the last time I shall ever speak to you…goodbye…Stonegit.”

The area around the two of them faded, and then, after days of remaining blank and lazy, Stonegit’s eyes cleared, and snapped open.

Part 3 Edit

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: After a terrible few minutes of silence, after a few terrible minutes of thinking Stonegit was going to stay limp and lifeless, the boy suddenly gasped, his eyes looking up at Haddock. The boy’s eyes widened as large as dinner plates and he slowly reached up, his mutilated hand almost touching Haddock’s cheek. “My King?” he whispered. 

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "By the gods," said Haddock quietly, gasping. He stared straight into Stonegit’ eyes. "It happened. All of it… happened." The Warden was out of his mind. Stonegit was awake. "Here let me… can you stand?" Haddock began to crouch to set Stonegit down gently and allow the man on his own two feet, if he could.

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Yeah…yeah I can stand," he said, and then frowned, easing himself up. He held tightly to his wrist. "It worked, you’re…" he pressed his head to his shoulder, gripping his arms. "You’re alive…" he sighed with a shake of his head. "I’m sorry…I’m sorry I worried you, but I knew if I gave you the contract you would live." he gulped looking up at him, but talking loud enough for the others to hear. "Hel…she hurt my soul, she was draining it out of me the whole time. My soul, Vox’s heart, Akkey’s memories, all the components to the trade. He inhaled deeply, composing himself. "It’s the reason I went mad. I remember everything I did, but…it wasn’t my fault."

The Warden: Stonegit could have continued, but just then his mind was smothered with a massive wave of concern and affection, tainted with dark undercurrents of fear. Dark-eyes!!The Warden gasped, wrapping his mind in hers and holding him tightly, voice shaking in relief. You…you’re alive…I…what were you thinking!? she suddenly roared, pushing him backwards. Do you know what the king and I have been stuck with, you don’t just transfer contracts, you absolute cow-brained limpet-faced boulder, do you even know what we’ve been through, what I’ve been through, you were going to die because of me…I was an idiot…I could have let you die…

And suddenly her voice devolved into broken sentences and choked cries and she pressed into him again, soaking in the intimacy that they used to share. I wish I could…actually…be there to keep you safe…I’m as useless as a ghost…

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "No, no," Stonegit thought to her. "No Woodchuck you are far from useless. I tricked you, it was wrong but I had to do it. I’m sorry. But you took care of him, just like I knew you would. You kept him alive, safe, healthy. You stopped me from killing someone, and you could have let me die…but you didn’t. You dragged me out of that lake, you got me to safety."

Looking back up at Haddock, Stonegit spoke again for both his King and the Warden to hear. “She was lying the whole time, I knew she was…you all…you do care about me.”  

The Warden: Guilt washed through the Warden, just as strong as the love that flooded her before. I…I may not have taken care of him as well as you might think… she murmured. I regret it now, I was just…I was bitter…and angry… Her mind recoiled a bit from his as though expecting a blow.  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Don’t be stupid," Stonegit thought to her. “He looks great. You did the best you could for a gruff n’ stuff demon who had to patch up a man who got blasted in the chest with a fire ball.”  

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Yes, we care very much indeed," Haddock said, cutting into Stonegit’s narrative. Concerned, he looked Stonegit in the eye and clarified, "You said Hel drained your soul? Are you… are you healed from that?"  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit rubbed his face, gathering his thoughts. “When I pulled myself out of the lake, Hel tore a piece of my soul away. It got sick, it couldn’t heal, it got stuck negative attributes because I literally lost the ability to feel better. It got bad after Dust….I just spiraled out of control, and there was nothing me, or anybody else could have done. Hence the water draining out of me…that was bits of my soul.”  

Stonegit shrugged. “She gave it back though,” he said. “I think she even fixed my sight a little bit. I’m…all me again.” he gave a tiny, almost nervous smile, spreading is arms as if to show he was okay. 

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I am more than thankful to hear it." Haddock nodded and placed a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. "Best news I’ve heard all week."  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit’s smile was so bright it practically warmed the area around them. Suddenly the boy jerked, his eyes widening. “Oh!” he said, turning away from Haddock. He ran towards the crowd. “Tree! Tree!” he called, and then jumped, dancing around Blunt who was sitting on the ground, tending to his nose. “Ooook whoever that is,” he said, and then got back to running to the crowd. He stumbled slightly, but a welcoming pressure on his let kept him balanced. The Changewing Snag appeared, crooning as she looked up at her change. “Hi girl, Thanks.” Stonegit breathed as he rubbed the top of her head, continuing forward. 

He slid to a stop, grabbing Tree's hands. “Tree…” he gave her a smile. “You, have got to be the most innocent and the most sensible person in this camp. From day one you have been taking the blame for things that were not your fault. You are no monster Tree, you are neither foolish nor dangerous. You are good, and you are innocent, never forget that.” he raised his head. Calling to the crowd. “And if there is anybody that still wishes to blame this girl for the actions of the Warden, or me for Hel's, or Akkey for Dust's, then go on! Haul ass! And get your self a sweet set up in High Central because they like people like you!”

Taking off like a bullet, Stonegit didn’t even wait for a response as he ran over to clover-the-tiny. The memories of what she had done were no longer blocked by Hel,  and he ran up, and gave the cat half breed a huge that lifted her from her feet. He set her down. “That’s for reading to me…” he said, and the ran off again.   

He jogged to a stop in front of Tezz, he breathed in deeply, and then set his hands at his side and bowed at the waste. “Tezz, before I even went crazy I have treated you poorly. And in return you only gave me respect in kindness beyond what my position called for. You gave me the benefit of the doubt, and went above and beyond the call of duty to help this place despite you being new here…I thank you, and I apologize. I would be honored if you no longer looked to be as a superior, but as a friend.” He licked his lips. “And you too have nothing to be ashamed of. Do not give the enemy the pleasure of knowing you are blaming yourself for their actions.”  

He quietly stepped back from him, and then turned, seeing Skye. Stonegit have him a half smile, shrugging a little. “What can I say. You and I don’t mix. But you know what…I don’t care. You are welcome here Skye, and I look forward to working beside you, rather than against you.”

Finally, Stonegit walked back towards Mera, letting his hand gently rest on Snag’s head. “Mera,” he grunted, correcting himself. “My Queen…” he paused, and then held out his good hand. “Hello…my name is Stonegit, and this…this is who I really am.” 

Mera Violet Haddock: "It is wonderful to meet you," she said with an open smile… though one also tinged with… something… and completely ignored his outreached hand. Instead, she stepped straight up to give him a quick hug. “You are quite a lucky young man,” she said. 

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Yes," Stonegit said, his shoulders lowering and eyes closing as his body relax for the first time in a long time. "Oh!" he said again. "I almost forgot," he turned back to Haddock. " Grey, Warren, and Kiri. They all did some serious damage control while I was out of my gourd. If you ever decide to get another General, or head guard, or anything, I highly recommend them. Also, Rotgrass, Tornpike and Goat were the first to betray me in the guard corp. Also highly recommendable.” 

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Noted," the king said with a nod. "All esteemed individuals from my perspective in turn, as much as I have interacted with those names you have mentioned. I will consider their promotion as I have need. Although, for what it’s worth, I do not believe we shall enter a similar scenario with you. It is ended." Haddock seemed incredibly relieved that one stressor was out of his life. 

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "So I’ve been demoted back to bodyguard…thank freakin' Odin." Stonegit said, shaking his head. "I am so done doing different jobs."  

The damaged and unstable sigil on Haddock’s hand flashed slightly, and then peeled off of him, the magic branding itself back into Stonegit. The original contract restored.” Stonegit hissed, shaking his hand, but then realizing what this mean, he relaxed giving another smile.

Stonegit turned his head, and then his eyes fixed on a snow covered object on the ground. He carefully walked past Haddock and bent down, pulling up the pike that had been dropped at the lake side. He starred down at the frosted over black iron, and then he walked briskly up to the waters edge. Hefting the weapon carefully, he casually tossed it into the freezing water. He turned around facing Haddock. “Well then… I’d like my ax now.”  

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