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Before "He's Awake"

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Fenrir: The destruction of the dungeon allowed only a few weak rays of sunlight to pierce through the interlaid stones. They puddled on the ground in bright, silvery strips, allowing a dim, bronzy glow to reflect onto the crumbling walls. Motes of dust spiraled to and fro in slow motion, a seemingly random pattern. But if one watched long enough, one would be able to detect the slightest swaying in the air. Forward…backward. Over and over. A barely-noticeable current, pushing up and down the hall like a gently disturbed pool of water. It was as though the dungeon was breathing.

There was a clattering echo and a Fireworm skittered across the ground, steaming softly as it shot across pools of moisture and breath smoking in the chill. The fiery dragon flashed down the hallway and disappeared into a shadowy crack, traveling downwards through the foundation of the dungeon, level after level, traveling deeper and deeper into the earth. Its white eyes roved over the damp soil; its tongue lashed out. It tasted nothing. Wiggling further downwards, the Fireworm emerged into a pitch-black chamber that its hot light hardly permeated and it snuffled forward, legs moving in waves as its nostrils flared.

A single, groaning shriek of metal rang through the darkness and the Fireworm froze. The tip of its tongue flickered. Silence. But again, that faint wash of air, a slight hiss of…something inhaling, exhaling. The Fireworm remained stone-still for another minute, and then started to bolt.

That would be its final mistake.

The metal screeched wildly again and a shower of sparks jumped from a suddenly-visible web of chains crossing back and forth over a massive, matted form, falling like stars and hissing against the ground. The dragon careened between the embers in terror, sensing something starting to turn and lower behind it. The ground shuddered as the thing kept moving, leaning, stretching downwards. With a massive clank, it lunged without warning and snapped a colossal pair of jaws, sending a thundering shockwave through the ground and making everything tremble, even the structure above-ground. The very air seemed to become a wall of pure sound and force, and the Fireworm squealed and was thrown into the air with the blast. A wide, slimy, dripping flat tongue snaked forward and lapped up the Fireworm like a gnat, sucking it back into its mouth and snuffing out its life in less than a second.

The massive wolf’s head thudded to the ground, slavering yellow teeth bared and showing bloody, sore gums. Its eyes slowly, slowly cracked open and a fierce amber light flooded the area. Huge, thick muscles bunched and bulged beneath a snarled pelt covered in weeping wounds and bulbous scars. The fur was black as obsidian and glittered in the strange luminance. The eyes, each of which were easily the size of a small house, slid backwards and glared with shrunken pupils at its bindings, which was a thin chain that shifted with a rainbow of darkly shining colors, embedded in the ground, strapped around his legs and across his wide back. It seemed as thin and light as a ribbon but even the huge wolf’s straining muscles could not snap it. Gleipnir. The enchanted chain built from materials that did not exist. A continuous stream of cold, clear water dribbled from the corners of his quivering, snarling mouth. It ran over his lower jaw and streamed to the stone floor, dripping into a rut worn smooth by the continuous, running liquid. The rushing water flowed out of the chamber and through a dark, earthy hole, where it would bubble to the surface above and become the river Ván. The teeth shifted and the gleaming hilt of a massive sword was revealed and flashed briefly, jutting out from between his molars. The blade was shoved down and embedded in his throat, and the angle of it ensured that he could not close his jaws comfortably all the way.

Craning his neck back, the enormous wolf strained to rise on his field-sized paws and was once again held back by the chain. A slow rumble began to echo from his lungs, hardly audible at first, but the vibration became stronger until it was an anguished, bloodcurling howl, octaves below a normal wolf’s cry. The bass note shook his prison but hardly touched the world above, causing only the slightest quivering of a few weak, dead trees. A muffled thump reminiscent of thunder resounded when the wolf crumpled to his haunches, and then to his side, letting Gleipnir win again. Just as it had for thousands and thousands of years, forever keeping him trapped in the darkness.

No. He would not give up hope. He would wait.

Rolling his eyes upwards to the surface, a stream of garbled words emitted from his wounded throat.

“Jormungand…Hel…fate…thrash…world end this…break…burn…father where…kill…kill…”

The amber eyes closed once more.

“Death…to váði vitnis…die…he must…to me.” 

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