Gateway to Nifleheim

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GATEWAY

TO

NIFLEHEIM

BY

GLENN G. THATER

A Tale from the Harbinger of Doom Saga

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Please be advised that if you obtained this book from any type of free file sharing service, it is an illegal copy—the copyright holder has not authorized any such distribution.

 

Kindle Edition License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only, and may not be resold or given away to others. If you would like to share this e-book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Glenn G. Thater.

All rights reserved.

 

Gateway to Nifleheim © 2012 by Glenn G. Thater

 

A significantly shorter, novella length, version of
Gateway to Nifleheim
was previously published under the title
The Gateway
.

 

Visit Glenn G. Thater's website at

 

Kindle Edition: November 2012

 

BOOKS BY GLENN G. THATER

 

THE HARBINGER OF DOOM SAGA

GATEWAY TO NIFLEHEIM

THE FALLEN ANGLE

KNIGHT ETERNAL

DWELLERS OF THE DEEP

VOLUME 5+
forthcoming

 

HARBINGER OF DOOM

(Combines
The Gateway
and
The Fallen Angle
into a single volume)

THE HERO AND THE FIEND

(A novelette set in the Harbinger of Doom universe)

THE GATEWAY

(A novella length version of
Gateway to Nifleheim
)

THE DEMON KING OF BERGHER

(A short story set in the Harbinger of Doom  universe)

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Author’s Note

Preface

Valkyries Gather

The Outer Dor

The Wailing

The War Room

Friend of Old Times

On Magic and Mummery

The Odinhome

Shades

Dor Eotrus

The Circle of Desolation

Chaos, Coins, and Cults

Words of Power

Mister Know-it-All

The Fog

The Temple of Guymaog

The Bogeymen

The Hero's Path

Your Time has Come and Gone

Lord of the Land

Glossary

About the Author

 

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE

 

Gateway to Nifleheim
is a revised and significantly expanded edition of the first volume of the Harbinger of Doom saga, which was previously published as the novella entitled,
The Gateway
.

 

 

PREFACE

 

Gateway to Nifleheim
is the first story in a new collection of the adventures of the ancient warrior-hero most commonly called Angle Theta. Although the original, historical manuscripts that detail the life and times of this classic warrior remain unavailable to the general public, my contacts and travels have afforded me rare opportunities to study and duplicate some of the source material, which consists of more than ten thousand documents stored in protected archives at leading museums and universities scattered across seven countries.

Due to the inaccessibility of these documents, few modern scholars or authors are familiar with the “Thetian manuscripts.” Consequently, the public knows little or nothing about this ancient hero, who some scholars believe helped shape much of the ancient world and perhaps was the historical inspiration for the legends of Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and others.

Until now, no scholar has attempted a detailed compilation of the entire Angle Theta saga, although several notable works that contain Thetian stories have been penned through the centuries. Grenville's work,
Ancient Warriors of Scandinavia
(1884), and Addleson's,
Lost Cities of Prehistoric Europe
(1921), each contain several stories of Theta's exploits.
The Warlords
(1408), by Chuan Chien contains two tales of Theta's adventures in Asia during the Neolithic Age. Although there is no complete English translation of Chien's text, the accounts contained therein provide independent evidence of the existence of Theta as a historical figure. The essay,
Forgotten Empires
by Charles Sawyer (1754), and Da Vinci's manuscript,
Of Prehistory
(1502), also contain story fragments and references to the
historical Theta. The voluminous treatise, Prehistoric
Cities of Europe and the Near East, by Cantor (1928), presents noteworthy, though inconclusive evidence of the historical existence of the city of Lomion in what is now southwestern England.

Despite the robust written record, some modern scholars dispute the historical accuracy of the Thetian manuscripts due to the limited corroborating archeological evidence for the ancient cities and cultures detailed therein. Thus, they relegate Theta to the realms of myth, legend, and allegory. Others maintain that the scholarly texts mentioned above, coupled with the original archived manuscripts, are sufficient evidence to verify the historical existence of Theta, the man. One can only hope that in time the archeological record will further reinforce this position.

Several years ago while researching Theta for a story that I planned to write, I had the good fortune to meet and begin a long-standing collaboration with several leading Thetian scholars, most notably, Professor Augustine DiPipcorno of the University of Padua, and Dr. Ann Lewis of Indiana University, who have for many years been actively translating the entire body of available original manuscripts. These professors lead a multidisciplinary team that is preparing a series of detailed scholarly texts that include all the original Thetian tales, supplemented with extensive commentary and a thorough critique of the corroborating scholarly, historical, literary, and archeological evidence.

Using the professors’ translations as my primary source material, I re-envisioned the first volume of their work into modern prose and added additional dialogue and descriptive language to make the Thetian stories more accessible and entertaining to the typical reader. That resulted in a novella length work entitled,
The Gateway
, which was published in 2008.

In 2011, “Thetian” scholars were shocked to learn that the traditional Gateway story is actually a significantly shortened version of the complete tale, the only known copy of which was discovered in near pristine condition that year in the Ashmolean Museum archives in Oxford. The Ashmolean’s thirteenth-century vellum copy, written in Old Norse, contains an impressive array of additional detail about Midgaard’s Land of Lomion and augments the Gateway story with new action-packed battles and additional scenes that flesh out the backgrounds of some of the Saga’s most beloved characters. The discovery and translation of the Ashmolean vellum inspired me to revise and expand The Gateway into the work you are now reading. To distinguish between the two versions of the tale, I chose to give the longer version a different title: hence, Gateway to Nifleheim was born.

Interestingly, the Ashmolean vellum doesn’t contain the Gateway story’s epilogue, further reinforcing the long held suspicion of the epilogue’s apocryphal nature. Consequently, I have chosen to omit the epilogue from this version. Readers wishing to read it may refer to The Gateway, which contains the brief epilogue in its entirety.

In each version of the story, I often refer to the various exotic peoples and fanciful creatures described in the original manuscripts using terms such as “elves,” “gnomes,” “dwarves,” and the like, which are familiar to readers of fantasy and science fiction tales. The chapter titles are my own and are meant to be entertaining. In all cases, however, the central plots, facts, themes, and spirit of the original tales remain unchanged.

You will find that the Thetian tales span continents and are filled with numerous colorful characters. To aid you in the journey and to help keep track of whom is whom, I’ve included a detailed glossary at the end of the book (which is easily accessible via hyperlink from the Table of Contents). I encourage you to make use of it.

I hope that you will come to enjoy the Thetian tales as much as I have. Stop by my website at http://www.glenngthater.com for more information about the exciting Angle Theta saga. Happy reading.

 

Glenn G. Thater

New York, USA

 

 

 

 

GATEWAY TO NIFLEHEIM

A Tale from the Harbinger of Doom Saga

 

“You will not thwart us again, harbinger of doom.

We will have this world this time.

What once was ours will be ours again.”

—Bhaal, Lord of Nifleheim, to Angle Theta

 

 

I

VALKYRIES GATHER

 

37th Year of King Selrach Rothtonn Tenzivel III’s rule,

Year 853 by Lomerian Reckoning
.

 

A grayed lord and his lieutenants stood at the fore of a small wedge of armored cavalry. Concern and confusion filled their faces as they gazed ineffectually in the direction their scouts rode some minutes before. Behind the officers were the lord's personal guards: a squad of handpicked knights and soldiers: hard men of Lomion’s borderlands, veterans all—not a young man or lad amongst them.

Each knight was armed and armored in forged steel plate, chainmail, sword, hammer, and lance, all silver hued and polished to a gleaming shine. Their white tabards proudly bore the grand coat-of-arms of House Eotrus. The navy-blue capes that hung from their shoulders were trimmed in gold and draped over the barded rumps of their massive gray destriers. The unknighted soldiers with them were similarly equipped, though they lacked the steel plates and capes, and their horses were of a smaller, leaner breed. Behind them came a squad of chainmailed archers on tranteers, the lithe, speedy horses bred in Dover.

The company’s warhorses snorted and skittered this way and that, but held their positions—as much a testament to their bravery as to their riders’ skills. Steamy breath rose from both horses and men, though but minutes before, the night had been mild and clear. Then things changed.

Malignant, clinging mist appeared from nowhere and cut their vision to but a few yards. It wafted about and sickened the men—causing them to cough and wretch and grow lightheaded. With the mist came a bone-chilling cold, and soon followed a thunderous cacophony that pierced their very souls. The maleficent, skirling, bestial sound was akin to naught in nature and much in nightmare. A preternatural wailing it was, and in its wake bounded death.

“Dead gods,” said Lord Aradon Eotrus, a grizzled mountain of steel and muscle. “It sounds as if all hell has fallen on our scouts.” Despite the frightful din, his horse alone stood rock steady, though his hand only lightly held the reigns. Although it lacked the long scar and pockmarks that marred its master’s cheeks, Eotrus’s warhorse bore its own battle wounds born of long years of militant service.

Par Talbon, shortest and slightest of the company, was the first to move forward, the tip of his quarterstaff aglow with magics unknown, but Eotrus’s hand darted out, held him fast, and forced him to pull back on his reins.

Eotrus shook his head. “We hold our ground, wizard,” he said as he tightly gripped the small man's upper arm.

“They’re being torn apart,” said Talbon, smartly dressed in black, collar to boot. His hair was short and gray, with remnants of jet-black, but it was the long thin scar that made his right eye forever gray and clouded that most defined his face. “Stern is with them for Odin’s sake. We can't just abandon him out there.” Talbon tried to pull away, but Eotrus’s grip was iron.

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