It was nearing Midwinter in Feyjasfjord. It had been a week since the sun peeked over the horizon; at noon only faint light could be seen in the southern sky. It would be several weeks yet before she appeared again.
The last few nights, the Northern Lights had been spectacular. Everybody was up the roof of Skeggvarshold's longhall to watch (and drink). Gull-Skeggi told the story (again) of the year the linnorm came, spitting fire, destroyed his sheepfold and ate all his sheep. His son Skodi helped a bit with the telling; Skodi was quite familiar with the shifting details, although he had not been born yet when it happened.
Gull-Skeggi's story halted as the Lights washed over from green to a blood red. Nobody at Skeggvarshold had ever seen them do that! Skodi consulted the spirits of the ancestors, and heard a very clear statement that battle was coming. Gull-Skeggi could not have been happier – maybe he would again go a-viking! But then Thrag, Skodi's thrall and bodyguard, heard a hissing coming from the east. And soon, he spotted a light off near the eastern horizon as well – surely the return of that damned sheep-stealing linnorm!
It soon became clear that this was not a linnorm but a falling star, as it whooshed overhead and smashed into the rebuilt sheepfold. The Skeggvasons strapped on skis and took off to collect any valuable skymetal that might have fallen. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the collapsed and burning ruins of the wooden structure, they saw that the meteorite wasn't there – it had smashed right through, skipped a few times, and judging from the new cloud of steam it was now lying at the bottom of the fjord. Quite close to the far shore – Hallgrimson land. In fact, in the flickering red cast by the Northern Lights they could just make out a couple of folks on skis heading from Hallgrimshold down to the fjord.
This presented a problem, because there was no fast safe way over there. There is a lovely bridge, which unfortunately has an ice troll living under it. Gull-Skeggi and Hallgrim have both encouraged the ice troll to stay there, just so it's not so easy for their kids to interact with each other (and, inevitably, kill each other.) The Skeggvasons considered trying to buy passage, but eventually decided that since they were on skis and the bridge was at the bottom of a long straight run, they could just rush through and probably be ok. Bjarkur Bolg, the troll, took a swipe at a thrall and missed – so they were right.
They soon arrived at the rocky beach where the Hallgrimsons were in the process of recovering the fallen star. Present were Skapti the Lame, a doomsayer, Ullveig Helgasdottir, a capable warrior, and a bunch of thralls for doing the heavy lifting. Skorvir Skeggvason drew his bow, but Skapti countered this by calling up a blinding mist. Nobody is entirely sure what happened after this, but by the time the mist lifted Ullveig was down, one of her thralls was dead, and Skapti was hurt; but only after that coward had roasted the Skeggvasons with fire magic from inside the safety of his magical mist. Ullveig had been disemboweled by Skodi's thrall; but Skodi, thinking this was not a fitting way for her to die, healed her. Skapti had the Hallgrimshold thralls carry her off, and the Skeggvasons absconded with the meteorite after pulling it from the fjord.
Not wishing to risk Bjarkur Bolg – who was undoubtedly now waiting for their return – Skodi, Skorvir, their dog Huginn, and the thrall headed south along the coast into Gunnar's lands. They first encountered one of his sons, working on fishing nets, and bought passage back home on his skiff.
There was much feasting at Skeggvarshold that morning.
The next night, after Skeggvarshold's smith had determined he couldn't do anything with the fallen star, Skodi, Skorvir, Huginn, and the thrall packed a sled with supplies and headed up into the hills to visit the dwarves of Dvergshol. The folk of Feyjasfjord often traded with the dwarves in the summer; the main road to them was little-traveled in the winter, but Gull-Skeggi was eager to get this skymetal turned into weapons immediately.
Unfortunately the road to the dwarves went right through Hallgrim's lands, and access required crossing Bjarkur Bolg's bridge again. Skodi was not keen on this, and instead convinced his brother that they should set off directly into the hills on game trails, then meet up with the road somewhere well north of Feyjasfjord. The nine-day trip to the dwarves was uneventful, except when the Skeggvasons fell into a barbegazi pit while trying to sneak across their territory. This could have been bad – the Skeggvasons were skiing at high speed in the dark, keeping on the track only by their thrall's darkvision – but due to their luck and skill they'd managed to bypass the barbegazi alarm, so the ice gnomes were as surprised as the Skeggvasons to find three men, a sled, and a dog suddenly falling through the ceiling of the burrows at high speed. However, by the time Skodi, Skorvir, and company had dug themselves out, the ice gnomes were upon them – even worse, they'd brought a tame hoar fox, which blasted the entire group with its frost breath!
Skodi's magical healing shortly got the Skeggvasons and dog back on their feet; then Skorvir's arrows and the thrall's claws made quick work of the two ice gnomes. The fox fled into a warren of burrows beneath the snow. The damaged and exhausted party quickly threw the gnomes' bodies on their sled and fled. Rather than risk another ice gnome trap in the next valley, Skodi suggested they head along the ridge and stay in cover. They saw no more ice gnomes, but this added another day to their trip, meaning they would run out of supplies before they reached Dvergshol. Skorvir and the dog spent a day hunting, but prey was scarce; the group decided to just go on half rations as needed, and push on to get to the dwarves.
While they ran into no further mishap, when they arrived at the front gate of Dvergshol, they found it closed and dark. At first the knocker got no response, but with his darkvision the half-orc thrall noticed someone had opened the peep-hole! It immediately closed; but the gate did not open, nor was there any response.
As the hungry Skeggvasons contemplated starvation on the very doorstep of the dwarves, they heard the call of a horn – a call which slowly turned into the howl of a wolf! Seconds later, a pack of white-coated wolves came charging down the mountainside just behind them!