Book 10: Chapter 05

Judgement in Jotunheim

BOOK: 10
GM: Bradford (from James’s notes)
Transcribed by: Bradford
Date: February 26, 2023
In Game date: September 2012
Episode: 55 (129)

Part 01: Hiroko Noshimuri

DFA_ECR_Log_1005_0001.pngWe managed to ditch the wolf guardians, and the pooka’s distraction seemed to be working, so we rushed up the mountain path. My power turned the shadows into a shroud that hid me from our enemies. The cairn lay just beyond the path.

There was no turning back now. There was never any turning back for me.

I could sense the power of the tree as the pathway ended. Being so close to the World Tree, this cairn was covered in roots. To me that meant that amid the damned blizzard, cherry blossoms were falling alongside the snow pedals. Above us, the World Tree itself reminded me of standing at the base of the Chrysler Building looking straight up. I couldn’t fathom its size. Its scale.

It also meant that I could hide behind the root and catch a peak at the battlefield without being seen. I used the opportunity to wipe the snow off the goggles of my gas mask, the only thing protecting me from the spores that had already claimed the giants below.

The cairn itself was a small valley on the side of the mountain. This close to the tree, I couldn’t tell where the tree ended and the stone mountain began. Perhaps the mountain was growing out of the tree. Who knows?

Eric Laufey the used car salesman was crucified upon a tree. I couldn’t get a good look at him, but he looked alive.

Beyond Laufey was the Blackthorn Tree. A gnarled thing fifteen feet tall. Its roots entangled with Yggdrasil’s. Fulvragg had wounded the World Tree’s roots, allowing the Blackthorn roots to slither inside like a snake. I couldn’t tell, but I could swear the black mold was spewing out from a…mouth?

The spores rained down like the snow it accompanied. Like a volcano after an eruption.

Fulvragg stood at the edge of the cliff, looking over at the frozen lake and our distraction. He was a frost giant wielding a staff of the same black wood as the Blackthorn tree. The staff itself gave off its own cloud of black spores, enveloping Fulvragg in a protective shell.

Under Fulvragg’s feet, I could barely see the edge of the cliff and the rest of my friends hanging off of it.

Mustn’t hesitate.

I ran at the Frost Giant and readied my sword. I shouted a battle cry and swung at the giant.

Fulvragg…blocked me with his black staff. It was like hitting one of the training blocks in a dojo. Like he was made of concrete.

He said something I didn’t catch and took a breath.

I willed my Shinigami power into Zanpakuto, giving me the ability to cut through whatever metaphysical bullshit this madman had.

“Pathetic. You have no chance.” Fulvragg said and raised his staff at me.

Then the big blue meanie threw a lightning bolt at me. He turned my sword into a lightning rod.

Lightning bolts don’t look like the magic shit in cartoons and movies. It doesn’t linger. It was just a flash of light and a sudden tensing of every muscle in my body.

That hurt…

So I ran at him again and kept up the fight.

Then I felt…cold. Well, colder. I looked down and saw that a layer of ice had formed over me. Chilling me to the bone and slowing my movements.

I hoped that the rest of the team was following the plan.

Part 02: Fergus Mac Cormaic

Before we started our ascent, we gathered up in the keep out of sight. We needed to finalize a plan. The hunt needed to go perfectly.

“So what’s the plan?” I asked, my voice distorted by the power of the place.

David helped the others with their gas masks, our only protection against the black mold.

“We need to rescue Eric Laufey and destroy the Blackthorn.” David said, “Virgil has his bomb.”

Virgil slapped his chest with a fist, taking him temporarily out of the haze he was in.

He looked at the rest of us with eyes that looked almost cataracted, “If you handle the subject…Eric. I’ll handle the tree. Fergus is the way out. Just keep that biggun off of us.”

“I can open a way just fine.” My distorted voice blared out. I could tell the others were unnerved by it.

“That fits right in with an idea I had, Virgil.” David said.

“Oh yeah?”

“Do you like baseball?”

About an hour later, we hung on the side of the cairn’s lip, looking up at Fulvragg’s ugly bottomside. I could grab him, take him over the side. But, a hunter is patient.

I heard Hiroko’s scream and saw Fulvragg turn his back on us. I knew that was the signal.

I leaped over the side and took a quick look around. Hiroko was engaged with Fulvragg. Eric was still stapled to a tree. Fulvragg couldn’t look everywhere.

I picked up some snow and threw it at Fulvragg’s face, and ran right past him.

“You’re out of your league!” I think I shouted and ran as fast as I could towards Eric.

My distraction was small, but it gave Hiroko the opening she needed to stab Fulvragg in the chest.

Something flew over my head, but I ignored it and headed for Eric.

I found Kerouac in the form of a beaver, chewing on Eric’s bindings.

Remember the plan.

I could see what went on behind me. I heard screams, chants, and more cracks of lightning. I heard what sounded like a storm. I felt something reach for me.

I ran to the roots of Yggdrasil and did the riskiest thing I had ever done.

When I use my wild power, I first have to attune to the nature in the area. Once I get to know that nature, I could get the wilds to help me out.

I laid my hand on Yggdrasil’s roots and opened my wild power to the goddamned world tree.

Now I know what stepping on a downed live powerline feels like.

Part 03:David Clay

Hiroko shouted, and Fergus went up and over the side.

I looked over to Virgil, who seemed to be either deep in meditation or was not in the real world mentally. How humans deal with fear is often strange.

“Are you ready?” I asked.

“Do it!” Virgil said.

I grabbed him and threw him over the side of the cliff. He had a good trajectory. He landed in a cloud of powder. If he broke something, he didn’t care.

Fulvragg slammed his staff into the ground, and lightning hit the area. Being over the side, it missed me. Lucky.

I waited for the electricity to pass and moved over the side. I ran at Fulvragg and rushed him from behind.

I elbowed the giant in the small of his back and stomped on the calve, setting Hiroko up for a stab into the giant’s chest.

I used the distractions to press on Fulvragg’s forearm. Although he was larger than me, my golem strength was greater and my mind sharper.

I wrenched the blackthorn staff from his grasp and hoped that would end his spellcasting.

It did not.

Arnbjorg the eagle became Arnbjorg the shaman, and began throwing her own power at Fulvragg.

Fulvragg stopped the power with a single phrase I couldn’t make out.

“You forget, child.” Fulvragg said, “I know your true name!”

Fulvragg stomped a foot, and a tornado conjured out of thin air. Snow and black mold pelted my face, putting me off balance next to the side of the cliff. I used the staff as an anchor and moved to break the corrupted thing over my knee.

Not only did the staff not break, it didn’t move. The blackthorn branch took root and began to grow into the ground, searching for another path to Yggdrasil’s heart.

Then branches spread out and stabbed me through the shoulder.

Then I saw Arbjorg appear through the tornado. The black mold had claimed her.

Part 04: Virgil Gugasian

DFA_ECR_Log_1005_0004.pngI can’t remember much of the last parts of the jaunt into Jotunheim. My time was spent feeling halfway between a drug trip and the world’s biggest food coma. I wanted to pass out and just take in this power. No telling the possibilities.

But the Conclave’s binding upon me forced me in a direction.

I remember agreeing to a plan. Some kind of plan. I remember being all business and “Whatever it takes.” which I usually say before someone is about to break a limb.

David asked me about baseball.

Then I was on the side of the mountain, and lightning was striking, I guess.

David asked me if I was ready.

I said, “Yeah.”

One ton of clay defense attorney grabbed me and threw me up into the air like I was a roll of toilet paper on Halloween. I felt gravity ignoring me for a moment and then remembered its job.

I fell and had just enough sense to go into a trained tumble and rolled to a stop at the base of the blackthorn tree.

I checked my gas mask. Still there.

Checked my shotgun. There but worthless.

Checked my backpack. Still on my back and unopened.

I heard lightning and a…tornado. But whatever was happening, it was happening somewhere else.

I looked up and met faces with the Blackthorn tree. The tree had an actual fucking face. Or rather, a gnarled knot in the visage of a face with divots for eyes and a mouth. A cloud of black mold emerged from its mouth.

I could also feel Yggdrasil crying out. This thing was gangrenous. It needed to be gotten rid of.

My previous practice paid off in that I removed the Thermite charge and set it to the tree’s face. I wasn’t setting records or anything, but I hoped it would be enough.

I armed the charge and ran towards the other tree, the one with my subject on it. Kerouac seemed to be helping him down.

As soon as I got enough distance, I turned towards the Thermite charge. I aimed an open hand and forced my will, my conviction, the duty of my contract, and every piece of magic bullshit I had picked up into a single all-or-nothing blast.

“Lavos!” I shouted. A magic word I made up on the spot.

The last of Sally the Salamander’s fire erupted from hand as a bolt of concentrated orange fire. The flame splashed across the surface of the tree and turned into a solid orange light.

Then the Thermite went off, and things got really interesting.

Thermite is a do-not-try-this-at-home kind of substance. A little oxidized iron, a little of this and that, and it burns at high temperatures. Hot enough that the military uses it to destroy equipment.

I had allegedly used some to open up a vault once.

Thermite isn’t supposed to explode, even when it hits a block of ice. This time it did.

My head immediately went to science class.

Historically, the humble flour mill is one of the most dangerous places on the planet. Just a big barrel full of good old-fashioned powered wheat grain. You use it all the time in your kitchen for all baked goods. It’s a staple ingredient. The opposite of harmless.

But, when flour gets in the air, it is very flammable. When a flour mill catches fire, it leads to a dust explosion.

In 1878 Minneapolis, the largest flour mill at the time caught fire and exploded. It was full of nothing but flour. The explosion killed fourteen people, sent debris hundreds of feet into the air, and destroyed something eight city blocks.

The Blackthorn’s mold spores must have been the same shit because it went boom.

Explosions are usually a mass of air moving instantaneously in all directions. Hollywood likes to use barrels of gasoline to get that chunky, fiery explosions we are used to seeing.

The orange fire of the salamander’s magic washed over the face, washed over the thermite charge, caught the black spores, and turned into a massive fireball that knocked me off my feet and blinded me with orange light.

I heard a scream from Fulvragg behind me and a scream in front of me.

I lowered my hands and saw the Blackthorn tree had been removed from existence. In its place was a flaming mass of tinder that threatened the world tree…until the fire started to think twice.

I looked to the rest of my team and held out a thumbs-up.

“I did my part. Let’s get the fuck out of here!”

Part 05: Kerouac

DFA_ECR_Log_1005_0005.pngIn a battle, the key to avoiding harm is knowing where to stand and who to stand behind. The samurai and the golem can do whatever they like for honor. To fight hand-to-hand.

I prefer to keep my distance. The others knew what they were doing.

I had other plans.

While Hiroko started her distraction, I ran my tiny snow rabbit body to the poor dear Eric. He had been crucified upon a root of Yggdrasil. Thorns of unknown wood lashed around his feet and ankles, holding him to the tree. His death would be slow and painful.

For me, it was an opportunity.

I took my Pooka form, the better to make hand gestures and to slap the child of Loki across the face back to consciousness.

“Oh…am I hallucinating?” Eric asked, pain in every word.

“I am here to make you an offer.” I said.

“Could you get me down from here? It really hurts.”

“I am able, “ I replied, “But at what price?”

“My bargaining posture is not the best right now. Anything. Just get me down.”

Lightning stuck at just that moment. Perfect drama.

“Could you say that again?”

“Say what? Get me down.””

“For what price?”


“One more time, please.”

“Anything, anything, anything. Just get me down from here.”

I felt a binding take. My purpose had been satiated.

“Thrice you say and done. I shall get you down.”

I turned into a beaver. Beavers are quite useful. Very sharp teeth. Very industrious. And adorable.

In the same moments that I heard the idiots fighting and getting struck with power, I chewed threw the thorn manacles. Eric fell from the tree into the snow face first. He looked up to me as I rubbed my paws together, slapped the ground with my tail, and chuckled behind the gas mask.

“I have done as you asked. I got you down. I shall name my price later, son of Loki.”

The drama was complemented by Virgil, who set off his incendiary device just at that moment. The Blackthorn tree exploded behind me, and flames took the cairn around us.

I saw Virgil give a thumbs-up and say some kind of nonsense. I waved to him and cupped my hands in a makeshift bullhorn.

“Over here, Virgil!” I shouted, “Eric needs a hand..”

Virgil ran over to Eric and picked him up in a fireman’s carry. He ran towards Fergus, who seemed to be…

Oh God.

He was talking to the tree…

Part 06: Fergus Mac Cormaic

I felt the biggest tree I would ever touch. The tree whose roots grow between worlds. Prehistoric. Cosmic. Infinite.

I felt the tree’s many paths. Countless limbs and branches upon branches.

I thought about the park near my house. I remembered my wife, my little girl, and my promise to come back to them.

I asked the World Tree a favor.

“Take us to Midgard, please.”

I came back to reality.

I found the roots growing into an arc and then into the place between places.

A Way opened.

I turned to see Virgil carrying Eric towards me in a run.

“This way!” I said, my voice even more distorted than before.

Virgil grabbed my hand, and together we went into the portal.

We flowed through the roots of the world tree. Past worlds I could not describe.

We found gravity again and landed firmly.

I looked up to find a familiar hiking trail. Trees and grass all around. We had landed right where I wanted to go.

There was also a pair of hikers on the trail looking right at the three of us. Maybe it was my glowing green eyes or the gas mask and snow gear. Maybe it was something else.

The couple screamed, “It’s the Green Man!!!!” and ran for their lives the other way.

Virgil removed his gas mask and opened his snow jacket, exposing his sweat-drenched self to the summer Seattle heat. He took deep breaths and looked to me.

“Gnarly…” He said, looking me up and down, “This guy needs a hospital. Go back for the others.”

“You also need a hospital.”

Virgil looked over his shoulder. A piece of brown wood stuck out from it. A piece of the world tree had hit him as a piece of shrapnel, I guess. Though this one was kind of big.

“That is going to hurt later.” He said and took off in another direction.

I summoned my weapon. It became a spear.

I went back through the Way and found Yggdrasil again.

The hunt was on.

Part 07: Kerouac

DFA_ECR_Log_1005_0007.pngFulvragg was proving a handful to my companions. Although Fergus had managed to escape with Virgil and the son of Loki, David, and Hiroko struggled to bring down the Frost Giant.

If I still had my Summer Magic, I could have had tools to work with against Fulvragg. Called up Summer fire and roasted him like chestnuts. Commanded roots to entangle him. Maybe even put him under some kind of mental binding.


What I did possess was a tiny body that allowed me to take similarly tiny shapes. I couldn’t become a wolf or a stag. Far too large.

I didn’t know enough about him to play on insecurities.

What I did have were my glamours. I could at least even the odds.

I romped through the snow to an advantageous position. I pointed a bunny paw toward the action and threw one of my better albeit simple illusions.

Where once was one David Clay the Golem became twelve David Clays rotating around Fulvragg in a circle. I saw it on a mortal cartoon once, while I was disguised as a child.

Fulvragg looked around and grew frustrated as David and Hiroko traded blows with the giant.

Then that bastard blue-skinned sorcerer dropped another lightning storm on us. It really hurt and chilled me to my bunny bones. Covered my fur in a layer of ice.

This could not stand!

So, I did the rudest thing I could think of to aid those with weapons.

I growled a bunny growl, ran across the snow, leaped off of Hiroko’s shoulder, and landed on Fulvragg’s massive form…as a common American skunk.

I lifted my tail and blasted him with one of the greatest defenses in the natural world. The smelly liquid went right into his nose and open mouth.

Then, I ran as fast as I could to hide back in the snow, because I am not an idiot.

Part 08: Hiroko Noshimuri

Zanpakuto is sharp. Metaphysically sharp when I pour power, skill, and martial technique into it. I can cut a lot of things down in a few strokes.

Fulvragg was like chopping down a tree swinging a hand saw.

I swung at the giant and looked for openings as much as I dared. He kept blocking me with his staff, pushing me away with raw force.

Even though I was faster, he was stronger and had the mass of a school bus.

Kerouac dropped some glamour, because all of a sudden a dozen Davids appeared and rotated around the giant.

David gave him a beat down from behind and gave me an opening.

I stabbed Fulvragg at just the right moment, and David took his staff away.

Arbjorg went down with some magic words, and Fulvragg started his little tornado.

He used some kind of rune on his person and channeled magic.

More of that lightning struck all over the Cairn, covering all who it hit with electrical burns and that eerie cold sheet of ice that slowed us.

David looked to be slowing down from the assault, but together we locked eyes and knew we had to go on.

We attacked together, hitting Fulvragg from the front and from behind. David would knock the giant down, and I would take a piece off of his midsection.

The gas mask made it hard to breathe, but I dared not remove it with the mold all around us.

Then, the Blackthorn tree blew up.

Virgil’s explosion was not what I expected. What the hell did that guy use?

“No!” Fulvragg screamed.

Just as he screamed, Kerouac jumped onto his face in the form of a skunk and…skunked him.

It took all of my training to not laugh and see it as an advantage.

I looked over and saw Virgil give the thumbs up. Behind him, what was left of the Blackthorn tree burned, and seemingly cried as the last pieces of black wood split apart. The black mold left in the air became embers as they fell amongst the snow.

That sight of the mold burning finally showed me how flammable the black mold was. And Fulvragg was covered in the stuff.

I smiled and decided to back up a bit.

Virgil grabbed Eric and ran towards a portal Fergus seemed to be opening.

The whole cairn sparked as Fulvragg hit us all with another one of those damned lightning storms from a rune he carried. The ethereal ice from his magic crusted our bodies and slowed us.

So, I reached into my backpack.

“Time to turn up the heat!” I said as I leveled the shotgun I had brought for this very occasion.

Guns are not really my thing. More of a fan of supernatural blades. But I do know that you can fire many different kinds of rounds out of a shotgun.

The shotgun I brought was a cheap thing you could get at any gun store. I didn’t know the brand, just the low price tag.

The round I loaded it with was called a “dragon round”. The Forest Service uses them to start backfires or some such.

The one I fired spawned a goat of flame that overtook the moldy Frost Giant. The flames spread like he was covered in gasoline.

The bastard screamed. Time to finish this.

Part 09: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_1005_0009.pngI dared not throw the blackthorn staff off the cliff, lest another tree grow anywhere else in this place. If the Blackthorn tree escaped, we would have to struggle again to contain it.

In any case, I couldn’t do anything to the staff because moments after I took it from Fulvragg, it took root into the ground. Even with my strength, it would not move on its own.

In addition, new branches spewed out from the black wood and pierced my body. I was unsure if the mold could eventually overtake me with enough time, but I wanted to leave nothing to chance.

I had to wait until Hiroko fired her shotgun.

The fiery shell lit up Fulvragg like a candle. Any concentration the frost giant might have had was broken by flames that covered his body.

The flame also gave me an opportunity I had been waiting for when the Blackthorn staff cried out as well and cracked.

I grabbed the staff with both hands and poured my calm into my grib. I thought of the innocents who must be protected and my purpose to do so. Strength and focus came to me.

The staff cracked and then splintered as I tore it from the ground.

Being so close to a conflagurated Fulvragg, I did the only logical thing. I forced the staff into the flames, making it a torch. I ran the flames onto the remaining blackthorn wood on the ground around me. The wood cried out as much as the larger tree did.

Fulvragg screamed again and seemed to fumble for his runes. He would no doubt use magic to try to dose the flames or some other manner of spell.

I made sure that didn’t happen by stabbing Fulvragg in the back with the flaming staff. With a flaming piece of wood in his lung, he was unable to speak any kinds of arcane words.

He backed up to the cliff. Perhaps we were trying to run to the lake to put himself out.

I will never know because a spear appeared over my head.

Part 10: Fergus Mac Cormaic

DFA_ECR_Log_1005_0010.pngThe way back to Jotunhiem was a lot easier than the way out. I followed the branches of the world tree that had grown across worlds.

As I passed through the barrier between places, the roots answered my calls and surrounded me. They guided me through a tunnel of roots.

I could sense the World Tree’s cries changing to a sigh of relief. The corruption had been replaced by fire. But the fire could be managed.

The world tree grabbed me and dragged me through worlds for one purpose. To finish the fight we had started with those who had sought to corrupt it.

I held my weapon, a spear for hunting large game. The roots accelerated, and a new Way opened before me.

I flew out of the World Tree with astounding force. Time slowed down.

I could see now why Virgil had said was gnarly. My skin had become bark. My hair had grown into leaves. My limbs had become twisted limbs of the same wood that made up the world tree.

I looked and found my prey. Fulvragg the defiler was on fire. His staff was now through him.

I took my spear in both hands and flew down towards the giant with all the wild power I had left. Fulvragg looked up slackjawed just in time to see the last moments of my hunt.

“From Hel’s heart, I stab at thee!” I shouted as I stabbed down with my spear.

The spear went into Fulvragg’s open mouth and impaled his body. The force took us over the side of the cliff.

But my climbing gear and the ropes we had set up were still there. I grabbed a rope still attached to the mountain and kicked Fulvragg down the mountain.

Fulvragg’s burning body fell into darkness.

I used my grip on the rope to flip back up to the Cairn.

David, Hiroko, and Kerouac greeted me as I emerged. I don’t know if they looked in awe or in fear. No bother. It was rightly earned.

I looked over to Arnbjorg. If she was infected, we would need to hunt again.

She wasn’t. Her blue skin looked burned, but she smiled in a painful joy.

“Thank you, warriors.” Arnbjorg said.

Hiroko slashed threw the air, throwing the blood from her katana, and sheathed it in a practiced motion.

“Let’s check to make sure we got it all and get out of here.” She said.

We spent some time checking the site. What pieces of blackthorn we didn’t burn was consumed by Yggdrasil. I could sense the tree’s joy at our victory. I saw Kerouac in his pooka form gathering materials from the mountain, but he stopped when I glared at him.

“I have obligations.” Kerouac said, “I promise that any piece of that tree or its mold are not what I have gathered.”

The Pooka repeated himself twice more, as strong a promise as a fey could give. He could not speak falsehood. I believed him. But we both know that if he tricked me, I would go to hunt him.

David reached into his pack and produced the acorn that our sponsor had given us. A new Way opened, and we walked through.

We emerged on the UW campus where we left. We were surrounded by the corpses of Formor.

It seems our sponsors had been enduring attacks from the Fomor the entire night we were gone.

We arrived just late enough to hear the sound of police sirens, which cued our exit.

That night, I went back home…until I couldn’t. I never entered my new house. I parked myself in a tree in our yard.

I looked down at my hands, which returned to human form over the course of an hour of meditation. I still felt the hunt. The need to kill prey.

Tears came to my eyes as I looked upon my house. The house I made for my new family. My girls were in there.

But they weren’t my loved ones now. My heart told me they were prey. They told me that until I conquered this wild side of myself and my purpose, they would never be safe.

I couldn’t put them in danger.

I picked a direction, and I left Seattle. I don’t know when I will return.

Epilogue: Hiroko Noshimuri

Fergus never came home the night after Jotunheim. He left a letter for his wife, but with no other information.

The Greenman disappeared from Seattle with no other sightings beside a couple in the park near Fergus’ house.

Virgil had made it to Aunt B’s with Eric. Hidenori was absolutely livid at the fact that he had returned successfully and alive. Good. Bastard deserved to eat some crow.

Virgil had also picked up a souvenir in the form of a piece of World Tree shrapnel in his shoulder. The pair of them spent weeks in the hospital. Leif couldn’t get all of the tree out in fact and Virge will still need surgery.

In the meantime, several Japanese businesses set up shop in Seattle, throwing money around like candy to help rebuild. Most of them were legitimate. Mom and pop shops. Corporate offices. Restaurants and grocery stores. Charities. Even a few startups.

Some of them were fronts for the Yakuza. My Aunt had claimed the Inland Northwest as her new territory. One Bosozoku biker gang became two and then three. The Pack began arming themselves, preparing to defend their territory as new monsters filled voids still left behind by the Red Court.

About a week after Jotunheim, I got an invitation for lunch and went back to Watanabe’s Dojo in the I-District. I found the old master sitting where I had found him before.

“I heard what you did over there.” The master said.

“It was my duty, nothing more.” I replied.

Toshiro the old samurai smiled and tossed me a bokken, a practice blade.

“Come on. Let’s see what you are really made of.” He said.

I finally started training. Turns out he was pretty good.



Book 10: Chapter 05

Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem HumAnnoyd