This is the Story of the Bear-Whale. I envision the Bear-Whale to be a random wrecking ball. Rare, but ever-present destroyer with no allegiance. That leaves all battlers vanquished; unless they combine their powers to repel the Bear-Whale and its Blind Seer/Druid Priest.
Here is the story:
by Henry Gant
The wind bit at Fredian's face. He looked at the gathering clouds.
"Get the blind druid," he said.
Arn, the best of his riders, slammed his boot-heels into the belly of his horse causing it to jump and rear. Arn tore his reigns to the side and slammed his boots again. The horse and rider flew like a banshee, Arn's furs flying and whirling in the increased wind.
Kague moved alongside Fredian.
"That old wizard is dangerous."
"He knows this valley," said Fredian. "If we don't find shelter we will die. Our tents will never outlast whatever this way comes."
"He will feed us to the Bear-whale the first chance he gets," said, Kauge. "That druid is a trickster and he will be the death of us. Better we brave the ice and wind on our own . . . we should not have brought him."
"He will tell us of shelter or I will have his tongue for my last supper!" Fredian, promised.
Kauge settled back on the blankets of his horse, and said, "Then I will drink the Bear-whale's blood before I die!"
He turned and raised his spear toward the sky and shouted to the one-hundred riders . . . "Death to the Bear-whale!"
"Death to the Bear-whale!!" they echoed.
The clouds were black and snow-lighting could be seen in the distance. Arn thundered to the front of the row with a mount in tow.
The druid hands were bound to the seat of his horse.
"Speak old man," said Fredian, "Tell me of shelter . . . chart me these strange lands."
"I do not see," said the druid, "you left my eyes behind."
Fredian drew close to the druid, "You will hear me now as I describe this place. Point us toward shelter or I will leave your ears and hands here in the snow."
Touching the blade of his sword to the druid's throat, he added, "It is said that a wizard can see even without eyes. All I need is your head on a pole . . . and your nose will lead us to the cave from where you crawled."
"Careful you do not eat or drink of the potions in my cave," said the druid, "it is you who may lose his ears and hands . . . only to become Helheim's serpent in Niflheim."
Arn grabbed the druid and pulled him from his mount . . . holding a dagger to his throat. He pulled the blade letting a line of blood appear. Through gritted teeth, Arn said, "Next you speak, it will be of shelter."
Snow began to appear in the wind. Fredian placed his sword back into its sheath. He looked to the distance.
"The Sun should be highest now. We can ride to the West-forest before nightfall. To the North . . . the foot-hills and rocks. To the East . . . The mountain of the Bear-whale.
East . . . too far for a days ride. We need shelter before sunset."
Fredian turned to the withered wizard and said, "Speak old man . . . where is your cave."
"Follow the line of the forest north. Before sunset, you will see a tortoise and a hare. When the tortoise catches of the hare . . . ride east and you will see the mouth of the cave." The wizard laughed, "and there you will find all that you seek."
"And the Bear-whale . . . what of the Bear-whale?
The druid's grin broadened as he spoke, "Aww . . . you and your riders are not even a morsel for the Bear-whale. He will vanquish you and all those invested in this march with the clearing of his throat as he sleeps. When you realize the true size and strength of the Bear-whale it will be too late."
Arn let the druid settle back down to his leather and blanket saddle.
Fredian shouted, "There will be no pull back. We ride!"
And the Hundred thundered northward.
They rode four abreast: Fredian, Arn, Kauge and the druid.
They ran hard, racing against the coming darkness and cold. The horses began to lather . . . frothing at the mouth.
Lessor riders dropped farther behind as they and their beasts tired. Those who stopped soon fell out of sight.
Fredian push onward knowing the race was against certain death.
The druid and his steed rode seemingly unaffected by the cold or the mounting pain; his loss of sight unnoticeable in his horsemanship. "Look to the east!" he called.
And there, perceptible in the distance were the rock formations of a tortoise and a hare. As they rode, the tortoise gained upon the hare. Suddenly, the group changed direction and headed east at Fredian's command.
In the fading light, they could see the opening of a great cave. Fedian signaled, halt.
The wind continuing to howl.
"It's large," said, Kague, "bigger than I could have imagined."
"If it's deep, we can take the horses," said, Arn.
Fedian called to the druid, "Old man, will the horses fit?"
"All will fit," said the druid, "start your fires there and stay as long as your strong hands allow." He laughed again.
"Cut the Wizard loose," yelled Fedian, "let it be said that Fedian the Great, is King of Mercy!"
"You and your horse shall freeze to death, within sight of your bags and charms . . . here in the land of your witch's child . . . the Bear-Whale!!"
"Ride!" Fedian screamed.
The sixty remaining men and their horses rode into the mouth of the cave and began to dismount.
With the wave of the Druid's hand,
The storm suddenly stopped.
It was at that moment that the Bear-whale closed it's mouth and swallowed. The druid trotted up to the Bear-whale and, the Bear-whale stood; allowing the druid to pass underneath into the entrance of his home.
"Good boy," said the blind druid . . . with my third eye, I can see an amassing of troops to the West. . . Tomorrow we ride!