“Am I alive, or are we all dead and in Valhalla?”




The Frost Giants Daughter by PeterSzmer on DeviantArt



I could say much more on this topic, but I will let the words and writings of ROBERT E. HOWARD do the talking…


Are we not all like Conan, thrown into the mouth of this wretched illusion, thrown into a blinding eye of white blizzard trying to find a way HOME?


We can trust only our hearts, minds, and the Sword anything else is a mirage.


The only way To live again, to feel again is to become a man, a true MAN, a barbarian in the long-forgotten lands where the living death, deaf and blind are silently walking among us.


To deal with the savages and savagery sometimes for a split second we must become savages. We must live another day, because cautionary tales can be told, and knowledge could not be hidden again from Human eyes and ears…


To not be engulfed by the cold arms of a white blizzard, means to be free, to see your way back home, clearly.


Conan’s fate and our fate in many ways are two pieces of the same coin-Tale and the head -interconnected.


In a dying/new world, he must find a way to sit on the throne and get his Crown not by the pure strength of his muscles or by the power of his mighty sword, but by the use of his wits, brains, and strength combined.


Strength is nothing without the brain and the brain can’t rule without the muscles, but a true King doesn’t rule with an iron rod, and a whip. He allows life to unfold/manifest itself with the coordinance and the guidance of the sacred laws by the Golden Rule.


In the etheric realms, The same rules apply to A King and a Peasant…Nobody has the upper hand, and the material laws: the rule of Blood or wealth doesn’t exist in the hidden realms.


Divine is divine and divine can’t be broken or mistreated. Its potency can be used much more potent by a so-called “Peasant” than it can be used by what we call a King in the material world.


Sometimes story and fiction are the closest things to the truth that you will get, you can embrace the teachings, expand your conscience/soul or watch another football game and be a “Real MAN”.


The choice is yours, but the unwavering truth is: what you give, is what you will get.


I hope you, Dear Reader, will like this story and some thought will be given as a result of this being posted here.



Quote provided By:https://jackheartblog.org/wp/




[Transcriber’s Note: Originally published in March 1934 in “The

Fantasy Fan”. This etext was prepared from the reprint in Fantastic

Universe December 1956. Extensive research did not uncover any

evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Publisher’s Note: _The publication of this strange story by Robert

E. Howard, author of the Conan stories, so much a part of the

Living Library of Fantasy, represents a departure for this

magazine. Without abandoning our policy of bringing you, month

after month, the best in NEW Science Fiction and Fantasy, we will,

from time to time, publish material such as this, hitherto known to

only a few students of the field! GODS OF THE NORTH was published

in 1934, in Charles D. Hornig’s THE FANTASY FAN, which had a

circulation of under a hundred! We thank Sam Moskowitz, Editor and

SF historian, who showed us this story._

* * * * *

She drew away from him, dwindling in the witch-fire of the skies,

until she was a figure no bigger than a child.

The clangor of the swords had died away, the shouting of the slaughter

was hushed; silence lay on the red-stained snow. The pale bleak sun that

glittered so blindingly from the ice-fields and the snow-covered plains

struck sheens of silver from rent corselet and broken blade, where the

dead lay in heaps. The nerveless hand yet gripped the broken hilt:

helmeted heads, back-drawn in the death throes, tilted red beards and

golden beards grimly upward, as if in last invocation to Ymir the


Across the red drifts and mail-clad forms, two figures approached one

another. In that utter desolation only they moved. The frosty sky was

over them, the white illimitable plain around them, the dead men at

their feet. Slowly through the corpses they came, as ghosts might come

to a tryst through the shambles of a world.

Their shields were gone, their corselets dinted. Blood smeared their

mail; their swords were red. Their horned helmets showed the marks of

fierce strokes.

One spoke, he whose locks and beard were red as the blood on the sunlit


“Man of the raven locks,” said he, “tell me your name, so that my

brothers in Vanaheim may know who was the last of Wulfhere’s band to

fall before the sword of Heimdul.”

“This is my answer,” replied the black-haired warrior: “Not in Vanaheim,

but in Valhalla will you tell your brothers the name of Amra of


Heimdul roared and sprang, and his sword swung in a mighty arc. Amra

staggered and his vision was filled with red sparks as the blade

shivered into bits of blue fire on his helmet. But as he reeled he

thrust with all the power of his great shoulders. The sharp point drove

through brass scales and bones and heart, and the red-haired warrior

died at Amra’s feet.

Amra stood swaying, trailing his sword, a sudden sick weariness

assailing him. The glare of the sun on the snow cut his eyes like a

knife and the sky seemed shrunken and strangely far. He turned away from

the trampled expanse where yellow-bearded warriors lay locked with

red-haired slayers in the embrace of death. A few steps he took, and the

glare of the snow fields was suddenly dimmed. A rushing wave of

blindness engulfed him, and he sank down into the snow, supporting

himself on one mailed arm, seeking to shake the blindness out of his

eyes as a lion might shake his mane.

A silvery laugh cut through his dizziness, and his sight cleared slowly.

There was a strangeness about all the landscape that he could not place

or define–an unfamiliar tinge to earth and sky. But he did not think

long of this. Before him, swaying like a sapling in the wind, stood a

woman. Her body was like ivory, and save for a veil of gossamer, she was

naked as the day. Her slender bare feet were whiter than the snow they

spurned. She laughed, and her laughter was sweeter than the rippling of

silvery fountains, and poisonous with cruel mockery.

“Who are you?” demanded the warrior.

“What matter?” Her voice was more musical than a silver-stringed harp,

but it was edged with cruelty.

“Call up your men,” he growled, grasping his sword. “Though my strength

fail me, yet they shall not take me alive. I see that you are of the


“Have I said so?”

He looked again at her unruly locks, which he had thought to be red. Now

he saw that they were neither red nor yellow, but a glorious compound

of both colors. He gazed spell-bound. Her hair was like elfin-gold,

striking which, the sun dazzled him. Her eyes were neither wholly blue

nor wholly grey, but of shifting colors and dancing lights and clouds of

colors he could not recognize. Her full red lips smiled, and from her

slim feet to the blinding crown of her billowy hair, her ivory body was

as perfect as the dream of a god. Amra’s pulse hammered in his temples.

“I can not tell,” said he, “whether you are of Vanaheim and mine enemy,

or of Asgard and my friend. Far have I wandered, from Zingara to the Sea

of Vilayet, in Stygia and Kush, and the country of the Hyrkanians; but a

woman like you I have never seen. Your locks blind me with their

brightness. Not even among the fairest daughters of the Aesir have I

seen such hair, by Ymir!”

“Who are you to swear by Ymir?” she mocked. “What know you of the gods

of ice and snow, you who have come up from the south to adventure among


“By the dark gods of my own race!” he cried in anger. “Have I been

backward in the sword-play, stranger or no? This day I have seen four

score warriors fall, and I alone survive the field where Mulfhere’s

reavers met the men of Bragi. Tell me, woman, have you caught the flash

of mail across the snow-plains, or seen armed men moving upon the ice?”

“I have seen the hoar-frost glittering in the sun,” she answered. “I

have heard the wind whispering across the everlasting snows.”

He shook his head.

“Niord should have come up with us before the battle joined. I fear he

and his warriors have been ambushed. Wulfhere lies dead with all his


“I had thought there was no village within many leagues of this spot,

for the war carried us far, but you can have come no great distance over

these snows, naked as you are. Lead me to your tribe, if you are of

Asgard, for I am faint with the weariness of strife.”

“My dwelling place is further than you can walk, Amra of Akbitana!” she

laughed. Spreading wide her arms she swayed before him, her golden head

lolling wantonly, her scintillant eyes shadowed beneath long silken

lashes. “Am I not beautiful, man?”

“Like Dawn running naked on the snows,” he muttered, his eyes burning

like those of a wolf.

“Then why do you not rise and follow me? Who is the strong warrior who

falls down before me?” she chanted in maddening mockery. “Lie down and

die in the snow with the other fools, Amra of the black hair. You can

not follow where I would lead.”

With an oath the man heaved himself upon his feet, his blue eyes blazing

his dark scarred face convulsed. Rage shook his soul, but desire for the

taunting figure before him hammered at his temples and drove his wild

blood riotously through his veins. Passion fierce as physical agony

flooded his whole being so that earth and sky swam red to his dizzy

gaze, and weariness and faintness were swept from him in madness.

He spoke no word as he drove at her fingers hooked like talons. With a

shriek of laughter she leaped back and ran, laughing at him over her

white shoulder. With a low growl Amra followed. He had forgotten the

fight, forgotten the mailed warriors who lay in their blood, forgotten

Niord’s belated reavers. He had thought only for the slender white shape

which seemed to float rather than run before him.

Out across the white blinding plain she led him. The trampled red field

fell out of sight behind him, but still Amra kept on with the silent

tenacity of his race. His mailed feet broke through the frozen crust; he

sank deep in the drifts and forged through them by sheer strength. But

the girl danced across the snow as light as a feather floating across a

pool; her naked feet scarcely left their imprint on the hoar-frost. In

spite of the fire in his veins, the cold bit through the warrior’s mail

and furs; but the girl in her gossamer veil ran as lightly and as gaily

as if she danced through the palms and rose gardens of Poitain.

Black curses drooled through the warrior’s parched lips. The great veins

swelled and throbbed in his temples, and his teeth gnashed


“You can not escape me!” he roared. “Lead me into a trap and I’ll pile

the heads of your kinsmen at your feet. Hide from me and I’ll tear apart

the mountains to find you! I’ll follow you to hell and beyond hell!”

Her maddening laughter floated back to him, and foam flew from the

warrior’s lips. Further and further into the wastes she led him, till he

saw the wide plains give way to low hills, marching upward in broken

ranges. Far to the north he caught a glimpse of towering mountains, blue

with the distance, or white with the eternal snows. Above these

mountains shone the flaring rays of the borealis. They spread fan-wise

into the sky, frosty blades of cold flaming light, changing in color,

growing and brightening.

Above him the skies glowed and crackled with strange lights and gleams.

The snow shone weirdly, now frosty blue, now icy crimson, now cold

silver. Through a shimmering icy realm of enchantment Amra plunged

doggedly onward, in a crystaline maze where the only reality was the

white body dancing across the glittering snow beyond his reach–ever

beyond his reach.

Yet he did not wonder at the necromantic strangeness of it all, not even

when two gigantic figures rose up to bar his way. The scales of their

mail were white with hoar-frost; their helmets and their axes were

sheathed in ice. Snow sprinkled their locks; in their beards were spikes

of icicles; their eyes were cold as the lights that streamed above them.

“Brothers!” cried the girl, dancing between them. “Look who follows! I

have brought you a man for the feasting! Take his heart that we may lay

it smoking on our father’s board!”

The giants answered with roars like the grinding of ice-bergs on a

frozen shore, and heaved up their shining axes as the maddened Akbitanan

hurled himself upon them. A frosty blade flashed before his eyes,

blinding him with its brightness, and he gave back a terrible stroke

that sheared through his foe’s thigh. With a groan the victim fell, and

at the instant Amra was dashed into the snow, his left shoulder numb

from the blow of the survivor, from which the warrior’s mail had barely

saved his life. Amra saw the remaining giant looming above him like a

colossus carved of ice, etched against the glowing sky. The axe fell, to

sink through the snow and deep into the frozen earth as Amra hurled

himself aside and leaped to his feet. The giant roared and wrenched the

axe-head free, but even as he did so, Amra’s sword sang down. The

giant’s knees bent and he sank slowly into the snow which turned crimson

with the blood that gushed from his half-severed neck.

Amra wheeled, to see the girl standing a short distance away, staring in

wide-eyed horror, all mockery gone from her face. He cried out fiercely

and the blood-drops flew from his sword as his hand shook in the

intensity of his passion.

“Call the rest of your brothers!” he roared. “Call the dogs! I’ll give

their hearts to the wolves!”

With a cry of fright she turned and fled. She did not laugh now, nor

mock him over her shoulder. She ran as for her life, and though he

strained every nerve and thew, until his temples were like to burst and

the snow swam red to his gaze, she drew away from him, dwindling in the

witch-fire of the skies, until she was a figure no bigger than a child,

then a dancing white flame on the snow, then a dim blur in the

distance. But grinding his teeth until the blood started from his gums,

he reeled on, and he saw the blur grow to a dancing white flame, and

then she was running less than a hundred paces ahead of him, and slowly

the space narrowed, foot by foot.

She was running with effort now, her golden locks blowing free; he heard

the quick panting of her breath, and saw a flash of fear in the look she

cast over her alabaster shoulder. The grim endurance of the warrior had

served him well. The speed ebbed from her flashing white legs; she

reeled in her gait. In his untamed soul flamed up the fires of hell she

had fanned so well. With an inhuman roar he closed in on her, just as

she wheeled with a haunting cry and flung out her arms to fend him off.

His sword fell into the snow as he crushed her to him. Her supple body

bent backward as she fought with desperate frenzy in his iron arms. Her

golden hair blew about his face, blinding him with its sheen; the feel

of her slender figure twisting in his mailed arms drove him to blinder

madness. His strong fingers sank deep into her smooth flesh, and that

flesh was cold as ice. It was as if he embraced not a woman of human

flesh and blood, but a woman of flaming ice. She writhed her golden head

aside, striving to avoid the savage kisses that bruised her red lips.

“You are cold as the snows,” he mumbled dazedly. “I will warm you with

the fire in my own blood–“

With a desperate wrench she twisted from his arms, leaving her single

gossamer garment in his grasp. She sprang back and faced him, her golden

locks in wild disarray, her white bosom heaving, her beautiful eyes

blazing with terror. For an instant he stood frozen, awed by her

terrible beauty as she posed naked against the snows.

And in that instant she flung her arms toward the lights that glowed in

the skies above her and cried out in a voice that rang in Amra’s ears

for ever after:

“_Ymir! Oh, my father, save me!_”

Amra was leaping forward, arms spread to seize her, when with a crack

like the breaking of an ice mountain, the whole skies leaped into icy

fire. The girl’s ivory body was suddenly enveloped in a cold blue flame

so blinding that the warrior threw up his hands to shield his eyes. A

fleeting instant, skies and snowy hills were bathed in crackling white

flames, blue darts of icy light, and frozen crimson fires. Then Amra

staggered and cried out. The girl was gone. The glowing snow lay empty

and bare; high above him the witch-lights flashed and played in a

frosty sky gone mad and among the distant blue mountains there sounded a

rolling thunder as of a gigantic war-chariot rushing behind steeds whose

frantic hoofs struck lightning from the snows and echoes from the skies.

Then suddenly the borealis, the snowy hills and the blazing heavens

reeled drunkenly to Amra’s sight; thousands of fireballs burst with

showers of sparks, and the sky itself became a titanic wheel which

rained stars as it spun. Under his feet the snowy hills heaved up like a

wave, and the Akbitanan crumpled into the snows to lie motionless.

* * * * *

In a cold dark universe, whose sun was extinguished eons ago, Amra felt

the movement of life, alien and un-guessed. An earthquake had him in its

grip and was shaking him to and fro, at the same time chafing his hands

and feet until he yelled in pain and fury and groped for his sword.

“He’s coming to, Horsa,” grunted a voice. “Haste–we must rub the frost

out of his limbs, if he’s ever to wield sword again.”

“He won’t open his left hand,” growled another, his voice indicating

muscular strain. “He’s clutching something–“

Amra opened his eyes and stared into the bearded faces that bent over

him. He was surrounded by tall golden-haired warriors in mail and furs.

“Amra! You live!”

“By Crom, Niord,” gasped he, “am I alive, or are we all dead and in


“We live,” grunted the Aesir, busy over Amra’s half-frozen feet. “We had

to fight our way through an ambush, else we had come up with you before

the battle was joined. The corpses were scarce cold when we came upon

the field. We did not find you among the dead, so we followed your

spoor. In Ymir’s name, Amra, why did you wander off into the wastes of

the north? We have followed your tracks in the snow for hours. Had a

blizzard come up and hidden them, we had never found you, by Ymir!”

“Swear not so often by Ymir,” muttered a warrior, glancing at the

distant mountains. “This is his land and the god bides among yonder

mountains, the legends say.”

“I followed a woman,” Amra answered hazily. “We met Bragi’s men in the

plains. I know not how long we fought. I alone lived. I was dizzy and

faint. The land lay like a dream before me. Only now do all things seem

natural and familiar. The woman came and taunted me. She was beautiful

as a frozen flame from hell. When I looked at her I was as one mad, and

forgot all else in the world. I followed her. Did you not find her

tracks. Or the giants in icy mail I slew?”

Niord shook his head.

“We found only your tracks in the snow, Amra.”

“Then it may be I was mad,” said Amra dazedly. “Yet you yourself are no

more real to me than was the golden haired witch who fled naked across

the snows before me. Yet from my very hands she vanished in icy flame.”

“He is delirious,” whispered a warrior.

“Not so!” cried an older man, whose eyes were wild and weird. “It was

Atali, the daughter of Ymir, the frost-giant! To fields of the dead she

comes, and shows herself to the dying! Myself when a boy I saw her, when

I lay half-slain on the bloody field of Wolraven. I saw her walk among

the dead in the snows, her naked body gleaming like ivory and her golden

hair like a blinding flame in the moonlight. I lay and howled like a

dying dog because I could not crawl after her. She lures men from

stricken fields into the wastelands to be slain by her brothers, the

ice-giants, who lay men’s red hearts smoking on Ymir’s board. Amra has

seen Atali, the frost-giant’s daughter!”

“Bah!” grunted Horsa. “Old Gorm’s mind was turned in his youth by a

sword cut on the head. Amra was delirious with the fury of battle. Look

how his helmet is dinted. Any of those blows might have addled his

brain. It was an hallucination he followed into the wastes. He is from

the south; what does he know of Atali?”

“You speak truth, perhaps,” muttered Amra. “It was all strange and

weird–by Crom!”

He broke off, glaring at the object that still dangled from his clenched

left fist; the others gaped silently at the veil he held up–a wisp of

gossamer that was never spun by human distaff.

The Viking Minuteman — meninfantasyart: Conan – The Frost-Giant’s…


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