Alvilda rode astride the Megaloceros he called his mount, the mighty elk of burden dwarfing even the most enormous of draft horses. Through the deep woods the elven warrior was on the hunt. His search for sterling trophies had been arduous and overlong. He was growing bored, and there were so few men in this realm who would be worth the honor, the dignity, of becoming a skull on his mantle. While the boar he’d conquered was fine, he needed more. To increase his skill, to prove his might, to win over allies and deter enemies. He was sure it was within his power. He was sure that he could lay waste to whatever he set his mind to. This elf was not content to be a pretty face in a dive bar… His northern parentage had given him one purpose, one goal… death. For his enemies or himself, it did not matter.
As he traveled, however, his mount became unsettled.The great deer-beast bugled and began to swing its head back and forth. It was quite distressed, and Alvilda was failing to reign in the beast’s thrashing fit. “Woah! What’s got you so uppity you overgro-” Suddenly the beast stopped its panic, and stood stock still. It was looking, listening, trying to find something. It was as if they’d spied something coming. The elf grew silent as well, but not idle. He grabbed the great mammoth tusk bow from his saddle, nocking an arrow that was near the size of a javelin. A specialized tool for a singular purpose… for the elf had heard what the deer so feared, and it was not only huge, but heading their way.
There came a crashing through the undergrowth, twigs and bushes being crushed beneath a massive body. But there were no footfalls, just the constant scraping of bulk against the leaf covered floor, of scales against dirt and stone. The sharp blue eyes of the barbaric elven hunter shot to their side, and with a mighty pull of their muscled arms drew their bow. Though it was for but a moment, the strain this massive bow put on his back was visible through his clothes and armor. Yet he did not falter, he did not break under the pressure, and most importantly he did not miss. The bowstring was released with a bassy twang as the beast slaying arrow struck the throat of the massive serpent that had lunged from the bush. The creature hissed in pain and anger, a mess of blood, saliva and amber venom dripped from its mouth. Without a moment’s hesitation, Alvilda lept from their horse with the agility and poise of a proper nimble elf, and slammed their massive sabre into the serpent’s neck with the force and piercing battlecry of the most blooddrunk berserker. As he lopped off the great snake’s head, he gave a mighty ‘HUZZAH!’ He had another trophy to take home at long last! Or… so he thought. The elk was not calmed by the beast’s fall. In fact, it ran off towards town… and soon Alvilda discovered why. His celebration cut short, the elf backed away and took up his sword once more, as the rest of the Hydra’s body–and its 6 remaining heads- came into the clearing with a roar.
As he was caught off guard and on the defensive, the hydra took initiative against Alvilda. A quartet of hissing, screaming serpents heads shot forth like rope darts, each intent on seizing the elf in its jaws to devour him alive. Dashing backwards, Alvilda did his best to ‘parry’ the striking heads. He had to be quick on his feet, for he may as well be fighting 6 opponents with the coordination of one. Despite his haste to escape death at the hands of a multi-headed venomous beast, he was good at making decisions in the heat of the moment. He dodged to the side he judged to have the ever so slightly slower heads, and lunged past the beasts. He ran his sword down the side of one neck before giving a mighty downward slash. Off came another head! He was making progress! Well… not really. As he neared on of the heads that had yet to strike, he heard it. He sound of flesh ripping and bones cracking. He thought they may have found another source of prey but alas. Poor naive Alvilda, once the confident slayer of beasts, now sprinted for cover, for now there were NINE heads lunging at him.
The elf was torn. On the one hand, it was clear as he ran through the brush to try and circle around the beast that taking heads would only lead to a greater challenge. And yet… So many heads! Such sport, such reward, such violence! HE just had to take them all! He could keep chopping forever and more heads would come for him to take! Was this paradise? Was this the gods or the demons of hell punishing him for his obsession with an ironic death? Wait… Hell… Sheating his sword, the elf had an idea. He hid for a precious minute, grabbing a pair of branches from the ground. Using his knife from his belt, he widdled the larger of the two sticks into a spear. Once this was done, he gouged his blade into a pine tree to collect its sap, using spare cloth and the sticky resin to craft a makeshift torch. Pocketing a good sized rock to serve as his flint, he broke from cover with a warcry to challenge the gods! He sprinted in behind the great many headed snake in a sudden rush, shoving his newly crafted spear into the beast’s coils and right on through into the tree! The beast was immobilized, staked to the tree if only for a moment. Taking the torch handle between his teeth, he drew his sword on more and struck the blade with the stone to light it with the spark. He chucked the rock into one of the beast’s eyes for good measure. Taking the torch in his free hand, he decapitated another lunging head. This time though, before ti could recoil, he jabbed the flaming stick right into the wound to cauterize it in the flame. The nerves dead, the wound sealed… the neck now flailed helplessly. And the elf laughed.
The other heads didn’t seem to catch on quite fast enough. Another of the 8 remaining heads lunged at him, then another. These two met the same fate, swiped from their base sealed by the power of civilizations first WMD; the control of fire! The smell of burning meat soon clued the other heads in that something was wrong. It was only after Alvilda fearlessly took another, still laughing and howling like a man possessed, that the beast realized its peril. The hydra frantically tried to retreat, but the thrashing of its body only distracted the heads from their task. Sure, a wayward neck had struck him, nearly knocking the wind out of the warrior, but his coat of plates cushioned the blow. The elf continued his violent quest. As the barbarian beheaded and burned, he almost seemed to be singing to himself! “O’ burn, torch their village! Reduce their feeble world to ash! Hack an’ chop their heads off and leave the headless body rotting!”
The beast that was once roaring to challenge its prey was now yelping in pain. Its shaking had finally broken the tree it had been staked to, and the hydra finally managed to turn tail. He’d managed to reduce the heads to a trio in his frantic quest to hack and slash, but as he went for the triple coup de grace a massive serpentine tail thumped him into the woods. Elves, not being designed to fly, tend not to land very well either. It took a while to get up from that and he was rather sore, for even the best armor may not help against a body slam by a 20 meter long multiheaded snake. As he stood, he saw the beast’s tail slipping into the undergrowth as it crashed and slithered its way to freedom. “Oh NO YOU DON’T, VESLINGR!” He hurled a curse from home at the beast, the ‘puny wretch’, as he gave chase after the giant snake. It may be hard since it had a head start… but there’s always the blood.
Alvilda sprinted through the undergrowth, crashing through it like a charging bull as he searched for the hydra. His elven blood made him fleet of foot, and his barbarian lifestyle had given him unyielding determination and brutal bodily training. The lithe warrior may be pretty, but Alvilda howled like a monster as he made sight of the beast. In his haste he had forgotten the torch, but he was determined now. He didn’t need it. This was no longer sport, this wasn’t about the heads. He Just wanted to make sure this beast didn’t live to spite him another day! Pouncing like one of the monstrous sabre-tooths of his homeland, he grappled unto the beast’s back as he drove his grosse messer deep into its body. He heard a lung pop, and the monster hissed meakly as its escape attempt began to slow to a pitiful, wheezing halt.
Hate and rage pumped through the warrior’s veins as he rose from over the top of the beast. He marched his way over to the remaining heads as they gasped for breath…and resumed his chopping not with glee, but with grim determination. He hacked head after head, over and over. He continued his labor for minutes… hours… it was sunrise on the next day when the hydra’s body finally gave out. No matter how its magical body tried, oxygen starvation and malnutrition from the abundance of rapid healing finally felled the beast. As his rage subsided, the soreness from the thrashing and constant hacking hit Alvilda all at once. He drooped to his knees, using his shaky hands to wipe the blood from his great sabre with his kilt. He had done it… now to recover, get his limbs limber again, and with luck use the snake’s own skin as a pouch for the giant mound of heads he had collected. By sunset on this day, he would have enough to make a house out of. Oh… if only he didn’t have to drag it back to town himself.