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Chromhelm Garglehammer let out a furious roar and charged down the small hill toward the gateless entrance to the city. He didn’t realise it at the time but his eyes were closed. He half expected the guards at the gate to smack him in the back of the head with an axe, or the sentries on the towers to riddle him full of bolts before he got more than a few feet inside. But none of that happened. He began to swing his mighty battle-axe in a figure of eight, cutting down any enemy in his path, but there were none. He put his head down so as to butt his way through the ranks of soldiers protecting the King. He would use his sheer bulk to force a way through to his prize, but there were no lines of soldiers and there was no King. Chromhelm Garglehammer smashed head first into a wall and hit the ground, his tiny legs still running in the air.
After a few moments fighting nothingness with his fists he opened one eye. He was alone in one of the wide open spaces of the ruined city. Around him was scattered the remains of a large military camp, tents had been half struck, broken weapons lay in piles and food rotted in the sun, covered in hordes of horseflies.
“Where is everyone?” he said to himself risking a second open eye and getting up to his feet with some difficultly. Across Acerii there was an eerie silence punctuated only by the call of crows, Chromhelm lifted his heavy axe. “Have I won?” he said to himself.
“I doubt it,” came the voice of the God.
Chromhelm-Garglehammer spun on his heels and faced his axe toward the Apple-god, who stood more resplendent than before, just behind him.
“What trickery is this?” asked Chromhelm, his axe still raised.
“My apologies dear hero,” spoke the God like honey as he pushed Chromhelm’s axe away from his perfect face with his fingertips, “plans have altered, more advantageous opportunities have come to light.”
“So you mean to deceive me, I should have known better than to trust a God.” Chromhelm spat on the ground, a tiny shoot of an apple seed sprouted where his spittle landed.
“No deception was intended my beautiful hero, but in light of recent discoveries,” the God pointed his arm across the courtyard where several of Vortigern’s men were moving a large object covered in cow hides onto an equally large cart, “you and other plans have become redundant.”
“Re-dun-dant,” worded the Hero and he tried to grasp what was going on.
“The time of Heroes is over.”
“Oh,” said Chromhelm, his mind beginning to have some understanding of the word ‘redundant’.
“Farewell little hero, I have to travel with Vortigern to safeguard my own salvation from idleness, but I fear it is too late for the likes of you.”
The God walked away from the Hero and toward the men at the cart.
“But what will I do now?” asked Chromhelm, his axe falling to the ground with a disappointed clang.
“Find a girl, build a nice house and settle down,” the God called back. “Oh, and grow some apples, make some cider and get drunk. By the time the Gods have left this world there will be no one here to fight, Chromhelm Garglehammer, no one at all.”