First there will be an endless winter that kills nearly everything. Then earthquakes so violent that all fetters and chains break, particularly the one holding Fenrir. Then Fenrir, finally free and very angry, will swallow the sun and the moon. Then Loki, his daughter Hel, everyone that died outside of battle, and all the giants and frost giants will arrive on a massive ship made of fingernails. The sea will begin to churn and boil and the Midgard Serpent will rise up from the depths spitting his venom and killing whatever the endless winter and earthquakes didn’t kill. Then Surt, the lord of the land of fire, will march upon the earth wielding his sword and all his flaming subjects. Heimdall will see all of this and warn everyone with a single blast from his trumpet. The gods and the fallen warriors of Valhalla will respond to his call and line up shoulder to shoulder to meet them.

All of the giant wolves (there are a lot of them) will descend upon Tyr. He’ll kill them all with his one hand– he’ll kill the wolf that chased the moon, he’ll kill the wolf that chased the sun, he’ll kill the wolf that guarded the gates of Hel. He’ll kill them all, but he won’t kill Fenrir. He won’t be able to kill his oldest friend, his friend who he betrayed, and Fenrir will swallow him whole. Fenrir will then turn upon Odin, clad in gold, riding his eight-legged horse, his spear raised, and Fenrir will swallow him whole, too. Thor will be a little busy– he has a score to settle with a snake. After a brutal battle, he finally caves the Midgard Serpent’s skull with his hammer, splattering venom all over himself. He roars with victory and charges towards Fenrir, takes nine steps then falls over dead from the Serpent’s poison. Odin’s son Vidar watches all this: he watches the bravest of the gods fall, he watches the strongest of the gods fall, he watches his father fall, and in a rage he charges Fenrir. Using his massive boot to stomp Fenrir’s jaw into the ground and pin the wolf in place he grabs his father’s spear– Gugnir, the spear that never misses– from his father’s dead hands– and fires it through the wolf’s throat.

Old Surt, Ancient Surt, who was there before the world was made, there before the gods were born, there before anything inhabited the void, there before the void itself, will rise up. With his sword of fire he will scorch the land. He will kill all that is left. The world will fall silent and ashes will settle all around.

Vidar will emerge from Fenrir’s throat, protected from the flames by the wolf’s carcass. He will see Baldr, beautiful Baldr, who had died, emerge from the depths of Hel. They will meet at the Yggdrasil, the World Tree, where they find two people– Life and Love– who hid within a knot in the Tree’s bark. They’ll help the people out, and those people will go forth and repopulate the Earth. Balder and Vidar will head back to Asgard, charred and empty, and find nothing except golden chess pieces that the old gods would use for games. They’ll take the pieces and examine them, thinking about times that passed, about all the games and all the adventures and all the schemes for greed and power, everything that lead to Ragnarok. They’ll look out upon the empty Asgard and see, not destruction, but a blank canvas, a world anew, and let the pieces tumble from their fingers. Then they’ll get to work.