Child Of Destiny
Two Kingdoms, One Cause !
As they approached the immense gates that were the only entrance through the fortified wall that surrounded King Olaf' s hall, two guards stepped out, crossed their spears, and blocked their way. " Get out of my way you idiots ! " Thorvald yelled at them. " Open the gates at once ! I must see my mother and father immediately ! " Thorvald told them. The guards, who finally recognized the filthy man on the horse, apologized repeatedly as they opened the gates to the compound for the prince. Once inside they all rode up to the great doors of the hall. Thorvald and Astrid threw open the doors, followed closely behind by the still limping King Runolf. King Olaf' s court, which was in session, came to a halt at the unexpected intrusion. " What is the meaning of this disturbance ! " King Olaf demanded to know. Then his eyes widened. " Son ? " he questioned as he saw the man covered in dirt approach his high seat.
" Father ! " Thorvald said most boldly, " We must speak at once about a matter of the utmost importance ! " Ignoring his son, Olaf raised himself out of his high seat, and pointed at the Romerike king . " What in the name of the Gods is he doing here ! " Olaf shouted. " We have no time for old hatred this day father ! " Thorvald shouted back. " King Kjardan is moving his army against Romerike as we speak.... " King Olaf laughed cutting off his son' s speech : " And why should I care what happens to the Romerike kingdom and their people ! " Thorvald stepped forward, and stood face to face with his father. " Because father, after Kjardan destroys Romerike he is going to bring his army to our lands and destroy us ! " Thorvald yelled right back.
Queen Gudrun gasped when she heard Thorvald' s words . She reached out and grabbed her husband's hands. " Are we strong enough to fend off King Kjardan' s great army, my husband ? " Gudrun asked. King Olaf sat back down then said dejectedly : " No I do not believe that we are strong enough to defeat the Opplandene king, my wife . " King Runolf limped forward, and then spoke : " Alone we are both defenseless against Kjardan's great army, but together we may be strong enough to destroy the Opplandene army. " King Olaf rose again, and with a hint of concern asked : " What has happened to you King Runolf ? " The Romerike king placed one foot on the step below the high seats before replying : " I was shot with an arrow, kidnapped, tortured, and I would have been killed if not for your son, and my daughter, bravely coming to my rescue. This King Olaf is what awaits you also if we do not stop King Kjardan ! " Runolf told him.
King Olaf looked over at his wife, and then back at the battered face of King Runolf. " Then yes, we must join forces and work together to defeat our common enemy ! " Olaf stated angrily. " Do we have a plan ? " he then asked. Astrid then stepped forward and addressed the king. " Yes, King Olaf ! " she said. " I propose that our Romerike army draw the Opplandene army south, deep into our kingdom, and then in a coordinated attack, our army will turn north to fight King Kjardan, while your army, my lord, will work behind them, and attack them from the rear cutting off their retreat. If it is done well, and the timing is right, we could catch the Opplandene army in a vise and crush them. " Astrid told him. " Then you should ride to Romerike, and help get your army prepared princess. " Olaf replied. King Runolf shook his head : " No ! I will go back to lead the Romerike army. We have already sent riders ahead to put our plan in motion. Besides, Astrid belongs here with your son ! " King Runolf boldly told the King of Hedemark. A collective gasp came up from everyone in the court when they heard the King of Romerike's words ! King Olaf and Queen Gudrun glanced at each other in surprise ! " Is this what you want my son ? " Queen Gudrun asked. " Yes ! " Thorvald replied adamantly. King Olaf was about to stand up when Gudrun placed her hands over his. She looked her husband in the eyes as she said with a smile : " Matters of the heart can be addressed after this awful matter is dealt with my husband. " Olaf nodded in agreement. " Yes, this is a matter to be discussed at a later time. Now we must prepare for war without delay ! " King Olaf shouted to all in his court.
As King Runolf headed back to Romerike, with a detachment of twenty Hedemark warriors for protection, Olaf, Thorvald and Astrid prepared the Hedemark army for the great battle that was coming. Riders were sent to every town, and small village, to gather up all able bodied warriors, male and female. When these villagers heard that King Kjardan was coming to destroy their homes, and enslave their wives and children, they gathered up their weapons, and headed towards the great hall as fast as they could. Once there, they were divided into separate bands of warriors, and taught how to fight as a division within the main army.
King Kjardan, and his Opplandene army, had already crossed the border into Romerike by the time that Runolf reached his hall. Onund and Magnus, with the queen's permission of course, had sent messengers to the villages along the border telling them to evacuate their homes, and to burn whatever crops they could not carry south with them. Thirty miles south of the border with Opplandene the entire Romerike army waited for their enemy to appear. They were not positioned there to fight, but to retreat and draw the Opplandene army ever deeper into their lands, and further away from the safety of their own homeland. It was here in this void left by the Opplandene army, as it traveled south, that King Olaf and his army would take up position, and attack King Kjardan from the rear, preventing any escape for the Opplandene army. After speaking briefly with Queen Grima, King Runolf rode at once from his great hall to where his army was positioned. He arrived just as the Opplandene army appeared in the distance.
End Chapter 9
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2014.
Next : Chapter 10 : War For Survival !