Fugitive From Hel
Caught In The Act
A week later, on an early misty morning, Serkr proudly rode Kjøtt into Holmestrand. And why not ! ? He was now a man of wealth, and with wealth comes power ! He would not have to stake out the chieftain's hall to find out when the best time to steal his gold would be. No ! Using his charm, and flashing his gold coins, he would ask for an audience with the chieftain in the guise of a wealthy merchant.
As Serkr rode around the village he was surprised at its large size. He was also very pleased to see that the chieftain's great hall was off by itself, and that behind the hall sat a large dark forest.
" How convenient ! " Serkr whispered to himself.
Serkr rode up to the hall, and there saw a man standing by the entrance. Leaning down over the neck of Kjøtt, he nodded to the warrior, who was obviously guarding the hall.
" I am the merchant Serkr. Would you please go in and ask your chieftain if I may have an audience with him ? " Serkr asked very respectfully.
Olvaldi looked up at the man, and knew that he was not from these parts . Everyone who lived in this area knew that the Chieftain Lofarr was out hunting on Thursday mornings.
" Do you realize sir what time it is ? " he asked the rider.
" My lord, and Holmestrand's chieftain, is out hunting this day with his commanders, and will not be returning until dusk. " he added after his first question did not seem to phase the rider.
" Is his wife at home ? And if so, may I have an audience with her instead ? " Serkr asked the guard.
Olvaldi shook his head in the negative.
" Bersa and her son are sleeping late, as they often do when Lofarr is away. " Olvaldi told Serkr.
Serkr smiled pleasantly, and nodded his thanks.
" I will return later then ! " he told the warrior.
Serkr rode his horse around the side of the great hall, and into the forest. When he was deep enough in the thick foliage, not to be seen, he dismounted and tied Kjøtt to a tree.
" I believe I will see the chieftain's wife now ! " he whispered to himself as he walked back to the great hall.
Quietly Serkr made his way around the hall until he reached the end of the side of the building by the front doors. Just around the corner he could hear the guard pacing back and forth trying to keep warm. Serkr pulled out his knife and slowly began to scrape it against the timbers that made up the outside wall of the structure. Serkr felt himself fortunate. The sun, which had just begun to break through the mist, was behind the guard, and as he approached the light elongated his shadow, and made it possible for Serkr see when he reached the edge of the hall.
The moment the guard peered around the corner, to see what was making the strange noise, Serkr grabbed his head with his free hand, and thrust his knife deep into the guard's throat with the other. Serkr held the man tightly as he felt the strength literally bleed out of him. When the sentry stopped gurgling on his own blood, and went limp, Serkr dragged his body into the woods.
" The worms will feast tonight ! " Serkr told the corpse as he dumped the body behind a large bush.
" Bastard never even told me his name ! " he added as he spit on him.
Serkr took one last look into the dead man's eyes before making his way back around to the front of the great hall. He slowly and quietly opened the front door and peered inside. He expected to find a warrior guarding the inside of the doorway as well, but all appeared to be quiet. Serkr grinned as he gently closed the door behind him, for the urge to kill had once again begun to well up inside of him.
Silently Serkr made his way first to a side chamber . Here he found a young boy fast asleep. He sat quietly on the edge of the bed for a moment, and then placed his hand tightly over the boy' s mouth. As the child groggily awoke Serkr cut the boys throat so hard and deep that he nearly decapitated him. With a wild smile on his face Serkr looked deeply into the little boy's eyes as he struggled. Serkr so loved to watch his terrified victims as they died !
After wiping the blood off of his knife, and hands, Serkr made his way into the main bed chamber. Here he found a rather young woman with flowing blonde hair sleeping soundly. Once again he quietly approached the bed. This time, however, after covering her mouth, he only placed the point of his knife against the woman' s neck.
" Wake up little mistress ! " Serkr said quietly.
When the woman stirred he pushed the knife harder against her throat.
" If you scream I will kill both you and your son ! If you wish to live you need to do exactly what I say ! " he told the woman as he slowly removed his hand from her mouth.
" I am Bersa, the chieftain's wife, and he will kill you for this ! " she replied angrily.
" And if you do not show me where your husband hides his great wealth I will bring your son out here, and kill him right in front of you ! " he told her in no uncertain terms.
Bersa spit at the intruder, but she soon realized it was a bad mistake to anger this large and very angry man.
Serkr wiped the spittle off of his cheek and then punched the chieftain's wife hard in the nose with the hand that held the knife. Immediately blood flowed from both of her nostrils.
" You have broken my nose ! " Bersa cried out as she tried to stem the flow of blood with her hands.
Serkr placed his hand tightly around her neck.
" I will break every bone in your body, and kill your son, if you do not show me where the chieftain keeps his wealth ! " he told her angrily through gritted teeth.
Bersa began to cry.
" If you promise not to hurt me, or my son, I will give you my husband's gold and silver. " she told him despite his hand choking her .
Serkr released his grip.
" Now that would be much more hospitable of you ! " he told her as he reached down and squeezed one of her ample breasts.
Bersa recoiled from his touch, and then slowly swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up. Serkr returned the knife point to her throat, and pushed her forward.
" I want the gold now !! " he whispered angrily in her ear.
Bersa walked over to a section of the wall not far from the bed. Using both of her hands she wiggled it back and forth until it slowly began to come out from the rest of the wall. There was a final sucking sound as it came clear of the wall, and Bersa set the false section on the floor away from the opening. Serkr smiled from ear to ear when he saw the large chest sitting on a shelf in the opening.
Bersa was about to tell the intruder to take the gold and go, but before she could utter a word she felt the knife slice through her neck. She tried to stop her blood as it gushed out from the deep wound he had ripped in her throat, but she knew that it was hopeless. She thought of her son as she fell to the floor, and tried to beg for his life. Nothing came out however. As she lay on the floor hemorrhaging, the last thing that she saw before death closed her eyes forever was the man who killed her opening the chest.
Serkr knew that he did not have time to count the money, for he needed to leave quickly, but he wanted to take one quick look. After gazing at the silver and gold coins for several moments he closed the lid and looked around the hall. He needed to cover his tracks to give him a head start in case they decided to come after him. When his eyes caught the flickering flames of the fire pit he smiled and knew just what to do.
Serkr quicly dragged the woman's body into her son' s bed chamber, and threw it on top of the boy's corpse. He then carried the money chest to the front door. Next, using the flames from the fire pit, he lit a torch, and went around to the back of the hall lighting it on fire. Serkr then went back to the boy's room and lit everything in there that would burn. He was very careful, however, not to light anything in the front of the hall, for this was his only avenue of escape.
Serkr stood by the front door for a moment and watched the hall burn. His mouth turned up at the corners in an evil grin as the dry wood caught fire and crackled. When the roof began to burn he opened the door, and peered outside to the left and right. When he saw no one around he slipped out of the door, and made his way around the now smoking hall back to the woods and his waiting horse.
Before mounting Kjøtt, Serkr emptied the contents of the chest into bags and tied them on both sides of the saddle, making sure that they were evenly distributed in weight. When the chest was empty he threw it away and mounted his horse. Serkr kicked Kjøtt twice in the belly, and then began to laugh as he rode away.
Vapni slowly made his way to the chieftain's hall. Every morning he made his rounds delivering fresh eggs and milk to the wealthier villagers, many of whom were great warriors, and had little time for farming. As he approached Lofarr's great hall he noticed through the lifting mist smoke coming through the roof in places where it should not have been ventilating. Then to his horror he saw flames shoot out from the roof of the back of the hall.
Vapni was about to leave his cart and run to the burning structure when he noticed a large man leaving the hall carrying something large in his hands. The farmer quickly jumped off of his cart and hid behind the rear wheel. As he peered out from behind the cart he watched as the man walked around the side of the building with what looked to be a large chest.
Quietly Vapni followed the man to where he had a horse tied up in the woods. When he witnessed the man opening the chest and dumping coins into sacks he feared that the worst had happened to Lofarr and his family. Vapni waited until the man rode away before running back to the hall, and raising the alarm. His shouts for help quickly aroused the sleeping village in a matter of moments.
The village blacksmith was first on the scene and together he and Vapni opened the door to the great hall, but they were met with a wall of flames almost immediately, and were forced to close the door again and retreat outside. There was nothing that they could do ! In a matter of moments the hall was completely engulfed in flames, and it became very clear that if anyone had been alive inside they had now perished !
- End Chapter 3
- Next : Chapter 4 : No Time For Grief
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ) , © Copyright, 2016.