The Final Battle
As Loki' s legion fell, King Thorkel' s men slowly regained the momentum, and began to force Hrolf' s warriors back down the hill. King Hrolf had pushed so deep into the center of Thorkel' s line that he was now surrounded on three sides, and the fourth was closing fast. Archers were loading and shooting as fast as they could, and the warriors with spears were almost out, having already thrown so many. This time those who were hit did not continue, but fell wounded, or dead, on the ground. King Hrolf, in a state of utter panic realized he had only a small window through which to escape. Surrounded by his very best warriors they rode as fast as they could towards the still open rear. He and his elite guard made it out just as Thorkel's men closed the circle, and trapped the rest of the East Hordalanders.
From up in a tree Loki had a great view of the battlefield. What he was seeing, however, he could not believe ! His legion of the dead was being ripped to pieces by birds ! BIRDS ! He watched as King Hrolf rode, like an animal with its tail between its legs, underneath, and past, the very tree he was standing in. " What in the bloody nine worlds was going on ! " Loki screamed in his own mind. His plan had fallen to pieces, and most important to Loki the temple still stood, and the Godi was not dead. Loki was sure that Odin would never forgive him if he interfered with the Midgardians, but he had reached his wits end. He told himself that it was a mistake to rely on these weak humans to help him. One had proved to be a coward, and the other had gone quite mad. It was there and then Loki decided to take matters into his own hands. " The Gods be damned ! If you want something done right you just have to do it yourself ! " Loki shouted to no one in particular.
King Hrolf had not gotten far before King Thorkel and his men caught up to him and his warriors. Hrolf stopped his horse, dismounted, turned, and drew his sword. " Thorkel let us finish this one way or another right here, and right now ! " Hrolf yelled at his brother. Thorkel jumped down from his horse, and pulled his sword slowly from its scabbard. He walked towards Hrolf, and stopped a swords length away from him. Thorkel then ordered his men to stay out of this fight, an order that Hrolf echoed to his men. Both men raised their shields and swords, and slowly began to feel each other out. This battle was to the death ! Neither wanted to make a foolish mistake that would cost them their life.
Loki saw his chance ! Everyone around the battlefield had stopped fighting, and was focused only on the single combat between the two kings. Loki jumped out of the tree, and slipped away from the battlefield heading towards the the temple grounds. No Midgardian saw Loki leave, but there was one Asgardian who spotted him. Odin stroked his beard, and thought to himself : "The trickster Loki ! Now it all becomes clear ! " Odin stood up from Hlidskjalf, pointed his finger at King Hrolf, and said in a very angry tone : " I condemn you to death Midgardian ! "
King Hrolf had decided that his life was now forfeit. Win or lose he knew that he was going to be killed. If his life was to be lost then even if it took his very last breath he would take his brother' s life as well this day. As Hrolf moved forward both he and his brother circled like two dogs ready to bite each other. After a few jabs, and safe thrusts of their swords, they both slammed their swords against their shields, and prepared to do serious battle. King Hrolf lunged forward first and started to pummel Thorkel with blow after blow. Thorkel' s shield blocked most of the strikes, but a few made it through, and cut through mail and flesh. Thorkel then thrust his sword in a straight jab at Hrolf' s heart, but the older brother was too quick, and countered it with a short blow to Thorkel' s shoulder. The mail took most of the swords energy but the pain was intense. Hrolf then went into a berserker state and began to rain down blow after blow on Thorkel. His shield shattered, and he only avoided a killing stab by rolling out of the way of Hrolf's sword. Thorkel looked at his hand, which held only the strap, and one very small piece of the wooden shield. He let the useless pieces fall to the ground, and waited for Hrolf' s next attack. Hrolf could sense that his brother was weakened, and was about to go in for the kill when he noticed that Thorkel had stopped, and was gazing off into the distance.
From the edge of the clearing where they were fighting, Thorkel spotted a man he had not seen for years . Standing as proud and stoic as he remembered him stood Baleygr. Hrolf followed Thorkel's stare, and saw the old warrior as well. Baleygr said nothing. He simply nodded, and tossed Thorkel his three headed spear. Hrolf was angered by this favoritism, and rushed at his brother swinging his sword with all his might. Thorkel raised the spear and caught the sword in between two of the blades, then turned the spear breaking the sword in half. Hrolf stepped back, dropped what was left of his sword, pulled from his belt his seax knife, and ran at Thorkel screaming as loud as he could. Balegyr closed his eye, and clenched his fist. Hrolf suddenly lost his balance and fell against Thorkel' s spear impaling himself.
As Hrolf lay dying on the ground, Thorkel asked if he had anything to say, or any last requests. Hrolf looked up at his younger brother, and said with his last breath : " I hate you brother ! " Thorkel pulled the spear out of his dead brother, and walked over to Balegyr. The old warrior looked deep into Thorkel' s eyes before saying : " The kingdom is yours, son of King Rognvald. " Then he held out his hand and added : " But Gungnir is mine ! " Thorkel handed Baleygr the spear with a nod of appreciation. The old one - eyed warrior then left without saying a word.
King Hrolf' s men threw down their weapons, and kneeled before King Thorkel. Thorkel remembered his father's words of wisdom, and told them that if they pledged an oath to him and Queen Ingigerd that their lives would be spared. Most agreed to these terms....... a few did not, and were killed.
Shortly thereafter King Thorkel walked over to his mother, who was standing below an old ash tree, and reached out his hand to her. Queen Busla ran behind the tree for protection then pulled out a dirk from her skirt. King Thorkel tried to make his mother drop the knife, but she would not listen. Suddenly she began to laugh hysterically, and plunged the knife deep into her stomach. She collapsed on the ground, and died without saying a word. King Thorkel slowly turned, and walked over to his men. He never looked back . It was then that he had a gnawing feeling that he needed to check on the Godi. He told his warriors to mount up and rode back to the temple as fast as he could.
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
End part 10
Next : Chapter 11 : Loki seeks revenge !