A Fateful Decision
One by one the scouts returned to Tofte with tales of the horrors they had seen. They reported to Gandalfr that many of the towns and villages north of Oslo were destroyed, and among the ruins they found the inhabitants lying dead on the ground rotting under the spring sun. Of all the scouts Thorvald had the most disturbing news to tell. From a mountain ridge, a hundred miles north of Oslo, he witnessed the Jotuns as they savagely tore apart a small village that lay in the valley below. Visibly shaken by the event he described how he stood there helplessly while these giant beings mercilessly killed every man woman and child.
After the scouts left Gandalfr sat alone in his great hall in deep thought. His first responsibility as the village chieftain was to protect his people from harm.
" But how do I save my folk from these vicious Jotuns ? " he asked himself.
Gandalfr looked at the situation from every angle, and contemplated every possibility he could think of. He soon realized that he had but two choices. Either he made a stand and defended the village, or he and his people would have to flee south across the great ocean in their ships to escape the wrath of these Giants. After hours of careful deliberation the old chieftain came to a fateful decision. Gandalfr ordered his personal guards to go out and bring all of the village leaders to his great hall.
Although the scouts were bound by oath to report to their chieftain, once they had left the great hall they went straight to Sigvaldi, who was meeting with his division leaders, and told him in great detail what they had seen. The commander of the army too had made a decision on a plan of action for when the Jotuns arrived at their village. After hearing the horrific tales the scouts had to tell he was about to begin issuing orders of his own when one of the chieftain's guards arrived with a message for him to come to the great hall at once.
Geirny and her shield maidens Sigrid, Asta, and Ingigerd, were already standing before the chieftain, as were many of the Tofte citizens, when Sigvaldi entered the great hall with his warriors. He was certain that the news that his scouts had reported to Gandalfr would finally shock the complacent chieftain into action. For the enemy was now closer, and the danger all to real to ignore any longer. As he approached the chieftain's high seat he and his men bowed their heads out of respect, and then waited to here what Gandalfr had to say.
Tofte's chieftain took a long breath and then shook his head from side to side.
" Apparently these giant beings have encroached deeper into our northern lands than we first believed. " Gandalfr told those gathered in the hall.
" The scouts have returned with news that greatly disturbs me. Many of the towns and villages north of here are in ruins, and the people who once inhabited these places are now dead at the hands of these ruthless Jotuns. " he said slowly, and then paused.
If these Giants come to our village.... I have decided.... that it would be best if we flee to our ships, which, now as I speak, are being loaded with provisions for a voyage south to a new and safer homeland. " Gandalfr explained to his people.
Some of the older folk agreed with the chieftain and replied with a " Here, here, " but the warriors, young and old, were not pleased with their king's decision, and showed their displeasure by stomping their feet and yelling : " No ! ", and " We will not run away ! "
Sigvaldi, who stood in front of his men, walked forward and placed a foot up on the raised platform that the chieftain's high seat sat upon. The commander of the army looked Gandalfr straight in the eyes, and spoke clearly and loudly for all to hear.
" I for one will not leave the lands of our ancestors without a fight ! " he shouted at Gandalfr.
Then Sigvaldi stepped up onto the platform and placed his face right up against the old chieftains until their noses almost touched. As he did so there was an audible gasp from those gathered around as the two faced off against one another.
" It is better to die in battle than to live with the eternal shame of leaving our ancestor's grave mounds unattended ! " Sigvaldi screamed at the old man.
Geirny had been silent until now. Her father's cowardly words disturbed her greatly, but Sigvaldi's threatening manners shocked her even more.
" Sigvaldi ! Have you gone mad ! You must not act this way towards my father ! " she scolded the man she loved.
" We must discuss this rationally, and come to a compromise. " Geirny added in a slightly calmer voice.
Gandalfr stood up from his high seat, and ignoring Sigvaldi, spoke directly to his daughter in a loud forceful voice.
" There will be no compromise, my dear ! I will protect the lives of my people from the Jotuns ! And we will flee to the docks, and sail away as soon as the Jotuns are sighted ! " he told his daughter in no uncertain terms.
Sigvaldi spun around and began to walk out of the great hall. He was quickly followed by Arngeir, Eindridi, Gudmund, Steinthor, Torfi, and Viglund. Gandalfr was incensed by his commander's treacherous actions !
" Will you fight me on this ?! " Gandalfr yelled loudly at the warriors as they walked away.
Sigvaldi opened the door to the hall, and then turned to face the old chieftain.
" I will fight any coward who tries to stop me from defending our ancestor's homelands ! " Sigvaldi shouted back.
Gandalfr sat back down and pounded his fist on the arm of his high seat. Then to his great surprise the shield maidens Sigrid, Asta, and Ingigerd, stormed out of the hall as well.
The old chieftain narrowed his eyes and stared coldly down at his daughter.
" And you my dear ? ! " Will you also defy my edict ? ! " he asked bitterly.
Geirny returned his stare for only a moment and then lowered her head. As she turned and walked away she said softly:
" I agree with Sigvaldi . "
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : There Can Only Be One Leader !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.