The Inner Defenses
The Jotun leader was so angry that he was literally shaking . As Atla looked over his shoulder back down the hill his eyes caught sight of his three dead warriors sprawled out upon the hill. He had not had three warriors injured, let alone killed, before this, and they had traveled almost all the way from the northern most tip of the Northway to the great ocean beyond. And yet here, on the outskirts of this small insignificant little human habitat, Kaldgrani, Ofoti, and Dofri lay dead upon the ground, killed by these puny Midgardians.
Atla was furious as he ordered his warriors to advance to the village as fast as possible. The Jotun horde crested the hill at a fast run, but all they saw were the humans riding away on their horses down into the next valley. A few stopped to shake their fists and curse the fleeing humans, but most kept up a quick pace to reach the village, and kill these human insects. They wanted these Midgardians to pay for what they had done, and they wanted that revenge now !
" I am going to make these human insects wish they had never been born ! I have been merciful up till now, allowing them to die quick relatively painless deaths. Now, however, I will kill each and everyone of these bugs slowly. First I will rip off an arm..... and then a leg with my bare hands ! Then I will watch as you writhe on the ground in agony until you slowly bleed to death ! " Atla screamed at the fleeing humans as they disappeared off into the distance.
Atla looked to his right and then over to his left. He realized that several of his warriors had stopped to listen to what he had said.
" What are you staring at ! Get moving ! I want every single one of these ugly human reatures killed or captured by the time that damned Goddess Sunna crosses the Midgardian sky !! " he shouted angrily.
The Jotun warriors had never heard their leader speak with such anger and hatred before. Without hesitation, and to the last Jotun, they all picked up the pace as they ran down the other side of the hill and down into the valley below.
Most of Sigvaldi's men did not stop until they reached the village. Sigvaldi and Geirny's shield maidens, however, dismounted at the inner hill to help man the defenses there. Steinthor, Torfi, and Viglund were already positioned here, each with a contingent of warriors to release the swinging logs, to act as bait to lure the Giants into the pits, and to kill the Jotuns once they were trapped in the nets.
After carefully walking their horses through the death pits Arngeir, Eindridi, and Gudmund, with the remainder of the warriors, dismounted and set themselves up at the edge of the docks. Here they formed a shield wall that would hopefully buy the villagers enough time to board and launch the ships before the Jotuns killed them all.
Geirny and her shield maidens took up their positions at the edge of the forest where the village women were perched up in the tree branches ready to drop their large reinforced fishing nets on the unsuspecting Jotuns. That is if they made it through the swinging logs and the death pits. Lying on the ground for their use were long spears with very sharp points. As the Jotuns struggled to free themselves from the nets the shield maidens would, along with the other warriors, stab at the Giants killing as many of them as possible.
After checking on the readiness of the logs, and the men at the pits, Sigvaldi traveled back to check on the nets. He was a little worried that the women in the trees might panic and run away when the Jotuns approached. Unlike the shield maidens these were not warrior women. They were too feminine for such things, and many of these women had recently given birth to children. These women did have one thing in common with their warrior comrades, however, and that was the desire to save their village, and their people.
When Geirny saw that Sigvaldi was done checking the nets and was about to walk away she quickly approached him. Geirny grabbed hold of Sigvaldi's upper arm and pulled him down slightly so she could whisper in his ear.
" I forgive you for my father's death . " she told him as a tear rolled down her cheek.
" And I will love you forever ! " she added through trembling lips.
Sigvaldi reached over and placed his free arm around her, then freed the other from her grip, and placed it behind her head. He pulled her close, turned his head, and kissed her hard on the lips. As their lips parted he wiped away her tears.
" I have always loved you ! " he replied with a smile as he stroked her hair.
Sigvaldi kissed her one last time on the forehead before turning to the shield maidens, who were pretending not to watch.
" Now, to your positions shield maidens ! " he shouted.
While her shield maidens walked over and stood to the side of the long spears she stood frozen watching Sigvaldi as he quickly made his way back to the swinging logs. Suddenly she lost control, and began to cry again, for she feared that it might be the last time she ever saw the man she loved so very much.
Sigrid, Asta, and Ingigerd, shouted to Geirny that they were all in position and ready. Their words broke the spell that had come over her, and she slowly walked back to the center of the line where she would command. As she passed her shield maidens she could see how nervous they were, and she knew that each and every one of them was terrified of what was about to take place. She tried to put on a brave face, but she was just as scared as they were.
Behind her Geirny could just make out the masts of the ships at the docks. They were already loaded with provisions for the journey to the Land of the Danes, and the children, pregnant women, and those to old to fight had already boarded the ships. If they failed to hold the Jotuns she hoped that they could fall back, and join the shield wall at the docks, to allow these ships to sail to safety before these horrible Giants could destroy them as well.
Then Geirny imagined in her mind that the Jotuns had broken through the defenses. Sigvaldi, if he survived, would then ride up to the dam, and destroy the boards that held back the water. Once the dam broke the resulting flood would kill everyone in its path, Jotun or human. Tears filled her eyes once again, but this time she proudly raised her head high, and stopped her weeping.
Magni and Modi stayed well behind the Jotuns as they followed them up the Far Slopes and down into the Fertile Valley beyond. Both were becoming concerned at how close the Jotuns were coming to the village that they had been told to protect by their grandfather. Each gave the other worried looks as they continued to trail the Jotuns. In their minds they kept asking themselves : " How much longer will Odin wait ! ? "
Wise Odin continued to watch the events in Tofte unfold beneath him from his high - seat at Hlidskjalf...... but still he did nothing.
- End Chapter 9
- Next : Chapter 10 : The Full Fury Of Battle !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.