The Dark Witch
The Power Behind The Eyes
Alfhild ran into the village and began to stop everyone and anyone who would listen to her story of the " devil child " . As a crowd gathered around her, outside of Olvir's great hall, the chieftain joined the gathering to find out for himself what all the commotion was about. When Olvir heard of this, " spawn of Lucifer ", the chieftain sent for the local priest at once.
Geir was not happy to be woken from his evening nap. Christianity was new to many of these villagers and they seemed to see the evil hand of Satan in almost anything bad that happened. As he was escorted to the great hall by two of the chieftain's guards he assumed that this too would be just another false alarm. When he heard Alfhild's description of the child the priest became even more certain that what the midwife had seen was only a figment of her imagination, and not a reality.
The Christian priest could see that Alfhild was whipping the crowd up into a frenzy, however, which he feared could lead to violence. To alleviate the concerns of the villagers Geir agreed to go and see the child first thing in the morning for himself. Olvir offered to have a small contingent of his men accompany the priest to Thrain's farm, but he politely refused telling the chieftain that he saw little danger in a newborn.
The following morning Geir put on his best robes, kissed his cross, and then mounted his horse for the ride to the outskirts of Rimol to visit Thrain and his wife Hildigunn. The priest was not happy having to travel all the way out to the couple's remote farm, for what he considered to be a waste of his time, but he felt it was his duty as a priest to investigate any and all perceived evil.
Thrain was surprised to hear a knock on his door so early in the morning, and doubly so when he opened the door and saw that it was the village priest. Thrain was instantly concerned about how the priest would react to the Pagan symbols in his house, and what he might do when he saw the small altar he and his wife had made to honor the old Gods that stood in the corner of the room.
Geir had been warned by the villagers before he came that these were Heathen folk, so he was not surprised by the Pagan idols he saw upon the walls, and on a table at the far end of the room. There were many farmers, ( bonders), who lived in isolated locations for whom the priests had not yet had a chance to convert. In time he would show these Pagans as well that the Christian God was the only God.
" Besides ", he told himself, " I am only here to see this supposed evil child. "
Hildigunn was suspicious when the priest asked to see her child. Geir, however, assured the recovering woman that he was only there to see and bless the child, and not to condemn the couple for their beliefs, or try to convert them.
As Geir walked over to the side of the bed, Hildigunn gently pulled back the blanket that covered her child's head.
" We have named her Hella ! " she proudly told the priest.
Geir frowned at Hildigunn when he heard the name, and then carefully watched as the mother uncovered the child. The priest took one look at the baby, and was so disgusted by what he saw that he involuntarily took two steps backwards. Not only did the child have blood red eyes that seemed to glow, and black pupils, just as the midwife had described, but it also had a rather dark complexion that reminded Geir of a long dead corpse.
Thrain and Hildigunn both became worried when the priest began to nervously fumble around his neck for his cross. When he finally got a firm hold of it he raised it to his lips, kissed it, and then began to mutter something to himself in a foreign language that they did not understand. When he switched to their Norse language they became very afraid.
" In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost ! I condemn the evil soul that has entered this child ! " he screamed in a terrified voice.
Geir leaned forward and tried to touch his cross against the baby's forehead, but Hildigunn withdrew the child and hugged it up against her neck. The priest then grabbed the mother's arm, and forcibly pulled the child forward, prompting Thrain to grab hold of the priest to restrain him.
As the three of them struggled Geir peered deeply into the black pupils of the child named Hella. What he saw within those black orbs terrified the old priest. He screamed as he realized that the image he was seeing was his own death !
Thrain let go of the Christian holy man when he began to shake violently. He was shocked by the look on the priest's face and took a step backward as Geir grabbed for his throat, and gasped for air. Suddenly, Hildigunn screamed ! Thrain was also horrified by what he was witnessing, but he remained silent in his horror. What terrified the couple was that the priest had begun to hemhorrage from his eyes, nose, and ears. Within moments Geir was lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood, convulsing violently. Then he became still...... and the baby giggled !
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : Fugitives !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.