The Queen Of Pain
Left For Dead
Brettifa stopped at the guest's hall door, and said hello to Unnvaldr before trying to enter. The Royal Guard, however, placed his spear across the doorway, and barred her entrance.
" I am sorry Brettifa, but the king will not allow any visitors into the hall until after he has left ! " he told the handmaiden.
Brettifa's eyes widened with fear, and her heart jumped up into her throat.
" Have you seen the queen yet this morning ?! " she asked in a very worried tone.
Unnvaldr shook his head as he replied :
" No I have not ! And like you I am very worried for the queen's safety. I am sworn to protect both the king and the queen, but how can I protect Queen Birsla when it is the king who is always hurting her ! ? " he whispered.
Brettifa stepped away from the doorway.
" In this matter there seems to be little if anything that anyone can do ! " she said sadly.
Then she added before leaving :
" I will return later to attend to the queen . "
Vetr, Ragnvaldr, and Nafni, were busy saddling their horses at the stables when Brettifa came by.
" Where are you going !? " Bretifa asked.
Vetr turned and smiled at Brettifa.
" The king has ordered us to ride with him to Gulen for the Gulating. It seems that King Ljufvini of Hordaland is causing problems once again over the passage rights to the Sunnfjord. " he told her.
Brettifa grabbed Vetr's hand, and pulled him to the side.
" I fear that something awful has happened to Queen Birsla ! The king is not allowing anyone to enter the guest hall until after he leaves ! " she informed Vetr frantically.
Vetr placed his hands on his hips, and took a deep breath.
" I heard her screams last night, and I am worried too ! I will be going to see the king in just a moment to tell him that we are ready to leave. I will try to speak to the queen for a moment to see if she is alright. " he told Brettifa to try and calm her down.
Brettifa kissed Vetr on the lips.
" Thank you ! I will wait here for you. " she told him.
Vetr finished saddling the king's horse, and then walked over to the guest's hall at a rapid pace.
" You must be tired Unnvaldr ! " Vetr told the guard.
Unnvaldr put up a weak smile before answering.
" Perhaps a little commander. " the guard replied as he opened the door for Vetr.
Vetr entered the dimly lit hall, and informed the king that they were ready for their departure. The king nodded his approval, and then turned to put his sword on his belt. As he did Vetr quickly looked around the room to see where Queen Birsla was. What he saw shocked him ! Lying on the floor, in the corner of the room, and curled up like a ball of wool was the queen, .... and Vetr could not tell if she was still breathing !
" I will bring your horse here at once my Lord ! " Vetr told the king nervously.
Without turning around the king replied :
" That will be fine . "
As Vetr left the hall, and closed the door behind him, he turned to Unnvaldr.
" Once we have left I want you to help Brettifa care for the queen ! I fear that she is gravely injured ! " he told the guard in a hoarse whisper.
Vetr hurried back to the stable, and told Brettifa what he had seen. Horrified by what she heard, the faithful handmaiden wanted to run to the guest hall to help the queen.
" No ! Go around to the rear of the hall, and wait until you hear us ride off ! " he told her forcefully.
Brettifa gave Vetr a look of urgency.
" Then leave NOW ! " she ordered.
As soon as Brettifa heard the horses galloping off into the distance she peeked around the corner of the guest hall to make sure that they were really gone. As soon as Unnvaldr saw Brettifa he reached out and grabbed the handmaiden, pulled her to the door, and kicked it open. It took a few moments for them both to see the crumpled form lying in the corner, but as soon as they recognized that it was the queen they ran over to her.
Unnvaldr gently rolled the queen over onto her back. A painful groan told Brettifa and Unnvaldr that the queen was still alive. When the guard picked up Birsla, and placed her on the bed, what they saw in the dying flames of the fire pit horrified them both. Her face was beaten and bruised so badly that she was almost unrecognizable !
Brettifa gasped in horror !
" Oh, no ! " she cried out as the queen's eyes rolled back into her head.
" Unnvaldr ! Please get me a bucket of fresh cold water, and some clean rags ! " she ordered more than asked.
Unnvaldr turned and ran out of the hall, and headed straight for the stables. The warrior had noticed the other day that there were empty buckets hanging in the stables when they had unsaddled their horses. The stables were also directly across from the spring, which was convenient.
Unnvaldr was careful not to allow the fresh cool spring water to spill out as he hurried over to the servant's quarters. Ignoring all proprieties, and the screams of the serving maidens, the warrior kicked open the door, and shouted into the startled maidens.
" The queen has been injured ! Brettifa requires as many clean rags as you can provide ! " he told them.
The maidens quickly gathered up as many clean rags as they could find, and then followed Unnvaldr back to the guest hall to help.
" Brettifa ! I have gotten what you asked for, and I brought help as well ! " Unnvaldr yelled into the dim hall after he kicked the door open.
Brettifa and the serving maidens washed the queen's wounds, and placed cold compresses gently over the worst of her swellings. With every touch, and every movement, Queen Birsla groaned and moaned ..... and in between the pain there were the heart wrenching tears.
Birsla was in no shape to eat breakfast, and she did not feel well enough to eat lunch either. Brettifa was, however, able to talk the queen into having a little chicken broth, and some soft bread for supper. The handmaiden also made the queen drink as much mead as she could handle to ease the pain.
The serving maidens were first to leave, for they had done all that they could. Before leaving to guard the door, and despite not having slept, Unnvaldr made sure that the fires were burning hot to keep the hall warm. The last thing that he wanted at this point was for the weakened queen to catch a chill.
Brettifa crawled up next to the bed, and made herself as comfortable as possible. The handmaiden wanted to be as close to the queen as she could in case she needed anything in the night. It frightened Brettifa as she watched the queen gasping for air with each breath, but all she could do was watch and wait to see if the queen recovered. When the queen finally did fall asleep, the handmaiden felt her eyelids become heavy also, and slowly she succumbed to her own exhaustion.
- End Chapter 5
- Next : Chapter 6 : The Visitors
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.