The Spirit Tamer
Off To The Land Of The Saxons
Halldorr, however, was more surprised when Naddoður bid him farewell, than about all the strange things that had happened here in Þelamǫrk. While the Shaman was thanking him for risking his life, and the lives of his entire crew, to bring him to Þelamǫrk on such a foolish mission, Halldorr refused to accept that Naddoður no longer needed his help.
" May I ask where it is that you are going from here ? " the Kvenlander asked.
Naddoður patted his friend on the shoulder as he answered :
" I will be heading south. " the Shaman told him.
Halldorr nodded as though he understood.
Ahh,.... you are traveling to Egdafylki. " the commander responded.
Naddoður grinned from ear to ear.
" Slightly further south than that my friend. I will be going to the Germanic land of Saxony. " he replied.
Ossurr's expression changed from one of happiness, to be leaving Þelamǫrk, to one of great concern over traveling further south,... and to a Christian land at that ! Halldorr's face, however, told a totally different story. The warrior's eyes lit up and a smile came upon his face.
" Then you will need a ship to take you to Germania ! " he said, unable to contain his joy.
Naddoður both laughed and frowned at the same time.
" How can I impose such a task upon you ? Besides, will not King Faravid be expecting you to return soon ? " the Shaman asked.
This time Halldorr slapped his hand onto Naddoður's shoulder.
" The king ordered me to take you wherever you are going. And if you are now to travel to the lands of the Germanic peoples, then it is I who will take you ! " he told Naddoður in an almost cocky tone.
" I appreciate your kindness, and I accept your generous offer. " he told the warrior.
Ossurr, who was more interested in their destination than their mode of travel, had a question of his own for Naddoður.
" Why are we going to Saxony ? " he inquired nervously.
Naddoður turned to the Berserker and his smile disappeared.
" I have been having dreams,.... awful dreams,.... of screaming children, and creatures with black wings who carry them away from their homes and families to feast on them in their great nests in the mountains. The children call to me,... pleading for me to help them,.... and the words they speak are in the language of the Saxon people. " he explained to the worried warrior.
Halldorr and Ossurr looked at one another as though they had just awoken from a nightmare. For a long moment they stood frozen from the shock of what they had heard, and there was only silence. While Ossurr wondered what he had gotten himself into, Halldorr grimaced and pointed in the direction of Lake Seljord.
" Then we must leave at once ! We cannot let innocent children be lost to such creatures as you have described ! " he replied with great determination in his voice.
Without saying another word all three men went back to their hut, and gathered their things. The trip back to Lake Seljord was a rather quiet one. Halldorr was working out the course and timing to Saxony in his head, while Ossurr was thinking of how horrible these Germanic creatures must look. Naddoður, never one to speak much anyway, had already seen these horrible winged monsters in his nightmares, and the echoes of the children's screams reverberated through his mind making him visibly wince from time to time. Alva, tucked safely away in the Shaman's pocket, could sense what each man was going through, but she also realized that every person has to stand up to their fears, or succumb to them. She smiled, and nodded her head as she thought of the three men.
" Those brave humans will die to protect those children,.... because that is the type of heroes they are. " she whispered to herself.
When they reached Lake Seljord they were greeted by Usvifr, who was awaiting their return. The guide who had taken them to the Great Hall, before returning to their ship, was not pleased when Halldorr told him they were to sail to Saxony. As his face became as white as snow he looked his commander in the eyes and asked :
" Halldorr ! You do realize that Saxony is a Christian land ! They may not take kindly to a ship full of Pagans landing on their shore ! " he reminded his commander.
Naddoður could not help but overhear the conversation and answered the warrior's concerns for Halldorr.
" Saxony has been Christian for a hundred years,... ever since Charlemagne forced the new religion upon the Germanic peoples. They are now ruled by the king of West Francia, a man named Louis the third, and locally they are overseen by Otto, a Duke who some call the Illustrious, and the Bishop of Minden, called Theoderich. I do not fear King Louis, or Duke Otto, but I do have concerns about the bishop. If we can solve their problem, however, I do not think they will care which Gods we honor ! " he explained.
Satisfied with Naddoður's assessment Usvifr turned and boarded the ship, followed by Halldorr, Ossurrr, and finally by the Shaman. As the warriors rowed the ship away from the shore, and prepared to set the sail, Alva flew out of her pocket home and buzzed around Naddoður's head.
" The Christians will not be our biggest problem once we reach Saxony, my love. These creatures you speak of will be our true concern. For if these ' great black flying creatures ', who have a taste for children, are what I think they are, then we will be up against a flock of Nachtkrapp, or Night Ravens ! " she explained to Naddoður.
Naddoður peered off into the distance as if he could already see their destination, and then pointed south.
" This journey is not about religion, or that we might die fighting an unstoppable horde of creatures,.... it is about the children, and only the children. " he told her.
Alva flew onto his shoulder, and whispered into his ear.
" Does it bother you that those who fight with you might die ? " she asked.
Naddoður was not flustered by the question.
" Humans have free will. These men, brave warriors one and all, have chosen to stand with me against this evil. They could leave at any time,... and yet they gladly row on to their destiny. " he told the fairy with a hint of great pride in his voice.
- End Chapter 19
- Next : Chapter 20 : Angaria
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.