The Spirit Tamer
The Price Of A Good Deed
The Bishop was greatly disappointed that the avenging angel had disappeared, and he was deeply perplexed by her assertion that she was not an angel at all, but simply an Elf who had chosen Midgard as her home. People see and hear what they wish, and the Bishop decided to dismiss her comments, and from that time on referred to her as the Angel of Minden.
By noon, the exhausted Saxon warriors had returned to their camp, and a strange silence fell over the town of Minden, as the inhabitants got some well deserved rest after the chaos and ordeal of the previous night. Even Halldorr, who after being partially healed by Alva, and moved back to their hut, had stopped moaning, and had finally fallen asleep. Yes ! Now the nightmare of the Nachtkrapp was over and everyone, especially the children, slept peacefully. Everyone that is except Ossurr.
The Berserker tossed and turned, but he could not sleep. He was greatly relieved that the evil Night Ravens had been killed, and that the town was at peace today, but what bothered him, and what was keeping him from sleeping, was the uncertainty of tomorrow. They were still three Pagans traveling in a Christian realm, and the Saxons had seen that they had an Elf with them. Would the king allow them to return to their ship, or take the Bishop's advice, and have them killed for being Heathens ? While the others were enjoying their day of rest, Ossurr could not help but worry what the future held for them.
The following morning came too quickly for some, and not fast enough for others. Ossurr wanted to leave these Christian lands as fast as was humanly possible, while Halldorr was uncertain if he could ride a horse back to the coast despite the incredibly fast healing of his wound.
Naddoður seemed to be the only one who was at peace with their situation. With Alva's timely help they had killed off the dreaded Schwarz Nachtkrapp, and saved the children, and in his mind that was much more important than returning home or even his life. When someone began to pound on the door the Shaman was the only one who did not jump with fear.
" Naddoður ! My father wishes to see you and your comrades as soon as you can make yourselves presentable ! " Henry the Fowler yelled through the door.
The Shaman walked over to the door, pulled back the bolt, and slowly opened the door.
" Please tell Duke Otto that we will be there momentarily. " Naddoður replied.
Before closing the door Naddoður took a quick look to the right and the left, but he did not see any guards in front of their dwelling. A good sign indeed, for it showed that the Saxons did not see them as enemies, or threats of any kind. After he closed the door Naddoður and Ossurr both tried to convince Halldorr to stay in bed and rest, but the commander of the Kven army would not hear of it. Despite not being able to understand the Saxon's language he wanted to be present when the Duke decided what to do with his Pagan guests.
As the doors of the Burg opened the three Pagans had to squint their eyes to adjust to the dim torch lit court. When their sight had acclimated all three quickly noticed that Bishop Theoderich once again stood by the Duke's side. They also could not help but see that both sides of the court were lined with fully armed Saxon warriors, dressed in battle armor.
Henry the Fowler led the way, and as they passed each warrior, they came to attention, and tapped their spear butts on the floor of the court. What Naddoður saw in their eyes, as he nodded to each one in turn, was not deceit or hatred, but a sense of great pride and honor. The Shaman, and his comrades, began to feel a bit more at ease as they slowly walked through the honor guard up to where the Duke sat stoically on his throne.
The duke's son bowed to his father before announcing in an official tone :
" Father ! I present Naddoður, Halldorr, and Ossurr ! "
Duke Otto looked at each one in turn, and smiled from ear to ear.
" There are not enough words in either Saxon or Norse to tell you three how grateful I am for what you have done for the Duchy of Saxony. My people are happy, and our children are safe ! " he told the Pagans.
Naddoður bowed slightly to acknowledge the duke's words of praise, as did Halldorr once the Shaman translated what he had said. Ossurr, however, turned his gaze to the Bishop, and gave him an angry stare.
" And what does the man in the women's clothes think ? ! " he asked.
Naddoður translated Ossurr's rude question slightly differently than the Berserker had spoken it.
" My friend wishes to know how the Bishop feels towards us now ? " he told the duke.
Just as Bishop Theoderich was about to answer the doors flew open, and a strange figure floated across the floor on silver wings to the duke's throne. As Alva passed each warrior he knelt down on one knee, and bowed his head to honor the one who had brought the Guter Nachtkrapp to Minden to save their children.
To everyone's surprise the Bishop also knelt down on his knees when what he perceived as an angel gently landed next to Naddoður.
" You are truly blessed ! Pagan or Christian it does not matter ! For you are blessed with an archangel to defend you, and all who need your help ! " the Bishop cried out with his hands clasped together.
Alva, not wanting to ruin the illusion, patted the Bishop on the top of his pointy hat.
" And blessed are those who see goodness in everything, and everyone, no matter what faith, creed, or nation, they come from or follow. " she told him with a little smile.
The Bishop began to cry.
" Yes ! Yes !! I was wrong to have behaved in such a vile manner when these great men came here. Please forgive me,... forgive me ! " he blurted out.
Alva did not quite know what to say to the holy man. All she could think to say was :
" You,... are forgiven ! "
Duke Otto rolled his eyes before clapping his hands together. Immediately two warriors came to him carrying a small trunk, laid it on the floor by his feet, and opened the lid to show the Kvenlanders the contents of the box.
" Three hundred gold coins ! " The duke yelled to all those in his court.
" And well deserved for a job well done, I might add ! " he gratefully told them.
As the Saxon warriors cheered, Naddoður looked at the gold for a moment, and then addressed Duke Otto.
" I would like you to give my one hundred coins to the peasants who live outside of the Burg. It is a shame that they live in such poverty while those in your protection seem to enjoy such wealth. " he told the duke.
Halldorr surprised the Shaman when he spoke up next.
" You can give them my share as well ! Naddoður has shown me that honor is greater than any wealth, and that there is nothing more precious than a good deed ! " he managed despite his pain.
Ossurr thought for a moment, but reluctantly gave in as well.
" Yes ! You can give them mine too ! " he mumbled.
The duke frowned, but nodded in agreement.
" Then I will honor your wishes. " Duke Otto informed them.
Alva narrowed her eyes before lifting the Bishop up off of his knees. As the Elf held him in mid-air she looked him directly in the eyes.
" You will make certain that these peasants, and their children, receive every gold coin,.... won't you ! ? " The Elf said more as a demand than a question.
The Bishop, who was still crying, replied quickly.
" Yes ! Every last coin ! I swear !! " he shouted.
- End Chapter 26
- Next : Chapter 27 : The Triad
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.