An Offer Too Good To Refuse
Alrekr had hoped to show Domaldi how important this opportunity was to him by being one of the first to arrive at the Wolf - hide compound, but when he came within sight of it he was sorely disappointed. Out on the compound's practice field thirty or forty warriors were already going through their drills.
" You are late boy ! When Sunna's fiery orange glow lights the eastern sky, that is when practice begins ! Not when the Goddess shines above the mountains ! " the commander lectured his tardy student .
Alrekr lowered his head.
" I am sorry Domaldi. I did not understand that you begin so early. " Alrekr told his teacher with regret.
" Then let that be your first lesson. " he told the boy.
Domaldi pointed to a wooden rack off in the distance.
" Get yourself a practice sword, and a shield. " Domaldi ordered.
While Alrekr was away Domaldi looked around the practice field until he found the warrior he wanted to pit the young lad against.
" Jarpr ! Come here ! " Domaldi commanded.
Alrekr and Jarpr arrived at the about the same time, and both boys looked over each other trying to gauge their strengths and weaknesses.
" Alrekr, this is Jarpr ! He has been training with us for about a year now, and I think that he will be a good first test for you. " he explained to the newcomer.
Then Domaldi turned to Jarpr, gave him a stern look, and pointed his finger at the elder boy.
" Remember this is the boy's first day here. Do not injure him ! " the commander ordered.
Domaldi walked several feet away to observe the match while the two young men walked around in a circle trying to feel each other out. Jarpr took the first jab, thrusting his sword towards the stomach of Alrekr. The blunt wooden sword point struck nothing but the metal boss in the center of his opponent's shield however. He then tried a downward stroke against the newcomer's head, but once again Alrekr easily blocked the blow with his shield. To Jarpr's shock Alrekr countered with a quick thrust with his own sword that nearly caught him off guard. His shield deflected the blow just inches away from his face !
Jarpr glanced over at Domaldi and smiled.
" Not bad for someone who is not yet a warrior ! " he told his teacher.
" Well then up the tempo Jarpr ! Let us see what this young fighter can do ! " he requested of his student.
Jarpr grinned from ear to ear, and immediately began to move in on his opponent. With a rapid series of quick jabs, and sword strokes, he forced Alrekr back four or five steps. But the novice blocked every attempt Jarpr made to " kill " him, with the ease of a much more experienced fighter. Domaldi's student quickly began to become frustrated and started to work harder and harder to put an end to the contest. But Alrekr was just as fast as Jarpr, and blocked every blow with either his shield or his sword. To Domaldi's surprise and delight the young lad also countered with a few skillful moves of his own.
Then, just as it appeared that the fight would end in a draw, Jarpr came at Alrekr with a hard blow up high. Alrekr ducked under the wooden blade, and with his shield pushed Jarpr's shield up above his chest. Jarpr was only defenseless for a brief moment, but it was long enough for Alrekr to thrust his sword into the belly of his opponent.
" Well done Alrekr ! " Domaldi shouted as he ran over to congratulate the boy.
Alrekr nodded to Domaldi.
" Thank you commander ! " Alrekr replied proudly.
Jarpr hung his head low, and got down on one knee.
" I am sorry commander ! I became careless and let my guard down. " he explained to his teacher.
Domaldi concurred with a nod of his head.
" Yes ! But do not be too hard on yourself Jarpr. Alrekr fights with skills well beyond his years. " he told his pupil.
Domaldi then pointed to the weapons rack.
" Put your weapons away, and we will talk over a horn of mead in the Wolf's Lair . " he told the boys.
Domaldi laughed when he saw the confused look on Alrekr's face.
" The great hall boy ! We call it the Wolf's Lair here in the Úlfhéðnar compound. " he explained to Alrekr .
As he walked into the " Wolf's Lair " Alrekr was surprised at how many wolf pelts lined the walls of the great hall. In the middle of the hall, sitting on benches near a huge fire pit, sat some of the largest men that Alrekr had ever seen. They all had long hair, and braided beards, and each one wore on some part of his body a wolf pelt.
Domaldi smiled at Alrekr and patted him on the shoulder with his huge hand.
" Intimidating aren't they ? " he asked in a whisper.
Alrekr looked up at Domaldi and nodded.
" They remind me of the Berserker back in Vestfold. " he replied also in a whisper.
" They honor the fighting spirit of the bears, while we mimic the tenacity, teamwork, and strength of the wolves. We both, however, live and die by a similar warrior's creed. " he told his new friend.
" And that is why I have invited you here. The wolf - hides are very proud to always be the first into battle, and the last to leave the field of honor ! Many of my wolf blood brothers now sit on the golden benches in Valhalla, and feast with Odin. They fought and died as Úlfhéðnar, and now have been gifted the greatest honor of all. They reside with Odin, now and forever, and have been added to his ever growing ranks of Einherjar ! " he told Alrekr.
" The question I put forth to you, young Alrekr, is are you strong enough to join us ? " he asked with a grin.
Alrekr smiled so hard his face almost hurt. Domaldi had made him an offer that was too good to refuse ! The young lad looked around the hall and nodded.
" I would be greatly honored to join the Úlfhéðnar ! " he told his new commander.
Jarpr left them and walked over to the wall. He pulled down a small wolf pelt and handed it to Alrekr.
" Welcome to our pack ! " he told Alrekr with a smile.
Domaldi motioned for the boys to sit and then called over to a large woman who was serving the warriors near the fire.
" Hildeborg ! Bring us mead my fine woman ! " the commander ordered happily.
Alrekr's eyes nearly popped out of his head when the serving maiden came over to their table with a large pitcher of mead. Hildeborg looked to be about forty years of age, plump in weight, and she had the largest breasts he had ever seen ! Alrekr blushed, and his mind went blank, as she bent over to pour the mead into his horn. Domaldi continued to speak, but the young lad was so mesmerized by the way her breasts jiggled back and forth, he did not hear a single word.
Domaldi laughed heartily when he saw the look on the boy's face.
" I see that you have found something to your liking here at the Wolf's Lair ! " he told Alrekr with a pat on the back.
Hildeborg put the pitcher down and slapped Domaldi playfully on the cheek.
" Shall I make a man out of this one the way I did you ? " she asked Domaldi with a lively chuckle.
Domaldi grinned and nodded.
" If he can survive in the forest for one cycle of the moon,.... well,.....then he is all yours !! " he told the serving wench with a raucous laugh.
Alrekr's smile vanished as the commander's words swirled around in his head over and over again.
" If he can survive in the forest....
- End Chapter 4
Next : Chapter 5 : Manhood
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.