Under The Hrafnsmerki
" Glory Waits For No One ! "
Edred came running into the Ealdorman's stone hut out of breath. He had barely waited to hear his commander say, " come in ", before he had thrown open the door, and he frankly did not care if he was intruding. Edred had received very important information, by the scouts he had sent out, and to delay relaying this to his commander at once could mean the difference between defeat and victory over the Heathen army.
" My lord ! My lord !! " he shouted as he ran into the dimly lit hut and slammed the door shut behind him.
Odda, who was sitting at a table by the fire pit in deep thought, looked up at Edred and asked calmly.
" What news do you have for me ? "
Edred took a moment to catch his breath before blurting out the news.
" My lord ! The Heathens have sailed up the Lyn River with most of their army, and they will soon be in our rear ! "
Odda pounded the table with his fist.
" And where are these Danish devils right now ? " he asked angrily.
" My lord ! I am told that they are approaching Ladycombe Lake, as we speak, with sixteen long ships ! " he replied nervously.
Odda pounded the table much harder this time before rising up off of the bench. At first his face was distorted with anger, but then slowly, as though some great realization had come over him, it became calm and thoughtful. Before he spoke his mouth turned up on its edges with a slight grin.
" That means that they could not possibly surround our fortifications here on Wind Hill until well after dark. " he said out loud to no one in particular.
Edred gave his commander a puzzled look.
" Will you attack them while they are trying to get into position behind us ? " he asked.
" No ! Despite being split in two the force coming up the Lyn River is almost comparable to ours, and we would still have to deal with these devil Heathens on our seaward side, who would surely attack and make us fight on two fronts. " he replied.
Edred took a step closer to his commander before asking almost in a whisper.
" Shall we wait then ? " he asked cautiously.
Odda shook his fist at his subordinate.
" Glory waits for no one ! " he shouted angrily.
Edred moved warily away from his enraged commander.
" Then what is the answer ? " he asked rather sheepishly.
Odda turned to face the wall that was on the seaward side and pointed his finger at it.
" We will attack the smaller force, and God willing, defeat them before the main part of their army is in place. If they, in turn, do not know what we have done we may be able to catch them off their guard tomorrow at dawn, and wipe them out as well. " he explained.
Edred nodded and took a long deep breath before replying.
" That is a bold plan, my lord, but if the larger army catches us out of our fortifications fighting the smaller force all will be lost ! " he reminded the Ealdorman.
Odda gave his second in command a sharp look.
" And if we remain here, and the Heathens lay siege to our hill fortress, what chance will we have then ? ! " he asked angrily.
Edred bowed respectfully.
" I did not mean to suggest that your plan was foolhardy, my lord. I was simply inferring that it is risky. " he told his commander.
Odda walked over to the door and threw it open.
" I think that the time has come for us to show these Danes that we can be as bold and ruthless as they are. It is time to make them afraid of us ! " he shouted at the blue Wessex sky.
Edred walked up behind the Ealdorman of Devon and placed his hand upon his shoulder.
" Then we must move at once ! " he said almost in a whisper.
Odda looked up at the position of the sun and agreed.
" Yes ! The moment has come for us to either die as free men, or to forever live in the shadow of these Heathen bastards ! " he told Edred.
Then he quickly added :
" Bring every man, and woman, who can carry a weapon to the north wall. We will attack at once ! "
- End Chapter 8
- Next : Chapter 9 : Like A Hammer Dropping On An Anvil !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.