Child Of Destiny
Thorvald' s Plan
Astrid was brushing her hair when she heard a discreet knock upon her door. She quickly opened the door and pulled Onund into her chamber. " Did anyone see you come her Onund ? " Astrid asked. " No, I do not think so princess. " Onund replied with a concerned look on his face. " Good ! I will get right to the point . I want you to escort me, early tomorrow morning, across the Hedemark border to find Prince Thorvald. " Astrid told him in a half whisper. " Are you trying to get us both killed ?! " Onund asked. Astrid's cordial demeanor suddenly changed. " We don' t have time for such nonsense Onund ! If we do not do something, and soon, they are going to kill my father, and because my mother is too afraid to act we may lose the kingdom as well ! If you do not have the courage for such an endeavor then I would appreciate it if you would send me a warrior who is brave enough ! " she yelled at him in a loud whisper.
Onund had never had his bravery questioned before, and he did not like it ! Especially coming from a woman. " I am more than man enough to protect you on a journey into Hedemark, though I am not sure what good it will do us princess ! " he told her in an offended tone. " Good ! Then meet me at the stables before first light tomorrow. I want to leave under the cover of darkness to make sure no one sees us. " Astrid told him with a smile. " I will be there princess . You have my word ! " Onund declared. Onund shook his head as he walked out of the great hall. The warrior thought to himself : " What have I gotten myself into this time ! "
Astrid already had her horse saddled and prepared when Onund walked through the stable entrance. Her heart dropped into her stomach when she saw that he was not alone ! " Are you planning on trying to stop me Onund ! " she asked him angrily. " No princess ! I felt that Magnus might want to come along with us. He wants to atone for allowing the king to be abducted. " Onund replied. As Magnus stepped forward into the moonlight Astrid smiled. " I sometimes do not give you enough credit Onund. You are actually a very wise man . " she told him. " And you are dressed for war princess ! " I have never seen you in the battle gear of a shield maiden. It suits you princess ! " Onund told her with a smile. " Let us hope it impresses Prince Thorvald as well ! " Astrid replied.
Prince Thorvald was riding about five miles from the border with Romerike when he spotted three riders coming towards him at full gallop. As he rose himself up in his saddle he could see a woman riding hard who was bracketed by two male riders. For a moment he thought about riding away, but something inside told him that he should stay and see what the riders wanted. As they approached Thorvald, Freyja, who was standing behind a large oak tree on the side of the path, raised her hand and waved it at Astrid. Suddenly the helmet that Astrid was wearing flew off of her head, and her hair rippled out and blew in the breeze like golden ripe wheat. Thorvald sat on his horse mesmerized by her beauty. The sight of her hair blowing like a flag in the wind stirred something deep within him. It was then that he realized he would someday marry Astrid no matter the obstacles they had to overcome. Freyja smiled as she felt Thorvald' s feelings grow. Then, knowing that Odin was watching, she looked up at the sky, and blew the All - Father a kiss, before disappearing as quickly as she had appeared.
Thorvald gave Astrid a broad smile as she pulled up her horse along side his. Magnus and Onund loosely blocked the prince in with their horses, but Astrid waved them back. " That is not necessary gentlemen ! " she told them. " Hello princess Astrid it is nice to see you again ! " Thorvald said with a glimmer in his eye. " This is not a social call prince ! I need your help ! " she said desperately. " What can I do for you princess ? " the prince asked concerned. " They have kidnapped my father, and want half of our kingdom as ransom for his return ! My mother is paralyzed with fear, and will not act ! I am hoping that you might be able to help me ! " she told him. Thorvald thought for a moment. " My parents will not help you, and attacking the Opplandene army would be a fools errand, and would only result in the death of your father. " Thorvald told her. " Then what do we do, Thorvald, Prince of Hedemark ? " Magnus remarked sarcastically. Thorvald ignored Magnus, and then continued. " But a small group of men .... say forty or fifty warriors in all..... might be able to silently get into where he is being held, and get him out before the kidnappers even knew what had happened ! " Astrid nodded her approval. " My mother would never allow me to take warriors on such a mission Thorvald. " she said sadly. " Nor would mine princess ! But I have one hundred warriors in my personal guard who are oathed to me, and me alone. I could pick fifty of my best men, bring them here tomorrow, and then we could go to Opplandene and rescue your father. " Thorvald told her. " And why would you help us Prince of Hedemark ? " Onund asked. Thorvald smiled. " Help you ? No ! Help her ? Yes ! " the prince replied. Astrid felt herself blush a little. " We cannot just ride over the border to King Kjardan's great hall, Thorvald ! We would be spotted, and killed, long before we reached my father..... and yet we only have six days to save him ! " Astrid told him. " If we travel through upper Hedemark, and then turn east into the mountains, we may be able to surprise King Kjardan by coming up from behind him, and entering his hall at night when his warriors are asleep. I estimate the journey would take about five days. Thorvald conjectured. " I will meet you here tomorrow at daybreak, and we will start out right away. " Thorvald said as he turned and rode back to his hall.
Magnus and Onund turned around and looked at each other. Then Magnus asked : " Do you think he will really return tomorrow with fifty warriors to help us ? " Onund thought for a moment before replying : " For Astrid ! Yes, I believe he will ! " Then Onund laughed : " Why don' t you go back and pick up Princess Astrid's helmet Magnus, while we set up a camp here. " Astrid sat on her horse, oblivious to what Onund and Magnus were saying, and watched Thorvald as he disappeared into the distance. She wondered what tomorrow would bring.
End Chapter 7
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2014.
Next : Chapter 8 : The Daring Raid