Odin' s Legion
King Ogmund and his men were directed by the Varmland warriors to a large tent in a small clearing. A large table had been made from split logs and set up in the middle of the king' s tent. Crudely made benches were placed on either side of the table, and plates and drinking vessels were placed around the table. The Romerike delegation was seated on one side of the table, while the Varrmland warriors sat across from them on the other side. A camp follower acted as a serving maiden. She poured ale into the various cups, goblets, and horns, and then offered one to each of the representatives. King Ogmund picked up his goblet and took a long drink before speaking. " Shall we begin ? " he asked. King Sigtrygg never took his eyes off of Ogmund as he answered. " Yes ! Let us not waste time ! " he replied.
While the meeting was taking place the Varmland warriors relaxed at their posts. There seemed to be nothing to fear as long as the King of Romerike was in their camp. Many lay down and rested while others abandoned their positions to get themselves a bite to eat, or to tend to their wounds. All hoped that these talks would stop this insane war between friends and allies, for they knew that if they failed, at first light many more would be killed. What these warriors were not aware of was that it was not the morning they needed to fear, but the darkness of night !
Eyvind, King Ogmund' s most trusted warrior, carefully worked his Romerike warriors around the Varmland camp. He had followed his king' s instructions to the letter. Every man was stripped of anything that could make a noise. Helmets with flaps, were left behind as well as coats of mail. Even the scabbards for their swords were discarded because they might give their position away. King Ogmund had also ordered that some men be left in camp to make as much noise as possible to cover their movements.
As he placed his men around the Varmland camp Eyvind had to make absolutely sure that they were close enough to quickly strike, but far enough away so as not to be detected. When Eyvind had encircled the camp, and made sure that everyone was in place, he waited for the agreed upon signal to attack.
King Ogmund knew that he could promise the Varmlanders anything because he had no intention of keeping the promises he was making. The king of Romerike was merely stalling for time. Once he felt that his men were in place he would find a reason to walk out of the tent, and the final battle would begin. As the hours passed King Ogmund was more than happy to give in to all of the Varmlander's demands. But behind his cordial attitude, and his pleasant smile, lurked the devious mind of a madman.
King Sigtrygg could not believe his luck ! Ogmund seemed to be truly interested in seeking a peaceful solution to end this horrific conflict. Point by point Sigtrygg was able to gain acceptance for the peace plan that he felt best protected his kingdom from further incursions by the Romerike army. Vandrad, who sat faithfully by his king' s side, however, did not like the feel of these negotiations. The Romerike king was giving in too easily to their demands, and to the experienced Varmland warrior something was slightly off kilter. Vandrad could not quite put his finger on what was wrong, but he knew deep down inside that this wasn't right !
King Ogmund had been biding his time for most of the evening, but the hour was now getting late and the king of Romerike felt that enough time had elapsed for his men to get into their positions. Ogmund suddenly faked a yawn, and stretched his arms. " We have been sitting her for quite some time now Sigtrygg. Let us take a break and stretch our legs. " he told his counterpart. King Sigtrygg had also stiffened from sitting still for such a long time. " Yes ! I agree! Some fresh air would be a good thing to limber our bodies and clear our minds. " he replied. The entire Romerike delegation stood up at once, and headed for the tent' s flaps . Vandrad thought their simultaneous exit a little strange, and instinctively placed his hand on the hilt of his sword.
Eyvind stood behind a large oak tree within easy sight of the large white tent. Ogmund had given his second in command strict orders to keep a close eye on the tent where the negotiations were taking place. " When you see me exit from the tent, wait until the last Romerike warrior has left, and then attack ! Make it quick, make it loud, and most of all show no mercy to any Varmland warrior ! " the king had told him.
Eyvind's eyes widened when he saw the tent flaps pull back and his king appear in the moonlight. Then he counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. When all twelve Romerike warriors had left the tent, Eyvind gave the signal, and the warriors around him rose up and began to scream loudly as they moved forward through the barriers and into the lightly guarded camp. Once their yelling was heard by the other Romerike warriors who encircled the camp they all began to yell and move forward as fast as possible.
King Ogmund and the warriors from his delegation turned and drew their swords. King Sigtrygg, who was the first Varmlander to exit the tent, was also the first to feel the cold steel of a Romerike warrior. The king of Varmland never had a chance to swing his sword before he was stabbed multiple times, and fell to the ground badly wounded. The next three Varmland warriors fared no better, and were quickly put down as well.
Vandrad had felt something was not quite right and had held himself back. When the killing started he turned away from the tent opening, and using his sword cut a huge opening in the rear of the tent, which he and several other of the king' s warriors used to avoid the killing field in front. Vandrad quickly lead his men back to where the Romerike traitors were, and engaged them in a desperate struggle of life and death.
Despite being taken by complete surprise the Varmland warriors fought bravely to honor their fallen king. One by one, however, they died as the Romerike army overran their camp. King Ogmund had commanded that everyone was to be killed from the fiercest of the Varmland warriors, to the youngest serving maiden, and Eyvind made absolutely sure that his lord' s orders were followed to the letter.
When Mani reached the apex in the heavens above, his glowing face looked down upon Midgard to see that only a small pocket of resistance remained within the Varmland camp. Vandrad was holding out in the center of the encampment with about fifty remaining warriors. Surrounded on all sides, and with no hope of escape, these last brave fighters fought proudly, and with the fervor of men possessed. As each man fell around them their circle became smaller and smaller until only a few warriors stood by Vandrad' s side. In one last desperate effort Vandrad screamed : " For our king and homeland ! " Then these brave warriors pushed forward as hard as they could, swords slicing from side to side as they went, to break out of their encirclement. Moments later the battle ended, and there was only silence.
King Ogmund had King Sigtrygg' s body brought into the tent where they had been negotiating only hours before. The king of Romerike was delighted when it was discovered that the king of Varmland was still alive. Ogmund grinned from ear to ear as he ordered everyone to leave the tent. King Ogmund pulled his dirk knife out of his waistband, and waved it in front of the barely conscious King Sigtrygg. " Did you really think you could defeat me you piece of reindeer dung ! " he yelled at the barely breathing Varmland king. Ogmund placed his face almost against Sigtrygg' s to see his reaction and then shoved the dirk into the prostrated king' s shoulder. Even in his delirium King Sigtrygg groaned loudly from the excruciating pain. Then King Ogmund noticed Sigtrygg' s eyes begin to flutter. " Don' t you dare die on me yet Sigtrygg ! " he screamed at the dying king. Ogmund, realizing that the king of Varmland did not have long to live, thrust his knife with all his might as deep as he could into Sigtrygg's groin. " That is for my lovely daughter who died because of you !! " he screamed. Sigtrygg' s body heaved slightly, shook for a moment, and then mercifully the king of Varmland took his last breath.
Spellvirki joyfully danced around his great ice palace on the top of Jotunberg mountain. Not only had he succeeded in destroying the child who would have one day united the Midgardian kingdom of Norway, but he had also been the force behind the man who killed Odin' s favorite human. Drifa laughed as Spellvirki rushed over to her and wrapping his arms around her, gave her a big hug. " We did it ! We beat the father of the Aesir and the Midgardians ! " he shouted. Skjalfti watched in amusement as the king of Jotunheim danced around the room with the snow queen .
The celebration in Jotunheim was still going on when suddenly the heavens lit up, and the ground under their feet began to shake. As the tremor grew in its intensity, Spellvirki pushed Drifa away, and stood silently looking around at the walls of the palace. The king of the Jotuns glanced over at Skjalfti. " I do not believe it is you who is causing the ground to shake. " he said in a coarse whisper. Skjalfti shook his head. " No, my lord ! Odin is very angry ! Odin is very very angry !! " he replied softly as if Odin could hear him.
- End Chapter 9
Next : The Conclusion : Odin' s Avenging Legion !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.