Skadhi had no time to ponder about the archer on the mountain ledge. Just as the mystery man disappeared behind a rock, King Haur told Sviar to give the signal for the Dwarves in the caves to attack. Chief Sviar blew three short bursts into a special horn to alert the Dwarves that the attack was to begin. The Dwarves came streaming out of the caves on both sides of the valley screaming at the top of their lungs, and waving their axes and swords over their heads, as they rushed headlong right for Skadhi as fast as their stubbly little legs would carry them. Skadhi knew at once that she was in a world of trouble ! She was exposed with nowhere to hide ! She might be able to get some of them, maybe even half of them, but never all of them before they reached her . Skadhi was not afraid to die, as she calmly placed the first arrow on the bow string and aimed. Just as she let the first arrow go, Swift Runner and White Paw, attacked the Dwarves simultaneously from opposite sides of the valley. Swift Runner knew that he could not kill the Dwarves, but he was hoping to slow them down enough for Skadhi to escape. All Swift Runner thought about as he bit into the heel of the closest Dwarve was that Skadhi had saved his life, and now he was going to return the favor, or die trying.
Skadhi, however, was not going anywhere ! She carefully aimed her bow, and calmly took her shots one by one, as if she were taking target practice. From on top of the mountain ledge Ullr shot as fast as he could as well. He wasn' t necessarily trying to kill the Dwarves with his shots, but he was trying to slow them down so they could not reach Skadhi. The defense was very effective, and after only a few moments 20 of the 24 Dwarves were either killed, or injured to the point where they could no longer attack Skadhi. Seeing that his warriors were dying one by one, King Haur had his archers fire a barrage of arrows at Skadhi, but they all fell short because the Dwarves had positioned themselves out of range of the battle. King Haur gave a dirty look to Chief Sviar who just hung his head in shame, because he knew that the positioning of the archers was his responsibility, and he had failed.
As Skadhi reached into her quiver for another arrow she realized she was out ! She quickly dropped her bow on the ground, and pulled out her sword. Just as the first Dwarve was about to swing his axe at Skadhi, Swift Runner jumped up at him, and wrapped his jaws around the hand that held the weapon. The second Dwarve was hit in the chest with an arrow, and fell dead at Skadhi's feet, while the third Dwarve was attacked by White Paw and his whole pack. Only one Dwarve still stood before Skadhi. The Great Huntress looked him straight in the eyes, and very calmly said : " Well, what are you going to do little man !? " The Dwarve looked scared, but sounded determined as he replied : " To die in battle, how glorious ! " The Dwarve then viciously attacked Skadhi, raining down blow after blow upon her. Skadhi thought of her father Thjazi, who after the Gods burned off his wings, stood and battled with the Gods who rained down just as many blows upon him, killing him. Skadhi became angrier and angrier, and felt the heat of her fury rise up through her as she fended off most of the blows. Several she was unable to block, and she felt the iron of the Dwarves sword cut through her skin in a burning pain. Finally Skadhi had had enough ! She jumped over one of his lower attempted strikes, and then came straight down with her sword upon his head killing him instantly. The two remaining Dwarves surrendered after being mauled quite badly by the wolves.
Skadhi had decided it was time to go and see King Haur. With the two Dwarves limping in front of her, Skadhi slowly walked to the end of the valley. Just before she reached the position of King Haur, Ullr came walking across the valley and joined her. Ullr smiled at her, and then reached into his bag, and filled Skadhi's quiver with his own arrrows. They stopped when they reached a point at which they could communicate with the king, but still have what they considered to be a safe distance between them. Ullr and Skadhi both had their bows pulled back, and aimed at the hearts of the Dwarves they had captured. King Haur laughed as they approached, and yelled out to the Gods : " What will the King and Queen of the mountains do ? I have 30 men with arrows pointed at the two of you ! " Throw down your weapons, and surrender before it is too late !" King Haur demanded. Skadhi raised her bow, and pointed it at King Haur, and shouted back : " Then you will be the first to die King of the Rock Dwarves ! " Ullr pointed his bow at Chief Sviar and said even louder : " You Sviar will die in a blink of an eye when I shoot you with my arrow ! " All of the Dwarves aimed their arrows at Skadhi and Ullr, and everyone stood perfectly still as the tension mounted !
Next : Part 5 : The Conclusion : A Surprise Visitor !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2012.