The Little Shield Maiden
I Have Become That Which I Hate
As the shield wall began to disintegrate, Freydis saw in the distance King Eyvind fighting furiously against several of her warriors. Freydis, as quickly as she could, fought her way over to where King Eyvind was positioned. Margad saw her move away from her guards, who were preoccupied in their own battles, and went after her as swiftly as he could through the maze of individual combats that were taking place throughout the village. As she approached her foster father, a villager, with a small boy hiding behind him, blocked her way. The man was swinging a sword back and forth trying to stop her, but it was painfully obvious that he was not a trained warrior. With a few quick strokes she knocked the sword from his hands, and then she pushed him backwards to the ground. In her fury she raised the sword high, and swung it at the now prone villager with all her might. He tried to block the sword stoke with his arms, but they were sliced clean through, and the sword continued on splitting his head wide open, killing him instantly. Freydis then turned around to go after her foster father, who was now only a few yards away. As she took a step forward, however, she was confronted by the little boy. He had picked up the man' s sword, which he could barely wield, and was pointing it menacingly at her. The boy was crying hysterically, as she lifted her sword to strike a death blow. Just before Freydis swung her sword, she looked into the little boys eyes, and suddenly she was back in Ljarborg all those years ago. Instead of the little boy, she now saw her older brother Hjalti in front of her. Something inside of her broke ! Like shattering glass her hardened heart crumbled, and in the midst of battle she laid her sword on the ground, and fell to her knees crying. Freydis realized in that moment that she had become just like King Eyvind. She had become that which she hated most in this world !
King Eyvind saw that his daughter was on the ground, and vulnerable, and ran over to her with his sword ready to strike her down. " He may not win the war, but at least he was going to have the satisfaction of killing his bitch of a daughter before he died ! " he thought to himself as he swung his sword. Margad blocked the stroke only inches from Freydis' head, surprising Eyvind who had not seen him, and pushed the king backwards away from her. Freydis had become so focused on the child that she was no longer aware of her surroundings, and never even saw Eyvind, or Margad. Evind then swung his sword at Margad in quick, forceful strokes, that knocked the sword out of Margad's hand, forcing him to fall to the ground . Eyvind then raised his sword high for a final death blow. Before he could bring his sword down, Margad pulled out his seax from his belt, and stabbed it into Eyvind' s chest as hard as he could. The king brought his sword down feebly on Margad's back, and then collapsed on top of him. It took all of Margad's strength to roll Eyvind's dead body off of him. When he looked up, he saw that the battle had moved away from them, and they were not in any immediate danger. One of Freydis' personal guards reached out his hand to Margad, and helped him up. Another warrior handed Margad his sword, as they stood watching Freydis who was on her knees crying.
Freydis, with tears streaming down her face, reached out and took the sword away from the terrified little boy. Then she wrapped her arms around him tightly, and held him. Margad knelt beside Freydis and whispered : " Freydis, are you alright ?" he asked. Through trembling lips Freydis screamed : " Make them stop ! Make the killing stop ! Please, make it stop ! " Margad did not believe it would do any good but he shouted as loud as he could : " Stop ! End the fighting ! I command everyone to stop fighting now ! All of Freydis' warriors, who were not locked in battle with one of Eyvind's men at that moment, ceased their hostilities. Incredibly most of Eyvind' s men put down their weapons as well ! Margad then shouted to everyone on the battlefield : " King Eyvind is dead ! We will give quarter to all those who lay down their weapons and surrender ! " A few continued to fight, but most of Eyvind' s men gave up when they saw King Eyvind dead on the ground, and realized they no longer had a king to fight for.
Freydis stood up, and picked the boy up in her arms. With tears still rolling down her cheeks, she picked up her sword, and placed it symbolically back into its sheath. " No, more ! " she said shaking her head. " There must be no more killing ! " she shouted again. At the edge of the village King Haldor watched as the events unfolded before him. He then turned to his guards and said with a smile : " Now there will be peace in our lands ! "
That night, as they sat around a large camp fire, Freydis collapsed against Margad in tears. He held her in his arms, and consoled her as best he could. With every tear drop Freydis washed away years of pain, and anger. As Margad wiped away her tears, he could see in her eyes the little shield maiden returning to him that he had grown to love all those years ago.
End Chapter 11
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
Next : Epilogue