The Little Shield Maiden
A Leader Of Men
In the years that followed, the two armies grew in both size and weaponry. King Haldor of Ranrike began to pay for mercenary soldiers from the lands of Varmland, Romerike, and Hedemark, to join his already immense army. These" foreigners " were more than happy to help King Haldor stop Agder from grasping any more land in the Northway. For they knew that if Agder overran Ranrike, then all of the eastern lands would be vulnerable, including their homelands. King Eyvind recruited men from Vestfold, and Viken, but these men were not very enthusiastic to fight for a king who killed their people, and conquered their lands.
Over time King Eyvind' s army became so large that he had to break the foot soldiers into two divisions. Harek Kolbeinson, even though he had aged since the Agder army had attacked Vestfold 15 years ago, was still the overall commander. His men, however, were now divided between Margad, and the king's daughter Freydis, who was now a young woman, and a ferocious warrior. Margad was extremely proud of how well his student had turned out. She was an exquisite swordsman, and shield maiden. Not satisfied fighting with just a sword, Freydis had learned how to fight with a multitude of weapons. She was also extremely well trained in the use of spears, axes, and could even shoot arrows as well as most of Erling' s archers. King Eyvind was worried at first about allowing Freydis to command one half of his foot soldiers, but she quickly gained the respect of those she lead. The ones who did not respect her usually did not live very long !
Margad was greatly disturbed, however, that Freydis had lost her innocence, and had become cold and ruthless in her dealings with others. He could still see the spark of joy in her sky blue eyes that was there when she was a child, but the beautiful playful smile was gone, replaced by a constant grim frown. She had also grown distant, and spent much of her time alone, away from the other warriors. Margad was saddened by what Freydis had become because he no longer saw her as a little girl. She was now a young woman, and he loved her with all his heart.
Freydis knew that she had to keep to herself as much as possible. In her head she was formulating a plan to overthrow her father, and kill him for what he had done to her people, and her family . Freydis could not allow others to have even the slightest hint of what it was she was planning. She was carefully watching from a distance each warrior, and was calculating which ones might join in her upcoming fight with her foster father. All of the warriors had lived there entire lives under King Eyvind' s brutal regime, and most had little or no great love for their leader. But would they be willing to turn and fight against him ? That was the question that Freydis asked herself over and over again. She was literally betting her life that many of them would !
She was certain that she had one ally who would join her against King Eyvind. Margad's father, Arngeir, had been killed during a dispute with King Eyvind, and she could see the hatred in Margad' s eyes whenever he spoke of that day. Margad was also immensely popular with the other warriors, many of whom he had personally trained over the years. If he came on board with her, then she was sure that many of his men would join in the revolt, and together they could overthrow this evil king who had terrorized his own people for years. Freydis' plan had hit one major snag, however. King Eyvind felt his army was now ready to once again attempt an attack against Ranrike. An attack that both Margad, and Freydis thought ill advised. She had wanted to lead the revolt during a time of peace, but now she would have to recruit , plan, and execute her plan as they marched towards the land of Ranrike. It would be very difficult, and dangerous to do this secretly while on the march, but Freydis was determined to avenge her parents, and her brother, and to stop the evil man who had adopted her. If it cost her, her life, than so be it !
End Chapter 5
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
Next : Chapter 6 : Acts Of Treason !