The Little Shield Maiden
The Plan Revealed
Torberg Dagson, the cavalry leader, was not happy that his swift riders would not be allowed to ride ahead to do the scouting, and spoke up at once. He made a good case for his fast riding cavalrymen, telling the division leaders that his men could return much quicker than the foot soldiers could with whatever information was gathered. Freydis quickly pointed out that the cavalry was needed to protect the main army, but she did agree that a small detachment of riders should join them as messengers. Feeling that his cavalry was now included in this addition to Eyvind' s plan Torberg agreed to it. Harek Kolbeinson was then asked by King Eyvind if he wanted to join the scouting party. Margad and Freydis held their breaths as Harek stood to answer.
" No, scouting is a young man's game. I will remain here and direct the main army. " he told them. Margad and Freydis both breathed a sigh of relief. One of the reasons they wanted to separate from the main army was to get away from Harek and his ever watching eyes. Freydis then got up as though to leave the meeting : " I think we should leave first thing in the morning, and be given at least a full day' s head start. " she said matter of factly. King Eyvind agreed, and then invited everyone, who did not have to leave at first light, to the main tent for a night of drinking.
That night Erling Arneson slipped away from the feast, and met Freydis and Margad in a grove just outside of the camp. Their secret little army had grown considerably. Almost half of Eyvind' s entire army, who had agreed to betray their king, would either be leaving in the morning , or staying behind like Erling's archers, who would turn on the main army at the appropriate time. Erling thought the plan a strong one. The divisions under Freydis and Margad would march to the mountain range just before the Ranrike border, and then turn around and take up positions on the high ground to meet King Eyvind' s army. Freydis was quick to point out, however, that Eyvind still had the entire cavalry to protect the main army. Margad laughed as he pointed to Erling: " He will take care of that Freydis. " he told her. " My archers will deprive the cavalrymen of their most important asset. You see my dear, cavalrymen are not of much use without their horses. And horses make nice big targets ! " Erling said with an evil laugh. The archers were always placed on the flanks to protect the foot soldiers. As King Eyvind sent the cavalry forward, and he always sent them first, they would simply neutralize them by shooting their horses out from underneath them. Then they would switch their attention to whatever foot soldiers King Eyvind sent after them.
It was then that Freydis told Margad and Erling that the people in many of the Viken villages would stand and fight against Eyvind as they slowly pushed his army back through the Viken countryside. Erling smiled as he heard Freydis and Margad lay out their intricate plans. " These two should be the king and queen of Agder, not Eyvind and Gunnhild . " he thought to himself. Then he laughed a little : " And of course I will lead their great army ! " he whispered . Erling looked up at Freydis and Margad to make sure that they had not heard him, and then he excused himself, and went back to his camp to bed down for the night.
After Erling left, Margad sat down next to Freydis, and took her hands in his. " Everything will be fine my little shield maiden. Our plan is a good one, and I have confidence in the men we have chosen to fight with us. " he told her. " But if our plans do not work out as we expect them to, I want you to go with your elite guards, and we will meet on the Ranrike side of the border. We can always join King Haldor against your foster father. " Margad told her as he looked deep into her blue eyes. Freydis shook her head as she pulled her hands away from Margad. " Love will make us weak, Margad ! There is no turning back, or running away ! It is all or nothing Margad ! " she said with an angry scowl on her face. She then got up, and walked back to her camp. Margad could not help but notice that she never looked back.
End Chapter 7
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
Next : Chapter 8 : The Point Of No Return !