Blenda : Sweden's Greatest Heroine
Blood On Our Hands / Honor In Our Hearts
Blenda emerged from the hall just as the fighting in the courtyard was ending. A few of the drunken Danes had fought courageously, but they had no chance to defeat the maidens that swarmed around them like stinging bees. The last Dane dropped his sword and tried to surrender. Lussa, however, had seen too many of her fellow shield maidens killed this night and was not in a forgiving mood. She threw her axe at the unarmed Dane, striking him in the middle of his forehead. Then as he lay on the ground twitching she grabbed Inger's sharpened staff and thrust it into his groin. The other maidens followed Lussa's lead and stabbed and hacked at the unfortunate Dane, and continued to do so long after he had died.
Torhilda, followed by Ellitze, Gerthrud, and Blenda surveyed the horror that lay all about them. There were bodies lying all over the courtyard. Some were draped over the benches and tables, that the Danes were happily feasting on only a short time before, and everywhere there was blood !
The maidens seemed unsure of what to do next. Many were in shock from the extreme violence of the attack that they had not only witnessed, but had perpetrated themselves. Most had never taken a human life, and yet now these same maidens, and simple housewives, had killed in many cases a dozen or more of the Danish warriors.
The maidens were gathered in the courtyard in small groups, with each woman trying to describe to each other their feelings about the horrific deeds they had done. Tears flowed, turned to anger, then sorrow overcame them again as they told their tales. A few women stood off by themselves with nothing more than a blank look upon their faces as if their minds could not handle the terrible things they had seen and done.
The quiet whimpering of maidens that hung over the courtyard was shattered when the maiden Byrghita found her lifelong friend Unna lying on the ground dead. The beautiful dress she had worn for the feast was covered in blood from the deep wound that had opened the artery in her neck. Byrghita fell to her knees, and despite the sticky congealing blood, held her friend in her arms while she wailed like a child. No one tried to console the grieving woman. For grief is a great weight that cannot be removed by another, and the women knew that only the passing of time can slowly whittle away at the pain of such a loss.
Pernilla and Yliana were late in returning to the village battlefield. Pernilla thought it best that Yliana, who seemed traumatized by being raped, not return at all, but the young girl insisted that she be allowed to join the other maidens in battle. As they rounded the hall and entered the courtyard they stopped dead in their tracks when they saw the full scope of the carnage. Pernilla quickly placed her hand over the much younger Yliana's eyes to protect her from seeing such horrors, but the girl angrily pushed her hand away.
" I do not wish to hide from what we have done . On the contrary, I wish to look into the dead eyes of our enemy, and spit in their faces ! " she told Pernilla with a sense of pride.
Yliana's words passed through the courtyard like an earthquake, and shook the grieving maidens to their very core. Almost immediately the women stopped their whimpering and took to a firmer constitution. Blenda, who had also had become lost in their surreal surroundings, suddenly began to bark out orders to the maidens.
" Ellitze ! " she shouted.
" Yes, Ma'am ! " Ellitze quickly replied.
" Take as many shield maidens with you as you need and scout the entire area. Make sure that no Dane makes it back to Skane ! " she commanded.
Ellitze quickly chose fifty women, and with their new Danish weapons in hand headed off into the southern woods to see if any of the Danes were hiding or attempting to head back to their homeland. Though not chosen Yliana went with them, as did several others.
" Torhilda ! " Blenda shouted after Ellitze had left.
" Yes ! " the old shield maiden replied.
Blenda placed her hand on Torhilda' s shoulder, and looked her in the eyes.
" Could you please put together a group of shield maidens to guard the village? " she asked in a tone that showed her pride in how Torhilda had conducted herself throughout the battle.
Torhilda surprised Blenda by giving her a quick hug.
" I will place guards on every point of the compass, and I will begin to look into preparing defenses around our village. " she replied with a tear in her eye and a smile on her face.
Blenda, sensing that the remaining women had no idea what to do next, jumped up onto the nearest table, and kicked a dead Danish warrior to the ground before addressing the women.
" Gather around maidens ! The battle may very well be won, but our responsibilities here are far from over ! Although we may have blood on our hands,... we have honor in our hearts ! We, the maidens of the Konga Harad, have stood proud and firm as we defeated an army of the Danes who came to our sacred lands to rape our sisters and mothers, and enslave our people ! Much like the Geatish shield maidens who fought for our kingdom many years ago, we have honored the memory of our ancestors, and protected the lands they first settled, and made their own ! " she told the women who stared up at her.
Blenda reached down and placed her fingers into a small pool of blood that had formed where the Dane had died. As she rose up and faced the women again she smeared the blood on her face.
" We, the women of the Konga Harad, are forever marked with the honor of our glorious deeds,..... and sisters,... there is no going back ! We will not return to the meek subservient housewives that the church wishes us to be ! Our bishop may wish us to crawl back into the shadows of our men, but through our deeds we have risen to new heights and now bask in the sunlight and glory of the old Gods !! " she continued.
A loud roar rose up from the women who surrounded her like a swarm of bees around their queen. Some weapons were pointed to the heavens, while some women feeling their new found power stabbed at the dead as if they themselves represented the suffocating cloak that the Christian church had cast over them since the Age of Paganism had ended.
Blenda pulled out her dagger and pointed it at the moon. With her other hand she motioned for the women to be quiet.
" Mani has blessed us with sufficient light to finish the job this night. In much the same way these evil Danish marauders have burned our villages to wipe us off the face of Midgard, we will now eradicate these awful creatures from our land with the cleansing power of fire ! Let us break apart the tables and benches here in the courtyard, and those inside the great hall, and build a bonfire so large that the memory of the faces of these evil bastards will fade from our minds forever ! " she screamed from the top of her lungs.
Blenda's words were inspiring, but the task was much greater than any of the shield maidens had anticipated. It took two days to place the bodies into carts and bring them to the clearing to be burned. The first bonfire cound not be maintained for long enough with just the tables and benches for fuel, while awaiting for more dead to be brought from the encampment. The maidens, led by Blenda, then ventured into the woods to fell trees for firewood, and the process began again.
The leader of the maidens did not allow herself to become single minded in purpose. Blenda sent some women off to gather fruits and berries, and to hunt for meat in the woods surrounding Varnslanda. She also helped to supervise, along with Torhilda, the digging of a ditch around the village in which they placed sharpened sticks to impale the Danes should they choose to return. They also began to build several raised platforms at each corner of the village which would give lookouts a good view of the surrounding countryside, and which could be used by archers should they be attacked.
A week later Ellitze returned to the village with her little band of warriors. While the other shield maidens got themselves food and drink, Ellitze went to the great hall with Yliana by her side to report to Blenda. The tired leader of the scouts bowed to Blenda as if she were a queen, and took a small sack from around her waist. Ellitze walked over to the table where Blenda sat with Torhilda and Gerthrud. She slowly untied the bag and allowed the contents to spill out onto the table.
Before the great battle the women would have been shocked by the appendages that fell onto the table with the sound of hail hitting a roof, but the human thumbs did not phase these women a bit.
Ellitze grinned as she spoke.
" Twenty - five Danes tried to make it back to Skane ! And twenty - five Danes were cut down before they made it ! " Ellitze told the women with a little laugh.
Then she added :
" I would like to express, in your presence, my great satisfaction with Yliana's performance during our mission. She killed five Danes all by herself . "
Blenda stood up and addressed Yliana first.
" You have honored all of the women of the Konga Harad with your brave deeds, and I assure you that you will be given a reward that matches the honor that you have won for yourself. " she told the young woman proudly.
Blenda then turned her attention to Ellitze. She placed her hand on the tired leader's shoulder and looked deep into her eyes.
" Thank You, my friend ! Now it is truly over ! " she told Ellitze with a sigh of relief.
- End Chapter 12
- Next : Praise And Honors
- Glenn Bergen ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.