Fugitive From Hel
Tracking The Fugitive
" We are close ! Why are we stopping ?! " Thor asked angrily.
Skadhi spun back around, and pointed to the long valley.
" My sight is much clearer than yours Thunder God. Th human will have to trek through a marsh, and cross several rivers before exiting this valley. This will slow his progress greatly. However, if we travel along the ridge on the left of the valley I believe we will reach the valley's end before the human. " she told him.
Thor grimaced as though she had slapped him. He knew her logic was correct, but he hated being told what to do.
" Yes ! That is what I was thinking also ! " Thor quickly said to save face.
The climb to the top of the ridge was not that steep, and once they reached the highest point it leveled out. From time to time Skadhi and Thor would move to the edge of the ridge and peer down into the valley. At first they did not see their prey. When they arrived at the midpoint of the long valley they once again stopped to take a quick glance down below . Thor did not see anything, but Skadhi with her eagle - like eyes spotted movement below in what appeared to be a very wet marsh.
" We have caught up to the draugr Thor ! " she told him as she pointed to the human who was splashing through the knee deep water.
Thor shook his head and grinned .
" Then let us hurry to the end of the valley, and capture this horrible creature ! " Thor told her.
Serkr cursed with every step he took ! He could not believe how long and wide the marsh land was. It stretched across the entire valley, and went for as far as his eyes could see. The water was fairly deep, in spots reaching up to his waist, and it was as effort to lift each foot out of the thick mud that covered the bottom of the marsh.
Several times Serkr was about to turn back, and forget this whole miserable business, but when he thought about being dragged back to Nastrond to be eaten every day by the great dragon Nidhoggr he lifted his foot out of the squishy mud and pressed forward.
" I am cursed in whatever endeavor I pursue ! " Serkr whispered to himself.
Thor had not expected Skadhi to take his words so literally ! Once out of sight of the valley below the Goddess broke into a fast trot across the ridge. Thor was hard pressed to keep up with the Mountain Goddess as she weaved in between boulders, and leaped over the smaller rocks that lay on the ridge.
After what seemed an eternity Thor was about to ask for a moment of rest to get a drink when Skadhi suddenly stopped. They had reached the point where the ridge began to slope back down into the valley. As they peered over the edge they saw a wispy white puff of smoke coming from a small hut located at the mouth of the valley. Skadhi nodded to Thor as she pointed at the tiny speck below.
" We will have to catch the draugr before he reaches that dwelling, or the walking corpse will spill blood once again ! " she told him in a worried tone.
Thor looked at Skadhi, and then turned his gaze back to the little hut in the valley.
" No ! I have a better idea ! " he told her with a little grin.
Serkr might not have had the ability to feel physically tired, but he was extremely frustrated with how his progress had slowed in this long cursed valley. The marsh had been bad enough, but the two rivers that he had to wade across were worse. Eternal pain was the worst thing that Forseti had cursed him with on his judgement day, and this freezing cold mountain water was absolutely brutal. And the second river was even worse than the first ! It flowed very fast and dragged him under several times. If he had been a living, breathing, human he would have drowned for sure !
When he finally emerged from the numbing waters Serkr saw that he had finally reached the end of the long valley. He took a deep breath, more of a reflex than a necessity, and wrapped his arms around himself to keep warm. As he looked around he saw up ahead what appeared to be a small shack with smoke billowing out of its chimney. With his teeth still chattering from the bitter cold Serkr smiled.
" Warmth,..... food,......, and victims, ....., a good way to end a really bad day !! " he told himself out loud.
- End Chapter 14
- Next : Chapter 15 : Thor's Trick
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.