The Chosen One
What Domaldi and the Úlfhéðnar found was much worse than they could have ever have imagined. Village after village along the border, on the Vingulmork side, were burned to the ground. The inhabitants, at least the ones who had not fled, were easy enough to find. Their decapitated heads were impaled onto sticks and placed at the entrance to each village, and their mutilated bodies were hung up in the surrounding trees for the birds to feed on.
Alrekr wanted to leave behind a small contingent of warriors to take down the bodies, and bury them, but Domaldi's blood was up, and he was determined to kill all those intruders who had invaded their kingdom and killed his folk. The leader of the Úlfhéðnar ordered his Wolf - hides forward. All of them !
" We must kill these monsters or die in the attempt ! To not do so would be to dishonor those who suffered at our enemy's hands ! " he explained to his men.
The trail of the Vestfold marauders was easy enough to follow. Everywhere they went they left a path of devastation and death. Every house in each village was a new experience in horror. Not only were these warriors brutal, but they were sadistic as well. Men had their eyes gauged out, women their breasts cut off, and children were found missing arms and legs. Almost every body they found showed some signs of mutilation. Domaldi's anger grew to ever new heights with each devastated location they visited !
On the tenth day the Úlfhéðnar saw smoke off in the distance. Domaldi grinned from ear to ear as they approached the still burning village, for he knew that they were closing in on these demons, who he likened to Surtr, and his minions from Muspelheim. Domaldi, driven by his fury, and the urge for vengeance, pushed his men on night and day.
Three days later, as they were coming down a mountain pass into a valley, they heard screams in the distance, and could smell the smoke from another burning village. Domaldi angrily drew his sword, pointed it towards the rising smoke, and screamed :
" Let us swarm down upon our enemy like a pack of wolves upon our prey and kill each and every one of these vile creatures ! Forward Úlfhéðnar ! "
Some of the enemy warriors had begun to pull out of the village as the Wolf - hides moved in from all sides. Most of the buildings were on fire, or had already burned to the ground, by the time they entered the outskirts of the village. As Domaldi and his warriors closed in from every direction they saw those Vestfold warriors, who had remained behind in the center of the village torturing men, women, and children.
Domaldi took half of his wolf pack and went after the Vestfold warriors who were leaving the village. Yngvarr, Utlagi, Tosti, Rekkr, Regnvaldr, Njall, Lofarr, Karlsefni, Hialti, Grundi, and Almarr, did not need elixir, or a rousing speech, to motivate them, or to reach the wolves' ultimate fury. They had seen first hand the crimes that these inhuman creatures had perpetrated against their people, and quickly went into a state of Berserkergang.
Alrekr went into the village from the south, followed closely behind by Vigr, Ulfrekr, and Skarpi. Rambi, Patrokr, Oski, and Kulgaldi came in from the east, while Jarpr led Hamundr, Dvergr and Baldrekr, into the village from the west. They all reached the village center at about the same time, and just as the Vestfold warriors were about to begin executing the inhabitants. As one of their warriors was lifting his sword high overhead to hack off a young woman's head, Alrekr reached down and pulled his throwing axe from his belt. With a level of rage he had never felt before he threw it with all of his might. The axe flew end over end until the heavy blade hit the enemy warrior in the middle of his forehead, splitting his skull in half, and making him drop his weapon. Before the warrior hit the ground dead two more axes found their mark, and felled two more of the enemy as well.
Alrekr and his Úlfhéðnar warband quickly routed the small contingent of Vestfold warriors in the village. They showed them no mercy, for they deserved none. Alrekr then left Skarpi, and Jarpr behind to untie the prisoners, and see to the injured, while he led the rest of his warriors forward to see if Domaldi needed help.
He needn't have bothered. Domaldi and his warriors had chased down each of the fleeing cowards, and killed most of them. However, two of the enemy were brought back alive. As Alrekr approached one of the prisoners was being interrogated by Domaldi about the Vestfold army's position, while the other was being skinned alive as an incentive for the first captive to tell all he knew.
Alrekr smiled when he saw that Domaldi had the situation well in hand. He was about to turn and comment to Kulgaldi on how efficient their commander was in retrieving information from the enemy when he saw something that his eyes simply could not make his mind believe. As Domaldi stood questioning his prisoner he suddenly grabbed his chest, and fell to his knees. When Alrekr looked closer he saw the feather's of an arrow sticking out from the middle of Domaldi's hand.
Alrekr's first order was to his men.
" The woods ! There are archers in the woods !! " he told his men, who reacted immediately.
As he ran towards Domaldi he screamed out to his men :
" I want at least one of them alive ! They will suffer dearly for this cowardly act ! "
By the time Alrekr reached Domaldi he was lying on the ground surrounded by his warriors, who had formed a shield wall to protect their commander from further arrows. With the wild desperate eyes of a man who knew he was about to die, Domaldi looked up at Alrekr .
" You,....You,......Alrekr,..... will lead the Úlfhéðnar ! " he announced while choking on his own blood.
Then in a clearer voice he added.
" Wolf - hides ! You will honor, obey, and follow Alrekr as you have faithfully followed me all these years. He we lead you to victory...... ! " he exclaimed with his last breath.
- End Chapter 9
- Next : A Call For War !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.