When Magic Ruled The Worlds
Very Dangerous Felines !
" We must build ourselves a raft,...., and quickly ! " she told her friends after the vision faded.
Vilmeid's eyes opened wide with fear when he heard the forceful urgency in the voice of the Jotuness. And when Vidolf pulled out her axe the little Dwarf went into a full panic.
" What can I do to help ?! " he asked nervously.
Vidolf swung her axe at one of the nearby evergreen trees, which fell over with the first mighty blow. Before moving to a second tree she craned her neck around and shouted back to the Dwarf with a great sense of urgency.
" Strip the branches off of the trunk of the trees I fell ! " she ordered.
The Giantess then pointed her axe at Svarthofdi.
" Sorcerer ! We will need rope to bind the timbers together, and a sail so the wind can carry us from this place ! " she commanded.
With an almost maniacal speed the Jotuness cut down the pine trees one by one, while Vilmeid followed behind her removing the many small branches that protruded from their trunks. Despite his ever growing fear, and badly shaking hands, the little Dwarf knew he had to be careful at his task. If he left a nub where the branch had been the timbers would not fit snugly against one another, and if he should cut too deeply he would allow a notch that would allow water to rise above the plank once they were in place. As he worked he tried to concentrate all of his attention at the job at hand, but the deep roaring of the animals in the distance was growing ever closer with each and every branch he removed.
Svarthofdi, realizing that he had no time to make rope in the conventional way, waded into the surf and began to gather up as much seaweed as he could find. When he felt he had enough to make a descent length of rope he swam back to shore and laid the strands of seaweed end to end in the sand. With a confident grin on his face the Elf pulled out his wand, and with his mind gathered the power within his magical stick to change the ocean plants into what he wished them to be. With a flash of light, and a small pop of what sounded like thunder, the seaweed transformed into a strong rope with which they could use to bind the timbers together.
When Vidolf felt she had cut enough trees to make a raft large enough for all three of them she gathered up the logs that Vilmeid had finished and began to place them on the beach next to each other. Vilmeid was amazed as the Jotuness lifted two, and sometimes three, of the logs at once. For he, despite his muscular upper torso, struggled mightily to simply roll them from side to side to remove the branches.
Svarthofdi used his magic once again as he made a sail out of several of his cold weather articles of clothing that he would no longer need in this hot and very humid climate here on Midgard. With that final task completed he cut the rope into smaller lengths and began to bind the timbers together that Vidolf had already laid on the shore of the great inland sea. Despite his magic being very powerful Svarthofdi could not trust his mind to imagine, and then project through his wand, each minute detail of the binding, and therefore he relied solely on his own labor to ensure that the job was done correctly.
As Vidolf laid the last two timbers in place she was fascinated at how fast, and well, the Elf had bound the timbers together. She became quite envious of the little Elf when she too began to attach the timbers together and found that her powerful large fingers were a hindrance, and not a help, in tying the rope around the timbers.
" My fingers are large and clumsy compared to yours, my friend ! " she told Svarthofdi with a little smile.
The Elf grinned a little before responding.
" Yes ! But it would have taken me several days to fell all of these trees. A task that you accomplished in a mere matter of moments. " he told the Jotuness as he pointed to the timbers that were slowly becoming their raft.
Suddenly, Vilmeid appeared from the other side of the dune dragging a smaller timber that had once been a large branch on one of the pine trees, which he felt would be perfect for their mast. After hearing their discussion, and with a look of disgust upon his face, he dropped the timber in the sand between where his two companions were working.
" I guess that my work on this project does not merit a commendation ! " he blurted out in a hurt tone.
Vidolf stopped lashing the timbers together for a moment and began to laugh at the pouting little Dwarf.
" Does Vilmeid want a pat on the back for his work ? " the Jotuness asked sarcastically.
The Dwarf placed his hands on his hips and frowned deeply as he scolded the Giantess.
" No,...., not necessarily,...., but a little praise occasionally would be nice to hear ! " he shot back at the grinning Jotuness.
Svarthofdi, who at that moment shared neither Vidolf's humor, or Vilmeid's indignity, simply pointed to the untied timbers as he spoke in a somewhat angry tone to both of his companions.
" Humor and petty jealousy will not help us to finish this any faster. However, I must say that you finished these timbers quite well my friend, for they fit together very nicely. " he told the Dwarf.
Vilmeid had only a moment to bask in the glory of the Elf's comment before a loud roar came from the edge of the forest less than a hundred yards away. As Vidolf stood up to see over the small dune at the edge of the beach she no longer had to imagine the creature, that was called a Smilodon, or Sabre-toothed cat, in her mind. For now it stood at the edge of the forest in plain sight. And it was not alone ! Along with the bold first feline, which led the way, now there strutted five other Smilodons each spaced about fifty feet apart, and all coming toward the beach. With the cats covering the entire width of their route back through the forest this left their escaping by water as their only option. Unfortunately the raft was not yet completed !
Svarthofdi could not peer over the dune, but he could see in the eyes of the Jotuness the dire situation that they now found themselves in. After he finished lashing the timber he was working on he threw another length of rope to Vilmeid.
" Finish the raft ! " he told the Dwarf before he left his work and made his way up to the top of the dune.
Vilmeid caught the rope in midair and stared intently at the Elf as he walked away.
" And what will you do ! ? " he asked.
Svarthofdi looked back at the Dwarf, when he reached the dune's summit, and replied.
" I will keep our hungry friends busy. " he assured Vilmeid calmly.
Vidolf watched the little Elf closely as he took out his wand and raised it high over his head.
" Be careful my friend ! " she told Svarthofdi before returning to the job at hand.
Vidolf and Vilmeid peered up from time to time to see what their companion was about to do. Both were astonished when the Elf turned back to the ocean and began to chant :
" Great ocean listen carefully to this humble sorcerer's pleas,
For I need for you, inland sea, to blow forth a mighty breeze,
From ocean depths, across rolling waves, and to this land,
An unseen force create, that will pick up and blow this sand ! "
When nothing happened immediately Vidolf and Vilmeid glanced at one another for a moment with worried looks sketched upon their faces. Had the sorcerer Elf failed this time ? The Dwarf was about to ask that very question when a strange screeching sound suddenly rose up from the ocean behind them. So loud was this high pitched noise that it completely drowned out the incessant roaring of the felines. Then suddenly, as if they had been slapped in the face by an unseen hand, a great wind blew over them and headed inland. The hurricane force winds did not pick up the wet sand, that the uncompleted raft lay upon, but once it hit the loose granules of the dune they were catapulted forward inland at a very high rate of speed.
Much like tiny weapons these specks of sand were flung at the Smilodons with great effect. At first the cats did not know quite how to react to the sandstorm, but once these granules began to clog their noses, fill their mouths, and sting their eyes, they quickly retreated to the relative safety of the forest. Oddly these particles did not hit the sorcerer, but instead flew to the right or left of his position as he stood upon the dune.
While the windstorm went on all around them Vidolf and Vilmeid worked feverishly to finish the raft. Neither spoke or glanced at each other as they carefully tied the timbers together. When they finished binding them they began to work on erecting the mast onto the raft. Vidolf held the former tree limb in place while Vilmeid tied it tightly to all four corners of the raft. Just as he was finishing the binding of the final rope, the Dwarf could not help but notice Vidolf's expression change.
" What is wrong ? " the Dwarf asked nervously "
Vidolf nodded her head in the direction of the Elf.
" Svarthofdi appears to be tiring ! " she informed the Dwarf.
Almost as though her words had caused it the winds began to die down, and all too soon they did not have the strength to pick up and blow the sand particles inland.
" How much longer ? ! " the tired Elf asked.
The Dwarf immediately knew what the Elf was trying to tell them.
" I have only one more side to tie down and then we can launch the craft ! " he shouted.
Svarthofdi dropped the arm that held the wand as if it had suddenly become to heavy and he no longer had the strength to hold it aloft. The winds stopped immediately. The exhausted Elf then turned and looked back inland.
" Then I suggest that you hurry, because the predator cats are coming out of the forest,..., and they look very, very angry ! " he informed the Dwarf.
The Elf's words were quickly reinforced by the furious roars from multiple Sabre-tooth lions coming from not too far away.
As Vilmeid tied the last knot he shouted :
" We are ready to go ! "
Almost simultaneously Svarthofdi shouted back to his comrades :
" Here they come !! "
Vidolf let go of the mast and jumped off of the raft. With her great strength she pushed it through the wet sand and into the surf. Vilmeid jumped off just before the first wave hit the raft and ran over to where their gear was sitting on the beach. With great speed and determination he gathered up their belongings. Before returning to the raft the Dwarf glanced back at the Elf and shouted loudly for him to hurry. What he saw scared him greatly. The Elf had collapsed on the top of the dune as if he had been drained of all his strength. In a rare moment of calm clarity Vilmeid shouted to the Jotuness to help the sorcerer.
Vidolf had just turned back around after launching their craft and spotted Svarthofdi lying motionless on the dune. She began to run to his aid even before Vilmeid had ended his sentence imploring her to help the Elf. The Jotuness reached Svarthofdi at full stride and slid down in the sand to scoop up Svarthofdi. As she grabbed the Elf with one arm she caught sight, out of the corner of her eye, of two of the Smilodons racing up the other side of the dune. For the first time in her life the Jotuness did not consider standing and fighting. With a high shrill scream she began to run as fast as she could to the safety of the raft, which was now about twenty feet off of the beach.
Just as her first foot splashed in the water she felt a hot searing pain rip through her back at the base of her spine. Instinctively she threw the Elf forward hoping he would land on the raft. Her aim was true but the effort had allowed another cat to grab hold of her right leg with its claws. Suddenly Vidolf felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as she resigned herself to her own death. She had always wanted to die in battle, but now it seemed that she would perish at the mercy of these Midgardian predators.
While the Giantess tried desperately to free herself from the clutches of the cats, which now began to sink their massive teeth into her flesh, she felt something hit her in the head and fall down to her waist before it tightened. Then, as if a mighty force had grabbed hold of her she felt herself being pulled out to sea. When the water reached her shoulders in height the Smilodons had no choice but to release their grip on her and swim back to shore.
As the shock of what had happened began to wear off the Jotuness realized that Vilmeid had thrown a rope around her, and now the Dwarf, along with the exhausted Elf, were struggling to pull her out to the raft. Despite the injury to her right leg, and the base of her back, Vidolf did her very best to help them by paddling out to them. When she finally reached the raft she hung onto its edge for a long time trying to regain her strength. As she considered how close she had come to dying, the Giantess looked back at the cats, which still were prowling back and forth along the shoreline hoping for another chance at them, and considered herself lucky to have such good friends as Svarthofdi and Vilmeid.
Vidolf turned her stare away from the cats and looked up gratefully at the Dwarf who had saved her life. To her surprise Vilmeid appeared to be frantically looking for something in his bag. After a long moment of searching the Dwarf pulled out a rune-stick and placed it in the water next to her. Confused by his actions she watched as the Dwarf, with angry tears welling up in his eyes, stood up and pointed a finger at the Smilodons.
" The runes carved on this stick make things bigger,
A large wave, in this inland sea, let them trigger ! "
Vidolf, although completely exhausted, smiled up at the little Dwarf for his playful effort. She was about to commend him for trying when suddenly the water in front of the rune stick rose up in a great wave and quickly began to roll toward the shore like an avalanche down a mountain. A moment later the Smilodons were hidden behind the rising water, and after the wave crashed upon the shore these ferocious felines were nowhere to be seen.
With an astonished look plastered upon her face the Jotuness reached out with one hand and grabbed hold of the rune-stick while holding tightly onto the raft with the other. When Vidolf was certain she had it firmly in her grip she pulled it out of the water, reached out her hand, and gave it back to the Dwarf.
" Thank you my friend ! " she said as she used her last bit of strength to crawl up onto the raft.
- End Chapter 6
- Next : Chapter 7 : The Calm Before The Storm
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.