Blenda : Sweden's Greatest Heroine
The Warrior Women
A little further on Blenda met up with Gerthrud and Ellitze. They quickly explained what had happened to Yliana, and how they had moved the body to the far edge of the forest, and covered it to hide it from the Danes .
" It is a shame that such a young woman had to be traumatized so ! " Blenda told the women.
Then she added :
" But I believe it to be a good thing that Yliana will not be here when the battle begins. "
Gerthrud turned as white as the moon that hovered over them like a watchful eye.
" Then,... you have already lit the signal fire ! " she exclaimed in a hoarse whisper.
" Yes ! Most of the commanders have left the great hall in a wonderfully drunken stupor. And now I need the two of you to return to the courtyard and make sure that every Dane has a full goblet of ale in front of him. Our enemy must be as incapacitated as we can make them before Torhilda and the warrior women arrive ! " she told them before running to the front doors of the hall.
Torhilda stood stoically watching the fields just outside of the village. She acted much in the same way that the old God Heimdall, who they once honored with rituals, was said to have stood as he guarded Asgard. She did not move a muscle, nor did she divert her eyes . That is until she saw a flicker of light in the fields below. She hesitated only a short moment to make sure that it was more than simply a torch being carried by a warrior. When it grew in intensity she felt a warm feeling come over her. It was neither anger nor fear, but was instead a sense of peacefulness that comes over some warriors before they enter battle. Sure of what she was seeing, Torhilda turned and spoke to the warrior women who were relaxing on the hill.
" It is time my shield maidens ! Rise up, draw your weapons, and prepare yourselves to kill the enemy !! " she told them as she drew her own sword from it's scabbard.
Without saying another word Torhilda began to move down the hill to the village. The shield maidens followed closely behind like ducklings following their mother. Quietly the women of the Konga Harad moved through the forest at the far edge of the village. Torhilda motioned for the shield maidens to step lightly so as to not make too much noise. When she turned back around, however, her foot caught on something, and she fell forward onto a pile of leaves. Torhilda pulled herself up and brushed the leaves off of the object she had fallen over. At first the old warrior was startled when she saw what was hidden under the debris. Then she quietly laughed when she realized it was a Dane's body that lay there dead. Torhilda held up a hand to stop the shield maidens.
" It appears that one of our serving maidens has started the battle without us ! " she whispered to the women around her.
Torhilda did not bother to cover the body again. The old shield maiden simply stepped up on top of the body and directed the women to move forward around the obstacle to the right and left of where she stood.
When they reached the end of the forest Torhilda stopped her little army again. She could hear that the feast was still going on in the courtyard, though it seemed to be much more subdued than she expected. It was then that Torhilda made a tactical decision to attack the Dane's camp first.
" I will let the Danes drink a little longer, while we kill the enemy that sleeps ! " she whispered to herself.
Torhilda led her warrior maidens away from the great hall toward the camp. As Blenda had promised the sentries had been removed from their posts, and nothing stood in the shield maidens way as they approached the Danes encampment. All of the warriors, or at least those who were in view, appeared to be fast asleep, and totally unaware of the maiden army's presence. And why wouldn't they be ? They had marched a very long distance to reach the village of Varnslanda that day, then ate and drank far too much for their own good. Torhilda could not help but think of them as animals fattened and ready for the butcher's knife.
The old warrior maiden motioned for the women to spread out across the encampment, and wait for her signal to attack. When Torhilda felt she had given her warriors enough time to get into position she began to hoot like a snow owl. Then, slowly and quietly, the women moved in for the kill.
Torhilda had instructed the women, who had brought as their main weapon an axe, to aim at the Danish warriors heads, close their eyes, and strike as if they were chopping a log for firewood. Those who had only sharpened staffs were advised to place the point of their weapon against the chest of their opponent and push with all their weight. Those with nothing more than large knives were told to slit the sleeping enemy's throats and then take their swords.
Torhilda, however, had underestimated the inner strength of the women for which she commanded. Most of the women wanted to see the horror and the pain in the expressions of these Danes before they died. These intruders to their land had caused much suffering and heartache to their folk throughout the southern regions of Smaland, and most of these warrior women wanted to avenge those who had paid with their lives.
As Torhilda had expected some of the warriors cried out in pain awakening their comrades, and a few of these Danes managed to draw their weapons and fight quite effectively despite being in a drunken state. The Danes who could, fought violently killing several maidens each, but they could not fend off the overwhelming numbers of these Southern Geatish women.
It did not take long for the shield maidens to move through the warriors camp killing everyone as they went. Soon they were leaving the carnage of the encampment behind them and were heading toward the commander's encampment, which because of their position in the Dane army was a short distance from the common warrior's camp.
By the time Torhilda led her maidens forward some of the commanders had become alerted by the cries of their men, and were waiting for their attackers. Fifty drunken Danes, led by Chieftain Guthbrand, however, were no match for several thousand very angry women who had already experienced a blood lust for killing. Many women were injured, and a few killed, by the Danish commanders before they moved on to the courtyard like a swarm of locusts through a wheatfield.
Blenda entered the hall slowly, and carefully placed the torch back into it's holder. She was not completely surprised that the hall was empty, but she asked Prince Olof anyway.
" Has everyone gone to bed ? "
The prince grinned.
" My commanders were tired, .... and I sent the serving maidens out to the courtyard so that we could be alone. " he explained to Blenda before draining his goblet.
Blenda forced a pleasant smile onto her face before walking seductively over to Olof.
" You seem rather tense for someone who has had as much to drink as you have my love. " she stated playfully.
Olof reached out and grabbed her hand. He pulled her close, kissed her on the neck, and then whispered into her ear.
" Riding day after day has made my neck sore, as well as my ass ! " he told her with a short chuckle.
Blenda worked her way out of his grasp, and stepped behind him.
" I have just the cure for that ! " she replied.
Blenda began to massage the prince's neck. She was trying to play for time as she waited for the death cries that she was sure would come from outside at any moment. While she kneaded his neck, like dough being readied for bread, she remembered something that her father had once told her : " An army without it's leader is like a snake without it's head. It cannot strike back when attacked. " She felt it was her duty to keep the prince in place her in the hall at all costs.
Blenda was the first to hear the noises off in the distance. For a brief moment she took one hand off of the prince's shoulders, and while she bent over to kiss his neck she reached under her dress and pulled out the ' Dagger of Destiny ' from between her legs. Then she waited.
When she saw Olof perk up to better hear the sounds coming from outside the hall, Blenda gripped his shoulder tightly with one hand and plunged the dagger into his throat with the other. She then pulled the blade out with such force that she ripped through his windpipe, and nearly decapitated the Danish prince in the process.
Incredibly, Prince Olof managed to stand up and turned to face Blenda. With one hand he tried to stem the flow of blood that streamed from his throat, while with the other he reached out for Blenda. He attempted to say something to her, but speech was no longer possible.
As he fell to his knees Blenda spoke to the prince:
" The ancient prophecy has been fulfilled ! Smaland has been saved !! " she told the prince as she kicked him in the face.
When Olof's head hit the floor the door of the hall burst open. Blenda quickly moved around the table ready to attack the newcomers. As she contemplated her own death the shadows in the doorway came running towards her !
" Blenda ! Are you alright !! " Torhilda cried out.
Blenda relaxed and lowered her dagger.
" Yes ! I killed the Danish bastard !! " she told the war maiden proudly.
- End Chapter 11
- Next : Chapter 12 : Blood On Our Hands / Honor In Our Hearts
- Glenn Bergen ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2016.