The Little Shield Maiden
Acts Of Treason
Freydis was not surprised when Margad tried to talk her out of her dangerous venture. He was hopelessly in love with her, and wanted to protect her from harm. This time, however, he was trying to protect her from herself. When she told him that she was going to raise an army to defeat King Eyvind, with or without his help, he finally relented, and agreed to join forces with her. Margad was certain that at least half of his men would follow him to Niflheim and back to defeat the king that they so despised. Margad also told Freydis that there was a very good chance of getting Erling Arneson to join there little army as long as they offered him great honors, and a high position in their new army under Freydis. He was not as certain about Torberg, so it was decided not to approach the cavalry leader. Harek Kolbeinson, however, was a major stumbling block. He was extremely loyal to the king, and if he thought that something was not quite right he would go immediately to the king, and all would be lost. Freydis told Margad that she had a plan to remove Harek from their army. Margad warned her about killing Harek . " If we kill Harek, then there will be inquiries, and we will surely be found out ! " he told her in no uncertain terms. " Kill him ?" Freydis asked. " No ! We don't need to kill him. We just need to separate ourselves from him. " she said with a sly grin.
By the time the army had reached Viken, Margad and Freydis had recruited about a third of the foot soldiers, most of the archers, including their leader Erling Arneson, and even a few of the cavalrymen. Margad was getting nervous, however, and told Freydis that he felt that they needed to start the revolt soon. He did not see how they could keep so many warriors quiet about something as dangerous as this. Freydis, on the other hand, wanted to wait until they reached the northern most part of Viken before putting her plan into effect. Freydis as usual always got her way !
As Freydis rode ahead of her foot soldiers she spotted the village of Ljarborg off in the distance. Her stomach began to feel sick as they passed through areas that were familiar to her from her childhood, and her anger grew with every step that her horse took. A short distance from the village she rode over to Margad, and told him that she wanted to spend a little time in Ljarborg. Freydis promised him that she would catch up to the army before they reached the northern tip of Viken. Margad understood her reasons for wanting to spend some time in the village where she was born, and told her that he would tell King Eyvind, who was riding ahead with the cavalry, when they camped for the night.
Margad did not know Freydis as well as he thought he did. Freydis did not want to stop in Ljarborg to see the grave of her parents, or to catch up with old friends who had survived the attack all those years ago. Freydis rode into Ljarborg to speak to the elders about putting together men from their village, and other surrounding villages, to attack King Eyvind' s troops, when, and if, she could push them back down south towards the Vestfold border with her army. At first the elders were skeptical about her plan, and were worried that it would fail, and leave their village vulnerable to being destroyed, and their people killed. Freydis, however, assured them that if she failed to push King Eyvind' s army back to Ljarborg, then all they had to do was put away their weapons , go back to their homes, and no one would know of their acts of treason. Given this assurance, the villagers agreed to her plan.
Freydis spoke to the elders deep into the night, making sure to personally speak to each of the survivors of King Eyvind' s attack. All of them still remembered her as the little girl huddled behind a shield that was too large for her to lift, and were very thankful that her bravery had saved their lives, and their homes from being burned to the ground. Freydis told them that thanks were not necessary, but she asked them for a small favor. Freydis asked the survivors to tell the others of what had happened on that fateful day, so that they too would feel the anger that they felt. They agreed to make the others understand what they were fighting for, and who they were fighting against.
In the morning the elders asked if Freydis would like to visit her family' s grave mounds. Freydis declined, telling them that she did not feel she had the right to see them until she had avenged their deaths. The elders seemed disappointed, but understood her reasons for not seeing them. " I will come back one day after King Eyvind is dead, and I will honor them properly at that time. " she told them. As Freydis rode out of the village she grinned from ear to ear. Her plan was slowly coming together.
End Chapter 6
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
Next : Chapter 7 : The Plan Revealed.