The Viking And The Moor: Chapter Five

The air just in front of The Viking’s face hummed with the sound of The Moor’s axe blade. It nearly cleaved his nose off as he leaped backwards.

The Moor glared at him and The Priest with murderous eyes. She screamed.

“Bring them back!”

The Viking flinched at her ferocity. The Priest retreated further behind his protector.

“Bring them back!”

They were confused by her words, but they hadn’t any time to ponder them.

The Priest dove to the side as she swung her axe again at The Viking. He blocked the blow with his own axe, then leaped backwards again. He was just out of reach.

“Bring them back!”

She slashed at him.

The Viking kept The Priest to his back. When The Moor attempted to steer him away by rushing forward, he stood his ground.

She swung the axe with both hands. It kissed the air in front of The Viking’s face again. The wind whistled off its steel.

He ducked and rolled away from The Moor, which left The Priest open to attack.

The Moor turned to face The Priest. Their eyes met, and recognition flashed briefly across their faces. The Moor spat at him, then turned back to The Viking, who was waiting for her next move.

She looked into his eyes.

“Bring them back!”

The Viking shook his head.

“Why are you saying that?”

The Moor swung her axe back and forth as she advanced on him. He knew he could overpower her. He could sense her inexperience with the weapon she wielded. His skill far surpassed hers. But the hatred in her eyes frightened him.

She seemed capable of anything.

She continued swinging the axe as she advanced. Left to right, back and forth. She was nearly back within striking distance.

“Bring them back!”

The Viking held his axe aloft. The Priest realized that he was preparing to throw it.

The Moor continued her careful approach. She intended to rush forward and bury the head of her axe in her opponent’s forehead.

Again she screamed.

“Bring them back!”

She was upon him.

The Viking let fly with his axe at the same time that she struck downward with hers. The head of her axe was cleaved neatly from its hilt, spinning off into a thicket. The hilt fell at her feet.

“Bring them back!”

The Moor fell into a heap. She was sobbing. She rolled onto her back in the cold snow and stared at the sky. She screamed at the top of her lungs.

“Bring. Them. Back!”

Grief consumed her. She wept uncontrollably.

The Viking retrieved his axe. He stood over The Moor, holding it.

Her eyes met his, then she closed them tight.

“Please… kill me? End the suffering you’ve caused. I have nothing left. You’ve taken everything.”

She waited for a death blow that never came.

She opened her eyes again. The Viking hadn’t moved.

The Moor sat up in the snow but did not stand.

“Why do you not strike me down? I tried to kill you.”

The Viking smiled.

“Because I do not think it was me you were trying to kill.”

The Moor contemplated this, then nodded.

“You seek vengeance against whomever murdered these children?”

She nodded again.

The Viking extended his hand to her. She took it and stood, weakly. Her head hung low.

“I am sorry. I saw the two of you standing here. I assumed you had done it.”

“I understand.”

The Priest approached cautiously.

He and The Moor exchanged another knowing glance. The Viking noticed it this time but did not comment.

“Priest, she is not our enemy. She is searching for the murderers of these children.”

The Priest nodded but did not speak.

The Viking turned to The Moor.

“Do you know who did it?”

“Yes. Well, only one for certain. The others, I can’t say for sure.”

The Viking sheathed his axe.

“We will help you find them.”

The Priest looked alarmed. His eyes pleaded with The Viking.

“I see your look, Priest. I’m choosing to ignore it. Come. Let’s return to your hut. We can plan our next steps.”

The Viking began walking back across the shore towards the frozen river.

The Moor followed without a word. She walked in his footprints, her head still hanging. She wept quietly as she walked.

The Priest hesitated.

The Viking called over his shoulder.

“Those children deserve our help, Priest. This evil cannot go unpunished. You know this.”

“It’s not that”, said The Priest.

“Then what’s the matter?”

“We need to bury them.”

The Viking nodded.

“Yes. But it’s nearly dark. We must wait until morning. The cold will keep them. Come. To your hut.”

He continued walking, leaving The Priest to his thoughts.

The Priest followed reluctantly.

The three of them marched in a line, quietly loping through the deep snow.

Behind them, the bodies of the children lay under freshly falling snow.

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SOUNDTRACK 06: Moses Sumney, “Worth It”

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CONTINUE TO CHAPTER SIX (Coming Soon.)