Thursday, February 18, 2016

Destiny found on a battlefield.-Story

Harald Fairhair receiving the kingdom of Norway from his father
Halfdan the Black.

First it started with the boys. Too small to carry a shield or heft an axe. They ran out behind the shield wall of their fathers and uncles with whirling slings and leather bags full of round river rocks. The oncoming line of men had to keep their shields up or risk catching a duck egg shaped blue stone in eye. Several were already down and Floki the Navigator lay dying.

The raiding party didn't bring enough archers to drive the boys off. The steady rain of rocks upon their shields sounded like spring time sleet on the roof of their longhouses next to the fjord. Growling with frustration they marched, hunkering against their shields as a man might against a blowing storm. 

Finally when a trio of local men appeared carrying light spears with blue heron feather fetishes, It gave the raider chieftain a target he could aim for. 

Halfdan the Black threw his spear with a shouted "Ha La Odin!"

It transfixed the biggest of the three. Acting like a tripod leg, Halfdan's spear went through the man's body and into the ground behind him. Bowed back with his arms thrown wide he remained upright and wiggling on the spear.

"All Father I give you this field. Reap the brave and take our offerings to Valhalla!" Halfdan cried. 

With a snarl of rage the men closed upon the ranks of terrified farmers and herdsmen cowering behind their shields. Sword and axe beat upon ox hide faced shields. Like shipwrights building a wave skimmer in Tonsberg, hammer like sounds of mallets striking wood or beating into flesh filled the clearing. 

Blood and the slaughter yard stench of human waste ran thick in the men's nose. Screams of death and pain came as a counterpoint to the rhythm of slaughter. Knives flashed as quick as serpent tongues. And still those whey faced farmers held their line knowing they were the only protection their families had from a slave collar or worse.

Snorri Gudmundsson growing impatient hewed his way through men with his aptly named bearded axe 'Manreaper.' Moving like an Orca cutting a bait ball of mackerel in two, he carved his way through their ranks. Once behind their shields and into their unprotected rear he became the stuff of nightmares.

Shortly the onslaught brought most of the farmers to their knees. Halfdan drew back his sword to give a mercy stroke to a Jarl who had lead his people bravely. The Jarl's death wound in his belly had brought him low, when a small boy with hair the color of summer wheat rolled from behind the press of bodies and drove his small belt knife into Halfdan's leg. 

"Aggh! your puppy has teeth!" Halfdan cried, as he took his fist and knocked the young boy to the ground senseless. He looked the dying Jarl in the eyes and said, "He has spirit. I shall take him as my own. No slave pen for your whelp. What is his name?"

The dying man clutching his intestines hissed, "His name is Harald." And his eyes rolled back in his head as his spirit fled from his ruined earthly shell.

Bending down and picking the small boy off the bloody battlefield where he had been knocked unconscious  defending his father, Halfdan The Black threw the small child over his shoulder and said to him, "Ja Harald...we will have some adventures you and I!"

DS Baker

1 comment:

  1. An excellent saga! Your words paint the event so well. I could even smell the warm iron laden blood as it misted in the cool Northern air.