Valkyrie Chapter 11
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Bodvar didn’t wait long to send two of his Blades. The pair were as rough and rugged looking as some of the others with full beards and shaggy unkept hair. Both wore heavy furs and mail-lined leather armor.
Eijar had left; though strangely, Eadra found herself wishing the former inquisitor had stayed. The two Blades unhooked their axes and stepped up, unlocked her cell and motioned for her to step out.
Reluctantly, Eadra complied. Fighting would only make problems for Frey. One of them grabbed her by the arm, while the other headed toward the front door and opened it.
Even with the thick fur lining the inside of her clothing Eadra could feel the cold night air seeping through. Her escorts quickly drug her out into the night. They were taking her toward the heart of the village, to where Bodvar and the others were waiting.
It only took a few minutes of trudging through the snow to reach their destination. Eadra looked up to see Bodvar and Ylva standing with the villagers. She noted Ylva had her swords strapped to her waist. The woman’s own sword had been slung across her shoulder.
Both she and Bodvar, along with the other Blades were all carrying torches. He had been true to his word. The villagers were all huddled together, fear showing in their eyes against the torchlight. The other Blades stood around them, weapons drawn with four on horseback, each wielding a spear. Arald was missing and so was the Blade she had seen searching the village earlier.
Eadra eyed the villagers, a wave a relief washing over her. Sigurd isn’t here. The feeling was short lived, as guilt quickly set in. Her stomach turned over as she stared into the villager’s frightened faces. These people were her neighbors and friends. How can I be so frigid?
Again she could almost hear her old self laughing. It only made the knot forming in her stomach worse. She scanned the crowd searching of Frey when it dawned on her. Where are the other children?
The fear in the villager’s eyes said what she needed to know. Bodvar must have them. Eadra turned toward him, the knot in her stomach knotting tighter at the sight of the wide smile on his face. He still isn’t completely sober.
“I’m so pleased you could join us, Eadra,” he said.
All eyes Immediately turned toward her. Even amid their fear, the question of ‘why?’ shone in their eyes. Bodvar then turned toward the villagers.
“You know why we are here and all of you know what you have done,” he began.
“Please, take Elin and go!” one of them shouted. His name was Ansgar. He was on the village council.
“Trust me, old man,” Bodvar replied. “I intend to finish our business quickly.”
“What of our children?” Ansgar asked. “What do you intend to do with them?”
Some of the others chimed in. Eadra grew nervous. Bodvar may have been smiling, but his dark blue eyes spoke of his intent.
He sighed. Eadra faintly heard him whisper, 'This is getting tiresome.' He stepped closer, torch in hand. “My intention was to spare them the sight of what we are about to do.”
Bodvar lifted his hand, and motioned for the blades holding her to come closer. Eadra felt their grip tighten as they stepped forward and drug her with them.
“You have harbored a criminal and you have evaded Viktor’s taxes,” he said. “Let this be a reminder of…”
Eadra could feel the bile rising in her stomach. “Oh shut your cockhole Bodvar!” she shouted. “End this farce!”
His face went blank, his dark blue eyes cold and empty. “Kill…them…all,” he said, tossing his torch at one of the villagers.
Eadra felt helpless. “No!” she screamed.
Bodvar burst into laughter. Like a pack of wolves the Blades were on them and quickly began cutting the villagers down. Eadra fought against the two holding her, but the screams were too much. Memories of that day in Haejenyar came flooding back along with the faces of the dead.
Her knees buckled and she closed her eyes. Even closed however, she could still their faces flashing before her. Her chest tightened as the screams of her friends and neighbors echoed in her ears. Some of them were resisting. She could hear them, but against the Blades it was futile.
Through it all Bodvar’s laugh hung in the air. It was so senseless, but when did he ever need a reason to kill anyone. Bodvar was nothing more than a butcher. That’s all he had ever been.
You only have yourself to blame. That what her old self would have said. You let yourself become so weak. Eadra looked up, tears in her eyes. The bodies of the villagers lay scattered about, some had managed to run, but the riders had ensured they didn’t get far. A couple Blades had been injured, but it was nothing serious.
Ylva was covered in blood from what Eadra could see in the torchlight. Her expression was empty, but she was holding Grimmear and Walen. The knot in Eadra’s stomach grew even tighter.
“This makes you angry?” Ylva asked walking over and kneeling in front of her. “What about their anger?” She brandished both blades so Eadra could clearly see the blood on them. “How many have you killed with them? Yet you sit here and cry like a lamb?” She dropped both blades in the snow, stood and walked away. “I can hear them weeping at your weakness,” she added.
Eadra stared at Grimmear and Walen, clenching her fists in the snow. She watched as the snow slowly drank in the blood of her friends and neighbors from their sharpened edges. Her chest felt hot and then everything became a blur.
Eadra felt Grimmear’s leathery grip in her hand and a slight pull from Walen. There was cry and then the familiar sense of Grimmear cleanly slicing apart something in its path. Ylva was closer, the woman had already spun around, her sword drawn and barely deflecting the strike angled at her throat.
There was laugh, it shook Eadra after realizing it had come from her. Rage and disgust quickly set in next. It didn’t matter anymore, not her oath, not these past few years. It was all gone now. Only Frey remained. She was all that was left.
Ylva was strong. She had recovered quickly, but couldn’t mount an offensive. She was on the defensive, her stoic face cracking and her frustration seeping through.
Grimmear had already come close to cutting her open several times. Eadra had nearly forgotten how effortless it was to use the scramasax to catch her opponents off guard. She stepped in with Walen coming it at an angle. Ylva parried and Eadra brought Grimmear in low with the momentum.
Ylva stepped back, narrowly avoiding having her right thigh sliced open. She then brought her sword to bear defensively just as Eadra brought Walen in with a hard slash. Their blades met; Eadra could feel the woman’s strength from the impact.
“Is this what they bragged about?” she asked, the frustration written on her face changing to a smile. She pushed hard, forcing Eadra back. “I see nothing special here.” Ylva changed stances.
Eadra closed in, but her senses screamed that something was off. She ignored them. Ylva was in the way and Frey needed her.
Ylva swung and Eadra moved to parry. When the two swords met Walen suddenly gave and then sheared apart. Eadra fell back from the force as Walen’s broken shards cut deeply into her flesh.
Ylva’s sword had only missed her side by mere inches. She stared at the broken ulthar, the sword she had kept for so long. It was like part of herself had suddenly been torn away.
Ylva smiled and stepped closer. “The weak break before the strong,” she said. “Your blade was nothing more than a reflection of this. It was a reflection of you.”
Eadra looked up, gripping Grimmear tightly. Ylva was standing over her now. Her guard was down.
“Bodvar,” she said. “This woman that you bragged on about drunkenly, I see nothing of her here.”
Eadra waited. Ylva’s eyes were full of contempt. She knelt and Eadra struck. Grimmear never found its mark. Instead Eadra felt a sharp pain in her wrist followed by a loud pop. She screamed, her wrist feeling as if it were on fire.
“Predictable,” Ylva replied and stood, walking away.
Eadra fell back into the snow cradling her wrist. “It’s not over.”
Ylva stopped and turned around. “It was over the moment you let a child weaken your resolve.”
Bodvar could only stare in disgust. She was beaten. At first, there had been hope. Watching the fire in Eadra’s eyes had stirred his heart. She had killed Vaelen and Drune so effortlessly, both lay in the snow split wide open.
Seeing her push Ylva back brought memories long forgotten. Memories of the day they had repelled a band frost giant raiders from the east. The feeling was short-lived. It hadn’t taken long to see Ylva had been toying with Eadra. Even if she had won the fight, Eadra would still have to be punished and the village burned.
He stared at Eadra as she lay in the snow. There was nothing left in his heart but disappointment and contempt. You were right, Eadra. You did die. You’ve been dead for a long time.
“Grab her, beat her if you have to and then toss her into the house,” he said.
Two others stepped up and grabbed her. Eadra fought them and as ordered began beating her senseless for resisting.
She cried out and Bodvar felt his stomach turn. This wasn’t how I had envisioned our reunion.
“Where’s Frey?” she shouted.
“Our daughter is with Eijar, as are the other children,” he replied.
“I’ll come for her Bodvar.”
Bodvar sighed. “No, you won’t be.” He motioned toward the house and the pair grabbed her and drug her toward it. They weren’t kind about it, not that he expected it or cared anymore as she hit every step on the way up.
The pair continued on, dragging her in the house and jamming the door shut so Eadra would be sealed in. Bodvar turned toward the rest of the village, then to the corpses in the bloody snow. “Burn her home first, then loot the town and burn it with her.”
As ordered his Blades quickly went to work. Only Ylva stood beside him.
“What about the other kids?” Ylva asked.
“We’ll sell some of them them to the plantation owner,” he replied. “The rest we will train. Teach them young and win their hearts, Ylva.”
Her face was blank, but that was no surprise. Though Bodvar couldn’t help but question what she thought of the whole affair.