Valkyrie Chapter 41
The sound of the horns blaring, warning of danger, as the ship headed toward the docks was music to Yrim’s ears. Once the ship was moored, the panic in the human’s eyes made their arrival all the more satisfying. They were like tiny snow rabbits scattering in every direction.
Yrim smiled. It was good that these humans knew their place. Even what passed for guards to protect them, were quivering where they stood. As his fellow frost giant disembarked, eventually the cowards turned tail and ran.
He glanced over his shoulder. Boru was angry, but not that it mattered. He would follow. That was his place in life. He was young, and shorter than the others by at least a foot. There was barely even stubble on his pale face.
Viktor had asked for a meeting, promising a new dawn for the clan. Boru was the first to voice his ire and lost an eye for it. Once the last of his warriors disembarked, Boru boldly stepped forward leaving them at his back.
“Great Konung, shall we pillage this pitiable settlement?” he asked.
Yrim turned to face him. “No, that is not our purpose here.” Viktor would be unhappy if we were to do so.
“Then why have we come so far from home?” he asked. “More trade?”
Before Boru could ward him off, Yrim grabbed him by the skull and forced him into the snow-covered dock. A loud crack followed from the flooring and Yrim quickly positioned himself on the young frost giant’s back, planting his knee between the boy’s shoulder blades.
Boru screamed, flailing wildly until Yrim brought his skeggox close to his throat. “You will mind your tongue, boy! I am Konung, not you!” Boru grunted pain as a soft wind blew in from the Peridith Sea. I should have left him at home with the women! “Does anyone else object? Who here sits in power with the might of four clans at their backs?!”
The other warriors lowered their heads and Yrim smiled. Good, they know their place. Viktor will be pleased.
A draconic roar drew their attention. Yrim looked up to see one of his dragon riders coming into view from the sea with another dragon following in tow. Ahh my beauty, it will be good to ride on your back.
Yrim stood, leaving Boru a whimpering mess in the snow. “Not one human is to be harmed while we are here. All will be explained soon.”
“Mighty Konung, what is our destination?” another one of his warriors asked.
“South, to a place called Grunier.”
The warmth of the fire did little good. While it chased away the cold Sokoran air, it gave no solace. Eadra’s story had made certain of that. Dag scanned the camp. It was a mixture of Jormund’s, Henrik’s and his own men.
I never imagined a night as strange as this. He felt the soft touch of a hand on his should and looked up.
“Troubling times, my Thran,” Torgg said as he sat beside him.
Dag nodded. “An expression that is growing vastly tiresome.”
“What are your orders?”
Dag looked away, turning his attention toward the campfire. “Come first light we will head out last. I want to give the others time to place distance between us and them.”
“Are we going to war?” Torgg asked.
You always could read the atmosphere well. “Likely so, but keep word of this silent. We are but few, even with Henrik and Jormund. The druids are not warriors, regardless of whatever powers they may possess.”
“I heard they have a wizard,” Torgg commented. “To my knowledge, Viktor has no such person serving him.”
“Care, Torgg. Viktor is not a stupid man. We don’t know what he has and to assume otherwise beings only death.”
“The Keeper collects sooner or later,” he replied.
True enough… “Once we arrive, we will encamp near our new allies. I want you to be responsible for keeping the men ready.”
Dag looked up noting the surprise on his face.
“Me?! But what of Drugen or Hersht?” Torgg asked.
“They are our best fighters. I want them watching my back at all times.”
Torgg nodded. “If that is what you wish, my Thran, then so be it,” he replied.
There was uncertainty written all over the tracker’s face. If there were another option I would have not put such a burden on you. “If I cannot make it outside the walls in time to help coordinate with our allies, then it falls to you to work in tandem with them.”
“I trust they have a plan?” he asked.
“Yes, but once we arrive, we will have a clearer picture should Viktor have surprises of his own.”
Torg smiled. “Then we will simply have to prove ourselves more cunning.”
“Get some rest, the night is still long.”
Instinct took hold as the sight of two frost dragons and their frost giant masters came into view outside Grunier’s walls. Thulm pressed his lips to his horn and blew, calling his men into action.
Where are the Blades? Why is there no alarm?!
“My Thran, look!”
Thulm turned his attention to another section of the wall. There was another encampment. The banners depicted a white owl with two axes clenched in its talons. Illhiem?! Why is he not attacking?!”
He turned his attention back toward the frost giant camp. One of them had mounted their dragon and taken flight. It roared as it raced toward them. Thulm could see the fear in his men’s eyes, but their feet were planted.
Thulm gripped his hammer. “Hold firm, come what may! We’ve faced these beasts before!”
The dragon flew high, then dove to strafe. “Crossbows!” He could hear the familiar click of the armature’s locking into place in his ears. “Take aim and hold!”
The dragon suddenly veered out of range and hovered above them as his rider broke into laughter. “Well met, humans!” he shouted.
“My Kornung sent me to greet you.”
Konung?! Thulm stared at the first giant with his long white beard and scraggly long hair. How has Viktor enlisted them?!
The giant continued laughing as his dragon joined in. “Fearful, master. They are fearful.”
Its voice was deep, like a thundering storm.
Thulm narrowed his eyes. “Are you to be our escort, then?”
It was hard to make out, but Thulm was certain the giant was frowning. “I am only here to greet you. Make your camp along the walls.” The giant then turned his dragon and flew back toward Grunier.
Thulm pulled his cloak tighter. That was a statement, not a greeting. Viktor has been busy. “When we reach the walls,” he called out, “I want every man on alert. We are only few, but if you see anything the pricks your instinct for danger, come to me immediately.”
It seems you hold all the cards, Viktor.