Valkyrie Chapter 9
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
“Eijar…did…what?!” Bodvar gripped Grauner’s handle and Braudr stepped back nervously. Bodvar took a calming breath, then turned to look at Frey. “Watch her.”
He turned back to Braudr. The look on his face was priceless. The man seemed horrified by the very idea of babysitting the brat.
“You can’t be…”
Grauner was already at the man’s throat. “Deadly serious,” Bodvar replied. The assassin froze out of fear that the skeggox might slice open his throat.
“Sure, Bodvar whatever you say.”
Bodvar pulled Grauner away and hung it from the hooks on his belt. Frustration didn’t begin to describe what he was feeling. Eijar knew better. He started toward the door, stopping just short of it and then turned, eyeing Braunr as he set down at the table with Frey. The little girl’s eyes were till red from all of the things he had told her about Eadra.
“Did you provoke him?”
Braunr turned to look back. “Provoke who?”
Bodvar rolled his eyes. For all his skill, the man was a thug, then again so were some of the others. “Eijar! Did you provoke him?”
“We teased him a little,” Braunr replied. “There’s a certain irony to his circumstances.”
“We’re going to have talk later, rest assured.” Bodvar turned toward the door, opened it and stepped into the cold. He shook his head, then began walking down the porch steps toward where Eadra was being kept.
We’ve been here too long. The plantation is still a day and a half from here. Viktor was going to be impossible to deal with. He’ll want an explanation.
When he reached the jail, Bodvar grabbed the door handle and sighed. “I thought I’d get more enjoyment out of this,” he muttered.
He had a nice face, but his eyes frightened her. There was nothing in them. It was strange seeing someone with such hazel eyes. Most people she knew had blue ones. He spoke funny too, the melodic draw to his speech was curious.
Bodvar had called him Braunr and he looked bored. He had drawn a small knife from his boot and began spinning it on the table. He looked up and frowned. “What are you staring at?”
Frey shrank back in her chair, hugging her doll tightly. Bodvar had let her retrieve Saedra from her room. “Nothing,” she replied. “I was curious.”
“Keep your curiosity to yourself, kid,” he spat back.
Frey looked down at the table and at the knife. She had ever been so scared. Bodvar had told her horrible things. Things that her mama had done. She felt herself shaking as she squeezed Saedra tighter.
“Did you know Mama?”
Braudr narrowed his eyes, a harsh sneer on his face. His rotten teeth made his pleasant face disgusting to look at. “I told you to shut your mouth!” He took the knife and planted it in the middle of the table.
Frey’s heart beat faster, eyes wide staring at the knife. Her eyes stung. She wanted to cry. It seemed only right, no one normal person would blame her for it. But the look in the man’s eyes said otherwise. Frey could tell that tears would only agitate him even more.
“That’s right, hold them tears back, little girl,” he said. “Keep them locked inside.”
He twisted the knife free, bits of wood tearing away from the dark finish of the table. Frey eyes the small gouge, her chest tightening. Mama worked so hard on that.
“Does it make you angry?” he asked.
Frey looked up. He wore a wicked grin. Braudr took the knife and began picking at the gouge in the table.
“Your mama made this didn’t she?”
Frey bit her lip and looked away. Her heart ached. It was so hard to understand. Bodvar had said so many things about Mama. They have to be lying. Bad people lie. They killed Sasa.
Her eyes stung. Mama had said Sokoras was a harsh place. She said the snows took people all the time. Even the people at the bar spoke about it. Suddenly it was sinking in. The world was hard and bad things happened because of bad people like him.
Braudr smiled wider. “Or what?” he asked.
“Or I’ll tell Bodvar you tried to hurt me.”
His eyes changed. He was angry. Frey looked at the knife, it was shaking in his hands. Braudr’s smile became an ugly sneer. “You think he would believe you?”
She looked at the gouge on the table. It was far worse than before. “He’s my da, wouldn’t you?”
Things had grown quiet. Eijar had become content enough to lean back in his chair and stare at the ceiling. He looked haggard and half asleep.
Eadra felt her heart sink when the front door of the cells opened and Bodvar came in. All she could think about what who he had left Frey with. “Where’s Frey?”
“Safe,” he replied, his voice firm and even. He shifted his attention to Eijar, his expression hard.
“You Purged, Ulthen.”
“I did,” Eijar replied, slowly letting the legs of the chair touch the stone floor.
“You know what the rules are about that?” he replied.
Eijar weakly nodded. “I do, curse or no curse.”
“Were you provoked?” Bodvar asked.
There was exception. Bodvar always did have a way of twisting his own rules. At the end of the day, his word was the only real rule.
“I was,” Eijar answered weakly. “He’s not dead. He can still be of use.”
The frown on Bodvar’s face didn’t make him seem convinced. “You’re responsible for him now, which includes cleaning him up and helping him take a piss.”
“Sure,” Eijar replied.
Bodvar was quick to backhand him onto the floor. Eadra gripped the bars of her cell, eyeing her swords against the wall. She turned her attention back toward the two of them. Eijar was too weak to put up a fight.
“I took you in inquisitor, gave you a new name and home,” Bodvar said. “I thought having one of you around would be useful for dealing out punishments. That it would set an example to the others.”
Eadra chest burned as she watched Eijar weakly push himself up from the stone floor and roll onto his back. Bodvar was in a mood.
She looked at him suddenly realizing how old he had gotten. He seemed tired, bits a grey were showing in his black beard and hair. He was probably a little over forty winters now.
“It wouldn’t take much, Eijar,” he continued ranting. “I bed the bounty on your head in Absion is fairly high.”
“Leave him be Bodvar,” she said. “Tell me where Frey is.”
Bodvar stopped just shy of kicking Eijar in the ribs and looked up. “Oh, you’re still here,” he smiled wickedly. “I’d almost forgotten.”
“It’s hard to leave with such a pleasant room to stay in,” she answered wryly. “It even has a fools theatre.”
“That’s the sharp tongue I remember,” he replied. “Must be from all those books I burned.”
She lashed out, missing his thick black beard by mere inches. Seems you haven’t slowed down.
He laughed. “There's my girl,” he said. “I have missed that fire. It’s not like the others. The eyes of killers and murderers are cold and empty,” he added, grabbing Eijar’s chair and taking a seat.
“Yours never were.”
“That woman is gone Bodvar,” Eadra replied. “She died a long time ago.”
“Did she?” he asked. “Then why is that fire still there?” A sly grin crossed his face. “Perhaps you just need something to stoke the flames?”
It was the tone in his voice, Eadra’s eyes went wide. It was like he had slipped a knife into her back. “What did you do?”
He laughed. It was listening to some dark beast. “Why, Eadra dear, I simply told our daughter, the truth about her family.”
Something snapped. She could feel herself shaking, her heart beating faster. Bodvar’s smile only seemed feed the rage. “I’ll kill you.” The words left her lips so easily. It was like kissing a lover tenderly on the lips and embracing them in the heat of passion. Eadra suddenly felt numb. She could almost hear her younger self laughing gleefully.
“There she is,” he said. “There’s the woman I shared my bed with.”
She shrank back, wrapping her arms around herself in disgust. “No,” she whispered.
Bodvar stood and stepped closer to the bars. “What was that?” he asked, grinning like a snow fox.
“Don’t look so shocked. We can’t change who we are. No matter how much we dress it up.”
“You’re wrong Bodvar,” she replied. “We are who we choose to be.” She stole her emotions away, and took a breath. Eadra stepped closer and Bodvar stepped away.
“So what will you do if our daughter chooses to become you?” he asked. “What if she hates you for lying to her?”
“Frey is smarter than you can understand, she isn’t like you or me.”
“We will see, Eadra,” he replied. He glanced over his shoulder at Eijar. The former inquisitor had barely managed to get himself into a sitting position and lean against the wall. Bodvar sighed and simply shook his head, then turned back to her.
“He insists she’s is mine, or rather ours,” he frowned. “How long did you know?”
“Where did all this come from so suddenly?” he asked.
“Haejenyar,” she replied. “The village that refused to pay Viktor’s tax; the one he had us burn to the ground.” The look on his face was disgusting. He had forgotten that day.
“There was child, a baby. It have been cut out of its mother’s womb with the birthing cord still attached.”
“That’s it?” he replied. “That’s why you left? Because you saw some pitiful corpse with a baby still attached?”
Eadra felt sick. It was the only reassuring thing she could take comfort in. Why would yo ever understand. Why did I even expect you to?
Eijar did though, Eadra could see it on his face. He wanted nothing more than to kill the man he worked for. Why does he stay?
Bodvar however, was oblivious. He simply shook his head and frowned in disappointment. “You were so beautiful and now, you’re nothing.”
“And you’re just bitter,” Eadra replied. “You let yourself believe someone actually cared for you.”
His face became like iron, his hands were already on Grauner. “Talk while you can,” he said, pointing the skeggox at her. “It won’t matter soon.”
The front door opened and Ylva stepped in. “Runner just arrived,” she said, drawing his attention. “Arald should be here with the others in an hour.”
“Good, we’re behind as it is.”
“How many, Bodvar?” Eadra asked. “How many are coming?”
“Only ten this time,” he replied, turning to look at her. “But that’s our business.” He turned toward the door, maneuvering around Ylva, then stopped. “When it starts, tie Eijar up and get him out of village,” he said to her. “You know why?”
Ylva simply nodded.
Eadra suddenly understood what was coming and despite the heat from the hearth, it was hard not to feel a chill in the air.