Changing my future

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Chapter 16 - Stopping the bloodshed

Alfred was right just as the sun was beginning to rise the 60 northmen walked onto the holdfast and stood in front of the house

“Come out, come out wherever you are” one shouted and Astra walked out of the house and stood in front of them

“What do you want?” she asked

“To speak to the man of this holdfast” he replied

“And you are?” Astra asked

“I am Greydon” he replied

“The lord of this holdfast has you surrounded and if you do not surrender you will meet Odin on this day” Astra said and Greydon started to laugh, he did not believe her, so I took my bow and arrow and shot the man standing next to Gredyon he spun around and looked into the trees just as his man hit the floor

“That is the only warning that you will get, surrender or die” Astra said

“We do not surrender?” Greydon said and that was my cue to light the fire and as it rose up around them Astra walked back into the house

“Step out and face us coward” Greydon shouted, I could not answer because they would hear a woman’s voice but I need not have worried

“We are no cowards” Latna shouted

“Face us then” Greydon shouted

“Kill them all” Latna shouted and we all began to fire at them, we killed as many as we could before we ran out of arrows and then it was time to stand out and face them, we got down from the trees and stood side by side, Latna, Molka, Dranian and myself stepped out of the woods to meet them head on

“A woman” Greydon laughed noticing me

“I am” I said

“You cannot fight” he said still laughing

``you can believe that if you like” I said and drew my sword waiting for them to attack

“Kill them all” Greydon shouted and the remaining 30 ish men ran at us, it took us an hour before there was only Greydon and four men left standing

“Will you surrender” I asked

“We will not” Greydon replied

“I was hoping that you would say that you will meet Odin this day by my sword” i said

“You will be the one meeting Odin” he said and ran at me, he was so angry and because I was a woman he believed that I could not fight, i took his life before he even got to swing his sword, the others we soon killed and we began to clear the bodies, yes they were our enemy to us the viking way was to burn their bodies and we did that so that they would move onto the next life, once we had finished we walked back into the house and washed to blood off of us and sat at the table, Astra poured us all glasses of beer

“Your bleeding” she said to me

“It is only a scrape” I replied looking at my shoulder

“Take your top off and let me see” Astra said

“Fine” I said and moved to a chair that was facing the wall so that they could only see my back and I lifted my top so that Astra could see

“It needs stitches:” she said

“Go ahead” I said and Astra began to stitch it up

“What are the scars for?” Dranian asked

“A gift from Madare” I replied

“He did that to you?” Latna asked

“He did because I would not answer his questions” I replied

“That a tough thing to go through,” he said

“I suppose” I replied

“Done” said Astra and I pulled my top down and turned back to the others, I poured a drink and smiled to myself, when I looked up Molka was staring at me

“What?” I asked

“Before the fight began you were going to tell us something,” he replied

“I was” I said and sat down

“Before you start I wish to say something” Molka said

“Go ahead” I replied

“ I am sorry for not believing in you” Molka said

“What do you mean?” I asked

“When Alfred told us that you could defend yourself, we believed that he was a fool” Molka said

“Then why did you come with me?” I asked

“We believed you to be a weak woman in need of protection but we were wrong, you can fight better than most vikings that we know, all of us here owe our lives to you, you have saved us a few times on this day and for that we owe you a debt and will serve you until we repay that” Latna said

“There is no debt to be paid, I would rather you alive and fighting next to me than in the company of Odin” I replied

“It matters not we will serve you” Dranian said

“Now to the truth” Molka said

“Yes to the truth, I told you that I was born one of you but was smuggled away because my father wanted me dead, Aldred was the one that put me on the boat and go me away from here” I said

“Why would Aldred help you?” Latna asked

“Because my father is Ultred and he did not want a daughter only strong sons” I replied

“Ultred told everyone that his son was not born alive, we even had a funeral for him”Latna said

“The king did not want anyone to know, one of his slaves had a son that was born dead, it was him they put on the pyre and Ultred was told that I was killed and buried where no one would ever find me” I replied

“How do we know that it is true?” Latna asked

“Because my husband was there and he knows the truth” Astra said

“That is why you have been called my lady” Molka said

“I do not wish to be that it is not my life it never has been and it never will be” I replied

“We will serve you until we die” Molka said

“I would like friends and not servants” I said

“And you have them my lady” Molka said

“My name is Freyja and I do not want you to call me that” I said

“As you wish” Molka said

“thanks “ I said and we all sat and ate and drank for awhile

“What’s next?” Latna asked

“We will go and find Madare and find where he is camped” I replied

“Why?” Latna asked

“Because no matter what has been done to them I cannot allow them to kill anymore of my kin, there are better ways to deal with people other than killing them” I relied

“Then let us ride” Molka said

“Now that Aldred’s holdfast is safe we will ride at first light” I said

“Then let us rest” Dranian said

“We should” I said and we all got up and went to sleep, I had no idea what we were going to do next but we could not ride anywhere near the king he would surely recognize Latna, Molka and Dranian, I wanted so much to go and find Lafrim but that was not going to happen not till I could make sure that he would be safe, I went straight to sleep the next morning I was awoken by Astra it was time to leave

“Freyja I cannot thank you and what seem to be your men for protecting everyone on this holdfast, Aldred will hear of this but not until he returns” she said

“Thank you” I said

“I wish for you to be safe on your journey and I will pray to Odin for it, please do not put yourself in harms way, It would make Lafrim very unhappy” Astra said

“We will keep her safe” Latna said

“I am sorry for misjudging you” Astra said

“We will always be misjudged as we are traitors” Latna replied

“Well, I hope to greet you again when this war is over and you will always be welcome at my table” Astra said

“It would be a pleasure” Molka said

The four of us said our goodbyes and headed out of the holdfast, we were going to headed to where we had last seen the northmen, maybe we would be able to pick up the northmen’s tracks and find his army, i wanted to talk to Madare, I wanted to end this before it began, we quickly found there tracks after a day of riding it wasn’t hard to find the tracks of hundreds of horse’s we followed their tracks until we found their camp, we stopped our horses nearby but not close enough to be seen

“You will stay here” I said

“Why?” asked Dranian

“I am going to see Madare” I replied

“Why the hell would you do that?” Molka asked

“To try and end this before it begins” I replied and a young boy coming running into where we were, Latna grabbed him

“Alright lad why are you here?” he asked

“I was playing” he replied

“Why here?” Latna asked

“Because father is planning a war and I am getting in his way” the boy replied

“”What is your name little man?” I asked

“Father said I should never tell anyone my name” the boy replied

“Do not fear boy they will not hurt you, they do as I tell them to” I said “you are safe here” I added

“”My name is Rollo Madareson” he replied

“Your father is Madare?” I asked

“He is” the boy replied

“Will you stay and play with my men, whilst I go and talk to your father” I said

“Of course I would not mind” Rollo said

“Keep him here and make sure that you play with him” I said

“As you wish” Latna replied

I had not gotten very far into Madare’s camp when I was surrounded by armed men

“Stop” one said

“I will do as you ask” I replied

“What do you want?” he asked

“I only wish to talk to Madare, that is why I have came unarmed” I replied showing them that I was not carrying any weapons

“Why would Madare talk to you?” he asked

“Because I have his son” I replied

“We will take you to him” one said and led the way through the camp to the biggest one in the middle of the camp, they walked in the tent with me behind them

“My lord” he said

“I told you not to disturb me” Madare said

“I am sorry but we found this woman walking through the camp” He replied and they stepped aside so that Madare could see me

“Freyja” He said “I wondered if you had survived, I know someone came into my camp and helped you, you can go” he said to his men and they all walked from the tent just leaving the two of us in there “why are you here?” he asked

“To talk” I replied”why would I talk to you?” Madare asked

“Because I have your son” I replied

“Bring me my son” Madare shouted and he sat there not saying a word waiting for someone to come in

“He is not here my lord we cannot find him” one said looking into the tent

“Where is my son?” he shouted at me

“He is unharmed and will remain so” I replied

“Where is he?” Madare shouted again [Text Wrapping Break]“He is safe and I will give him back to you if you listen to what I have to say” I replied

“What do you want to tell me?” he asked

“I do not want to tell you anything I only wish to talk to you” I replied

“About?” He asked

“Everything” I replied

“And what does that mean?” He asked

“I know what has been done to you by Ultred” I replied

“And now he will die” Madare said

“I know that it is what you want but there are other ways to go about it, rather than risking the lives of more of your people when there is no certainty that Ultred will be on the battlefield” I said

“He will be there” Madare said

“He is a coward and he will not be on the battlefield, the plan that you have will get your kin and my kin killed, there used to be a peace between the southern and northern kingdoms” I said

“You are right about him being a coward” Madare said “but it does not change the fact that your kin have been coming onto our lands and killed the wives and children of my kin, for that there must be punishment” he said

“Every man and woman alive deserves some form of punishment but most of the men do it because it is what they are commanded to do and they have to follow orders or risk their own lives” I said

“And” he said

“Have your men not killed people because you ordered them to do so, do you think all of them wanted to kill them, do you think the man you had whip me wanted to do that,” I said

“He did as he was asked” Madare replied

“My question was did he want to” I said

“It doesn’t matter whether he wanted to or not, it was my orders” he replied

“Exactly your orders, Ultred ordered his men to come onto your lands and kill your people” I replied

“I suppose it was also him that ordered my men to be poisoned” Madare asked

“That had nothing to do with Ultred, at the time he did not even know that you had crossed into his lands” I replied

“So who then?” Madare asked

“That was me, I knew my lord would come after you and I could not risk the lives of him and his men, after what you had done to me, I did that, I took my revenge” I replied

“What?” he said jumping up

“Your son” is all I had to say and he sat back down

“My men are not all here” Madare smiled

“No Greydon and a lot more men, you sent them to Lafrim’s holdfast they will not be returning, I could not let you have innocent people killed who had no part in any of this” I replied [Text Wrapping Break]“You will die for this” He shouted at me

“One day yes I will, why can we not talk about this and end before there is anymore bloodshed” I said

“I suppose you want me to go home” Madare said

“No” I replied

“Well then what?” he asked

“I want you to come with me, we will go and see Ultred together, your men can go home” I said

“You want me as your prisoner” he said [Text Wrapping Break]“No I want you as my Allie” I replied

“Why would Ultred listen to you?” he asked

“I have my reasons why he will listen to me but I do not want to do it alone, I want the bloody killings to stop, there is no need for anymore bloodshed” I replied

“I have no reason to trust you” Madare said

“And you have no reason not to” I replied

“I tortured you and yet you are still willing to work alongside me” he said

“When you tortured me I did not know what had been done to you and your kin, I do not hold what you did to me against you” I said

“This could all be a plan to get me alone and take your revenger” Madare said

“I have no need of revenge it will not gain anything you can trust me or you cannot not, you have two days to decide, if you wish to help me and stop this blood shed, send your army home and meet me in two days at the lake your men first found me at” I said standing up

“And my boy?” he asked

“Will be returned to you as soon as I get from your camp” I said and walked from the tent, I walked back through all the tents and back to all the others

“Rollo your father wishes to see you run along now” I said and he left us “let us move before he sends his men here to find us”I said and we got on our horses and rode to the lake, where we set up our tenes and made camp, we had two days to wait

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