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Vinland: Anoana

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The sharp swoosh of air on her face made her flinch slightly, his blade had almost gotten her this time. She needed to refocus, watch the feet shift his weight; she needed to look into those light brown orbs as they, without fail, gave away his next move. Her lips curled upward at the corners of her mouth, just barely moving her cheek muscles. Her body moved slightly to the left, her fingers tightened around the grip of her sword. She slanted her blade in front of her as a shield for her body. Prior to their stance, he had kicked her wooden shield out of her hands and it was just laying mere feet behind her. The wind picked up slightly, it played with the few strands of her sun-golden hair, tickling her nose and whispering secrets in her ears. A single drop of sweat fell from her nose, her shirt was soaked and sticking to her back like a second layer of skin. Her eyes caught a slight movement to his right leg, his eyes shifted just past the left side of her head. His chin raised slightly, acting as if he was still focused on the body in front of him. That was a mistake, the second his eyes shifted up was the moment she squatted down in a flash. Twisting her body to the left, balancing her weight with one hand and her left leg; she swung out her right leg. Her leg connected to his and hooked behind the left leg causing him to fall right on his back. Without hesitation, she quickly put her foot on his heaving chest and her blade at his neck. Her head cocked to the side, she felt the weight of her braid fall from her shoulder to a swaying motion. Her lips now pulled back in a wide smile, her white teeth glowed in the shadow of her face.

”You looked away.” She declared as she was waiting for her brother to give up officially. Her smile widened as both his hands lifted from his sides, weapon free and held up in surrender to her. His forehead was kissed with sweat, and his muscles were angry, making him feel every bit of their rage. He took in a huge breath and let it out, groaning loudly as he took his sister’s hand to stand. His eyes instantly went back past her head, the prior distraction still bounding for them.

”I got distracted... and besides you looked away first.” He started to tease her, his eyes still locked on the familiar fire-haired woman walking towards them. She held that same old basket with the same herbs she had just gathered out of the forest she came out of. He lifted his right hand and pointed past his sister. She quickly turned to take in the sight of the woman across the field. She still had a ways to go but no doubt they knew who it was, the hair gave her away instantly. Her hair was red already but the sun made people believe it was actual fire.

”Mavis the kind, oh mavis the gentle. Here she bounds in all her glory. Fire kissed valkyrie, you have blessed us with the mere presence.” He sang out. A small giggle filled their ears, and the grass rustled underneath her footsteps. She stepped closer and closer until finally, she could see the sun-golden hair, golden eyes, and tan skin. She smiled gently at the two bodies in front of her, her fingers twitched and griped the basket in her hands for better grip. The weight felt as though she had her younger brother in it, her shoulders and back ached with each passing second. She held it out and the man quickly stepped forward to take it from her. Her sigh of relief was heard between the three of them and the smile on her face faltered. She remembered why she had made the extra walk to see them. She locked eyes with the other woman and then looked at the man. The uneasiness made her feel suffocated, that something was squeezing her heart and lungs. She tapped her fingers together, she rubbed her tongue on the backside of her teeth; the news she brought would only bring anger and this made her even more nervous. She could only imagine the thoughts that would run through her friend’s head, murder was always the number one in his mind when it came to her father. Disgust and insults would be in her sister’s mind, that much would be clear from past conversations. She could handle Davina, but Forsten? She had better luck with an angry bull. Her mouth twitched as two pairs of eyes watched her fidgeting, they knew but wanted her to confirm their suspicions.

”They’re back. I saw the boats on the hilltop just before coming here. We have just over an hour before they land.” Her voice was soft, it was filled with worry. Her body started to stiffen as her shoulder was touched gently. Davina had a small smile on her face, she gave silent and physical comfort to her sister, even with the anger boiling within her body she would always put her siblings’ comfort first. She knew Mavis was nothing but kind, the girl didn’t have a mean bone in her body. Her sister could not help but see the good in people, most of the time it did work in her favor but the times it failed, it would get worse. The people have called her Mavis the kind since the day she could walk, from helping small injured animals to speaking peace between two drunken men. Mavis was famous for taking three jarls and ending a decade of war between them, she ended the feud with the mere kindness she was born with. Davina would always poke fun at her sister, she was the opposite. It was shocking that they were so close and had an invisible bond the way they did. She was too much of her mother, she saw the worst in people and her actions showed just as much. Mavis was too easy to give her trust as though it was nothing compared to Davina, who never gave her trust as easily it was the same as pulling a sore tooth.

”We are headed to the farm then. Isidora has Orlo and Bo then?” he asked Mavis, his voice giving away his agitation. He felt a silent sudden rage fill his chest but knew it was better to just stay calm as his anger wouldn’t change anything. Mavis nodded and picked up the shield that was laying on the ground next to her. It was Davina’s, she knew by the ugly yellow color with the many cuts embedded in it. The shield was so heavy and thick that she needed both hands to just hold it slightly above her knees. The weight caused her to bend slightly backward just to hold it in her hands but even then it was a bit of a struggle. She let a small sad smile grow as she handed the shield to her sister, searching for words to use to break the air between them in hopes to lessen the tension.

”Did Forsten win again? You know Davina you really should keep a better grip on this, when you see a real battle you wouldn’t want to be left without protection. And I would hate to lose my little sister.” Mavis teased, she felt the thickness lessen around them as Davina’s face changed quickly. The look of disgust and anger filled Forsten’s face dropped quickly and sarcastic laughter took over. Davina snatched her shield out of Mavis’ hands and handed her brother’s sword to him. Mavis had always held being older overhead since they would talk but Davina had always taken on the older role naturally.

”First of all, you’re only older by 2 weeks. Secondly, Forsten couldn’t touch me in a thousand years even if he tried.” Davina bantered. Forsten snickered and bumped his shoulder against Mavis. The redhead handed the sword back to its rightful owner, she could feel the weight pulling on her shoulder. She was never made for war, she was just never born for fighting but for healing as her mother was born to do. In truth she despised weapons, she hated killing of any kind really and she found dark humor in that simply because she was bred to be Viking.

”Still makes her older than you. She slipped.” He taunted. Mavis giggled loudly as Davina stuck her tongue out at both of them. Forsten gestured forward with his sword and all three began to walk toward a trial winding through a patch of forest. It wasn’t long before the awkward silence grew and surrounded the three. Davina could feel the back-and-forth conversation in her sister’s head, she could see what she was about to say and prayed to the Gods that she wouldn’t. Davina learned from a very young age you could tell what a person was truly thinking just by their eyes and between her sisters and older brother she had perfected this skill over the years.

”I wonder if he made it...” Mavis said softly. Her chin quivered slightly, the mere thought of their father returning had her stomach in knots. Forsten squinted his eyes and Davina grunted in response. She knew it would be endless rants from her brother, her eyes rolled as the thought of another broken stool would more than likely take place later today. Forsten’s hatred was very well known and for very good reason too. Davina shared in his anger and the hate she held for her father, he was a pig after all.

”Let’s hope he’s rotting in Niflheim.” Davina growled. She bared her teeth and her hand tightened on the grip of her sword. Her shield slightly shook in her right hand as her sword made a slash in the air with her left acting as if she was cutting the man down now. Forsten nodded in agreeance and gave an approving smirk but Mavis scolded her.

”He is a great warrior and he is our father don’t say such things, especially around Bo. You know he repeats every single thing you say and the last thing we all need is father hearing insults from a 6-year-old.” Mavis swatted at her sister. She did not blame them for their anger, she would go as far as agreeing and even sharing in some of it. It was hard for her to be hateful towards anybody yet she found herself finding it to be easy when it came to her father. Davina rolled her eyes and muttered insults under her breath making Forsten giggle.

”You know you feel the same, you’re just too soft and shy to say it out, loud sister. We all know Bo can’t talk or hear so I feel less threatened now.” Davina purred at her. Mavis rolled her eyes but she knew it was true. She also knew that Forsten had endless thoughts running through his head, thoughts of murder clouded her friend’s mind.

”If he survived the first place he would go is to the hall and drink like the snavs he is. That’s all he ever does, and what does that tell your baby brother? That a man should drink and waste away? Borg is nothing, he stopped being a great warrior, father and man the moment he let Alvis go raiding with him and he failed to bring him back home.” Forsten snapped and both women went silent. The silence took over for the remainder of the walk, sisters silently brushing each other’s hands while they walked side by side behind Forsten. They were half-sisters, sharing the same father yet they both felt they shared the same womb due to the closeness they felt with one another. They felt each other’s uneasiness as they saw the outline of a small farm, a familiar house sitting off to the right. They interlocked their pinkie fingers to give comfort, telling the other everything would be okay. Davina’s mind thought back on the memories of when they were all younger, she remembered how close all of them were before Alvis died. Alvis was Isidora’s older brother, the girl was only 14 when their father took her brother on that raid. He was just two years older than Isidora and had been lost all but 4 years now. Davina and Mavis both knew how close Forsten was to him, they weren’t blood brothers but brothers made in friendship. Just like the girls, both Alvis and Forsten were inseparable. The pain was clear when his name slipped from his lips, he felt his body shake at the mere thought of his closest and dearest friend lost in an unmarked and forgotten grave overseas. He swore he would never forgive the man responsible for his friend’s death, he also blamed himself for not having the balls to go with them; maybe then Alvis would still be here.

The smell of mud and animals hit their nostrils as the wind picked up again, the wind played with strands of hair and beard that failed to be tucked away. The energy seemed to become warm and fuzzy as they walked closer and closer to the familiar home. Chickens clucked, pigs grunted and the little giggle of children filled their ears as they stepped closer to the wooden door. Forsten’s chest tightened, and he began to feel uneasy and sick to his stomach. The sweat that had dried now began to leak again, he could feel sweat coat his hand that gripped the sword. He shifted his feet as he stopped walking, he longed to see her again. His green-eyed beauty was bound to walk out that very door he stood just a few feet away and greet them at any given moment. Davina poked her sisters arm and wiggled her eyebrows with a teasing smile. Mavis snickered and swatted at her with a hand, they both found it humorous how much effect women had on men. They both knew the reason for his hesitation and sudden mood change, their half-sister had him bewitched for as long as both could remember. Forsten looked back at the girls with a frown but rolled his eyes as Davina wiggled her brows at him, he knew the teasing he would get later on. She puckered her lips and made smooching sounds, he could feel his face heat up in embarrassment, he clenched his jaw and just looked forward taking a step forward.

As they reached the small cabin-like house, they could hear little pitter-patter noises zip and zoom within the home. Davina and Mavis both had beaming smiles on their faces as they pushed past Forsten, fighting with the other, trying to be first through the door. Forsten grunted in annoyance, rolling his eyes he stepped to the side looking at the singular field that lived between his home and hers. He began daydreaming about how he would walk over with her favorite flowers, he wanted to go out of his way to seek out and hand-pick them just to see that sweet smile of hers. He imagined the excitement that would roll off her as he presented them to her along with a variety of her favorite foods. He thought about how he would ask to call on her, would he just be plain about it? Maybe he would use her sisters as an excuse to get her out of her home, telling her how Mavis would watch Orsolla for the day to give her a break. He imagined, helplessly hoping to say yes, but he knew she would likely refuse him. She saw him as nothing more than a best friend, a replacement for the older brother she had lost years ago. The only thing that connected them was their half-sister, the friendship between her brother and him, and the fact he protected her family’s farm and homestead while her father was gone. Still, that was just not enough for him. He wanted her to be his, make a full circle of connection, and only then would he be satisfied with this life. He sighed knowing the rejection that would come but he still let it dangle in front of him like a cat chasing a butterfly.

”Are you going to come in or are you going to stand there like an idiot?” the one voice he has been silently begging to hear was suddenly the disturbance to his thoughts. He took a sharp breath in and turned around. As always the first thing he would notice and become entrapped in were those wide familiar light green eyes. He felt his lungs refuse to take a breath as he realized how close she was this time. Her hand was placed gently on his shoulder, her eyes were frowned slightly and filled with worry. He must have not heard her calling his name, which he regretted not paying attention to now. Her voice was so sweet and soft, smooth like honey and cream. He took notice of how the sun made her already olive skin and kissed it to a golden honey color. His eyes searched, creased her face as though they were hands and they finally took in her appearance. The beads of sweat kissed her forehead, the slight flush color of red that littered her cheeks both telling him she was chasing children around moments ago. Her hair was wild, she had braids and locks that laid with her natural curls. The metal clasps and the countless beads she had braided within her hair truly made his eyes dance when they saw her. The metal made her skin glow and sparkle, in the sun it made it look as though she was a valkyrie standing before him. His hand twitched to grab hers, to just hold her hand would be as if the Gods themselves blessed him. She blinked at him and raised an eyebrow, curiosity filled her eyes.

Sudden laughter erupted behind her making him jump. He felt his heart jump to his throat, his face felt like it was on fire. He refocused and realized while he was lost in thought 5 pairs of eyes were locked on him. He sheepishly smiled at them and cleared his throat. He shook his head slightly and tilted his head down to the small woman letting her know she had his attention. Forsten cleared his throat and took a breath in.

”Uh sorry, I was just thinking about the boats... because Mavis said they are almost here.” Forsten said slowly. His face was back to its normal tanned ivory now and he took a step back from the small woman in front of him. He notices her eyes flicked up and down, searching his face for the truth, she knew he was using a cover to hide behind. His eyes looked passed her head and his left eye twitched in annoyance. He noticed his sister snickering and whispering to Mavis and the two small children in their arms.

”Yes Mavis told me. I just got worried about what was taking you so long outside... is everything fine?” her voice was like cream to him, so soft and smooth to his ears. He could listen to her speak for the rest of his life, he would die a happy man if that was the case. He licked his lips and nodded his head stating he was fine, he knew she was silently asking if he was fine. Davina, still laughing, set down a mini fire-headed Mavis. The small child matched her half-sister in the color of skin, hair, and eyes but her attitude matched that of her other half-sister, Davina. He could see that she looked identical to Isidora, she would be a very beautiful firey woman and he would protect her as if she were his, and she was from the time he spent with her and Isidora.

”Fory! Fory!” a tiny little voice screamed with delight, there just past the doorway a flash of red hair rushed past the standing women. Little pink hands were in the air and the patter of tiny feet running towards him had made him naturally squat down quickly. He dropped the basket and sword in his hands holding out his arms, the impact of the little girl sending him dramatically to his arse. He winced at the impact, he would be sore later but he ignored it and just wrapped his arms tightly around the tiny body in his arms. His chest vibrated as he laughed loudly, he could hear tiny giggles and felt her squirm against his hold. He had missed this tiny person way more than he had originally thought. It seemed that just a few days were mere years in his eyes and he felt guilty for not visiting more.

”Orsolla! Look you’ve knocked me down. I think you could take Davina down if you wanted to.” Forsten faked an injury as the little girl let him up. He rubbed his hind end dramatically and pouted at her but she returned with a fit of loud giggles. A slightly taller boy walked up to him next, bright blue eyes squinted with how big his smile was. Forsten stepped toward the boy and ruffled his hair, he noted that it had grown quite a bit since the last they were together. Mavis stood behind her younger brother and placed her hands on both his shoulders. She had a look in her eye, it was filled with sadness and worry and Forsten knew whom to blame for that. Forsten clenched his jaw, he pulled a tight smile and with a silent comfort gave her a small nod. He would protect them like he always had, if he had to be honest it never truly bothered him with how much work he had to do for all of them. He loved every single one of them, he would gladly give his life for theirs if it came down to it.

”Bo got a rabbit! Look here!” the tiny girl squealed loudly. She was jumping with excitement to show off her brother’s killer. Forsten chuckled to himself watching the pride shine in her eyes, she grabbed his hands and pulled him through the door. Isidora frowned at him, he had ignored her yet again and her patience was wearing thin with him. Forsten’s eyes widen seeing irritation in her eyes as he passed her. He watched her chest heave up as she took a deep breath, her fingers curling in her palms. Orsolla stopped suddenly and held up a dead rabbit with her free hand. Her white teeth flashed everyone in the room, she was proud of her brother and everyone now knew it. Forsten raised a brow in wonder, there was an arrow hole right where the heart should be, slightly behind the should of the rabbit. He never taught Bo how to hunt yet, so who did?

”Davi showed him, you were too busy with trying to stay here rather than go with the others to raid...” Isidora said slowly. The look on her face told him she was happy he stayed, but her voice sounded very much the opposite. It was because of the children, all four of them had agreed a long time ago that they would hide the truth from them for as long as they could, that this was the only way to make sure they wouldn’t get hurt. Forsten knew it wouldn’t last forever and he silently dreaded the day they would get their hopes and heartbroken. He would go on a rampage when the day came, although it would be said he would be very happy when it happened.

”I am more shocked she could teach-” Davina smacked the back of Forstens head before he could finish and the room filled with laughter. Bo smiled widely and went to sit down at the table that was filled with all kinds of food. There were seven bowls filled with hot broth placed around the table and 7 cups filled with different meade and water. This made Forstens chest tighten.

”Are we expecting him so soon? He usually goes to the hall to... celebrate with friends.” Davina interrupted quickly before her brother could ruin the mood. Isidora nodded her head, her legs carrying her over to the huge metal pot that had boiling soup within. She grabbed a few leftover vegetables laying on the cutting board next to the fireplace and tossed them into the pot. She hummed as she stirred and finally tasted the soup. She nodded to herself and waved her finger in the air like she was making it dance.

”It needs more salt, Forsten on the table behind you please.” Isidora said sweetly. Orsolla had set down the rabbit by this time and had bounced her way to the table to sit next to Bo. Forsten turned around quickly and saw a small leather pouch filled with salt and grabbed it in his hand. His feet shuffled their way past Mavis and Davina, patting Bo’s head on his way to Isidora. He watched as her hips swayed slightly, she seemed as if she was listening and dancing to music only she could hear.

”Here...” Forsten spoke softly, he stood right behind her half a foot away. She quickly turned around, too fast for either of their likings and her hand smacked against his chest. He laughed loudly, her face had started to heat up.

”You missed. His face is much higher than that.” Davina spouted off. Forsten sarcastically laughed in response, he waved his hand behind his head to tell her to leave him be. Light green eyes were now looking directly into light brown eyes, they danced together now. Both their faces slowly filled with sweet gentle smiles, he felt her fingers wrap around the pouch but he noticed they lingered for a while before her face disappeared. Forsten felt sudden emptiness, he wanted to look at her longer, he wanted to feel the softness of her skin but in his embrace.

”Forsten, you’re ignoring me.” that sweet creamy voice filled his ears again. He blinked casting his eyes down to the floor, his hands resting behind his back. He stepped to the side so that way he could stand next to her to steal looks at her face. His head tilted, he was trying to remember what she meant, he wasn’t sure if he had ignored her in the first place. Isidora looked at him with a raised brow, she was putting salt into the pot now.

”Is everything fine? You seemed to be thinking about something rather important.” Isidora stated, he wanted to slap himself. All he did was nod at her, he opened his mouth to speak but before he could even utter a word Davina and Orsolla had begun their loud teasing.

”He was thinking about Isis and kisses!” Orsolla shouted.

”He was probably thinking about how to use us as bait to have her go on walks with him too.” Davina wiggled her eyebrows at the little girl, Bo was smiling like an idiot and nodded in agreeance. Mavis covered her mouth to stifle her laughs, her shoulders shook with fits of giggles. Isidora’s body stiffened up, she turned to look over at her sisters and gave them a look. She was fighting back a smile and laughter when she saw Forsten chuck some stale bread at Davina’s head, what broke her composure and laugh was that the piece of bread hit her in the middle of her forehead and it plopped into her bowl of soup. Davina glared at her older brother and stuck her tongue out at him. Orsolla copied Mavis in covering her mouth and trying to not laugh at the scene that just unfolded.

”Remind me again why it wouldn’t be weird?” A new voice interjected. All heads snapped towards the door in shock. Davina had a hand on her sword as Forsten was ready to grab anything to use as a weapon. The person stepped out of the sunlight and the room calmed down quickly.

”Hilda you came! The food is ready, everyone come sit and let us eat before the moment is ruined.” Isidora sang out loudly clapping her hands together. Hilda smiled and walked over to her two children and kissed them on top of their heads. She pats Davina on the shoulder and takes a seat between the two young women. Bo smiles at her and reaches his hand out to his mother, he wants to hold her hand before he eats. The plump woman quickly grabs his nimble hand in hers and gently squeezes. Forsten sees how Identical the boy and his older sister are to their mother. They all share the same face, and if it weren’t for the fact that Mavis had her father’s hair color and face tattoos, all three of them would be matching in that as well. Hilda smiled and winked at her son, her gaze turned to the tiny little girl sitting across from her and reached out her other hand to ruffler her hair. Orsolla laughed and wiggled her eyebrows before pointing at the rabbit she had proudly announced was her big brother’s kill. Hilda looked shocked and looked at Bo, the boy nodded quickly and the smile he had already on his face had now widened twice its size showing all his front teeth. Hilda kissed her son’s hand and began to move both her hands in symbols, Bo began to use his hands to sign symbols back to her. The two silently talked with their hands for a quick moment, mother entrapped in the silent story of how her son had stalked and killed the rabbit. Hilda clapped her hands together and blew him a kiss, she was proud of her son and wanted to show him she was happy for him. Bo squirmed in his seat as he grew excited about the pride his mother showed him. That’s all the young boy ever made strides for, to please and make his mother proud of him.

”What were you teasing your brother about this time?” Hilda quickly turned her attention to Davina, Forsten’s sister had bread shoved in both cheeks, the soup was dribbling down her chin and her eyes were wide as she saw everyone looking at her. She was caught off guard and the sight was amusing to everyone. Gargling sounds were heard as Davina tried to swallow all her food quickly, she held up one finger to the older woman as she picked up her cup of meade and slammed it down soon after. Forsten leaned against the table behind him still next to Isidora and causally crossed his legs with an arm crossed over his chest so he could rest his chin on his free hand. Davina smacked her lips together and wiped off her mouth with the back of her hand, she leaned forward and rested both forearms on the table with a teasing look toward her brother. They locked eyes before she broke the silent connection to look over at Hilda.

”Just poking fun about how he is taking forever to profess his love for Is-” Forsten picks up another piece of stale bread and again throws it at his sister. Like the first piece, it hits her in the head again but this time it falls onto the table. Hilda glares playfully at Forsten and waves her finger at the young man.

”Forsten, you forget your manners.” Hilda warns with a smirk. Forsten smiles back at her and nods, he tells her he is sorry but in silence. Bo is smiling ear to ear and begins pointing between the two standing by the table and fireplace, Forsten and Isidora. Bo looks at his mother and makes signs with his hand and has what they would call a silent laugh. Hilda chuckles and signs back quickly and makes fake kissing gestures, Forsten groans and wipes his face quickly before buzzing at the plump woman. He watched her body shake as she laughed harder, he could see the inside of his head with how far back his eyes rolled. Isidora nudged his foot with hers, her face held a wide smile that showed off a faint line of teeth. She held up a piece of bread, her peace offering, and motioned to sit down to eat. He took the piece of bread in his hands but not before gently brushing his fingers against hers, he wanted to see her reaction. The look on her face faltered for a flashing moment, but he could tell by her eyes she didn’t mind the gesture. They both walked over to the table, of one side sat Davina with Mavis in the middle and Hilda at the end. On the closest side to them, Bo sat at the very end having Orsolla in the middle. The two were never separated it seems, and if they were it wouldn’t be long before they were reunited. Forsten thought it was sweet and amusing how close the half-siblings were. Isidora took her spot next to her younger sister and patted next to her without looking up. Forsten instantly plopped down and quickly began to eat. As always the food was amazing, Isidora was the best cook and she had her mother to thank for it. The thought of her mother made her mood shift, her stomach twisted as she swallowed the soup-soaked bread. She quickly took her cup of sweet meade and drank it down. Hilda raised an eyebrow at the girls’ sudden change of mood, but those eyes gave it away. Hilda knew these children like the back of her hand, she practically raised all of them and loved them as if she bore them into this world. Every person in the room ate quickly and silently, except Isidora who just played with her food silently. Davina and Mavis took notice, Davina nudged Forstens foot underneath the wooden table to get his attention. She succeeded, Forsten looked up and then other to see the look on Isidora’s face. His chest tightened with sadness, he wanted to take all her grief away and give her comfort but it would be useless. He has learned to give her and the others space when unknown thoughts clouded their minds that he knew he would not be able to alter.

”I have heard the boats have returned, I figured by the time I had gotten here they would have already landed to shore. Have there been any plans to greet your father?” Hilda cleared her throat after finishing her last bite. The bodies all around her stiffened, the mood has changed and it wasn’t as good as the woman thought it would be. Forsten flared his nostrils, his face twisted in disgust, the feeling in his stomach matched that of Isidoras’ now. Davina grumbled and stabbed the last piece of bread in her bowl, nobody had to be told whom she had in her mind when her fork kept jabbing the bread over and over again. Mavis’ face smiled awkwardly, she quickly stood up and went around the table picking up the either empty, untouched, or half-eaten bowls. The redhead then placed them in a large empty bucket on the table with the cutting board next to the fireplace. She made a mental note to help Isidora with the dishes and stay out of the conversation. Mavis looked back and instructed Orsolla to gather Bo and help her with the dirty dishes. The two children quickly stood up and raced outside, they giggled and Orsolla could be heard taunting her older brother. Sadden smiles went around the room and the remaining four sent Mavis a thankful nod. She returned the gesture and walked out the door with the large filled bucket in her hands. Forsten frowned his brow as both his hands covered his mouth. Isidora and Davina looked at one another, they both were nervous and knew this conversation could get bad.

”I had asked Orsolla and because he is not known to her she does not feel the need to see him... I do not feel the need to see nor speak to him.” Isidora said softly, she took a deep breath in and she began to wring her wrist in comfort. Hilda nodded and looked at Forsten, she tried to hide her smile while waiting for his answer. His hatred for his sisters’ father always amused her. He was definitely Harald’s son. Forsten looked just like Davina but with his father’s face, his father was one of the best vikingr of their time. His name created waves where ever his feet were planted, and many other warriors knew him well. Mothers told stories to their children when it was time to rest and sleep for the night, the stories contained his great findings and the death of a thousand enemies across the seas. Forsten had his fathers’ personality, body, and fighting skills; but his kind heart and gentle words were that of his late mother. Everything about the young man and his sister was a reminder to Hilda of her old friends.

”I have no reason to see that svin. He is a coward and a drunk, I do not enjoy his stink either.” Davina held a crooked smile as she began twirling a small table knife in her fingers. Hilda shook her head, Her eyes still laid on Forsten as she waited for his answer.

”Has Bo shown interest in seeing him? If you feel better about me going with him I will go with him but Hilda I-” The older woman held up her hand and shook her head cutting him off suddenly.

”No Forsten, we have no plans to see him. The reason I bring it up I need you and Davi to help me tell him he is no longer welcome. He has made it clear Bo is not safe around him.” Hilda took a deep breath in. She could feel her hands shake as she placed them in her lab. Her fingers found some of her dress and began to play with it to ease her nerves. The last Bo’s father was here he had tried to kill the young boy simply because he lacked hearing. If Hilda had not walked through the front door she would have one less child. That was over a year ago and the memory was still vivid, it kept her up at night and made it impossible to eat. The older woman felt a hand cover both of hers, an attempt to stop the fidgeting. Davina pulled their hands out from underneath the table and scooted closer to her. The younger woman was never good at giving but her attempts were just as special to those around her. Hilda looked at the blonde-headed woman and gave her a faint smile, she had to explain her previous statement.

”What did he do to the boy?” Davina asked. Her voice was low, her eyes showed the fire that boiled within her. The older woman tilted her head to the left and raised a brow, she unfocused her eyes and it caused her vision to blur.

”Borg found out about the loss of hearing the last he was home... he said that Bo could never be an actual Viking. Vikingr all of a sudden needed proper hearing.” Hilda rolled her eyes and squeezed the tangled hands, her joke seemed to have cracked a smile on the younger ones’ faces.

”But?” Davina asked gently. The blonde-headed woman urged her to continue, deep down she was hoping for a reason to make the wishes of her and her older brothers come true. It would be a blessing of the Gods she had already declared in her head. Davina nodded her head telling Hilda it to continue. The older woman took a deep breath and licked her lips.

”I was milking the goats by the barn when I heard things being thrown around, I heard things falling to the floor. And so I got up and rushed in through the front and saw Borg holding Bo in one hand on the table and a knife held above him with the other. I did not think twice, I just ran to him and swung whatever was in my hands at him. I grabbed Bo and ran to Hettie, that is where we went missing for two few weeks. I want him gone, he is not welcomed in any of our homes.” Hilda’s eyes watered over but she blinked them away quickly. Davina squeezed her hand and let go to stand up.

”And you did not think to tell me? Hilda this is something you do not keep from family!” Forsten had finally snapped. The young man was on his feet, his face was flush as he paced back and forth.

”He could have killed Bo and he could have killed you, Hilda.” Isidora finally spoke up, her hand reaching across the table to the woman who still sat in front of her. Their hands embraced each other, and their eyes danced with one another.

”Forsten, Davina sit back down. We cannot afford to have a fight break out. Nothing is to happen yet, especially in front of Orsolla and Bo. Sit down.” Isidora demanded their attention back but it seems she may have been a tad bit too late. Forsten clasped his hands together behind his head as he still walked, Davina had begun flipping and twirling her sword deep in thought.

”Are you listening? Sit down, NOW” Isidora shouted at Davina. The sisters’ eyes locked together, and a silent power struggle began. Davina bared her teeth and scrunched her nose up at her sister to show her disdain for her demands.

”Is everything all right? I heard shouting and was worried Davina pushing her luck with Forsten again.” The soft voice of Mavis suddenly filled the room. Her red hair was pulled and tied back, sweat hugged her face, and her dress was soaked in different places. Her brow was raised and a teasing smirk played on her lip as she wiped her hands on the white apron tied around her waist. She stepped forward to get a closer look at the group and it was a rather clear teasing was not the reason behind the shouting. Mavis nodded and frowned, she placed her hand on Davina and led her to the table, and pushed her down to sit. Isidora gave her sister a pleading look and nodded toward Forsten. Mavis marched over and grabbed the man by his arm and forced him to the table to sit. Mavis slammed her hand down on the table, the sudden strike caused all of them to jump. Mavis could feel her heart jump to her throat, but the faint laughing in the background brought her back to the reason for her outburst.

”Now that you both are sitting. Let me make myself extremely clear. You hear those two out there?” Mavis’ finger pointed behind her.

”If I so much as hear any more commotion I will bash you both upside your stupidly large heads. You will use your words instead of swords to explain your thoughts and feelings, I do not care what has gotten in you but you both will start acting right. Understood?” Mavis demanded. She stood up straight, both her hands were clenched into fists and her nose turned up at both friend and sister. Her emerald eyes bore right into their very soul as she waited for them to agree to her terms. Both heads nodded, both were still seething in anger but they did so in silence. Mavis huffed at them and began to smooth out her dress, her nerves began to crumble so she began to turn around and race out the door back to the children running out outside.

”She’s terrifying.” Davina spoke with wide eyes. Hilda and Isidora giggled with nods of agreeance. Forsten rubbed the back of his neck and let out a loud groan.

”I am sorry Hilda... but you should have come to me. Something like this is nothing to keep to yourself.” Forsten said gently. He reached for the older woman and they held each other’s hands on top of the table. Isidora smiled and scooted closer to Forsten and laid her head on his shoulder. With his free arm, he wrapped it around Isidora and patted her hair.

”I think it is best none of us go, I also think both children stay here with Isidora and Davina. I will go with you and Mavis to make it known Borg is no longer needed or welcomed at our homes or lands.” Forsten added, the three women nodded and they all took a deep breath. Isidora grabbed Forstens half drank cup of meade and finished the rest quickly. Davina smirked taking in the position of the two and wiggled her brow. The anger was still there but it was pushed aside for the moment.

”Look at you two, Freya wills it.” Davina wiggled her fingers at them, but Forsten let go of Hilda’s hands and slapped his sister’s fingers away quickly.

”You know how to ruin a good moment Davi. It is for comfort nothing more... unless you want more?” He teased, he looked over at the brown-haired beauty in his arms, and smiled at her. Her cheeks began to heat up, she rolled her eyes and freed herself from his hold to stand on her feet. As she stood she smacked the back of his head causing him to yelp. Davina laughed so hard that meade had begun to pour out of her nose causing her to choke. Hilda began furiously patting the choking girl’s back laughing uncontrollably.

”The sun will set soon, we need to get things in order then.” Isidora had a crack in her voice before she cleared it quickly. Isidora silently wished she was able to commit murder, if she was able to fight properly she would have given Forsten a rather good beating but a simple good smack would do, for now.

”I’ll gather the others, Davina can you and Hilda get the beds ready for me?” Isidora asked nicely. Hilda was still laughing but said yes and left a winded Davina at the table. Hilda instructed Davina to stay still and catch her breath before she moved anymore and watched Forsten chase after Isidora out the door.

”I’m sorry for making fun. I did not think it would upset you-” Isidora cut him off and called for the other three outside before turning to the man standing behind her.

”Men never think.” That is all she said before she pushed past him. Forsten could see her smile even as the world began to darken around them. The sun was setting it would be late by the time Forsten, Hilda, and Mavis would make it to their home.

Forsten gathered their horses and helped the women onto their saddles. He jumped up with ease and began to follow from the back, he felt his nerves jump all over his chest and head as they rode closer and closer to a faint outline of a house bigger than the last.

”Pray to the Gods this goes smoothly.” Mavis said. As always she was rather hopeful that things would stay calm. The look on Forsten’s face told her otherwise when she turned to take a look at the man behind her. Mavis tapped her heel against the side of her horse making the mare move faster. Mavis sat forward and rubbed between the ears on her mare’s head. She whispered sweet nothings as she played with the reddish hair of the horse.

”Pray to the Gods with me monty, we are going to need it for what is to come.”

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