The After Effects

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Berzerker's Clan

The heavyweight of my dagger was a comfort for me while my surroundings crumbled. I flipped the dagger, catching it by its handle and tossing it by its blade in a soothing motion.

“How are they just gone?” The King seethed, not at the spy that was reporting information, but at the Vikings.

“I-I don’t know. I was trailing my clan and I lost sight of them when they went through some forest and I haven’t seen them since.” The eagle shifter recalled, his head hung in disappointment.

The King, his advisors, and I were having our usual weekly meeting when the spy came running into the room, out of breath, and pale-faced.

He went on to explain that the Viking clan he was assigned to watch went MIA. Sadly, this isn’t the first time it has happened. The eagle shifter is the third spy to report that their clan disappeared in some strange fashion. Something that had the King visibly shaking. The clans going missing could mean a lot of things, none of them good for the south and its inhabitants.

“Thank you for reporting.” The King dismissed the spy and lowered himself into his chair before launching into another meeting with his advisors.

Everyone around the table went back and forth, voicing their concerns and opinions as to why this is suddenly happening. The King nodding and talking their voice into account, until eventually, all eyes fell on me.

“What do you have to say about this Acer?” The King asked me, watching as I continued tossing and catching my dagger.

Looking over the twelve unfamiliar faces of the King’s advisors and Locke’s and Soren’s curious stares, I wrapped my hand around the handle of my dagger, before embedding it in the table. The thump of it stabbing the giant round table making some of the advisors flinch.

“Everyone here knows their planning something. Why else would the North be pulling their Clans?” I asked rhetorically. “But the big question is, why aren’t they pulling the Berzerker Clan?” I stood up and pointed to the last known location on the map of the most feared and deadliest Viking clan.

Of all the Viking Clans, the Berzerkers were the most famously known. They’re who spread despair and death everywhere they go. The males of the Clan are the biggest specimens and some of the sickest creatures to roam the planet.

If there was one Clan that I dreaded running in to, it was the Berzerkers. They’d give me a good run for my money, and have in the past.

“Magnus and Merida are the two most important warriors to the King of the North, so why hasn’t he pulled them?” I quirked an eyebrow and looked around the table, watching as everyone shrugged. Finally, I looked to the King, who was looking at where my finger was pointed to. “He’s planning something, but first he’s trying to get us to act first. He’s trying to scramble us and cause panic. And until he pulls the Berzerkers, we have no reason to act.” Nods followed my little speech, everyone on the same page.

“Well then,” The King offered me a grateful nod. “It seems we continue as usual...” He went on to explain more, but I blocked him out.

My attention went to the familiar act in my chest instead. The ache has recently come to my attention, close to three days ago when Rorek and Soren decided to have a showdown in the sky. Whenever Rorek is far, I’ve noticed that a dull ache drums in my chest, close to where my heart lies. It’s not painful, just uncomfortable. It nearly goes away when the red dragon is back in my sight and it only disappears when Rorek is touching me in some way. Whether it be holding my hand, hugging me, or even just a finger dancing across my shoulders.

Currently, Rorek is in the training center, at least that’s where he told me he would be. The dull ache in my chest begs to differ though as it’s barely noticeable. I guessed he’d be right outside the door of the meeting room.

The King eventually dismissed the meeting, asking Soren, Locke, and I to stay behind. We all waited for the room to empty so the King could talk to us. The door pushed open again and I didn’t even need to turn to the door to know who had walked in. The ache in my chest completely disappeared as cool hands picked me up by the waist. Rorek sat in my seat and plopped me down on top of him, his heavily muscled arms wrapping around my waist and his chin resting on my shoulder.

The others watched with amusement, already use to Rorek and his behavior.

“You’re sure about what you said?” The King asked, ensuring that I hadn’t just spun tales to calm his advisors.

“Yes,” I answered. “Magnus and Merida are like the King of the North’s children. He wouldn’t start a war without them by his side, and he also wouldn’t pull them because they’re so important for maintaining the fear factor.” I felt as Rorek’s arms tightened around me, apparently their reputation preceded them.

“She’s right.” Locke jumped in, he and I were most likely the only people who knew the famous twins as well as we did.

The King nodded, taking in the information, before he spoke. “I can’t keep watch of their Clan all the time though, I’ve already lost two spies to them and it would be cruel to keep sending spies on suicide missions.” A remorseful look crossed his face.

“Shifters?" Soren asked.

"Two wolf shifters," The King responded. "The current spy I've got out there is a crow, so hopefully he keeps his distance."

We all nodded in agreement. This was the last chance we had at keeping an eye on the Clan.

I leaned back into Rorek, enjoying his comforting hold and affection.

"Well, I guess our plan of action is to watch the twins and hope they don't get pulled," The King sighed. We all mumbled our agreement, realizing that's all we can do.

Once we were dismissed, Locke, Soren, Rorek, and I made our way to the training center. Where we would train until dinner and continue hoping.

More than once, I felt the dull ache in my chest accompanied by a feeling of dread, as if something bad was coming. I could only hope that my gut was wrong.

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