The Demon Wolf (Book 1 of The Devil and the Huntsman)

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Chapter 22: Born for Greatness

From an enormous distance, Harald could tell that everyone in the great hall was enjoying the food and, so far, loved the feast. He knew that he must have done something right with how the food was served and how enjoyable the service was. Erica and Lucy were talking amongst each other as Lagertha was looking at the size of the walls and the ceiling. The ceiling had many ancient paintings from people that matched the way the palace was supposed to be imagined. Harald wanted to know what Julius thought about the food and his speech before he allowed the banquet to begin.

“The food is excellent, brother. Everyone around me enjoys it as much as I do,” Julius said.

“Well said. So what about my speech to everyone? I hope I didn’t stutter through anything, did I?” Harald asked.

“You did the best you could. Even though you may have said the same things you said for a while, everyone still enjoys hearing those words from you.”

“Well, I sure have my moments. I never intend to disappoint anyone who dined with me in the past nor the newcomers to this city. But, tell me this, how are you and Lagertha doing?”

As he asked this, Lagertha turns over a little and stares at her uncle for a few seconds, and she turns back around to eat her food. It was as if she knew he was going to ask her father this type of question because it’s always good to ask parents about their kids. But Lagertha was no kid anymore, and the days of asking her parents for something were ending.

Then Julius answered and said to him, “My daughter has always been good to me, and she has always been the best thing about my family. We’ve always got along with each other. Whenever I come home, she would always ask me how my day has been. My wife would welcome me with open arms as I stand behind her doorsteps. Every time there is a family member of ours who comes to our house, they are always welcomed. You are also allowed into my house and I will not hesitate to let you in.”

“Charming words, dear brother. My wife would be very proud to hear the many stories your wife is telling her,” Harald said.

“You know how every year when the feast is over, and everyone is finished eating? You would allow the bards and musicians to play their orchestra. You always allowed the people to dance along with the music. But, it’s usually dependable on how much the people have eaten from the plate and there is only half the entire number of citizens who came to the feast.”

“Ah. I have not forgotten; I never forgot the day I met Erica and I suppose you never forgot the day you met Lucy. Erica was as charming as the stars and the moon. When the moon shines, she appears to shine along with it.”

Lagertha was listening loud and clear to her father and uncle, and she felt astonished by the fact her father would say such kind things about her. She knew deep inside herself that everyone who was a member of her family showed many loves and comfort to her. She could not stop eating the delightful food on her plate as Julius and Harald continued to speak with each other. Lucy and Erica told each other their daily lives and what they like to do around their home. It was during this time when most of the people who were in the banquet finished eating their food, and most of them were ready to go home.

Lagertha watched as some citizens were getting ready to leave the palace, and she thought about walking around for a bit. Then, she saw Brant walking around the great hall to exercise after eating so much food and drinking lots of ale. Walking is an excellent workout routine for those who like to feel the breeze and gaze upon the earth. Then, she had the thought of wanting to walk with him and know much more about him and what he likes to do. She now realized that she was cousins with Brant and needed to understand why she could not be with him after all this time.

“Father?” Lagertha asked.

“What is it, Lagertha?” Julius asked.

“Is it alright if I walk around for a bit? It’s only for a few minutes,” she said.

“Sure, go right ahead. I’ll wait for you.”

Then, Lagertha slowly gets up from the chair, and she wanders around and watches what Brant is doing. She already saw that her parents were busy talking with the earl and his wife as the evening was continuing. Then, she could see him walking around and not wanting to talk to anybody around him; he was already exhausted, but not overly tired. She was walking forward and trying to move out of the way of some citizens, and she was not trying to shove anyone away. Then, she finally got as close to him as possible; as she walked beside him, he could see that she wanted someone to talk to.

“Oh, hi Lagertha,” Brant said.

“Hey there. How’re you doing?” She asked. She was also getting a bit sleepy herself, but the sound of people chattering and making noises kept her awake.

Then, he had a conversation with her and see how she is doing; they were both eager to have something to talk about, like everyone else.

“I’m doing good. You want to go somewhere and talk?” She asked.

“I would love to. In fact, I know just the place to do it,” Brant answered. Then, he reaches over and grabs Lagertha’s right hand and walks as quickly as possible away from the crowd.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Lagertha asked.

“You don’t want anyone to see you, right?” He asked.

“Well... no,” she said. As her hand was being held by Brant, Lagertha could see her parents still having a chat with Harald and Erica.

Luckily, she did not have to put up with being spotted by her father, and she was relieved that her father’s eyes were still focused on his brother. Brant took Lagertha, walked up the stairs, and made sure that he was very silent with his feet. She still wanted to be certain that her family would not look up at her being with another man. She said nothing as she was feeling her cousin’s icy hand gripping onto her warm hand. She truly did not know or understand what she was in for because she discovered more of the palace than she ever did.

Then Brant opens the door to one room and releases Lagertha’s hand and begins breathing heavily. She notices that he took her to his bedroom and saw a bunch of books and maps. Then, he made sure that the candles were still lit and became certain that he could see everything in his room.

“Wow, this doesn’t seem too bad,” Lagertha said.

“Oh, thanks. Well, this isn’t the only place I want to show you. It’s right out here,” Brant said. Then, he walked over to the window that looked like the shape of two doors with glass.

He then pushes open the windows, and Lagertha notices that he took her to a large balcony in the night. He wanted to show her a place where they can both speak their minds and be away from all the random conversations that people at the banquet are bringing up. Brant brought her to the balcony because he wanted her to feel the same feeling he was having during these special times. Lagertha was feeling so much better and relieved that she could hear owls in the air and none of the noises the citizens were making.

“You know, this feels superb to experience. You seem to be very lucky compared to the other boys,” Lagertha said.

“Well, I brought you out here so you and I can be away from all the others. You and I are born of royalty, and it seems as if you’ve never lived in a palace before,” Brant said.

“No. I never understood why I couldn’t live in such a special place. It must be really simple living in such a massive space. For me, it’s a pretty small room,” she said.

“That might be fine for most people. But it is actually pretty tough living all by myself and only getting to see my friends every once in a while. Some of these people call me lucky and others say I am someone special who is born for greatness.”

“But you are born of greatness. You will take over for your father one day and one of these days, your wife will rule by your side.”

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