Chapter 4: Alfric
Alfric ran ahead of his men, 20 in number, his bearskin cloak (made from the same bear he had killed in his youth) flapped behind him, exposing his kyrtill (and the gold embroidery marking his station as king) as they chased the enemy army that had—foolishly—dared to invade his kingdom and steal the treasures that he had brought back from his journey south. Their thundering feet warned all of an impending storm: the storm of retaliation.
“Bring me their heads!” Alfric yelled, ignoring the strands of ashen blond hair that fell in front of his eyes. Sword raised, he pushed further ahead; his bulky frame made him a terrifying force to be reckoned with.
His boots left deep impressions in the half-thawed earth as he charged over fallen pines, snow-encrusted junipers, and twisted vines amidst the patches of soiled ice. Frozen vapor frothed before him with each breath.
Something slammed into him. Alfric crashed to the icy ground, losing his hold on his sword. He rammed his foot into an approaching invader. The man buckled over. Alfric jumped to his feet and knocked the man to the ground. Another attacked from behind. Alfric whirled around, elbowing the man and catching him in the jaw. The smear of warm blood on his elbow told him his aim had been true.
One opponent tried to punch him in the face. Alfric dodged, ducking low and snatching his sword. He stretched up, ramming the blade into the man. Before the second could pounce on him, Alfric struck him with the hilt of his weapon. Leaning over his opponent, he glared at the man who awaited death.
“I want you to look upon my face,” said Alfric. “I am Alfric, son of Erik, and Viking king. You, who tried to steal from me, this is your just reward.”
Alfric raised his sword to deliver death’s stroke. A bright, yellow and orange light enveloped him. Mesmerized, the man on the ground just stared at it as it grew brighter, until there was a loud—Zap!
Alfric was gone.