The rowdy man was holding the young woman in a steel grip. Her trashing was doing nothing but weakening her body.
“Look what I’ve got here, men!” the captor yelled and his man roared in approval.
Beasts. Eydis thought to herself.
“Let her go!” It was Petter. He and the rest of the Vulpes were now surrounded.
The man that held Eydis pushed the knife harder at her throat and let go of her hands only to put it around her stomach, pulling her more against his chest.
“You are in no position to order me, boy!” He must have been the head of these men. At least he acted like one.
Eydis felt sting on her neck as the blade pressed a little too hard against her throat, drawing blood as she tried to get away from her captive.
“Stop moving, woman, or I’ll slit your throat,” her captor said in a harsh tone.
“Then do it already and be done with it.” She hissed while digging her fingers into his hand that held the blade. She would better die than become one of their slaves or something like that.
“Eager to die, sweetheart?” He mused in her ear. His hot breath caressing her skin. His face was so close to hers. She could smell rum, sweat, and blood. All together made her stomach flip in uneasiness. She begged not to puke.
“No, I’m just eager to get away from that dreadful stench of yours,” she spat back. Every try to free herself failed.
“What is it that you want?” Petter spoke once again. He was tired, angry, and scared at the same time. One wrong move and his fellow warriors would be dead. But he feared about Eydis the most. After all, she was young and very beautiful. It made him sick to his stomach just thinking about what that bastard would do to his friend.
“Simple. I want your land,” the leader answered, as if it was no big deal.
“Then kill us and take it. Why all this charade?” Stine asked furiously. He was covered in blood. Was it his or someone else’s? Eydis could tell that he was one breath away from snapping. He would try to attack and would end up dead this time for sure. She hoped he would contain his anger just for this once.
“I could, but I feel generous today. I have a proposition to your king,” the leader answered.
“And that would be...?” Petter asked once more.
“Ah, but you see, that is for your king and myself to speak about. After all, we both are leaders and not simple men as yourself.” Eydis shuddered. That meant the man that kept her in his hold was no other than Bjarni Bareodon himself. The king of all the Northern lands. Ruthless, fearsome and, most of all, unstoppable.
Eydis suddenly froze as her armor started to loosen a little and captor’s hand slid under it. He touched the bare skin of her stomach. His hand was rough and bloody.
“Don’t touch me,” Eydis hissed, while Bjarni inhaled her scent and exhaled loudly.
“So delicious. I’ll see you again, my little warrior,” he whispered for only Eydis to hear.
“Tell your king I’ll be back in two days’ time. Let’s say for dinner. If he refuses or we’re threatened in any way, your castle and every little village in your lands will be burned to the ground.” With that, Bjarni pushed Eydis forward, making her fall flat on the ground.
“Move out!” He ordered his man and left the Vulpes unarmed where they stood. Bareodon’s men disappeared as fast as they appeared. Like ghosts leaving chaos and bodies everywhere.
Eydis suddenly felt as her body drained from her strength. Petter and Stine rushed to her.
“Eydis!” Petter called, concerned.
“We have to warn the king to prepare for war,” she breathed heavily. Eydis didn’t believe a single thing Bjarni said. She knew that there would be a war and this time she would be ready.
Petter barked her orders to some of their warriors who rushed to the castle.
“Come on, we need to get you to the healer.” Stine helped Eydis up.
“I need no healer. They and you need it more than I do. Go and take care of them. Tell someone to gather our fallen friends and bring them to the castle. We need to give them proper burial.” Eydis growled.
“What about Bareodon’s men?” He asked.
“Leave them here for the wolves. I don’t care. Right now, we have more urgent matters to worry about. Now go and do as you are told.” She ordered. She was rude, but it didn’t affect Stine one bit. He had dealt with her variety of moods for years.
“Not until you agree to see a healer. That wound looks nasty on your neck.” Her burly friend was adamant about getting her checked out.
“Stine, do not argue with me right now. I’ll deal with my wounds, just do as I ask.” Eydis groaned.
“Because you asked so nicely.” He rolled his eyes. In return, he got a hit to his already sore abdomen. Stine groaned in pain.
“Alright, alright. Save your anger for someone else. I am leaving.” He left her alone.
“What are you thinking about?” Petter asked her when he returned.
“That Bareodon has something behind his sleeves. His decision to stop the fight in the middle of it and ask for a meeting with our king when he could have just taken the castle was illogical. I don’t like this one bit, Petter. He has planned something and it won’t be good. So much just doesn’t make sense.” Eydis set out her concerns.
“You have to talk to your father and the King. Maybe all of you will think of something. You don’t have to stress about this alone.” Petter looked into her eyes and squeezed her shoulders soothingly.
“I’m fine. I’ll head back and go straight to them. We don’t have much time to prepare for whatever Bareodon has prepared for us.” Eydis sighed. She took her horse and thanked the Gods that he was still where she left him.
She rode back to the castle as the time was in essence.