Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Normandia - 6

I awoke in a sweat.  Had it all just been a dream?  I opened my eyes and found myself lying on a bed of straw under an airy thatched roof.  I realized my head was lying on something soft.  I looked down and found the same woman I had been dreaming about.  Could it be a dream?  I pressed my head against her bosom and heard the soft thud of her heartbeat, so gentle and vibrant.  Not panicked and fast like mine.  I looked over our hut and saw that we were alone.  It was strange.  How did I get there?  What happened?  I racked my brain, but could only remember up until I had seen her.  It was a strange feeling.  Had all this really happened?
It must have, I told myself.  How else could I be in the hut with this beautiful woman?  And as I thought that, I looked again and this time beheld her for all her beauty.  I took in all her curves, and the soft warm touch of her skin.  Her skin?  Now I realized why the hut seemed so airy, we were both naked.  What had happened to my skins, my coat, and my sword?  I jumped up; looking around frantically for my effects, but the hut was empty.  I ran to the door and threw it open as I jumped into the street.  The sun was just appearing on the horizon turning the streets blood red.  I looked up at the roofs and saw many black patches, the fire had been there, part of my story was true.
I ran down the paths, still wet with the rain of the night before.  The streets were empty, the whole town looked deserted.  I ran to the wooden palisade wall at the edge of the town and climbed up a ladder placed for defense.  I relaxed a bit as I saw our longboat safely resting in the rocks near the river.  I turned around with a start as I heard feet approaching.  I turned to see Thorax holding out my clothes and my sword.  He gave me a good natured but tired smile.  I returned him a quizzical look.
“Thorax, what happened?”  He shook his head as he handed me my clothes.
“Don’t you remember?  Look to the stones.”  I looked down at the few stones placed in the midst of the paths, and realized it was not the sun that had turned the stones blood red.  I looked down at my feet and realized the paths had not been wet from the rain the night before.  And now as I noticed a stench flooded my nostrils daring my stomach to turn over on itself.
Gingerly I asked, not really wanting to know the answer, “what did we do?”
Thorax spit on the ground, “we were Vikings, and they were Franks.”  My heart sunk deep into the pit of my stomach.
“And are there any survivors?”  Thorax looked up quizzically at me, finally realizing I remembered nothing.
“Well yes there are.  Wives and mistresses for each of us, and of course slaves to till the ground.  You gave the order while we were still on the boat don’t you remember?”  I thought back to our conversation on the boat.  And now I fully comprehended what we had done.  Vikings had been pillaging the coast for many years already, and many of the towns had grown far too wary of our raids.  A hard life for a Viking warrior had been getting even harder.  Our council sending us out on that stormy night reflected how desperate we had become, and how ruthless the council had become.  But we were not with the council anymore.  Our fate had become intertwined with the fate of those we had conquered.
We walked back up the silent street together, pausing as we came to small lone building of stone with two pieces of wood at the top intersecting in a cross pattern.  I pointed at the church, but Thorax just shrugged and started walking awkwardly down one of the street paths.  I smiled at the sight of the Viking trying to live a different life.  “We’ll have to do a lot of changing.”  I said to myself bemusedly.  I turned to go down the other fork back to the hut I had come from.
And there she was again, that same black hair, that curvy inviting figure, looking happily at me.  She pointed at me and pointed back at her belly.  “Norhman.”  She said proudly indicating me and her belly again.
“Yes I’m a Norseman.”  I growled back somewhat irritably as she couldn’t even pronounce the s.  And then I realized what she meant.  “Lots of changing indeed.”  I nodded as I started to laugh.  “Norman son of Ivar.”  I turned and yelled back to Thorax just as he was stooping into one of the huts.  “What do you think of the name Norman?”  He flashed a smile before responding as he entered a hut..

“Sounds powerful, sounds like a Viking who will truly know no cold.”

Chapter V     Back to Short Stories

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