Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

In the deep of the night...

War-Journal of Bue Geirsteinson - Part IV

by Jacob Skytte

Vatermont 19th, the year 1000 After Crowning of the First Emperor of the Thyatian Empire

It was the last night before I would set out for Noslosford with my army, a band of warriors composed of the greatest this country had to offer. I was in emotional pain, knowing that I would soon fight my own clan, my own family. There was no choice though, I would do what I had to do to save as much of my clan as I was able to, and to uphold my fealty to Odin and the king He had chosen for Ostland. My thoughts were interrupted as the door to my chambers was slammed open. In the doorway stood Stein Anlafson, the son of the jarl of Vestpont and a spoiled brat if I'd ever met one.

"Bue Geirsteinson," he bellowed. "You have a lot of nerve showing up here, commanding men mightier than you to follow them. You may be a jarl's son, but you're still a boy and should be hiding under your mother's skirts."

Stein was a year older than me and had been at the Royal Court for two years now. "Stein, I command no one. The king asked for volunteers and noble warriors chose to join me."

"Noble warriors indeed! You are an upstart, who should know his place. You have come to the king with an improbable story of treachery, just because you're only second in line for the jarldom, and you need to get rid of your father and brother both. You endear yourself to Hord by foiling this 'coup' and set yourself up as jarl of Noslosford. Don't think I can't see through your plans."

I sighed. "Even if it was so, what would that matter to you? It is not your domain of Vestpont that will be invaded, a domain that you are next in line for. Why do you care?"

"You have overstepped your boundaries. You have found a way to get the king's attention and you have played upon that. I have worked hard for the past two years to get acknowledged by the king, and yet you, a whelp, just step in here, make him your confidante and get him to lend you great warriors for your coup. I'll admit that you are clever; I should have thought of something like that."

"Stein Anlafson, you are mistaken. I intend no coup, I'm here to save my clan from destruction. My father has betrayed our country, and I am the only one who can save clan Noslosford from the rightful wrath of Hord, should my father put his plans in motion. I do the will of the Gods and fight for honour."

"You are suggesting that I do not revere the Gods? Or that I do not hold up honour? Your intentions are hardly as noble as that, Bue. I noticed how you drew the attentions of Ingibjorg Siglindesdottir. She is a fine shield-maiden, and with all your acting-up, you have managed to turn her head. Well, you are a fool. Ingibjorg desires a grown man like myself, not a boy such as you. You can settle for the unnatural Asta Katlasdottir, she and her sorcerous family will suit a trickster like yourself just fine."

A cold voice came from the doorway. "Stein Anlafson, you are mistaken about a great many things. Asta Katlasdottir is a warrior true, and her family has served the king well." It was none other than Ingibjorg Siglindesdottir, and she continued. "Bue Geirsteinson is a noble warrior, who believes in the Gods and follows the will of Odin. He is your better in every way, and should I desire for a man, it would be someone like him, and not a backstabbing, slandering midget such as yourself."

Stein looked at me with hatred in his stare. "You set me up, Bue. You invited her here for a 'midnight talk' and set me up. You put those words in my mouth. Ingibjorg, you must believe me. Bue tried talking me into helping him betray his family, he's tricking his way into Hord's confidence. Surely you can see that."

She snickered. "You are a fool. I have come here of my own will, Bue knew nothing of it. Withhold your slander if you do not wish the king to hear of it. Now, since you haven't seen fit to join Bue's army, I don't believe you are privy to the strategy talks we will conduct. Please leave us."

Stein skulked out the door, then turned to give a final snarl. "I will not forget this, Bue Geirsteinson. You have tried to take my place from me, and that will not go unpunished. As for you, Ingibjorg, you are not the woman I thought you were and I will leave you to whore with this traitor."

"I'm happy to disappoint you!" she called after him, then turned to me. "I'm sorry you had to witness that. Stein has long been drooling over me and he is used to bully any man who crosses him. He thinks that he can always get what he wants, but I find him despicable."

"I can deal with men like Stein," I replied. "I do not want to be caught up in court politics and intrigue, I wish only to save the lives of my clan. His accusations cannot hurt me, since they are false and, as such, mean nothing to me. But why have you come here at this hour?"

She smiled. "I wished to see if you were ready for tomorrow. I know that you must be in pain over going to war with your family and I wished you to know that I understand and will provide whatever support you could wish for. We are many who believe that what you do is right and honourable and I have come to say that you do the right thing and that we support you."

"I thank you Siglindesdottir, I know what I do is right, but that does not ease the pain. Now let us not fuel the rumours that Stein will undoubtedly start about us. You had better go to your fellow shield-maidens before your honour gets stained beyond repair."

Ingibjorg laughed clearly and strongly. "My honour would hardly be stained by such rumours. I would be the envy of the shield-maidens for landing a catch such as yourself. You do not give yourself enough credit, Geirsteinson. Like I said, many are those who believe in you, and many are those who admire you. But I will do as you suggest and join my sisters of the shield. Sleep tight."

With that she left me to pen my thoughts in this journal of mine. It is strange that a woman would speak thus. I have known only women like my sisters, cold and hard or pure and innocent. This rowdy manliness in a woman is unexpected, but appropriate, I guess, for a shield-maiden. I am not sure what to make of her intentions. Thoughts like these must wait, though. I am off to war, to spill the blood of those I call my family and that is what matters.