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Current 5 new novels on the way! I'm a happy girl!
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Been reading a lot of vampire stories lately. Maybe I should write one. What do you think?
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Sophie Weston


Sophie shook her head. "I know you are right. We need to find her but then what do we do? How are they handling this Nathan Broussard? Her aunt Jean went to get her and bring her back. I have to get back to work. I'll do my best to keep her calm. If Elias doesn't think of something and she loses control...I'll have to do something to distract them???" Shrugging her shoulders she groaned, "I'll figure something out if it comes to that."

Alexis


Alexis felt her spine stiffen as she got closer to the house and stables. She was doing everything she could think of to try and keep control of her magic. The stable boys took Hundar and her Aunt Jean's horses from them after they dismounted. Jean reached out and took her hand trying to encourage her and give her some support. Alexis took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. She wondered where Elias was and if he had come up with something. She walked behind Jean and tried to ward off the nausea building in her stomach as she heard voices on the other side of the door. She breathed out and put on a smile and tried to remember her manners and grace as she had been taught.
Marcus' response to Elias' comment went unspoken as the ladies entered the room. As Alexis stepped into the room she caught site of Elias leaning against the doorway. His face showed no surprise other than his eyes at her arrival. However, when she looked up at Nathan Broussard she was unable to look away from the fury on his face. When Jean stepped to the side to speak with Elinora and Marcus, Nathan stepped forward and grabbed Alexis roughly by the arm steering her into the room. Alexis was trying to keep her emotions under control as Nathan manhandled her to the couch before he sat next to her.

"Uncle Marcus, I request more time. You specified that I had more time and now I demand to know why you are changing that." Alexis demanded slightly jutting her chin in stubbornness. Nathan became angered at her words and he grabbed her by the arm and dragged her out of the room and into the hallway. "Ouch, Nathan!" Embarrassment flooded her cheeks as he slammed her up against the wall roughly. His hand was open when he slapped her hard across the face.

"You will NOT disobey me! You will become my wife in spite of your whorish ways!" Alexis was holding her hand against the side of her face that he had struck. The tears in her eyes were from genuine pain. He raised his hand to hit her again.

@December
Alexis


Alexis was sitting in the middle of the field behind the woods. No one would see her from the house unless something big happened. She was brushing Hundar as she spoke to him softly. Confiding in him as if he were human she told him of her problems. The steed seemed to understand that something had changed about her. Magic seemed to roll off of her like electricity. It crackled as she touched the horse and it seemed that Alexis was incredibly nervous. She had been out here for an hour and she had hidden in the woods when she heard her uncle and some of the stable hands out looking for her on horseback. She was certain that she had swallowed her heart at one point.

What was Elias going to do? What could he do? She trusted him implicitly but what if his plan failed? Her heart was beating at an alarming rate and she was worried that she would lose control of her magic soon if she didn't calm down. Alexis closed her eyes and took deep breaths trying to focus. When she opened her eyes she saw her Aunt Jean coming towards her on horseback. Alexis felt her stomach tighten with anxiety and she moved towards her aunt.

"Alexis! I've been looking everywhere for you. I take it that you know they are here? Alexis nodded. Jean sighed tiredly.

"I've been arguing with Marcus and Elinora for the last hour and he is not budging. He says you have to marry Nathan. The lovely doctor has done some serious damage to your reputation and he isn't giving you more time. As your legal guardian he can force you to marry. Why he is hellbent on you marrying that, that nincompoop Nathan Broussard is anyone's guess."

Alexis nods slowly. "He is in business with Nathan's father and it would benefit him to tie his family to ours. But Jean....I hate Nathan. He is cruel and only wishes to use me and get to my money. With my magic...-" Realizing that she hadn't told her aunt all of the details of her magic she stopped. "I don't want to be forced to kill him. What do I do?" Jean pulled her into her arms and comforted her as best that she could as Alexis cried softly. "Elias sent me out here. He said he was going to take care of it or do something but I don't know what. Do you think there is anything I can say to change Marcus' mind?"

"I seriously doubt it sweetheart. I don't trust Nathan Broussard. He gives me a bad feeling in my stomach. Elias might be your best chance although I don't know what he is up to? Your money stays in my possession until you get married according to the conditions in the contract your mother had set up for you. It is sitting in a trust untouched and it will stay there until it is released by the conditions set in it. Marcus can't touch it but your husband can. I'm sure he has a deal in place with Nathan about it. It is quite a large amount of money. Enough for Royalty to live on for decades."

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

"WHERE IS SHE?" Nathan stomped around the parlor in a near fit. He had checked every room in the house and he had even struck the butler and the stable boy when he didn't get answers. Marcus was pacing the room while Elinora sat with her mouth in a pursed line fanning herself furiously.

"Calm down Nathan. For god's sake you are scaring the staff!" Marcus yelled back at him. Nathan turned towards him and his eyes looked like he was losing his mind. For a brief moment he wondered if Nathan was going to hurt Alexis when he got a hold of her. Deciding that many women beat their wives and it wasn't his business he ignored it and looked at the man like he was a fool.

"Where is Elias? Maybe he knows where she is."

@December

Nathan Broussard


Nathan grinned menacingly at Elias and walked towards the window as he spoke. "Now where is she? I half expected to see my fiance in here. You have quite the reputation and the doctor who treated you sent word to us that Alexis was behaving...lasciviously when it came to you. Now I can't have her tainting her reputation. It wouldn't look good for me when we marry. I hope at least that you taught her something when you bedded her." He looked over at Elais and saw his knuckles grip the tub more tightly before he continued smirking at his reaction.

"Of course it won't matter much." Nathan sighed dramatically for effect as he punched his fist into his other palm. "Of course I'll have to curb her attitude, she has a sassy mouth on her and I can't have that." Turning to Elias he grinned. "That should be easier after I break her spirit. I'll have as many women as I want and all of her money too." His eyes sparkled as he thought of the money.

"So Elias, where is my soon to be wife?" Nathan looked down at him with a haughty expression on his face.

@December
Alexis


"I'm so glad you are back!" Her voice started to break. "Marcus and Elinora are here. They brought Nathan Broussard here to marry me! Elias, what am I going to do?" She rests her head on his chest for a moment and realizing that he still hasn't said anything about anything she steps back and looks at him. She is truly scared to hear what he is thinking but she has to know. With little confidence Alexis "I don't know where Sophie and Wayne are right now." The darkness is keeping her from seeing much more than the barest of light from the barn's lantern in his eyes. Wringing her hands with worry she could feel the sizzling of her powers running through her body.
"Not now, not now, not now!" She said trying to control her powers. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths and focused like Wayne had told her. When she reopened them she saw Elias watching her. "What? Wayne told me how to try to focus my power so I don't cause too much mayhem." She paused."Elias, if he forces me to marry Nathan, one of us will kill the other. You and I are bonded forever by the Grimm oath we swore so I am asking you to help me figure out what to do. I know that's a lot with all the changes with me right now but...I need to know how you feel about me, these new powers, about Nathan marrying me?" Her voice broke and she turned her face down and her shoulders slumped in defeat.
"Please, I love you but if you can't stand me anymore then I'll leave and figure it out on my own. I dont want you to suffer because of me." Alexis looks up and touches his face drawing his eyes to her."Elias?"

@December

Sophie Weston


Sophie smiled up at Wayne and let him hold her close. She reveled in the companionship they had in their relationship. Leaning her head against him she wondered aloud. "As I am you. I'm worried, do you think that he will turn on her now? Is he strong enough to accept her as she is and defend her from the others of their kind? The Wesen world is not too likely to accept her easily if at all. I think that if he were to condemn her she would do one of two things." She glanced up at Wayne and saw the conflict in his eyes already.

"I think she would either turn to her hex side and fight everyone and everything including the Grimm's or she would run away in defeat. If she runs, she could be killed by groups of wesen if they ganged up on her or rogue wesen or possibly another Grimm pair. The question is...does he love her enough to stand by her."

Alexis


Alexis climbed out of the tub dried off and dressed in a long white nightgown and a shawl. She quietly opened the door between her room and Elias' room. Feeling so very alone and worried about his reaction to her change she crawled onto his bed and waited for him to return. After a while, Alexis was feeling restless so she put on riding pants and a top and went outside to do a little training behind the barn. The longer Elias took in coming to talk to her the more she felt he would reject her and that scared her to death. She was really in love with Elias and she wasn't sure she could handle his rejection.

Her heart hurt as she thought about it and decided to focus on training. She ran through her normal training routine with Elias and then she added some of her newfound abilities to her repertoire. She decided to try moving things at will and the first couple of tries she was able to move her objects quickly to where she wanted them. When she tried bigger things it became a mind over matter thing. She kept thinking it was too big or heavy even though it wasn't she would fail because of her own doubts. Elias was always good at boosting her confidence. The more she thought about him the less she got done.

Soon she was just sitting there when she heard a carriage in front of the house. Going around to the front to see who was there at such a late hour she stayed in the shadows and almost shrieked when she saw not only her Uncle Marcus and Elinora but also Nathan Broussard. She backed up and literally fell over a water pail. Scrambling to her feet she felt the panic setting in. What was Nathan Broussard doing here? Oh no! What are the odds I'll be forced to marry him? He is obstinate and his father is close friends with Marcus. An arranged marriage could be a real possibility. Her heart began to pound so hard she was sure that they would hear it. She ran into the barn to wait for Hundar's return. "Hurry Elias, I need you." She whispered to herself.

@December
Alexis
Sophie Weston


Alexis felt herself being pulled off of the horse but she recognized Elias and she was trying to reach her mind out to him and wake herself up. "Elias." she murmured. She pushed herself to sit up. "Where are we?" Looking around she saw Sophie and Wayne. "Where did the goblins come from? Did we get them all?" Sophie reached down and took her hand and let Alexis pull herself up with Elias' help. She reached out and grabbed Elias' hand in hers.

Shaking her head Sophie looked her over for injuries. "No, but I'm guessing you really made the coven mad. I'd bet you anything they set those goblins after you."

Alexis narrowed her eyes in anger. "They certainly are not happy about me being a Grimm." She sighed sadly. "I feel like an outcast and now I have..." She gives an ironic dry laugh "...a magical hit on me? I guess that's not really all that different than before, now they just see me as a bigger threat."

"I have to get caught up on sleep so I can get this magical energy thing leveled out before it gets me killed. I can't be dropping to the ground every time I run out of energy."Alexis yawned as they walked.

"I need your help. I need you three to help me figure out my powers better and help me train. That is...if you guys still see me as one of you." She looked to Elias for an answer but Sophie answered her first.

"Alexis, you are still the same person. That didn't change. You are still a Grimm, even more so now that you know you are by blood. The only difference now is that you have more powers to fight with."

Alexis nodded but quietly said, "but is that what people will see or will they see me as a monster?"

It was bothering her that Elias was so quiet. Was he seeing her as Alexis or as a creature of the coven?

Once they got back to the house Alexis went inside and straight to Jean's room to talk to her. After a couple of hours she arranged for a bath and she slipped into the hot water and the bubbles, sighing at her sore muscles.

@December


REIDUN’S CHOICE


Reidun was asleep. She was in the woods picking herbs for medicine and she heard her name in a deeply masculine voice that she would never be able to ignore. It sent a sweet smile to her lips as Aksel’s face peered around a tree. He had his battle gear on and she felt her heart get heavy. He walked over to her with that confident and protectiveness that he had exuded even back then. His eyes locked onto hers as she licked her lips. The heat in his gaze aroused her and she giggled and dropped her basket and ran. She had only gotten a few feet before she was lifted off of her feet and hoisted into the air. He leaned her up against a tree gently as he kissed her ferociously. She wrapped her legs around him and sighed happily as he kissed her neck. ”Aksel….” Her moans of pleasure woke her up. Reidun realized she had been moaning in her sleep. Looking back she saw Conall still sleeping.

Reidun looked up and saw Oppa watching her and he chuckled softly. “Oh Reidun, what are you going to do now?”

Getting up, careful not to awaken Conall she walked over to Oppa and nudged him with a foot. “You be quiet, you hear? I don’t know what to think. So you’d better not say anything. I need to talk to him, both of them.” She nodded and went to speak to Aksel. It was late and most were asleep but she was very quiet.

As she approached Aksel’s tent she glanced around before entering the tent. Ducking inside she saw Aksel sleeping and he woke up and rose up on an elbow. The blanket fell and exposed his muscular chest and arms.

“Reidun? Is something wrong?” He looked at her eyes and took her hand in his and pulled her onto the bankets next to him. “Stay and tell me love. What are you thinking?” He was quiet and studied her eyes looking for answers. Laying side by side and looking at each other she held onto his hand. She’d always loved holding his hand.

“I dreamt of us, back when we were first together. I’d say you were about twenty or so.” She stopped speaking for a moment and her eyes seemed to shine in the darkness. There was just enough light from outside of the tent for him to see her by the moonlight. Aksel heard her words and a soft smile played at the corner of his mouth.

“I remember us back then often. I love our memories of us together. What did you feel about this dream?”

Blushing a little she stared into his eyes. “We were in the woods and you made love to me against a tree. Apparently I moaned and called out your name. That is how I woke up. Oppa was chuckling and teased me.”

Aksel’s voice was deeper than normal because he was sleepy but that made him laugh out loud. ”I’m sure he did.”

She grinned and laid her head on her arm. “I’ve come to a realization.”

He pulled her over into his side and let her lay her head on his shoulder. “Pray tell me what you have figured out?”

Leaning up onto her side she fumbled for the words. “I don’t want to hurt Conall. I love him but I am still in love with you.” Aksel’s eyes softened and he pulled her into his arms as his mouth took possession of hers. Reidun gave in to her body and heart. In her mind she was concerned about Conall. After they were sated she gave him a soft kiss. “I need to go so I can talk to Conall. This is going to hurt him so much.”

“You can tell him later, after we sleep.”

“You want him to know I was with you. That will hurt him so much more.”

“I care not about what hurts Conall. I’m not letting my woman sleep next to another man.” Aksel touched her lips with his thumb. “My love, I’m not letting you go again. You are my one and only love and I’ll marry you if you’ll have me, as soon as It’s light enough to find the holy man.”

Reidun nodded and lay back down next to Aksel. He wound his arms around her and placed the blankets over them before they went to sleep. She would have to explain it to Conall. She wasn’t sure how but that was a problem for later.



GHOSTS


The sun was hovering right at its highest point when Cenwulf was looking over his group of ‘recruits’. He didn’t have high expectations, hell, he didn’t have almost any expectations, but still was disappointed. He was hoping for maybe a few experienced poachers or smugglers, but he got three boys even younger than Osmund and a bunch of criminals that looked ready to murder anyone for a loaf of bread. One or two of them might be useful to the cause, but how was he supposed to convince them to cooperate and not disappear into the wood at the first possible moment?

He studied their faces and saw all kinds of things that he didn’t like – mockery, disdain, even open hatred. Cenwulf was used to having trained, disciplined men, this was like a nightmare, this was like a nightmare to him. “All right, guys, you know why you are here. There is a group of heathens who are walking around this country like it belonged to them, taking whatever they want and burning the rest. I was hoping you will help us protect our lands from these demonic invaders.” Cenwulf noticed with relief that most of the men were nodding in agreement. Most.

The grin on one face got even wider during Cenwulf’s speech. “So you mighty soldiers got yer asses kicked and now you are so desperate you want help from us?” One of the men laughed.

One of Cenwulf’s men started to draw his sword. Cenwulf stopped him and walked closer to the men who spoke. “What’s your name?”

“Wilfred, my lord,” the man replied, with irony dripping from his voice.

Cenwulf ignored his tone and nodded. “Well Wilfred, you are right. We did get our asses kicked and you lot are everything I could get to at least try to even the numbers. I know you aren’t happy that you should be helping us, but there is something for each of you as a reward if you decide to join us.” They were already told what they would get – mostly getting their prison records erased, charges dropped or a chance to start over somewhere else.

Wilfred snorted, but he didn’t say anything and the rest seemed to be on board. I’m gonna have to speak with that one before we go out, Cenwulf thought. He sent the newcomers to go get some gear and food and assigned a soldier to keep an eye on each of them. Walking around the camp and checking everything was in order, he met Osmund, who was heading towards the kitchen tent, yawning and rubbing his eyes. “Finally got some sleep?”

Osmund turned around after the voice. “As you ordered, sir,” he said with a smile.

Cenwulf could see that the boy was exhausted, he spent most of the night stalking the Norsemen and only came back to camp after they had moved forward. The general had to order him to go rest for a while, Osmund insisted that he was going to go after the enemy, so the group wouldn’t lose their track. That was far from necessary, as the heathens moved in large group and even a half-blind man could follow them. “What do you think about the new recruits?”

“Well…” Osmund started, but realized he had no idea what to say without cursing and swearing.

“Yes, my thoughts exactly.” Cenwulf had to laugh.

“They will be useful for what you have planned, just not as disciplined as you are used to. Oh and one of those boys is a girl but unless no one else notices, we should be fine.”

Cenwulf closed his eyes and mumbled a short prayer. My own personal hell… “Send them to get some fresh meat and water, I don’t want them anywhere near the enemy.” Last thing I want is children’s blood on my hands. “The rest…”

“Everyone will be ready at dusk. Two of my men are following the Norsemen, they will let us know when and where they set camp.”

Cenwulf nodded, it was all part of the plan. “Thank you, Osmund. Go get some more rest, we will all need the strength tonight.”

A while later Cenwulf found Wilfred sitting on the ground, aside from the others. He felt like he needed to talk to this man before going to a fight together, if only to make sure Wilfred wouldn’t turn against them. Cenwulf sat on the ground next to him and handed him a skin with water.

Wilfred drank and snorted. “Shouldn’t the mighty generals have something better to drink than the rest of us dirt-eaters?”

“Sadly, no. At least not in this army,” Cenwulf grinned.

“Quite a company you have gathered here. Aren’t you worried that one of them will just slit your throat and disappear into the woods?”

Cenwulf gave the man a sidelong glance, trying to guess whether he was just teasing him or actually planning to bail. “I was hoping that what we had promised to them was more than enough to keep them around, at least for a while. What about you?”

“Oh, I am not interested on starting a new life as a peasant. It’s nice not to be hanged, but the rest…”

As someone who had been a soldier most of his life, Cenwulf could understand. He himself could hardly imagine going back to a simple life in a village, to have a wife and a few children. He tried to stop the what-if thoughts, but they just kept coming. Maybe he really was missing on something. How old would Anna be now? God, I bet she already has at least two kids.

Wilfred smiled at him, knowing exactly what the general is thinking. “I spent most of my life fighting, my mother was sutler, a camp wench, who gave birth to me in a mud of some battlefield while scavenging the dead bodies for anything valuable.”

“Are you trying to shock me? Or make me feel sorry for you? Life is what you make of it. Now tell me, what will it take? What do you want?”

“Straight to the business I see. Food, some decent weapon, some coin would be nice, but most of all, I want to do the one thing I am good at, the one thing I like.”

“Which is?” Cenwulf felt like he already knew the answer.

“Killing people, of course.”

A cold light appeared in his eyes and Cenwulf mumbled another prayer, feeling like the God must have condemned him for even coming up with such idea. How are these people better than the ones we are fighting?




It was after midnight and several dark figures were sneaking towards the Norsemen campsite. Cenwulf was slightly behind his group, because he could never hope to move through the woods as quietly as Osmund and the men he picked. He heard a muffled groan, followed by something heavy falling down. Everyone froze in place for a few moments, carefully listening, but everything remained quiet. Cenwulf snuck past some bushes to see Osmund and Wilfred standing over a dead body.

“A patrol,” Wilfred whispered. He was wiping blood off his knife, a wide grin on his face. Cenwulf looked down on the body. It was a typical Norseman, long hair and beard with a large axe still in his hands. His throat was opened so wide that the head was almost completely severed from the body.

Cenwulf nodded at Osmund and he disappeared into the vegetation towards the campfires. Cenwulf hoped that other group, which was supposed to come from the other side, notices the patrol before they ring the alarm.

Despite the very late or almost very early hour there were still some men and even women wandering around the camp or sitting by the fire. Crawling as close as he dared, Cenwulf stopped and waited nervously, maybe praying, maybe just gritting his teeth. If Leof doesn’t get into the right spot, or gets noticed by the patrols, or one of the new men stumbles and wakes up entire camp… But there it was, tiny flame in the woods, almost invisible if you weren’t looking for it. One bright dot quickly turned into twelve and soon all of them flew towards the tents, hissing quietly in the air.

As expected, chaos ensued. Cenwulf was worried that the Norsemen will soon find out how greatly they outnumber the attackers, but when you are awoken by flaming arrows plucking into your tent, you don’t quickly recognize whether there are ten archers or thirty. The Vikings grabbed shields and weapons and with a surprising discipline formed a loose shield wall, moving towards the archers. But the group knew what to do – each of them fired an arrow or two and immediately turned to run, luring the enemy into the woods.

This was the moment for Cenwulf’s group. There were still several people in camp, most of them looking the other way, to the archers. Like ghosts, the six men emerged from the vegetation and struck two surprised Norsemen down before the others could react. The enemy quickly realized what was happening and soon the ringing of swords and axes sounded through the camp. Pushing one enemy aside and rushing towards another, Cenwulf had to remember his own order – try to injure, not kill them. Some men grumbled about such order, but soon came to see the benefits of such plan. The dead bodies could just be burned or buried, but seriously injured people needed someone to take care of them, to carry them, plus they weren’t the best thing for the morale.

Cenwulf ducked the axe and jumped to the side. The time was almost up, the main group will soon be back from the woods from their hopefully unsuccessful hunt. He whistled sharply, signaling the others to go back, trying to stick his sword into the Norseman’s body, but that son of a bitch just refused to lose. Cenwulf had to lean back to avoid a hit that would decapitate him, the blade flying just inches from his throat. Just as he thought that he will have to run away with this man chasing him, another axe came out of nowhere and made a large cut on the man’s thigh. Cenwulf looked to the side to see Wilfred covered in blood and with a smile of the Grim Reaper.

“We have to go,” he yelled and Wilfred nodded, spitting on the Norseman who was crawling on the ground, trying to stop the blood pouring from his leg.

The men ran for their lives. Cenwulf tried to remember the directions Osmund gave him before the fight. Head southeast until second stream, then turn north until they reach a small waterfall. He stopped to catch his breath near the first stream, carefully listening. “I think we lost them,” he mumbled, panting.

“Or they aren’t stupid enough to follow us.” Wilfred looked almost sad, weighing the large axe he stole from the patrol in his hand.

They continued to the second stream and then up north, tripping and falling over dead branches and roots. Without the dim light of the campfire, the night was almost completely dark. Upon finally seeing the waterfall, Cenwulf let out a sigh of relief.

“I was beginning to get worried,” a large bush next to him said and Cenwulf jumped up.

“Seriously, stop doing that.”

“I was just checking if we weren’t followed. You are the last ones.” Osmund checked the forest behind them for the last time and then put the bow over his shoulder.

“So, how did we do?”

“We lost one man and one other has light injuries. I counted at least six enemies dead or injured.”

Cenwulf nodded, he also counted to that number. “Lets head back to the camp and see if Leof got all of our archers out. I have a feeling we will still need them.”
@raylah


DEJA VU


Reidun was walking onward and the sun was beginning to set when she heard screams up ahead. Aksel’s voice was not loud but he waved the men forward towards the group of obvious criminals that had set up camp just off of the road. Hearing the obvious screams and fear from the scuffle as many of them lay dying she found a place to sit next to a tree and closed her eyes for a moment. She felt someone’s eyes on her and when she opened hers she saw Aksel in front of her.

“What is it Aksel?” His eyes were questioning her but he didn’t say anything at all. He just walked towards the camp to see what all the fuss was about. She leaned her head back again.

Conall was following the rest of the group as they stalked through the forest. He could feel his hands twitching to grab his axes and go to town on these bandits. He had had a very stressful past few days and this would let him blow off some steam. He moved up closer to Reidun to make sure if anything went south he could at least get her out. He had learned in the past never to underestimate another the hard way. Seeing Aksel had signaled them forward he began to move up trying to stay low. Well as low as a giant of his size could. Something seemed off to him though. While they were bandits, they weren't usually this careless with guards or lookouts.

Reidun heard laughter and opened her eyes. One of her friends from back home was grinning at her sitting on the ground. Oppa reached over and grabbed her by the hand and pulled her to her feet. She chuckled and began walking again. “Oppa, my feet are tired.” She said laughing. “And now my feet hate you!” He dropped to his knees and told her to get on his back. Her musical laughter rang out and many turned around to see them playing. She moved her axes aside and climbed onto the large man’s back. She giggled like a young girl and many of the men teased them as Oppa took off running through the forest floor with her on his back. Laughter rang out from both of them until they were in the middle of the criminal camp. Oppa put her down and chuckled.

Smacking him on the arm playfully she went to look around but then she heard familiar screams. They rang through her and her body stiffened. She began to walk away from the camp before someone remembered.

Conall had been wandering around the camp that was now mostly covered in dead bodys. As he was wandering around he saw Reidun quickly leave the camp in a somewhat altered state. He quickly ran off after her making sure she would be fine. Calling out to her in a somewhat lower voice so he did not draw any unwanted attention to them. Seeing as how she didn't say anything she just kept moving he knew something was up. Finally catching up to her he placed a hand on her shoulder asking her “what's wrong Reidun? You don't seem ok.”

Reidun turned to Conall and was about to say something when Oppa ran over and yelled, “Reidun! Come quick, Aksel needs you!” Oppa gave her an urgent wave and she looked at Conall and closed her eyes for a moment. Begrudgingly she started back to the tent. She gave Conall’s hand a tight squeeze and she went into the tent where the pregnant woman was laboring. Aksel was there and he was not alone. Oppa had followed her in so there were four of them. The woman was having trouble and her screams were ungodly loud and full of pain. Reidun took one look at her and said. “I can’t do this.” She turned to go but the entrance was blocked by Oppa. She knew better than to try to move him so she pleaded with him.

“I’m not doing this, Oppa move!” She looked at his chest and wouldn’t meet his eyes. Aksel moved over to them and he pulled Reidun over to the woman.
“Why is she having so much trouble?” He demanded. Sighing in defeat Reidun splashed the bowl of clean water over her hands and took a look. She bit her lip and dropped her head and shook it.
“The babe is backwards. It’s coming out feet first and it’s not supposed to. It needs to be turned.”
“Do it!” Aksel commanded.
“I don’t know if I can.” She shook her head. All she could see was Brona and her baby in her mind.

Aksel leaned over and put a hand on each of her shoulders. “It’s not the same as before. If you don’t do something this woman and her baby will die.”
“How is that not the same?” She asked him. Aksel shook his head.
“She is not bleeding to death already. Reidun, just do it!”
Reidun threw off all of her gear and rolled the sleeves of her dress up and pulled her hair back. Oppa went outside and stood in front of the entrance so they wouldn’t be bothered.

Reidun spoke to the woman hoping she would understand that she was trying to help her. The woman seemed to understand and Aksel’s hand was grabbed by the woman and he was recruited to stay. Reidun was not happy about the lack of supplies on hand. Once she had her hands inside the woman and started turning the baby the woman screamed and eventually passed out from the pain. Reidun worked faster once the woman was unconscious. It seemed like there was no noise coming from outside but she was so focussed on what she was doing that she didn’t notice that the camp was quiet.

It was going on two hours of pushing and pulling and turning before she got the baby turned and delivered. She had had a moment where she had to work the cord over its head so it wouldn’t choke but she did it. This time after she was done she put the baby in Aksel’s hands since its mother was still out cold. Aksel carried the baby outside and announced that it was alright. The crowd, largely family men roared with glee and Reidun walked out behind him and cleaned her arms and hands up. She’d finished up with the mother and she wanted nothing to do with any of it. Her expression was one of weariness.

Conall during the whole affair had waited outside the tent with oppa making sure no one would try and enter. When everything was done and he saw Reidun sneak out of the tent as Aksel showed off the new child he began to follow her. He could tell that delivering the child took its toll on her, more than usual. As she kept moving Conall followed her at a safe distance wanting to give her a moment before he started asking questions.

After some time of walking he decided that they were far enough away to where they wouldn't be bothered. He aproached Reidun for the umteenth time today. Once again he had placed his hand on her shoulder “what's wrong Reidun? What was up with you in there?” He had not seen her like this. It was strange to him. It had a hint of the look he and Harek often shared but it was different somehow.

Reidun stopped where she was and sat down. She could barely hear him. She was deep in a horrible memory that refused to go away. Reidun didn’t even realize that tears were flowing from her eyes until she couldn’t see but it somehow didn’t matter much. Sobs broke free from her pent up grief and she grabbed onto his shirt and cried for the second time today. She shook so hard she thought her teeth might rattle out of her head.

It was at this point that Aksel appeared. Conall nor Reidun saw him but he saw her break and it brought tears to his eyes. After a moment he walked back to the camp quietly.

Conall sat down beside Reidun as he felt her grab onto his shirt. Wrapping his arm around her as she began to cry into his shoulder. “Its ok. Its ok. Let it all out.” he assured her. “Everything is fine. You’re alright i'm here.” he told her in a kind tone as he held her tight. Knowing this had to be something from her past he knew all too well it was best to let these issue come out on their own and you couldn't force them to. “Whenever your ready then you can talk. Until then i'll stay right here until you feel better.” He began to rub the arm he was holding onto gently as he placed a kiss on her head hoping this would calm her nerves.

Reidun knew Conall was holding her and he wasn’t pressuring her. She cried until she ran out of tears. Then she told him about the last baby she had delivered, Aksel’s and Brona’s baby. She told him how guilty she had felt. How she had blamed herself for their deaths wondering if she couldn’t save them because she had been jealous or hurt. How she felt about these feelings and how it had been impossible for her to continue in healing and that was why she had turned to being a shield maiden. By the time she was done she was severely dehydrated but she felt a lot better. She was nervous as to what Conall thought of her.

“So now that you know this, do you hate me?”

Conall sat as he soaked in the whole story. He looked at her for a moment before turning her face to his and kissing her. “Reidun i could never hate you for something like that.” he held her tight knowing it was never easy to let out something from your past. “Reidun” he began again “I was serious when i meant that i will always love and want to protect you. And as for what happened in the past that wasn't your fault.” Once he was finished he leaned his head on hers looking out towards the ends of the forest which were far out of sight. “Are you feeling better or do you still need a bit? No rush take all the time you need. I'll make sure to scare off anyone who tells you otherwise.” He had said the last part with a serious tone that still had a bit of laughter in it trying to lighten the mood.

Reidun was so exhausted that within a few minutes she fell asleep in his arms. It wasn’t long before he shifted and she woke up. Sitting up she murmured. “Let’s go back to camp. I need to check on the mother and baby then I’ll sleep.”

Once they got back to camp Oppa hugged her and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “You did good Reidun. The mother is awake.” She smiled at her friend and entered the tent. Aksel was not there which kind of surprised her. She smiled and checked on the mother for extra bleeding and once satisfied that everything was alright she checked on the baby once more and then she went outside and was handed a mug of ale. Music was played and ale was passed around. There was a general happiness with regard to new life. A new baby was a blessing in all walks of life.

Reidun saw Oppa and he knew what her eyes were asking and he pointed to Aksel near the edge of the woods facing away from the camp. She looked at Conall and kissed his lips softly. “I’ll be back in a few minutes. I need to talk to him.”

Reidun walked slowly to where Aksel was sitting near his fire. Tears had recently been shed and he wiped his face when she appeared. Understanding, she sat down next to him. “You did good today. Without you they wouldn’t have made it.”

Quietly she looked at the fire. “I just wish I could have saved yours.”
Aksel nodded. “I know. No one could have saved them. It’s not your fault. I hope you know that.” His breath shuddered. “Oppa told me that you blame yourself. That you thought the Gods were punishing you for being jealous. I don’t believe that. If anyone they were punishing me for leaving you.”

Reidun sat there in surprise for a moment. “I- Why would- I don’t understand.”
Aksel stared at the fire and answered her. “Brona and I weren’t getting along and we fought all the time. She was not the same person that I had loved. I’ve never stopped loving you and I never should have left you.”

Reidun had no idea how to respond to his admission. She looked at him sideways and said, “I’m glad you don’t hate me for their deaths. I’ll never forgive myself though. I should go though. Conall will-” Reidun was surprised with a swift kiss that held a lot of emotion. His feelings were in his eyes. “Go now before I do something that Conall will try to kill me for.” Stunned, Reidun got up and walked back to where she and Conall were to sleep and she lay down next to him and pulled his arms around her.

Conall had been laying down, fighting off sleep while he waited for Reidun to return. When he had felt her slip down next to him and move his arms around herself he had a smile on his face. This was calming to him, just having her here next to him helped him relax. Giving her a quick kiss he pulled her into a tight embrace. Before succumbing to sleep he managed to get out “Hope everything went alright.”

She nodded and snuggled further into his embrace. “Yes it was.” She wondered about Aksel’s words as she drifted off to sleep against Conall’s chest.
@Sly13


THE BRIDGE


Now free from secrets and surprises, Vestar, Marewen and company continued on their journey towards Guthram. Ever confident and hearing the humming for Grimar, Vester looked over to Marewen to take a moment thinking about his chance of becoming king. Never would he have thought that he’d have such fortune on his side. Made him feel a bit grateful that his father did throw him away in the first place.

Several hours have already passed and for some reason, things were a little too quiet...too peaceful. Where they were passing through, there was a bridge they needed to cross. Nothing particularly different or significant about the bridge but to Vestar, he had a feeling something was going to happen the moment they get to the bridge.

Sure enough, coming upon it, an arrow struck the ground right in front of the bridge. In that instant, 5 men emerged from under the bridge and stood in the path. Of course that was not going to be enough because several more men came from behind the trees that surrounded them. Vestar, slowly spinning around with Beast, noticed all of these armed men only to think to himself Bandits…

The man in the middle stepped forward and spoke. “Hello...quite a lovely day we are having. So what do I owe the pleasure to you all crossing my bridge?” Vestar already knew that this was probably going to end in bloodshed and sighed while beginning to reach for his axes thinking that they’d immediately have to fight through them.
@king tai
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