“Hurry up boy, we are going to be late to the killing!”
I woke up faster than the goddess of speed herself. If my father caught me sleeping instead of being ready and waiting for his arrival, I’d be beat for sure. Trust me when I say that my dad was the last person in all on Eidun you wanted to get a beating by. The door to our one room wooden Hut flew open as my father came storming through it.
My father is a big burly man who barely fit through our door. He wore his long brown hair down and had a long brown beard to match. His eyes were piercing blue. Scattered all around my father’s body was a combination of scars and tattoos.
Father looked at me with no expression or emotion on his large face. “What are you staring at! You better get your ass moving before I beat it, boy!” Shouted my father suddenly.
I jumped with surprise. Thank the Gods. My father must be in a good mood this morning. I quickly threw on my boots, grabbed my traveling pack, put on my fur over the clothes I already had on, and I was ready to go. Father was already waiting outside of our hut. I quickly hurried out the door to meet him.
Father was staring at the sun beginning to rise over the vast mountain range in the distance. “Today is an important day for you Effy. Soon you will be twelve years of age. It’s time for you to start learning how our world works. Are you ready for what this world has in store for you Effy?” Asked my father.
The only thing I wanted more than to please the Gods, was to please my father. “Of course father. I will not let you nor the Gods down. I am ready to be strong, just like you!” I answered with passion.
Instantly, my father started to laugh so loud it boomed throughout all the forests that inhabit our cold lands. “Well, we will see about that little man.” My father bellowed.
My old man walked towards me with a grin upon his face. “Your mother, wherever she may be, is proud of you. I’m sure of it.” Stated my father.
What a strange day this was. My father never talked of my mother. Whenever I asked questions about her, he would get upset and distant. All I knew about my mom is that she left right after I was born and never came back.
I wasn’t sure how to respond to my father. Finally, I looked up at my dad and met his gaze. “Thank you father.” I stammered.
My dad put his large hand on the side of my face and gave it an aggressive shake and laughed. “Let us begin our journey to Nordun son.”
The path to the little town was about an hour and a half walk from our home. I was born and raised in Nordun. My ancestors helped settle and build Nordun from the ground up. They have also fought, and died defending her. Even my father has fought and defended Nordun many times. Soon I will also defend her and my people, just like my father.
The path from our hut to Nordun was one I had probably walked a thousand times before. Our hut is found deep in the thick forest, next to a huge cliff side looking out upon the misty bay of Nordun. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold. The path to our little home had many different paths intertwined with it, going to other locations important to my father and I. The confusing path also kept strangers and unwanted people away from us and our home. I knew this trail and forest better than almost anyone.
As my father and I emerged from the dense forest, we could see the east side of Nordun. Nordun basically consisted of huts, tents, and a couple of barns. On the west side of the village you could find the docks and a few ships floating around in the calm water. In the middle of the village was the Great Hall of Nordun. The Hall of Nordun was a huge wooden building where our Chieftain and his family live, as well as, where all our people’s greatest decisions are made.
I looked over at my father who had a disgruntled look on his face. “What’s wrong dad.” I asked, confused by my father’s soured look.
“Our Chieftain has no ambition for our people. Ever since Cael became our Chieftain, nothing has improved. Nordun hasn’t grown since I was about your age. Our people go hungry, while the Chieftain and everyone in his circle eat like kings and queens. I fear for the future of our people Effy.” Stated my father while never breaking his gaze on the town.
My father was never one to talk about politics or anything of the sort. If he was complaining, things truly couldn’t be going too well around here. My father broke his gaze and looked down at me with a tiny smirk.
“Time for us to say hello to your aunt and her little boyfriend.” Decided my father in a mocking tone.
“Don’t you mean husband? I asked my father while grinning.
“Please, don’t remind me son.” Cautioned my father looking amused.
Whenever my father and I came to Nordun we would always stay with my aunt Ragna. My aunt and I were very close. Ragna is the closest thing I had to a mother. Just like my father, she had brown long hair, but with more of a gold tint to it. Luckily for my aunt, she also had a much prettier face than my father and no beard. All three of us had the same blue eyes. Unlike my father and aunt however, I had pitch black hair. Father said I got my hair from my mother.
My aunt’s husband, Finnin, owned a alehouse here in Nordun. Lucky for Finnin, it was the only alehouse in the entire village. The only other place in town for people to drink and celebrate was The Great Hall. Finnin was an averaged sized man, with a blonde beard and long blonde hair all tied up at the top. His eyes reminded me of honey, on account of their yellowish gold color.
The alehouse was a decent sized building. At night time, just about everyone in the village gathered at Finnin’s place. The inside of the alehouse consisted of wooden tables and chairs scattered all over the place. On the far left of the big room was the bar, and on the far right was a huge fireplace.
Right as me and my father entered the alehouse, my father and I were welcomed with people cheering, “Bran!” The occupants of the alehouse cheered my father’s name with pride. Father was known to be a great warrior of Nordun.
My father raised his arms slightly, letting everyone know to calm down. The occupants of the alehouse slowly quieted down. Father looked over towards the bar and saw Finnin pouring some ale to some patrons.
“Finnin!” Yelled my father. Finnin looked up and quickly had a big smirk on his face. My father and I made our way over to the bar.
“Bran! Little Effy! Good to see you lads! Skal!” Yelled Finnin while raising his own cup in the air. The other town folk followed suit by raising their own cups in the air and yelled, “Skal!”, in return.
“Sit, sit!” Ordered Finnin. My father and I obliged. I climbed my way up the tall stool.
Finnin immediately started grabbing some mugs and began pouring some ale for my father and I. He then slammed our mugs on the bar with an amused look upon his face. “So, Finnin, tell me, where is my lovely sister?” Asked my father cheerfully.
“Ragna had one too many drinks last night if you gentlemen know what I mean. I’m sure she will be up any minute now.” Finnin chuckled.
“No worries my friend, let us have some drinks and some laughter. It has been too long!” Stated my father.
My father, Finnin, and I were having a good time together, while I was trying my best to keep up drinking my ale. My father and Finnin always laughed at how I couldn’t handle my ale. Today I wouldn’t give them a chance to make fun of me.
Then out of nowhere, Bang! Suddenly, the door to the alehouse slammed open and three men walked in. One of the men I recognized as Urian, a fisherman from here in Nordun. The other two worked on Urian’s boat I was pretty sure.
Clearly, by watching the men walk in the alehouse, they were all drunk. The three of them were stumbling around and yelling loudly. I could instantly feel Finnin’s and my father’s attitudes shift. Which definitely made me nervous. Let’s just say it wasn’t good when people made my father upset.
Finnin leaned his head down lower to my father and I. “Urian and his lackeys have been getting a little too rowdy around here lately. I wish some of my associates and I could bash their skulls in.” Said Finnin in a low voice.
Finnin associates were a few people Finnin paid to protect him and the alehouse. “Ah Finnin, were we not that way too long ago. I’m sure that they mean no real harm. Probably just having a good time.” Said my father calmly.
“Hey barkeep! What are you waiting for, we are thirsty!” Barked Urian with his rough grindy sounding voice.
Finnin glared at Urian for a brief moment before looking back down at my father and I. “You see what I mean? No respect. No honor. Do these fools think the Gods take kindly to such disrespect?” Asked finnin.
“The Gods were probably…” Began my father before he was cut off. I felt a large hand rest itself on my shoulder. Urian was standing next to me glaring at Finnin.
Urian was quite a bit taller than Finnin and about ten years younger. He had a shaved head with some runes tattoos all over it’s prickly surface. The fool had some teeth missing, probably from getting them punched out. If he didn’t shut his mouth soon, he probably wouldn’t have any teeth left.
“Did you not hear me barkeep? Me and my boys here are thirsty! Pour us some damn ale if you know what’s good for ya!” Stammered Urian stupidly.
Before Finnin could respond, my father spoke up in a neutral tone. “Take your hand off my son.”
Urian looked over at my father. You could tell Urian was slightly surprised to see my father. “Bran! Tell your brother in law here to do better at his job before something bad happens to him! Spat Urian.
“Get the hell out of here!” Fumed Finnin.
My father stood up and put his hand on Urian’s chest while looking straight into his eyes. “I’ll ask you only once more. Take your hand off my son or I’ll bash your skull in.” Said my father.
Urian looked at my father with a straight face. He then took his hand off of me aggressively and started to laugh like a crazy person. “Effy, go.” Commanded my father.
Without hesitation I hopped off my stole and ran behind my father. Urian stepped one step closer to my father. “Careful who you talk to like that Bran. You think because you have had some lucky success in battle that I’m scared of you. I’m not scared of you! The Gods choose me! Big tough Bran!”. Bellowed Urian mockingly.
Urian leaned his head closer to my father’s. “You won’t be so big and tough if me and my men cut your bitch son’s throat.” Urian began.
My father grabbed the back of Urian’s head while he roared with rage. Father began smashing Urian’s face into the bar over and over again. Blood gushed everywhere. Urian’s arms were flailing around trying to escape my father’s wrath. I could hear the sound of skull breaking and crunching. Urian’s screams filled the hall. Until finally, Urian’s body went limp, and all that could be heard was my father’s growls and the sound of him continuing to smash Urian’s skull in.
Finally, my father stopped his smashing. He let go of the back of Urian’s head. Urian’s body fell to the floor face up. There was only about a quarter of Urian’s skull left intact. I only thought it would be his teeth that would be missing. Clearly, I was dead wrong.
To be continued…