Friday, May 8

Original Fiction by Xan (Part 5) "Adelstein village…"

“She cannot stay here!” A cry came from the gathered people in the counsel tent.

“You must see that she is wounded and must be helped.” A hulking blond-haired man stood in the middle of the counsel tent defending the woman he had just saved from the pack of krenshar. His muscles tensed under his thick polar bear skin hunting cloak. His beard, braded and full of bone jewelry seemed to twitch with aggravation at the weakness expressed by his fellow clan members.

“She will bring the krenshar back to our village and even worse, bring Skrag and his ogres down on us!” Another concerned reply came from another concerned citizen of the village.

“We have been in these mountains for centuries. Our families before us carved our village into the ice and rock and fought off ogres, frost giants, krenshars, and worse. We are survivors!” The blond man continued.

“We have never provoked the ogres anger before either.” Another nervous shout came from the audience.

“ENOUGH!” An even larger man stood up from a raised seat behind the blond man. His figure would have dwarfed any other man by a good head and shoulders. His broad frame would seemingly eclipse the sun. His bare chest bore three parallel scars from his right shoulder to his left hip. He wore a horned helmet with a metal flap covering his right eye. “Angus, what are you suggesting we do?”

“My lord Othrson,” The blond turned to face his chieftain. “I only suggest we help this poor woman back on her feet. If she survives the winter then I will take her down the mountain.”

“What of her child, Angus?” The king inquired of the man.

“The child will be cared for after it’s birth as well.” Angus replied humbly. “I will take them both down the mountain when the first thaw begins.”

“What if the krenshar return?!” Another panicked shout blurted from the onlookers. The king looked to Angus with his one exposed eyebrow raised.

“I will still defend the village, as I have always done.” Angus retorted.

“You have taken on a heavy burden, Angus.” Lord Othrson’s voice seemed to rumble like a boulder rolling down a distant mountain. “You will stay as our guardian of our village, you will be the healer to this woman and midwife to her unborn child.” The chieftain looked up to the surrounding onlookers. “Would anyone help Angus in his burden?”

The crowd stayed silent.

“Very well,” Lord Othrson continued. “Until the first thaw begins, no one is to assist Angus in his labors. After the first thaw, he may call upon the village for assistance once again.” The chieftain looked down at Angus and placed his massive hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear. “I am sorry brother, the clan has decided.”

“I understand my responsibilities, my king.” Angus looked back at the uncovered eye of his chieftain. “I swear to not be a burden to the clan and I will nurse this poor woman on my own.”

“I have no doubt of that, Angus.” The chieftain smiled at Angus and patted him on the shoulder.

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