Mark Maker # 11

Posted: February 8, 2013 in Viking novel
Tags: ,

I feel the bile of Ragi’s mutton broth rise into my gut.
“I have done what I can with his wound” I slur out in answer. “It has worked in the past but I don’t know if it’s too late for him now. He did not even scream.”
Ragi sits near Valdr and rests a weather-worn hand on his forehead.
“If the death-voice comes into his throat, I can help him leave us and float to Valhalla.”
“No!” Blood rises to my face and my hands sweat.”I’ll staunch the wound again if I have to!” My voice rises to a shameful screech. I drag myself closer to the fire and stare into its comforting ever flickering motion.
After a moment I look Ragi in the face again.
“Is it your food we consume too fast?”
Ragi until now, the simple-faced farmer, glances at me in a sideways flick of the eyes that is strangely disturbing.
“Nay, I have sheep enough to sell, let alone to feed half the village through Winter. I seek only to stem his death agonies.”
“I am his brother. I will take that decision upon myself alone, do you heed me?”
Ragi nods as if wounded himself and the momentary sharpness dies from his features. “As you want. I go to tend the flock awhile. Is there more from your farm you have need of?”
“Do not trouble yourself, my friend. Food and company are all my needs at present, I thank you.”
I realise I am very hungry. I go to fill up a bowl of broth and just as the spoon is lifting the broth to my lips, I put it down again. Something troubles me. It is three weeks or more since the attack on our island. Valdr’s screams of that night were what keep me passing to Valhalla myself, I am sure. He was calling my name, “Asmundr!” His screams were gut-wrenching. When I drag myself to the hut, he screams still but there is something else he is saying. Or rather there is something he isn’t saying. He makes no mention of who has attacked him. I cannot remember either. How is it possible I can’t remember the most important fact about the whole attack. Who came? How could something like that be blocked from my memory? And when I searched the village in a state of dreaming, I found no things left by the attackers. My friends would have fought to the death. They would have wounded some of the enemy and killed them too but I found none of their bodies. How can that be?

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