Elka Grimmsdóttir fled through the snow berskjaldaðr, that is without a shield. But armed with bow and arrows she was, and Elka was adept in their use. She ran because the vikingar chased, and the vikingar chased because she had their gold. But Elka felt no fear for there was no place left in her broken heart for fear. Not anymore, for filled it was with bitter sorrow and burning hatred for men such as they.
They had axes and swords and they chased, so Elka ran as swift and agile as the hare. She did not fear what they would do if they caught her, for she had known horrors that not even they, for all their murderous brutality could imagine. Indeed Elka had known pain beyond endurance, and feared not even to be taken from the world by the Valkyrur.
Elka Grimmsdóttir could feel the pounding of her heart against her ribs, she could feel the cold air on her hot skin. And she could feel the bow and the arrows in her hand.
Elka abruptly stopped running, and fell to one knee in the snow. One of them had separated from the wolf pack, one of them had chased too far ahead. She swiftly nocked an arrow and aimed, waiting a moment until realisation dawned in the pirates mind. Until panic appeared in his eyes as he saw that he was already dead.
Elka loosed her arrow, and it shot straight through his eye piercing his brain.
As the pirate fell gasping and gagging to the ground, the battle axe dropped from his hand. And in one fluid movement Elka snatched it up, thrusting the haft through her belt as she resumed running.
Elka Grimmsdóttir had not taken their gold because she wanted gold, Elka took their gold to provoke the pirates to their doom. Because they had taken it from someone else weaker than they, and worked wanton murder in the taking.
A deep burning hatred dwelt in the heart of Elka Wolfclad, for men such as these. Men who would make the entire world a wasteland of war, and a desolation of slaughter, all for power and gold. Men who dreamt of endless turmoil and violence. Not only in the halls of Valhöll in the distant realm of Asgard, but here in Miðgarðr too.
It was men such as these who had first forced a blade into Elka’s unwilling hand. It was men such as these who had slaughtered her family, and left her life ruined and in flames. Men who had torn love and joy from her heart, replacing these wholesome things with bitter hatred and vengeance.
Perhaps deep within the dark forest of pain that was her heart, Elka wished that they would catch her. Perhaps she wished she might fall to their blades, and find release in blessed eternal oblivion. For Elka Grimmsdóttir was courting a grim death in provoking the raiders so.
But not this day, for there was still burning vengeance to keep her alive, and warm her against the bitter cold of grief.
Elka jumped down into a rocky gully, and immediately pressed herself back first against a small rock partially sheltered by bushes. As they ran past her through the narrow gully she nocked another arrow to her bow.
And as the last of them passed she raised her bow, aimed and shouted
And as the last one turned she loosed her shot, which struck just below his chin. And the man fell gagging and clutching at his gushing throat, as his life ebbed away.
She sprang forward and snatched up his fallen sword, and scrambled back out of the gully. And Elka Úlfhéðnar ran along the high ground above, following the rattling and clanking of their chain and armour. She caught glimpses of them between the rocks as she chased alongside, and she counted four still chasing.
She stalked them unseen as they slowed to a stop realizing they had lost her. And creeping silently ahead of them, Elka dropped her bow and handful of arrows. And gripping the sword in her right hand and the axe in her left, she jumped down into the gully before them.
She stood there still unnoticed in her wolf pelt cloak and light chain shirt. The wolf head still attached to the pelt, adorning her helmeted head. Its fangs snarling and its amber eyes glaring as the Wolfclad approached her prey.
She watched them as they milled about in confusion, searching for their quarry. They were all panting heavily, exhausted from the chase in their heavy chain coats, and iron shod war shields. As she calmly approached like a stalking beast she again shouted.
And as they all turned to look, the one in the heaviest and costliest gear snarled.
As they charged Elka spun about with all the fury of the berserkir gone hamask, or wild with rage.
First she spun to the left catching one a slashing blow across the throat. He dropped his shield and axe, and gagging on blood held his hands to the spurting wound. Next Elka spun right swinging her axe into another’s face, smashing out his teeth and shattering his jaw. And he likewise fell whimpering in agony and alarm to his knees, grasping at the disfiguring wound.
Elka then spun right around full circle, catching the third first with her axe which crashed into the side of his head knocking him off balance. And then with her sword which slashed at the gap, between his helmet and the collar of his chain coat severing his spine.
Then at last with her grisly work all but done, Elka stood before the leader. Her assailants lying dead or shrieking pitiably as they died, her beautiful ghastly dance of slaughter near complete.
The leader stared at her in shock from behind the shelter of his heavy oak shield. For horrified he was to see his fellows so easily done away with.
“Well….” said Elka.
“….brave vikingar, who dreams of Valhöll….”
“….come take back your gold.”
The pirate in his terror began backing away then finally turned and fled, casting aside his heavy shield to speed his flight.
Elka watched briefly as he ran then sprinted after the man in pursuit, his burning desire to meet the Valkyrur apparently much abated. As she closed in on the frail hearted vikingar she leapt upon him, her right knee landing on his shoulder, her left knee driving into his spine. As she landed she swung the axe forward and down, hammering it into his chain protected chest, forcefully enough to smash his sternum and ribs.
And as the pirate chief fell to the ground, desperately gasping and coughing blood, Elka landed on her feet. She watched him writhing on the ground, clutching at his shattered chest and casually drove her sword through his throat. And Elka only withdrew the blade when his body stopped its convulsive death spasms.
Elka had greatly prospered in the affair, not only did she have the Vikings gold, she took the best sword along with its handsome scabbard, and selected the best balanced axe they had.
But she felt not a thing for her victory, no nothing whatsoever. For all that Elka Grimmsdóttir called Wolfclad knew, was the dark forest of sorrow and desolate loneliness that was her heart. And the fires of vengeance that abided therein, the only thing that offered warmth against the bitter cold of grief.
She gathered her bow and remaining arrows, placed them in the quiver which she wore at her waist, and went to retrieve her sled.
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