12-3-14 Writing Warm-up
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Characters and Story © R. R. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved
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Brother Sean finished binding Erlik's wound. “That was foolishness,” he hissed in Gaelic. "I've told you a hundred times that your sword has a point...use it! You let your anger get the best of you, and now you are facing him wounded. You could not withdraw when your father gave you the option?”
“Would you?” The youth pointedly looked at the woman and her crying daughters, frightened and huddled together amid the jeering, leering men.
The priest glanced at the women, his lips drawing back into an involuntary snarl. “As a man of God, no, but you are not of the White Christ. There have been terrible, evil acts committed by your father and his men before, Erlik. Why do you act now?”
“Because this time I can act!”
“Why act at all, you stupid pup!” Efelwere cuffed his son with a gauntleted fist that rang off his iron helm. “They are spoils of a raid! Adulwulf has a claim!” The war-leader snarled into his son's face, his sun darkened fair skin was purple with rage. “Now he kills you!”
“Would you not act if it was Mother?” Erlik leapt back at his father, his own dark features black as he still raged in Gaelic. “Remember that girl you gave me two years ago after that Irish raid? I was the one who helped her escape!”
Efelwere staggered back as if physically struck by his son. Brother Sean stirred uncomfortably, and it was then that the Ring-Breaker knew. A new light dawned in his pale eyes, and he laughed, so loud and hard that the men who were gathering for the battle were startled. The assembled Northmen shifted and nervously eyed each other, wondering if their war-leader had gone mad.
“Odin's blood, boy! I knew it was a mistake to keep this godi by your side, no matter how wise a man he is! You've positively become Christian!” He laughed again, clapping Erlik on the shoulder and embracing him. “But you have your courage and your own mind, I will give you that. I shall ask Odin not to take you to his hall yet.” He looked seriously into his son's pale eyes, so much like his own. “If you live long enough, Erlik, you will have your own sagas sung. Luck in battle!” He walked away to take his place at the ring beside Ragnar who had just returned empty handed from his pursuit.
Brother Sean took his place at Efelwere’s left hand. “You could have stopped it.” The priest could feel the tension in his friend’s body as he watched the two youths preparing to battle. “I would not see my sister’s son die in some foolish feud!” the Celtic priest said in a harsh whisper that only Ragnar could over hear.
“You stop him then, priest!” the Viking snarled as he motioned to the men closing on each other. “Better you should have never made me promise to let you educate the boy when I went to claim him.”
“I had hoped to influence him before he became a reaver like you. But he was your son long before he was my student.”
Efelwere clapped his old friend lightly on the shoulder. “He was lost to you before he was ever born.”
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