Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Her en Vandringsmann Går (Here a Wanderer Goes)

He walks the ice of the North, beset by cold and primal hunger. There are few brave enough to venture there, and fewer that return. Though many go there to die, he will not. No, death will not take him.

Not yet.

A gust of wind throws him from his feet, spiraling down into a ditch. A warm ache burns his side. His hand draws blood and he fears the worst. Looking down at the wound, it is small. He will live to fight another day. Looking up into the blinding light of the sun, he calls out to his reindeer, cupping his hands to his mouth. A smile forms on his face, watching the rope trail down into the cavern.

Three days later he arrives at a frontier town, Trømda.

Using their language he prays for success. It has been at least a year since he has had to use their tongue.

“Hvor kan jeg få medisin? Besvare til meg!”

He hopes to haggle boldly. If he does, then he will be rewarded with an honest price.

“Jeg kan fortelle du, for den riktig kost. En dristig mann som deg selv må ha bestemt behovene.”

He produces the money, takes the herb, and is on his way.

“Sometimes I wonder how long it will be until they see me as a friend... What do you think Tjörvi?” A cognizant nod and blank eyes met his, obsidian orbs like the rocks that fell from the burning mountains. Though his friend could not speak, he strangely appreciated his silence. It was a balm in the cold winds that scorched his face. With his legs he gently reminds Tjörvi that their mission has not yet completed. In moments they flee into the forest, the wind at their backs.

. . .

Where is he?” Her voice, cracked and parched, begged for water. Quickly Jarpr sought out the ice, throwing another piece into the kettle.

He will be here soon. Now rest your eyes. Father is coming.” Turning to the window of the cabin, Jarpr breathed onto the glass, watching his breath fog. In moments the condensation froze, forming wisps of shaved ice, that flaked away by the draft that seeped through the wall.

You speak with such confidence, just like him. You are truly your father's heir.”

Jarpr smirked. He was proud of his father, for he was a good man.

When you met father,” Jarpr began, string the ice in the pot, “how did you know?”

I just knew.” She smiled in her pain. “There was something about him that impressed me.”

Was he brave?”

Oh no,” she corrected, “not in the slightest. He was a coward. The other women never wanted him. Then again, I am smarter than most women.”

Was he kind and gentle?”

She shook her head.

Yes... He was kind, but that wasn't why I chose him over the others.”

Then why?”

Your father, was and always will be shrewd. And shrewdness is uncommon in a man.”

. . .

We should pounce on him already! I'm achin' like a spent whore.”

Yeah, me insides are ready to burst.”

Heikki held up his hand to calm them. His partners were right. They needed food and were desperately cold. The windswept man they had tracked for almost a week. He will kill the man, but the venison he will salvage with fierce resolve.

We shall attack, soon. Or maybe not at all. I don't want to incur greater harm to myself than what I have already suffered thus far.”

Ahti approached confidently, placing his hand across his chest in reverence for his superior.

That will be no problem. I have already checked him. He is naked.”

And so he appears to be,” Heikki sighed. “I am more concerned with what he will do when we come down upon him.”

“Think him an evil spirit, do ye?” Aku grunted, padding his stomach. “Nothing a knife to the back won't solve.”

Standing above them, Heikki glanced deep into the middle distance, watching the figure disappear into the snow. From the two he turned away walking into the forest, dispassionately. He knew well the secret the man hid, and he did not wish to die.

Weak!” Ahti cursed. “He was weak! Why do you let him get away?”

Heikki turned, facing the two, his eyes hardened.

Black men in the night... the tarred backs of wild men glinting in the firelight... You wouldn't understand. I am not prepared to die tonight.”

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