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From Part Two: The Valkyries

Siegmund stood in the Burgundian battle line bouncing
on the balls of his feet. Along with the other warriors who
knew him as Bran, they awaited the start of the scrum. He
had joined under the false name because no war-chief
would allow Siegmund the Unlucky to fight on his side.
The enemy called themselves Saxons and the prize
was a piece of swamp land on the far side of the other hill.
Siegmund thought the land useless, but warriors had died
for lesser prizes than swamps.
The enemy war-chief strode in front of his warriors and
threw obscene gestures at his opponents. To Siegmund's

surprise, the man carried a rifle with a blade mounted on
the end. It had to be very old.
His leader pushed to the front of the line. “Let’s
slaughter these nithings. No mercy today. We’ll kill the
whole bunch and then have a meal.”
Siegmund focused his mind on killing. He pictured a
Saxon falling under his sword.
A roar broke out across the way, and the enemy
charged downhill. Siegmund felt a spike of adrenaline as
his side joined in the roar and launched them into a run.
Both groups reached the bottom at the same time and
paused to throw spears, a time-honored tradition. The
enemy war-chief aimed his rifle and fired. It blew up, and
the man fell to the ground. Both sides renewed the charge
and smashed together. Siegmund lined up against a burly
Saxon. The man glared at him for an instance, but then
his eyes widened, and his rugged face broke into a
toothless smile. Damn! The warrior must have recognized
him from a previous battle.
Siegmund blocked a sword stroke with his shield and
counter-stroked. His sword shattered. The Saxon giggled.
He definitely had fought Siegmund before. Siegmund took
a step backward. One of his mates lay with a spear in his
chest, and Siegmund grabbed the man’s sword. The
grinning Saxon thrust at his neck. Siegmund deflected the
stroke with his shield and swung his new weapon. It hit the
Saxon’s shield and broke in two.
The Saxon laughed.
Siegmund threw the hilt and hit the Saxon in the nose;
the laughing changed to a curse. Siegmund kicked the
man in the groin and grabbed a spear that stuck in the
ground. He stabbed the Saxon. The spear shaft
splintered against the Saxon’s leather breastplate.
Siegmund felled the warrior by swinging what was left of
the spear shaft and clouting him in the side of the head.
He felt and heard the man’s skull crack from the blow.
Another Saxon paced towards him. Siegmund gave the
battlefield a quick glance and the hair on the back of his
head stood on end. He was the only one still in the battle
line! All the others were either dead or fleeing. Enemy
warriors moved to surround him.
Siegmund threw the spear shaft at a warrior, spun on
his heel and ran up the hill.

 

 

 

© 2008 Hank Quense