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Tales of Midgard - Part 11

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  • Tales of Midgard - Part 11


    A Final Thought

    By the light of their campfire, the survivors of the battle drank and cheered their victory, wrote letters home, swapped tales of daring, and gambled their wages for Elfin trinkets looted from the bodies of fallen nobles.

    The canny old warrior Stefan was quick to take advantage of his younger comrades’ drunkenness. Soon he had pocketed most of their pay, and the fine elfin brooch that they all coveted was still in his possession too.

    “Please,” begged a young corporal, holding out the last of his money, “One more chance. Double or nothing.”

    “Alright, alright,” said the sly older man, “If you can answer one question the brooch is yours.”

    “Anything,” said the corporal excitedly.

    “The final elf I slayed today,” said Stefan, “What was the last thing that went through his mind?”

    “Home?” the corporal mused, “His mother maybe? That question’s not fair!” he complained, “You can’t possibly know!”

    “Oh, I know alright,” grinned Stefan, pocketing the corporal’s coins and reaching behind his back. “The last thing that went through that elf’s mind…” he said, raising high the severed head of the elf and pointing to the wooden shaft sticking out of its temples, “Was my crossbow bolt!”

  • #2

    The Squire’s Revenge

    The young squire Malcolm had barely slept the night before. He had never attended his master in actual battle before, though he had dressed and armed Sir Edel for many jousting tournaments this past year.

    This was different, though. Sir Edel’s life was on the line. The knight’s own nerves were clearly frayed as he had beaten Malcolm even harder than usual that morning as Malcolm dressed him in his finest battle armor; a huge suit of heavy, burnished gold, with a winged helmet and a studded spaulder with a hawk engraved upon it. He had sharpened Sir Edel’s lance and sword while the knight thrashed his shoulders with stout stick. Saddled his horse while Sir Edel yelled at him and… his horse! The color drained from Malcolm’s face as he tried desperately to remember whether he had finished saddling Sir Edel’s horse. He had been half way through the task when Sir Edel interrupted him asking for his chainmail vest. Had he returned to finish the job? If not, Sir Edel would slide from his steed like snow off a pitched roof and sink into the mud of the battlefield where the enemy’s footsoldiers would run over him like ants! There was no time to waste, thought Malcolm, dashing out of Sir Edel’s tent. He had to catch up with Sir Edel’s horse before he engaged the enemy, or his master would surely die! Die and never come back… gone forever… no more beatings… ever again…

    Malcolm stopped running. He smiled to himself, turned slowly around and walked back towards Sir Edel’s tent, whistling merrily as the sounds of battle rose up in the distance behind him.


    • #3

      A Close Shave

      “A man’s beard is his crowning glory!” roared the barbarian, pounding his fists on the table, “In my tribe it is sacred. See how majestic it is! It reaches right to my waist! Why, I’d rather die than lose my beard! May a team of horses trample me underfoot if I am telling a word of a lie.”

      The other men shrugged and slunk off to sleep. There was no point arguing with Bugron when he got into one of his moods.

      The next day’s fighting was fierce, and as usual, Bugron led the charge. But as he bore down on the enemy’s chariots, a lucky arrow caught his horse and it collapsed beneath him. Quickly, the enemy bore down on Bugron, but he could not move! His magnificent beard was caught beneath his fallen horse, pinning him to the ground like a guard dog tied to a stake.

      Those who saw his demise say it was the chariot’s wheels, not the horses hooves, that did for Bugron in the end. But everyone agreed, as they added his name to the list of the fallen, that it was - more or less - what he would have wanted