Piece in Our Time

Chapter Eleven

After the incident with Galmr, Eva surrounded herself with the elder women, and kept to the work they had her do. The days had gotten longer, and the wind had gotten colder. The signs of life were deteriorating, and Eva almost never heard an animal scurrying, or a bird chirping. They were deep in the wild now. There was snow for miles, in front of, and beneath them. It was beginning to seem less beautiful to Eva, and more of a nuisance. She hated being cold all the time, and really wanted the spring to irrupt around her. She would have given anything to see a living flower pop up from under the snow. The death around her was depressing; she needed life in her life.

Asmund had not stopped pestering her. He still stole kisses from her lips by surprise, and constantly caught her off guard with his advances. The tension between them was building and Eva was sure it would burst soon. She was not sure if she was looking forward to it or not. The woman that he had often spent his free time with, was bitter towards Eva, even more so now that Asmund would send her away when she advanced on him. This woman would often interrupt their one sided conversations, Eva being the one doing all of the talking, while Asmund nonchalantly ran his hands up and down Eva’s sides.

Her name was Alvilda. She was ten years younger than Asmund, making her only twenty years of age. She was constantly keeping an eye on the two, Asmund and Eva. When Eva was alone, she would pass threatening looks in Eva’s direction, with a “humpf” she would walk away. Eva just brushed her off, she was young and Eva was still trying to fight the feelings she had towards Asmund. For two reasons, one: She wasn’t even sure how she felt, exactly, and two: She still wanted to go home.

Only two days had passed since the conversation Galmr had with a stranger Eva had yet to identify, and they were on the road again. She still could not get rid of this horrible feeling she had but Asmund had ignored all of her warnings. He would hush her with a hard kiss, pulling her close to him, his hands slithering to the back of her neck, holding her tight and slipping his tongue past her lips. Eva had given up on biting him, he enjoyed it. He had only granted her that one ‘get out of jail free card” that one time. Now he just moaned and pulled her closer.

One time, when he had caught her down by the river, just about to bring a few bundles of furs back, he pulled her behind a tree, and ravaged her mouth. Now she kissed back, she did not feel that fighting would help, fighting really seemed to only edge him on more. He loved when she fought. He knew she could not get away, and Eva found his arms just as warm and as strong as she thought they would be. But every time he tried to take it just a little bit further she would shove him away, and leave him alone and disappointed.

Two days after Asmund had been hit with the arrow, he ordered everyone to pack up, they were moving again. Eva still had no idea where they were going, and for all she knew, they weren’t going anywhere, just wondering aimlessly. They hadn’t come across any other humans, and Eva was starting to wonder if they were the only people in the world. Scandinavia, as she knew it, was a very lonely, desolate, winter wasteland.

From what she was hearing around camp, a holiday was on it’s way. Yule. The clan seemed to have their spirits up, and even though they would be traveling today, Asmund promised to set up camp the night before Yule, so they were able to celebrate. Everything she had heard so far, reminded her much of the Christmas she celebrated back in her own time.

“We would normally decorate our homes with holly and candle. “ Hara had said to Eva one night, a pinch of sadness and a dash of regret hung in her words.

“Like Christmas?” Eva let it slip, she swallowed her words as soon as they came out and her eyes grew in size. Hara only looked at her oddly and tilted her head.

“Oh, It’s just what my family used to call it.” Eva tried to shrug it off, and Hara, though she stared at Eva for quite some time, dusted the comment off and continued with her work.

While riding through the snow, Eva’s horse was still tied to Asmunds. a noise was heard in the distance, and through the monotone sky, a bright light could be seen and smoke flitted into the sky. Eva perked up, sitting up straight on her horse. “More of your clan?” Eva looked to Asmund.

“No, Færa !” He spoke loudly, and with a kick of his foot the horses and the rest of the clan took off through the snow and towards the bright lights. They rode at a great speed, snow kicking up behind them, the cows were struggling to keep up. But they made it anyway.

They stood at the top of a hill now, staring down at a small town. Eva was relieved, she took in a deep breath, the air freezing her lungs and she had to work to get the air back out. Looking around at the others though, Eva figured this was not a part of their clan. Faces made of stone, emotionless. The group of men who had just been laughing only moments ago, now stood silent. Asmund was loosening her horses tie to his own, and she was free. “What are you doing?”

“You must stay here, with the other women Eva.” Asmund spoke to her softly, flicking his head back, motioning for her too ride to the back of the group, where all the women had pooled together, minus a few stronger of the sex. Women and Men stood in front of Eva and the elder women, and even a few of the younger. Covered in iron and hands wrapped around swords and daggers, Asmund held his arrow close.

“What is happening?” Eva whispered to Hara, who only stared forward.

“Nú !” Asmund hollered and Eva watched as the group of men and women galloped down the hill and towards the small town. It was just then that Eva realized a few of them had lit torches. Eva moved closer to the edge of the hill and in silence, watched as chaos unfolded before her.

Asmund led a group of men and women down the hill and soon the town was ablaze. Screaming from women, men and Eva could have sworn, children, could be heard all the way to the hill. Eva watched as strangers began running for safety, women carrying babies, and men wielding swords marched towards Asmund and his group. Eva could almost hear the sounds of her hospital around her, could see the faces of the soldiers she had saved, and the one she had seen to his death.

Her face portrayed horror, and she fought the urge to turn on her horse and run. But she did not fight for long, and soon she was off. Eva turned her horse from the hill and took off back into the wilderness. She could hear cries behind her, and she ignored them. She could not stay another minute. The event playing out before her was hideous, and unjustifiable.Soon Eva was riding through trees, dead, naked, bare trees. She had hit a few branches on her way through the forest, scratches and bruises grew across her once blemish free skin.

She could no longer hear anyone behind her, and with a look over her shoulder she slowed to a stop. Petting the main of her horse, she cooed and looked around. She was alone, and it had grown dark. The night had set in, and the silence was murderous. She dismounted her horse, and holding onto his rope walked a few paces till she found a relatively sheltered area to sit.

Eva did not know where she was going to go, or what she was going to do. She was free now, she could find a way to get home. But how was she going to do that, alone?
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Pictures of our two main characters are posted in the summary.

Translations : "Nú !" = Now!

" Færa" = Move