Piece in Our Time

Chapter Three

When Eva wakes up next she is in the dark, looking to her left she finds the candle burnt out, the wax drippings cooled and hardened. Pushing herself up the pain in her back shoots back through to the base of her neck and she slips back down into the warmth of the furs that surround her. In the silence of the large tent like structure she finds herself in she can hear the sounds of gossip and shuffling outdoors. The flap of the tent pulled apart slightly she could see the glowing of a fire before it is dampened with a large splash of water, steam rising through the air and she shook. Upon realizing that she was still half naked Eva pulls the furs up to her neck just in time for the man who reminded her of Santa Clause walked through the flaps a look of concern on his face. Having quickly closed her eyes at the sound of footsteps Eva decided it was best to pretend she was still asleep before she felt heavy hands on her shoulders shaking her slightly.

“Lass….Lass it be time to wake up now.” The whisper was deep and low and Eva only squeezed her eyes tighter as the shaking got stronger. “Lass now I know when someone is forging slumber…” sighing she opened her eyes slowly and gazed up at the man before her. His eyes were much softer than the man from earlier and she felt a little safer in his presence. “I brought ye some porridge, if I were ye I’d be taking it down quick Gamli made it and it has a bit o’a kick to it!” A jolly like chuckle came from deep within the man’s belly and Eva could not help but smile it was a contagious kind of glee the man gave off.

Taking the bowl in her hands Eva tried once more to sit up but her face contorted in a small pinch of pain, nothing like when she had fallen in the snow. “Ay, ye’ll be alright lassie, just a bit o’ bruising on yer back!” Bringing the bowl of porridge to her lips Eva held back the bile that rose in her throat at the smell, she could hear a soft laughter from the man next to her and she halfheartedly smiled at him and took a small sip from the bowl. “Ay, it’ll clear the senses! I’m Hroald Askelson, and who might you be?” He asked with an air of suspicion in is tone. Eva gulped and held out her smaller hand almost choking as Hroald took it into his and shook it almost violently “Eva Bunchenan.” She spoke softly her eyes averting from the entrance to the tent to Hroald next to her.

“Eva? That’s a beautiful name, first Eva I've ever known.” Hroald took the still full bowl of porridge from her hands and sat it down at his feet. “We’ll be leaving soon Eva you’d better be getting up now” with that Hroald turned and left Eva alone once again in the tent. But not for long, the tall robust man who had pulled her from the snow entered the tent and stalked over to her, “I’m getting up...” She spoke but before she could stand he pulled her from the furs and handed her dress from before, without speaking or so much as a grunt in her direction he turned and from another pile of furs pulled out a very heavy very large cloak like dress and laid it across the bed of furs she had just rose from. Her arms covering her naked body to the best of their ability, but it was in vain for her could have if he wanted, pulled her arms free and thrown her on the furs. He did not, he hardly looked in her direction and after lying the cloak out he was gone back into the wilderness.

Stepping back into her still soiled dress and stalking’s Eva slipped back into her shoes and threw the cloak over her shoulders. Looking down at herself she laughed quietly at how she must look and remembered her hair. Running her fingers through her usually soft and springy locks her fingers caught in knot after knot and she huffed, who knew when she’d get to a brush next? Deciding to just pull it back she pulled the band that had woven its way into her knotted hair free with a bit of sharp pain to her sensitive scalp and pulled the mess up and out of her face. Seeing no mirror around Eva could only guess what kind of muddle her face was, she could just imagine smears of red lipstick across her dimpled cheeks.

The porridge had done nothing to ease her still dry throat and she exited the tent in hopes of finding a source of water. She was in luck because at that moment Hroald came waddling up, his large belly still incased in a suit of armor and holding a nice cold canteen of water to her. She took it with a nod of thanks and within seconds she felt the cool liquid soothing her throat. Eva couldn’t remember the last time she gobbled down so much water. But she knew she’d pay for it later with her sorry excuse for a bladder, always having to run to the bathroom when you’re a nurse is the devils work. When she pulled the bottle away Eva’s eyes met with the curious man’s once more. She stopped Hroald as he was wobbling away “Hroald.” “Hmm?” he only grunted at his name “What is that man’s name over there?” She asked him her lithe arm coming out from under her cloak and pointing at the giant of a man.

“That’s Asmund Thorirson.” “He doesn’t talk much does he?” Eva asked her eyes still trained on Asmund, he was working on rolling up pallets she assumed the men had slept on and was tossing them together to tie to a horse back. Hroald scoffed “Are ye kidding me!? Sometimes I can’t get him to stop chattering!” Eva was surprised so far the man had hoisted her against him twice, seen her naked and bandaged her back, well she assumed it was him and he hadn’t said a single word to her. But then she remembered, when she still thought this a dream that Asmund had been talking over her when she was found in the snow.

Eva finally took a look around the campsite; there were ten men around, all of them giving her side glances of suspicion. Eva pulled her cloak around her tighter in a defensive manor. “They think you a Seidh, a sorceress. “ A man she hadn’t yet met spoke in her ear. Eva had found a stump of a tree to settle on, her back was killing her and she couldn‘t stand being on her feet any longer. Eva turned and came face to face with a young man, much younger than she. “Galmr Asbrandson.” He smiled in pity as she realized she was still being glared at. “Why would they think that?” Eva thought back to the day and what she could have possibly have done to make them think of her as a witch.

“You did come out of nowhere lass. “ Galmr was point blank about it and she nodded finally realizing. She had literally dropped smack in the middle of a frozen land with no idea how she got there or when she was. “What century is this?” Eva asked of Galmr. He looked at her confused and stepped back, “Tis an odd question you be asking Lass, the 8th century. “ He answered and with one last look he left, Eva watched as Galmr spoke with the man she now knew as Asmund with soft whispers glances in her direction increasing and Eva took this chance to take in her surroundings completely, analyzing them, frozen waste land, large men with incredibly long and thick beards, suits of iron, axes strewn about a dairy cow munched on the only blade of grass Eva was sure existed for miles, Eva could just barely hear the tongue being spoken from the men and it finally hit her. Somehow Eva had left 1941 Hawaii and landed smack in the middle of the Viking Era somewhere in Europe.

For what could be the hundredth time that day Eva felt her heart jump into her throat as the realization hit her. She panicked and in an instant was on her feet and sprinting through the vast unfathomable forest before her, the sun lifting off the horizon just ahead she could see it through the spaces in the trees and she heard the men behind her yelling and calling out, for her? She didn’t know. A pain in her chest is the only thing that halts Eva and she slams her aching back against a tree, ignoring its protest as she waits and listens. Hearing nothing Eva peers from behind the tree. Nothing just snow and light and more trees, turning back Eva lays her head against the tree and slides down into the snow. Catching her breath in this freezing weather was proving difficult and she clutched her chest. After only a few moments Eva returns to her feet, the sunlight streaming from the canopy doing nothing to warm her. She takes a step away and instantly regrets it as two familiar arms wrap around her thing frame and hoist upon a horse, a small yelp was a sign of protest from her lips.
Asmund had never seen a lass like her before. She wore strange revealing clothing that would obviously not protect her from the elements and she was covered in blood. She smelled of roses and sunshine and Asmund can’t remember ever smelling that on a woman before. She was clean, her skin blemish free minus the giant purple and black mark growing on her back. She was light as a feather and he had no problem throwing her over his shoulder. He watched her from afar; kept watch over her while she slept and wrapped her wound after stripping her of her strange garments.
He felt self-conscious about violating this woman before him and her privacy but he would not let another do it. Not all Viking men were as respectful as he when it came to the cares of a woman.

He had wrapped her wound in a cloth he soaked in steaming water before covering her naked body with his furs and letting her rest. He had wanted to ask her how she was feeling when he came through the tent but decided not to, he still wasn’t sure if she was or wasn’t a Seidh yet. Hroald his closest and dearest friend had spoken of her when he himself returned from inside the tent. Her name was Eva Bunchenan, a strange name. She was a strange woman, she had red on her lips and had her hair pulled back allowing for her neck to be exposed, a soft pale neck he could tell. Asmund only caught the edge of his fur cloak as she disappeared through the trees and in only a moment he and his men were running through the woods after her and he wasn’t sure why.
Eva struggled with no prevail against the rock body of Asmund and gave up quickly, her chest was heaving with heavy breathing and her forehead surprisingly gleamed with a thin sheen of sweat from all her hard work. She slumped against him as he spoke in his native language with the men who surrounded them on their way back to the camp. She heard one line in particular, probably because it was said with an air of comedic relief and all the man began to laugh. “Hún er stakur einn” If this was how the whole day was going to go, them talking in a language she couldn’t understand, she was going to have to try harder to escape.

When they arrived back at camp Eva’s hands were tied together and she was placed on a stump next to the horses. Turning to face the animal she ran her fingers along its soft belly and sighed, getting a huff from the horse in response she smiled. It didn’t take long after for the camp to be picked up and items thrown over horse backs; she soon found herself on one as well, this time by herself. “I’ve never ridden a horse before!” She said with a bit of panic as the animal looked back at her. She could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t going to make it easy on her.

“Ay, don’t worry lassie Asmund has this one on a short leash!” Hroald chuckled and with a heavy hand smacked the horse on its behind and with a jolt it was off, trotting alongside Asmund who held tightly in his hand a braided rope that tied around her own horse, and his own horse. Eva could only sigh, she was still having a really difficult time coming to terms with the fact that she isn’t dead and she’s not in a very vivid very realistic dream. The air was still chilly, the wind had slowed down a bit and her cloak was doing a fantastic job of keeping her body warm, it ran all the way down to her legs covering her ankles.

Her toes were slightly damp from running through the snow in less than appropriate shoes, but it wasn’t long till she ignored the feeling and kept her attention on the look of the landscape before her. Trees as tall as the mountains that stood behind them, the blanket of snow only deeper if that was possible but so white she could have sworn she could see the suns reflection. There was no river in the direction they were traveling only Mountains that gave New York City and its tall buildings a shame and trees that made Yosemite look weak. Eva could almost ignore the constant looks of mistrust she was still receiving.
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There is a brief moment of Asmund's point of view. I hope you enjoy Chapter 3, since I will not be home for two weeks starting on the 19th of December I am going to try and get as many chapters posted as I can.

TRANSLATION: “Hún er stakur einn” = "She is an odd one"
Thank you for reading!