Piece in Our Time

Chapter Four

The sun still shined bright on Eva and the Vikings, she had started to warm up slightly, just enough that the quivering in her bones had halted momentarily. The ride was long and quiet. Not an awkward silence despite the glances every few moments she could feel in her back, but a kind of silence that demands it be heard. Asmund rode at the head of the group; since she was tied to him literally she too rode at the front. Her horse was a beautiful shade of white, his mane, eyes and tail where completely black and he had a large spot right in the middle of his back that was also black, his hair was thick and long almost brushing against the snow on the ground, and his hooves were large, they made huge prints and a long trail was left behind them. Eva had never seen horses this big before. Her horse in particular was pretty tempered and rode smoothly ignoring the slight weight to his spine as most horses did. She had her fingers tightly tangled in his mane and for most of the ride her eyes stayed ahead. Every now and then she would steal a glance around at the group. They were large men of various statures, some a little more round than others like Hroald and others where largely muscled like Asmund, either way they could snap her thin frame in half with the greatest of ease if they wished and until Eva found a way to escape she would make sure she gave them no reason to try.

The landscape stayed the same but it never got boring, sometimes they would slow a bit because the snow got a deeper but they never stopped and Eva was beginning to wish they would. She was terribly thirsty and her stomach had started growling rudely at her some time ago, she had tried to pull her cloak tighter around her in hopes that the men could not hear her. They were too caught up in their own chatter to pay any more attention other than the settle glance. Eva was growing quite annoyed at their talk, she never understood what they were saying and she was sure they did that on purpose. She tried to keep her concentration on counting the trees as they went by and noticed they were getting fewer and farther between. They would be out in the open soon and Eva thought it would be a better idea to take this chance to rest before they got exposed. “We should stop.” Eva’s voice was loud but the Vikings continued to speak over her. Eva huffed and sat up straight looking around glancing between the ones behind her and Asmund she spoke louder now almost yelling “I said we should rest!”

The horses all halted and the men grew silent, eyes are various colors and depths now on her. “We stop at sundown.” Asmund finally spoke, his voice was deep and thick with the accent of his people and Eva had a hard time placing the words apart, they slurred and he spoke almost in one word. Eva shook her head and one hand came free of her horse’s mane and pointed to the wide open wilderness they would soon experience. “We should rest before we are exposed to the open!” She was desperate now and tried to make it obvious on her face, her eyebrows furrowed. “Ay, the lass be right Asmund, we should make rest before we travel on.” Eva was surprised she had someone who agreed with her because since they had left camp not a single one of them had spoken a word even in her direction. She wasn’t quite sure who had agreed with her but it was a relief none the less and she relaxed a bit more her back slumping over. Looking up from beneath thick lashes Eva looked upon Asmund as he merely grunted and kicked his boots into the side of his horse and led them off their path to a canopy of trees.

“We rest only moments, we must press on.” Once again Eva had a hard time deciphering his speech; she nodded in agreement anyway and found a tree stump to sit on. “We should have a fire?” It was a question but Eva was hoping the men would see it as a request. Thankfully they did and a fire was soon lit and their circle was warmed. Eva could feel a dull ache in her back, a stiff pain, the pain that came from sitting up to long but it was made more intense by the bruise she had yet to see but could feel its presence each time she would lean back against something hard. Eva had almost not noticed the heavy footsteps coming her way and before she knew it a large hand was pulling her up to her feet by her cloak and it was being pushed off her shoulders. If this had been a dream, if Eva hadn’t long since given up on that hope she would have looked deep into Asmunds grey eyes and stood on the tips of her toes as far as she could and kissed him where ever her lips touched. But the thought immediately slipped from her mind as she was pulled towards the fire and sat down closest to its flames. Her back facing it Asmund stood behind her and placed the cloak to her front. Eva wondered for only a split second what he was doing when she felt the fabric of her dress being ripped in half from top to bottom and she yelped and turned quickly to face him. “What do you think you are doing?” She yelled standing gripping the cloak around her body tight, she had begun to quiver in fear, and Eva’s eyes were hard and cold.

Looking around all eyes were on her once again. Sure it had been a thought in her mind that she would love to have this man’s hands on her cold flesh to warm her up but not in front of nine other men, and definitely not if he had to rip her uniform in half! He only grunted and turned her back around sitting her down once again on one of the logs some of the others had gathered to sit upon and pushing the cloak and the tattered remains of her stained uniform off her back Asmund gently began unwrapping her wound. This was the moment Eva realized the once soaking wet and hot towel had cooled and the muscles in her back had tensed up and seized terribly, when her almost blemish free smooth back was exposed to the fire a soft moan escaped her lips and all reasons for anger or fear flew from her mind and Eva closed her eyes, she felt the heat of the flames lick her back softly like a love would if he were tracing down your spine and she shivered slightly.

The camp grew quiet after her outburst ended and even the most talkative of the group sat merely cleaning off their blades, what they were cleaning off them she had no clue or any wish to find out. But upon opening her eyes she could not find Asmund and she had noticed the number of men had slightly reduced. Pulling her furs tighter around her half exposed body Eva searched the lining of the forest for any chance of escape. Finding that all exits led to the wide open of a barren land she decided this would not be a very opportune time to attempt a discharge. Rustling in the trees to their left made Eva stiffen and yanked her from her devious thoughts, though the rest of the people in the camp continued on with their business of cleaning blades, swords or cleaning their teeth with the tips of daggers. Eva stood up instantly when the rustling got louder and her heart jumped back into her throat before Asmund and the others came barreling through the trees with what looked to be a large assortment of small animals swung over their shoulders. “What is that for?” She pointed at a particularly large bundle of fur that Hroald held by what looked to be legs in the air. “Tis lunch!”

Eva ran to the nearest tree and right as she got to it the contents of her stomach, which wasn’t much other than that horrible porridge she had taken a sip of earlier, came flowing from her lips, the sounds of heaving and choking doing nothing to deter the men from their feast of rabbit and squirrel and even a small bird. “More for us lads!” A particularly thin Viking roared above her dry heaves. Eva had almost completely forgotten that now, standing back facing these men she was completely exposed and she quickly turned around pulling the large cloak around her body. She caught out of the corner of her eyes Asmund fumbling through a bag of some sort, a large one made of some type of animal skin. When he returned in front of her he held out a pair of extremely large pant like attire and a small what looked to be a shirt made from more furs and animal skins.

“For you.” A simple statement but Eva took the clothes without question and turned. She heard Asmund take a step after her. “Do not worry; I am only going to change behind this tree, not run away.” She said over her shoulder. She could hear Asmund turn and walk back towards the fire. Even if she did run away now it’s not like she would get very far.

Shedding herself of the cloak and deciding to keep her knickers and panties on, they were lacey and they wore much like loose shorts, she loved them. Eva took one last longing look at her uniform and dropped it in the snow; a look of sadness one gets when they realize they must put a part of their life behind them came to her as she eyes the large rip to the back of the dress. Pulling the pants over her legs Eva quickly realized she would need something to hold them up with. Asmund and the rest of the men were almost twice her small size. She peered from behind the tree and made a small coughing sound to grab his attention. She placed her arm around her chest as he came stomping over. “I um... I need something to hold them up with. They are too large.” She spoke softly. Asmund nodded and left, returning with a few pairs of some type of string she thanked him swiftly and motioned for him to leave. With a look of surprise he departed.

Eva reappeared from behind the tree much warmer than she previously had been. The pants had to be tied in three different places, around her petite hips, and on each leg below the knee where she had rolled the pant legs up almost ten times. The shirt was tucked in the waist of the pants and she rolled the sleeves up securing them as well with a piece of rope on each arm. Despite her attempts the clothes were still very large and baggy on her frame. For shoes she had simply slipped back into her white nurses shoes, a token of a life she wasn’t sure she’d be getting back again. She would like to clean them at some point if she got the chance, but seeing no stream around she knew this was not the time. Eva wondered where they were going and when they would get there.

She found herself back by the fire, her back significantly feeling better and a bowl of broth with some sort of mystery meat swimming around through the liquid, in her lap. “Eat up lassie, who knows when you’ll get the chance again.” Hroald spoke from next to her; he had already downed two bowls and was working on his third. “Don’t be taking too much o’yer advice from Hroald there; he’d eat the whole camp if he could.” Galmr laughed heartedly and Eva joined in on the laughter that broke through the camp. A group of men who had before this point been so serious and weary of her were somehow finding a way to lighten the mood and it was helping Eva to relax a bit too.

But Eva could not shake the stare of one man in particular Hroald had told her his name was Renir Holat. He had once had a wife and child but they had been killed in another Viking clan’s raid of their home. Eva was not surprised to hear this story, his stare was empty and he had been holding a scowl on his lips all day. That kind of tragedy could make a man bitter. Eva did not blame him for it. The man she wanted to know more about was Asmund, he had slowly began to talk to her bit by bit maybe not much and not full sentences but he had captured her attention. Not just with his jagged, handsome looks or strong body but when she watched him with his comrades he seemed to genuinely care for their wellbeing. He handed out bowls of porridge before he had one himself, he made sure the fire was constantly lit and not to mention had given her more appropriate clothing to wear. But the scar on his face was curious and she was desperate to know what happened.

“Hroald, how did Asmund get that scar?” Eva knew it may be too early to ask, she could tell though the men had lightened up slightly they still did not trust her completely. Hroald looked over at her just as he finished his third bowl of porridge and swallowed. “That…tis a story he must tell you lass.” What a horribly secretive answer he gave her and she turned back to stare at Asmund as he packed the horses back up. “færa út!” Asmund yelled and the fire was put out with a large pile of snow and the men were boarding their horses. Eva was the last and she needed a bit of help climbing up the large beast but she got there and within moments they were back on the road, so to speak.
Asmund could see Eva trying to keep herself awake; she was growing more and more tired with each inch that the sun sank in the distance. He was still trying to decide on if Eva was to be trusted or not, he had to hold his laughter in when she came from behind the tree in his clothing. She was swimming in them. But she was warm and that’s what mattered, he may not trust her but he wouldn’t allow anyone to die on his watch, unless they were an enemy, and he wasn’t sure if she was. She seemed pretty clueless about them and there was the whole pretending to not know their century, she was a very curious women and Asmund was determined to find more out about her when they made it to their destination, which was another day or twos travel.

The moment Eva fell asleep was made obvious to Asmund by the way she began slipping off her horse in his direction. Thinking quickly he lent over letting go of his own horse and gripping her waist just in time to pull her astride his horse and holding her close as she startled awake by the movements. “Tis okay, you can sleep.” He whispered in her ear and Eva was instantly lack in his arms, she had fallen back into a deep slumber. He didn’t blame her, she had somehow found herself in a land he assumed she had never been in before with a group of men she did not know. She was light in his arms and he almost enjoyed the feeling of having someone against him who was as warm as she even with the winter air around them. Asmund tightened his hold on her and motioned with one hand for the group to press on. This was going to be a long journey, it was almost sun down but now that Eva was asleep he no longer had to worry about stopping and planned on going just a bit longer, at least till the others too began falling from their horses.
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Here is chapter four guys ! I'll probably have Chapter five up by either Friday Night or Saturday Morning .

If you have seen Outlander I'm getting a lot of my inspiration from there. I'll try really hard not to stick with that book or show as far as story plot goes but if you notice some similarities that is why. So I will take this time to say I DO NOT OWN OUTLANDER OR THE PLOT DIANA GABALDON DOES !

Transalation :“færa út!” :Move Out!

P.S. The translations are from Icelandic, the current closest language to the Norse language Vikings used.