[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 11 – Weird!
Thorgaut knew she wanted to kiss him. He thought about insisting and trying again. But the firmness of her voice made him realize that it would be better to wait for a more opportune moment. He stared at her longingly as if willing her to change her mind. But she didn’t. Halldora turned and walked back to the kitchen.
He sighed in frustration and turned around to step back outside. Vriobrum stood behind him right outside the doorway. The sight of the shuffler standing so close caught him off guard. He jerked backward involuntarily.
“Holy cow! You gave me quite a start there, Vriobrum.” Thorgaut gasped. “Excuse me. Move back. Let me get by.”
Vriobrum didn’t move. He stood there staring Thorgaut down with a challenging look in his eye. He didn’t budge, nor look like he was in any hurry to go anywhere. So, Thorgaut stepped off the path into one of the flower beds to get past the shuffler.
The Viking prince walked out into the woods for a way to clear his head. He needed to find his friends and get back to his camp. But at the same time, he didn’t want to leave Halldora here. Maybe he could convince her toD go with him. She could come in handy down the line.
Halldora could help him with his conquests when he became king. He could march into battle and fight the enemy. If his army started to lose, she could raise those who had died in battle to turn them against their enemy. That would be brilliant.
He would be undefeatable. His army would be unstoppable. He could conquer the Northern kingdoms even faster and easier with her help. Halldora’s army of shufflers was the thing he had been looking for all this time. All of his explorations and adventures had been leading him here even though he hadn’t known what he was looking for exactly.
Thorgaut smiled and started walking back to the house. He would have to go easy on her and find a way to convince her to help him. He couldn’t come right out and ask her to build him an army of the undead. She didn’t seem like the kind who would go for that. No, he would have to be more subtle.
He walked back in the direction he had come, but couldn’t find his way back into the meadow. “This is ridiculous,” he thought. “How come I keep getting lost in these woods,” he muttered. Something was off, but he couldn’t place it.
After walking around for another fifteen minutes, he stopped underneath a large tree. He sat down to catch his breath. It was early, so the sun was still in the East. That meant if he walked into the sun, he should come back out to the open plains he had been on yesterday. From there, he could find the jacket that marked the trail back into the woods. Then he could follow it back into Halldora’s glade.
Everything had been so strange around these woods. Directions seemed to be fluid and changing. Just when Thorgaut thought he was getting somewhere, he ended up being someplace unexpected.
He had heard of places like this. Locations full of magic where time and space were different. “Halldora could have something to do with it. She could have placed a spell over it to protect herself and the shufflers from being discovered.” he thought to himself.
Thorgaut decided to climb the tree to get a look around and get his bearings. He unbuckled the belt that held his sheath and put it under a bush near the roots of the tree. He climbed as high as he felt comfortable with the branches holding his weight.
He looked around but didn’t see anything familiar. He should have been able to see Halldora’s glade. He couldn’t even tell where the forest ended and the plains began. The only thing he could see were trees spreading out in all directions. He did see a mountain range off in the distance that looked somewhat familiar. It may have been the one he had seen across the plains during yesterday’s trek. But he couldn’t be sure from here. And he sure didn’t want to risk getting even more lost.
This was such a frustrating feeling. By Thorgaut’s calculations, he should be right near Halldora’s glade. Granted, she did have it well hidden from outsiders. Anyone who didn’t know what they were looking for wouldn’t even notice it. But now that he knew where she was, he should be able to find it. Or at least see something that looked familiar.
“Halldora! Halldora!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “Are you there? Can you hear me? Helloooooooo!”
Thogaut paused to listen if she answered back. But there was nothing out of the ordinary. He heard the usual sounds of the forest and the wind in the trees. He yelled a few more times, but no one replied.
He sighed and climbed back down. This was ridiculous. Here he had found a lovely woman out here in the middle of the woods who could help him conquer the North. And now he had gotten himself lost again for the third time in a row, and he might not be able to find her.
Why did he keep turned around in these woods? And who was the woman that had been screaming the night before? It apparently couldn’t have been Halldora. Those were a few of the thousand unanswered questions swirling around in his mind.
When Thorgaut reached the bottom of the tree, he walked over to the bush where he had left his sword. He reached down to pick it up, but it wasn’t there. He knelt down and felt around. He pulled the branches and leaves back, but he couldn’t find it. Thorgaut looked around to see if other bushes looked similar. Maybe he was looking under the wrong shrub.
But there weren’t any that looked like that particular thicket. There was no way he could have confused it. He looked around to see if some animal had dragged it off. There were no tracks or trails to show what could have happened though.
There was something going on around here. That was for sure. This whole situation was starting to feel like one of those scary stories Thorgaut’s mother used to tell him before putting him to bed. They would leave him feeling sleepless and terrified in the dark long after she had gone from his room. She said the tales were to toughen him up and make a man out of him. But he never remembered her telling any of those stories to his brothers.