[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 17 – Swing! – Dave Bailey

[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 17 – Swing!

Thorgaut noticed that all three wolves were converging upon him. He needed to do something, but what? There was little he could do tethered to the rope without any weapons left. He realized his only chance was to climb up the cord and away from the ferocious jaws of the wolf trio.

His body was numb from having hung upside down for so long, and his arms felt like rubber. The thought of letting go and succumbing to the wolves went through his mind. He immediately shoved them aside.

He was Thorgaut Kabbisson, the firstborn son of a Jarl and the rightful heir to his father’s seat in the lodge. He would sit in his father’s place when the time came. He would also challenge the regional King to take his throne as well. Thorgaut’s mother had driven that thought into his head every single day since as far back as he could remember.

He was the rightful heir to all the northern kingdoms. One day he would rule and reign over all the cities and towns of NorthWorld.

He would not give up now. He would do everything in his power to fulfill his destiny and live up to his mother’s expectations; even if he had to come back from the dead to take his rightful place.

But right now he had to survive, and the only way to do that was to make it to the top of that rope.

Thorgaut twisted his head and torso up towards the rope. He grabbed onto it with both hands and began to pull himself up as fast as he could. One pull over the other. Reach. Grab. Pull. Reach higher.

He favored his right hand that the wolf had bitten. He couldn’t pull himself up as far on it as he could with the other. First, because of the pain whenever he squeezed it around the cord. And second, because the blood from the wound made the rope slippery and harder to grasp.

Thorgaut could hear the wolves below but tried to ignore them for the time. He concentrated so heavily on his current task that he didn’t even bother to look down. He focused on getting one hand over the other to pull himself up as fast and as far as he could.

He still had a ways to go, but his arms were already exhausted from everything he’d been through today. His breathing was rough and labored. Rasping.

Thorgaut paused to try and catch his breath while he clung to the rope with all his might. His arms trembled from the effort, and his grip started to slip.

Somehow, he finally remembered to wrap his legs around the rope and squeeze tightly. Up until now, he had just been using the strength of his arms to pull himself up hand over hand. Thorgaut realized that he could use his legs to relieve the strain on his arms. That brought immediate relief to his hands.

His fingers especially ached, and it hurt when he tried to relax them. Thorgaut grimaced as he stretched and wiggled his fingers around. They began to prickle as the blood flowed back into them and regained their regular coloring.

Thorgaut took a moment during this brief break to look down. The wolves were still circling on the ground below him. The black wolf had its head turned up towards Thorgaut. It watched him intently. It didn’t break eye contact with him but held his gaze until Thorgaut looked back up at the rope.

He felt exhausted and too tired to continue pulling himself up. He looked back down. The gray wolf had sprawled out on the ground as if waiting for Thorgaut to fall back into their waiting jaws below. In a way, he wanted to. Fall on the ground. Sprawl out in the grass. Rest his tired body. It would be such a relief and would feel so good.

Thorgaut swatted the thoughts from his mind. He swore and muttered a curse at the wolves under his breath. Strangely, he realized that the didn’t feel any anger or hatred towards them. They were wild animals defending their territory and hunting for prey.

He wasn’t sure in which category he fit. Did they see him as a threat? Why were they targeting him like this? They didn’t look starving. And they didn’t seem like mere dumb animals he usually saw in the woods.

Thorgaut could tell that they were brilliant. They seemed to have a highly evolved form of communication. There were much more intelligent than the rest of their species.

Thorgaut looked back up and reached out to start pulling himself back up the rope again. His arms trembled from the effort. His shoulders ached and his muscles burned under the strain of his struggle. But he found that he was still able to continue and hitch himself up bit higher.

The rope loosened somewhat as he pulled himself up, but it was still tangled around his legs. He couldn’t use his hands to unwind it since he was hanging on to the rope, so he tried to shake them free. It took him a bit, but he finally got it undone. He pulled his legs p and wrapped them around the cord again tightly to hold himself in place.

Then he reached up again even higher. Only this time, Thorgaut shook the rope off of his legs before attempting to hitch himself up. He didn’t want to risk it getting stuck around his legs again. He needed to conserve his strength.

He didn’t have that much farther to go. Just a couple of more pulls and he would reach the branch. Then he could pull himself up into the large tree and rest. After that, he could wait in safety until the wolves grew tired and left.

Thorgaut reached up once more and stretched to grab the rope as high as he could with his good hand. He pulled his body up and then wrapped his legs around the cord for another brief break.

It was rough going, but Thorgaut knew he could make. Not much farther to go. After catching his breath, he started again. He shook the rope off his legs and reached up with his other hand. The one that the wolf had bitten.

Thorgaut grabbed hold of the rope with his sore hand and let go with the other to pull himself up. Unfortunately, the blood dripping down the cord made it too slippery for his grasp. Poor Thorgaut no longer had the strength to keep hanging on with his bad arm. And he still hadn’t pulled himself up high enough to get his legs wrapped around the rope.

He started to slide down the rope and flailed to grab hold with either his legs or his other hand. But he miscalculated and missed with his good hand. The momentum jerked the line out from his under his legs. His body was going too fast, and he couldn’t stop the slide.

Thorgaut continued trying to grab on with his hands and squeeze the rope between his legs to slow his fall. His efforts were all in vain. All he did was get some nasty rope burns on the way down. The pain was excruciating, and he yelled out in pain and frustration.

When his body reached the end of the line, his head swung down and back. The force of gravity and pull of his body when he arrived at the end, caused the rope to swing out in an extended arc. He swung right through the pack of startled wolves who were trying to figure out what this crazy human was doing.

As he swung out and reached the end of the swing, the weight of his body and pulls of gravity proved to be too much. The rope snapped where he had been cutting through it earlier when the whole attack started.

Thorgaut was finally free of the rope and completely airborne. He went flying through the air with his arms and legs flailing. His body somersaulted through the air, and he tried to twist himself around to land on his feet.

He almost managed, but his feet were numb from the lack of circulation. He hit the ground and tumbled to the ground awkwardly. He rolled for a bit in the grass and leaves until his body slammed into a young sapling and came to a complete stop.

Thorgaut spat out the dirt and leaves in his mouth as he lifted his head to look around. He felt disoriented and tried to get his bearings. He rolled over to look back at the tree where the trap had snared him. And then he saw the wolves again.

All three headed towards him once again. He sighed in exasperation.

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew