[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 20 – Chained! – Dave Bailey

[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 20 – Chained!

Thorgaut came to little by little with his senses returning one by one. The first thing he noticed was the smell of meat cooking. He realized how hungry he was. He could almost taste the food and his mouth watered. He heard the sounds of pots and pans getting banged around by the person cooking.

Suddenly, the memories of everything that happened came rushing back. His thoughts were flooded with images of strange shufflers and ferocious wolves attacking him.

Thorgaut focused his attention on each of the places he had been wounded. His shoulder, thigh, and heel.

He moved each one to feel how sore they were. He reached up gingerly and touched his shoulder. It was bandaged an hurt when he pressed against it.

Thorgaut still couldn’t see anything though. He closed his eyes and opened them again, but everything remained dark. He realized something was covering his eyes. So, he reached up to pull off a cloth that had been covering his face.

Everything was still dark though. Had he gone blind? He waved his hand in front of his face and could see a glimpse of a shadow, but not much else. He lifted his head and saw a glimmer of light under the door. He breathed a sigh of relief. It must be night time, and he was in a dark room.

“Hello,” he tried to say, but his voice didn’t come out as much more than a raspy whisper. Whoever was in the other room must not have heard him or else was ignoring him.

Thorgaut sat up and stretched. But his left arm only came up halfway. Something was immobilizing it, but he couldn’t see what it was in the dark. He twisted his body to swing his legs over the edge of the bed, but his legs were immobilized as well.

He reached out in the dark to feel around and realized his left arm and leg were chained to the bed. He pulled against them a few times but realized they were too tight for him to break free.

Thorgaut gave them a final strong pull with a loud grunt for good measure.

“Hey!” he yelled. “What’s going on here? Who’s out there? Let me go!”

He heard a chair scoot back as its legs scraped against the floor. A pattering of tiny footsteps running across the room. A door creaked opened and then slammed shut. Then there was silence.

After a bit, he heard the door open again and more footsteps. Someone else with a louder, heavier step clumping hollowly along the wooden floorboards.

The door to his room opened, and light from the other side flooded the room. Thorgaut squinted and raised his arm to shield his eyes. It took a minute for them to adjust to this sudden new level of brightness.

“Good!” a loud voice boomed from the doorway. “You’re awake finally. We were starting to think that you weren’t going to pull through.”

Thorgaut lowered his hand from in front of his eyes. He squinted at the dark figure framed against the light blazing through the doorway. The man took a few steps forward into the room. He moved around to the side of the bed where Thorgaut lay.

The Viking looked through the doorway. He saw a table and a few chairs. Beyond that a large iron stove. He noticed two young faces peeking at him from the sides of the door. They watched him and whispered quietly to each other.

Thorgaut backed away from the edge of the bed as the figure came closer. The man leaned over and scrutinized him before speaking again.

“Well, you look okay. That’s a good sign. Although I sure don’t understand it.”

“Understand what?” Thorgaut asked. His throat was dry, and his voice cracked. He swallowed before continuing. “What’s going on? And why am I chained to the bed.” He yanked on the chain for good measure.

The man jumped back when he saw Thorgaut trying to pull free.

“Calm down, young man. Take it easy.”

“Take it easy? That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one chained to a bed in a strange place.”

He rattled the chains some more for good measure.

The man pulled away and walked back to the door.

“Let me go!” Thorgaut demanded. “Do you know who I am? I’m Thorgaut Kabbisson of the clan of Ulfverger. My father is the Jarl, and I am the rightful heir to the throne of Journdarfell.”

“Well, that’s nice Thorgaut Kabbisson of the clan of Ulfverger, but I don’t care who you are. I’m not letting you go until I know it’s completely safe and you aren’t a threat to my family and me.”

The man turned around and started to close the door behind himself.

“Wait, please,” Thorgaut begged. “I’m sorry for being rude. I’m not normally like this.”

The man paused and looked at him.

“Well, that could just be part of the effect taking over you. We’ll soon find out. Won’t we?”

He closed the door and darkness enveloped Thorgaut in the room once again. He heard chairs scooting and spoons clinking against bowls as they ate.

Thorgaut gritted his teeth and growled in anger. He twisted and turned several times trying to find a comfortable position. But he was antsy. He wanted to be up and about. He needed to get out of here. He needed to find Halldora, and then his friends.

And he was still hungry. The food smelled good. Hearing people eat only made him want to join them even more.

“What did the man mean about his rudeness being part of the effect?” he wondered.

He didn’t have to wait long though. The door soon opened, and the man walked back into the room with a large bowl.

“Hungry?” he asked as he held the bowl out to Thorgaut.

“Yes,” Thorgaut shot up and grabbed it before he could change his mind. He didn’t wait for the man to finish pulling up a chair beside the bed to help him. He started eating on his own.

It was a little uncomfortable because of his position. He had to hold the bowl with his hand that was chained up and use the spoon with the other.

He started spooning the tasty, warm broth into his mouth on his own. Large chunks of venison seasoned richly with onions and garlic. There were bits of buttery, smooth summer squash with generous chunks of potatoes. It was delicious.

The man sat quietly watching Thorgaut smacking his lips and slurping greedily until the bowl was emptied.

“Would you like more?” the man asked pleasantly.

Thorgaut nodded enthusiastically as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

The man signaled to the doorway. A young child of about ten years old scampered over with a second bowl filled to the brim. She handed the bowl to Thorgaut and took the empty one from the man.

“Your daughter?” Thorgaut asked politely before putting the spoon in his mouth.

The man shook his head. “My granddaughter,” he replied. “I’ve been raising her and her brother ever since…”

Thorgaut waited expectantly after the man’s voice trailed off, but he didn’t say anything else. Thorgaut continued eating. He chewed his food a little more thoroughly now that he wasn’t so hungry.

It took him longer to finish off the second bowl. Thorgaut could tell the man was anxious to interrogate him. But he was considerate enough to wait patiently for him to finish eating.

“More?” the man asked pleasantly.

“No, thanks. I’m good.” Thorgaut replied.

He sat still and waited for the man to say something.

“How are you feeling?” the man finally asked.

“Pretty good, all things considering,” Thorgaut said. “I feel alright, although it’s a little disconcerting to be chained up like this.”

“Yes.” the man answered. “Well, I suppose it couldn’t be helped after you getting bitten by those wolves and all.”

“Right. Right. The wolves” Thorgaut said. “I do want to thank you for saving me from those ferocious animals. I don’t mean to come across as ungrateful for or anything. I supposed I would be dead by now if you hadn’t shown up when you did.”

The man grunted but didn’t say anything. Thorgaut had a million and one questions flying through his head. He wanted to pump the man for answers but decided to be polite. He didn’t want a repeat of his earlier experience of getting locked back up in the room for being rude.

“I’m sorry. I told you my name earlier when I was rude. I had just come too and was still a bit woozy. But I didn’t catch yours. What did you say your name was again?”

“Arnulfr Fridgeirsson,” he replied. “And you’re welcome for whatever it’s worth. I’m afraid you may not thank me later. It may have been better just to let the wolf kill you and get it over with.”

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