Chapter 3 – Sword Shock
They almost gave up on her and left her in the woods so they wouldn’t hear her cries. But Friorik had found her and taken her back to them. They said he growled and muttered at them when they tried to push her away. So they fed her and kept her around, even though they didn’t expect her to make it.
Friorik had sat outside their house for days to make sure they didn’t abandon her again. He came in several times a day to check on her and confirm that they were feeding her. At first, Baldur was upset about it, but relented. Eventually, he was pleased the child lived.
It had horrified Hanna to hear the story for the first time and realize how close she had come to dying, but that was the way it was among her people. So, she never gave it much thought, even when her parents brought it up. Usually, it was an excuse to cover for her weakness or failures. Other times it was to gloat over some small victory and brag about how far she had come.
Jakob and Jokull found Hanna alone in the woods and made life miserable for her. The poor girl’s parents shrugged it off as if it was part of the burden of having a child born so small and weak. Sometimes, her brothers would go along with her, when Hanna’s father could spare them from other work. But as usual, Hanna had to sneak around in the woods alone as she searched for the items on her mother’s list.
Her older sister never went along, though. Elisabet was engaged to the shopkeeper’s son, so she spent her days working in the store. Which meant that once again, poor Hanna was alone in the woods, trying to lie low. The Bragi brothers weren’t the only ones who made life difficult, but they were generally the ones who instigated those who picked on Hanna.
The sight of the half-formed sword triggered these memories and thoughts, causing a swirl of emotion within her. If she had her own sword to defend herself from these tyrants who made her life miserable, Hanna might stand a chance against them. Not that she wanted to kill them. Even so, having a weapon of her own would make them respect her like people did her father.
Hanna watched as the shape before her continued to solidify and take shape in front of her. It was definitely a sword. The blade was there. All the way down to the hilt. However, there was no handle for her to reach out and grab.
The blade continued to spin horizontally before her. The letters down the center glowed brighter than ever. Inviting her to reach out and take it. Hanna felt like the sword was offering itself to her. Urging her to own it.
She reached out a trembling finger to touch it. Careful to brush her fingers down the flat section of the weapon between the edge of the blade and the glowing letters. The spin made it difficult. She kept jerking her fingers back after each tentative stroke of her finger.
Hanna wanted to touch the runes, to sense if they felt hot or not, but she knew better. Ingum had taught her that the letters carried power of their own. It could be dangerous to touch a run without knowing its meaning or purpose.
The girl let her hand trail farther down the blade until she reached the hilt. As her fingers slipped down past it, she could feel the handle, even though she couldn’t see anything. The blade stopped spinning and connected with her palm. Hanna felt a shock shoot through her body into the ground and a wave of numbness flood through her arms and legs.