Tuesday 19 March 2013
It was outside King Osgood’s bedchamber that young knight, Bengt, and Anders Fredriksson finally tracked down the knight’s older brother, Dagmar.
‘I’m not sure what it is that you want me to do,’ Dagmar said.
‘Find the man with the limp and search for the dagger,’ Anders replied. ‘It could be entirely innocent, but what if it’s not? What if that man intends attacking the king?’
‘Do you have any proof of this other than what you saw? Have you heard him discussing an attack with anyone?’
Bengt shook his head, surprised by his brother’s lack of any sense of urgency or concern for the king.
‘Brother, we need to inform the king. This could be important.’
‘I understand, Bengt, but what if it turns out to be nothing and we’ve wasted the king’s time? Do you think he’ll be pleased with that?’ Dagmar replied. It served only to further agitate Bengt.
‘Do you think he’ll be pleased if this man attacks him? I think the chances of King Osgood being angered by our genuine concern are slim. Dagmar, we must tell him.’
‘Tell me what?’ Osgood approached the three men standing outside of his bedchamber. He had, rather stealthily, returned from wandering around the castle and checking in on his numerous guests. Dagmar sighed. There was no point in keeping the information from him now.
‘My lord, this gentlemen,’ he paused and gestured towards Anders, ‘witnessed a man secreting a dagger in his boots before you invite the villagers in to the castle. He says the man walks with a limp but has not laid eyes on him since. This gentlemen was concerned for your well being.’
Osgood stepped forward and Anders bowed his head in respect.
‘My lord,’ Anders said. Osgood clapped him on the shoulder, and ushered Fredriksson towards the chamber door.
‘Let’s speak about this in private. No need to alarm anyone else who might be passing. Dagmar, bring your brother in as well.’
Dagmar moved up to the door, pushed it open and stepped out of the way for the king to enter.
‘Please, after you,’ Osgood waited for Anders to enter before him, and not desiring to argue with the king, the old man quickly walked into the bedchamber followed by Dagmar, Osgood, and Bengt.
Unable to see who had entered the chamber first, Hakon and Lars Kristofsen launched screaming in to action. Hakon thrust the blade of his dagger deep into the chest of the first man in to the room.
‘You treacherous dog, Osgood,’ Hakon yelled. ‘You will die like the animal that you are, and the mountain clans will rise again.’
Lars, realising that Hakon had struck a villager and not the king, screamed at his brother.
‘It’s not him. It’s not him. Hakon, STOP. IT’S NOT HIM.’
Dagmar’s reactions were too fast and Hakon’s attack was too frenzied for the attacker to pull back quickly enough and react to the knight’s protective onslaught. Dagmar withdrew his sword from its sheath, stepped around Anders and forward, and ran the weapon through the assailant.
‘Get the other one,’ Dagmar shouted to Bengt.
The young knight rushed past Osgood, who was lowering Anders’ body to the floor, and tackled Lars to the ground. Lars did not offer up any resistance; his cause lay dying with his brother at the feet of a knight of the realm.
‘See, Dagmar?’ Bengt called to his brother. ‘He was right. What did I tell you, brother?’
* * * * *
Stumbling back from the cave mouth, Bastian and Queen Elizabetha watched as yet another bolt of lightning struck, sending debris tumbling down from the mountain above them.
‘I’ll get a few men here to clear this away,’ he said, kicking out at a small pile of rubble that had fallen near his feet.
‘You stay here and start. I’ll go back and send them through.’
‘Are you sure? I can accompany you back,’ Bastian replied.
‘I’ll be fine, Bastian. Honestly,’ Elizabetha said, ‘you worry too much.’ She smiled and headed back into the cave.
He watched her until she had disappeared and then stepped out of the shelter of the cave; the wind continued howling at the cave mouth, the rain pelted down, the thunder boomed, and once again, lightning struck. Hearing the rocks and dirt break away from the mountainside after the strike, Bastian looked up in time to see the avalanche of debris falling straight for him. Stumbling backwards, Bastian lost his footing and fell, rolling down the mountain ahead of the debris.
Grasping at rocks and grass as he went, Bastian finally gripped a rock sturdy enough to hold him. Swinging precariously from the handhold, clutching at the grass with his free hand, he barely had time to see the debris caused by the last lightning strike come to rest where he had previously been standing. The cave mouth was closed, rocks and dirt preventing anyone or anything from going in or out of the cave.
. . . To be continued . . .