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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #1799418
What's a warrior to do . . .?
Wilgar Ofenstart rolled over on the pile of furs that made his bed.  The little cubicle carved out of the stone wall was really very warm and he was loath to leave its comfortable surroundings. 


He heard his wife call him.  "Shut up, you old hag!" he mumbled into his thick red beard.  He rose and planted his feet on the hard-packed dirt floor.  He shook his head, then remembered, today they left for the Great Northern Expedition.  He would be among a host of explorers, brave conquerors that would go to the farthest edge of the Scurry Mountains to defeat the Snow Trolls.  What glory would be his?  What fame would he return with?  And, the booty, why the Snow Trolls kept gold and silver that was known throughout his world.

Wilgar dressed.  He pulled on his breeches, his thickest oxen skin tunic, his disk armor and wound his leggings with ox-hide bands around his bulky legs to secure the extra layer of fur against the freeze he would encounter in the mountains.


He sighed.  Grabbing his broad battle axe, which he placed securely in the scabbard between his shoulders, he shoved his double horned helmet down on his head.  He was ready.

Wilgar pulled the thick skin aside that separated the midden from the rest of the house.  The skin helped keep the inner room warmer and he let it fall, closing it behind him securely.  He looked around; it would be a long time before he saw his comfortable home again.

He started for the doorway to the midden, to the outside where he could hear the rowdy assemblage of his comrades.

"You go nowhere, until you take Silver and Snow to do their business."

"Herta . . . are you trying to make a fool of me?"

"You said last night that you didn't need to take them on the raid.  You said that they should stay to protect me.  That means they will not be exercised.  Take them," she said, a thick rod of ironwood in her hand.  Herta used the ironwood to roll out bread, but Wilgar knew she used it for other things as well. 

"But, Herta, all the men are assembled.  You can take them for a walk later on . . ."

"I will not clean up behind those two wolves!  They leave massive piles on the midden floor and  it will not be me cleaning it up!"

"This is ridiculous Herta!  Who will take them outside when I am gone?"

"The youth, Amburn, from the next village, I have already paid him one silver to do so."

Wilgar threw up his hands, "Then let him do it today . . ."

Herta waved the ironwood rod about in the air and pursed her lips.  He did not want to start the march with a wounded knee and that was just where Herta would land that damnable rod.

Wilgar sighed, a weary, heavy sound that spoke worlds about his situation.

He grabbed the straps that controlled the wolves and led them outside.  Over his shoulder he said, "You know, Herta, a lot would be solved if you kept the wolves outside as should be."

"It's too cold at night for my little dears . . ." Herta said as she patted the heads of Silver and Snow.

Wilgar exited, holding tightly to the wolves' leashes.

"Hoy, Wilgar!" one of his companions yelled. "I thought you weren't bringing the beasts."

Wilgar did not answer, but steered the animals over to a snow drift.

He heard a titter of laughter behind his back and turned to face the others.  His frown could kill a man at ten paces so the laughter subsided instantly.

Wilgar stood by the drift, one wolf's leash in each hand and waited for them to do what they needed to do.

Sullenly, he returned the beasts to the midden. 

"Now . . . " his wife said, "you may go, and mind you, bring me back something rare and beautiful."

"I'll bring you back a Snow Troll to eat you," Wilgar thought and joined his group as they marched off toward the north, toward glory and conquest.

Word count 705

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