Part II: King of the Geats

“Time to go” she said to herself morosely.

She stepped into a cavernous hall with hard wooden beams holding stone walls in place. The candles burning fish oil lit the parts of the hall untouched by the glow of the fire. Sprawled on the floor at the foot of the fireplace was a spread-eagled bear fur. Her straight silver hair was held back by a pewter crown and her bare feet slapped against the cold stone floor as she crossed the beer hall. Over the cackling fire sat a broadsword, gleaming in the dim light of the burning wood. As she passed the glowing fire a soft echo came from the shadows. Out of the darkness came another woman, young with beautiful long blonde hair that reached halfway down her petite frame. Her bright, tropical blue eyes met the Queen’s, which had since gone cold like a winter ocean. The Queen was beautiful but age had made its mark. She looked at her younger self. The young woman managed an uncomfortable smile which was met by the stone-like resolve of the Queen’s face. The young woman scurried away like a scared cat and the Queen continued on her way. She walked through the door way from which the young girl had entered into a room that featured an iron reinforced door mounted in the stone wall. It was guarded by a burly bearded man, built like a bear that had fought off countless wolves, his hand grasping the hardwood handle of his steel ax. She strode past him with a sideways glance and entered through the heavy door. Approaching a bed laden with furs, she gazed at the man sleeping in it. He had thick hair with many a scar chiseled into his muscled frame. He smelt of lager and mead. Beside the bed a golden crown hung from a sheep’s horn mounted on the wall. His breathing claimed the strength of lungs which had fought many battles. The Queen laid down at the other end of the bed with a sigh that moaned of many dull years. She made herself comfortable next to the man who stunk of meat and mead as she had done many late nights before. Yet, in his drowsy slumber brought on by a heavy night of indulgence, his arm reached out and pulled the Queen close and she welcomed his warm embrace. As the smoldering fire coughed its last flames, the moonlight met her long silver hair and she shined as beautifully as the young woman who had lied there moments before.

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