Thorstein sprung to his feet when he heard Annoure scream his name. Quickly scanning the area, he spotted Rethel struggling with her on the ground; Edgtho stood nearby. Thorstein charged toward them. When he reached Annoure, he saw Rethel held a knife to her throat.
“Rethel!” Thorstein yelled.
Rethel looked up, whipping the knife away from Annoure toward him. Thorstein leapt, knocking Rethel off her. Rethel slashed his blade at Thorstein. He grabbed Rethel’s wrist and slammed his hand against a rock, causing Rethel to drop the knife. Thorstein sprung to his feet and kicked the knife out of his reach.
Rethel rolled to his feet and yelled, “Edgtho, your sword!” As Edgtho handed him a sword, Thorstein reached for his—only to discover he’d left it in the tent.
“Thorstein, here!” Herjulf yelled, racing over to them. Herjulf thrust the hilt of his sword into Thorstein’s hand just as Rethel swung his sword toward Thorstein.
Thorstein parried the forceful blow. “I don’t want to fight you, Rethel!” he exclaimed. “Can’t we resolve this peacefully?”
“Give me the woman if you’re too cowardly to fight,” Rethel yelled, his face distorted with rage.
“Nei, she’s mine.”
“Then you can die with her.”
“I don’t plan to die. You overrate your skills.” Thorstein circled Rethel as he spoke, looking for an opening.
Men gathered around them to watch the fight. Thorstein swung his sword toward Rethel. As the clang of metal hitting metal rang through the air Thorstein wished for a shield to protect the blade.
Ketil ran to where they fought and drew his sword. In response, Walfgar drew his.
Thorstein realized the conflict could easily turn into a bloodbath. “This is between me and Rethel,” he yelled. “Stay out of it!”
Rethel attacked with renewed violence, pressing forward, forcing Thorstein back. Thorstein regretted having drunk so much earlier and eaten so little. It slowed his reflexes and made his movements clumsy. He swung his sword and Rethel met it with his. They broke apart and glared at one another.
Rethel beckoned Thorstein forward with his hand. “Come and get it, Thorstein. Tonight you go to Valhalla.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish