Book 10 - The Shattered Axe - Chapter 8: Change of Scenery

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

The last month has been rather hectic with a lot of rollercoaster of adventures I have been on...  Most of which continually took me away from writing.  Besides having a bit of writer's block beind side tracked of thinking about Chapter 10, where things really start getting interesting, I couldn't keep my mind on these current chapters.

 

But now I think I have it figured out.  I just need the time to write it down.

 

Without any more delay, I hope you all enjoy the chapter!

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Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

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httyyd
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Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

Here is the music mix for this chapter:

INFERNO | The Gates Of censored - 1 HOUR of Epic Dark Dramatic Sinister Villainous Orchestral Music

 

Note Point of View Change

 

The Shattered Axe

 

Chapter 8

Change of Scenery

 

Annabeth's Point of View

 

         After leaving Jarl’s parents behind to watch the store, the rest of us head towards the main tavern to inquire of more information on the flasks.  Both Jarl and Sigvald had the hunch the clerk might tip off his buyer of the flasks.  If we could track them, then we would have a lead which might bring us to the Masked Vikings’ base in the area.

         When entering the tavern, as expected, it is a lively sight compared to the stillness and scarce amount of vikings outside.  With commotion of various conversations being carried on at once.  Some groups are eating their supper while others are relaxing or playing various games, including Maces and Talons and Hnefatafl, among others.

         Cazi walks with me to find a seat while Elsa, Val, Ali, and Michia join Jarl to ask the tavern keeper about the flasks.  At glance of the counter where the keeper would be, I take notice that the keeper is not the same one as before.  “Before” meaning when Jarl was here back in the beginning of The Mist in the Darkness.  I also know this because I have been in this tavern once after that mystery.  Berserker business with Jarl and I as liaisons.  Since Jarl’s fight in the tavern holding his own, the tavern keeper had warmed up to us and we were striking a new contact.  But with a new tavern keeper, I wonder how Jarl’s conversation will go.

         It took a bit to find a table to seat all of us, but there was a booth along the far side of the wall opposite us.  Needless to say, we received some glares and stares for being what looks to be the youngest vikings in here.  Granted we are adults, but still.  Me showing a large stomach, being almost five months pregnant had nothing to do with the gawks I was getting.

         Speaking of which, with my stomach, I was barely able to fit under the table when scooting into the booth.  All but the side of the tables out towards the center of the building had seating.

         Cazi sat to my right.  The looks we are getting we return with goofy faces of our own.  Crossing our eyes, stretching our skin on our faces, and sticking our tongues out, the looks quickly stopped.  Cazi and I just laughed.  We did this without planning or thinking of it, because she and I used to do this whenever our families would go out to eat.  The rush of memories of the trouble Cazi and I got into flood our thoughts.  Interesting how some of the most obscure things bring back memories of good times and silly stuff you would get into as a kid.

         This is truly what I missed not being able to get out the last couple of months.  Being around my friends, hearing the banter, and getting into mischief.  Jarl does not know what Cazi and I did as kids.  No one knows.  I take that back.  Our parents knew, yet probably did their best to strike it from the memories.  Sure, we grew up and matured and everyone would think the heir to the Berserker Throne would not stoop to being silly and intentionally getting into mischief.  But that is just it, we all have our quirks which make us who we are.  Some are known more than others.

         After our laugh, I comment to Cazi, “I had completely forgotten about this.”

         “Yeah,” Cazi shakes here head, grinning from ear to ear.  “Our instant response to make ridiculous faces just shows once you learn the art of being a kid and a ‘disgrace’ to your family, you never lose it.  Like Jarl being a disgrace to us always getting us with his puns.”

         “I do what with my puns?” Jarl’s voice emerges from the right, bring a tray full of drinks for us all.

         Cazi quips, “Put a phrase or word of anything we say between two puns and make a sand-which you never let us forget.”

         “Here, here,” he agrees with what was said, raising his milk mug.

         Val is flabbergasted as she follows Ali in on the right side of the table.  Ali sits next to Cazi with Val in the corner and Michia next to her.  Jarl sits to my left with Elsa in the other corner and Asvord next to her.

         Val finally finds the words her mouth had been trying to say for the last minute, “I just don’t understand how you can get a pun so quickly.  Wait, what am I saying?  Of course, you do.  You are the pun masta.”

         Jarl helps divvy out the drinks, “I am also impressed by the amount of the play on words in one pun.  It is like I wrote it myself.”

         Cazi cracks back, “This isn’t one of your books.”

         “Who says it can’t be?”

         Cazi rolls her eyes, “What are you going to do, write down this silly conversation in your book on this current mystery for the future generations to roll their eyes too?”

         “Great idea, thank you for mentioning that.”

         Cazi, again, rolls her eyes, but then Ali laughs, “I even heard your eyes roll.”

         We settled down and took a few drinks of what Jarl brought us.  Ali has grape juice along with Val and Michia, both Elsa and Asvord have apple juice, and I have water.  Though I can easily have what they are having, this late at night, I have to watch what I eat and what I drink.  Well, I have to do that anyway.  Jarl and I are starting early making sure our kids will grow up on what is good for them.  Though, eating for three is something I never thought I would do.  My appetite is as big as Jarl’s now.

         “The tavern keeper is new, so the conversation did not go as well as I’d hoped,” Jarl confirmed.  “He didn’t seem too concern with there being another tavern keeper before him.  Though, with a busy night, he was more concerned if we were going to buy anything or not.”

         “Looked like he was about ready to throw us out had Jarl not ordered the drinks,”   Michia mentions.  “He wouldn’t even listen to us, let alone Jarl’s questions.  Kept talking over us, demanding we buy something, leave him alone, or be thrown out.”

         “This island may be ever changing,” Jarl states.  “But something is not right.”

         Ten minutes go by while we observe the crowd and talk amongst ourselves.  With a view of the front entrance, we can see vikings coming in and out.  When the next one comes in, I nudge Jarl pointing them out.  Svana entered.  Spotting us right away, she walks over and sits down.

         I question, “What’s up?”

         “Plenty,” Svana answers.

         Eager, Jarl wonders, “Did you find out who the metal store owner tipped off?”

         “Yes, and she should be coming in any minute.”

         “Wait, she?” Cazi declares.  “Why would they be coming in here?”

         “Probably to find you guys.  I expect them to pick a fight, so watch out.”

         Svana then stands back up, Jarl asks, “Where are you going?”

         “We hid the dragons in the forest.  Turns out the viking who the owner tipped off, also went to tip off someone else.  Sigvald is tailing them now towards the other side of the island where the one compound is.  I am going to check on the dragons but also to support Sigvald.  Don’t want him to get into trouble without me.”

         Svana bids us success as she then slips out the back way -through the kitchen mind you- to not be spotted by whoever is coming in the front way.  Jarl then tells Val and them to get up so that he can collect the drinks and take them back to the keeper.

         I question him, “What are you going to do?”

         “Well, you are going to stay put here with Elsa.  I am going to stay by the counter and wait to see who is looking for me.  I want the rest of you to spread out.  If it has taken this long and my mom came right after the owner tipped them off, no doubt this gal is getting friends to come with her.  Try to act normal as you go.  You will know when to join in.”

         Valkarik folds her arms as everyone but me and Elsa stand up to go find a spot, “Why is it that whenever we come to this island, trouble soon follows?”

         “With Michia in the group,” Ali quips about her brother.  “Trouble can smell him from the next island.”

         Michia proceeds to flick Ali’s ear, who then returns the favor with an elbow jab to the side.  Michia tries to flick her ear again, but Ali was ready and briefly bent back his hand by grabbing his finger.  The picking proceeds a little bit more when Ali continually bumps into Michia, on purpose.

         Elsa states, after observing the two siblings, “They aren’t blending in very well.  I thought Jarl said to ‘act normal.’”

         “Come now, have you ever seen your brother and Asvord walk through a crowd?” I chuckle.  “But they are acting normal, doing exactly what Jarl said.”

         “I could do a better job acting normal, plus I am a good fighter.  He did stuff like this when he was my age.  Why can’t I help?”

         Sensing some frustration, I give Elsa a hug, “He is doing what he thinks he should.  He wants to keep us safe.  In my state, he is worried about my well-being.  I am not as nimble, nor could I easily get up once knocked down.  Besides, sometimes the most important job isn’t the flashiest or the prettiest.  He left you with this important job.”

         “Which is what?”

         I look up to see Jarl and I smile, “To protect me.”

         “Oh,” Elsa understands, though questions.  “You can fight, probably better than some even with carrying two babies.”

         “That may be true,” I agree.  “Yet, when he has me on his mind, he may not say all that he needs to say, but he knows he can count on you and me if he ever needs the help.  He wants to do all he can to protect everybody.  That is a big burden he carries with him.  It is up to us to show him we can take care of ourselves, but we want to work with him, not against him.  If he wants us here, it is for a good reason.”

         “That’s true,” Elsa calms down a bit.  “Guess I could jump on someone if they try to jump on Jarl.  But tell me, aren’t you getting frustrated with him?  I mean, you’ve gone toe to toe with him a few times and it has essentially been a tie each time.  Not many can say that when going up against him.”

         I take a deep breath, “You are as smart as your brother.  Yes, I am getting frustrated with him.  I know he wants to keep me safe, but I can take care of myself even in my state.  I may be carrying around two passengers, therefore extra weight which will make me slower, but there are more ways to fight than just throwing the knockout punch in the first round.  I have tried to make this point to him, but he isn’t listening.”

         “Jarl is the kind of guy who will do all he can for you but won’t let you do the same for him.  It is hard to do what he wants yet still do what you want.  It is like you said, he is trying to keep us first, but sometimes he needs to let us put him first for a change.  Yet, Jarl is a good brother,” Elsa sighs.  “Uh, don’t tell him I said that.”

         “I’m sure he knows,” I answer.  “But as you said, sometimes you need to remind him.”

         As everyone got into position, I noticed a few other interested parties.  Elsa has alluded to how someone looks when they try to blend in, well, there are a few who look, or act, disinterested in the company they are keeping.  Vikings sitting next to them carrying on a conversation, yet one completely ignoring them, even when something is said to them.  I subtly signal Cazi to keep an eye on them.  She nods in acknowledgement.

         Now, a few minutes later, a group of five individuals enter, all dressed in black from head to toe.  Not only that they are wearing full encasing masks.  No helmets.  More like a hood with a leather armored cap and mask.  Besides armor preferences, the only other differences are black hair ponytails -possibly yak hair- for the women and the men just have masks.  These ponytails have a sheen and seem to have an importance other than telling a difference between the guys to be kept in such pristine condition.

         I whisper to Elsa, “I think we have found our Masked Vikings.”

         These vikings mere presence commands a silence over the tavern without saying a word.  Everything the tavern puts on for the customers stop when they enter.  When other vikings start noticing them, everyone stops their conversations and watch with bated breath.  Everything stops just for the Masked Vikings, like they own the place now.

         I scoot around to the left side of the booth to see the main part of the tavern.  Jarl is at the counter by himself.  Of the five individuals there are two women one of which is leading the group, stepping up to Jarl a few feet behind him.

         She states, though because of the mask, her voice is slightly muffled, “I hear you are looking for us.”

         Jarl does not turn around, “Didn’t think you would come right out and announce your presence.”

         “It isn’t often some no name viking starts butting in where they don’t belong.”

         Jarl still does not turn around, “I thought that after Wengo left his own island, the people wouldn’t let any one viking take over again.”

         “We’re not just any viking.  We are…” the woman starts but Jarl interrupts, talking over her.  “Masked Vikings.  Yeah, I know who you are.”

         With Jarl not turning around, no doubt these vikings are feeling some disrespect.  It is taking its toll on a couple of them.  One guy in particular is becoming more fidgety with each passing moment.

         The woman is at a loss for words by the defiance.  This pause seems more awkward for them than Jarl. 

         Finally, the woman tries to continue, but Jarl stands up straight, staring the keeper in the eyes, and interrupts again, “I would have thought the people of this island would have stood up to you or anyone else trying to tell them what to do.  I thought that was the whole point to why this island was.  Sure, Wengo may have named it after himself, but an island is more than just one viking and these people were here before Wengo came along.  He just made it profitable to live here, putting the island on the map.  But an island is the people.  Without them, where is the island?  Those who choose to live together and work for the same cause.  While this island may have a reputation widely known for many varieties of…  Business opportunities…  I thought Wengo Island had more back bone than this.  If you aren’t happy with how things are going, act.  Don’t sit on the side lines.  The people can rise above and take their future into their hands.”

         Jarl turns around with his hands behind his back though looks around the room, now addressing the crowd, “You wouldn’t let outsiders come in and take over.  I mean, Berk, the Berserkers, hey, even the Outcasts tried to ally you out after Wengo’s disappearance, but you guys are a stubborn bunch and wanted to be independent.  Guess I had you guys figured wrong.”  Jarl shakes his head.  “But, as with this island, there are always opportunities for business.  You could show the rest of the archipelago that there is still fight left in this island.”

         Once that was said, the eyes of everyone in this tavern, in unison, shifted from Jarl to the Masked Vikings.  Jarl turned the tone of the threat from himself and his intrusion onto the real threat and the real intrusion.

         Jarl adds, “You come here to intimidate me?  You picked the wrong place to start a fight.  Regardless of side, no one just walks into this tavern like they own it and run it.  Everyone here on this island have equal chance to succeed and make a profit.  You come into this tavern and you as much look at someone sideways, trouble will find you before you could get your first mug of milk.  You come looking for trouble, this island will gladly give it to you.”

         At some tables in front of Jarl, a few vikings stand up and stretch, preparing for a fight.

         “While I may not agree on some things this island does, at least we have the backbone to stand up to bullies.  Once they know, this island does not care who you are and what you have so-called done for it.  Sometimes, we just need a reminder who the bullies are.  Bullies who think they can come in with no prior knowledge of the island, take what they want, and demand you do what they want, where, and when.”

         Jarl then stares directly at the woman in front.  “But where are my manners.  Please excuse me, oh dear Masked Viking.  You are the storm, are you not?  Why are you here?  Are you true Masked Vikings to begin with, or are you trying to blaspheme the prophecy?  I thought you were supposed to cause chaos from the shadows, not face to face.  Well, relatively.  You know…  Cause you are wearing…  Anyway…  Guess you aren’t Masked Vikings after all.”

         This made the fidgety guy of the Masked Vikings charge at Jarl.  The others in the group did as well, but the main woman stayed where she stood.  The vikings in front of Jarl prevented the others from lunging any further, but the one who had took Jarl’s defiance personally, pushed his way through to Jarl and swung for the first punch.  Jarl whirls from behind his back a mug he was hiding.  He uses it to strike a blow to the Masked Viking, using his momentum against him.  Not expecting this, he tumbles into the counter.  He and Jarl start fighting, but then other fights block my view of Jarl.

         The giant fight we were expecting ensues, but at least Jarl turned most of the interested parties against the Masked Vikings.  But with any tavern brawl, there are those who are bored and just want to fight anyone who is in front of them.  In fact, a few around us punched their own vikings in their company just for the fact they bought them a drink or invited them out tonight.

         I lean back in the booth and cross my arms, mentioning to Elsa, “At least we get a show.”

         The whole tavern started playing a symphony of punches to faces and clanging of helmets with the accent of something being thrown or smashed, such as a table, chair, pitcher, or mug.  Though sitting on the sideline away from the main event, the crossfire is an issue.  A pitcher missed someone in front of us and flew directly at me.  I caught it and kept it beside me.  Shards of the remains of the furniture are flying around every few minutes.

         Keep your arms and legs inside the booth at all times.

         Seeing the fight rage on, it becomes apparent we cannot stay.  The crossfire is becoming more intense even if the furniture is dwindling.  Sure, we could whoop everyone’s butts, but not if we are outnumbered.  Not to mention the fact, how long before someone draws their axe or sword?

         My thoughts are interrupted by two vikings locked in a hold of each other.  One has the other’s throat, choking him, and the other is trying to pry the hands off of him.

         “Oh, hey Jarl,” I bend down from the table, grinning.

         He manages to say, “Hello…  There.”

         “The plan is going great,” I state.  “I see you have things well in hand.”

         He further manages to say, “Perfectly.”

         The other viking looks up at me wondering why I am having a conversation with Jarl and just watching him keep a firm hold of Jarl.

         “I must say, we can’t win this fight we are outnumbered.  Not to mention we don’t want to spend the night on Wengo Island.  Who knows what kind of law and order they have here, or lack thereof?  No offense,” I mention to the other viking.  The look on his face is kind of priceless though.  “They don’t care we are Berserkers.  Besides, your parents might be in trouble if the Masked Vikings came searching for us, they could have tracked Svana back to Sigvald.”

         Using the limited breath Jarl had left, he replies fast, “I agree.  But if you don’t mind…”

         “What?”

         “I need some help.”

         “But I am supposed to stay out of this and stay safe.  I can’t help.”

         “Annabeth!”

         Believing I had gotten my point across, I cease the teasing, I grab the pitcher, and slam it over the other viking’s head.  He slumps to the floor.  I stand up to offer my hand to Jarl.  For a moment he glares at me yet then shows a slight smile, because he knows the point I am trying to make.

         Taking my hand, he stands up, stating, “I don’t want to draw the attention of everyone.”

         I remind, “Svana went out the back way through the kitchen.”

         “Alright, Elsa, get your sister and tell Cazi next to her to keep these guys distracted.  But if the Masked Vikings slip out, tail them.  Otherwise, don’t get in over your heads.  Get out before you are pinned or knocked out yourself.  With so many fights going on at the same time, an accidental throw or flying punch could knock anyone out.  Bring Asvord back with you.”

         Elsa runs through the crowd.  No one pays her any heed because of her smaller stature as well as they might not be able to see her.  Everyone seems preoccupied with either getting hit or doing what they can to not get hit.

         As we turn to go to the kitchen doors, Jarl accidentally bumps into a viking and his friend.  The viking takes offense to this and grabs Jarl by the scruff of his vest and pins him up against the side of a booth.

         Before Jarl could parry a right cross, this guy was going to send Jarl, I grab the guy’s shoulders and use his momentum against him by sending him to the side.  Needing to think quick because of a table flying this way, I push Jarl back out of the way, going back along side the booth we sat at.

         The viking’s friend follows us, but I reach to my left and tip a chair behind me, making the viking stumble over it.  The first viking has recovered and is coming after me.  As he does, I grab a pitcher on the neighboring booth next to ours and slam it against the guy’s head.  This one is a bit more resilient but is merely dazed for a moment.  I grab his helmet and throw it into the air.  At the end of this moment, his friend has now recovered and is coming at me with a broken table leg.  Elsa suddenly flies into the picture from a leap, taking her legs and locking it around the one viking’s head, causing them both to tumble into his friend.  Seeing something to my right, I reach up for the retuning helmet I threw up and throw it to my right.  Jarl ducks as the helmet zips past him and a third viking coming in with a chair.  This halts the third guy’s momentum.  Jarl then starts ushering me and his sisters towards the kitchen.  Knowing the guy still has the chair, I pause to make sure Jarl makes it out as he is bringing up the rear.  Jarl grabs a piece of a tabletop and uses it as a shield.  When the chair impacts it, it splinters into a few pieces.  Shielding my face, I feel some of the small shards hit me.  Jarl comes over to me, but I shove him through the doorway.  This third viking is then tackled by someone else.  I quickly look around to see if anyone else sees we are leaving.  By my observation, no one is, so I leave a second later.

         Finally escaping the tavern, Jarl briefly searches the back side of the tavern.  He spots and picks up Svana’s trail.  Though there is not much to track as we run through the forest, for Svana was covering up her trail, Jarl knew what to look for since Svana was the one who taught him to track.  Sure enough, the tracks are leading in the direction of the compound on the other side of the island.  After five minutes of running, however, in a small clearing, the tracks stop.

         Jarl’s tone becomes concerned, “A scuffle happened here.  See the other footprints coming from the west?  Gashes in the dirt and then…”  Jarl pauses as I finish his thought.  “A pair being dragged towards the compound.  Someone has your mother.”

         Now with a sure direction, we swiftly make our way to the compound.  The spot we arrive at is almost the same place we used to spy on Wengo the first time we came to this part of the island.  Had the current situation not been as immediately dire, I would have worked the fact about this spot into a quip or something.

         Hiding behind a boulder, we lift our heads above to take in the location.  What we see about thirty feet in front of us is a campfire next to one of the buildings.  No one seems to be around, until some figures exit the building to the left.  Two Masked Vikings shove Sigvald and Svana down next to the fire.  They pick themselves back up as a third Masked Viking walks out of the building.

         He speaks with a muffled tone because of the full mask, “If you are not going to tell me where Griz Kadal is, then I am going to have to take drastic measures.”

         Sigvald answers, “Oh come on, Sven, I haven’t seen Grizzy in years.”

         “I know you talked to him when you were harboring that girl.”

         “Like I said,” Sigvald insists.  “That was years ago.”

         “But we do know you have talked to Vlarrin.”

         “Again, that was years ago, but at least you are getting closer to the present.”

         “Don’t play games with me, Sigvald,” Sven steps forward and points his finger at Sigvald.  “We know you have had a correspondence with Kadal at some point.  Vlarrin told us when you met him with him on a boat just off the shores of your very own Isle of Berk, he mentioned you knew someone who could help with their situation.  One Griz Kadal.  Now you suddenly don’t know where he is.  Are you going to talk, or do we have to create some chaos?”

         Sven draws a then long bladed sword from his hip and points it directly at Svana.

         Sigvald instantly steps in front of his wife, demanding Sven back down, “Now come on.  We do go way back.  I know the scenery may be different…  Even the gear we wear…  But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk this out.”

         “She knows too much now.  Not only about the Masked Vikings and who we are after, but about how you and I know each other.”

         Svana speaks up, “Which you will have some serious explaining to do.”

         Sigvald points out, “That’s your own fault, Sven.  You’ve always had a big mouth.”

         Sven continues, “I don’t like loose ends.  And what I remember you telling me about your wife, she is bound and determined once she knows the truth to make sure everyone knows.”

         Svana pipes up again, “You’ve got that right.”

         “Not helping,” he says out the side of his mouth.

         Hearing all of this, this must be a shock to Jarl.  Looking at him, he is not even watching.  His eyes are darting back and forth as if there was something crawling on the boulder.

         Sigvald continues to try and stall, but Asvord sees that Jarl and I are not paying attention.

         Asvord questions in a whisper, “Who is this Griz Kadal and how does this Sven know about Vlarrin?”

         Suddenly a voice behind us declares, “Why don’t you go ask Sven yourself!”

         Turning around, we see one Masked Viking standing before us with his sword drawn.  Seeing only one, we try to rush him, but as soon as we start, we stop.  Several more Masked Vikings come out of the woodwork with their weapons drawn, including drawn bows and arrows notched.

         Caught, we have no choice but to follow our captors into the encampment as the one Masked Viking reports to Sven.  Sigvald and Svana are surprised to see us and greet us.

         But seeing the situation we are in, I can only think, “How are we going to get out of this?”  A thought passes through, “Well, I guess I am still getting into mischief the same as ever.  Just know, things have grown from a sharp reprove from a parent, to a sharp arrow being pointed at us.  The same story, just different scenery.”