Avon and his company of three and a Durham cow pulling a full cart of fine wool were on the Salisbury road to the fair.
“Come me lads, the fair does not wait” Avon said walking beside the cart.
James, a hearty lad of twenty-one, prods the cow to hasten the pace. Bruce, being up the rear, twenty–eight and broad of weight from too many birdies and beer; tarries the pace.
“Slow down. Ye be breakin’ me legs.”
Kyle the youngest at sixteen, leading the cow, runs ahead eager to see his first fair.
A crossbows bolt buzzed through their banter to hit the cow’s wooden yoke with a resounding thud. A second strikes James in the back of his shoulder, and with a mortal cry he drops to ground. Avon knelt at James side, pulled the bolt from his shoulder, then a shadow loomed, Avon bolts, wielding his saber, a hand and mace tumble to his feet. Jolted back, the shadow now has a face, a Viking raider, Avon recoiling his saber finding the neck, the head rolls away, “we're under attack.” the words found no time to leave his lips.
Avon focused now sees a horde of Viking berserkers emerging from the tall grass east of the road. He glanced back at James to see he had rolled under the cart safe for now, Avon blocking another attack, deflecting the attacker’s arm causing the ax to be lodged in the cart’s wheel. Avon ran him through and then slashing the throat with his knife. The Durham cow seeing, Kyle, lying in the road stops. Avon looking around sees, Kyle’s head rolling on the ground, Bruce his dismembered body, lifeless beckoning, resembling a half-eaten birdie. A fight for their life out numbered five to one.
James finds his feet and a pike and joins Avon holding the pike in one hand braced against the cart’s wheel. Leaping a craze berserker ignores the pike and buries his ax deep in James’s chest; they crumble to the ground, the pike protruding out the back of the Viking.
Unseen a blow dances Avon head and a sharp pain explodes in his side, Avon stumbles around a collapses dying and was left for dead.
Avon lying watches as, the raiders turn their attention to the cow, like a pack of starved wolves, killing, tearing, at the flash, and eating the meat, savagely making waste of it. Ransacking the cart they find a cast of scotch; then they set fire to the cart.
Hours pass; the moon is raising Avon racked with pain, sees a chance to get away unnoticed. The Viking feasting on the cow and scotch, boasting of victory, they kick Kyle’s head about, taking no notice of Avon. A hundred yards away was an oak grove, a place to hide and regain his strength. Pain rapes his mind; he crawls in the tall grass out of the light of the fire and sight of the Vikings. Struggling to his feet, staggering, and each step his life weeps from his side. The ground pitches and rolls, the oaks toyed, first beckoning close then fading out of sight. The grass harassing his legs, pulling at his feet his knees buckling, Avon folds to the ground twenty yards from safety. He lay for a time, the grass wet with dew, caressing, giving life to press on. Avon struggling to stand, looks back to see if he has made good his escape. The light of the full moon shining off his face gives him away. He hears a drink craze Viking yell
“There is someone out there. Kill him.”
Avon turns, lunging forward, the wet grass pulling at his legs begging him to stay. He makes it to a tree, hugging it as if it were a long lost friend, he felt his side; finding something lodge in his ribs. He tries to pull it out but the pain pushes his hand away. He looks back and sees dark figures coming fifty yards, coming fast. He scrambles on snatching branches to keep his feet.
Four raiders reach the grove and start searching.
”There is no one here, you’re seeing ghost” said one of the raiders.
“I tell you I saw someone.” was a reply.
“You have had too much mead.” shouted another.
Anon hearing them looks around, stumbling, his grip fails, he falls into the brushes and down a hole hitting his head on some rocks.
In her den Chrisween is awakened by Avon’s limp body rolling into her. She growls loud and low and then issues a hair raising freezing growl. The sound carries echoing amplified by the dens walls, is heard reverberating, from the ground.
Kathleen the druid priestess, high in an oak, gathering mistletoe for the nights ritual at Stonehenge. Hearing Chrisween’s menacing growls, causing her to lose her balance, she rustles the branches’ of the oak, the moonlight flashes off her golden sickle into the Viking eyes below her. She sees him blend into the moon light frozen with fear.
“Odin comes for the dead, RUN” the Viking said screaming running past his comrades. The others, having heard Chrisween’s growl, join running stumbling tumbling to the light and warmth and safety of the fire. Screaming
“Odin comes, Odin comes”.
Joining the rest of the group they tell of the encounter.
“Burn the dead” The leader said.
They hastily gather all the bodies and through them on the fire and anything that would burn including the half cast of scotch. Fearful of Odin they lit torches and force-marched, double time, back to the coast.
Kathleen seeing the Vikings leave, she fines her way to the safety of Stonehenge.
Chrisween sensing no sign of movement from her uninvited guest edged closer, Sniffing and licking the wound on Avon forehead, Avon flinches and whimpers. The scent of the field flowers, the musk of Avon. Avon whispered whimper stirred feelings deep in her, feelings of being needed, of motherhood, feelings of love, obsessed her. Chrisween continues to clean Avon’s wounds. Having finished she laid her head on Avon’s abdomen, Avon stirred reaching for his side, his hand encounter the nap of Chrisween neck, they sleep.
With the dawn Chrisween awake, she slides from under Avon’s arm, slowly so as to not disturb him. With reluctantly she ventures out of the den, too find food and water. She finds the consequence of the gathering’s grizzly feast of the night past; Repulsed by the smell of smoldering wool and burned flesh, she backs away. She finds the cows mutilated remains wet with the spice of scotch and mead. Scattering the black birds she ate her fill, she runs back to her charge.
Returning she muzzles his hand back on her head falling into a slumber deep with love.
The pull of the spring equinox’s new moon wakes Chrisween to the faint song of Kathleen singing in the Henge. She slide away and runs to the Henge, too Kathleen. There she pulls at Kathleen to come with her. Kathleen senses Chrisween urgent plea of help and follows Chrisween hurried gait.
In the den Kathleen lights her candled lamp.
“What do you have here?”
Chrisween replies with a sorrowful cry.
“Must be one of those heathen raiders, I cannot do for this one, he is of the dead.” Kathleen said.
Chrisween’s cry became a growled command she push Kathleen’s hand to the object in Avon chest. Kathleen pulls it out saying
“This is an Assassin’s Katara.” She admired the artfully dagger
Chrisween growled and pawed Avon’s chest. Kathleen looked and saw the wound was bleeding more. She grab cobwebs for the dens walls and packed the into Avon’s wound. Taking Avon’s plaid she wrapped it around his chest. Chrisween paced crying like a protective mother, hovering on Kathleen’s every move. Kathleen rubbed mistletoe, oak, and brunt orchids in her hands crushing them into a perfumed oil, she rubbed the oil on Avon forehead wounds. Then placing an oak and mistletoe wreath on his chest, she began to chant
“Joro, Joro, come Joro, come Joro, make well this one, Joro come”
The den begins to fill with a luminous violet mist, and a voice comes from deep within the back of the den
“Who wake Joro?” Coming closer the voice of Joro speaks again.
“Why do you seek this man, he is Odin’s.”
Kathleen cowers on the ground her face pressing the ground. Chrisween snarls growling a warning.
“Speak beast of dogs, you have a tongue.” said Joro
“He is my mate.” said Chrisween.
“You mate with a man? He is not of your kind”. Joro laughs.
“I love him. Please; I will do anything, just give him to me.” Chrisween pleaded.
“I cannot change him for you, he is Odin’s” Joro said.
“Handmaiden, what do you say of this?” asked Joro.
Frightened Kathleen still prostrate on the ground said “Men they frighten me, I know not of them.”
Joro replies “such caution bests fits a dog” daring to thrill Kathleen said “If that is your wish. Would I run wild?”
“Enough of this, he is mine.” Odin roars.
Thor steps in
” I will be the judge of this, Odin. What is your price?”
“Fifty men in honored battle.” said Odin.
“Joro what do you say to this?” Thor said
“My handmaiden is a dog and the she is a warrior heart sick with love for a man.” Joro replied.
Thor strikes his hammer
“Done, girl you are now the dog. Men will fear you. You will be hunted. You will howl at the moon praying to be release and you will hide from men.”
Chrisween now Kathleen back into the shadows cowering low her eyes turned cold as the blue of a haloed moon.
“She you are now the woman. You will have your mate. You will know love. You must pay Odin’s price fifty men in honored battle. The Assassin’s Katara is your bond.” Thor commands.
Kathleen now Chrisween stands her eyes turn brown as the ground, her hand holds the Katara.
Thor strikes his hammer, saying
“You Woman and She shall not enter Valhalla, till the debt is paid. Your time will stand here till the price is paid.”
Thor strikes his hammer again saying
“It is written in Stonehenge.”
The thunder roars the lighting flash and the den is silent.
Avon wakes saying
“Where am I? Who are you?”
“I am Chrisween your mate and we are in the den of a wolf call ‘She’”