Age of Vengeance Part 2
A viking raiding party, under the command of Rodin, arrives to raid an seemingly unsuspecting coastal trading port. The Templar order comes to the aid of the town and defeats the Viking force, killing all but Rodin whom is taken captive.
Back to Part 1
Rodin awakens to the sound of distant footsteps. The taste of copper in his mouth reminds him of his bitter defeat. Flashes of the battle play out before his eyes. He remembers the joy he felt when the doors to the monastery opened atop the far hill when he and his men stormed the beach of the trading port; The rush as he cut down Templar after Templar with his blazing ax.
Then he remembers him. The Templar commander standing at the top of the hill, watching the battle play out. He remembers locking eyes with his foe and tearing a hole in the enemy forces to get to him. Just the memory of the white light from Nathaniel's sword as he repels Rodin's advance is enough to blind him. Rage fills the Viking's heart as he raises his head to yell towards the heavens.
Only now does Rodin feel the weight of steel around his neck. He tries to raise his arm to his throat, but it too is bound. Wherever Rodin is, the room is completely devoid of light. He struggles, only to reopen fresh wounds. His body has yet to recover from the extensive damage at the hands of the seasoned Templar. Rodin slouches down on his knees, his legs folding underneath him.
“Brenna,” The Viking whispers, his voice hoarse. Sparks dance at his fingertips just long enough for him to take in the size of his prison. It is a large circular room, of which Rodin is the only occupant. The chains that bind his limbs and throat are the middle set of three that adorn the back wall of his prison. There is only one door on the far side of the room and the ceiling seemed to have no limit, rising endlessly into the pitch-black void above him. The door opens sending light bounding into the room, blinding Rodin for a moment. A figure stands in the doorway.
“So, the mighty heathen witch awakens.” Says a contemptuous voice. An image flashes before his eyes once more; the memory of his brothers in arms kneeling before their enemy, of their throats slit by Templar blades. The sound of their pained screams play in his head, only to be followed by the arrogant tone of the Templar commander who condemns them. It was Nathaniel that stood before him.
Rodin thrashes forward at the Templar, held back by his chains and consumed by hate. This man robbed his men of a glorious death. Now their souls would be damned to Hel, never to know the joys of Valhalla. They would be forever known as the Dishonored Dead. Howling with rage, he pushes forward with all his might. Blood drips from his arms and throat as his bindings tear new wounds.
“Seems you still have some fight left in you. No matter, soon you'll be a threat to no man.” Rodin slumps down into his earlier position, gasping for breath. The Templar continues to stare at him for a moment longer before turning around.
“The elders will strip you of your magic, Witch. Then I will strip you of your flesh.” He turns his head to look at Rodin once more. “We'll see how much fight you have then.” Rodin raises his head to look the Templar in the eye. His gaze bores deep into him, as if to suggest their war was far from over. Shaking his head, the Templar closes the door behind him, entombing Rodin in darkness once more.
Leaning back against the stone wall, Rodin stares up into the void above him. Closing his eyes he imagines his wife back home, his son running up to greet him as he returns from the pillage. He imagines sitting in the great hall, drinking with his comrades and listening to the bard sing of his conquests. He imagines taking his son up to the shaman's hut to teach him about magic. The wonder in his boy's eyes as Rodin makes the sparks dance around his fingers causes a single tear to fall down his cheek.
“If only he could see his father now,” a voice calls from the darkness. Suspicious, Rodin hesitates before calling his reply.
“Who goes there?”
“A friend,” The voice whispers. “Someone who can help return you to your family.” The air is eerily still, as if Rodin were still alone in his cell.
“Name yourself, I have no friends here.”
“Ah, but you do,” The voice assures him. “And now more than ever you could use one, Rodin.”
“How do you know me?” Rodin calls out. Silence is all that meets his question for some time. He is almost convinced that the voice was his imagination getting the better of him when the voice finally responds.
“I saw the battle. Gruesome. But that fury of yours is commendable.” The voice pauses for a moment. “Too bad that once you fell, your comrades folded like wet blankets.” Enraged, Rodin leaps forward only to be pulled back by his chains.
“I said how do you know me!” He calls out into the darkness. “Name yourself!”
“'I am a warrior of Odin! I will not be taken alive!'" The voice mocks. "Of course I know you. As a blood-brother to the All-Father, I should think I would know his first mage.” Rodin freezes in place, his eyes wide and his chest still. The silence between them lingers in the air until Rodin regains his composure.
“Begone Trickster.” He says, waving his hand away. “I would rather die than accept help from the likes of you.”
“Unless you change your mind, die you shall.”
The wooden door opens spilling light into the prison. After allowing a moment for his eyes to adjust, Rodin turns to look around his cell. The Templar's lantern reveals only Rodin and Nathaniel.
“Time to go, Witch. The elders have summoned you.” Nathaniel's stoic expression betrays no emotion as two more Templars enter the room to unbind Rodin and cart him away.
After the ceremony, Rodin is so injured that the guards do not bother with chains when they throw him back into his cell. His skin is torn around his biceps and chest. His beard, caked with blood, still drips. Bruises and lacerations adorn the rest of his body as he lays in the middle of the pitch-black room.
“You could have avoided that,” a voice calls from the darkness. Rodin attempts to respond but his weak lungs give out into a coughing fit. “Let me assure you, my daughter is not as charming as I." the voice continues, "My offer still stands.”
“Leave me Trickster. It would be more honorable to accept death than to receive assistance from the likes of you.” Rodin's breathing is shallow, making his voice barely a whisper.
“You won't last much longer. Where is the honor in bleeding out on a prison floor?" The voice taunts. Rodin grunts in pain.
"I can give you life." The voice entices.
“And what would be the point of life?” Rodin asks. “The Templars will execute me at first light.”
“All the more reason you should accept my offer.” The voice replies alluringly. “I can return what they stole from you. Your magic. Your honorable death.” Rodin offers the voice silence as he contemplates his response.
“Don't you wish to see your son again?”