a reply to: SprocketUK
“We can't be that bad, then, if you keep coming back.” mumbled Micky between long swigs from the rapidly emptying bottle.
“Ach, no. We aren't so different. Beer, sausages and fussball!” Cackled the old man and just at that moment I thought I'd never heard something so
right in all my life and it made me wonder, I don't know why, about the football match on Christmas day, on the Somme in the Great War. When the
Germans and our lads came out of their trenches and just refused to kill each other for a few hours.
“I suppose you are right there.” I said “I always liked German beer, better than this slop” I gestured with my can of mass produced lager and
the old guy toasted me with the one I had passed over to him.
“Yah, zo Eye pee eigh is der bomb!” He said and after we worked it out, we had a chuckle. Seems he really did know the country if he knew our
better beers, like the infamous India Pale Ale, strong and hoppy and so good that even the Yanks were making it these days and damn well too.
Hilda was pretty quiet, just sipping at her beer and laughing when we did, adding the odd comment of her own and most definitely not falling for
either mine nor Brian's charms.
Eventually though, we had all eaten, drank our fill and enjoyed a smoke or three and we settled down in our sleeping bags.
It must have been an hour later when I had to get up and take a walk to a tree a suitable distance from the dull glow of our dying fire. As I zipped
up and started to make my way back, I noticed Hilda, emerging from the barrow with an empty, cloth bag in her hands.
“Alright?” I asked and to be fair, she didn't even blink as she answered me.
“Yah, I just left some iron for the smith....What about you?”
I raised an eyebrow at a German girl knowing a local legend like that and pointed over my shoulder back at the trees. “Call of nature.” I said.
Then asked “You really believe that stuff?” Nodding towards the long barrow with a grin on my face, but not really mocking her, we all throw salt
over our shoulders don't we?
We didn't go back to the fire, she took my hand and we wandered through the copse, eventually finding our way back as the sun was starting to come up,
casting a golden light over everything and the chill air prickling my skin...or that may have been the after effects of the best tumble of my
life...What? You think all we did was walk hand in hand through some trees in the dark? Yeah...
I stoked up the embers of the fire and added a few twigs and things before putting a brew on. You can't start the day without a mug of tea and call
yourself an Englishman after all. When I sat back and rolled a cigarette, I noticed Hilda coming back from the Barrow again with the cloth from
earlier, only this time it was wrapped around something long and thin. I was just about to ask the question when she smiled and nodded...not at me
though, but as I turned, I saw the old man smiling back at her and nodding.
“Goot!” He said then placed a hand on my shoulder, saying “This is for you, a gift, for your hospitality.” and before I could protest, the
girl thrust the cloth wrapped bundle into my arms and whipped her hand back, uncovering a sword! Yes, a real, honest to god sword. Not some fancy
fencing thing either, but one that would look more at home in the hands of a Viking or something. The steel was rippled with dark and light swirls and
the hilt was wrapped in leather and gold wire.
I looked dumbly between Hilda and her dad and the old man said “It used to belong to my son, but now it is yours, young man. Take care of it and
never forget that a hero only dies once, whereas a coward must suffer a thousand deaths!”
“Th...thanks, but really, I can't take this.” I said and they both shook their heads and howled with laughter.
My feet were warm, really warm and I woke up with a start as Bryan and Micky couldn't control their laughter anymore. The idiots had swung me around
so that the bottom of my sleeping bag was right next to the resurgent fire and busy melting itself around my feet. I leapt out of the bag and hopped
around, cursing and threatening them with all sorts of violence while they kept themselves just out of reach, laughing like hyenas and I soon gave up
as I needed to take care of some of the beer I drank last night.
The comforting smell of tea greeted me as I returned and just as I passed the entrance to the barrow I saw the glint of silvery metal in the gloom. My
heart nearly stopped and I ducked low and went in, reaching out and yes! It was the sword!
“Hey, lads!” I shouted as I emerged. “Look what those Germans left for the smith!” Micky looked at me funny and said “What Germans? There
was only us four here last night. You must have had a good bit of bud in that last joint!”
“No.” I said, shaking my head. “The old, one eyed guy, Odi, and his daughter, Hilda.” I said, as if they'd have forgotten those two.
“No, mate” said Bry. “You must have been off your face, me and Mickey were talking about Wotan and Brunhilde from the ring cycle and how Wotan,
Odin and Woden are just different names for the same god, depending on if you were from England, Germany or Scandinavia.”
“How do you explain this then?” I demanded, holding up the sword.
“Dunno, mate, there's always some weirdo around that will leave something like that around for a giggle or whatever though. Just smile and thank
your luck for getting a free sword.” Mickey smirked as he said that and I wasn't inclined to push it, you don't want your brothers thinking you are
mental, after all. It could cost you your patch and I'd spent too long earning my way into the Sons of Siegfried MC to jeopardise my position now.
edit on 59pWed, 25 May 2016 12:27:59 -050020162016-05-25T12:27:59-05:00kAmerica/Chicago31000000k by SprocketUK because: addendum