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Why there's a sword on my wall [ACF2016]

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posted on May, 25 2016 @ 12:24 PM
I kicked a couple of half burnt bits of fence post back into the glowing fire and leant down to poke at a few of the foil wrapped lumps that were sitting in the glowing embers and ash around the edges. We had six potatoes, jackets on and four cheap lumps of shin beef wrapped up with coarsely chopped onions and a slug or two of lager, fresh from the can. The fact that there were originally only four of us and now we were six didn't matter as Bryan's latest girlfriend, Svetlana, I think, though it may have been something else, she looked like a Svetlana, tall, willowy, blonde and haunted. She had a Russian accent too..or Latvian or something. I never did bother paying too much attention to Bri's girlfriends, they never stuck around long...Anyway, turns out she was vegetarian...Never bothered to ask whether it was because of animal rights or whether she was on a clean eating thing...I vaguely remember Brian saying something about her being trafficked, but it was late when we had that conversation and too much whisky and other stuff had been consumed and, well, it was all sort of hazy, you know? But it would explain the fight that we had had, along with Mickey, our other mate, now lounging by the fire and sipping at a bottle of warmish Ozzie Shiraz (It had been on the news recently that red wine stopped you getting cancer so he had sworn off beer and spirits until he inevitably ran out of wine).
Anyway, that's not really my point. It was the other two that were bugging me, not in a major, getting on my nerves way (that would have been easily fixed), no, it was just...something that I couldn't put my finger on...
I'm getting ahead of myself.
We had decided to head out of town for a few days after getting on the wrong side of some local Albanians or Serbs or something, just a gang of track suited tough guys who thought they ran the drugs and girls in our small, southern English town. Bryan had got sweet on this dancer..yep, Svetlana, and when she turned up one night with a black eye, that was really the end of it all. You don't let your mate take the heat on his own, even if what he does is foolish, you back him up. And really, Brian and Mickey were more than mates, we were brothers. We'd grown up together, got nicked together, drunk and fought and most importantly rode our bikes together for the last 9 years.
Yes, we were in the local club and yes, sometimes motorcycle clubs have bad types in them and some of those people do illegal or dangerous or nasty things. We were really in it for the bikes and the booze and the birds though...Can't beat it, even if sometimes you end up three strong against a dozen other guys because your brother is the last of the romantics...We had to skip town, the odds against us meant it was never going to be all Queensberry rules. The fight was short, brutal and very very messy. We walked away with a few cuts and bruises but nothing worse. The Albanians didn't...

We rode out of town, our bikes loaded down with some scoff, sleeping bags and plenty of booze and some other things to make the party swing. We hit the road, Hard, and soon were swinging around Oxford and picking up the A420. There's no point going through Oxford, ever. Unless you are visiting the Ashmolean museum or checking out the dreaming spires or something. It's a horrible town to drive through as are most these days, with their traffic calming and speed bumps and idiotic one way systems. Through Faringdon and onto Swindon, a quick blast around the magic roundabout, just for a laugh...if you have never tried it, you really are missing out on one of the most crazy pieces of the road designer's art that these small islands can boast. We added a few extra miles this way, but the fuel is cheaper in Swindon than out in the villages anyway and we still had a few miles to go. We came back out and picked up the A419 for a bit, then turned off onto the first of the B roads that led us past isolated cottages, small hamlets and villages until we came upon the trail that leads up to the white horse at Uffington. It's a giant, carved figure of something vaguely horsey carved into the green turf of the chalk hills. Done by ancient Celts, either as an offering to the Goddess Epona or simply as a big finger up to the other tribes around who never had a big hill to carve a horse on.
We followed the trail, which leads onto an ancient road called the Ridgeway which goes all the way from Avebury Stone circle to Stone Henge. Pre Roman, so there you go Monty Python, that's one thing the Romans didn't give us, roads, we already had them thank you very much. If you follow this a little way you pass the hill that Saint George is supposed to have killed his dragon and eventually come to a small copse of trees surrounding a long barrow, a sort of old burial chamber. This one is called Wayland's Smithy...Which always made me think of the Weyland-Yutani corporation from the Alien films, but it's named for another old god, Wayland, god of the smiths. Some people reckon you should leave a bit of iron for him. This is where we made our camp and by morning, there would be plenty of iron, tin and aluminium scattered around for the old bugger.

It was just after I'd tossed the fourth spud into the fire that the old bloke and his daughter turned up. He must have been about six foot six and broad with it. He had a greying beard that came down to his chest in a point, trudged along with the aid of a long staff, like the kind ramblers use but without the y shape at the top. The most striking thing about him was his eye, or rather the missing one. He had a scrap of cloth over his left eye and I saw him lift it at one point to worry at the puckered, scarred flesh where the socket used to be with the tip of his finger. He said (in English, but with a thick German accent) That his name was Odi and he was walking the Ridgeway with his daughter, Hilda. She was a fine girl, that one. Icy blue eyes, long blonde hair, clear skin and a chest that looked like a photo finish in a Zeppelin race. She could drink too and she had a smile that could reach the parts other beers hadn't ever heard of. After a few minute's worth of worrying that they were Serbian assassins or something, sent after us because of last night's fun and games, we decided to let them join us by our fire. Me and Micky didn't want to spend the night trying not to notice Bry getting his rocks off and any distraction was worthwhile, so I threw the spare spuds in the fire and we cracked a few more tins and started chatting and trying to be not totally obvious about hitting on Hilda.

The old fella asked about our bikes and the patches on our backs and we lied about how fast we rode and how many fights we have had and all the usual kinds of things you do when the drink is flowing and you are in good company. Soon though, we turned the talk around to our guests, it's a habit you get into, not talking too much about yourself when you are in a club such as ours.

“So yer from Germany, then?” Says Bry, taking a break from tongue wrestling the lovely Svetlana.
“Yah.” Says the old man. “Though I have been to England many many times. Even lived here at one time.”

“Really? Where?” I asked, quite surprised by this. Hilda replied “Oh, all over really, but that was long ago.” I thought it can't have been that long ago since she only looked, what, twenty five or so?

posted on May, 25 2016 @ 12:25 PM
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

posted on May, 25 2016 @ 02:26 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

Really good writing, S/F

posted on May, 25 2016 @ 03:25 PM
a reply to: Quantum12


posted on May, 26 2016 @ 11:44 AM
a reply to: SprocketUK


Loved the details and the weaving in of the old myths! Old gods at the campfire - well done!!


posted on May, 26 2016 @ 06:33 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard
Thanks for that

posted on Jun, 16 2016 @ 07:17 PM
Nice writing
cool story

posted on Jun, 16 2016 @ 07:22 PM
a reply to: cosmickat

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