Breathing heavily Bjorn leaned on his bloodied battle axe, surveying the carnage before him. The smell of war and death filled the air and screams of the dying could be heard from every direction.
“And what exactly are we supposed to do with this lot?” he pondered, crows already picking hungrily at the dead.
Helgar laughed. “Don’t look at me my friend, they can lay here and rot for all I’m concerned.” He scratched his thick beard, matted with blood. “And besides” he continued, “My back is killing me and there is no way I’m piling up the dead. And besides have you seen this blister! Digging holes like this Christians prefer will make a right old mess of my hand” Helgar thrust out a bloodied hand, a large blister forming on the webbing between thumb and fore finger. “Look, it really hurts!”
“Oh don’t give me that about your back” Bjorn replied, heaving a large scarred shield from the ground “you’re always going on about it. It looked perfectly fine when you were hacking that Goth’s head off!”
Helgar wasn’t a fan of manual labour. Pillaging and raping were all good and well but fetching and carrying wasn’t for him. “Oh how dare you, you’re one to talk!” he replied, “Were it not for me and my axe you’d have been crow meat by now!”
“How about we just finish off some of the dying and decide then, how does that sound?”
Helgar loved finishing off the dead. It was one of his favourite things, that and ale. And women of course – apart from those British ones he’d encountered in Britannia – they were a rather unpleasant lot. His blue eyes twinkled and a broad smile spread across his bloodied face. “I think I’ll use a sword today though, given how my back aches. It’s a bit less wearing than swinging an axe you know”. He winked at Bjorn playfully.
“Oh will you shut up about your back! “Said Bjorn, swinging his axe casually into the chest of a young Goth warrior who lay groaning as he clutched a rather nasty stomach would.
“Ooh look at this” Helgar exclaimed, reaching down to snatch a gold pendant from around the neck of a fat corpse. “This will look great with that cloak I took from that priest last week!”
“Oh I like that“, said Bjorn, slowly pushing his thick blade into the heart of a young shield maiden “it’s a bit like that one I wore to Tobar’s wedding.”
Helgar remembered it well. “Oh now that was a great night! That roast they had was gorgeous. I’ve never tasted anything like it.”
“I think it was the salt and garlic you know” said Bjorn. “I spoke to him afterwards and he said the fellow for Aarlsberg has a chap who gets it for him”.
Bjorn pulled out a small knife and bending down slit the throat of an older Goth chieftain. “Funny you know Helgar, I like to send off the older ones a little more intimately.”
Helgar snorted “you’re all heart my friend”.
Bjorn wiped his blade and put it back in it’s sheath on his belt. “You know what else I was thinking?”
“What” said Helgar.
“I was thinking about doing some poetry”.
“Whooooo” exclaimed Helgar excitedly as he removed the head of a chap who was already missing an arm. “Poetry you say? I did a bit when I was younger you know.”
“Did you Really?” Bjorn responded, “I never had you down as the poetic type”
“Oh yeah, did a great piece about a long boat once. I painted a rather vivid picture apparently”.
“Hmmm” Bjorn mused. “I’m definitely going to have a go when we get back to the village. I always get a bit bored when pillaging season is over”
“Great idea” Helgar replied. “It will help you relax. Lately I’ve been doing some basket making. Helps immensely with the creative urges”.
“Well you are a dark horse aren’t you“.
“Oh yeah” he grinned, stabbing a thrashing horse in the eye and driving his blade deep into its brain until it lay still on the blood stained grass. “What a waste of a bloody good horse!”
Helgar adjusted his armour; it had a terrible habit of riding up on him. “You hungry?”
“Starving” Bjorn replied, “Have you got anything to eat? “
“No but I left some bread up with the rest of my stuff up on the hill. Shall we go get something to eat and carry on with this later?”
“Sounds good to me, we can finish this later they’re not going anywhere”. He smiled. “We can take a look at that blister as well”.