Chapter 111 – My Death

I died from this life in my night dress, cowering and cringing in my cellar, begging for my life before my enemies. Thugs, vagabonds and men for hire. I did not live up to Viking ideals, nor to the stories of the valiant Kings of Norway and the other heroes portrayed in my writings. It being more than two hundred and forty years since Christianity was brought into law in my Iceland, yet I found myself compelled from time to time, to regard the old Gods as being more relevant to my thinking. At least more interesting. I expected to be greeted by the one eyed Odin when Arni beisker’s axe struck my head.

There was the swish of the air as his axe swung down, the sound of it seemed to last forever, like the claxon of the church bell hanging in the cold still autumn air. The sharp pungent smell of the iron of his blade as it descended upon my head, the coarse rust and filings from the sharpening stone mixing with my sweet blood. I raised my arm to shield myself from Arni’s blow, he cleaved my forearm and made me suffer the inevitable pain twice before receiving the death blow. It happened so quickly. It happened so slowly, like a pantomime playing out in short stalled actions to prolong my terror. But the terror did not last. It vanished when I knew it was my end. I wondered, in that moment if that was how it was for those slain on the field in battle. I stayed frozen in those few seconds before death when the entire span of one’s life replays itself. It was in that eternity between Arni’s first and second blow that I relived all those years of my life spent with Hallveig. It was she that embraced me, as a mother would embrace a frightened child; it was she that brought me safely to this place. I am grateful that I left my life before any pain from my cleaved skull reached me.

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