Firelight

“What are we going to do?” said one militiaman to the other.

“I… I don’t know. The Yarless must have some sort of plan. Her sons will fight with us against them. There must be something.”

“You really think so?”

The other militiaman, the older of the two, with silver flecked down his beard and his eyes full of fear considered the question. He said, “No. I don’t.”

They both looked out from the town walls.

Across the dozen miles of farm plots and pastures at the edge of the forests to the north, hung dozens, maybe hundreds of firelights. Each glowing with warm threatening light.

The message was simple.

New Rekvik was completely outnumbered and reinforcements were unlikely.

“What can we even do against Whistling Jack?” said the younger man.

The older man shrugged, “Not much. The Skraelings are many and they have good reason to fight.”

The younger man scoffed, “They need to get over it.”

“Oh should they? The lands of their forefathers was taken from them. They have good reason to want it back.”

“Our forbearers lost their homeland!”

“We lost our homeland by the grace of the gods. You want to fight Thor himself for Eastland? You want to return to an island of volcanos and rocks that you’ve never even seen before?” The young man didn’t say anything. “They know who took their land. They can look at each town and count. They can look us in the eyes or down a rifle’s sight to see who took their land.”

The wind howled over the wood and steel battlements.

The older man exhaled, “We did.”

#

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