about: wrote on he phone while I was stuck waiting for my ride. Pardon possible typos, haha! :) just some free-flow stuff I might end up using.
The fire of the great hall crackled as the flames licked the darkness that evening had brought with it. They had all gathered to hear Old Halvdan tell one of his stories.
“Put no trust in what your eyes tell you they see. It’s too easy to believe them. Beware the dwellers of the forest, roamers of the mountains, the dancers in the mist. There are thing in there not even the finest blade can cut.”
The orange glow of the fire gave the old man’s leathery face an eerie hue, Hreidar half expected to hear the creaking sound of actual leather as the man spoke.
“My time is almost up, I will soon leave this world to be with the gods, if such is my fate. I will tell you the story of how I lost my arm, and how I came to live for a hundred years.”
Everyone knew Old Halvdan had been around for as long as any of them could remember, but no one wholeheartedly believed he was that old. Well, except Hreidar’s sister, Ine. But she was just a toddler, barely old enough to speak.
“I was once young, like all of you,” the old man said with a crowing chuckle. “Believe as you will. I was no more than twenty summers, ha, a youth still wet behind his ears. There was a shortage of food here in the village, if I recall, and I was up in the woods. Had been tracking a great moose for two days.”
Hreidar liked listening to stories, especially Old Halvdan’s. There was just something about the old one’s voice, and something about his eyes. They seemed to know every little thing by just looking.
“I was so focused at my task that I did not realise how far into the woods I had gone. When I finally cornered the moose a thick mist came over us. That is when I saw them, magnificent, beautiful, and out of this world.”
The old man’s face creaked into a content smile, and he let out a sigh before he continued. “The Disir are a fascinating kind, unlike any I have seen through my many years. Both the moose and myself were so mesmerised by their presence that we did not notice the troll that came crashing through the trees into the clearing.”
Halvdan coughed. “Hreidar,” he wheezed. “Fetch this old storyteller a drink, will you? My voice is not what it once was.”
Hreidar hurried to comply, eager to hear the rest of the tale. Halvdan smiled broadly at him when he returned with a drinking horn filled to the brim with mead.
“Thank you, my boy,” Halvdan crowed and drained half of it in a swift succession of gulps.
“At least your gullet seems to be working good as ever,” Hreidar’s brother Bodvar remarked. A comment which earned plenty of laughter, even from Halvdan himself, to Bodvar’s misfortune. The old man had had a mouth full of mead, most of which now covered Bodvar.
“Where was I,” Halvdan said once they had all settled down again. “Oh yes, the troll. I don’t remember thinking much, I simply reacted and let loose the arrow I had already knocked. It hit he troll right in the eye. As you all know that alone isn’t enough to fell a troll, luckily for me the Disir surrounded the troll, thick swirling mist.
“That is when I saw it. The embodiment of the forest itself, the white lynx with eyes blue as ice. It pounced on the troll, jaws clamping down on the neck. My did he troll trash about! But it was as dead as as I was dumbstruck, only neither of us had realised it quite yet.”
Halvdan paused his tale, drained the remaining half of the drinking horn and held it out toward Hreidar. There was something hopeful in the old man’a eyes, Hreidar glanced at his father and went to fill he horn again after receiving a nod from Harald.
“The Disir were grateful, one of them offered to stay with me as thanks, which is why I have lived to such high age.”
“But how did you lose your arm?” Bodvar insisted.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” Halvdan exclaimed. “I struck a bargain with the Lynx. In return for my arm I’d get enough good game hunting to provide for the entire village over the winter to come.”
Hreidar studied the old man, but could not catch any signs of the old man lying. Unlike his brother, Bodvar, Hreidar felt no disappointment at hearing the arm hadn’t been Los in combat.