“Loosen your weapons,” said Svein Blue Tooth. The men shifted. Swords were withdrawn from scabbards; arrows were fitted to the string, spears more firmly gripped.
It seemed strange to me that men, only men, would dare to pit themselves against Kurii. I did not know then, of course, about the fury.
Svein Blue Tooth had his head down.
I sensed it first in the giant, Rollo. It was not a human noise. It was a snarl, a growl, like the sound of a larl, a-wakening from its sleep. The hair on my neck stood on end. I
turned. The giant head was slowly lifting itself, and turn-ing. Its eyes were closed. I could see blood beginning to move through the veins of its forehead. Then the eyes
opened, and no longer were they vacant, but deep within them, as though beginning from far away, there seemed the glint of some terrible light. I saw his fists close and
open. His shoulders were hunched down. He half crouched, as though waiting, tense, while the thing, the frenzy, the madness, began to burn within him.
“It is beginning,” said Ivar Forkbeard to me.
“I do not understand,” I said.
“Be quiet,” said he. “It is beginning.”
I saw then Svein Blue Tooth, the mighty jarl of Torvalds-land, lift his own head, but it did not seem, then, to be him.
It seemed rather a face I had not seen before. The eyes did not seem those of the noble Blue Tooth, but of something else, unaccountable, not understood. I saw him
suddenly thrust his left forearm against the broad blade of his spear. To my horror I saw him sucking at his own blood.
I saw a man, fighting the frenzy, tear handfuls of his own hair from his head. But it was coming upon him, and he could not subdue it.
Other men were restless. Some dug at the earth with their boots. Others looked about themselves, frightened. The eyes of one man began to roll in his head; his body
seemed shaken, trembling; he muttered incoherently.
Another man threw aside his shield and jerked open the shirt at his chest, looking into the valley.
I heard others moan, and then the moans give way to the sounds of beasts, utterances of incontinent rage.
Those who had not yet been touched stood terrified among their comrades in arms. They stood among monsters.
“Kurii,” I heard someone say.
“Kill Kurii,” I heard. “Kill Kurii.”
“What is it?” I asked Ivar Forkbeard.
I saw a man, with his fingernails, blind himself, and feel no pain. With his one remaining eye he stared into the valley. I could see foam at the side of his mouth. His breathing
was deep and terrible.
“Look upon Rollo,” said the Forkbeard.
The veins in the neck, and on the forehead, of the giant bulged, swollen with pounding blood. His head was bent to one side. I could not look upon his eyes. He bit at the rim
of his shield, tearing the wood, splintering it with his teeth.
“It is the frenzy of Odin,” said the Forkbeard. “It is the frenzy of Odin.”
Man by man, heart by heart, the fury gripped the host of Svein Blue Tooth.
It coursed through the thronged warriors; it seemed a tangible thing, communicating itself from one to another; it was almost as though one could see it, but one could not
see it, only its effects. I could trace its passage. It seemed first a ghastly infection, a plague; then it seemed like a fire, in-visible and consuming; then it seemed like the
touching of these men by the hands of gods, but no gods I knew, none to whom a woman or child might dare pray, but the gods of men, and of the men of Torvaldsland, the
dread, harsh di-vinities of the cruel north, the gods of Torvaldsland. And the touch of these gods, like their will, was terrible.
Ivar Forkbeard suddenly threw back his head and, silently, screamed at the sky.
The thing had touched him.
The breathing of the men, their energy, their rage, the fury, was all about me.
A bowstring was being drawn taut. I heard the grinding of teeth on steel, the sound of men biting at their own flesh.
I could no longer look on Ivar Forkbeard. He was not the man I had known. In his stead there stood a beast.
I looked down into the valley. There were the lodges of the Kurri. I recalled them. Well did I remember their treach-ery, well did I remember the massacre, hideous, merciless,
in the hall of Svein Blue Tooth.
“Kill Kurii,” I heard.
Within me then, irrational, like lava, I felt the beginning of a strange sensation.
“I must consider the beauty of the Torvaldsberg,” I told myself. But I could not look again at the cold, bleak beauty of the mountain. I could look only into the valley, where,
unsuspecting, lay the enemy.
“It is madness,” I told myself. “Madness!” In the lodges below slept Kurii, who had killed, who had massacred in the night. In my pouch, even now, there lay the golden
armlet, which once had been worn by the woman, Telima.
Below, unsuspecting, they lay, the enemy, the Kurii.
“No,” I said. “I must resist this thing.”
I drew forth the golden armlet which had been worn by Telima.
On a bit of fiber I tied it about my neck. I held it. Below lay the enemy.
I closed my eyes. Then I sucked in the air between my teeth.
Somewhere, far off, on another world, lit by the same star, rnen hurried to work.
I fought the feelings which were rearing within me. As well might I have fought the eruption of the volcano, the shifting of the strata of the earth.
I heard the growling, the fury, of those about me.
Below us lay the Kurii.
I opened my eyes.
The valley seemed to me red with rage, the sky red, the faces of those about me. I felt a surge of frenzy building within me. I wanted to tear, to cut, to strike, to destroy.
It had touched me, and I stood then within its grip, in that red, burning world of rage.
The bowstring was taut.
There was foam at the mouth of Svein Blue Tooth. His eyes were those of a madman.
I lifted my ax.
The thousands of the men of Torvaldsland, on either side of the valley, made ready. One could sense their seething, the unbearable power, the tenseness.
The signal spear, in the hand of the frenzied Blue Tooth, its scarlet talmit wrapped at the base of its blade, was lifted. The breathing of thousands of men, waiting to be un-
leashed, to plunge to the valley, for an instant was held. The sun flashed on the shield. The signal spear thrust to the valley.
With one frenzied cry the host, in its fury, from either side of the valley, plunged downward.
“The men of Torvaldsland,” they cried, “are upon you!” Marauders of Gor, page 245-248
Land of the Brave and the Strong. Beware lest you hear the call:
"The men of Torvaldsland are upon you!"
|This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor
All rights reserved.
|This image was unsigned, but quite beautiful, I am not the
artist behind it and thank whomever took the time to create it.