Free to LovebyPelaam©
Pelaam(c): August 2007.
Vidarr stormed into the small town with the rest of his raiding party. Everyone separated to cover more ground, yelling loudly and swinging either axe or sword. Vidarr powered towards a medium-sized single story dwelling. He crashed through the door as it gave way under his axe's blows and the big man bellowed as loudly as he could. It was a two-fold ploy. He detested unnecessary killing and his shouts not only boosted his own courage, but served to frighten away any potential opponent. He preferred to see people running from him. He kicked open an inner door and screamed at the figure he could see in the dim light.
Roderick stopped his futile struggles against the thick rope that bound his iron-clad ankle to the thick ring embedded in the floor. He gazed up in unadulterated fear at the demon that stood shrieking maniacally at him from the doorway. The horned hat, the thick, dirty blond mane and beard, the fierce blue eyes that seemed to bore into his very soul and the sheer, raw, almost animalistic masculinity of the creature shook him to his core. As the being roared again, Roderick could do no more than cover his face with his hands as his body shook uncontrollably with fear and sobbed.
"Not hurt I. Please."
Vidarr stood stunned. As dark as this one was Vidarr could understand, through thickly accented speech, his own language. Now that his eyes had adjusted to the dimness, he could see the figure was a boy or youth. Dark hair fell in waves to past his slender shoulders. His skin was the colour of mead or honey. He was dressed in a rough tunic that barely skimmed his jewels. Hardly long enough to keep him decent. Vidarr thought. The boy's long, slender legs were bent and the big blond now knew why he had not run. He could see the blood where the youth had tried to work free from unforgiving metal. He could also see the broken and bloodied nails where desperation had led the dark beauty to dig at the thick hemp that held him prisoner. Not entirely understanding his motives, Vidarr held out one hand in what he hoped looked like a gesture of friendship and slowly sank to one knee beside the boy. He gently touched the bare calf leading to the foot that was held by an iron band.
Roderick felt the touch. It was not rough. The blond demon was not forcing his legs apart or trying to mount him as his mistress had promised when abandoning him to his fate. Roderick lowered his hands to regard the man properly. He could see ... concern... in the pale eyes of the barbarian.
"Not hurt I?" Roderick asked. He could speak the Viking language with some skill, but fear was disjointing his thoughts. He hoped he was making enough sense to the big male. He watched as the man struck his own chest robustly.
"Vidarr," he said.
"Roderick," he replied. He was rewarded by a big grin.
"Vidarr will not hurt Roderick," Vidarr said slowly, wanting to ensure the frightened boy understood him. "Not hurt," he repeated as he raised his axe. He held the slender calf and, with one powerful swing, cut through the rope that bound the youth.
Roderick stared. The barbarian...no, Vidarr, had freed him. He was still staring as the big man began to move away.
"Not go," Roderick pleaded, shocked he had spoken the words aloud. Still fearful brown orbs met those of intelligent blue and a frisson seemed to pass between the two men. Recovering first, Roderick crawled to a rug. "Here," he added. He pulled the rug away and slid his fingers into the knots in the wood below. He lifted a couple of pieces away and pointed down as Vidarr came to peer over his shoulder.
Vidarr gasped. There were plates and cups of gold and assorted jewellery and precious stones. It was a veritable fortune and easily accessible. With this haul, Vidarr could return proud to his boat and not risk having to hurt or kill any of the boy's townsfolk. Grinning he began to fill his sack. A small pendant that seemed out of keeping with the other booty caught his eye. As though guided by the gods, he slipped the piece inside his jerkin. He already seemed to be well rewarded for showing the youth mercy. He glanced at the angelic face and felt a familiar stirring in his groin. Roderick knelt quietly, dark curls framing the beautiful face. The tunic had slipped from a shoulder and revealed the dark disc that surrounded a nipple. Vidarr had never felt an attraction to a man other than of his own people before. Yet here he was certain, for this youth, he felt more than a simple stirring of his manhood. A sudden thought struck the big man.
Roderick blinked at the sudden change of expression as Vidarr looked at him. He watched silently as the big man stared at the raided safekeeping, the cut rope and then at him. He groaned as realisation set in. They will think either I stole the treasure or used it to buy my way to freedom. He turned anguished eyes to his unlikely saviour as though looking for an answer from Vidarr. As he did a hand reached to him.
"Come with Vidarr?" The blond felt as though his words and actions were being guided by another and yet were in keeping with the desires of his heart. He did not want to give up this living treasure, this beautiful, dark-haired boy. He watched, unaware of the breath he held. He felt as though his future happiness depended on Roderick's response. He watched as the youth looked from the floor, to the outstretched hand and finally to pleading blue eyes.
Roderick gave a soft sigh. He could be escaping the cooking pot to be roasted in the flames. He would not be safe if he remained. What choice to I really have? He asked himself. Vidarr could have raped and killed me. Shakily, he reached for the big man.
Vidarr gave a shout of victory, startling Roderick, and effortlessly pulled the boy to his feet. A soft cry had the Viking cursing his stupidity. Roderick was hurt. He eyed the tunic critically. It was obvious the garment was designed to display as much of the boy's flesh as possible whilst remaining nominally decent. The short length was barely covering his jewels and buttocks and the top would slide off one shoulder then the other. His owner clearly found the boy desirable and was displaying him shamelessly. Vidarr grunted in disgust. If the boy were his, he would want to guard such beauty. He walked around the youth before an idea struck. He removed his thick, heavy, long cape and tied it around slender shoulders. He then dropped to one knee in front of the boy.
"Back," he said simply.
"Piggyback," Roderick murmured. He grasped tightly around the powerful neck and wrapped his long limbs about Vidarr's waist. As he did, he felt his cheeks flush with shame as he realised the need for the covering. In this position, his garment had ridden high up his hips and his naked arse would have been on display. He buried his face in long, thick blond tresses and braids as he felt a strong, calloused hand support the thigh of his injured foot. With a yell, they were suddenly moving. Roderick caught occasional glimpses of other raiders as they ran and yelled through the small town. There seemed to be no prisoners, unless Roderick were to count himself.
They quickly reached the beach and Roderick buried his face in Vidarr's neck, fear and pain beginning to mount. A part of him screamed at him to run. These were not his people and, if he went, he would be taken to a land far away, never to see his home again. Another part reasoned that his own people had treated him worse than this raider and, if he stayed, he would still most likely never see his home. He could not even be certain he would be allowed to live. His mistress had shown the cruelty she was capable of by leaving him restrained, knowing the raiders were invading their town. She obviously sought his death, doubtless knowing the depravity of her husband. Holding tight to the big blond, Roderick silently prayed he had been right to trust this man.
Styrr stood welcoming his men back on their longboat. He was pleased to see all his warriors return safe and laden with booty that he hoped would appease their chieftain for some time. He noticed that Vidarr stood away from the other men. Styrr considered him a friend, an honourable man and a reliable, if reluctant, warrior. He lived alone in his small farmhouse, a short way outside their village. It was an unspoken secret amongst those Vidarr called friends that he had no desire to take a wife and what he did behind his closed, locked doors was no one's business but his own. Styrr watched as the men unloaded their gains amidst a general murmur of noise including laughter and backslapping. It was only after everyone else had finished that Vidarr stepped forward. Styrr recognised the look of determination and wondered what the big blond was going to say or do.
"Vidarr, my friend, you step forward last," he said smiling. "Do you have a special reason?"
"What treasure is here you may have and I will lay no claim to any portion of it," Vidarr said. He handed Styrr his sack and at the display of its contents there were murmurs of appreciation as gold and jewels were revealed. "I wish only to keep that I deem as treasure which is at my back. For that I will fight, should anyone challenge."
Styrr watched open-mouthed and slack-jawed as, with a swift manoeuvre, a slender, dark haired, beautiful boy was revealed.
"Finding it so difficult to get a bed-warmer you steal one, Vidarr?" a voice sneered.
Both Styrr and Vidarr turned to regard Eirikk.
"None that enter my bed do so other than by their choice. Nor do they need coins to persuade them," Vidarr growled.
Styrr focused his attention on the boy. He stood staring at Vidarr as if the blond was the only man in existence. He was unlikely to be of much good to his friend as a slave working Vidarr's farm, he was too thin and had no muscle. A slip of a boy would fare badly trying to till their land's unforgiving soil. Whatever he had done in the town, it had not been hard, manual labour. Styrr thought quickly. The gold and gems were an excellent haul. He knew his mind was already set. His friend deserved some happiness in his bleak existence.
"Vidarr may keep the boy in return for no share of today's booty as he wishes. Does any dare gainsay me?" he added menacingly.
Styrr was pleased to see nobody, not even Eirikk who seemed most likely as challenger, spoke up.
"His foot is hurt, Styrr," Vidarr whispered as the other men began to turn away, the drama over. "Can you help tend to it?"
"Let us leave this place," Styrr ordered to the other men, then nodded to Vidarr.
As the ship set sail, Vidarr scooped up his dark beauty and followed Styrr to a quiet part of the ship. He laid Roderick on a pallet of furs, trying to smile reassuringly. He could not be sure of how much the youth understood. He was aware of Styrr watching as he withdrew the pendant from his jerkin and showed it to the boy.
Styrr stood back as Vidarr settled the boy and then pulled out a small trinket from inside his clothing. Styrr smiled as the youth nodded and touched Vidarr's hand before his friend reached to fasten the pendant around a slender throat. He could see the look in Vidarr's eyes and prayed the big man did not find his heart crushed if the boy failed to thrive.
"Thank you," Roderick said huskily, touching Vidarr's hand. He was uncertain how to truly express his appreciation. The pendant was all he had of his family and his master had removed it and kept it locked away.
"Styrr," Vidarr then said, pointing to the other warrior. "Roderick," he added, touching the youth's shoulder.
"Foot," Styrr said, indicating the injured limb.
"Hurt," Roderick confessed quietly. He knew he had hurt it badly trying to pull it from the iron chain. He lifted his leg, colour rising to his cheeks as his body was inadvertently revealed to Styrr. "Mistress left me tied. Knew you come. Left me to die," he added so quietly that both big blonds looked at each other to ensure they had heard correctly.
Styrr kept his face neutral as he examined the ankle and was treated to an eyeful of the boy's endowments. The iron band around the slender ankle was a fairly tight fit and the flesh was badly mauled. It was difficult to clean and almost impossible to dress. They would need a blessing from the gods for the wound not to become infected on their voyage home. He admired the youth's fortitude. He knew his ministrations were hurting Roderick and yet the only sounds were soft whimpers muffled against Vidarr's bulk as the big man cradled him.
"Good boy," Styrr praised, as he completed what he was capable of achieving, ruffling Roderick's dark tresses. He indicated Vidarr step away to the side with him. "He will need a healer quickly," he said. "I will do all I can, but the chain needs removing to allow the wound to heal. He will need care during the voyage."
"So be it," Vidarr nodded. He clasped Styrr's shoulder and the other man duplicated the gesture.
"My thanks, Styrr," the big man said.
"I will bring him some leggings," Styrr smiled, "for warmth and decency. He could probably do with some food and drink, as could you. I leave him in your care."
As Styrr walked away, Vidarr settled himself next to the slender form. He immediately felt Roderick stiffen and realised what the boy must fear. Carefully he moved Roderick to face him, praying for the right words. He heard the gasp as the boy felt the hardness of Vidarr's treacherous body. This close to the youth was proving almost Vidarr's undoing.
"No rape, please," Roderick whispered. He could feel the big man's arousal and he trembled with fear. Was he to be proven so very wrong about the man who had appeared to be so tender and considerate?
"Never," Vidarr vowed. He slipped a finger under Roderick's chin to meet the anxious gaze. "Never force," he said.
"You desire?" Roderick asked, looking confused.
"I desire you very much," Vidarr confessed, wanting honesty between them. "You are very beautiful. But I do not desire you just for this." He moved Roderick's hand to briefly touch his solid spear. "I desire you here." He brought the hand to lie over his heart. "If all we share is friendship, I will accept it. Although I want much more, it must be what you want also." He kissed the boy's brow. "Relax. Styrr is bringing warm clothing, food and drink. Then you can sleep. I will be here."
As the journey progressed, Roderick slept safe and warm in Vidarr's arms each night. A chaste kiss to his brow was the only indication of the big man's affection for the beautiful youth. He only entrusted Roderick to Styrr's care when he had to take account of his own needs. The older man feared for Roderick's health. The movement of the sea left the younger man's stomach unsettled and difficult to keep food and water down. His quiet fortitude brought the admiration of most of the men aboard ship, only Eirikk keeping his distance. They offered remedies and suggestions. Vidarr swelled with pride as Roderick courteously thanked everyone, earning their affection. The wound was not healing and Roderick was warm and feverish, but if a man offered him a kindness or a suggestion to ease his fever, the youth accepted it with genuine thanks.
"Take this," Styrr muttered, thrusting a purse into Vidarr's hand as the big man resumed his vigil of the pale, sweating form. "You will need the services of the Smith and the Healer, each will require paying."
Styrr, I ..." Vidarr began, staring at the coin-filled bag.
"You have proven a loyal and honourable warrior, but more, you are my friend, Vidarr and I would like to see you happy. If the boy feels for you what I see you feel for him, then you are both blessed. I will give you more money to help look after Roderick once we return home."
"You give me too much," Vidarr muttered.
"Look at the boy," Styrr replied. "He may never grow into a full man." Styrr struck his own broad chest to illustrate his point. "But he will need care and treatment, food and medicine. He is not of our hardy stock and our world will be hard for him. Take what I offer to help you ensure he remains at you side."
"Thank you, Styrr," Vidarr said, his tone heartfelt. He watched Styrr leave and settled next to Roderick once more. He reached to stroke the boy's flushed face and prayed. He bent to kiss the fevered brow and tired brown eyes opened and brightened a little, making Vidarr's heart ache with love and sorrow. He would gladly cut out Roderick's mistress' heart if he thought it would ease the beloved boy's pain.
"Vidarr," Roderick said in a tired voice. "I wish ... I had seen ... your home."
"You *will* see it," Vidarr promised. The big warrior had faced many dangers and adversaries, but nothing had ever scared him the way those quietly uttered words had. "You will *not* leave me now. Please, love, just one more day and you will be free."
Roderick managed a small smile at the endearment, the fear and anguish in Vidarr's voice, however, cut through his haze of pain and languor.
"Free to love," he murmured. "I would have liked, I think, to learn love from you. I do not choose to leave you," he added. He reached to touch the face that had become so treasured, so ... loved.
"I will teach you love, Roderick. I swear you will know all the days of our long lives together that you are loved. Do not leave me alone. I beg you." He peppered kisses over Roderick's face as the effort of speaking drained the little energy the youth possessed.
"Love," the young man whispered, before succumbing to fever-ravaged sleep.
Even as their ship was being secured men parted to let Vidarr, carrying a weakly thrashing Roderick, ashore. As he carried his beloved boy, his heart felt it was being stabbed over and over as Roderick deliriously pleaded in a mixture of languages for an unknown master not to hurt him anymore and for Vidarr to stop the pain. More than once, Vidarr heard the tiny voice beg not to have his foot cut off. He barrelled, almost unable to see from his tears, into the Healer's dwelling.
The Healer and his wife, a mature, grey-haired couple, immediately galvanised into action. Potions were mixed and Vidarr was directed to get as much inside Roderick as the boy could tolerate.
"We must get the Smith to remove the band from his ankle," the Healer said. "The potion he has drunk will help deaden the pain, although I dare not give him much in case he is too weak to tolerate it. I fear both the removal of the chain and the treatment I must give his wound will be hard on him. You will have to be brave for him, Vidarr."
"Whatever it takes, Healer," Vidarr promised. "Just, I beg of you, if possible spare his foot. He fears to lose it."
"Better his foot than his life," the Healer warned. "But let us get him to the Smith for now."
Vidarr once again scooped the light body into his arms. The Healer preceded him as he carried Roderick to the Blacksmith.
The giant blond man looked up in interest at the small delegation. There was no apprentice in the Smithy. The big man had no wife or children and did everything required alone. His eyes travelled appreciatively over Vidarr's form. A pity the other man preferred the solitude of his farm. Then he noticed the small, dark, swaddled form.
"Olfun," the Healer said, anxiety colouring his normally measured tones. "The boy is very sick and we need the band from around his ankle to be removed so that I may treat his wound."
Olfun swung over to the worried men of his village. He peered critically at the band. He was certain of his ability to remove the offending item. He looked at the tiny figure of the young man.
"Are you sure the little one can bear the pain?" he asked, loathe to add to the youth's hurt.
"He must," the Healer replied.
The next couple of hours were a waking nightmare for Vidarr. Despite the Healer's potion, Roderick screamed in agony as Olfun removed the band. He screamed again as the festering wound was debrided by the Healer, before it was wrapped to allow healing to begin. Vidarr had found tears falling unchecked from his face as Roderick pleaded with him to stop the pain. Roderick now lay unconscious and white faced in the Healer's home and Vidarr looked up as the older man entered with food and drink for him.