Ocar left his home on a fog shrouded day early in the spring. He paused as he crested the hill to the south, and took a last long look at the holding that had been his world for all of his 18 years. In the freshening wind, the quiet vale in southern Torvaldsland called to his young heart. However, he shouldered his pack, and resolutely turned southward.
He was a tall gangly lad, large of frame and long of leg, his northern heritage apparent to any who saw him. All he possessed, he carried with him and it was little enough: a good change of clothes that still fit a bit loose - hand downs from an older brother - a prized snow sleen cloak, earned the past winter, and a few provisions. Upon his belt was a wallet, a large dagger, and at each hip; a throwing axe. Across his back he carried a unstrung bow and quiver of arrows; and in his hand he carried a bronze tipped spear. Not much to start a life with he mused, but then more than many had. He smiled thinking of the four gold coins held in his wallet, a gift from his mother, as she bade him farewell with tear filled eyes.
Over the course of the next week Ocar moved southward, living off the bounty of land and sea. His skill with the bow and spear, as well as his knowledge of plants and the sea served him well. Looking back, he realized how wide and varied his training had been, preparing him for this time when he would no longer depend on any but himself to survive. He silently thanked his parents and uncle that had taught him so well and fully. He also gave thanks for the long hard hours he spent rowing, hunting, working in the forge, as his muscles were hardened and ready for the tasks he now set them. His mind was sharp and able to interpret what signs he saw, as well as the changing weather patterns, thus he feared little and was at home in the rough hills he now traveled.
Rounding a bend in the trail one afternoon Ocar was surprised to see a large kaiila mounted man sitting in the trail, barring his way.
"Who are you lad, and what are you doing here?" the man asked in a gruff voice. "My name is Ocar, of IronFist Holding. I am but journeying through the land seeing what it may hold for me, I mean you and yours no harm." replied Ocar, taking a firm grasp of his spear.
"Ground your spear lad, I mean you no harm, I but guard and hunt for a crew of wood cutters, one can't be to careful these days." said the man, stepping down from his mount and extending his hand. "Tal, lad, My name is Olaf, and welcome to this valley, come I have a camp nearby and there should be a hot meal ready, also a warm, dry place to spread your furs for the night if you wish."
"Lead on Olaf, a meal cooked by other than myself, and a dry spot to spread my furs is the best offer I've had in weeks", said the now grinning Ocar, as he took the proffered arm, grasping it in greeting.
Olaf remounted and led the lad down to his camp, nestled in a small copse of trees, where a merry stream ran down into the main valley.
Upon entering the camp, Ocar was impressed; there was not only a large tent to sleep in, but another for storing goods and supplies. There was also a small section of the clearing had been secured for the kaiila, of which he saw five, to roam in relative freedom.
"A good camp friend, " Said Ocar as three slaves came out of the tent, running up to kneel at Olaf's feet. "Aye lad, I learned long ago that the little comforts bring a man great joy in life, and are well worth the trouble to keep with him." said the now grinning Olaf, as he stripped and freed his mount to join the others "Girls, we have a guest. This is Ocar, and he is to be treated as my equal in all things. He will be joining us for a time". "Lad, this is Velka (a tall blonde with generous curves); Kika, (a beautiful red haired girl of very sweet proportions and Peta (an unusually dark girl slim and yet sensual, who Ocar assumed came from a far land). Good girls all, both around the camp and in the furs" said Olaf grinning down at the slaves.
"Come lad, I smell roast tabruk and am hungry, we can talk after we fill our bellies. " So saying, the large man entered the tent. Ocar followed and moved to a clear spot, placing his pack to the side, and sitting; his mouth watering as he smelled the meat roasting on the fire.
Later after eating what he feared was far too much, and with a tankard of ale brought by Kika. Ocar turned to his host, "You had something you wished to talk about Olaf?"
"Aye lad, I was wondering if you wanted a job for the season, by the way you handle yourself I assume you are no stranger to the bow and spear, and frankly I am being worked far to hard here what with the hunting and patrolling the valley." "Perhaps Olaf, but what would I get from the seasons work? And what would it entail?
Olaf chuckled "You are wise lad, wanting to know the details before committing yourself, it shows you can think. What I had in mind, was this: sharing the guarding and the hunting. In exchange, I can give you a bit of training as I have some skill in weaponry. Further, I think the work would not be too strenuous, and besides you would leave with some coin, a thing often needed. Oh and of course, you may have the use of any of the slaves, three at once is more than even I can really use," grinned Olaf.
"Olaf, I accept the offer, and will try not to disappoint you " replied Ocar, glancing down at Kika, who had curled up at his feet.
"Good! " cried Olaf, "now, let's seal the bargain with a bit more ale and seek our furs. The day starts early for us and I'm sure you need the extra time in the furs. Though I doubt you will sleep much this night." Olaf said, as he lifted his tankard in toast to the bargain.
After a bit more ale and a last trip outside to a see that all was settled for the night, Ocar did gladly crawl into his furs, pulling the fire haired girl with him. As Olaf had predicted he slept little, enjoying Kika far into the night.
Ocar was well pleased with his time that summer. The hunting and guarding were relatively easy, and Olaf gave him far more training than he had ever hoped. Olaf may be a large man, Ocar thought, but he moves with the speed and surety of a stalking sleen.
One morning Ocar was patrolling the upper end of the valley when he came upon two men holding a woodcutter at bay with bared steel. "Well, well, fellows, what have we here? A dangerous woodcutter with to much gold for his own good?" He said as he walked up to the men.
"Be gone, boy, lest we decide this miserable wood cutter needs a companion on the chain." said one of the surly men.
"Chain?" asked Ocar in an innocent voice, his hand reaching back slowly for the axe he carried that day. "Why would he be chained? He has much more work to do here before he can leave."
"Boy, do not meddle in our affairs." growled the man.
"Oh I'm afraid I must," replied Ocar, drawing the axe and setting his feet. "You see I am guarding this camp, and all within it are under MY protection, so I think it best if you fellows just leave."
The men looked at Ocar and began to laugh, seeing his chance Ocar whirled the axe moving quickly while the men were off guard he sank the axe deep in one's neck and just got it freed in time to parry a sword directed at his neck.
"Lad you are going to die slowly for that" growled the remaining man, as he thrust his sword.
"I may well die slowly stranger, but you will be long dead before I am" said Ocar flipping the axe in his large hand he swung it back, driving it through the man's arm and burying it deep in his gut.
"By the Priest Kings boy you've gutted me!" the man cried as he sunk to his knees, trying to hold his wound closed as his entrails spilled out.
Ocar swung again, his blood surging through his veins, aflame with fury, cleaving the man's head off sending it spinning across the ground with the force of his blow.
"Ayyyyeeee" cried the woodcutter as it stopped at his feet. "I thank you Ocar, but please remember I am your friend, calm down lad!"
Ocar took a deep breath and slowly lowered the axe, his pounding heart slowed as he gazed at the carnage around him. "Do not worry friend, I am aware of who my friends are, and whom not to harm." he said
The wood cutter picked up his saw and hurried from the site, Ocar knew he would soon be the subject of some tall tales and was not pleased, searching the men he removed the wallets and weapons and made his way onward. Later, at camp he set the items before Olaf, a worried frown on his handsome features. " "Olaf, when I fought the men today, it was as if I lost control, my mind was burning up with fury, am I sane?"
Olaf chuckled and looked at his friend. "Lad you just were taken by the "Fury" do not worry, it is common for a man in his first fight alone, I doubt you are going insane, the next time you will feel it less, and in time you will learn to use it to your advantage."
"Use it? I don't understand, Olaf,"
"Aye, lad we Norse have it in our blood. By learning to use it, to ignore minor wounds and quicken your reflexes you can become a far fiercer warrior than one who is cold in his heart. Besides, one who uses the fury, and fights is far more awesome to his foes, as they see you have no fear of death." replied Olaf, in a somber tone.
"Well, then I shall learn to master it well friend. Today, I think it scared me, and the wood cutter far more than it did my foes." Ocar said, shuddering as he remembered the incident.
"DO not fear lad you did well, they may not have been very good, but none the less, two to one is still hard odds, and you came through it with nary a scratch. You are well on your way to becoming a very good warrior," said Olaf raised his horn of ale. "To you lad, I feel in time I will be very glad to have known and have for a friend the great Ocar!" So saying Olaf drained the ale and tossed it aside. "Now lad take to your furs. Kika, Pita see to the young master, he will need you both this night I think!" Olaf grinned and taking Velka sought his own furs, ending the discussion, at least for tonight.
Ocar drained his own horn, and grabbing the girls found that he did indeed use both, and many times!.
The season went well for the two friends, hunting, fishing, and walking the rounds. Every day they practiced with one weapon or another and even with bare hands from time to time. Ocar grew large with the work and practice putting muscles on his lean frame, and the slaves had to make new clothing for him several times during the course of the summer months.
One morning, Ocar returned to camp and found everything and everyone gone, except for a small pile of goods and Kika.
"What has happened girl? Where is Olaf, and the rest of camp?" said Ocar looking in dismay at the deserted camp.
"Master Olaf has gone, Master. He took ship with the wood cutters and sailed away." said Kika in a soft voice.
"Explain girl! If Olaf left, why are you here, and why did he leave without saying good by?" demanded Ocar.
" Master, please do not be angry. Master Olaf said he did not wish a long good bye, and that it was time for you to move on, with winter but a short time away. He left you the small tent, some supplies, a bag of coins, two kaiila, and this girl. He said to tell you he was sure your paths would cross again one day, and he would be joyous then."
Ocar bent and grabbed the kolar, looking close, his name was indeed on it, raising he looked to the sea, just able to discern a mast, low on the horizon. The young Norseman turned back to look down at Kika.
"Well, girl what do you wait for? Load the kaiila, we will make a few pasangs before the night comes, Ar is far away you know." he softly told the slave
"Yes My Master!!! Right away! This girl is sorry she has been so lazy!" Kika said as she jumped to her feet and hurried to the kaiila. "Master?" she said as she stopped to look back at him " Is my master pleased with his new slave girl? Might he keep her for a time?"
Ocar chuckled, looking at the lovely slave, feeling pride in owning her and thankful to his friend. "Perhaps Kika, if you please me well, I will keep you for a time."
"Oh yes Master, thank you Master!!!" Kika smiled and giggled then set about loading the kaiila.
Ocar turned once again to the sea, "Yes old friend we shall meet again one day, and you shall have my thanks and friendship once again." He said softly to himself.