On a table were laying some Viking robes and a wooden sword. He quickly changed his clothes, then he came outside.
"Now it's better! C'mon, come closer to your first opponent!" Taya said, referring to a boy next to her.
"But…but… no one has ever taught me how to fight, and this boy is older than me!" exclaimed worried Dag.
"Hahahaha" laughed the woman, then in a moment, she came over Dag, grabbed the collar of his jacket and lifted him off the ground.
Her face instantly changed, she seemed angry
"You're a fucking Viking now. You belong to this land. During your life, if you will not fight, you'll be a loser, and you will die alone, eaten by crows, I'm sure of it. No matter if you lose or win… you must fight, that's what Vikings do. We fight!"
Taya threw Dag to the ground, at the other boy's feet. Dag tried to raise his head, but the boy punched him hard, so he stayed on his knees.
With a click and tears in his eyes, Dag grabbed the sword that was on the ground but again, the other boy hit him with his shield, squeezing his hand.
Dag shouted and cried when the boy released the shield.
"I don't know why Hallr has brought you here kid, he had to take you to the town Library, where you can study the archives. Probably is that your place, you're not a warrior…"
Taya turned and walked away. The enemy boy laughed at Dag, spitting in front of him.
Dag shouted, grabbed some sand in his hand, and threw it on the boy's face, that closed his eyes and started to cough.
Finally, Dag was able to pick up his wooden sword and with its hilt, he hit his opponent's head.
The guy fell to the floor, with his face dirty, moaning.
"Hahaha, okay, okay, kid. Enough! Maybe you're not that bad" said the Shieldmaiden, clapping her hands.
"Move to the training dummy, try to imitate your comrades".
Dag nodded, and with the sword clutched in his hand, moved. The boys and girls in the arena stared at him. The training continued.
After a few hours, every kid within the walls of the arena was exhausted and filthy.
Taya came back: "well kids, enough for today. Back home everybody".
The young warriors left their weapons on a rack and went out of the arena.
"Dag, you come with me. Let's meet your new family".
At these words, Dag felt a reassurance sensation, left his training sword among the other ones, and followed Taya.
"Come this way kid, we can't go on foot. Your house is quite far from the Arena".
Leaving the Arena, Taya helped Dag to get on a coach, adorned with wood-carved patterns of war scenes. The wheels had metal thorns at the center.
During the trip, neither Dag nor Taya spoke to each other. He focused on what was around him: some farmers rounding up flocks of goats, a blacksmith hitting hot metal with a hammer, kids chasing each other and a group of five men kneeling in front of a statue, representing an armored man wearing a horned helm with an eye-patch and holding a spear.
Everything was new to Dag's eyes. In less than an hour, they arrived on the top of a hill. A brick house shyly stood a few meters before the cliff. Forward, a fence with two caws and a pig.
"Get off, we have arrived".
Both Taya and Dag got off of the coach. She went closer to the door and knocked on.
Somebody opened: an average height woman, with white long hair and brown eyes.
"Yes?" asked the woman.
"I'm Taya of the Skjaldmaer. This is Dag, a novice from Earth. He came in today, in the morning and by order of King Einar, he belongs to you now".
"To me? Why? There are so many rich Jarls out there, they can take anyone, not me! I'm just a farmer".
The woman was closing the door when Taya rudely blocked it with the hand.
"You cannot refuse your duty. The king gave me the order and I traveled from Jernhest this far to deliver this child to you. If you have complaints, ask the King himself" continued the Shieldmaiden in a casual arrogance.
The woman behind the door looked at Dag. He was staring at the ground, moving the terrain with his foot.
"What's your name dear?" she asked.
"My name's Dag my Lady, nice to meet you" he answered.
"You see? He's a polite kid. Not a great warrior, one of the worst novice warriors I've ever seen, but… he seems clever, you can use him to care on your animals" said Taya.
"If he belongs to me, what will he do here is none of your business!" answered the woman, grabbing Dag by an arm and pulling him towards the house.
"Good! This is what I wanted to hear!" said Taya with a tone of satisfaction.
"My job here is done. If you want to keep on training, come to the Arena, kid. I'll be waiting for you" she continued.
Taya got back on the coach and whipping the horses with the reins, she moved away. Dag and the white-haired woman entered the house.
"I'm sorry if you've been treated as a good to deliver. I know Taya, she's a bully, and arrogance is not welcome in this farm. I used to be a Shieldmaiden too, I know what power means and responsibilities that come from it" the woman said, trying to reassure Dag.
"Anyway, I'm Asa, but you can call me 'mother' if it helps you feel better. You have a dad too, his name is Stein. He's not here at the moment, he works as a lumberjack. Right now, he's in the woods, in the Gronn Forest" she continued.
"Okay, it's fine" answered Dag.
"You're so dirty. If you want, I can warm some water for you, so you can get clean".
The humble house suggested a feeling of comfort: the wood was burning inside the chimney, and that smell filled the room. The entrance was also the main room, with a table next to the fireplace and a big bear-skin carpet below.
On the table, a basket with some bread and a clay pot. Chairs were under the table, perfectly ordered: one of them had fur on the back.
"Yes, it would be great, thank you!" said Dag.
The woman grabbed a metal bucket from the floor.
"I'll go outside, the well is next to the fence".
In the meanwhile, Dag continued to realize that he was not living a dream, everything around him was actually real.
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