It was the first time Dag tried to make contact with a God.
He was not entirely convinced that it really existed, on Earth he had been taught that Gods were only concepts that human beings created in order to take refuge in something, to give a reason to what was unjustifiable.
But his abilities, the powers that Skjold's warriors possessed... Magni had told him that they came from magic, that is the link between humans and Gods.
What if it was all real?
What if the Gods really existed?
Dag looked at the pendant in the shape of a horseshoe.
"If anyone knows I have it, then he might come and claim it," he thought.
He shook it in his hand.
He thought about how far he had come and how many difficulties he was going through. It all happened in a short time: the expulsion from the Temple Of Orn, the undead, all the ambushes and attacks he faced.
And now this. The emblem.
Maybe it was a reward for his misadventures, but he still had to fight hard to earn it.
He thought of his family. Asa, Gridd, Eirik. He missed them. He missed the tranquility of his house in the Jernhest's hills.
It had been about a week since he left the capital for the Temple with Magni, but it seemed like a year.
He wondered if he would ever see her again. She had probably already left for Skjegg, the Crows Of Odin's city.
Perhaps his continued desire for power made him forget the importance of his family and the girl he was in love with.
Dag wanted to return to Jernhest, but he also knew he could not waste the second chance Magni granted him.
The fire kept burning the corpse.
In the air, the white smoke of the straw joined the grayish smoke of the woman's flesh and clothes.
Thalos approached him. He seemed to be no longer afraid.
Dag patted his head.
Then he turned around, intending to return to the farm when he heard a noise coming from the bushes of the woods nearby.
Thalos began to growl.
Dag looked intently toward the woods.
The fire was about to extinguish, but it did not allow him to clearly understand the situation.
The wolf began to run towards the bushes in front of them.
"Hey! Stop Thalos, wait!" shouted Dag.
As he ran, Thalos was struck by something from the woods and fell to the ground without moving.
Dag began to run towards his friend.
He lowered himself towards him.
On his neck, in his thick fur, he saw a small arrow with a kind of cylindrical tank.
The wolf seemed unconscious.
Dag got up and began to walk circumspectly toward the woods.
Nothing happened and the noises seemed to be gone.
"Who's there?" he yelled.
No answer, just the chirping of birds on the trees.
Dag continued to walk, moving into the vegetation.
He drew his sword, ready to face the man responsible for what had happened.
Suddenly, he felt like a pinch behind the back of his head.
It was an annoying feeling as if he had just been stung by an insect.
He touched the point with his hand and pulled out from his neck a small arrow identical to the one that hit Thalos just before.
As he looked at the arrow, Dag began to feel stunned and see blurred.
"Who... is there?!" he tried to scream again, but his mouth did not seem to respond to the commands.
Within a few seconds, he fell to his knees.
He felt his strength fading when another small arrow struck him behind his back.
Dag sank to the ground unconscious.
"Even if, without Xis, we probably never would have met. I hate them for their cruelty, but thank them at the same time for this"
"You're right. I love you Freydis, I love you with all my soul and body"
"I... love you Fr... eydis..."
Dag opened his eyes.
He was dreaming about Freydis, remembering the last moments they passed together.
He was still lying on the ground, his face on the floor and his mouth open, as if he was sleeping soundly.
The effect of the poison that made him faint did not yet vanished completely. He kept seeing everything blurry.
He felt that his cheeks were touching something different from the ground of the woods. Something colder, as if it were iron.
Dag tried to move, but he only partially succeeded.
He was slowly regaining his senses.
"Whe…re…where am I?" he whispered.
When he finally managed to focus, he realized he was no longer in the woods near the farm.
In front of him, he saw thick iron bars.
He put his hands on the ground and was sat down, resting behind bars.
"Where the fuck am I?"
He soon noticed that he was in a cage. He was kidnapped.
He held the bars in his hands and tried to lean over his head to figure out his whereabouts.
The cage was on the side of a large hall with stone walls. Several torches and other ornaments decorated the walls: heads of wild boar and deer, weapons and bones of various kinds. They looked like human bones.
In the center of the room, there was a long wooden table with a dozen chairs around it: it looked like a dining room.
"Heeeeeey!" yelled Dag, after regaining his voice completely.
His voice echoed in the hall.
To the right and left, two doors were dug into the rock.
Dag tried to force the bars, but he couldn't. They were too thick and resistant.
"Thalos!" he exclaimed, thinking of his wolf friend.
"What happened to him? I shouldn't have left him there!" he thought.
He checked his pockets. The pendant was gone.
He continued to painstakingly check in every pocket and recess of his clothes but could not find anything, not even the Pyrite fragment.
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