"Do you still want to avenge Brann?" asked Dag, while fighting. Gridd stopped.
"Of course I want to. I will dedicate my life to this purpose" she said
"Will you help me?"
"I want to exterminate the Lies Of Loki. This is my purpose. The only thing they deserve is death" said Dag.
Gridd was looking at him: he said this staring out into the nothingness, surrounded by some evil aura. She thought that was just a matter of tiredness.
"We will, Dag. I'm becoming stronger. I will soon be stronger than my mother, and my revenge will be fulfilled" said Gridd, with a spirit of determination.
"It's not just a matter of revenge for me. No matter who is good and who is evil, I want to destroy whoever tries to stop me from becoming the strongest Viking ever lived on this planet. I want to be capable to protect myself and people I love" answered him.
"Okay, that's scary, but…I am with you, brother"
After a few hours, they went to sleep, it was late at night.
The next day, Gridd woke up Dag:
"Hey! Wake up, today is the day!"
She touched his shoulder.
For an instant, Dag had a déjà vu: he remembered about Lady Ysabel, the dorm, his friends, the Xis…Hero. But he didn't feel the same as that day.
When he was called for the Temporum he was a scared, defenseless kid. Now he was a man, a fierce Viking warrior.
From that day on, he would be able to determine his own destiny, to discover more about humans, more about Vikings. More about Xis.
Dag got up from his bed and got ready for the Arena. He wore his light armor, composed of leather trousers and sleeveless jacket. On his chest, a patch of his previous shirt, with his family symbol, the swallow.
He went outside: Asa was sitting on a stone, staring at the woods. In her hands, a necklace.
Dag got close to her:
"Hey, kid…" she smiled
"Today I will join a Clan. I'm going to the Arena right now" he said
"Is that necklace Stein's?" continued.
Asa looked at the necklace:
"yes, this was the first gift he gave to me. We were lovers…he made this with Gronn Forest's wood."
Her eyes started to become misty.
"I gotta go" he said, caressing her face.
"Yeah, go, my son."
He turned and saw Gridd, looking at them.
"What are you waiting for? Go!" she said, proud of him.
Dag walked down the road.
He passed in front of Freydis and Karl's house and stopped.
He waited some minute before Freydis walked out.
"Hey! Are you not late? Incredible! Hahaha"
She was teasing on him.
"Yeah, I made it" answered Dag scratching his head.
"So, today you will join a Clan, are you ready? I'm excited for you!"
Freydis can't wait for the enthusiasm
"The Crowns Of Odin… it sounds powerful, doesn't it? If you wait 2 days, until my birthday, we will leave together from here. My father was one of the strongest warriors of the Clan, we can't disappoint him." she continued.
Freydis's father was Paul. He became a countryman after losing one of his hands during a battle against King Einar, Dag heard that story a thousand times from both Freydis and Karl.
"Yes, I'm ready" answered Dag.
They continued together up to the Arena.
Some people were already training.
When they entered, Taya was sitting on a wooden bench, sharping her spear with a stone.
"Good morning, Master Taya" said Dag, bowing his head like a true soldier.
"Ah, Dag, good morning. And good morning to you Freydis" said Taya.
Freydis greeted her Master.
"A member of each of 9 Clans came here for you, today. You will choose who to support in front of them" concluded the Shieldmaiden.
"Of course I will. I'm ready." stated Dag.
Taya left her spear on the bench and stood up.
Then she walked to the center of the arena.
8 warriors stood in line, behind her.
Taya called the silence:
"Good morning warriors, say hi to the 9 Clans!"
The crowd of boys and girls yelled in unison: "Uh, Uh, Uh!" slamming their weapons to the ground.
"Behind me, there are 8 of the greatest warriors of all Skjold. I am the 9th, representing the Sons Of Freya Clan. As you know, each Clan take its power through a direct connection to our Gods"
Dag was listening carefully.
"Odin, Fenrir, Thor, Freya, Ymir, Heimdallr, Tyr, Jormungandr, Loki. All of them are here now, in front of you. Band the knee, in front of the Gods!" continued Taya.
Everybody in the Arena kneeled down.
"Your brother, Dag, has proven to be worthy of being part of a Clan, to serve until his death the God he feels more affine to"
Freydis looked at Dag, while they were kneeling, and smiled.
"Step forward, Dag from Earth" said Taya.
Dag stood up: he was anxious for the moment. He walked to the center, in front of the warriors.
Everybody stood up.
"Show your mark, Dag" said Taya, when Dag uncovered his shoulder, pulling down his jacket.
The warriors nodded their heads.
"Now, choose." she concluded.
Dag stared at the warriors.
They were the greatest Berserkrs and Shieldmaidens on the planet.
6 men and 2 women, except for Taya.
Each of them had distinguishing features: some wore breastplates, some were shirtless; some were tall, some short.
Dag took a long breath, looking down.
Before his feet, he saw the blurry swallow of his mother.
He raised his head and looked to Taya, ready to speak.
Just when he was about to say something, he saw a little animal, walking along the wall of the arena, next to the door behind the warriors.
He narrowed his eyes, trying to focus the tiny, white figure.
It was a white rabbit.
Suddenly, he felt something burning inside his body. He instantly remembered about Brann and his Emblem, about Asa, that lost twice her love. He thought about Gridd.
"The Hammers Of Thor. This is my choice".
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