Chapter 3: Fire and Flood

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Fire and Flood

Two summers after the battle with the ogres, the Gelding was rebuilt.  Roggron was now lord there, for Dunwall had left no heir.  He was a good lord and the Gelding thrived under his guidance.  The great house and the stables were raised anew and a mound was readied next to that of Dunwall for when Roggron’s own time was come.

The Fielding, having escaped the ogres’ destruction, carried on much as it had before.  Eomund and Lithos together grew stronger.  Often they would ride afield remaining away for days, hunting and camping either near the Fjording or the Hill.  Many a time Eomund went there and stood upon the Hill looking northward to Yolmoth and the Gelding.  His thoughts would then turn to that day of the battle, and to Dunwall and the words he spoke.  That day a yearning for glory had taken root in Eomund’s heart and he long for greatness like he had glimpsed then.

But there was little glory to be gained now in the Ridderwold where life had once more settled into complacency.  When he thought these things, he might often look south or to the west and imagine wild lands in need of justice and a hero with the strength to deliver it.

Thus he would return home at times crestfallen and with naught to say.  At other times he came with a wild light of longing in his eyes and speaking of the Hithriddaran of old.  And this frightened his mother so that she began to fear that one day he might ride off seeking adventure and return not.  She said as much to Beomund, who tried to assuage her fears to little avail.

 “He is as all young men are,” said Beomund, “time will temper him and he will settle down to the work of lording the Fielding ere I am gone.  Fear not.”  But fear she did, though she voiced it little there after.

 Thus life in the Fielding continued on in that way for some time until one night in late summer, when catastrophe struck the whole of the Ridderwold once more.

 That night Beomund awoke to the sound of the livestock wailing without.  Gathering himself together, he went to the window and there beheld a sight he had not imagined in the gravest of his nightmares.  The whole of the forest was ablaze with fire on all sides.

 “Arise wife!” he exclaimed loudly, “The Ridderwold burns all about us and we must flee our home at once!”

 With that Hildora sprang from bed and made haste to rouse the servants while Beomond awoke Eomund and the thanes.  There was no time for moots or plans to be made, but instead Beomund barked orders as he went about stirring the house from slumber.

 “We must escape to the Fjording,” he said to Eomund and Harthorne, “that is our only hope now.  Ready the horses, I will attend to the livestock.”

 Beomund made for the large field in the southern portion of the fielding and there opened all the gates.  The animals, already roused by the burning of the forest, were spoiling at the gates and bolted as soon as he had loosed them.  He had half hoped to rustle a few cattle in their escape, but time and calamity would not allow it.  He cursed this ill turn and ran back to the house.  Their Hildora stood readying herself and the servants as Eomund and Harthorne brought the horses from the stables.

 Lithos and the other horses were not so frightened as the cattle, but nevertheless, they were all ill at ease.  And the fire grew greater as each moment passed.

 “We have brought what we can from the kitchen,” Hildora offered as Beomund approached.

 “Retrieve what stores you can from the cellar as well,” Beomund told the women, “but do not be overlong.  This fire will not suffer us to tarry here.”

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