The Frozen Tundra belonged to the barbarian folk. They considered themselves a sovereign nation from the rest of Noristrad. The men of Noristrad, did not squabble over this. They were happy to leave the rolling plains of the north, where only moss, lichen and dwarf shrubs grew, and the mountains that seemed more desolate than the frozen plains. The men usually did not go north, and the barbarians only ventured south to fight or fornicate with the Amazons of Ealdwood.
The only known barbarian settlement was the walled town of Locarth, it was known that the barbarians had broken off into clans that followed the game, but since Noristrad man had seen the size and ferocity of the Frozen North Man, not much was known if the clans had chosen permanent residences. On the Noristrad maps, Kaldavia was due south, not the northern most Noristrad man town, but it was the most mountainous one.
Kaldavia was nestled in a valley, walled on all sides by impassable cliffs. Historians assumed the Kaldavian valley was carved by ancient glaciers. The forests were thick and teeming with life, but Kaldavia was home to some creatures that were only found in the valley. Two rivers merged in Kaldavia and exited the valley through a pass that historians say was created by an ancient river. The pass was the only way in or out of the valley, except a dangerous, and little known goat path to the north.
While Noristrad called them barbarians, noble savages, uncivilized, they called themselves the Enhatwor. They were stronger, taller, more muscular, and incredibly ferocious than the average Noristrad Man. As Evolette Hlennadottir led the white horse down the goat path towards Kaldavia, which Thjoohildr following behind it, she held no concern how the Orm or Noristrad Men would accept her. She was not looking for acceptance, she was looking for answers. Enhatwor were notorious for battling among the clans, but they believed in the strength of steel, the skill of an axe arm, not Orm sorcery. A clan would not attack another so cowardly. She’d survived the destruction of Locarth, a clan that would’ve one day led the other clans, and she’d seen Boomoostunga, Locarth’s sister clan. Evolette would avenge her clan and Thjoohildr’s on her behalf. Thjoohildr was not a warrior, and was Orm in size, if Evolette gave her sword to the seiðr, the girl would most likely not even be able to lift it. Evolette, though smaller than her husband, was much larger than Thjoohildr.
Evolette knew of Kaldavia, the Enhatwor had traded with them. In the lush valley they had timber and crops the Enhatwor could not grow. The Enhatwor had silver and ivory. Evolette’s own earrings were Orm gold coins. Her other jewelry only consisted of a bracelet, also made from Orm coins. She wore her bear skin coat, breeches not even repaired from when she’d sliced herself with a hand scythe, and bandages over the wounds. A simple wool blouse of brown and green, her sword, broad and long, with a hilt to resemble snakes, to put fear into the Orm, was worn on her back.
“Stop,” Thjoodhildr’s small voice came from behind the white horse. Enhatwor horses were small, when Evolette rode it, it looked like an adult trying to ride a child’s pony, but Enhatwor horses were hardy, sturdy, and amazingly strong, practically rivaling burros, but contained a much better temperament.
She respected Thjoohildr’s position as seiðr, and stopped the horse. The village of Kaldavia could be seen below them. It sat nestled between two waterfalls, beyond the town, the rivers merged into one, became a lush forest and then a murky swamp. Kaldavia was walled, with its farmland outside the town walls.
“What is it?” Evolette asked, her voice as kind as she could make it.
“We should go back up,” Thjoohildr stated with a voice that seemed frightened. In the days from Locarth to Kaldavia, Evolette had accepted and appreciated and began to enjoy the girl’s presence and insight.
“This is the nearest Orm village to Locarth,” Evolette pressed, “Perhaps they know of the Orm attack on Locarth, on Boomoostunga. We need every piece of information we can get.” She did not add that if she found those responsible for the destruction of Locarth and the death of her son, Garild, that she would not just release her wrath upon them, but she would direct all the hell’s fury of her husband, Domic, upon them.
“There is an evil down there,” Thjoohildr’s voice became a whisper.
“I’m not afraid, seiðr,” Evolette stated.
“I am, Evolette.”