“The Silk merchant is just down this street,” Ellisif said as she pulled Lothar along.
“There are too many people here.”
“Cities are crowded. We won’t be long.” She moved through the people like a seal in the water. Lothar, Gundar and Olaf did their best to keep up with her. The trading had been good and Ellisif was determined to buy silk to trade up north. Ellisif stood by a doorway and then entered as the men caught up to her.
“Is she always this way?”
“No, It is just that trade went very well. She told Farulf what to bring this time and she was right. So, Farulf had to give her a fair share of the profits,” said Olaf. Gundar nodded in agreement. The men walked into the silk merchant and found Ellisif amidst yards of various silks. They stood there and watched, knowing better than to interrupt.
Ellisif didn’t take long deciding on her purchases. She struck a deal and made arrangements for the silk to be wrapped up. When they were done, Olaf and Lothar carried the packages as they headed back to the docks and the dragon boat. They were almost there when Gundar grunted and Ellisif cried out.
Lothar turned to see Ellisif grappling with two men. Gundar was down on the ground, bleeding. Lothar turned to Olaf. “Get Farulf. NOW!”
Olaf dropped the packages and ran for the inn. Lothar turned towards the attackers. He drew his sword faster than the silk dropped to the ground. He ran towards where the men were trying to haul Ellisif away. His sword whipped up and struck the first man on the arm. The man turned, cursing and drawing his own sword. One handed, the man swung wide. Lothar dodged and brought his sword down on the man’s hand. The sword dropped as the man screamed.
Ellisif was fighting off another man. She had her own dagger out and was doing her best to strike him. “Let go of me you pig!” The man clouted her across the head and she dropped like a wet rag. He picked her up and tried to run.
Lothar bellowed. He tried to attack the man who hit her, but was attacked himself. His sword swung. Head, arms, legs… blades clashed and rang. Other men from the boat joined in on the fight. Farulf ran up to Lothar. “Follow her!”
Lothar ran after Ellisif and the man carrying her. They dodged through the crowds of people that filled the streets. Some of the people were drawn to the fighting. As he got close, L:othar swept his sword across the back of the man’s legs, dropping him and Ellisif to the ground. Lothar picked up Ellisif and began to run back towards the inn and the other Vikings.
Farulf had just finished helping Gundar up when the Emperor’s guards began to clear the street to see who was fighting. Olaf and Dagr grabbed the silk. The men moved back to the inn as quickly as they could, hoping not to be noticed by the guards.
“Halt!” a tall man called out.
Farulf turned, still supporting Gundar. “My man is wounded. I must get him inside.”
The guard said something to his fellow guards. Two of them started to check the dead men on the dock while another one went with Farulf and Gundar. When they got inside, Gundar began to pull off his tunic to see how deep the slash went. A servant brought a bowl of water and Farulf began wiping the blood off.
“Damn knife. Caught me in the ribs,” Gundar hissed.
“Hold still you fool.” Farulf could see that it wasn’t deep, but Gundar wouldn’t be moving quickly for a while.
“You. Who started this fight?” It was the first guard who’d appeared on the docks.
Gundar looked up. “A man who stole his daughter.”
The guard looked puzzled. “We saw no girl.”
“No, because the man picked her up and ran. Lothar ran after him. His wife.”
The guard nodded. He turned and spoke to another guard who disappeared out into the crowd.
Farulf wrapped a strip of Gundar’s shirt around Gundar’s middle. He’d see to the wound later. Right now he was worried about the guards and what they’d do to his crew. Farulf watched as the rest of the crew came into the main room of the inn. “Any sign of Lothar or Ellisif?” The men shook their heads no.
“Snorri went after him. Maybe he help find Ellisif,” said Kafi. “Should I go look?”
“If you can without those guards seeing you.”
Kafi nodded and headed out the back door of the inn. He moved through the crowds of people. It didn’t take him long to find Snorri. Behind him was Lothar, covered in splashes of blood and carrying Ellisif.
“Lothar, you want me to carry her?”
“No Kafi. Just watch my back. I don’t trust these people.”
Snorri nodded. He held his sword ready, and was scanning the crowd. As they got to the door of the inn, they were met by two guards. Lothar pushed past, not caring that they wanted him to halt.
“Out of my way,” Lothar growled. The two guards parted. Lothar walked into the room and headed to where Gundar and Farulf sat. When they saw him, both men stood and headed towards him.
“Is she dead?” Farulf asked.
“No, just knocked out.” Lothar put Ellisif down on a table and began to check her for injuries. There were a few cuts and a lump on her head. Then he picked her up and headed towards the room they’d shared the night before. Farulf was being questioned by the guards as the two of them disappeared.