Left alone .. abandoned for the night. Aage whoring off the pressures of the day .. his thugs snoring off the drink. Gunnarr left astride Aage’s horse .. crushing under him a man’s worst nightmare.
Left alone with his agonies.
Abandoned to his thoughts …
The thought had plagued him. Taken prisoner by his oldest friend. Sold into slavery .. Aage had condemned him to a tortured life.
What had Gunnarr ever done wrong? What had he done to deserve Aage’s hatred?
What twist of fate had brought old friends to this?
They’d grown up together, knew each other as boys, close as brothers. There’d not been a secret between them, knew how each other ticked.
And Gunnarr knew exactly how Aage preferred to do things …
Gunnarr no longer had any reason to trust this man. Had to be constantly on the look-out .. on his guard for some new trick.
He felt it in his blood .. it prickled warning signs in his guts.
Aage still had a trick up his sleeve
A slippery customer, this Gunnarr. Was supposed to be a problem solved, removed permanently.
But the prick was back. The alliance was still needed, Njord’s swordsmen had to be kept on-board. How best to reassure him?
Make sure the problem has gone forever?
They were pissed .. the ale was strong, they’d been knocking it back some time. A lot of their anger at this murderer had calmed.
But the erling was not done. Still he pushed his men on. This fool had come back .. out for revenge ..
Aage would settle this rival .. once and for all ..
Finish him off .. him and his heirs .. completely this time …
Not all work and no play .. the galley slave’s life. Variety is the spice of life. Always something going on, always something to occupy the mind and body.
Even the chance of a break on dry land ….
The sight of a head-turning physique .. What man wouldn’t want that? An eye-catching build .. lures the women to the honey-pot. Other men nod admiringly .. wishful thinking.
It takes work .. getting to that physical state.
Some ways are more preferable than others …
Bad enough .. sold by your friend into slavery .. worse, to hear your friend had allied himself with the murderer of your family.
But life at sea .. slaving at the oars .. under the trader’s mean-spirited eyes ..
– that had its moments too …
Since time immemorial rulers have known the trick. How to keep the plebs happy. Gladiator games .. public executions .. blood sport .. violence and hate.
Throw in the booze .. it gets the blood going. It keeps the intentions hard.
And there’s always an extra turn of the screw. To make the effort worthwhile ….