CHAPTER 3.05 - THE FEASTING HALL CELEBRATION

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CHAPTER 3.05 - THE FEASTING HALL CELEBRATION

Post  Admin on Fri May 01, 2009 10:34 pm

After nightfall, there is great celebration with feasting, drinking and dancing. The night outside is clear and still with only the slightest chill in the air. Everyone attends, with Lord and Lady Crosstenmarch taking turns to dance with other partners. Everyone is happy and there are no disagreements that unfold.

Wulfram notices that Viktor (Lord Crosstenmarch) does not scrutinise Hrothgaard as he did when Wulfram arrived in Haastenmoord and wonders why that might be. He realises that Hrothgaard is not afflicted by the curse of Fenris - as he is - but, even so, he does wonder why Hrothgaard should be so apparently favoured.

Lady Viktoria dances with everyone, including Wulfram, although he does observe that she dances with Hrothgaard twice and on one occasion retires into a far corner with Hrothgaard to have a long private conversation. She seems drawn to him but why, Wulfram cannot fathom.

The fun and drunken revelry continues long into the night with none of the villagers retiring to their homes, as they had done when Wulfram arrived in Haastenmoord. Again, he considers this to be unusual and wonders why. He has purposely imbibed less fermented beverages throughout the night so that he might retain his wits about him should anything untoward happen. The same cannot be said for Hrothgaard who fallen into a deep slumber amidst the animal furs beside an open fire with several of the others.

It would seem that nobody has wanted to go home. Interestingly, this includes Lord and Lady Crosstenmarch who are resting together in the main hall. Midnight approaches and everyone has eaten so much, danced so hard and drunken so much that they now rest here bathed in the warm glow of the great hearth fire. Occasionally one of the younger villagers will briefly awaken to either stir the embers or add more wood but then they quickly return to their resting places.

Wulfram remains suspicious of the celebration and refuses to sleep. He lies waiting for something to happen ... and something does, soon after midnight when it has gone deathly quiet.

A great booming and shuddering blow hammers against the great double wooden doors, landing so heavilly against them that it feels as though the ground and foundations of the great hall itself are shaking. Dust drifts down from the high timber ceiling and then another blow lands, followed again by another. Each strike against the doors rattle and shake them violently, threatening to bow and break them inward.

Something is certainly commanding attention from outside ... but inside only a handful of people respond. Most remain blissfully unaware of the event as they slumber deeply, as though they have fallen under some spell.

Lord Crosstenmarch sits upright, instantly aware of the potential danger. Friedheim and two of the Einshadens are also awake but not yet fully alert. "Bar the doors," Viktor commands with authority. "We should keep our tormentor outside!" Wulfram immediately assists Friedheim put a thick wooden brace against the doors and after doing so waits to see what happens.

Several minutes pass and then the pounding and hammering against the doors resumes three more times before ceasing again. The doors withstand the solid blows.

Wulfram fears for the villagers' safety and wonders why the others are not reacting. It must be some kind of spell or influence of Loki, he tells himself as he casts his eye around for a way to climb high so that he might access a loft or roofspace to look out (the feasting hall windows are all heavy shuttered). He sights a wooden ladder near the rear wall, leading to a higher level. Moving quickly, he climbs and discovers a hatch that permits access to the roof. He opens it carefully and climbs out onto the high thatched roof of the building.

He intends to see what is attacking the building and, carefully, he creeps forward.
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