This is a second story in a small series, this time set about six hundred years later when the Saxons were taking control of Britain. Its going to be a horror story, hopefully more psychological than gorey as it goes along. The first 500 might not suggest this lol. In the first part, a young boy is taught the rather gruesome lessons of life by his father, a chieftain of a Saxon village.
“They are nothing. Treat them like animals.”
To the young boy, the behemoth towering in front of him seemed like some wild beast, like the skin of the open mouthed grizzly bear that hung from the wall. The man’s face was virtually hidden by the ragged mask of hair, and his eyes glared out from under a dark brow. Many would have agreed with the child’s opinion.
But Arw would never say such a thing about his father, let alone to his face. Instead, he stood in his tight leggings and small tunic, suitable for his slight frame; a feeble frame that greatly bothered the man before him.
“Wealas are here for our needs.” The seated man spat the first word out, the bitter hatred clearly showing. Or maybe it was disgust. “They are not human.”
Arw waited patiently. The story had been pummelled into him throughout his childhood, as had his father’s fists on more than one occasion, and he had learnt to stay attentive but allow his mind to wander at the same time.
Around them, life continued as usual in the Saxon hall; the flames of the fire sending smoke swirling up into the curved rafters; some young Wealas slave milking a cow in its stall from where the pungent smell of old dung drifted throughout the room; a woman hanging up a side of pork, wearing in a long woollen dress. Every day life in the halls of West Saxony.
But of course if you looked carefully you could see the nervous touch in their body language; quick glances at his father; maybe trying to complete the task a little faster than they ought to; and people scuttling out of the room when they had the chance.
Why shouldn’t they? His father, chief of the newly formed village, was known to be the devil. He had killed at the age of ten, fought side by side with King Atheleard before his abdication, and it was rumoured that his great, great grandfather had fought at the Battle of Deorham. His fiery red hair and temper spread the belief that he was part Norse, whilst his huge wolf skin cloak made him appear even bigger than the juggernaught he already was. Yes, Wselwulf was not a man to anger.
“I see you don’t want to listen.” Growled Wselwulf from his carved wooden throne. He glared at his son, hatred clear in his eyes, “You are weak but you must become a man.”
Reaching over the side of his chair, Wselwulf lifted a large blade that was notched from battle but Arw had no doubt it was kept sharp and keen. His eyes bulged in terror as for a second he thought the sadistic man’s loathing might cause him to strike his own son down were he stood. Instead, the man beckoned to a warrior standing by the door who strode in, tugging the arm of a struggling woman.
The woman was plainly Wealas, black curly hair and dark eyes. She was young and, if it hadn’t been for the many purple bruises and unwashed face, might have been pretty. Her clothes, or what was left of them, hung from her in rags. Too shocked to say anything, Arw watched in silence as she was dragged before Wselwulf, protesting in her native tongue, tears forming tracks down her cheeks.
Pushing her down, the Saxon warrior kicked brutally into the back of her knees and her legs collapsed, causing her to fall to the floor. Keeping his foot on back of the woman’s legs to stop her from rising, the henchman grabbed hold of hair and pulled it backwards with a viscous tug.
A choking noise escaped her lips as her neck was exposed to Wselwulf. Shivering in terror, the young woman had fallen silent, silent except for the constant whimper that filled Arw’s mind, indeed it seemed to fill the whole room. Too terrified to close his eyes, all he could do was watch stunned as his father lifted the sharp blade back.
“Treat them like animals.” Growled Wselwulf, and the sword swung forwards.