Jarl awoke as his head was thumped on the bed of the cart, as it rumbled along the unkempt road littered with potholes. He strained to open his eyes, despite the caked blood over his eyes he managed to open them, he looked around, lying next to him was the freedom fighter he had slashed down the chest, his armour and tunic had been removed and his chest bandaged. He was clearly dead but must have died on the journey as the body had been left in the cart. MY hands and legs had been tied to each other behind my back. He had been gagged . The cart came to a halt. The body by his side was roughly dragged off the cart; Jarl followed soon after landing in the mud under the cart. They were surrounded by oak trees, the trees were widely space, earth ramparts about one and half times as high as a man surrounded the small camp, the wall was dotted by trees. A gate made of planks was swung shut by two freedom fighters armed with halberds.
Jarl was dragged into one of the many wooden cabins by two of the freedom fighters. The only light in the room came from a guttering candle sitting on a small wooden table; a map was sprawled over the table daggers holding down the corners of the map. The old scarred man who had taken Jarl down was leaned over the table his massive arm resting on the table.
“Ah our little trouble maker. I’m going to make this very clear to you.” He began to walk round the table, “Let me be the first to tell you, you will not try to run, but now I have to deal with any retaliation the Church sends. Take him and put him in the cells” At this he turned his back on Jarl returning to the map. Jarl was thrown into a wooden cage built into to rampart.
Jarl spent the rest of the day and that following night curled up in his rags trying, and failing, to sleep. Jarl was woken with a start to the noise of yelling. He sat up bleary eye, looking around. There were freedom fighters running to and through, occasionally an arrow would fly into the camp and send a fighter sprawling. The loot cart from the last day had been over turned; the leader of the freedom fighters was sheltering in its cover. He was surrounded by three of his men, they carried large square shields.
“Form tortoise shell!” Cried the scarred man hefting his mighty battle axe. All the fighters around the cart rallied stacking their shields around the three open sides of the cart and above their heads. Many freedom fighters were unable to reach the cart in time and the wall of shields barred them from entering, they were cut down by arrows soon enough. I freedom fighter ran over to Jarl and cowered behind the cage. The morning sun glinted off the blade of Jarl’s sword in the fighter’s belt. The fighter was barely older than Jarl his eyes betrayed a deep fear of what was happening.
“Let me out of this cage and I’ll get you out of here.” Whispered Jarl as if he was speaking to a crying infant, the fighter pulled the bolts from the cage’s door. “Good, now follow me.” Jarl and the freedom fighter ran the length of the camp to the cabin Jarl had entered when he arrived in the camp. He kicked in the door and headed to the table. He took the knife and the map, tucking the later into his robes. He turned to the young freedom fighter menace shadowed Jarl’s eyes as he plunged the dagger into the neck of the fighter’s neck. “I’m sorry” Jarl took his sword from the man’s belt. He quickly pulled his soiled rags from his head and pulled on the black Tunic of the freedom fighter. He fashioned his old clothes into a sash for holding his sword and tied it to his back. He ran from the Cabin running straight towards the shields of the last surviving Freedom fighters, arrows punching into the ground all around him, he saw the eyes of one of the fighters’ widen from between two shields. He didn’t stop when he reached them running straight over the bubble of shields leaping for the ramparts when he reached the top. He landed sprawled on the top of the rampart, winding himself as he did so. He rolled onto his back, just in time to move his head as an arrow soared down from the trees digging itself into the wooden walkway by his left ear. He saw a girl about his age, with inky black hair, notching another arrow into her bow, hey just had time to wink as he rolled over the side of the rampart into the bushes.
Jarl began to sneak through the bushes he reached another clearing this one was empty except for what must have been a Freedom fighter patrol, all dead, and a skinny man with a very large pack slung other his shoulder. The man drew his sword and squared up to Jarl hefting his round shield in front of him. The shield had been studded with steel fagots, making it a deadly weapon in its own right. Jarl grinned drawing his sword from over his shoulder, he winked at the man and they both charged.
The man gave a roar of rage as Jarl rolled out of the way of one of his savage slashes. Jarl and the man had been fighting for what seemed like an age, but must have been only half an hour or so. Both Jarl and the man were beyond exhaustion. Every time one of them gained any advantage the other would counter with something unexpected. Jarl could feel his sword gaining weight in his hands. They both stopped a few paces from each other panting heavily. The man grunted as he removed his shield and unstrapped his pack letting it fall to the ground. Jarl turned his side to the man his sword tip resting on the ground behind him. Jarl knew he had to kill his opponent or just incapacitate him as quickly as possible. The man charged once again, Jarl stepped backwards and sideways leaving the tip of his sword where he had left it. The man tried to stop but his momentum was too great he screamed as his calf was sliced to the bone. He fell onto his chest. Jarl viciously kicked the side of the man’s head knocking him out.
Jarl searched the man finding a heavy pouch filled with gold, which he emptied into the pouch he had taken from the freedom fighter. He found many things on the man but knew he couldn’t take it all. He hefted the pack and armour of the man onto his shoulders leaving the shield. He took the man’s canteen but left him the rest of the belongings on his person. Jarl headed into the forest heading east, towards the port at Kraken’s cove.