Adam carried the body of PFC Ron into the temple of The Elders. Nobody paid any attention to the fact that he was dripping a trail of blood over the ornate floor. Walking up to the main desk, he stood in the line waiting to be seen. After a short while, a small bell rung, and Adam approached a small fat man wearing a toga.
“Name and purpose please?”
“Adam, and I need to see one of the priests.”
“Is it a case of Death or just very ill?”
Stood there covered in blood, and faeces after Ron had evacuated all over him as he carried him, he tried to think of a wittier way to say ‘what the bloody hell do you think, you silly sod?!?’, but, instead, he bit his lip in a rare show of patience…
“It’ll be a bit of Death. Been dead for about 15 minutes, so he is still fresh. Is anybody free now?”
“Take a seat, and I will check”
He finds an empty bench, and places the now cooling body of Ron on it. An embarrassingly loud fart breaks the silence as air is forced from the body.
“What?! It wasn’t me, it was him!”
As he sits and waits, Adam watches the to-ing and fro-ing of the temple. Spirits applying for passes to travel to other realms, some looking for work, others looking for lost items. The everyday hustle and bustle never ceased to amaze him. An argument coming from a hallway catches his attention, and he couldn’t help but smile to himself as he recognized the loudest raised voice..
“LOOK, I DON’T CARE WHAT THE RULES SAY, I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A BLOODY ARCHANGEL, SO I’M KEEPING THE DAMN THINGS!! NOW, SOD OFF YOU ANNOYING RUDDY BUREAUCRAT BEFORE I DO YOU ONE!”
Ahhhh, Michael. Adam’s best friend in the spirit realm. Another typical warrior looking bloke, aside from the huge feathery wings that he simply refuses to take off…. As he exits the hallway, people automatically give him a very wide berth. Spotting Adam sat on the bench, he strides over looking extremely peeved.
“Alright there Mike, I take it they been saying you have to hand them back again eh?”
“Blooming idiots! I’m supposed to be an Angel, and if you look in any written work, what’s the common denominator for an Angel? WINGS!! And those dipsticks in there keep telling me that I am only supposed to wear them when I go back to the physical realm. They wont see that if I get called on in an emergency I can just go, instead of coming here, requesting them, fitting them, testing them….”
With a defiant roar, he turns back to face the hallway he just came from, and in a fit of pique, extends his wings to their full 8ft wingspan, and shakes them in the direction of the scribe who stands half hidden behind a plinth looking at him.
“Anyway, what’s with the corpse? You been recruiting again?
As he folds his wings back behind him, Michael pulls up a chair and listens to the story as Adam tells him about Ron’s last stand.
By the time he has finished, as if on cue, his name is called.
“Adam, with dead human, for the priest, to annexe 3 please. Adam to annexe 3, thank you”
“Stay here Mike, this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, then we can go for a drink while they sort him out for me.”
In the annexe, a wizened old priest undresses the now substantially colder body of Ron Ward. Hand maidens attend to the body, washing off the blood and poo, sewing up the wounds caused by the bullet and knife. They place linen cloths adorned in sacred symbols on the body, as the priest himself finds the correct incantations in his book.
“Any idea how long this will take?”
“About an hour I should think my son. You say he has been dead less than an hour?”
“Yep, only 40 minutes or so.”
“Perfect. Would you like us to call you when he is ready, or will you be here for his rising? I take it you were the last image he saw?”
“Yeah, I think I was, so I will come back and help him adjust. See you in an hour then.”
After washing off the blood and filth in the stream just down the road from the temple, Adam and Michael find their way to their favourite haunt, a public house run by an old Viking called Lars Grundholme. One of the old school, to become a member, you have to best Lars in competition. Adam had beaten him 3-0 at arm wrestling, and Michael 2-1 at axe throwing. Aristomache had bested him 3-0 at riddle solving, but so far her father hadn’t been told that she had her own tankard in the bar…
“Ah my boys! Vot on earth ist der matter Mike?, you look like you lost a cow und found a hen! Come, sit, der mead ist fresh und der pig haf just been roasted by Hannah. She haf been asking about you Adam… Und Mike, don’t tink zat Greta has forgotten you eizer! Come, sit, I vill go get zem for you. Sit, sit.”
For the next hour, Adam and Michael are served by 2 of Lars’ daughters, Hannah and Greta. If you were to imagine two typical Viking maidens, then you would be thinking of this pair. Curvatious and voluptuous, long golden hair braided into bunches that hang over their shoulders. With a flirtatious and cheeky attitude that could possibly get them into serious trouble with over amorous admirers if it wasn’t for the fact that they could beat the living daylights out of anybody. Behind every great Viking warrior, was a great Viking woman that he was wary of….
The mead flowed, the roast pig was ate, and promises to take the Grundholme sisters to Aristomache’s birthday were made. Only after a futile attempt by Lars to beat Adam at arm wrestling (which left the score 276-1 to Adam, the 1 loss being the first time he saw Hannah…) were they allowed to leave to go and find out if Ron was ready....