Thorunn walked alone bit by the cold wind of winter. She did not look back. She forbid it from that many years ago. She lightly touched her scar, still wounded by the disgrace she covered herself with. Her steps were hesitant. She wandered for so long she forgot where she wanted to go. All she wanted was to leave this land. She could not find her place there. She did not deserve it. She covered her face with her hood ashamed of what it showed. Failure.
She finally arrived on top of the mountain. She looked below and saw a village. By its size, she guessed it was an important place. It did not seem to be Kattegat, though. She trusted her feet were not deceptive enough to have led her there. She could not bear it. She sat in the snow and began to eat the fish she caught that same morning lost in the memories of her past life.
She missed Bjorn of course. She still loved him despite the time and had no doubt he found a new girl to love more worthy of him than she was. She remembered the taste of the mead they often shared, the nights she spent with him in his house, their talks and the sex they had. Then, she remembered Siggy. Her little daughter. She wondered how she was. If she grew well and was raised as a true viking. As the grand-daughter of King Ragnar Lothbrok. She still resented herself for abandoning her. What mother would do such a thing? But she had no choice. She had to give her to queen Aslaug. A little girl could not have survived where her mother was heading. If Siggy had died under the care of her mother, Thorunn could not have forgiven herself. That was why she chose to hand her to the queen. She knew she was a good mother and had lots of servants to take care of her child. Perhaps, she thought, her uncles liked to play with her. Perhaps she is the most loved and respected little girl in Kattegat. Perhaps it was a good idea to have left her behind.
She dreamed of Bjorn, playing with the daughter she gave him. She knew he loved her enough to care for her. At least, she hoped her disappearance didn't change his feelings toward the life they conceived. She imagined Bjorn, happy, laughing with Siggy, not thinking about her and with another woman to care for them. She smiled. As long as Bjorn was happy, she was. She knew she couldn't bring him the happiness he deserved. She saw it in his father's disapproving eyes. King Ragnar was right to distrust their marriage. After all, she made herself ridiculous in the eyes of the gods. For a man that descended from Odin himself, that must have been an insult to his honor. Thorunn blamed herself for that. She only wanted to be like Lagertha. A figure worthy of love and respect. She wanted to prove she earned her second chance. But she failed the day a Saxon sword cut her face. This would have never happened to Lagertha. Lagertha was strong, she was beautiful and every soul that crossed her path immediately worshipped her. Thorunn was one of them.
But unlike Lagertha, she did not want to rule. She did not want to increase people's love for her. She only wanted to be respected as a free woman and be loved by Bjorn. She wanted to prove herself to others. Perhaps those wishes lost her. Perhaps she had been wrong. Perhaps she should not have cared about other people's opinions and solely on her own. Thorunn only wanted to fight. But one failure crushed her ambition. She silently shed a tear.
She stood up and headed to the village. It was only when she arrived at its entrance that she noticed they were under attack. She noticed several ships boarding ashore. Their sails were black but she couldn't recognize the banner.
Suddenly all her childhood memories came rushing to her mind. She saw how her village was attacked the same way, how she was captured as a slave and then sold when she wasn't even a woman. It enraged her. Being a slave had brought her nothing. She did not want anyone else to suffer it.
She was about to unsheathe her sword and rush into the fight as she did when she was in Wessex when a little girl ran out of nowhere and hid behind her. Thorunn gave her an questioning look. That girl was terrified and her face was covered with blood.
"Please lady, help me." the girl said between two sobs. "They want to kill us all."
"Calm down." Thorunn said. "Tell me what happened."
"The men. They killed my father and I saw them rape my mother. My little brother. My little brother is..."
"Shhh, shhh, calm down. Tell me where your house is."
The girl was about to point her a direction when one of the attackers came in front of her, his axe dripping with blood. The little girl gripped Thorunn's pants with her hands so tight it hurt a little. Thorunn could feel her distress and her fear. In a way, she made her think about Siggy, her daughter. And in a way, she made her think about herself when she was a little girl and her village was attacked. She almost felt she was living it again.
The man in front of her was tall and muscular. His face showed he was thirsty for blood and perhaps a little girl's body. He was filthy, covered in blood and by his bare chest and tattoos, he was a berserker. The most fearsome warriors. But his eyes were not like Rollo's, Bjorn's uncle. While Rollo's were human even in his berserker state, this man's were showing nothing but savagery and cruelty.
"Give me the girl." he said growling.
Thorunn looked behind her at the little girl, hiding. She shook with fear and her sobbing tore Thorunn's heart in two.
"Why, she asked defiant."
"This is none of your business, woman." he spat. "Now give me the girl or I kill you."
"You can try, man. I do not fear death." Thorunn said inspired by a sudden impulse of courage.
"Then if you do not want to obey me, I shall make you suffer the same thing I want to do to this girl."
The little girl hid behind Thorunn even harder. She was crying and her tears moved Thorunn. Finally she felt her motherly instincts appear. Too bad she already left. But if she did not manage to do justice to her own daughter, she would make amends by helping the little girl.
"Not if I kill you first." Thorunn said removing her hood. Her scar, still red and opened brightened with the sun. Her eyes, out of anger bcame red, a side effect of her wound. Her eyes were filled with determination and for the first time, confidence. She knew she had nothing to lose this time. She only had a little girl to protect, that was all.
"Hel." the man said in fear. He stepped back at her sight, recognizing the goddess by the two sides of her face. One bore a hideous scar and the other half was beyond beautiful.
Thorunn enjoyed the look of fear in the man's eyes. She grabbed her sword and her axe and cursed herself for not having brought her shield with her. She felt powerful. More powerful and more free than she ever had been in her life. It was as if the gods smiled on her and offered her a second chance. A chance to begin a new life. Thorunn grinned. This time, she thought, this time she would not fail.
"Not dead, but not alive. This is my curse. My fate." she said. "And yours is to die by my sword."
She stepped forward and the man began to run. With a last smile to the child, she followed him. The little girl joined her hands, her eyes brightened by admiration.
"I have been saved by Hel." she said joyfully.
She managed to catch the man and struck his head with her axe. Her first blood since she had been wounded in Wessex. It felt good. His blood spattered her face and she felt the warmth of fresh blood splashing her hand as well. She could have painted her face with the blood that was already there, but she already had a scar. That was frightening enough. She no longer had the need to paint her face to appear fearsome.
Some screams tore her out of her trance. She straightened up and headed to where the screams were coming from. The more she ran to the shore, the more attackers she encountered. She waved her axe, struck their skulls, pierced their bodies cut their members. Soon, her entire face was covered with blood. The more she killed, the more red she saw. She felt like her eyes absorbed the blood she was spilling and that she was seeing through it. She was even worried she might never see again.
She heard her enemies screams when she killed them. Their shouts of fear when they saw her coming to them, all bloody, a sword and an axe in her hands and her long fur cloak which made her look like a bear. She could also hear some animal grunts. She looked around herself to see if she was followed by a wolf or a bear, but as she saw nothing, she realized those grunts belonged to her. She grinned, happy about her own power.
She ran into further battles, her axe thirsty for blood. She felt blood invading her mouth but she didn't know whether it was her enemies' or hers. At this point, she didn't care anymore. All she saw were enemies' and places to strike to get them down. She was nothing but a deadly hurricane of blood, fur and blonde hair. She smiled widely, not recalling if she had as much pleasure fighting in Wessex as she had here in this village.
Soon, she heard nothing in the village anymore. Her fury stopped and she looked around her. She was surrounded by corpses. She killed an army on her own. She smiled and then laughed to herself. She did it. She proved herself to the gods. She looked in the sky and saw a raven with a cat beneath it. She smiled to the animals with gratitude. She nodded at them and they disappeared. One in the sky, and the other in the forest. She raised her sight to the inhabitants of the village. They immediately stepped away in fear when they saw her face. Her smiled faded. She did not want that. She did not want them to think of her as a monster. They were not her enemies.
Suddenly the little girl ran to Throunn holding a little boy's hand in hers. Thorunn smiled at the girl's excitement to see her alive. When the children reached her height, she bended to her knees and gently stroke the girl's hair.
"You were amazing! The way you killed them and fought! Are you a valkyrie? Are you really the goddess Hel?"
"No." Thorunn said shaking her head and smiling. "I am no goddess. And I am no valkyrie either. I am a shieldmaiden."
"My sister was a shieldmaiden." the girl said. "But she died in battle." she said lowering her eyes.
"What is your name?" Thorunn asked smiling sadly at the girl.
"I am Solveig. And this is my brother, Siegfried." she said. The boy shyly nodded. "Your eyes are weird." she noted.
Thorunn immediately hid her eyes behind her hands. As she feared her eyes were still red. She didn't want to scare the kids, or even worse their village. "I should go." she said.
She was about to leave when an old lady came by her side. She put her hand on her shoulder gently and removed her hands from her eyes. Thorunn shyly lowered them. "The blood is going away." the woman said. "Anger might have been the cause of this. You had been very badly injured. It is a blessing of the gods that you are still alive. Apparently they decided something greater awaited you somewhere."
"Perhaps that somewhere was here." Thorunn said. "Perhaps this is my second chance."
"Perhaps. You are a great warrior to have survived this." the woman said touching her scar. "What is your name? We would like to know who our savior is."
"My name is Thorunn. That is all I can tell you."
The woman nodded. "I will take care of the kids. I knew their parents rather well."
Thorunn nodded. She put her hood back on her head to hide her face but as she was going to leave, the rest of the villagers came to thank her. Thorunn never ever had such a warm welcome. She felt herself struck by love and affection. Never had she been a hero, but this day, she proved herself she could be one. For the first time ever, she was at peace with herself.
When everyone finished thanking her, she turned her back to the village and readied herself to leave. "There is a small hut far into the woods," the old woman said. "You could use it to spend Winter here. It will be better than wandering around. And besides I know a little girl who would be very happy to play and train with you."
"Thank you. I will follow your advice." Thorunn said. "See you soon, then." she said to the little girl.
"See you." Solveig said with an enormous smile on her face.
"Thank you, Thorunn the shieldmaiden. Thorunn the berserker." the elderly lady said. "We will forever remember what you did today."
Thorunn nodded one last time to them and then headed to the mountain, walking in a snow red with blood and melting with the corpses' temperature. She was happy her fate brought her here. She was happy to begin a new life. She was happy she saved Solveig. She finally felt free.
I never wrote about Thorunn so she might be OOC. But I enjoyed the challenge greatly. It is such a shame the show got rid of her in such a way. It would have been interesting to see her overcome her issues and rise stronger than ever. So be it! I decided to do her justice and "heal" her.
I feel like a female berserker would have been a great thing to explore in the show, so I wrote it myself. It i such a shame we only see Lagertha succeed and not other women. I would have loved to see other female warriors succeed (and that include Thorunn). Season3!Thorunn is my absolute fave. I love her temper. I loved her in season2 of course, but in season3 she proved herself more complex and I loved that. What a shame they got rid of her. She was so interesting.
I compared her to Hel with very good reasons: first, Hel's face is half hideous, half beautiful. And this just fits Thorunn so well. And secondly, it is also said Hel is half dead half alive. Thorunn said in season3 "I am not dead, nor really alive". It was hard not to make the connection.
I also speak of her in Children of the Wolf chapter17. Actually, it is her daughter Siggy, who talks about her. You know how much I want Siggy alive ;).
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this oneshot ^^ Comments and reviews are most welcome.