Bergsveinn was ecstatic.
His mentor was finally taking him with her on a mission. Alvör was gruff, thorny, fought like a angry cat and sang like a boar.
He’d mate her if he could manage it.
It was an important mission too. He could tell. Alvör brushed it off, saying it was just a diplomatic mission. But the Stormjarl and the Longfang had long been allies. It probably had something to do with the war. Alvör was no diplomat. Neither were any of the guards coming with.
They were going to the Longfang’s far flung outpost. It was about as far from home as he could manage without landing in a mordok nest, and that suited him just fine. His young blood boiled at home, his mother deftly keeping him out of harm’s way and therefore out of fun’s way. But she couldn’t thwart Alvör’s will(no one could! he thought gleefully), and Alvör needed a partner on the long trek.
They were even going to get ponies! Alvör had decided that with the war and all, they would need extra supplies. She didn’t want to hunt much in what could be unfriendly territory, so she requisitioned two ponies. Bergsveinn hadn’t been around the stocky furry creatures much, but he had always admired them from afar. He’d heard that the outsiders had bigger ones, ones big enough to ride! He hoped one day to see it, but he couldn’t imagine ever actually keeping one, let alone riding it.
One of the ponies was named Crackers. She was a young mare, beige colored and sweet. The other was named Scramp, an old man in pony years, dark brown and grumpy.
Bergsveinn loved their little ears, their wispy manes, their scraggy fur, their feathers on their hooves, and their soft noses.
This was going to be amazing.
By the time they had left Grimward territory and were almost to the Longfang outpost, Bergsveinn did not love ponies. They were smelly, they ate too much, they were bad tempered and would step on your foot if they thought you weren’t looking. They wouldn’t listen to him, and would sometimes just decide they’d have enough of this walking nonsense and refuse to move. At least, that’s what Scramp did. Crackers was pliable enough, but Scramp refused to do anything that Bergsveinn wanted. The stupid pony made him look foolish in front of Alvör, and would never be forgiven for it. She had actually laughed at him. Laughed!
He tugged on the lead, pleaded and yelled, but Scramp refused to move. In a fit of rage, Bergsveinn snapped up a stick and whipped the pony’s flank. The animal squealed in outrage, lashing out with it’s hooves and bolting. Bergsveinn sat on the ground, struggling to breath and watched the animal flee into the woods, accompanied by the derisive howls of his companions.
Good riddance. He thought victoriously.
Alvör stared at him in horror.
“Find that animal.” She snarled.
“But….!” He whined.
“Find it. NOW!”
They followed the trail of destruction that Scramp’s passage had made, finding bits and pieces from the pony’s pack strewn across the ground.
“You had better hope that the package is in one piece or so help me, I will cut you and feed you alive to the Mordok.” Alvör promised, and he was not so sure she was joking.
They found Scramp, chewing on grass and looking mighty smug. Bergsveinn wanted to hit the infuriating beast. Alvör sprang at Scramp, and before he could escape, she had his lead in hand. She desperately dug through the torn packs on his back. “NononononoNO! Shit shit shit!” She wailed.
“What? What is it, what’s wrong?” He asked, bewildered.
“We are dead. We are so dead! She will kill us and skin us and feed us to crows!” Alvör cried in despair.
“It’s gone. The claimant bar is gone!”