Chapter Six: The Book that Vanished

Bjorn: Till de Döda

The young, dark haired man stepped onto the busy dock, a smile emblazoned on his face. He was the exact opposite of what a Scandinavian was thought to look like - instead of the gruff, stout, and horned man nearly the entirety of Europe feared, he was simply dressed in upper-class silks and sandals, rather thin and not so fearsome looking.

He carried the daggers against his chest. They were cold, made of some sort of steel and sgtone combination, and the color of ice. A gift from his mother, Skadi, originally intended for use against the Romans.

Funny how plans change, isn't it?

The Romans were fearsome, he admitted to himself, paying off the stablemaster and mounting the black horse with the blonde mane. Fighting against them would be a stupid idea, and so he had secretly kept in contact with some of the Roman fighters until the time was right.

And the time was now.

That girl, that Annika, with her long hair and prissy little sister. They walked ahead with two more companions, easy targets, but even too easy. And then that little sister, Sina, with her bewitching voice. None of the group seemed to notice the absence of the book, the one Sina used to cloak their viking ship on the way into port. And now it was in his hands, his cold hands.

As he guided the horse, just a bit behind them as not to arouse suspision, and flipped through the thin pages of the book. Large, blocky lettering, alerted him to new pages of spells and incantations in his native tongue, and he smiled as the page he was looking for caught his eyes.

Ode Till de Döda: Ode to the Dead

He flded the page and closed the black book, pulling the horse sharply to the right and easily gliding out of sight of Annika and her precious cargo. Now all he had to do was find his correspondant, the son of Pluto. What was his name?

Jonathon, yes, that was it.

Annika: Complete Control

"This place reeks of Romans," I scoffed, pinching my nose for effect, "I hate Romans."

Sina had taken control of the horse, holding the itshair gently, following behind the horses ridden by Marcus and Gwendolyn. The whole Roman peninsula reeked of the scented liquid they called "parfum" and rich comfort. A disgusting change to our home life, where the scent of coppery blood and wild animals overcame any such pleasantries.

"That Marcus boy," Sina finally began in her quiet, whispery voice, "He's quite handsome, don't you think?" I rolled my eyes at her comment. One of the main differences between Sina and I. While Sina might admire the muscles and masculinity of a man, I only looked for weak spots. Openings.

"And his sister, she is so beautiful!" Sina babbled on, occasionally looking down the make sure the dog was still at the horse's side, following obediently. "I think we are lucky to have met them, for our map was of bad form."

"Sina, understand this," I sighed, running a hand through a clump of brown hair, "We are now prancing down Roman streets with complete strangers.I do not believe you should feel comfortable yet. Trust no one remember what Father used to say?"

"But you gave him a sword," Sina stated flatly, glaring back at me. "Isn't that a sign of peace?"

"To them, maybe. But I can easily outmatch any of them in fighting, trust me. I have seen more bloodshed than you will ever understand, min kära."

We continued trailing them for what seemed like days, all the while scents of Rome invading my proud, battle-sained odor, and inducing gags and snorts from Roman passerby. Finally, I looked down at the saddle on the horse and noticed the absence of something.

Something important.

"Sina, the book. Where is the book?" I widened my eyes, hoping she'd just tucked it away somewhere. Sina looked to the side of the horse and back up to me, her eyes pleading and innocent, waiting for me to start the scolding and yelling.