Part 3 of this exciting short story from Nika Harper is now live! And be sure to follow her on Twitter!
The bear within Bolverk had awoken and he lumbered through the cold forest, hands and feet digging into the icy soil. The rites spoke of primal living, of natural existence, and shouldering the cruelty of desperation. Living at all costs was what mattered. Bears were built to withstand the harshest and worst winters, to flourish in the verdant summers. They could sleep through the cold months if the land had been kindly, but Bolverk shared the winter nights and days with the less fortunate and more hardened kind. His kind.
The rites of the berserk were strict and secret. Every few years, or any time as desired, they reconnected with the ursine spirit within them through trial and distance. Bolverk was wrong to keep any thoughts in his mind, wrong to use words in any capacity, but ever so rarely they crept back in.
The Ravens were temporarily absent of their captain. To what would Bolverk return?
Back to the woods, if all was gone. The Ravens were motley and not of his creed, nor of his capability. A finer bunch he could never find, but no fellowship among them. Bolverk was not the man to create it. He did not nurture, he enforced. The wind bit at his shoulder, an aching twinge from the scabbed arrow wound, making the cold feel deeper. That foolish girl. He broke the rites when he spoke to her. He should have chased her where she stood. That was the true way.
More land passed beneath his legs. Walk on until varl instincts were left behind.
Brigands held no interest to him, their presence [...]