When Bolverk awoke, the snow had thickened, turning into a blizzard. It took a while to remember where he was as he got to his feet slowly. Sparr approached him, shielding his face from the blizzard with his cloak.
“We can’t see a thing in this storm! I guess Irynx hasn’t forgiven you yet.” he chuckled.
“Shouldn’t you have died yet?” Bolverk responded.
“Not too long, I’m sure.” Being in their line of work gave the Ravens quite a light hearted view of mortality. “On a clear day you could see Bindal’s watchtowers from here.”
“We don’t stop until we’re there.” Bolverk ordered.
The journey was tough, the biting cold affecting everyone, including the berserker. Most people wrapped themselves up in more animal furs. When the silhouette of the first tower came into view, it came as a huge relief. The first tower was abandoned and had fallen into disrepair, but the next one, a mile further, had a bonfire glowing from the top, and shouts were heard as the Ravens passed. Scores of tents were set up outside the stone walls of Bindal, probably refugees from Ormsdalr. As the Ravens approached the town gates, Bolverk noticed two people in what looked like Menders’ garb atop the gatehouse. They were talking with a one eyed fighter, probably the captain of the guard. The captain yelled and the gates opened.
“Just you.” the captain shouted.
“And my deputy!” Bolverk replied, gesturing to Folka. The captain and Menders conversed some more.
“Fine.” the captain agreed. Sparr started to arrange the setting up of camp as Bolverk and Folka entered the gates of Bindal. The captain and two Menders led them to a large stone and timber building to find shelter from the blizzard. Inside was another man in a long brown tunic, with red hair, who was muttering, seemingly, to his spear.
“What are the Ravens doing here?” the older Mender said, a woman dressed in grey robes. Her hair was pale and short. Her staff had a gold spearhead on the top. The other Mender was a young blonde man with a dark brown tunic. The captain was also blonde, but had a full beard whereas the Mender only had some stubble.
“We’re passing through on our way to the Blue River.” Bolverk answered. “We got caught in the storm. Where’s the governor?”
“Left for Arberrang. Left me in charge. My name’s Gudmundr. This is Zefr and Nikels.” The captain stepped forward.
“And what are two Menders doing this far from Manaharr?” Folka asked. There was a sense of déjà vu.
“We were sent to oversee the evacuation of Bindal. We heard rumours that Bellower was leading an army of Dredge west.”
“West. Yes, west. Lofn wants to go west.” the red haired man muttered to himself, or perhaps to his spear.
“Bellower is dead. He died at Boersgard; we were there.” Bolverk said. “Who’s the crazy man?”
“Bak.” replied Gudmundr. “He led the refugees from Ormsdalr.”
“Lofn doesn’t like slithering.” Bak muttered.
“Who’s Lofn?” Bolverk continued.
“His spear, we think. He’s rather eccentric.” Nikels, the young man, responded.
“I could never tell.” Folka said sarcastically.
“Bellower is dead?” Zefr, the female Mender, asked. Bolverk and Folka both nodded. The Menders gave each other a glance, confused at this information. “And the chasm between Boersgard and Ormsdalr. How did you cross that?”
“Two of yours. We’re on a job for them.” Folka said. The Menders shared another confused look.
“We were not aware of any other Menders in these parts. Who was it?”
“Juno and Eyvind.” Folka replied. Zefr stepped back and her eyes darted between Bolverk and Folka.
“Nikels, Gudmundr, Bak, can you help the refugees outside?” she asked as a thinly disguised excuse to have them leave the room. All three nodded and left. Zefr waited until the doors were closed and it was just the three of them.
“You have no job. The Valka known as Juno is dead.”