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Viking Heat

Viking Heat

Berkley Books
September 2009
ISBN-10: 0425230678
ISBN-13: 978-0425230671

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CHAPTER ONE

Testosterone made her do it...

She had no one to blame but herself.

Joy Nelson, a seemingly intelligent woman with a master's degree in psychology, about to start a doctorate program at Yale, had made some dumb choices in her life, mostly because she had spent way too much of her twenty-six years competing with her three older brothers, or doing incredibly stupid things after being egged on by The Three Muska-dopes, as she'd called them.

But this one beat the cake.

And it broke her heart thinking about why she'd done it.

Here she was in mud up to her eyeballs on San Clemente Island, one grueling year into her training program to become a female Navy Seal.  And doesn't that fall into the category of "What was I thinking?"

It all began when she was about twelve years old and well on her way to her eventual five-foot-ten, towering over all her classmates.  What girl in the throes of puberty wants to have boys looking up at her, making tall jokes?  Not to mention three older jock brothers, Matt, Jerry, and Tom, who were not shy about their observations, even when they had gone on to be an Air Force pilot, Wall Street hot shot broker, and NFL football player, respectively.

Also, it hadn't helped that she had curly, red hair.  Bright curly, red hair.  Think Orphan Annie but not so cute.

"I dare you" had been a common refrain around their house.  And "I double-dog dare you" had been the worst challenge of all to a little girl trying to keep up with three young Rambos.

"I dare you to climb that tree," her oldest brother Matt had challenged her.  "The one outside the principal's office."

The jerks had even taken pictures of that incident and loved to bring them out on the most embarrassing occasions.  Her hanging from the limb, Barbie underpants exposed, with Mister Clemmons yelling up at her.

"I dare you to try this hair toner," Jerry had suggested one day.  "My girlfriend says it will give you gold highlights."

Her hair had turned green.  There were photos of that disaster, too.

"If you want to lose your butt," Tom had suggested.  Who knew I even had a butt then?  "Why not try competitive weight lifting...you know, body building?  I double-dog dare you."

She did, and in the process gained some manly shoulders and lost most of her breasts.  No kidding!  No boobs.  But she still had a butt.

They were still laughing over that one.

Well, two of them were.

While her brothers had excelled in sports from elementary school through college, she'd felt compelled to do the same.  Therefore, she'd been an All-American tennis player, softball pitcher, basketball forward, and marathon runner.  For every trophy they won, she earned two.  She didn't have to be a psychologist to understand the subliminal dynamic that had been going on there.

Despite all the teasing, and competition, they had been the best brothers in the world.  In fact, they pretty much raised her, even before their dad, an Army lifer, died when she was eighteen.  Their mother had passed years earlier of cancer when Joy had been only eight.

Matt especially had been her anchor, filling in when their father had been away on duty billets around the world.  Matt had been the one who'd explained menstruation to her and purchased her first pads.  He'd been the one whose shoulder she cried on after being dumped by her first boyfriend.  He'd been the one who told her about birth control and warned her about fast boys and their smooth lines, from experience, no doubt.  He was the one she called first with good news, or bad.

But she was getting ahead of herself.

Fast forward to her twenty-fifth year and the day which changed her life forever.  And, yes, it was related to her brothers.

 *****

Oh, brother, where art thou?...

She was an intern at The Meadows, a psychiatric clinic in rural Pennsylvania, about to finish up her last group therapy session of the day.  With her master's thesis completed and approved at nearby Penn State, she would be moving to New Haven in two weeks for doctoral studies at Yale.

The group today was one labeled "Self Esteem: Only You Can Determine Your Worth."  Although the facility included adults and children as young as five, on both an in-patient and out-patient basis, those here today were all young teenagers...three girls and one boy.

"So, Cindy, tell us how you've done this week."

Cindy, a fifteen-year-old recovering anorexic, replied, "I gained two pounds."

"Well, that's good news."  Joy applauded, encouraging the others to follow suit.  "But you don't appear happy."

"I'm getting fat."  Cindy sank down into her folding chair as only a teenager could and pressed out her lower lip, sulkily.

If only she could see herself as others did.  Little more than a skeleton.

"What's your total weight, honey?"

Cindy's gaunt face bloomed pink.  Reluctantly, she admitted, "Ninety eight pounds."  When she'd been admitted two months ago, she'd been dying at an alarming eighty pounds.

"You know you can't be discharged until you're up to a hundred and ten?  You're five-foot-seven, for goodness sake.  Even at that weight, you'll still be slim."

"I'll look like a pig," she disagreed.

"Remember my promise.  If you get up to one hundred and two before I leave in two weeks, I'll bring a make-up consultant in here to show you just how beautiful you are.  I've seen her case of samples.  Wow!"

Her face brightened.  Was there ever a teenage girl who didn't love make-up?

"I think you look good," Andy Barlow said from Cindy's other side.  They were sitting in a small circle in her office.

Cindy flashed him a glare of disgust.

Which of course embarrassed Andy, who was one screwed-up sixteen-year-old.  The product of sexual and physical abuse from a young age, he was addicted to cocaine and into tattoos covering most of his body.

"Cindy!  You know better than that," Joy chided.

"I'm sorry," Cindy told Andy.

But, of course, the damage was done.  Andy got up abruptly, knocking over his chair, and rushed from the room.

"I'm sorry," Cindy repeated to the rest of them, tears brimming in her eyes.

Joy brought the other two girls into the discussion then.  Alicia, a high school sophomore who continued to blame herself for being gang-raped at a party, and Larise who was failing academically in senior high, despite having a very high I.Q., no doubt due to some undisclosed home issues.  She'd been caught cutting herself on more than one occasion.

Joy was concluding the counseling session when she glanced up and saw two of her brothers standing in the doorway.

"Jerry?  Tom?  What's up?  You told me you couldn't make it for graduation."

After the girls left the room, giggling at the sight of the good-looking visitors, they came in, shutting the door behind them, each giving her a big hug and a kiss.

She smiled, not having seen them in person for months.

Her brothers did not smile back.

"What?  What's happened?"  Fear suddenly riddled her body.  Light-headed, she leaned against a chair.  "It's Matt, isn't it?"

Jerry nodded and tried to take her hand.

She shoved the hand away.

"Tell me.  Is he dead?"  Oh, God!  Please don't let him be dead.

"No," Tom said.  "He's not dead."

But he said it in a way that was not hopeful.

A sob escaped her throat before she even knew the details.  She knew, she just knew it was going to be bad.

"His plane was shot down over Afghanistan.  Chuck Wiley, his co-pilot, died on impact.  Matt was taken prisoner.  He..."  Jerry's voice broke, and his hazel eyes misted over with tears.  She couldn't remember the last time she'd seen any of her brothers cry.

Tom was in just as bad shape, she soon realized.

"And?"

"The pictures...Al-Quaida has him, and Al-Jazeera is showing pictures.  Oh, honey, they're bad."  Jerry opened his arms and she went into them.

She didn't ask for details.  Her imagination was providing enough.

"They want us in D.C....in case there's news," Tom told her a short time later.  "We already went to your apartment and packed a bag for you."

Later that night they got the news.  Captain Matthew Nelson was dead.

Immediately Joy, screaming hysterically, was given a sedative which knocked her out.  Just before she surrendered to  unconsciousness, she wondered how she was ever going to face a world without her big brother.  How?

In the middle of the night, she awakened, disoriented.  She was in one of the two bedrooms in their hotel suite.  Her brothers must be asleep, finally.  She'd heard conversations and doors opening and closing for hours as she'd awakened, then went back to sleep, over and over throughout the day and evening.

Groggily, she made her way to the bathroom where she rinsed out her mouth and took two Aspirin.  Slowly, she walked into the living room, which was empty.

As if drawn by a magnet, she made her way to a laptop sitting on the coffee table.  Logging on, she came to the main news page of AOL.  And there it was, an announcement of Matt's death.  A team of Navy SEALs had apparently gone in to rescue him, but they'd been too late.

The picture she saw broke her heart.  Amidst a handful of armed men, crouched in a firing position...Navy SEALs, she assumed...was one particular SEAL carrying her brother.  He wore a BDU uniform, and his face was cammied up, but through the black paint could be seen a single tear track stemming from haunted blue eyes.

She would never forget that poignant image.

And it would change her life forever.

*****

I double-dog dare you...

For the next two months, Joy succumbed to a mind-numbing grief, giving up her slot at Yale, rarely leaving her bed before noon.  And she became obsessed with the picture of the Navy SEAL carrying her brother.

As a psychologist, she recognized all the signals.  The grieving process was taking over her life.  Academically, she was well acquainted with all the counseling steps necessary for her to begin healing, but emotionally she was still not ready.  Her brothers were probably just as grief-stricken, but they were back to work and managing to handle the stress. At least on the outside.

"What are you two doing here...again?" she asked when there was a knock on the door late one night."

"We're here to intervene...I mean, we're gonna do an intervention," Tom said.

"Whew!"  She waved a hand in front of her face.  "Just how much booze did you consume before coming up with this lame idea."

"It's a kickass idea," Jerry disagreed, blowing a equal waft of liquor breath her way.

Turns out their goofball version of an intervention involved Vodka Stingers, photo albums, and Matt's hokey collection of Country music CDs.

"I want to meet him," she told her brothers when they came to her apartment to perform their own

"Who?" Jerry slurred.

"That SEAL," she replied, taking out a computer print out of the TV photo.

Toby Keith was belting out "How Do You Like Me Now?" while Jerry and Tom studied the picture.

"Remember how Matt used to sing along with that song?" Tom reminded them.

"That, and `Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy'," Jerry added.

"Yoo hoo!  Earth to bozos," Joy said, waving the picture in front of her brothers.  "I want to meet him."

"I don't know, squirt," Jerry said.  That's what her brothers had always called her.  Some oxymoron!  "The SEALs don't like any publicity."

She shrugged.  "I need to ask him some questions...and to thank him."

"It's not necessary.  He was already given some medal," Jerry said.

"I don't care.  You want me to straighten out?  Fine.  Set up a meeting so I can meet the guy, dammit."  She turned to Tom.  "You know people who know people, Mr. Important Football Player.  You can do it.  I dare you."

Tom said something Important Football Players should not, a clear sign to Joy that she had won this challenge.

*****

Anchors Away, my dear, or some such nonsense...

One week later, she, Jerry and Tom were sitting in Commander MacLean's office at the Naval Special Warfare training command center in Coronado, California.  Apparently some high mucky muck in the Navy was a football fan, and Tom was one of his favorite players.  The admiral had pulled some strings.

"This is highly irregular," the commander was continuing to argue, even after he'd sent for Lt. Luke Avenil, better known as Slick.  Joy had learned on one of her Internet searches that all of the SEALs had nicknames, some more colorful than others, like Whiz, Shark, Easy, or Spider.  "SEALs operate as teams," the commander continued to complain.  "No individual is responsible for the success or failure of a mission."

"I know that.  It's just that I need to put a face and a voice to my brother's rescuer," she started to explain.

"With all due respect, ma'am, there was no rescue, just a recovery."

She bristled.  "His body wasn't left behind.  As far as I'm concerned, that's a rescue.  In any case, I was saying, I need to meet the man who carried my brother out of that hellhole.  It will give me some closure."

"No offense, Ms. Nelson, but giving civilians closure, or any other psychobabble, is not my responsibility."

There was a sharp rap on the door.

"Enter," the commander snapped.

In came a good looking, dark-haired man in his mid to late thirties, wearing a camouflage uniform and heavy lace-up boots, his Navy SEAL trident pin, known as a Budweiser, gleaming on his shirt, along with a bunch of stripes and badges that probably had some significance.  His dark hair was cut military short in a style known as a high and tight, and he was very buff.  He stood at attention until "At ease!" was barked out by his superior officer.

"Lt. Avenil, these folks have asked to meet with you.  Jerry and Tom Nelson, and their sister, Joy Nelson," the commander said.

Lt. Avenil shook hands with her brothers, his eyes flickering for a second at seeing the famous Tom Nelson.  While they were standing, she remained seated in front of the desk.

"The young man you rescued in Afghanistan was their brother."

Lt. Avenil's eyes connected with hers.  The same haunted blue eyes she recognized from the picture.  She couldn't help herself.  She rose, walked over, and hugged him, whispering against his ear, "Thank you."

She could tell by the stiffness of his body, as well as his flushed face, that her gratitude embarrassed her.  But then his arms wrapped around her waist, his hands giving a quick soothing caress of her back, as if to show he understood.

"It's my job," Lt. Avenil said.

After that, the commander excused himself and allowed them time to visit more casually.  They all sat down, and the men pulled their chairs closer to her.

He told them everything about the mission, from the moment they were called up, which he referred to as "boots off the ground," and on their way to the "insertion point" in the Middle East.  They "put down" a half dozens "tangos" to get into the stronghold...tango was the Navy SEAL term for terrorist...but her brother had been dead on their arrival.  Lt. Avenil was able to tell them that Matt had been clutching a cross on a gold chain.

Joy choked up again.  She'd given him that as a gift last Christmas.

Before they left, she asked Lt. Avenil, "Why do you do this?"

He seemed taken aback by her question, but then he replied, "There are a lot of bad people in the world, and if I can eliminate even one of them, then I've made a difference."

"A lot of men signed up after 9/11, didn't they?" Jerry remarked.

Lt. Avenil nodded.  "There were SEALs before 9/11, of course, but the need is greater today because..."

"...because terrorism is growing," Tom finished for him.

"Bigtime," Lt. Avenil agreed.

"I wish there was something I could do to make up for Matt's life."  She laughed, then kidded, "Too bad the SEALs don't take women."

"The SEALs don't, but the WEALS do," Commander MacLean inserted as he re-entered the office, then went on to explain that Women on Earth, Air, Land, and Sea was a female version of SEALs.  "There have always been female military attached to the SEAL teams, but now they work with SEALs as equal partners."

"I don't know...women soldiers?" Jerry said.

She punched him in the arm.  Jerry enjoyed goading her feminist leanings, and he had old-fashioned protective emotions about the female species.

"For a long time the military, all branches, resisted having women soldiers.  A lot of them still, do.  Myself included," Commander MacLean admitted.  "Researchers tell us that a woman of twenty has the lung power of a man of fifty.  And they're not as strong, generally speaking.  But mostly it's a nightmare trying to manage a sexy young sailorette in a base full of horny men."

Tom and Jerry chuckled.

"But they're here, right?" she argued.  "Women in the military?"

"Yep, and they've proven most of the naysayers wrong."

"Yourself included?" she inquired sweetly.

"Definitely."  His somber face relaxed into a grin.  "You'd have to meet my wife Madrene to know why that was a politic answer."

"C'mon.  I'll take you to the grinder where one of the WEALS classes is working out today," Lt. Avenil offered.  "BUD/S, the latest SEAL training class, is just about finished."

They gave their thanks and said good-bye to the commander.

"BUD/S?" Tom asked as they followed Lt. Avenil down the corridor.

"Basic Underwater Demolition/Seals," the lieutenant explained as they exited the building.  "In the old days, SEALs were primarily in the water; in fact, they called them frogmen, or webfoot warriors.  They're everywhere today, though...air, land, sea, but they kept the name."

The grinder was an asphalt area surrounded by several low buildings, almost like the exercise yard of a penitentiary.  In the distance could be seen huge gray Navy warships lined near the Naval Amphibious Base at the other end of Coronado.  To one side was the cold blue Pacific Ocean which shimmered under the early morning sun, which would be relentless by afternoon.  She could also see the red-tiled roof of the famous Hotel Del Coronado where she and her brother would be having lunch before heading back home.

After spending a half hour watching two dozen women getting the most incredible workout on everything from climbing a high cargo net to gazillions of sit-ups, Jerry remarked to Lt. Avenil, "These women look especially fit.  Are they, like, super dooper athletes?  You know, wonder women with supersonic parts?"

Lt. Avenil laughed.  "Nah.  They have to be in good shape, of course.  SEAL candidates do, too.  But the program will hone them into the types of bodies they need.  And, no, that doesn't mean muscle-bound masculine females.  Don't tell anyone I said so, but some of them are pretty hot."

Her brothers looking at her in a funny way.

She recognized the look.

"Oh, no!" she exclaimed.

"I dare you," Jerry said.

"I double dog dare you," Tom added.  "Think of all the fun."

Ha, ha, ha.

"And, really, I bet there would be tons of opportunities for you to use your psychology skills."  Tom was on a roll, or so he thought.

"The commander's sister is a Navy doctor assigned to the teams here in Coronado," Lt. Avenil added.

  "A Navy SEAL psychologist...I mean, Navy WEALS psychologist.  Wow!"  Tom batted his sinfully long dark lashes at her.  "Wouldn't that be weally great?"

"Just super."

"You could psychobabble the enemy to death."

"Tom, you are so not funny."

"It would be a breeze for you," Jerry promised, barely able to stifle his smile.  "You're in great shape...except for your butt."

He ducked when she tried to whack him a good one.

So, that's how, a year later, she was here on San Clemente Island with a group of equally braindead WEALS wannabees.  You could say hers was a classic case of "Private Benjamin" meets "Stripes."  At the moment, they were engaged in survival training.  The goal was to evade the enemy...i.e., Navy Seal instructors with sadist personalities and testosterone oozing out the yee haw.  Her hiding place was under a slight ledge over an almost dry stream bed...i.e. mud.  The mosquitos were the size of moth balls, the mud smelled, and she was pretty sure that was a spider in the long braid she had tucked under her cap.

Just then, Master Chief Justin LeBlanc, a Cajun Seal better known as Cage, leaned over the ledge above her and drawled, "Peek-a-boo, darlin'," just before shooting her with a big yellow paintball.

In the butt.

                       

CHAPTER TWO

955 A.D., Trelleborg, men will be boys, always...

Brandr Igorsson stood with hundreds of his Jomsviking comrades-in-arms surveying the ritual initiation of six men into the brotherhood.

"Keep an eye on my brother Frode," his best friend Torkel said, his chin raised with pride.  "Only sixteen, but there is no more fearless youthling in all the Norselands."

"Like you were, Tork?"  Brandr grinned.  He and Tork had joined the elite band of far-famed warriors, together, more than ten years past.  In truth, they had been fighting men for closer to twenty years, since their selfsame thirteenth birthing day.  In more battles than he could count, they had fought side by side, watching each other's backs.

"Just like," Tork agreed, humility never being one of his virtues.

Horns of ale were raised as a wave of shouting erupted around them...cheers of encouragement and hoots of ridicule.  A large neck-ring of turf had been cut from the ground in such a way that two of the sides were still intact.  In various places underneath stood sharp spear heads.  Those men about to swear fealty to the Jomsviking brotherhood were in the process of crawling from one end to the other beneath the grassy blanket, their blood mixing with the Trelleborg dirt.

When they had all completed this task, they dropped to their knees, Frode included, grinning with self-satisfaction for having survived, despite blood dripping from their arms and backs, their faces marked with grass and dirt stains.  Egill the Fearless, their leader, strode toward them with a stern glower on his bearded face and demanded the oaths of loyalty, not just to him as chieftain but to their fellow warriors.  Each promised to avenge all other Jomsvikings as a brother.  None must ever give voice to fear.  No man could be absent from Trelleborg for more than three days without permission.  No women could be brought into the all-male, monastic style garrison.  Plunder would be shared by all in the warrior community.

The fortress, which could house twelve hundred men, sat on the west coast of Sjaelland, between Kattegat and the Baltic Sea, atop an enormous circular earthworks, with high double timbered ramparts filled with earth which were manned at all times.  The stronghold was divided into quadrants by two roads that criss-crossed, leading to four openings, with gates which could be dropped in an instant if they were attacked by foemen.  Below lay the palisaded harbor town where ale and wenches were available aplenty, for a coin.

Tork picked up a wooden bucket of water and dumped it over his brother's head.

"Hey!"  Frode shook his head like a shaggy dog.

They were better able now to examine the boy's extensive injuries, which had been Tork's intention.  A deep slice on his shoulder, cutting through the leather tunic and flesh.  Several cuts on his legs and a vicious wound on one forearm.

Tork touched the latter and said, "This one might need stitches."

"Nay."  Frode gave his wound an admiring glance, then grinned.  "Methinks it will make a great scar to attract the maidens."

Laughing, the three of them made for the seaside opening.

The youthling chattered the whole time, even though in most ways he was a man now.  That fact was proven when he teased them, "Let us go down to the village and celebrate.  Mayhap I can find a wench or two to swive, whilst you two ugly brutes may have my leavings."

Tork reached out to punch his brother, but he ducked and Tork's fist met only air.

'Twas then that Brandr noticed the longship entering the harbor far below.  Oh, there were dozens and dozens of longships and knarrs and barges already anchored and portaged, but none carried this particular flag.  A white bear rampant against a black background edged in red.  It was Brandr's family crest.

As they got closer, the hairs stood out on the back of his neck with every creak of the oarlocks, and he exchanged a worried look with Tork, both sensing that something must be amiss.

They soon found out.

It was his younger brothers Erland and Arnis, sixteen and twenty years old.  How odd!  And they were in charge of a longship...one of the many family longships, but this one manned by a shiphird, or sea army, of a mere thirty men.  Even more odd!  And a scraggly band they were, too.  Beyond odd!  Alarming!

On anchoring, then jumping onto the wharf planking, his brothers hugged him in greeting, then nodded at Tork and Frode, whom they had met as visitors at Bear's Lair on many an occasion.

The first thing Erland did was complain to Brandr, "Frode has become a Jomsviking?  You told me I was too young."

"You are too young."  In Brandr's experience, some males were men at sixteen, whilst others did not mature 'til much later.  Erland was of the latter type.

Arnis thumped his brother on the shoulder, causing Erland to stumble.  "Lackwit!  Dost forget why we are here?"  Then he turned to Brandr with a grim expression on his face.  "We bring bad news, Jarl Igorsson."

Jarl?  "What?  Me?" he nigh squawked.  Those standing hairs on his neck were now waving a warning to him.  There could be only one way that the Odal right of jarldom would pass to him.  Through his father and three older brothers.

Which was impossible.

It had to be.

Arnis put a hand on his arm in sympathy.

Sympathy?

"They are all gone."

He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to digest what Arnis was saying.  "All?"

Both Erland and Arnis nodded.

"The Sigurdssons came in the night," Erland explained.  "Killed and maimed everyone in sight.  Father, his wives and concubines, your mother, our brothers Vidar, Bjarn and Sveinn.  Our sisters Maeva and Gerda are dead, along with their babes.  Housecarls, cotters, everyone slaughtered.  Arnora and Kelda survived, no doubt because they were too old to be of any use."  Arnora was Vidar's mother, and Kelda was the longtime cook at Bear's Lair.  "In truth, hardly anyone was spared by the whoresons, except Liv who was amongst a handful of women taken captive."

Tork and Frode gasped with horror.  A soft cry of pain escaped Brandr's lips which soon thinned with fury.  The Sigurdssons and Igorssons are done each other great scathe over the years, but naught like this.

His sister Liv was only thirteen years old.  It broke his heart to think of what horrors the impish girling must be experiencing at this very moment.  Last time he heard, she had not even had her first monthly flux.

It hardened his heart to know of the blood which had been spilled and all the more blood he would now be compelled to spill.  There would be a virtual flood of sword dew.  "And you two...how did you escape?"

"We were off to Birka, trading furs for winter goods," Arnis told him.

Bear's Lair was a remote northerly estate, rocky and cold, not conducive to farming.  But bears abounded, huge brown creatures, and up near the Arctic region, the prized white bears. "Two days late, we were," Arnis continued, his voice raspy with emotion, his blue eyes glazed in remembrance of the horrors he must have seen.  "Not that our presence would have made a difference.  We learned from the few survivors that Sigurd came with a hird of two hundred strong."

"How many men are left?" Tork interjected.  His good friend would be returning with him, Brandr knew, without his asking for help.

"Three dozen able-bodied, another three dozen injured but will recover, the gods willing, and another dozen crippled for life."

"Hrafnasueltir!" he exclaimed and spat on the ground.  "Raven starver, that is what Sigurd is.  A coward.  Less than a nithing."

Tork took Frode by the elbow and led him back toward the fortress.  "Looks like you will be blooded in battle sooner than expected, brother.  Let us see how many Jomsviking warriors will join us in this good and noble cause."

Brandr would not be surprised if a worthy hird would be at the ready within the hour to travel back with him to his estate, or what was left of it.

How could his life have changed so, in a matter of minutes?  This had been a good life for him, a middle son.  He had been contented.  Well, no more.

Taking out Flesh Biter, his favorite pattern-welded broadsword, tears welling in his eyes for the first time since he was a baby, Brandr stabbed the weapon into the ground with a roar of fury and proclaimed with a loud cry to the high heavens, "This I swear afore Thor and all the gods.  We will be avenged!"  His throat clogged for a moment before he repeated hoarsely, "We will be avenged!"

The howl that followed was like that of a crazed wolf.

That was the day Brandr Igorsson turned berserker.

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