York, Northumbria, 884 A.D
“My Lord, it has been nearly two months since we were attacked,” Hemming’s wife exclaimed. “Surely we must move on,”
Hemming’s thoughts were not on the fact that he had forfeited his castle and lands to heathens. No, they were on the slave girl, Aiya. From the day he bought her she had brought nothing but troubles to his household.
“Wrach,” He spat.
She better be alive he thought to himself, for her fate would be held in his hands and his alone.
His people thought him a coward, and unfit to lead them, but he would show them. The Vikings had left shortly after their victory, taking all food, gold, and even their daughter’s. Without help from their Lord, the people managed to bury their dead, mourn their losses and rebuild their village. He was not in favor of the people, they wished him dead.
Hemming peered out of his window in his high chambers, down at the peasants below.
“Tomas!” He called to the Captain of the Guard. “Yes, my Lord?” The guard replied, stepping into the room.
“That man, the tall one…who is he?” Hemming pointed to the landscape below.
The Captain eyes focused on a tall, well-built man.
“That my Lord would be Ainsley Garrick, he’s the father of the boy you most justly killed, before the attack,”
“Bring me that man, that Ainsley, I wish to have words with him,”
“Right away Lord,” The Captain headed to fetch Ainsley.
Ainsley Garrick was not afraid to be summoned to the castle; in fact, he had waited too long for it. He knew Hemming had a vendetta against poor Aiya, his son’s dearest friend. Ainsley loved her as well; he had wanted to take Aiya in since she was a child. Who knew what her fate was now? He felt as though he had lost two children that day, they were innocent to the evils of the world, now they were forever lost.
“Move,” The guard escorting him growled.
Ainsley was pushed forward into the door; it flung open causing him to crash to the ground at Hemming’s feet.
“Stand him up Captain,” Hemming’s voice was calm. “Ainsley, let me start with my sincere apologies for your son Noah, he was a strapping young man, and I felt the loss myself,” He lied.
Hemming stepped forward with a hand on his heart. He continued. “But your son was a criminal, aiding another criminal. He defied my laws, and the laws of Northumbria, to disobey me, is to disobey our King. Therefore, my hand fell justly, he deserved to die. May our almighty Lord forgive him, his sins.” With that Hemming turned to take a seat on his lavished throne, a throne only the King of England should sit on, Hemming thought too highly of himself.
“My son was no criminal, and nor was the girl he helped!”
Ainsley couldn’t believe the speech he had just heard. “You call our Lord a liar!” Shouted the Captain, before knocking him to the ground.
“Easy, Captain, he is just distraught to find out his precious son was a deceiver. However, Tis not the boy I wish to discuss. It’s the girl, Aiya,”
Ainsley’s eyes came to meet Hemming’s.
“Where is she?”
Ainsley knew Hemming would hunt her down and that there was a chance Aiya was still alive, perhaps in a new place where she could be free and happy, he could give her that chance.
“Dead my Lord, slaughtered by the Vikings,” He said.
Hemming erupted into a fit of rage, destroying small objects in his reach and cursing at the top of his lungs.
“Take him to the dungeons!”
Ainsley was dragged backwards by his arms, his feet dragging on the floor.
Hemming knew the man was lying, he would get the truth from him, one way or another.