Housecarl (short story)

Useless Book Club


Saxon Story #1

Breya let the armful of empty tankards she had been carrying clatter down onto the scuffed oak work surface at the back of the mead hall. With thick, calloused hands she straightened out the creases on her bright woolen skirts.

The housecarl stood in the doorway, letting the brittle wooden boards slam closed behind him. His eyes roamed through the crowd of patrons. Grizzled men old and young bundled beneath hooded cloaks and thick tunics let the clamor of a few moments before lull into silence.

Their harsh, pockmarked faces stared up at the newcomer. They wore expressions which were sufficiently hostile to convey a sense that he was not welcome, without inviting open violence.

This was the crucial moment. If the bearded housecarl with the shield across his back and sword on his hip saw the emblem of a rival house or the face of a…

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