Meet the Horde - Part 3: Freyja
On the next occasion they entered the vault, the room was empty except for Freyja sitting on a stool, waiting for them. Her braids were tied back and her burnt-cinnamon eyes glinted in the candlelight.
“Sit,” she said extending her arms to indicate the circle she expected them to form on the floor in front of her. They glanced at each other, but obeyed wordlessly, dropping down and crossing their legs like a class ready for a story. There was none of the usual equipment. No hanging punch bags, dumbbells, lateral bars. No hexagon drawn across the flagstones. Only Freyja looking at them and waiting for them to settle.
“It’s just me tonight,” she said eventually. “Halvar’s excused himself because he’s no good at this stuff. This evening I have a few things to say and you’re going to listen. This isn’t an open forum. I won't be fielding questions. But what I have to say is a vital part of the process. So I will speak, you will listen, then you will depart and each do as your conscience demands.”
She focused on a flagstone in front of her as she thought about her next words. No one stirred.
“People die in the Pantheon. Let’s not pretend otherwise.” She said it simply and raised her eyes to look around the circle. “I think you know that. I think most of the world out there…” she waved towards the ceiling to indicate the city above, “…knows that. But there is the romance of death; and there is the reality of death. And they are two very different things.
“You saw the Perpetuals. You watched their skill with the wooden training swords. You heard Radspakr and Halvar telling you that it’s time for your own weapons training to begin. And you’re no fools. You know that although you may start with a blunt wooden stick, you’ll graduate to razor-sharp iron. And when your foe also grasps such a weapon – well, that’ll be the moment you fight for your life.”