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we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn]

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Thora Haraldsdóttir
Shield maiden

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Age : 25
Place of birth : Uddevalla

PostSubject: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:54 am

Thora's entire plan for coming to the feast had been destroyed, meaning she hadn't even intended to come to the feast in the first place. Truth be told, she wasn't even certain she would be welcome here, not after her encounter with Bjorn Ironside. Curse her unruly tongue! But what kind of shieldmaiden would she be if she didn't stand up for herself? One less hated by the prince of Kattegat, maybe. She knew his dislike wasn't her fault, not initially anyway. Ubbe had told her she reminded Bjorn of someone, and left it at that. Thora hadn't asked more questions, it was not her place. She'd thought she could handle that, she would simply stay out of the prince's way. Then he'd showed up at her house when she'd been outside polishing her weapons. It was poor timing for both of them, really, but sometimes the gods made things happen for reasons known only to them. Her plan to avoid him had shattered when he told her she didn't belong in the shield wall. She'd stepped out of line, she knew she had, but she would do it again if she could go back in time. Still, his last words to her rang in her head: I am iron, and I forge myself. And so Thora went back to her original plan, to simply avoid Bjorn as best as she could. It would simply make things easier for both of them.

But then her brother Audun showed up, all the way from Uddevalla, leading a pregnant mare for the sacrifice. So then she had recalculated, and just decided she would lay low. Sit with the warriors, eat, drink, tell some stories, make some jokes, get to know the warriors of Kattegat better. And that had been going very well, until the line of dancers twirled past. Audun, knowing how much she loved to dance, had pushed her into the line. She'd drunk just enough ale that she didn't even think twice about joining them. That had gone about as well as could be expected, half-drunk and dancing with others--men, women, children, it didn't matter--who were almost all at least as drunk as she was.  

This partner though, he was terrible. The drunkest by far of any person she'd danced with, tripping over not only his own feet but hers as well. She wrenched herself free of his clammy hands, claiming she was thirsty, but he only shook his head and advanced on her again. That was the trouble with drunk men, sometimes they just didn't take the hint. Thora sighed, resigned. For once in her life, she wasn't itching for a fight. For once, she just wanted to have fun, to dance, and not get into trouble. It would seem the gods had other plans.  He grabbed her wrists hard and started pulling her toward him. Thora went along with it, waiting until she was close enough before sinking a knee into his groin. He shoved her away, shouting curses at her. His push caused her to stumble backward, crashing into the back of someone sitting at a table. She nearly fell to the floor, but managed to catch herself on the edge of the bench behind her, and scrambled quickly to her feet. She turned, green eyes wide, face crimson with embarrassment. Her scuffle with the man and his curses had been loud enough that hopefully whoever she crashed into would have heard and would know what happened. Hopefully they wouldn't be too angry. Hopefully, for once, this wouldn't be a fight.

The apology was out of her mouth as she was turning. I am so sorry, let me pour you some ale. Her green eyes were wide and apologetic, sincere. She really hadn't meant to cause a scene. Then her eyes fell on the man she'd been pushed into--the very same man she'd been hoping to avoid for as long as possible. Damn. So much for laying low.

@Björn Ragnarsson
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Björn Ragnarsson
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:44 pm

Björn was sitting at the table, with Vikings from his own age. It was the first time that evening where he could forget his position for a moment. Together with friends from his youth, eating, drinking, laughing. For a moment he felt like the boy he used to be, years ago. Without any troubles on his mind, without any sorrow, without any grieve. He was laughing at some kind of joke that the Viking in front of him made. A funny memory from their childhood. The table was shivering beneath the laughter from the full grown Viking men, and when they shouted sköll, eyes from all over the great hall were pointed at them. Björn was just about to put his lips on his cup, when someone or something busted into his back. The ale poured over his cup, all over the table. In full synchronisation the men around the table, including him looked at the person that had bumped into Björn’s back.

He saw Þórunn, and his eyes widened open. His heartbeat rose, just as much his temperature. And then he realised. Björn frowned his eyes and watched the girl that was crawling back on her feet. She stared right back at him, with a frightful glance in her bright green eyes. ”I am so sorry, let me pour you some ale.” For a moment he tried to understand what was going on. Why would she bust into him on purpose, only to apologize after? No, there was something going on, something he had missed because of his enjoyment with his childhood friends. ”I thought you’d rather fight in the shield wall than pouring ale?” By those semi-sarcastic words he made clear that it was all right. He couldn’t make a scene in the middle of the feast. Björn wasn’t even sure if he wanted to do so. The fear in her eyes, the Viking in the middle of the dancefloor that was holding his vitals as if they were about to fall off any second. There was something going on. ”Did he went too far?” Björn asked her and some kind of protective tinge rose up from inside of him.

Björn found his feet, towered almost half a meter above her. He could feel how the ale made him soften up towards her, the same way he had done towards Þórunn so many times. But this time he knew that it wasn’t Þórunn that he was standing in front of. He knew he had been wrong to the girl, on so many levels. And maybe if there was much of an understanding between them, they could work things out. He was still staring at her eyes, almost forgetting whatever just happened between her and the drunk Viking. Maybe this was the perfect occasion to prove her that respect really was the key to everything in his life. And the man that had assaulted her wasn’t much of a guy that lived along respect. So he waited for her to speak up to him.


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Thora Haraldsdóttir
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:30 pm

Halfway through her apology when Thora realizes who she's apologizing to, the panic starts to rise in her like a tide but she does her best to ignore it. As is often the case with someone who's just escaped a threat, the danger of the situation doesn't sink in until it's passed. Maybe the rising panic is just her natural reaction the to drunk Viking grabbing her. After all, Thora's no stranger to rough hands bruising her arms, to a man forcing herself on her. But after she'd left her husband, fled back to her father's house in shame, she'd promised herself it would never happen again. Worked even harder with her weapons, made herself stronger and faster than she'd ever been. Kept promising herself she would never feel weak and afraid at the hands of a man again. When the man had grabbed her she'd reacted calmly, out of instinct, and defended herself. But now she's free of his grasp and she's bumped into Bjorn.

She expects hatred in his eyes, half-expects him to grab her with a roar and shake her so hard her teeth chatter--not because she necessarily thinks he hates her that much or that he's the type to do such things, but because she's struggling now to rein in her panic. She fists her hands in her skirt to hide their shaking, tries her best to turn the fear singing through her into defiance. But none of that happens. His first words--I thought you'd rather fight in a shield wall than pouring ale?-- are sarcastic, a little biting, but far from the hatred he'd shown her before. His face is confusing to her, unreadable, but there is no fury in his blue eyes this time. The relief is so strong, overpowering the panic, that she could almost laugh. Just like that, she's back in the present. She is not a victim of bruising hands anymore, and she never will be.

She's about to respond to his half-sarcastic question when he asks her another one, his eyes traveling from her to the man who'd caused this whole mess. He's still clutching himself, spitting curses at her and glaring. His question this time takes her by surprise. She doesn't expect him to care about anything that happened. The shock of it wars with the shame she feels, that she couldn't defend herself well enough. That the drunk Viking made her feel weak and afraid. In all of her terrible interactions with men Thora herself is the only constant and she thinks by this point that maybe their treatment of her is no less than she deserves. Certainly she doesn't deserve this unexpected kindness from Bjorn, not after the way she acted before. She's so shocked by the question the only thing she can do is answer honestly. There is nothing defiant about her now, only a sense of shame that barely allows her to meet Bjorn's eyes. She shrugs. "He did, but I hope I was able to teach him a lesson." Finally she's able to meet his eyes. "I am sorry. I did not mean to disturb you." There's still a touch of shame about her, she can't quite escape the shame of feeling scared, of being handled roughly by a man yet again.
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Björn Ragnarsson
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:18 pm

He could see there was a war raging on in her head. The look in her eyes, the way she had clammed her gown between her fists. Björn wondered if it was because of the amount of ale she had consumed, or just because of the fact that is was him who she had bumped into. Probably the combination of both. He found his feet and could almost feel the floor shiver from the girl standing next to him. So he tried to soften the look in his eyes, lowered his shoulders a bit and watched her in silence. It took a few seconds for him to realize what was really going on, but the man a few meters from them explained the total picture. He was still shouting, grabbing his crotch in pain. So Björn couldn’t help himself from asking if he had gone too far. It was kind of obvious that the man had assaulted her, but Björn wasn’t sure if the girl wanted help in a situation like this. So he asked the question, while he already knew the answer in the back of his head. As well as he already knew what he was about to do. It wasn’t just an ordinary shield maiden he had assaulted.. it was the one that was closest to Björn’s heart. Even if he had never made that clear in a proper way. ”He did, but I hope I was able to teach him a lesson.” For the first time she looked back at him and their eyes met halfway. Björn could feel his heartbeat raise, not because of the situation that was going on, but because of the bright green color of her eyes. ”I am sorry. I did not mean to disturb you.” Björn frowned his eyebrows by those words, and saw her looking away again. ”Don’t be.” He answered softly and nodded . ”I’ll make sure he won’t forget your lesson.” He reached for her shoulder and gently guided her behind him, into safety.

But then he had enough of being gentle and creating a safe haven. Björn turned towards the Viking that had found his feet again. He was waggling on his feet and his eyes were filled with anger. But when he saw Björn coming closer, he immediately softened the glance in his eyes and took a step back. ”Ironside.” he muttered, immediately felt the guilt over his drunkness. But Björn didn’t listen. He grabbed the man by the collar and pulled him towards him, staring him straight in the eyes with the look of death himself. ”You..” he said from between his lips with a dark undertone in his voice, the same undertone he had used on Thora a few days earlier. ”..need to know your place.” And with those words he gave the man an enormous head punch right between the eyes. He felt his own head pounding, but he knew that would only be temporary. The man he was holding, on the other hand, had a lesser prospect. Blood flowed out of his nose, covering half of his face in blood already, his eyes were twiddling in their sockets. Björn released the man’s collar and dropped him on the floor right in front of him. With the back of his hand he wiped away some blood on his forehead, coming from the Viking he just knocked out. He turned around and walked back to the table where the girl was still standing. ”Now..” he said, and there appeared a little smile on his face. ”..I would like some of that ale you promised me.”


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Thora Haraldsdóttir
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:16 pm

Thora knows she isn't good at hiding her emotions and therefore the panic must be plain in her eyes. Her suspicion is confirmed when Bjorn's eyes soften even further, when he relaxes his broad shoulders. She can see that he's trying to be kind to her, and it's so unexpected that she wants to apologize to him right then and there for the way she acted a few days ago. She gives him a small, shy smile when he reassures her, telling her not to be sorry for disturbing him. She knows he's trying to be kind, and that's enough. It melts all possible defiance out of her.

He speaks again I'll make sure he won't forget your lesson, a sort of promise--safety for her, more pain for the man who crossed the line. Thora is surprised by Bjorn's gentle hand on her shoulder, guiding her behind him. She isn't used to being shielded by others. She's tough, an unflinching warrior, but the harsh treatment in her past makes her weak in the face of drunken, bruising hands. She's grateful that this time, she has an unexpected protector. The relief makes her knees feel weak, and she hates herself for feeling so powerless.

And then Bjorn is stepping forward, and the man who assaulted her is muttering, looking away from the wrath of the prince. Thora cannot see his face, but his voice is cold and dark as a winter storm. She didn't allow herself to shiver when that tone was directed at her a few days ago, but this time she can't help it. He's a great big bear of a man, this prince, and he certainly lives up to his namesake. His fist connects with a sickening crunch and the splatter of blood, then he drops the man and returns to her like nothing happened.

He's wiping blood off his forehead, and her bright green eyes follow his hand for moment. She's learned to love the sight of fresh blood on pale, clean skin. She is a shieldmaiden, blood is part of the job. He's asking for the ale she promised when she bumped into him, a small smile on his face. She grins like the sun breaking through the clouds, and even she's a little surprised at the laugh that escapes her lips. Thora is seldom serious, and even now, her panic gone and the small smile Bjorn had given her encouraging her, she can't quite help herself. They may not be friends yet, but she hopes they're moving in that direction. "How can I deny you ale after that?" She quickly finds two cups and a jug of ale. She looks up at him as she pours the ale, suddenly serious and a little shy. ["Thank you."/i] She finishes pouring and hands him a cup, then holds hers forward so he can clink his cup against hers. "Skoll."
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Björn Ragnarsson
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:30 pm

He could see the surprised look on her face, when he walked right back at her. The man he just had knocked out, was being helped back on his feet by some of his friends. The people who had been drawn to the incident, were already continuing with whatever they were doing. It wasn’t a strange thing, a fight on a feast, after all they were still Vikings. She smiled at him, and Björn didn’t knew wheter he should answer that smile or not. So he just started talking about the ale again. He watched Thora reaching out for two cups and a jug. ”How can I deny you ale after that?” And then he raised the corner of his mouth, on the exact same moment she started to fill the cups. Björn felt her gazing at his face, so after a few seconds he couldn’t help himself from staring right back at her. Her bright smile had turned into something more serious, so he frowned his forehead. ”Thank you.” She then said and handed him over a filled cup. He could see her cup coming closer to his, so he clinked right back. ”Sköll.” - ”Sköll.” Björn placed the cup to his lips and drank a few sips from it before he lowered his cup again. He was still holding her eyes in his, wondering where the serious thank you came from. Or how it was even possible that a girl like her needed help? ”It is my duty to protect my people.” He said and thought about his following words. He took another sip and raised the corner of his mouth, trying to tell her that he meant no harm with his words. ”But I am wondering why a man like him is able to overthrow a shield maiden like you?” He remembered the frightened look in her eyes, the way she almost froze. That wasn’t a good trait for a woman that fought in the shield wall.

Björn turned his head to the side of the great hall and gestured that she had to follow him. Maybe it was a better idea to talk somewhere it was more peaceful than in the middle of the feast itself. He stopped next to a big, decorated pillar that held up the roof and circled around it so they were partly out of sight from everyone else in the great hall. The exact same place where he had been with the exact same looking woman, a few years ago. Without even wanting it, he could feel his heartbeat raise. Maybe it was just the ale..


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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:56 pm

She brought the cup to her lips and took a slow sip after they clinked their cups together. Her bright green eyes were on Bjorn, watching him as he looked at her. His face was unreadable, as it always seemed to be. Or maybe she just didn't know him well enough to read him. The lack of hatred in his eyes still surprised her a little, but she was glad for it. She didn't want Bjorn to hate her, especially since it wasn't her fault. She didn't know the details, but Ubbe had told her in the woods that she simply reminded Bjorn of somebody. Thora hadn't asked for two reasons. One was that it simply wasn't her business. The second was that she was afraid the knowing would make Bjorn more human to her. She didn't want him to be relatable, to have pain in his past. How could she meet his hatred with her own stubborn defiance if she knew the reason for his anger? It's true that it wasn't her fault, but for the sort of visceral reaction she drew from Bjorn, she guessed the pain of it must run terribly deep, and so she simply didn't want to know.

He tells her it's his duty to protect his people, and Thora raises her eyebrows slightly. Did he just call her one of his people? Surely he hadn't meant it? Although the way he was acting tonight was very different from the way he'd acted toward her previously. Thora was softening toward him. She told herself it was the ale, was the way he'd unexpectedly stepped up to defend her. Things would probably go back to normal between them in the morning, once there was no ale and no drunk man trying to grab at her with his clammy hands. His face was serious as he spoke again. Although his tone was calm, simply curious, and there was no disgust or anger on his face, Thora couldn't help the offended snort that escaped her lips. "Maybe you're recalling things differently than I am, but I did get his hands off me." Her honor sufficiently defended, she followed Bjorn as he led them off to the side, ducking partway behind a large, ornate pillar.

It was a fair question after all, she supposed. It was true that she had gotten his hands off her, and had reacted just fine during the crisis itself. But afterward, the panic that rose in her when the danger was passed, that was a different story. He had a right to know why, if she wanted to fight in his shield wall. Fear could mean the difference between life and death. She had no fear of death, never flinched in a shield wall, but he had never seen her fight in one, but he'd seen fear in her tonight. For that, and for defending her--although she'd had it mostly under control--he deserved to know the truth. Or maybe he didn't, but he had asked and Thora would tell him. Fear wasn't a good trait in a warrior, but she needed him to know that her fear was over something very, very specific and completely unrelated to the shield wall.

She inspects the pillar, raising her cup to her lips one final time. She feels the ale settling warm in her belly, bracing her, before turning her bright green eyes back to Bjorn. Thora works hard to keep her tone light and conversational, to keep the shame from coloring her face in an embarrassed flush. "I was married, before I came to Kattegat. Great big man, only a little smaller than you." She pauses, looks down into her cup for a second before bringing it to her lips and draining it. "Had hands like iron and a temper to match. Hid all my weapons--still don't know where, I think he buried them." She shrugs, acting like it's no big deal. "I left him with a bit more than a knee to the balls, but it took me longer than it should have to find the strength for it." She raises her empty cup toward him, a bitter little smile on her face, and her voice is quiet when she continues. "You are the only person in Kattegat who knows." She's looking at him unflinchingly, a defiant set to her jaw. She seems to be daring him to say something--to tell her she's weak, tell her again there's no place in the shield wall for a girl like her. He's said it before. Her bright green eyes are searching his, waiting for the pity and the disgust she's sure he'll feel toward her now, and she doesn't care. She'll prove him wrong a thousand times if she has to, prove to him the shield wall is where she belongs.
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Björn Ragnarsson
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:56 pm

Even Björn himself didn’t knew where the sudden gentleness came from. For once his eyebrows didn’t frowned when he looked at her, for ones his veins didn’t filled up with anger and horrible memories. No, tonight was everything different. When he looked at Thora he could only feel the nice, warm feeling he had ever felt with Þórunn without mixing up reality and history. He knew she wasn’t her, and in a strange way the ale helped him out with accepting that fact. He couldn’t even think about how he would feel when he was sober again, he didn’t care. The only thing that counted was the moment itself. Even when there appeared a serious glance on his face, Björn kept his gentle and friendly. He even raised the corner of his mouth when she snorted offended. There was no denying her temper. ”Maybe you’re recalling things differently than I am, but I did get his hands off me.” Björn gestured her that she had to follow him. ”That might be so. But you let down your guard, causing whatever just happened.” He looked over his shoulder when he spoke, raising his eyebrows in an expressive way. He couldn’t deny that he liked her temperament, but he also needed to assure that she knew her place.

While he was leaning against the pillar he crossed his arms for his chest, his cup resting on his broad upperarm. Björn watched her carefully when she took place next to him, almost able to feel the warmth radiate from her body. He could see how she was thinking about her next words, and he wondered what the reason was for her that she had to pick them so carefully. When she looked at him, it took him a moment to be focus on her words instead of her bright green eyes. And the he listened. ”I was married, before I came to Kattegat. Great big man, only a little smaller than you.” Björn frowned his eyebrows again, in the same intimidating way he had done before. He could almost feel what was yet to come, but he forbid himself to speak before she had finished her story. So instead of speaking, he drank his cup empty, just like she had done. ”Had hands like iron and a temper to match. Hid all my weapons, still don’t know where, I think he buried them.” Slowly but certain he could feel his blood starting to heat, his heart starting to throb and his head starting to pound. Thora acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but Björn couldn’t keep himself as calm as she did. ”I left him with a bit more than a knee to the balls, but it took me longer than it should have to find the strength for it.” He folded his empty hand to an enormous fist, the skin over his knuckled turned pale. He stared over the crowd, trying to keep himself in hand. ”He hurt you.” He resumed and took a deep breath, making his chest increase in volume. When she spoke he looked back at her, straight in the eyes, no mercy. And she did exactly the same. ”You are the only person in Kattegat who knows.” He could hear the vulnerable undertone in her voice and at the same time feel a cramp in his heart. Björn’s eyes softened and he let his arms fall next to his body again. What was his place in this? What was he supposed to do? He could feel the pain he would’ve felt if it was Þórunn  who would be standing in front of him. But he had to keep his mind straight, see the difference. But the ale just made him..confused. He just wanted to give in to her. She was still staring at him, and he was doing the exact same thing. Never let a man hurt you again. You are in control of your body, ...” He wanted to say her name, but couldn’t get it over his lips, afraid he would make a mistake. ”I know it is hard to forget about the past. But you have to, or it will become your death.” In a strange way he admitted something to her too, like she had done to him. But more subtle. Björn opened his hand and placed it on top of her head, he pressed with his fingertips in her hair, firmly. ”Make your weaknesses your strengths. Swing your blade with the energy from your fears and sorrows, but don’t let them take over your head.” Slowly he released the grip from her head, and guided his fingers to the side. Skin on skin, their warmth colliding. ”Your body can only be touched if you want it to be touched.” Björn inhaled deeply and stroke with a certain gentleness over her cheek, waiting patiently for her to accept his touch, or smack his hand away. He knew she wasn’t afraid to show her true emotions to him, even though he was Björn Ironside. So he knew that that moment would be a moment of truth.



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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:15 pm

Everything is making Thora feel a little off-balance right now; the ale and the drunk Viking, Bjorn defending her, and his unexpected kindness. If she'd had to guess, Bjorn would never have been the first person in Kattegat to know the past she tried hard not to let overpower her. She was much calmer in Kattegat than she'd been in Uddevalla, without the constant fear that her ex-husband was going to burst into her brother's house and drag her out by her hair, take his vengeance on her for the ugly, twisted scar on his face and his ruined reputation. Bjorn himself unsettled her, too. The only real contact she'd had with him was outside her house, when he'd told her there was no place for a girl like her in the shield wall. When she'd stepped way over the line and tried to lecture him about control, and his final words from that encounter rang in her ears again: I am iron, and I forge myself. Well, if he could forge himself, couldn't she forge herself, too?

She'd counted on his hatred of her being one of the forces driving her to prove herself, but maybe that was different now. Maybe his approval could drive her even stronger than his dislike. Maybe a simple nod or a small smile could push her to strive for excellence, even more than her will to defy his hateful glower. Only time would tell. She feels strangely light after she tells him about her husband, like she'd suddenly been relieved of a great burden she'd carried alone for so long. Maybe telling it took some of the power away from it, lessened the grip of fear on her even more. She knew she was strong. She could forge herself. She watched Bjorn's hand clench into a white-knuckled fist, and for the first time in a long time, she knows the man in front of her isn't about to hurt her. Most times before now, there was always some part of Thora that feared being hit again. There is no fear in her now, not even in the face of his stormy frown and enormous fist.

His words rang in her ears--he hurt you--and she merely nods. There isn't much else to say, not to that. Thora is surprised at how angry he seems by this, the way he took a deep breath to calm himself. He'd asked, but that didn't mean she'd expected him to really care. It was in the past now, nothing to be done for it anymore. It was true she'd emerged on the other side of the experience a little broken, but broken things can be mended stronger than they were before. She tells him he's the only person in Kattegat who knows and watches the instant softening of his eyes. She searches their depths, and although they're gentler now she still sees no disgust or pity, only an unexpected kindness that makes her feel a little stronger for having opened up to him. Never let a man hurt you again. You are in control of your body. I know it is hard to forget about the past. But you have to, or it will become your death. There's a touch of something she can't quite place in his voice--maybe compassion, a hint of pain that Bjorn has been suppressing. She was about to answer him when he unclenched his fist and pressed his fingers firmly into her hair.

Her green eyes widen in surprise but she doesn't flinch. Make your weaknesses your strengths. Swing your blade with the energy from your fears and sorrows, but don't let them take over your head. Even though she'd never wanted to know why Bjorn hated her so, now she's burning with the curiosity of it. He's obviously speaking from experience. Clearly he's a man who's worked hard to do the very things he's telling her to do, and yet Thora knows he still suffers from that weakness sometimes, that her presence seems to bring it out--like outside her house when he lost control of his temper. She'd told him essentially the same thing he was telling her now, that letting emotion take over is dangerous. She wants to remind him of that time, but she doesn't. She's afraid of breaking whatever spell the ale has woven around them, afraid to shatter this newfound peace between them. His hand moves from her hair to her cheek. She can feel the warmth of it, feel the callouses along the base of his fingers. They're hands that tell a story of hard work and hard fighting, of turning strengths into weaknesses. Your body can only be touched if you want it to be touched.

She knows he's telling her it's alright to slap his hand away if she wants to, and he won't retaliate. His hand strokes gently down her cheek, and she allows his touch to linger. After a few moments, she raises her hand and takes his in her own, turning it over and gently tracing his callouses with her finger, gathering her thoughts. Thora finds that she likes his hands. Not only can she see the hard work and strength in them, she's felt the gentleness in them now. She's still gently tracing his callouses when she raises her gaze to meet his again, a small, half-sad smile on her lips. She's half-expecting him to pull his hand away at any moment, and her grip is loose enough so he can do so whenever he chooses. She's been silent for a while, letting him fight to keep control of himself and letting him speak, but now it's her turn. "I said something similar to you, about controlling your emotions. The smile melts from her face as she continues, and her voice is gentle. She's worried that what she's about to say will make him rip his hand from her and storm away, ruining all progress they seem to have made tonight. Whatever else may happen between them, she's certain his hands will never commit violence against her. She continues anyway, she never was one to back down. "What pain in your past makes it so hard to follow your own advice sometimes?"
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Björn Ragnarsson
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:39 pm

The almost invisible nod she gave told him that she indeed, was hurt, but didn’t really wanted to admit is. She was a shield maiden, fierce and strong, and woman with that rank were known for their pride. Admitting that she was hurt, was taking a big step for her. Or at least that was wat he thought. Björn was never good at estimating women. Seeing her in her vulnerable state made him feel almost the same. The story that reached his eyes was enough to make his stomach turn. In his eyes she was his in a strange way. And it was known that people weren’t allowed to touch what was his. The ale was helping him, seeing the difference between Phorunn and Thora, but at the same time it made it extra hard for him. So he put his brain to work and gave her a speech about what to do, and what not, even though she had given him kind off the same speech a few days ago. While he spoke she looked him straight into the eyes and he couldn’t help himself from touching her hair. Thora’s eyed widened but she didn’t pulled back, not after what he had said. So a little smile appeared on his lips while he looked straight back at her.

Eventually he let his hand slid to her cheek. Björn was waiting, waiting for her to slap his hand away from her body like she had did with the other Viking. But instead she allowed his touch on her body. He inhaled deeply while he stared right back at those green eyes from her. But his attention was drawn to his own hand when he felt hers reaching out for it. She turned his hand over, and just like she accepted his touch, he did exactly the same. Thora touched the thick skin on the inside of his palm that had grown over time because of all the hard work he had delivered on the battlefield. Eventually their glances crossed, and he immediately saw the half smile on her lips. The silence in combination with her skin on his was murdering him. Björn had to suppress his animal like senses to prevent himself from picking her up, placing her on his waist and pressing her against the pillar. He took a deep breath to calm himself when he heard her talking again. ”I said something similar to you, about controlling your emotions.” Immediately he took a deep breath, completely focused on her words again. ”Am I not standing here more human than I was before?” He whispered from between his lips and frowned his eyebrows. Björn turned his hand again and shoved his fingers between the hair on the side of her face. There was some pressure in his grip, something between ‘I’m going to keep you here with me forever’ and ‘Watch your words because they can so easily hurt me’. He took a deep breath when he heard her speaking again. ”What pain in your past makes it so hard to follow your own advice sometimes?” He looked away for a moment, a dark glance on his face. His hands were still unmoved on the side of her head. But he felt that he owed her, since she had told him a secret as well. ”Someone that is long lost but not forgotten.” When he had spoken he looked back at her. Björn laughed in a scoffing way. He was making a fool of himself. He had no problem with blood on his hands, his body was probably the strongest it would ever be. But his heart.. Out of the blue he moved his hand to the back of her head and pulled it towards him. Firmly he pressed his lips against his forehead and closed his eyes for a second. When he released her from his grip, he stared her straight into the eyes and made preparative to leave. There was nothing more he wanted to tell her about what happened to him. Or at least for now.



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Thora Haraldsdóttir
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:14 pm

Of all the things Thora had experienced since coming to Kattegat, whatever was between her and Bjorn was the one that shocked her most of all. She was unsure what lay between them, to be quite honest, although she was quite sure it sprung from some twisted understanding of pain: of hurt and loss that could easily break them, if only they gave it power. Being near Bjorn was hard, harder than being near anyone else in this town. Not like his brother Ubbe, all teasing and laughter, and not like with Sassa, understanding and kind. But in a way she can feel the hardness of being near Bjorn making her stronger, and for that she's glad. She only hopes that being near her can help him the same way he's helping her. Maybe it's just the ale making her think that, though, and maybe being near Bjorn isn't making her stronger at all. She may never know--she may look back on this moment years from now and find it made her weaker, or didn't change her at all. Only the gods know.

All she's really thinking about in this moment are his hands--warm and steady as she traces the thickened skin. The calluses on his hands are a little different from hers because her sword belonged to her father, was a little too long for her, so her grip was higher on the handle than most people held their swords. She gives him a half-smile as their eyes meet, completely unaware of the effect she has on Bjorn, of the pain that lies in his past. All she knows is the unexpected understanding between them. It isn't a gentle understanding, not really. There's something ragged and powerful in it, something raw, and she knows that it can rip them to shreds if they let it--but she knows it won't. That's what they're learning from each other: how to take the power away from the pain. The process of learning that hurts too, but it's a pain Thora is glad to feel. When he answers her it's a whispered question, is he not standing here more human than before? He frowns and pulls his hand from her grasp, placing it against her face again.

Thora reaches up her own hand to smooth the frown from his eyebrows, her fingers insistent, and she nods. She can feel the warmth of his hand on her cheek again, the roughness of his calluses against her smooth face. "You are, but sometimes I can see pain behind your eyes. You work hard to overcome it." It's a simple statement of fact, but she can't keep the note of approval, of admiration, from her quiet voice. "I hope to have strength like yours someday." His hand against her face is harder than it was the first time, almost like a warning or a promise, she isn't sure but she leans a little into it anyway. It's a small thing, almost impossible to notice but she's sure he will, but it's her way of trying to tell him she doesn't want to hurt him, struggles with seeing the pain he hides but she isn't afraid of it. She's trying to tell him she understands, and that what she doesn't understand, she'll try. He looked away--trying to hide his pain, his darkness?--before he answered her, but his words are honest and simple when he speaks. There's something so vulnerable about his admission that she closes her bright green eyes for just a moment before meeting his gaze again.

She's about to answer when he laughs, almost bitterly, and moves his hand to the back of her head, his fingers tangling lightly in her long blond hair. His lips are warm and firm against her forehead, and the shock of it is enough to keep her completely still until he releases her. He's staring straight into her eyes when he releases her, and that gaze is almost too intense for her. One of her hands goes to cup his jaw, holding him gently in place as she rises onto her toes to press an answering kiss onto his cheek, just above his beard. Her lips are just as firm as his had been on her forehead, because whatever is between them, there is very little that is soft or gentle about it. She tugs on his beard, almost playfully, as she pulls away from him. Her green eyes are firm on his blue ones, and she can tell he's thinking about leaving, but she has one thing more to say. "Thank you." There are any number of things she can be thinking him for, and even she isn't sure which of them she means, but her thanks is genuine nonetheless.
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Björn Ragnarsson
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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn] Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:38 pm

Her touch, her warmth, her smell.. It made him want to give in. To everything. It made him want to be weak, to look for cover in her arms, knowing that they would make him feel better. But he knew he would regret, he knew it would only bring trouble, as well for him as her. So the only thing he could do was embrace the moment, enjoying her presence, the color of her eyes, the sound of her voice. ”You are, but sometimes I can see pain behind your eyes. You work hard to overcome it.” It was the truth she spoke, so Björn didn’t even tried to say something about it. There was no use in that. ”I hope to have strength like yours someday.” He felt her cheek move as she spoke, there his hand was still on her skin. He inhaled deep through his nose and clammed his jaws firm onto each other before he spoke. ”You are.” He said softly and moved his thumb as he spoke. ”You just do not know it yet.” He felt her softly leaning in to his hand, looking for the same sort of comfort that Björn was looking for with her. Björn flexed his fingers to the inside, pressing them gently into her skin as an answer.

And then he couldn’t help himself anymore. He craved to feel her skin on his lips, so the most acceptable way to do so was to press them against her forehead. Would she not have told him about her past, -about her former husband,- he maybe would’ve kissed her on the lips. So this was his way of saying he cared, but mostly: respected. When he released her he looked for her eyes, and saw the surprise shining into them. For a moment he was afraid that he had gone too far, but then he felt her hand on his jaw. Björn closed his eyes when he felt her leaning in closer. Thora placed her lips on his cheek and at the same time he inhales, breathing the same air as she did. It made the hairs on his arms stand straight up. And then he realized, that her love, Porunn’s love was the thing that he had been missing all this time. And the he felt her softly yanking his beard. Björn opened up his eyes again, was pulled back into reality. He blinked his eyes a few time before he could look at her again. And then he saw that smile, a smile he’d gladly kill for to see again. ”Thank you.” She said. Two words that contained so much that it made him speechless. Björn lowered his shoulders and slightly nodded his head. And then he felt he had to take distance, before he’d lose himself completely to her. So he stepped forward, placed his left hand on her right shoulder and pinched softly. His eyes were still pointed at hers, until he walked further into the crowd and had to release her eyes as well as her shoulder.


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PostSubject: Re: we're probably going to need more ale for this [Bjorn]

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