“Out the water!
Wind me up no more.
Off home with you, thrall, pathetic thing!
Hey wretch, I’ll send a singeing spear.
That’ll wet your whiskers with blood.”
“You are kidding me?”
“No, seriously, word for word. He always spoke like that, all poetic and fancy. I’m lucky old Hjorleif was such a terrible shot.”
“Well, you did piss in their water. So, what did you say back?”
“Oh, something about his woman. You know Hjorleif, best way to wind him up. I said ‘She doesn’t know what will end her happy days’ or something along those lines. Didn’t like that. Threw another spear. Almost hit me in the eye!”
“No, an inch to the right and I’d have been blinded. The irony is I was so shocked I pissed in their water again.”
“That is ironic.”
“Knowing Hjorleif he probably made up a romanticised saga about it. They only had to hit their head on a low hanging branch and its out with the sharp stones, runes all over the place. Anyway, back to the game.”
And with this the small creature shifted and sighed with the weight, and the wait, of a thousand years playing on its bones, studying the chequered board before it with the concentration and studious patience of a grand master.
The candlelight, as always, flickering and casting monstrously large chess piece shadows on the wall of the cave, along with the sound of an unseen stalactite, echoing with each drip-drop, were the only distractions to an otherwise tense and solemn battle of wits.
“You do know you’ve told me that entire story a hundred times before don’t you?” Said the kindly looking, tall and willowy man sat opposite, cross-legged on the hard, cold floor. The chessboard for him held less interest. Mainly, or perhaps wholly, because neither of them had actually made a move yet. The creature he had found himself incarcerated with for just over a millennium didn’t actually know how to play chess. It didn’t really matter. The main thing was companionship and a sense of purpose. The game gave them both focus and facilitated conversation. Only he, and now it seems the creature, a brunnmigi, the last of its kind, were running out of things to say.
“Yes, well, I haven’t got a huge amount of new stories now have I? New adventures, new exciting encounters have been fairly scarce of late wouldn’t you say?”
“Of course, I understand Pisswell.”
He had nicknamed the brunnmigi ‘Pisswell’ around 720 years ago, give or take, on account of his insatiable desire to defile drinking wells.
“I understand. I just think, maybe, perhaps it’s time we thought about moving on.”
“Oh you think?” Replied Pisswell, “A nice round thousand years seems about right to you does it? And just how do you propose we ‘move on’ then? The rune-lock on that door is almost impossible to crack, you’d need to be the luckiest entity alive. Almost the personification of luck itself!”
Pisswell flicked his tail in an exaggerated fashion, an attempted show of indignation that he knew he couldn’t quite pull it off on account of looking like a small, cute fox, but felt he had to try.
“It’s funny you should say that.” Said the Hamingja, with a wry smile on his face.