2. Burning Son
History will remember Freca of the Dunlendings as a fat old fool who was slain by his own stupid pride.
I choose to remember him differently.
Dimly, as one in a dream, I hear the cries of the wounded and the dying and smell the acrid scent of burning flesh...
...And I allow myself a small smile as I stride towards my goal.
My men have done exactly as I asked.
My poor father- as slow and stupid as he was, he never stood a chance.
He should never have been in a position to challenge Helm, let alone be killed by him.
Yes, slain by his own stupid pride he was- I shall make no such mistake.
My name will burn in history with a flame so bright-
One of the Eorlings charges me, bright blood streaming down his face, half his head caved in by an unknown mattock yet still surging forward, still desperately brave...
...And desperately stupid.
I side-step his clumsy strokes, and bring my axe down upon his neck, a single executioner's blow felling him forever.
He sprawls in the dirt at my feet, shattered skull spilling his brains for all to see.
A single stroke was all it took.
Helm Hammerhand slew Freca with a single stroke, history will recall with wonder.
Freca's son slew Helm's people with a single attack, history will recall with fear.
Already the Eorlings flee, flee like frightened animals before the raging storm.
Let them- we will hunt them down one by one, hunt them to the ends of the earth if need be, and their severed heads shall be mounted upon our spears as trophies for all the world to see.
I can hear the screams of horses now, high-pitched and terrified.
Catch the scent of burning straw, sharp against my nostrils.
This is good- the fool Eorlings will never allow their precious steeds to burn, and that will give us yet more moments in which to strike them down.
Yet more moments in which to exact my revenge.
Freca was fat and stupid and everything the historians will claim, yes...
...But he was my father.
He burned to give me something, to give me a kingdom greater than my own...
He burned so brightly that he was consumed by it, leaving only embers in my heart.
Yet embers can spring to brand new life, can they not?
The fool Eorlings should have known that.
One single spark, and a forest burns.
A world burns.
I gaze down at the slain Eorling at my feet, and then up at the hall in front of me.
Fabled Meduseld, the Golden Hall of the Eorlings...
It should have been mine.
The torch in my hand crackles and spits, and I allow myself another smile.
The Golden Hall of the Eorlings shall burn tonight.
Father, this was for you.
I fling the torch, and history burns.