Cubi 8 excerpt

Setting, Daniel and Elakdon have prepared a game for the cubs in celebration of having a pirate ship added to the playground. Daniel will be the Captain and the objective is to steal the Viking’s gold. Elakdon and his hird against 20 cubs. A 7 year old Succubus (Esdin) wants to be a Viking warrior instead of a pirate, so Daniel takes her to Nol-Elakdon’s special place. I’ve removed spoilers.

Almost there, a Guard Lord left camouflage and jogged ahead. “Pirate Captain coming!”

“Cheeky pirate!” Elakdon shouted.

Daniel laughed. They rounded the bushes, shielding the fireplace.

“And a little pirate?”

“No, I want to be a Viking warrior!” Esdin bowed. “If Nol-Elakdon can use a small one. But I’m brave!”

Elakdon grinned and looked around at the Hird in their getup. Even Elakdon was dressed in his Viking garbs. “It’s not about size, my little shield maiden, but heart. And I bet you got some speed.”

“Yes, Nol!”

“Let’s see. How fast can you run around and tap every Guard on the right leg?”

Esdin set off in a sprint to see it through, and Elakdon watched, grinning.

“Where did you find her?”

“She came in on the buss today. It’s Imdon’s cousin. And she says she’s not afraid of Kaydon and Randr because she’s braver than Imdon.” Daniel looked around, finding Randr sitting by the makeshift shelter. He stood and joined them.

Maybe the little girl didn’t look up at those she slapped the thigh of because she made it past Kaydon without really watching. But, as she made her round and only needed Randr, she halted for only a second, then ran up to him and slapped his thigh.

“That’s a good time!” Elakdon said. “I’ll definitely welcome such a quick and brave young warrior to my hird.”

Esdin stared up at Randr with unbridled curiosity.

Randr knelt in front of her. “Hello, cub. I’m Grand Sire Randr.” Randr held out his hand, and Esdin shook it, introducing herself.

“Did an axe do that?”

“No, a sword.”

“Imdon said you fought with an axe, too.”

Randr glanced at Daniel, then lifted his shirt to reveal the big ugly scar.

“Wow,” Esdin mumbled and ran her hand over it. She then felt the scar on his face, obviously surprising Randr by it. “I can definitely see why you’re a Grand Sire, then. It’s going to be so cool battling pirates by your side.”

“Actually, I’ll be first mate, helping Captain Beaudon. Like a real pirate, I only have one eye.”

“Dammit,” Esdin mumbled.

Daniel saw Elakdon call Kaydon over, and the big burnt Viking knelt next to Randr.

“You’ll be fighting with me, though.”

Esdin, apparently thinking feeling out people’s scars was the most normal thing in the world, felt out his bumpy skin. “Wow. What did you battle?”

“Well, fire. And I had a sword.” He patted the long sheath.

“Will you two help equip our youngest warrior?” Elakdon asked.

“Yes, Nol.” Kaydon stood. “Let’s see what we can find.”

Randr stood, too, and the little girl took both their hands.

Daniel smiled. Okay, so the girl was as eager about warriors as she claimed.

“I like her,” Elakdon said. “She’s very direct.”

[…]

Elakdon went to where Kaydon and Randr were measuring Esdin. “We have fabric to sow you your clothes.” Elakdon knelt next to them and put it on the ground. “And, all my warriors have a byname. It’s an important one. Yours will be Ublaud.”

“The unafraid,” Randr translated. “A fitting name.”

“What’s yours, Grand Sire?” Esdin asked.

“Liótr munr. It means ugly lover.”

“That’s rude.”

Daniel chuckled.

“But true,” Randr said.

“Who’s your lover?”

Randr looked at Elakdon, and their thousand-year-old love hadn’t dimmed at all. The way Elakdon looked at Randr warmed Daniel’s heart, and he hoped to be as in love as they were for a very long time.

Elakdon looked at Esdin. “So, my brave little shield maiden. What do you say we go see if we can get your mom here tonight and we’ll all help make your new clothes while we tell tale of great battles around the fire?”

“Oh, yes, Nol! That sounds wonderful! Can I make s’mores?”

“What’s that?” Elakdon looked at Daniel.

“Something very sweet.”

“I’m sure we can find something.”

“If you are successful in getting them here, I can make my mom’s recipe for Esdin.”

“Uh. Real Viking food,” Daniel said.

Esdin jumped in excitement, making Kaydon have to try to follow with tying up the big shirt.

“Let’s get this off you again,” Kaydon said, pulling the shirt off Esdin.

“Will you come, too?” Esdin asked Randr.

“Of course. I’ll just be invisible.”

“Why?”

Randr smiled. “Because I’m liótr munr.”

Esdin seemed as sad about that as Daniel felt about it. She then put her arms around Randr’s neck and hugged him, and Elakdon’s heart visibly melted, while Randr looked touched. He hugged the girl back and stood with her still holding on.

“Let’s go invite your mom and aunty.”

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