“The Long Night still comes, pup. But for now we are alive, and there is mead to be drunk.” Grell the Death crooked an arm around Agnar’s neck and dragged him away from the others.
The barbarian found hard hands on his shoulders, warm kisses from matron and maiden, the devil blood still spattered on his arms and face was smeared with bold cries by each warrior singing to the sun. The meadskin swung up and down, up and down and the honey-gold spilled down Agnar’s chin.
Then at once, there was space and silence. A tall warrior stood alone in front of a wide hall. Thunor Sky-
Breaker stood alone and faced his son. The dancing crowd fell quiet and hushed.
“Who is this warrior?” Thunor asked.
“This warrior is called Agnar.” Grell responded, a ritual.
“And what blood has he spilled?”
“The blood of our enemies. The black blood of Hell, the white blood of the Wolf and the red blood of the North. His own blood.”
“Is the blood good?”
“The blood is good.” Grell said.
“THE BLOOD IS GOOD.” Roared the gathered people of Marankur.
“Has he stood in the snow, has he broken bone, has he danced, has he sung in the flames?”
“All this and more.” Grell said.
“Who is his father?” Thunor said, dark eyes locked with Agnar.
“His…his…”Grell stopped, and looked to his chief for aid. Thunor said nothing, his face cold and hard with a lifetime of pride. A murmur of discomfort rippled through the crowd of gathered barbarians.
“Who is his father?” Thunor Sky-Breaker repeated.