Holiday Story Hop- Slaying Song

holidaystoryhop

Join us on December 20th as a great group of fellow authors and I offer up another Story Hop for your Winter Holiday enjoyment.

Slated thus far include:

Terry West and Chris Philbrook    (both horror writers)

and Denice Garrou is set to write a solstice story

I have been invited to join a fun little gathering of Authors in offering people some short stories that will be, while not exactly X-mas stories, at least dealing with the Winter season.

This will be integrated it into my Barbarian story eventually.

I got the idea of the song a couple of years ago. My Mother loves this time of year, for the religious properties, and goes about humming with occasional singing. The tune for “Jingle Bells” is among her favorites, and upon hearing about the sleighing song, my demented sense of humor changed it to The Slaying Song.

Let us join the revelry in progress…

 

The Slaying Song

 

Breen leaned back a bit, turning toward the Barbarian. His raised eyebrow and slack jaw spoke his amazement.

“You mean you’ve never heard ‘The Slaying Song?’”

The Barbarian shook his head side to side. “It doesn’t sound familiar. I’m not from here, remember?”

“Right you are.” The Commander stood and beckoned for everyone as he announced, “Friends, Soldiers, Warriors, Families, All; Gather ho, for I’m calling for the fighting man’s festive night!

“We all know our Ally, the Barbarian, had a much different raising than any of us. As a result, he has never heard of, let alone participated in The Slaying Song.

“I say we gather near and hoist our voices to the Æther in honor of our friendship, to welcome him into our fighting family.

“What say, Men?”

A large group of men and women had gravitated toward Breen as he spoke, and a cheer rose to the skies with the smoke. The somber mood had already lightened as men remembered fond times of singing it in the past.

A boy had squeezed through the throng to settle beside the large foreigner. He looked at the Barbarian with wonder in his big, green eyes. “Have you really never heard it, Barbarian?”

He looked down at the young boy, maybe nine summers had he seen. Rubbing the child’s head, he snickered and said, “Not one single time,” he leaned toward the kid and spoke loudly behind his hand, “that I’m aware of.” A fake secret.

Breen took back over as people kept gathering close, some standing, others sitting. “So, then. Do all have at least a slug in your cups?” A mixture of “Ayes” and “Nays” mixed together as those with shared with those without.

A tune began going around as everyone anticipated the frivolity about to take over. When all had their drinks, Breen started out, his strong baritone voice clear in the night;

“Dashing through the snow,
Broadsword in my hand;
Hacking to and fro,
Blood staining the land!
Swords against shields clang,
Ringing in the night,
What fun it is to slash and sing
The Slaying Song tonight:”

     Everyone laughed as they swayed back and forth, their mugs swinging above until they all drank in unison. Breen held out the first note as more and more joined in.

“Ooooooooohhhhhh
Kill them all,
Kill them all;
Hack them all to bits;
Oh, what fun it is
To hang their heads upon sharp sticks!
HEY!
Kill them all,
Kill them all,
Hack them all to bits;
Oh, what fun it is
To hang their heads upon sharp sticks!”

     Again all laughed and some pushed playfully on the shoulder of his neighbor. Breen looked around and saw Zeb, who had been with the original troupe from Grun. “Zeb!”

He passed the lead to the old warrior and all turned and acknowledged him with a cheer and a drink. He took over the next verse, his gravely voice sounding humorous with the tune.

“We slay dozens that night
All fell while we still ride
And soon the ground ran bright
Blood covered every side!
The horse leaned as he banked
A man’s head my dagger caught
The poor, dead bloke, he didn’t think
His arrow would miss the shot!”

     Again, loud cheers and drinks. By that time, the Barbarian had begun laughing with them, and Zeb strode to him as he held the note for the rest to join in. He slapped a hand to the shoulder of his friend, motioning for him to join in, which he did with some hesitation. At first.

“Ooooooooohhhhhh
Kill them all,
Kill them all;
Hack them all to bits;
Oh, what fun it is
To hang their heads upon sharp sticks!
HEY!
Kill them all,
Kill them all;
Hack them all to bits;
Oh, what fun it is
To hang their heads upon sharp sticks!”

     Zeb scoured the crowd for the next victim, and his sight landed on an old chum he hadn’t seen in ages. “Mattias!”

The man limped his way over and they grasped shoulders in greeting. He turned and raised his tenor voice, as clear as Breen’s and commanding attention.

“Now the snow is red,
Dispatch the ones who moan;
And in the tavern bright,
We’ll sing this Slaying Song!
Just get a draft of ale,
And hoist it to the night,
Come, sing now in your loudest voice
And join us in the fun!”

     Again, the laughter rose to the stars as Mattias held the note for others to again join the chorus.

“Ooooooooohhhhhh
Kill them all,
Kill them all;
Hack them all to bits;
Oh, what fun it is
To hang their heads upon sharp sticks!
HEY!
Kill them all,
Kill them all;
Hack them all to bits;
Oh, what fun it is
To hang their heads
Up-
On
Sharp
Sticks!”

     The last words each climbed a note to signal the ending. As the final notes finished their echo, camp workers busied themselves with gathering mugs and anything else needing cleaning.

Voices dropped as some laughed and others dissolved into lively discussions about battles they had been in.

Children had made their way to sit by the Barbarian, and when the song had completed, they began a barrage of questions, which the Barbarian tried to answer as best he could.

Parents came to claim their charges, for the night had grown long, indeed, and the soldiers would gather and march the next day to the far side of the Valley of Motagoo, joining the army King Calin had amassed to face the Red Griffin’s forces.

 

The End

 

See more at timhemlin.com/

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