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The Huntress

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“If I invite you, will you come?”

Lagertha stops what she´s doing backstage and steps to the side of the stage. Ragnar keeps repeating that same line over and over, and it´s not part of the lyrics. She should know, she was there when he wrote them one drunken, sticky night in her bed.

Ragnar´s swaying back and forth, naked torso already gleaming with sweat after only two songs, his eyes fixed on a spot in the audience she can´t see.

Lagertha quickly closes her eyes and makes a bet with herself. Girl or boy? Boy, she decides.

It´s something in his look: challenging, full of mischief. Boyish boy, she adds to herself.

She shifts to follow his stare and sees Him. Ha!

She considers the boy as he´s swaying among the crowds, seemingly not of his own accord, transfixed to the spot, but swept up in the motion around him as the audience is trapped in Ragnar´s pull.

He´s pretty, young. An innocent face, wide-eyed, at least at first glance. That eyebrow, though. He´s holding Ragnar´s glare and answers it with something of his own, there´s a force behind it.

Lagertha is more than a little curious now. So, he´s not a completely innocent boyish boy. And he´s definitely interested.

She watches as the boy turns red under his curls and looks furtively around him.

Oh, he´s going to flee, isn´t he?

Ragnar can be too much. His uncompromising, arrogant stance is used to demanding, not asking, but this boy´s first instinct was to give back, to stand his ground and question Ragnar´s claim. Now he has become scared of his own courage, and nobody can blame him for that.

She almost pities him. But the fact is she also feels a pang of desire. A pull that surprises her, like a small electric shock when you don´t expect it. It jolts her back to the present.

He must be saved from his next step, she decides.

She looks back to Ragnar on stage. Something must show on her face, because Ragnar finds her eyes immediately and nods to her. He wants him, too.

She would consider the strangeness of their behavior if she paused for a second, but truth be told, it isn´t the first time they agree on a body to entertain them for a night on this repetitive festival circus and she needs to act fast if she wants to catch this one and see if he´s willing to follow up what he let shine through.

In a spur-of-the-moment inspiration she grabs the bottle of homemade schnapps Rollo brought on tour.

She takes off swiftly after the boy´s quickly disappearing back without letting him out of her sight once.

The Norsemen on stage return to their usual program of hypnotizing rhythmic devastation. Ragnar´s war cry spurs her on in her pursuit.