I wake up in Kristen’s room at Ragnar’s Pub. She’s not there – most likely downstairs, getting food ready for the breakfast crowd and cleaning up from the previous night of pub-goers and fight fans. I get dressed, go downstairs to say hi to Kristen in the kitchen, who whips me up a quick omelette. I then start to make my way to the Temple on the south island – Helga’s Island – to meet Hans and Dolf. We’re leaving the city this morning to investigate Lars’ whereabouts.
As I step outside I notice that the weather seems more temperate than I expected. It’s a pleasant surprise. Uros’ Island seems peaceful as I cross the bridge south to meet my friends. I run into Hans and we walk to Dolf’s room at the Temple together.
We leave on skis and head north on the main road, passing by the various farms along the way. Once we leave the farms we can hear the melting snow and the birds singing. It’s a beautiful day.
Arriving at the eastern trail to Turid’s Folly we notice that there have been a few passers by this way on skis within the past week. The new northwesterly path is smaller and the snow is less packed but the forest is just as thick on either side. After a kilometer a frozen stream joins the path. Two more kilometers later the path starts to lose elevation towards the canyon.
We then see what appears to be human footprints in the deep snow heading back south along the ski path that we were on. I notice the the steps are really close together which means that the person was in no hurry or hurt. We follow the tracks back southwest and then they veered south from the ski track. We switched to snow shoes and strapped our skis to our packs. I noticed that there were no more birds singing nearby. I pulled out my sword when I noticed a deer heading towards us through the trees, 40 yards away. It looks like it’s having trouble walking. It stumbles slowly towards us as we walk towards it. Hans pulls out his longbow and notches an arrow. I tell him to cool it. The deer doesn’t look like it’s about to attack. At 25 yards away it looks like it’s throat is mangled and one of his eyes is missing.
Hans motions to shoot the beast while Dolf starts praying to Helga. This deer is fucked up. Hans lets loose an arrow that hits right in the chest. The deer doesn’t even notice it. Then another arrow right in the chest. Again no effect. We then notice five more deer coming up slowly behind us, also looking all wrong. Then it gets a little blurry. Dolf prays to Helga and one of them drops like it was burned. We run on our snowshoes back towards the path and then head home. We distance ourselves from the five deer and we see three more ahead of us. We have to veer off the path to avoid them but then we find the path again and keep heading back towards the main road. We keep our snowshoes on because we would not be able to navigate the thick trees. A little further on and we hear birds singing again. We decide to keep the skis on our packs until we get back to the main road. We’re exhausted from all the snow running.
We make it back to the main road and we switch to skis. It doesn’t seem like what just happened was real. The day is too beautiful.
One kilometer out from the furthest farms we notice a man in the distance walking towards us. When he gets closer we notice that he’s walking strangely and has not skis or showshoes. Closer still and we see that he has no lower jaw. No birds can be heard. We plan to speed by him on the main road. He then suddenly looks towards the trees and starts walking towards them. A little eight year old girl, Toril Abrahansen, runs out of the forest and calls out Dolf’s name. The man, who we recognize as Vilbur Haaland, turns and heads to intercept the girl.
I pick up speed towards Toril and scream at her to run towards me. I drop my poles and draw my sword. Vilbur falls flat on his face so I get to Toril first. I pick her up and start skiing towards the path while I hear Dolf channeling Helga behind me. Hans smashed Vilbur’s head in with a maul.
Toril is freezing and crying. We notice a deep scratch on her neck. She says it was her brother and that her whole family is acting very strange. I put her on my shoulders and start skiing back to town. After a few minutes the boys notice her acting strangely. She begins to make strange strange noises and her eyes roll back and she turns into one of “them” right in front of us and attacks us. We roll her up in my cloak and tie her into a papoose. We start skiing back, with her in my arms.
We reach the Haaland farm and it’s burning. So are the surrounding farms. People look like they’re coming from all around to help with the fire. Hans panics because his family farm is on fire and he bolts towards the flaming buildings in the distance.
We get to the Jorgensen farm and Hans is yelling for his family. The house is on fire but we see the barn doors swing open. Hans’ parents, siblings and a few farm hands come out of a barn. We steer everyone towards the main road as all sorts of “things” are wandering the fields slowly towards us. We rush back to the main road, pick up Toril in her bundle. Everyone is rushing towards the town walls as the Bell of Helga are sounding. As we get back to the main gate it closes just before we get in. A hundred others are stuck outside the city walls with Hans and I, as walking dead approach from our rear.