It took them six weeks to reach the little coastal village of Velia. In that time, Joe taught her many things.
There were the useful things like cooking, looking after the horses, preparing camp, tidying the back of the wagon, collecting wood, chopping wood, stacking wood,
catching animals and wringing their necks, gutting animals, skinning animals, and, of course, doing the laundry.
Sometimes, Joe spent time with her teaching her new 'games'. Picking pockets, for example, was a fun little pastime that Finny loved and became quite good at.
I-Spy was another one, whenever they were in any kind of settlement, Finny would sing 'I Spy with my little eye... Something beginning with...' G, if it was a guard.
Or P if it was a dangling coin-purse, the fuller the better. L if it was some carelessly left possessions...
In fact, there was a whole list of code letters that Finny had to memorise, but it was also great fun. Then there was climbing.
Finny found she loved climbing, and Joe always made it more interesting for her by, for example, having her carry a sack of stones,
or climbing with a rope tied around her waist and making sure it didn't snag on anything.
All in all, the slow journey to Velia was a fun and instructive time for four-year-old Finny.
Oh, except for the time Joe almost killed her.
They were a little over halfway through their journey, not that Finny knew that, and she was now quite content with this new life of travelling and 'collecting' things from wherever they went.
Anyway, they had just pulled off the road and were making camp one late afternoon when a half dozen soldiers rode by.
Finny paid them no nevermind because she was building a fire for her and Joe's supper and concentrating on making a pyramid of little sticks over the small mound of dry grass they kept in
a special bag in the wagon. Joe, however, stood up and watched the soldiers ride on down the road for twenty yards or so before coming to a ragged halt.
Finny looked up when she heard one of the new words that Joe used a lot. The soldiers were now coming slowly back along the road.
They stopped a few yards away, and the apparent leader stood up in the stirrups.
"Hello, the camp."
Joe acknowledged the usual greeting with a nod. The man on the horse turned and gestured at his companions.
"We've been riding hard for quite a while now, and we were wondering if you'd be up to sharing... your fire.
" The tiniest of pauses and the furtive glance in Finny's direction told Joe all he needed to know about their visitors. It was going to be 'like that'.
Joe stepped casually closer, at the same time, putting himself between the horsemen and Finny.
Finny knew something was wrong here. She had come to know the big man well enough to be a good judge of his moods and body language.
Right now, his demeanour was the same as when they had been out hunting rabbits together and instead found a momma bear. Joe had told her to run back to the camp.
When she had protested, he had turned his head, and already his face was unrecognisable.
The word had been more of a snarl than speech, but it had had the right effect, and Finny had taken off as fast as her little legs could move her.
The noises she heard coming from behind had been loud and violent, and it had been hard to tell whether it had been the bear or the berserker that had roared the loudest.
It had been Joe, however, who had come back to the camp a few minutes later.
He had been covered in blood and scratches but, when Finny had finished helping Joe clean the blood off, it seemed that most of the sticky redness had belonged to the bear.
Later that night, when Finny should have been asleep but wasn't, she heard Joe return dragging something substantial.
In the morning the pelts of three bears, one big and two much smaller were stretched on frames and attracting clouds of flies.
This was the same kind of thing, and, after looking at the men who were now grinning nastily, Finny knew that if Joe lost this, then the fun time she had been having would probably be over.
"Sorry boys," Joe was saying, stepping even closer to the group. "Nothing here to share."
The leader's face fell.
"Oh, I don't know about..."
Which is when Joe punched the man's horse just behind its big brown eye. Man and horse went down together.
While the other five stared in simple disbelief, Joe didn't spare them a second glance.
Finny's saw the berserker's already over-muscled body seem to build new ones right before her increasingly frightened eyes.
Joe stepped forward to where the fallen man was desperately trying to get his leg out from under his poleaxed horse.
The berserker raised his foot and before Finny could look away, stamped down on the man's head.
Then things went crazy. A horse reared, its rider sliding backwards off it to land on his butt. The other four men were now galvanised into action.
One remained mounted, but all four drew their swords. The berserker, however, didn't give them any time to do anything else before crashing into them.
Too close for the swords to be used, Joe lifted one man off his feet and simply threw him.
The swordsman hit the ground hard a good twenty feet away and lay there moaning, his sword gone gods know where.
While the man on the horse fought to turn the beast on the spot so he could bring his sword to bear,
the soldier on foot stepped back to get enough distance between him and the manic berserker so that he could kill him.
Joe flexed his arms and roared, then literally jumped forward to land frighteningly close. The swordsman looked up into the snarling face of hate and anger.
He opened his mouth to maybe say something, perhaps to scream, Finny couldn't tell from her rooted position next to the fire. The man didn't get the chance, however.
Finny saw Joe's huge arm move in a forward-stabbing blur and then she,
and the befuddled swordsman both stared at the pulped remains of the man's heart getting squeezed to goo in Joe's mighty fist.
The man on the ground had regained his senses, and he too, had seen the evisceration of his friend. He had already had enough and was scrambling to his feet intent on running from the carnage.
He made it a good five steps before the corpse of the heartless man hit him full on the back, and he was sent sprawling again.
Joe bounded over to him like an angry gorilla, not even noticing the horseman, who had now regained control of his horse and was urging the beast into a canter in pursuit of the berserker.
"JOE!" Finny screamed.
Whether Joe heard her or not she never knew, but Joe reached the man on the ground just as the horse got into its stride, its rider grinning in victory,
already lifting his sword to plunge it into the back of the bastard who had just slaughtered his friends.
Two boulder-like hands smashed down onto the grounded soldier and lifted him up high. Swinging him round in an arc, Joe knocked the rider clean out of his saddle.
Then he dashed the man he was holding to the ground, making his skull explode and brains and blood fly everywhere.
Finny just stared, only managing a blink as the man's head disintegrated in front of her.
The fallen horseman ran for his life. Joe, however, was on him in three long bounds. Fortunately, Finny didn't see the man's end this time because Joe was crouched over him.
But she heard the screams.
When he had finished, Joe lifted his head like some wild animal and bellowed. He stood up, spreading his arms wide as if inviting the gods themselves to battle.
Then the rider's horse, which had stopped as it was trained to do in battle, let out a whinny. Joe didn't even spare the horse.
When he stood up again, Finny saw that the berserker's arms, all the way up to the elbows were red with blood... And that, rather worryingly, the anger still gripped him.