This is my weekly serial, written raw as a writing exercise.
You can find the first post in the series here.
Last week’s post is here.
After saying my farewells to Git, Murith, and Renoit I met Thyra at the Nordan port in the Shadow of Cassander’s shield. I was still favoured in the eyes of my Nordan brethren, who were alight with the afterglow of my triumph over Ulfgorr.
The Twins and Carmen escorted me to the dock. We talked of the Union and the need for healing along the way, The shadow of recent trials was passing, and there was a great opportunity for the Doxies to set a brave new direction for the future, one which balanced personal freedom with compassion.
“We will miss you, old wolf,” said Vethri after a farewell kiss.
Eiskra just clung to me, vacillating between indignation that I might leave and farewell sadness.
“Enough,” I said. “If all goes well I will be coming back before the winter storms. If I am lucky my exile will be revoked, but I will not abandon you if it is. Only death can keep me from you, ladies.”
“And perhaps not even that,” said Carmen.
“Alright, go,” said Eiskra, stepping back.
The Longship I boarded belonged to the sons of Harald Magnisson, friends from a battle beneath the city, the same that claimed Madame Glorianna’s life. They greeted me as I boarded and gave me the best quarters that could be found on such a ship.
As we cast off, powerful oar strokes causing the boat to leap forward, I stood watching the docks. My sharp senses let me keep my friends in sight until we were far enough out on the water for them to give the sail full reign.
I was glorious to be aboard such a ship once again, agile and strong, riding the waves like a beast of the sea. Soon I found myself laughing with Thyra and the crew, enjoying the wind and the salt spray of the ocean as we cut through the water like a blade.
“Shouldn’t we be closer to land for a storm like this?” I asked, nervously scanning the black clouds overtaking us. Lightning played in the distance.
Thyra laughed. “Look at those waves Ragnar. This is no day to be close to land; we would be dashed to kindling against the rocks.”
“Think of it as an honour, brother. Hurn has sent a mighty storm to speed you homeward!”
“Remind me to thank him if I live through this.”
Thyra laughed. Soon after the storm washed over us. The wind came first, howling and gusting, followed shortly by the stinging rain. Then the waves came, getting bigger and bigger until it seemed that we were riding up and down mountains.
Thyra and Harald’s sons were of clan Sea Wolf, and there are no finer sailors to my knowledge, but that storm was unnatural. I heard more than a few of those bold men and women muttering prayers to mighty Hurn. Thyra, of course, was perfectly amused and her laughter carried over the boom of thunder and the sounds of the angry ocean.
My stomach lurched at the peak of each wave. I’d seen my share of storms, but none like this. And then, just as the worst of it seemed past, lightning flashed above us, and in the brightness after I could see ominous black shapes in waters around us.
“Thank Hurn!” shouted Thyra. “I was getting bored. To arms men!”