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.
As the first Sea Fiends heaved onto the deck, I silently thanked Hurn that the sea was now calm enough for me to keep my footing.
Drawing my axe and hammer, I strode toward the nearest of the beasts, It was better armed and bigger than any of its kind that I had seen before, sporting a kind of chitenous armour over its scaled skin and wielding a polearm like a hooked spear, Huge black eyes narrowed and it hissed at me through a oversized round maw full of jagged teeth.
It was still hissing as I slid across the deck, ducked the hooked spear and smashed its knee with my warhammer. The leg buckled, bone crunching under the impact of good Nordan steel, and then it fell. I came up behind it, kikcing it in the head with my hobnailed boots as it floundered.
The Sea Fiends swarmed the ship, but they were met with sword and shield-wall. I saw Thyra on the bow opposite, silhouetted by flash of distant lightning, heaving one of them overboard on the end of her spear,
Two more came at me, branding their strange spears. I sidestepped a series of thrusts and then knocked one of the spears upward and rammed my shoulder into the Sea Fiend wielding it. The smell of salt and fish washed over me as the sturdy body gave way before my strength. As he fell I turned parried the attack of the second Sea Fiend with my hammer, bringing my axe down, chopping into the flesh of its neck with a splash of blood. The fallen Sea Fiend scrambled to get up , but my hammer met his skull ere he got his feet under him.
Bellowing victory I strode toward the next Sea Fiend. All around me, the crew were driving the Sea Fiends back. I met the cold black eyes of my foe, but before I could close he turned and leapt back into the water.
“Coward,” I cursed, looking around.
The Sea Fiends were abandoning their attack. I saw precious few Nordan among the bodies on the deck.
Thyra strode over to me, grinning.
“They must have mistaken us for a merchant ship,” she said.
“How did they even know where to find us out here?”
“The gods favoured us with a chance encounter,” said Thyra. “Most of us, at least. The scaled fuckers roam the waters, following the cod, They attack lone ships and other vulnerable targets.”
“We never hear of them in Myrrhn.”
Thyra laughed. “I’ve heard that the merchants of Myrrhn actually pay them for safe passage. Can you imagine?”
“I can. I can also imagine them paying them to attack their rivals. Such is Myrrhn.”
The ship’s rudder was damaged in the attack, and it took half-a-day to fix it. But after the Sea Fiends we encountered no storms and unusually easy sailing all the way to Nordan lands.
We began to pass other longships, flying the colours of many clans and kin groups. Some of them passed close, sharing news. More than a few them asked after me by name, hailing me for slaying Ulfgorr. The ships of my own clan, The Shadow Wolves, ignored us.
After seven days of good sailing I spotted the high peaks of the Giant’s Teeth mountains, and perched upon a cliff overlooking a mist-clad bay, the great fortress known as King’s Hall.
I was home.