The Shadow Wolf Sagas: The Whores’s War 3.50

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.

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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.”

We laughed.

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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.

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The Shadow Wolf Sagas: The Whore’s War 3.49

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

“Lovely.”

“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.

“Sea Fiends!”

“Thank Hurn!” shouted Thyra. “I was getting bored. To arms men!”

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The Shadow Wolf Sagas: The Whores’s War 3.47

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.

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Carmen emerged from the shadow of a drainpipe beside a window ledge two stories above the cobbles. She grinned down at me and then dropped to the ground, making barely a sound as she hit the ground.

“Did you really hear me, or were you just guessing Old Wolf?” she asked.

“You are never as quiet as you think Carmen. Did The Twins send you to watch my back?”

“They suggested that they would be grateful if I did,” she answered, looking around the street. “But even without them, The Nightblades have a vested interest in seeing you survive until the Whores’s War is over and you have returned to the north.”

“Am I allowed to know that?”

“Yes,” said Carmen, turning to face me. “I took a risk giving you the sword. Had you died, The Guild probably would have discarded me.”

“Discarded is a nice way of saying executed…”

“It sounds worse to me, actually. Execution at least has a level of formality. But you killed Ulfgorr and disgraced Wolki and The Guild is very pleased with us both.”

“Did I earn you a promotion?”

“Yes, actually,” said Carmen, stepping in close. Her scent washed over me.  “Feel free to claim your reward… Vethra and Eiskra don’t mind, I asked them.”

I laughed. I was certain that Carmen was serious, but her motives were not nearly as transparent as her body language.

“I think I will, but that will have to wait until I return from the North.”

“You’re coming back?”

“I am. If I am able.”

“I’m intrigued,” said Carmen, stepping back. “Care to share what you know?”

“With you or The Nightblades?”

“Ouch. Point taken.”

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The days after my meeting with Lily were a frenzy of meetings with The Doormen and Bouncers of the Doxies’s Union. After my name was cleared, my former influence returned. Many of the old hands who provided security at the Union’s various brothels had trained with me in Madame Glorianna’s day. They were as loyal as you would expect, and it was not hard to convince most of them that Diamond Silvermane was not good for the Doxies’s. This was no surprise to me, in truth.

What was gratifying is how much my name meant to the newer Doxies. I was no longer old Ragnar the Nordan, I was Ragnar, the guy who killed a werewolf to avenge Rake. News of my deeds had spread throughout the Union and members greeted me wherever I went. My very presence helped our cause. That was gratifying.

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