The jarl descends to the water’s edge to await the triumphant return of his sons as he does each morning. This morning, as he approaches the icy depths, he spies their craft, though not in the manner in which he hopes.
Standing at the shoreline amidst the wreckage, he waits. It is not long before the wife of each man who boarded the vessel is standing beside him. Among the splintered wooden remains of the ship, treasures of gold and jewels manage to glisten in the cool morning mist.
He tells them not to mourn; those who set sail would have been victorious in battle for the vessel to have been laden with such riches. Viking women do not wail for their men who have been lost to the sea. When a youth reaches forward to pick up a trinket, the jarl’s booming voice echoes back from the walls of the narrow passageway.
Turning to his people, he instructs that no one is to touch the plunder. The fjord will take what it will with the lapping tide; the rest remains as tribute to be called upon as the gods see fit.
That night, the jarl prays that his sons died well, and now sit in the halls among the warriors who have gone before them. They were good strong men, of this he is certain. What fate may have brought their ruined craft to this shore, he does not know; he knows only that the light of the following day will bring him the answer he seeks.
Upon waking, the jarl makes his way to the fjord’s rocky shore once again. What he finds sickens his heart. The wood of the wreckage has been claimed by the water, in its place, the flesh and bones of all but one man have been spit upon the shore and left to rot. His spirit rejoices that he is unable to find his eldest son, and crumbles when he sees the other among the mangled and broken corpses. He did not die a good death, this younger son.
A Sea-Eagle soars overhead, screeching out a final anguished cry before its soul joins the ranks of those who departed this world with courage and honor.
© Copyright 2013 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.
I’m doing the 2013 Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Pop back everyday but Sunday through the month of April for a new letter prompt to spawn my deranged ramblings! ;}