Tag Archives: Fjord

The Morning After

(the continuation of Fjord)

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.

“No!”

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! ;}

Fjord

“A-ha! There! Do you see it before us, brother? I told you the gods would see us safely home, was I not right?”

“Be at ease, young brother, we are not home yet. We’ve still to traverse her icy cold waters, and narrower passageways.”

“Bah, you’ve no faith, my brother! The gods would not have brought us this far to see us fail now. Perhaps the trickster, but not the hammer, he wishes to see us die in battle. Come, brother, do not tell me you fear drowning more than death by axe or cudgel? Smile, fate and life lay ahead, our journey nearly complete.” Pouring two horns of mead, he offers the fermented honey concoction to the man standing beside him. “Drink, celebrate with me; celebrate our return to this, our homeland!”

Glancing into the carved keratin vessel his younger brother has handed him, and back again to the high cliff walls of the fjord, he steps to the side of the boat and pours the mead into the waters below.

“Brother! You waste so much when we have so little left after this voyage? Why?”

“Do not question my actions, little brother. An offering to the gods is of far greater value than sating my thirst for celebration. I offer them this drink and ask that with it they grant us safe passage through these cliffs. Honor them as I do. Honor them or we shall all suffer. Heed my words, young brother, your youth blinds you.”

“Bah,” the younger man drains his horn into his gullet and tosses the hollowed carving overboard. “The gods have no use for sentimental offerings. They want us to live as men, as warriors, not as scared sheep!”

The sky now darkening, clouds swiftly rolling in. Their boat caught in the unsteady waters of the fjord, the younger man looks dubiously  upward as the crew grumbles of bad omens. The older brother stares at the younger, resigned to what fate has cast upon them as the waters begin to froth and the wind picks up speed.

© 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! ;}

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