We had our 20th contest and it brings us to the close of the year. We would like you to read and cast a vote on the story you liked best.
The contest can be found here: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic-8/character-creation-contest-20-1519250/#66
And it was basically make a story about the guy under the arrow --->
This contest is rated MA, because one of the stories is a tad heavy in tone. Readers are warned, but I won't say which one because that could sway either for or against that competitor. But yes one story is very MA and not designed for kids thus making ALL entrants carry the warning of MA.
Now I suck at the spoiler blocking things, so it may or may not of worked. We shall have until the 7th day of the new year of 2014 so voting ends 7/01/2014 or for you Americans 1/7/2014. Read, consider and vote please
The Seduction of Ragnar
Smoke circled ominously over the monastery alongside the ravens as the crawling monk clutched the crucifix in his hand and silently preyed to God as the broad axe sliced through his neck. Lying arms spread out his body merged with the field of slain brothers as the invaders streamed out of the monastery clutching chests of gold and religious artefacts as well as a few bound women, most dressed in simple peasant attire and all but one screaming.
“This was a good raid.” One of the raiders snorted as he dragged a two meter tall statuette of the Virgin Mary along the ground. “The Saxons are ripe for plundering, they have spent too long standing behind ploughs rather then shields.”
“Monks are easy prey.” A second sneered as he pushed a cart loaded with three chests loaded with gold. “But their blood stains us so easily. Their blood is filthy and spreads disease; it must be cleaned before we leave lest we bring back a plague to out people.”*
* Vikings despite stereotyping were obsessed with the cleanliness of their clothes. They were described by the Anglo Saxons as always grooming their hair to remove dirt. Even the ancient Islamic cultures of the Middle East took note of their ‘vanity’ when it came to clean clothes
“Still the Saxon women will make good slaves.” A third announced. “The Chieftain is willing to give a woman each to his best warriors.” He added as a massive man, his face covered in an iron mask connected to his helmet supervised the group moving the slaves, his eyes wandering to a woman clad in a short leather dress; her hair dyed blue shining among the blonde and brunette haired Saxon women. “That one’s a Celt; they don’t make good slaves they have to much pride. It takes an iron hand to dominate one of their women and even then she’s as likely to chop your head off as rolling on her back.”
“The Celts are filthier then the Saxons.” The first spat, “They are savages that run wild in the countryside like animals.”
“Aye.” A strong voice announced and the three turned to see a massive man clad in heavy chain mail and carrying a halberd. “The Celts are barbarians but like us they refuse to bow down to the Christian god that has made the Saxons weak.”
“Ragnar.” The warriors gasped, “We thought that you were to the east discussing trade treaties with the tribes on the Volga.”*
* Despite being pirates the Viking economy relied heavily on trade. As a largely sea-faring nation the Viking peoples used their ships to carry riches from Scandinavia to the French Coast and even as far as Byzantium and the Volga.
“Aye last summer, since then I returned to find my home empty, devoid of a wife and child. Loki’s trickery took both from me while I was away. Still a strong Celtic woman would make a good match for me.”
“In your dreams Ragnar who wants a wife who fights your every action?” The second raider asked as the iron masked Thane beckoned the four of them to come closer.
“Thane Canute the Wise.” The men said in unison as they followed the man and the slaves to the crest of the hill to look down at the beached longboats sitting in the bay. “What do you ask of your warriors?”
“Ragnar my son.” Canute said, his face hidden by his mask, “You and your warriors are to guard the spoils while the work team move the ships off the beach. Be on your guard, the Saxons are not to be trusted and the Celts even less. I lost five of my men to the barbarians last year when we came to this shore.”*
*Viking Longboats were shallow drafted and able to sail up rivers as well as across the oceans. In addition the Vikings were known to ‘pottage’ their ships over obstacles such as sand bars and mud flats.
“Yes my Thane and Father, we will guard this horde with our lives.” Ragnar answered before watching as the Thane took off his face mask to reveal a wrinkled caring face. “My son I am sorry about the death of your wife Ingrid.”
“As am I father, yet in my heart I know that my mistress held precedent over my wife. That adventure, travel and war are the women who hold my soul” Ragnar told him. “I am sorry father.”
“You are still young.” Thane told him, “We won’t be long.” He added as he walked down the hill towards the beach as a few more raiders dropped their loot off before following him down into the bay. Shooting a look at the Celtic woman Ragnar walked over and bent down before offering her a walrus ivory cup filled with water to sip. Glaring at him she head butted the vessel away, her eyes burning through him like a white hot poker. “Do not offer me kindness marauder. I would rather die then become your prize slave.”
“Feisty.” One of the raiders grunted as Ragnar picked up the cup and stared back at the woman. “I told you about the Celtic Women’s spirit. They have more balls then their men.”
“What’s your name?” Ragnar growled as the Celt attempted to chew through her restraints. “Stop that, what are you an animal.”
“I am Fea, the bringer of chaos in war.” The Celt hissed as a particularly large crow flew past cawing loudly. “Your people claim to be warriors yet they attack the defenceless and retreat with pockets full of plunder before they can face true steel and shot.” As she finished mist begun to rise off the sea and the crows began to get louder until they merged into one giant swarm of darkness that dive-bombed the Vikings on the hillside.
“This is witchcraft; this woman is a Celtic devil.” One of the raiders called.
“Kill her.” Another barked.
“Nay my friends!” Ragnar boomed with authority, “Hold fast less it is said that brave Viking warriors are frightful of fog and birds.”*
*Vikings were always looking for signs of the gods’ displeasure. The crow, unlike the raven, was seen as an ill omen. Fog too would be seen as bad sign due to the weathers ability to cloud judgment and affect navigation.
“But they came only when you spoke to the Celtic witch.” The third whimpered as the sound of wolves howling sounded around the whole hillside and phantom shapes could be seen darting through the mist. “And now there are wolves. She is a demon and must be slain before she brings ruin on us all.”
“Look the Saxons.” The first yelled as the shapes darted into the treasure horde. Shuddering the Saxon slaves begun to transform, their new forms ripping out of their clothes to reveal man sized wolves, their eyes glowing red in the darkening light. With a blood curling howl the transformed women leapt at the Vikings, their bodies exploding into boiling tar that showered the raiders in thick black liquid, the men falling into the pile of gold, individuals relics fusing to their bodies. Standing alone Ragnar walked over to the nearest only to see the man’s now golden body splitting open to reveal a rotting human head.
“This is witchcraft.” Ragnar muttered as he turned to Fea, “Why spare me and not them?”
“Because you interest me.” Fea purred as two crows landed next to her before transforming into two identical women, their hair dyed blue with woad like Fea’s. “Because I and my sisters always look for men like you. We are the Morrigan, this countries spirit of war. You called us with your desires, if you truly look for those things find me.” She added before kissing Ragnar on the forehead before slipping from her bonds and joining her sisters as all three transformed into crows and flew away.*
* The Morrigan (Irish Gaelic for Phantom Queen) was the Celtic goddess of war, strife and nobility. Made up of three women identified as; Badab, Macha, Nemian, Fea or Anand they often appeared in the form of crows, wolves, eels or cattle to survivors of battle.
“Ragnar!” Thane’s voice boomed out of the fog, “There is an ill essence to this place, we will bury the majority of the horde and come back for it. Bring the women and the gold and we’ll put our sails to the wind and leave these cursed islands.
“Aye father.” Ragnar replied as he walked down to the bay. “But I will not be following you home.” He stated as he climbed aboard and dropped his weapons on the longboat’s deck before watching as three crows flew overhead. “I found the woman I’m looking for.” He added as he handed his father the obsidian pendent he wore around his neck. “My Mistress calls.” he added as he leapt off the ship before landing in the water, his form melting and fusing into a giant eel that slithered away from the ship following the birds inland.
“My son.” Thane whispered as his men lept in to the water in an attempt try and capture Ragnar. “My son is lost to this bedevilled island. Ready arms, I will grind this land down to sheer stone to get him back. I will not let this place claim my son. Skuldt!” He bellowed turning to the man to his right clutching an axe and buckler. “If I don’t return immortalize my son and warn my people of the dangers found on this island.”
“And what happened next?” A child’s voice squeaked as the fire begun to die down. The wizened man smiled and gathered his grandson and grand daughter close to him as the sun began to set below the green ocean to the west. “I found my son happy with his love in a lake to the north, a pair of warriors immortalized as serpents in the great loch. I returned and told the Skuldt my story before heading back to my wife and daughter, your mother and decided to dedicate my life to trade and peace with all our neighbors.”
“Can we go to Britain, to see the monasteries and wolves and Ragnar?” The little boy asked.
“In time my grandson,” Thane answered as he slipped the obsidian pendent around the boy’s neck. “Let adventure by your mistress and see her mysteries. This world holds hidden wonders, wonders the two of you have never seen.”
“Can you tell us another story Grandfather?” The little girl asked.
“Tomorrow my child.” Thane smiled as he watched a pair of crows land on the roof of his longhouse. “Tomorrow I will tell you about the Ocean Sea and the giant creatures that swim her depths. Now sleep well.” He added as the children ran inside. “Tonight I talk to my son and his wife.” He whispered a smile stretching across his wizened face as the crows landed on his shoulders and nibbled his ear affectionately before blowing the fire out, three human figures walking through the cinders towards the sea.
My name is Ragnar Olafgurd, third son of Olaf the Turgid, Thane of the fjord lands…
As I stand in the frigid waters of the New Lands, I ponder my home far across the sea. We are on the other side of the world far from the lush green grass of h…that’s a Tom Jones song isn’t it? Dah dah long to something, the green green grass of hoooooome!
Man I wish I got something to eat. Unlike him, Mr Eat First, Chauffeur driven. Ooh my name is Inigo M…oh that’s the Princess Bride!
This water is freezing and my boots aren’t waterproof. Bet his are. Standing there in the spotlight. Mr-I-married-Miranda-supermodel-Kerr-but-now-estranged-but-I’m-friends-with-Johnny-Depp Bloom!
Oh god!....What’s my line?
$h!t! I have one line and it’s gone!
Okay, I stand here in this cold Canadian water at three in the morning glaring daggers at Orlando “I’m a pretty boy movie star” and I forget my line! C’mon you worked so hard to get this role and you’re going to blow it because you’re stupidly crafting back-story for your character whose name is simply Viking #3!
Oh god Mr Cameron is setting up the shot! Makeup lady is leaving Orlando and the boom is coming in, oh god! What’s my line?
My lord…no! That’s from your bit on Thrones. Stop reminiscing and think idiot! This is the leap from bit part to stardom. This is your Renner role which starts the ball rolling…if I could just remember my line!
I start moving towards him as I’ve been rehearsing. Think Viking, be Viking, how does Viking speak…oh god this is going to suck more than my audition for Merlin!
There’s twelve feet, my career can be over in twelve feet. We sail on the tide…the ships behind you moron! We sail on the tide, that’s Shakespeare? Or Austen? God!
I stride through the water and arrive on my mark beside the movie star as he gazes longingly at the camera.
“Eric!” I yell as it all clicks back into place. “The beach is clear”
Orlando turns “I…pfft sorry!” He smiles and flicks his tongue “Sorry James, sorry! Sorry everyone. Ha ha what an idiot I am! Sorry. Brrrr get it together.”
From the directors cherrypicker crane is an audible growl, “That’s ! Reset and go again!”
I breathe a sigh of relief and wipe the cold sweat from my face.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WEARING?”
I knew he was talking at me. Even though there are hundreds here on set in period costume, I knew the bellow was at me as I realised I was still wearing my digital watch.
Bile welled in Meldun's mouth, the waves slowly churning the sickness through the corners. Once he could take no more, the putrid yellow fire spilled forth from his gaping maw.
"Your anger shows itself, Meldun" warned his oar-mate, Islief.
The reek clung to his beard and the taste of human rot bathed Meldun's tongue as he continued to relieve his stomach of its contents. Cold salty fish, the only meal he had stomached in the last day, returned to its home. If Aegir had been hosting one of his feasts far below the sultry depths, the god would not be pleased.
His anger churning again inside him, Meldun wondered if the gods were not already displeased with this band of warriors. Nine weeks had passed since sail had been set to join their king in Ísland. The northern island would stage the raiders for the western shores of Bretland and the lesser island of Írland.
"If ever we make land, I intend to bury my axe into the nearest living man. Be warned Egil, I may find myself beside you." The threat towards the sponsor and captain of the party filled the ears of the nearest men. A low grunt of little attention grumbled from Egil, his focus remaining on the fog surrounding them and his eyes darting from sea to sky quickly.
"My stomach would be full and my thighs slick with the stink of a Saxon whore, had we taken Eyjaleid to meet our king. You have cursed us by following Uthafseild. The sea takes us prisoner." raged Meldun, irritation boiling at the lack of respect the young man paid him.
The enraged man had pleaded with Egil to take the route that would keep land no more than a day's sail southward, the Eyjaleid. The raiding party instead took the direct route of Uthasfeild from the western shore of their homeland, Noregur. The route had left them open to the sea, and to the whims of the gods.
Egil continued to ignore Meldun, now exposing his posterior towards the man as he reached his hand into the churning sea. Meldun began forward, axe in hand. An iron grasp took hold of his arm as silent words reached towards him, "Stay your temper lest you find the waters more homely. Continue your whining and I will toss you in myself." Meldun returned the glare of Islief, knowing the man well enough to understand that his threats were not idly made.
"Remove your hand or I shall offer it as sacrifice to the sea."
Isleif remained seated, grasping Meldun only a moment more before returning his hand to its warm home in the pit of his arm. The men were friends but the fog had set a rift between the two.
Sitting beside the bear of a man, Meldun wrapped himself in the shared blanket Islief had kept warm with. The cold had already taken a quarter of the men and he did not wish to join them. Their bodies lie at the bottom of the ocean, keeping the god Aegir company and attending his parties. They would not see Valhalla. They had not died a warriors death.
An eternity of prissy celebration seemed a worthy end for such men, whom could not weather the cold.
The raiders had been stranded in a fog without stars or sun to guide them, wind to push them, or hope of land to keep them sane. Only now that the waves began to roll again did Meldun understand that his hell had only just begun.
A warm wind blew against the ship. Every man could smell what was coming for them and instantly began to secure what little food and drink the ship retained. Men bound the sails as others began to deploy their oars.
Egil smiled at the men and, as his voice washed salty and ragged over them, the fog faded behind their long ship. A dark tempest covered the horizon.
"Thor has come for us."
A drumbeat began to keep rhythm, a medium pace that the men knew would not last long, as swells began to quickly thrash their ship. Steering directly into the nearest wave the men propelled the ship over its briny crest, attempting to weather the storm and keep their ship from capsizing.
Ocean sprayed the men as they battled the waves, lightning flashed as Thor hammered the sea. Egil had clung to the bow, carved in the likeness of a Wyrd. As the ship plunged into each successive trough, it seemed as if he had tamed the mighty serpent and road it into battle, attempting to conquer the terrible storm.
All thought of mutiny escaped Meldun. The rumors had been true. Egil was no man, he was the son of a god, his father punishing Meldun now for his thoughts of betrayal. Thor would not allow such a death for his son, but the god would certainly not save the oarsman if the ship were to sink into the ocean.
After nearly half a days struggle to survive, the storm lessened and the swells shrank. Meldun propped himself against Islief, arms limp and numb from the cold wet oar. Three more raiders had gone to join Aegir.
Islief handed him a leather flask of mead. The honeyed taste reminded him of distant memories as it flowed into his gullet. Thoughts turned to the warmth of a woman under him, moaning and writhing. Her scent had perfumed his bed as the warmth of a gentle fire had warmed his back.
Images of blood stained hands filled his mind.
Savala had bore him three children, but she would bare him no more. He had loved her, as much as a man could love a woman. She had kept her home in order, had known how to read, and had kept his appetite sated but Savala had died an ugly death at the hands of thieving cowards during a raid by a neighboring village.
Until vengeance had been sought, he could not stand to think of the woman. His rage and sorrow of her death overwhelmed any joyful memories of the woman he might entertain.
Meldun would seek council with King Floki upon arrival in Ísland. He knew the men responsible would present themselves at the raids, as was demanded by the king.
Meldun decided, for the moment, to leave the matter where it belonged, smoldering with a black flame in the depths of his heart. It would be best to think of more trivial affairs, lest his anger spill forth again.
"Bjorn, when will your wife give you some little bears? My daughters will need men to marry" Meldun asked Islief using his nickname.
"Soon, or, if not, you shall have to settle for one of my Saxon bastards." replied Islief, musing at the thought.
"It could be worse, I might have had to settle for a Celt bastard. Those red headed whores are quite fiery as you may well remember. Their sons would be half demon in heart." The man chuckled, remembering how a captive Celt prisoner set the old bear's crown ablaze as he attempted to plant his seed. Islief palmed his bald head, still hoping to feel the sandpaper texture of nonexistent scruff.
"Such a bastard would slit my throat from the womb."
"That is if the she-devil did not rip your throat first, Bjorn. Ha! Maybe such a beast of a woman would be best suited for such a bear of a man!" The two chuckled together.
"So long as she is loose enough to accept my Bjorki, she will suit my needs." The two continued to chuckle in silent tired spasms.
"Take the women but leave me the whores, I fear your little bear would make them useless." Meldun jested.
"There will be plenty of whores for us both among the Angles."
"If ever we arrive in Bretland, I intend to prove you wrong."the man boasted.
The thought of plundering the loins of women brought other more serious thought to mind. The oarsman sat in silence and contemplated what plunder he would retain after the voyage. Without sponsorship, he would not have sailed to war with the others but such contracts retain a price.
All plunder returned to his home would be divided in halves. The king would first decide what he wished to tax, Egil would then take his half, and the remaining fourth would be divided between the surviving men. The raiders were not prepared for such a long voyage, few slaves would be taken. Such odds did not bode well for Meldun.
His eldest daughter, Dalla, needed help running their home. With the untimely death of her mother, Dalla had been forced into her duties as head of the family until his return. Poor as he was, Meldun had already turned down two offers for the hand of his daughter. How could he afford to pay her dowry when he could not afford to lose her.
Meldun would not speak of such hardship to another. To show worry would be a shame to him and his daughter, but Islief understood and that is why the bear had not formally proposed for his bastard sons to tie the families together. Meldun would not refuse such an offer, as many fathers would, but it would still be an insult to propose such an illegitimate union. Meldun would have to make the offer before Dalla became a spinster or the other families began to speak of incest.
A new wife would be the solution. Meldun had been offered a suitable bride by a number of families, but he could not come to trust any of them enough to enter into such an alliance. His home stood on the outskirts of their village and, if attacked, his home would not be saved by those that lived within the village walls. How could he trust that the families whom had forsaken his home once would not forsake it a second time
. If only the bear that lived beside him had sired a daughter to become his bride. Then he need not worry that once again he would return to a dead wife and a charred home.
The images returned to Meldun with a furry.
Black wood radiated heat in the cold daylight. Boot prints had trampled his gardens and muddied his paths.
Islief had taken the children and slaves to shelter but Savala had returned to safeguard her dowry. He had only hoped that his untouched barn contained her. It had...
The unbroken gate had given him hope. The barrier had hid the pool of blood mingling mud and excrement. Once removed, the horror of his mangled wife's form could haunt him.
She had been raped by many men, her limp sullied frame was a testament to their cruelty. The stench of her fresh corpse could barely overwhelm the sour reek of sex. Her assailants had bound her, the rope encrusting Savala's chaffed wrists. Her death had been slow.
Only after turning her limp cold figure was he able to realize the true horror of her torture. Her cheeks had lost their rosy splendor, now simply swollen and furrowed. The only thing that helped him to retain his sanity was that Savala's now swollen bloody face resembled nothing of the woman he once loved. Looking to her stomach-
Images of bloodstained hands filled his mind.
Bile returned, the yellow-rot slathering his tongue with a taste to match his thoughts.
Those men would pay.
"Release the ravens!" bellowed Egil.
"Have you spotted land?" inquired one of the men.
"No. Listen, do you hear it?" another man retorted, "Thunder without lightning. Either Thor is playing a trick on us or that is the sound of a cliff."
It was too dark with rain to see but the slow rhythmic crashing of waves slowly became more apparent to the men. Following the ravens, a cliff-side took shape. Massive walls lining the shore led the raiding party to finally make landfall in a cove.
Egil leaped deftly into the water, gracefully swimming to shore, and was shortly reinforced by Islief. The bear stood on in the shallow waters, mute awe overcoming him. Exclamations of joy spread among the the remaining raiders, save for Meldun who, having deftly jumped ship, trudged his way toward Egil.
"Where are we? I do not recognize this land, and the trees are filled with darkness." he questioned anxiously.
"Vinland..." whispered Islief, a plea to remove his disbelief.
"Thor had greater plans for us, my brethren."
I ran through the water, my falcon trailing from above. Manjaro the Manslayer strode easily through the surf, hefting his mace as easily as a child does a stick. We met at the side of Finnrick the Fine only seconds apart. "My lord..." I started, but was cut off.
"Ulrich the Uneasy, you damned shaman! What in the nine hells have you done? Where have you brought us?" demanded Finnrick. His blonde locks danced in the wind.
"I'm not sure, my lord. My familiar could not be coaxed to fly high enough for me to see more than we see from here," I confessed.
"You've beached us on an island with a giant," Manjaro grated.
"It's only one giant," I rebutted, "and it appears to be trapped in stone...even the flame it carries." Finnrick raised an eyebrow towards the great stone creature with the many horned head. I hesitated, but then added, "I thought it a safer choice than that."
Finnrick and Manjaro turned their gazes after mine, and we were quiet for long moments. Finnrick finally spoke, "I do not know what magicks have created yon city, but it's mage must be powerful indeed. There is not even a wall around it...as if daring us to enter. The castle smokes like a volcano."
"Like Lakagígar itself, Lord Finnrick. And that din...you can hear the people screaming from here. What evil does this sorcerer wreak upon his subjects?" mused Manjaro.
"M-my lord," I started, "whatever magicks these are, they are beyond me."
Finnrick spun on me quickly, "Are you saying you have brought us here to be at the mercy of some mage?"
I held up a hand tentatively. "I serve at your mercy, Lord Finnrick, but I serve you best by telling you that I cannot defend us against this..." I swept my hand towards the castle, and as if to emphasize my point, a giant bird the likes of which we had never seen swooped upon the castle in a roar.
We were all stunned for a minute, but as ever, our leader found his voice first. "Back to the boat."
"My lord?" asked Manjaro. "We are just leaving?"
"Yes, Manjaro, we are leaving. We were not meant to be here, and Ulrich is right. Whatever magicks these be, I have never seen him perform anything of this magnitude. We have entered into a war which we know nothing about, and have come ill equipped for."
Manjaro turned obediently and stalked back to the boat. I stared at the smoldering castle for another few moments, until Finnrick turned on me, gritting his teeth. "And you. You get us away from here while this sorcerer is otherwise occupied, and before this giant should take notice of us- encased in stone or not." He turned again and strode purposefully through the water, back towards the boat.
I looked after him, then up to the sky, holding out my arm so my familiar could land. I fed him a piece of meat, replaced the hood over his eyes, and slogged back to the boat myself. Once aboard, I made the necessary enchantments, and thin streams of light began to snake around the ship. Fog followed, and before it could enshroud us completely, I stole one more glance at the gleaming city on the further shore, shrouded in black smoke from the castle. I wondered what magicks I might have learned from this mage, or if he might have just swallowed me whole. I reached out tentatively with my mystic senses, picked up on enough of the strange language to learn the name of this enchanted land, and then we were gone. As we returned from whence we came, I wondered what the Old York looked like before the sorcerer transformed it so.
Wulfgar turns to me, his sea sprayed locks of Nordic blonde catch the breeze, his hand ready pon his sword, "Well?"
The ocean laps at my boots as I fight the urge to vomit. The smell of this foreign land burns my nostrils as I attempt to still my racing heart. Wulfgar's eyes narrow, he is not known for his patience even with kin.
"Monsters!" the words leapt from my lips as I point back down the beach as the horde of red men, half animal savages with white paint coating their bodies and feathers in their hair. They moved as a mass like bees that have had their hive kicked.
"Ha!" scoffed Wulfgar as he hefted his shield, "Men of the North! We have guests!"
Fifty of my country men poured off the longboat onto the shore. Axes, spears and sword at the ready as the wave of red beast men charged towards us. Wulfgar wrapped a muscular arm around my head and jostled me "Are you ready to dine in Valhalla little brother?"
I nod as I shake myself free. Wulfgar smiles as he punches me in the face. I snarl and return the blows which stimulates our berserker frenzy. Turgard has to pull us apart lest we kill each other instead of the enemy. The beast men wail like a song of slaughter children as they are upon us.
"FOR ODIN!" screams Wulfgar as a steady stream of blood is flowing from his nose as he wades into them. I am by his side as the world turns to crimson and screams as I dance on the winds of violence.
I will not stop.
It is known that there are worlds beyond ours. It is also known that there are also beings from these worlds. While the humans of Midgard pay tribute to these beings, most notably the gods of Asgard, there are some things that they do not know about the gods. I like to believe that I am one of those things.
I hate the water. Silly, I know, for a Viking such as myself, but never have I felt safe riding along in these wooden boats over such a vast body. My crewmates talk constantly of the 'edge of the world' and so far that does little to help my constant distaste. Yet, I believe that it is far past my time for complaining. Three days we have been at sail and two more we must be until we reach our goal. Damn my loyalty to Jorund.
A hand casually slaps my shoulder followed by a hearty laugh, "Ari my friend," Jorund says. "You seem down. Why is that brother? We are mere days from battle!"
I turn away from the water to look at Jorund, a young man of strapping elegance but with the eyes of warrior. While growing up alongside him, I've seen that light in his eyes grow brighter every year, and it's clear that it has never been as bright as it has been during this adventure.
I smile and say, "You know I've never been one of the water, Jorund."
"Then you never should have become a Viking, brother!" Jorund laughs, slapping my shoulder again. "Relax, though. We only have two more days until land and then, Odin willing, a victory!"
He smiles as he did when we were children playing a game of tag and walks down the ship, watching the oarsmen at work.
"If he were anymore spirited I would be scared he would burst into flames."
To my left Vog walks over, a simple smile on his face as he watches Jorund. Out of all of the people I would chosen for this expedition, Vog wouldn't have been one of them. True, we grew up together and I consider him just as much a brother as I do Jorund, but he's never rubbed me the right way; the way his dark eyes always seem to be moving from place to place.
I smile halfheartedly. "Yes, burst into flames indeed."
Without another word Vog walks away, leaving me alone yet again. Almost absentmindedly, I look down at my hand, the words 'burst into flame' playing back and forth though my head.
Two days later
The ship makes land with a satisfying CRUNCH and I almost immediately breathe a sigh of relief. Land at last.
Almost immediately Jorund jumps from the side of the boat and into the water, followed by Vog and myself as we survey the land.
"Our orders say to go inland to the North. After a halfdays journey we should find our foes' camp." Vog reports, his eyes narrowing as he gazes over the landscape.
"Then we march then," Jorund says with a smile, only this time a faint snarl can be seen within it.
A half day later
Jorund's plan didn't go very well.
The camp was far bigger than predicted, our forces outmatched by at least 4 to 1. As good a force as we were, we couldn't take them all. And now we know that they like to play games.
I'm strung up along with Jorund and Vog, hanging from a branch of a tree inside the camp. Their fire, a few feet away from us, burns brightly while their leader, a great bear of a man, sits watching us.
"So," He says with a smile caked with some kind of meat. "That was the army of the great Jorund. I am not impressed."
Beside me, Jorund squirms in anger. "Just wait until I am freed from these bonds!"
A club smacks Jorund over his head and he slumps. Another one hits Vog.
"That petty boy means nothing to me," the leader says, this time to me. "You, however, do."
"What do you want of me?" I ask, feeling my hands beginning to warm.
"Like you," he says, walking towards me, "I am not of this world."
He continues walking until he comes to the base of the tree, where he brings his hands around the trunk and with ease, rips it from the ground.
Me, along with my companions, swing around as the leader laughs playfully.
"Show me what you can do, my friend, or I toss you and your companions into the sea!"
Silently, I curse and ignite.
My hands, burning brighter than the campfire, burn through the bonds and send us falling to the ground.
The leader tosses the tree to the ground, laughing. "A Halfling! Oh, what fun this is going to be!"
I keep my hands alight as the leader runs toward me, the ground shaking as he stomps forward. To be honest, I've never used my powers in battle, now would be a good time to learn.
Once he reaches me, I jump, landing my legs onto his chest and I begin hammering my fists into his face, burning him as I do it. He screams in pain and throws me off, sending me into one of the tents.
"You'll have to do better than that, Halfling!" The leader yells, advancing after me.
I look around me for some kind of weapon, scrambling around the remains of the tent for something.
The leader is halfway to me, taking his time.
"It has been a while since I have killed one of your kind, Halfling. I will enjoy it immensely."
My hand grabs a hold of some kind of shaft underneath the canvas. I burn through it as quickly as I can, revealing a spear underneath. I can tell that the leader hasn't seen it yet.
"A shame, really. People like us need to stick togeth-"
With as much speed as I can use, I ignite the spear and throw it at the leader, surprising him and impaling him in the chest.
"I have my own friends, thank you." I say, smiling.
Around me, the other members of the camp stare at their fallen leader and then at me, my hands still aflame. Like children, they run away.