The Sea - Draugr : A Tale Of The Undead
The Voyage Begins
Aegir gave Bragi a serious look. Yes ! ..... And an evil craft it was my friend ! " he told Bragi just before he took a sip of his ale. " Let me see where I was... I... oh yes........
" The ship looked magnificent tied to the dock . It was a slim, sleek ship, with clean lines, and 16 oars on each side of the vessel. The mast sat proudly in the center of the craft, and was tall and straight. The rigging that surrounded the mast was newly woven and tight. To finish off the ship Asmund had commissioned a local craftsman to carve a beautiful dragon head for the bow of the ship. Asmund wanted..... no..... he needed, it to appear as though the ship was as strong and sturdy as she was beautiful. He did not want it to be said later that Thorir did not return because of faulty construction on his part.
The ship was unsound however, and had almost as many weaknesses as it had nails. The wood he and his brother used looked like good timbers, but they had not cured the wood properly, and knew that it would not hold up once it became swollen in the sea water. Asmund and Vilgeir had also watered down the tar they used to seal the ship, and they knew that in the hot sun the tar would crack and leak. Asmund, just to be sure that the ship would not return, used nails in its construction that were almost an inch shorter than the ones he normally used in sea - going vessels.
The launching of the ship was a great spectacle that was witnessed by everyone in the village. Rannveig' s father Bardi, being the village chieftain, acted as Godi and performed a blood ritual to bless the new vessel. Two goats were sacrificed and the blood gathered in a large bowl, which was then poured over the dragon's head, and the rudder, to give the vessel good luck.
Jarl Vigfus, not to be outdone by Bardi' s ritual, gave a long speech. He told the villagers of the wonderful stories he had heard at King Haakon' s court about these new lands called Helluland, Markland, and Vinland. The villagers cheered when Thorir was introduced as the brave warrior, who would captain the jarl' s sleek new ship to the magnificent world he had just described. The jarl then turned the podium over to Thorir.
Thorir Dagson was not much of an orator. The warrior thanked everyone for coming down to see them off. He thanked the jarl for making this historic journey possible, and Bardi for invoking the Gods to bless their ship and give them safe passage across the seas. Thorir received the loudest cheers when he announced that the ship would be named after the Goddess Gna' s swift horse Hoof - Flourisher. Thorir then ended his speech by introducing the crew who would sail with him.
Geir, Bolli, Thorlak, Svart, Osvif, Einar, Raud, Onund, Kar, Hrafn, Gunnar, Tormod, Hauk, Ari, Dyri, Geirmund, Illugi, Ljot, Mar, Ketil, Styr, and Kjallak, had all sailed with Thorir before. Some of his original crew, however, did not wish to become explorers, and refused to go. Thorir then scoured the neighboring villages for warriors, and found ten more intrepid adventurers to join in on his journey. They were Thorbrand, Vingeir, Ulfar, Steinolf, Ref, Berg, Alf, Egil, Glum, and Kalv. Each crewman received a rousing cheer as they boarded the ship after being announced.
While the crew made its final preparations to leave the fjord, Thorir and Rannveig spent their last moments together behind the hut that the seamstresses had used to sew the sails for several generations now. Thorir promised his bride to be that as soon as he returned they would be married, and would settle down on the land that Jarl Vigfus had awarded him. Rannveig then told Thorir that she wanted to have six children, and then she kissed him. They held each other for a few long moments before reluctantly returning to the docks.
Thorir kissed Rannveig one last time before jumping onto the ship. The crew, with their captain now aboard, used their oars to push the ship away from the dock. As the brave warriors began to row down the fjord toward the open ocean the villagers gave out one last rousing cheer for their men. Then one by one the villagers began to walk back home.
When all the others had left Rannveig remained behind to catch a final glimpse of the great dragon ship. The last thing that she saw on the horizon was the ship's great sail, that she had helped to sew, being unfurled. Then the ship disappeared over the horizon, and Rannveig' s heart became lonely, and she began to cry. "
- End Chapter 4
- Next : Chapter 5 : Catastrophe !
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.