The Sea Draugr : A Tale Of The Undead
Aegir beamed with pride as he set his horn in front of Bragi. " Fill my horn with ale and I will be more than happy to conclude this wonderful story. " he told his old friend.
Bragi set the pitcher on the edge of the horn and refilled Aegir's horn. When he was done he set the pitcher back down and nodded to the Jotun.
" Thank you good sir ! " he told the God of Poetry politely. Aegir took a quick sip, cleared his throat and began again. " The undead......
" Thorir anchored The Avenger at the mouth of the Vest Agder Fjord, and as it was the middle of the day, he and his men waited for Sunna to ride across the sky, and settle over the horizon, before proceeding into the fjord. As time, evidenced by Sunna's slow advance, crawled forward, the crew began to become more and more anxious to get started. Thorir tried to calm his men but their anger had grown to a level that could no longer be controlled. The crew of The Avenger began to yell curses in the direction of Vest Agder calling Asmund and Vilgeir every vile name they could think of. In the light of day, however, their voices were lost among the myriad of sounds being made by the living. They would have to wait until the dark cloak of night fell over Midgard for their voices to be heard .
When Sunna finally began to settle on the far horizon Thorir had his men pull up their anchor, and set the sail. As soon as the sail was tied in place it filled with a strong easterly breeze, despite the evening calm, which blew them quickly into the fjord. Thorir reminded the crew of what had happened off the coast of the Faroe Islands, and he warned them that unless the villagers tried to stop them, they were only here to take Asmund and Vilgeir, and that no one else was to be harmed.
At the same moment Thorir and his crew spotted the docks at the edge of the village, a group of sailors on shore saw something out in the fjord that they had never seen before. Their first thought was that the glowing object was simply the moon's reflection on the water. As the distant glow came closer, however, it became apparent that this was not a mirrored image of Mani, or any other object from their world. This was a ghost ship crewed with the living dead. And the sea - draugr were heading straight for them !
Thorir was hoping that no one would be at the docks at this hour, but he was sadly mistaken. As they approached the crew of The Avenger heard a lot of activity along the shore, and then shouts of : "The dead have returned ! ", and " Sea - draugr ... oh no ! SEA - DRAUGR !!"
Thorir and his crew watched as the villagers came streaming out of their homes and ran down to water' s edge to see what all the commotion was about. They did not stay long however ! As soon as they spotted the ghostly ship of the dead coming their way, they ran home as fast as their legs would take them.
By the time The Avenger reached the docks they were deserted. The crew tied up the ship quickly and disembarked. Thorir ordered Kjallak and Illugi to remain behind and guard the ship. The captain did not think that any of the villagers would be brave enough to tamper with a death ship, but this was all new to him, and he was not willing to take any chances.
The moment the crew stepped off of the deck of their ship, and onto dry land, they were no longer protected by Ran's spell and the sea. Instantly each crew member became pale and bloated, and every sailor was covered in seaweed. As they stepped onto the docks their eye sockets became sunken, and they began to walk in a stiff manner as though they had not used their limbs in quite some time. The stench of their rotting flesh wafting through the air completed their transformation.
Thorir looked down at his chest, through glazed eyes, and saw the jagged hole that Ran had ripped his heart out through. His skin had gone pale, with a slight blue tint, and for the first time he could smell his own decaying flesh. He paused for only a moment contemplating what he had become, and then, deciding that there was nothing he could do about his situation, he pressed on to find Asmund and Vilgeir.
Halfway through the village, the crew, led by Thorir, was confronted by Bardi, the village chieftain. With shield in hand, and his sword at the ready, Bardi stood with a few of his bravest warriors blocking the dead seamen from progressing any further. For a long moment the sea - draugr and the living warriors stood across from one another without moving, or saying a word. Thorir then drew his sword, and stepped directly in front of Bardi.
Thorir did not want to injure the man who would have become his father- in - law had he lived, but he was not about to be stopped either. In a gesture of peace Thorir placed his rusting sword back in its rotting scabbard, and spoke to the chieftain. " We wish no harm to you or the other villagers. " he told Bardi. " We have come for Asmund and Vilgeir, to avenge our deaths. They built our ship in an inferior manner, and it fell apart in high seas drowning us all. " he explained to the chieftain.
Bardi moved back a few steps before returning his sword back to its sheath. The first time he tried to speak he almost gagged from the stench of death. The chieftain, to block the pungent odor, placed his hand over his nose, and stepped back a few more feet before trying again. " Yes ! We found out about Asmund' s treachery just yesterday. He approached Rannveig, and asked for her hand in marriage. When she refused he went into a rage and told her that you would not be coming back because the ship he made was dangerously flawed. " he explained to Thorir. " We were going to use the blood eagle to execute them both tomorrow, but you and your men have a much better claim on their lives than do we ! " he added.
Bardi then motioned to his warriors to bring Asmund and Vilgeir out to them. A moment later the warriors came back with their prisoners. Both were kicking and screaming wildly despite their hands and legs being in irons. " No ! No !! " Asmund screamed as they approached the sea - draugr. " Kill me ! Kill me now !! " he cried out to the warriors who held him. For his part Vilgeir stopped struggling when he saw the dead sailors, and began to cry. " Forgive me ! Forgive me ! I should not have trusted my brother. " he screamed as he sunk to his knees.
Thorir grabbed Asmund by the hair, and with a violent tug, began to drag him back to The Avenger. The cowardly carpenter screamed in pain louder and louder as they approached the ship. His terrified cries echoed off of the mountains that surrounded the fjord, and bounced back through the village again and again.
Vilgeir was grabbed by the arms and the legs by Ulfar and Dyri. And unlike his cowardly brother, Vilgeir no longer resisted. He knew that what he had done was wrong and had accepted his fate.
When Thorir reached the docks he heard a familiar voice behind him. " Please Thorir, wait ! " Rannveig implored him.
The dead sea captain handed Asmund over to Kjallak and Illugi, but he did not turn around. " Do not look upon me until I am once again aboard my ship ! " he told Rannveig emphatically.
He then walked over to his ship and jumped on board . Thorir stared down at his arms and when the flesh had returned to its normal state he looked back upon the woman he once loved. Rannveig ran towards the ship, but she skidded to a stop when she saw the hideous sight of the walking dead as they straggled back onto the ship.
Thorir no longer had any tears to shed, but Rannveig had enough tears for both of them. " Let me come with you ! " she shouted to Thorir. " I love you ! " she added through trembling lips.
Thorir shook his head. " I will always love you Rannveig, but you cannot go where I am going. For I am afraid that I am dead and now belong to the sea. And you my dearest love belong here among the living. " he told her in a sad quiet voice.
" No ! No ! " Rannveig shouted back to the only man she ever loved. She was about to disregard Thorir's words and jump onto the ghost ship when she felt strong hands hold her back. When she turned to protest she saw that the one who held her tightly in his grip was her father.
" We must let him go my dear ! " Bardi told his daughter. " He does not belong among the living any longer, for he has been fated to sail the great oceans for an eternity. " he added as his daughter collapsed against his chest.
Rannveig did not turn around until the crew had cast off, and the ship began to sail away. As their eyes met Rannveig waved to the man that she still loved with all her heart. With great sadness Thorir waved weakly back to the woman he could no longer be with.
- End Chapter 8
Next : The Epilogue
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.