2.8 – Butcher’s Bill

Tangled Threads Publishing

The days following the battle with the Valkyries were somber, as well they should be: five Vidofnings fell to the Order’s hunters. Three of them had remembered Raenshold better than Einarr himself did. Those five had ridden the enemy ship to the afterlife in a blaze of glory, and left five more empty berths on the Vidofnir.

If there was one bright spot, it was the treasure they had found in the Geirskögul’s hold, packed into every spare inch beneath the deck boards of the Vidofnir. The morning after the funeral, Stigander had directed them north to a friendly port, only a little out of their way. No-one could quite get out of their head, though, what those five newly empty berths meant.

As the Vidofnir prepared to dock at the Apalvik pier – larger than Kjellvic, but still no match for the bustle of Kem – Stigander called…

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2.7 – Song of War, Song of Peace

Tangled Threads Publishing

The Valkyrian hunter’s aim was steady. Any moment could give him the clear shot he needed to take out Reki.

Einarr ran, every footfall pounding a resounding ‘no’ against the deck of the Geirskögul. A fighter dodged someone else’s blow into Einarr’s path: Einarr shoved past him roughly, not even noticing if it was hunter or Vidofning. Three steps further on his leg lit up with the heat of being cut. It would hurt, later. Now, all that mattered was the crossbowman whose sights were set on Mother/Reki. The reasoning part of his brain flagged that juxtaposition for later thought.

The hunter had his crossbow snug against his shoulder. His finger was on the trigger. Not close enough…

Einarr willed his legs faster. The hot one felt sluggish: it must have been a bad hit. He raised Sinmora for an overhand strike. Almost there…

Two paces from his target…

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2.6 – Valkyrie!

Tangled Threads Publishing

For the Vidofnir’s first week at sea, they saw no-one. In the second week, three ships crossed their path, from three lands Stigander preferred not to antagonize. Boredom was beginning to set in by the end of that fortnight, although not a man aboard but was glad for clear skies and fair winds.

On the first day of their third week at sea, sharp-eyed Sivid called a warning from his lookout. “Valkyrie, hard to starboard!”

“Valkyries? Here?” Erik’s exclamation of surprise echoed back at them off the water.

Stigander’s order followed soon after. “Hard starboard! Make ready for boarding!”

The ship that approached on the horizon at a full clip was obviously Imperial even from this distance: she sat too high in the water, two rows of oars sped her along toward the Vidofnir, and on the triangular sail they flew the wing-and-spear symbol of the Imperial Order…

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2.5 – News of an Oracle

Tangled Threads Publishing

The beach they cast off from was little more than a glimmer in the moonlight when Stigander passed command to Bardr for the night. Sivid had drawn the short straw for watch this night, although even among those not on duty few slept. Most drank.

Stigander sprawled in the stern, staring up at the unblinking stars from under where his awning would ordinarily cover. Einarr approached, his boots deliberately loud on the deck, and took a swig from the skin he had just filled. It sloshed as he flopped down to sit by his father. He held it out by way of offer: his father’s paw nearly enclosed his hand when the offer was accepted. Neither man felt the urge to talk. There was little to talk about, until Stigander was deep enough in his cups that he started telling stories of home, and Einarr didn’t think there was enough…

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This is not a recent post, but the history lesson is timeless. Do not forget the past, learn from it!

A Lawyer's Prayers

Roman Fasces, US House of Representatives, Courtesy of “Kids in the House” http://kids.clerk.house.gov/activities

“…[P]ut off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt …and… put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4: 22, 24).

“Fasces” is the term for a bundle of wooden rods bound together with an axe. The image is displayed in the US House of Representatives, and appears on the dime. Meant to signify strength through unity, the fasces stood for a magistrate’s power over life and death, in ancient Rome.

Though most of us have forgotten now, it was, also, adopted in the 1920s as the symbol of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.


Fascism as a form of government is characterized by extreme nationalism, authoritarianism, and right wing values. Its professed goal is to re-establish law and order in society. Freedom…

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2.4 – The Song of Raen

Tangled Threads Publishing

The sun touched the water’s edge and the sky took on the color of red gold. The tide would begin to ebb soon, but the crew of the Vidofnir had not yet taken up oars and her sail was still furled. Fifteen years ago, they had fled their homes, and for fifteen years the start of every voyage was marked the same way. Stigander stood in the stern, his feet set wide and his arms crossed as he looked out over his men. Einarr joined him.

Reki stood in the prow of the boat, her cloak thrown open and her head exposed. Her skin washed amber in the light of sunset, and her straight white hair looked as though it were made of spun gold. How her previous crew thought she could be bad luck, Einarr could not understand. What clearer portent of wealth ahead could there be? She opened…

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2.3 – Reki

Tangled Threads Publishing

When Stigander had told him he would be acting as porter for the resupply, Einarr had not quite realized that meant he would be the only porter. He spent the better part of the next three days hauling salted fish, fresh water, and the other sundries that would make their summer on the seas tolerable overland between Kjellvic and the Vidofnir. He could not tell if Jorir had been kept in the dark as to the nature of his task those days, or if the dwarf had declined to intervene: in either case, it did not bear mentioning.

It was not until the evening of the third day that Einarr again had a chance to speak with either Bardr or his father. “So when is someone going to introduce me to the new battle chanter?”

Bardr looked at him sidelong and snorted. “What makes you think we’ve recruited one?…

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2.2 – On the Way to Market

Tangled Threads Publishing

The rest of that day and into the next morning, there was still no sign of Runa at the Hall, and that left Einarr unaccountably anxious. While he was assured that all was well, none would tell him where she was. When Stigander informed him the three of them – Einarr, Bardr, and himself – were headed for the village boatwright that morning, he nearly refused.

“What good will it do to sit around here?” Bardr elbowed him in the ribs. “Beyond that, we’ve matters to discuss.”

“Fine.” Einarr resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he took another bite of the morning’s mash. “Fine. You win. I’ll come. I’d just… hoped to see her already.”

“And who wouldn’t, in your shoes? Come on. Finish up and let’s go. Captain’s already waiting.”

“Why didn’t you say so earlier?” Einarr lifted the bowl to his mouth and started to shovel…

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