Morning in Attilsund was marked not by the sun climbing over the tops of the pines but by a gradual lightening from black to grey of the cloud cover that had not yet broken. Einarr awoke groggy after a night filled with restless dreams, that all seemed to end with the realization he was being watched. He stomped into his boots anyway, warming his toes a little in the process, and hoisted his baldric over his shoulder as he joined his father and Jorir near the edge of the green.
His father’s eyes were just as dark as his own felt, although the dwarf appeared to be in high spirits. He nodded to both of them as he stepped up. “Morning.”
“Good morning!” Amusement twinkled in Jorir’s eye – or at least, Einarr thought it looked like amusement. He didn’t see what was so funny, though.
“Einarr,” Stigander drawled. “Once…
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A week and a half from Apalvik, the craggy green fjord of Attilsund rose into view beneath a steel-grey sky. Stigander ordered the sail furled and the oars deployed as they nosed the Vidofnir into the narrow channel. The ship passed into the shadow of the cliffs to either side.
Einarr shivered and wished he had an excuse to join the rowers. Nearly summer, and still he saw ice on the rock near the water line. He didn’t bother looking up: the sky would be little more than a line between the tree-limned rock faces. He would be with the group going ashore, however, and Father had made sure the landing party would be fresh by keeping them off the oars. And if Father wanted them fresh, that meant he anticipated trouble ashore.
The steady swish of the oars through water and the groaning of the Vidofnir were the only…
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Einarr returned to the Vidofnir late that evening with Bardr and Jorir several silver poorer and an equal number of tankards less thirsty, with only two potential recruits found.
Bardr clapped him on the shoulder as they approached the Vidofnir’s mooring. “Don’t worry about it. Two men in an afternoon, on your first day out? That’s hard to complain about.”
Einarr shrugged. Maybe it wasn’t, but he couldn’t help but feel like he was supposed to have done more.
“Don’t look now,” Jorir interrupted. “But I think something happened while we were out.”
Men swarmed about the docks in front of their boat. The three men exchanged a look before taking off at a jog for the ship they called home.
The crew was clustered in a ring around the gangplank, with the men on the outside jockeying for position. Three men stood in the center of the ring:…
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