Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The aging Norse lord stabbed a gnarled finger at the chart on the table and turned to the young girl beside him.
“Tell me, girl, what do you see?”
She hesitated, unsure of her lord’s mood and uneasy due to his recent foul moods. “I see a land, bordered on three sides by great oceans.”
“Aye, that it is…that it is. And do you know its name?”
“I do not, my lord.”
“ ‘Tis the land of my birth, lass. Her name is Tri…Trimaris” The girl had never heard the old man choke with emotion before, and she put her hand on his arm. He angrily swiped at his eyes, then patted her hand and forced a smile.
“When I look at this map I see a land of ghosts. There in the Northeast lies Cher, the Pelican. A mighty dwarf of a woman was she whose voice could shake the trees with laughter, or shatter bones with wrath. And near her resting place lies Arnevett, love of my youth and friend in my dotage. She was a force that even Thor might have thought twice e’re challenging. And looking ever o’er that land is the Silverstar. His nightingale songs shall outlive all of us, alas even if he did not.
“And there, in the swamps of the South lies my brother Colin. He was a mountain of a man, yet as mortal as we all. Many a time did we face enemies side by side, yet he faced the ultimate opponent alone. I shall raise a horn with him in the halls of Valhalla someday, of that I am sure.
“And not all the ghosts are of the dead. Many have merely faded away. Bronislaus, Seosaidh, Tetsuo, Elom, Merowald, Verron, Guthrum, Ursula, Agrippina, Alistair, Felix,The Wooly…aye these and many more have departed for other shores. “ A wry chuckle escaped the man’s gritted teeth. “ I s’pose the same could be said of me, so long I’ve been away. So long…”
The old Viking stayed silent so long that the girl grew restless. She opened her mouth to speak when with a great roar he drew his dagger and hurled it down to pin the map to the table with savage force and accuracy.
“There! That bay, on the coast of the Barony of Marcaster. There shall we moor my longboat, and leave the company of ghosts. Gather your things, my daughter, and bring my armor. ‘Tis high time I stopped hiding in my memories and wallowing in infirmity. I may have less hair, and more gut, but by Odin’s favorite raven I’ll give those young pups a few bruises to bring home e’re they put me in the ground! Summon my crew, bring me my sword and my horn! We leave with the tide!!” Smiling, the girl ran to obey.
“Wait!” She skidded to a halt and turned to her lord. “Um,” he said, “first go and ask your mother if she minds.” With a wave and a wink he sent her to do his bidding.