The Adventures of Einarr Stigandersen updates Tuesdays and Thursdays by noon Eastern time. I am now cross-posting on royalroadl.com, about 2 chapters behind once it catches up.
2.7 – Song of War, Song of Peace -
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.… Read More 2.7 – Song of War, Song of Peace
2.6 – Valkyrie! -
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!”… Read More 2.6 – Valkyrie!
2.5 – News of an Oracle -
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 in that skin to get that far.… Read More 2.5 – News of an Oracle
2.4 – The Song of Raen - 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.… Read More 2.4 – The Song of Raen 2.3 – Reki - 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.… Read More 2.3 – Reki 2.2 – On the Way to Market -
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.”… Read More 2.2 – On the Way to Market
2.1 – Catching Up -
An empty seat awaited Einarr near where his father lounged, surprisingly far back in the hall. “Not bad, for your first go,” Stigander muttered in his ear. “Did you think to take anything for yourself?”
He shook his head. “The Isinntog was my share.”
His father grunted. “Generosity is well and good, but never forget that running a ship is costly. If you fail to provide for yourself, you fail to provide for your ship and your crew.”… Read More 2.1 – Catching Up
1.34 – Homecoming - By the time the Gufuskalam made landfall in the Kjelling lands, not far from where the Vidofnir once again moored, nearly a month had passed since they departed Kem. The seas were smooth and the wind friendly, thanks probably in part to the presence of the Isinntog, and Erik could now move about with the aid of a crutch acquired during their resupply.… Read More 1.34 – Homecoming 1.33 – To Catch a Thief -
Einarr took off at a sprint down the pier. The two could not have got far yet, and he remembered their faces. Jorir kept up admirably well, despite his shorter legs.
“You remember what they look like?” Einarr asked between breaths.
They pulled up short where the pier met dry land. There were only two ways the boys could have gone; a disturbance in the dockside market crowd said the answer was left. A heartbeat later Einarr, too, was dashing off after the ripples his fish made as it swam through the crowd.… Read More 1.33 – To Catch a Thief
1.32 – Physician - Einarr had been sure the map was because the harborman didn’t expect he could read right up until he saw the directions that were sketched therein. “Many thanks,” he said, gesturing with the paper. Then he had set out with Jorir into the twisting warrens of Kem’s back streets, glad he had left the bag of treasures stowed under the Gufuskalam’s deck.… Read More 1.32 – Physician The End of Book One Approaches - UPDATE: Patreon poll is live! So I’ve been calling it out in the comments for a couple weeks now, but this is the official announcement. There are exactly three chapters remaining before the end of Book One. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride so far, and I hope you’ll stick with me for Einarr’s next… Read More The End of Book One Approaches 1.31 – Kem Harbor - For more than a week the Gufuskalam sailed south, pushing as hard as its crew could drive the boat with sail and oar, and for more than a week the black-haired dwarf on board hovered over the injured sailor who had been given into his care. If Erik did not seem to be improving, neither did his condition seem to worsen. He even regained consciousness a few times. In spite of his better judgement, Einarr found his attitude toward Jorir softening. Even Tyr could acknowledge his efforts were genuine.… Read More 1.31 – Kem Harbor 1.30 – Field Medicine - With Erik down, Tyr took the rudder and left the rowing to the strength of youth. Tempting as it was to let out the sail to travel nearly halfway around the island, everyone aboard worried that the jotün would notice something amiss. They were not safe until they crossed out through the storm. And so, Einarr rowed while Tyr kept their course and Jorir wrapped Erik in every woolen blanket on the boat and battened him to the deck.… Read More 1.30 – Field Medicine 1.29 – Escape from Svartlauf -
“That piece was given to me before I left on this journey by the woman who will be my bride, so do not scorn it. I’m afraid I’m still going to have to bind you until we’re underway on my boat.” Einarr strode behind Jorir and swiftly wrapped the rope about his wrists in a figure-eight pattern.
“Better than staying here, an’ it’s not like I’ve given you much reason to trust my word. …Satisfied?”… Read More 1.29 – Escape from Svartlauf
1.28 – Midden Maze -
I’m going to regret this, Einarr thought even as he fell. The darkness was nearly complete. Nearly, because the Isinntog about Einarr’s neck gave off a faint white glow.
Einarr’s legs plunged into the moldering kitchen refuse of the jotün and his dwarf. The smell that assailed his nose nearly made him vomit. Putrid meat, rancid fat, and rotting vegetables all mingled together in a slimy slurry that, by some miracle, only came to Einarr’s waist. He covered his nose and mouth with a hand.… Read More 1.28 – Midden Maze
1.27 – Chase - The giant’s steps fell like boulders as he entered the room and stopped. Einarr peeked around the treasure mountain he had ducked behind. The giant stood, his blue-white body draped about with filthy furs, and stared at the now-empty pedestal with eyes as black as midnight. Einarr bit off a silent curse. All thirty-plus feet of the giant had stopped immediately in front of the door, and thanks to the dwarf he knew Einarr was in here somewhere.… Read More 1.27 – Chase 1.26 – The Isinntog - After what felt like an eternity of creeping, during which he kept expecting to hear the creak of hinges or feel the vibrations of the giant’s steps on the floor, he made it to the pillar on which he had glimpsed his goal.… Read More 1.26 – The Isinntog 1.25 – Treasure Room - Back down the crates he went, dropping from board to board until his feet landed on flagstone once more. The room he needed was all the way across the hall. Dashing across the open floor was tempting, but such was the call an animal would make. That he had seen no sign of the jotün did not mean he could not be discovered. Better to slip around the edges of the room, where he could hide if the need arose, than to dash across the floor and be caught in the open.… Read More 1.25 – Treasure Room 1.24 – Giant’s Palace - In the next heartbeat Sinmora was in Einarr’s hand. He pressed himself against the central pillar as he raised the sword to parry the dwarf’s blade. That was a long drop off the other side - one he definitely did not intend to take himself.
Axe struck long sword and the dwarf jumped backward, eyeing the drop himself.
“You could have just opened the door and been on about your business, you know.”… Read More 1.24 – Giant’s Palace 1.23 – Dwarven Tunnels - The dwarf stood from his seat at the table and brushed his hands off on his trousers as Einarr pocketed the king Runa had sent with him. He did not miss that his guide hooked an axe onto his belt before setting off, nor that the dwarf evidently felt no need of a cloak where they were going.… Read More 1.23 – Dwarven Tunnels 1.22 – The Cave - With the morning light came the sound of metal striking metal from deep within the cave, rousing Einarr from his uneasy rest. The glow of fire lit the walls, even though Einarr’s had long since burnt itself to ash.… Read More 1.22 – The Cave 1.21 – The Search - Erik’s weight on Einarr’s narrow shoulders slowed him considerably as he made for the inlet where the Gufuskalam waited with Tyr and their supplies. The man had tried to protest, but every time anything so much as brushed his injured leg he paled.… Read More 1.21 – The Search 1.20 – Fimbulvulf - The sun in the eye of the storm may have been warm enough by comparison, but the island itself had not yet escaped winter’s chill. More than once as they scaled the rock face Einarr and Erik both nearly lost their footing thanks to the thin layer of hoarfrost that covered the stone.… Read More 1.20 – Fimbulvulf 1.19 – Svartlauf Island - The Gufuskalam launched out of the storm and into the calm waters beyond it. Rain and sleet still pelted Einarr’s back, but he hardly noticed it now. Black, water-slicked cliffs shot from the ocean’s surface up fifty feet or more. Above, the black-leaved forest where the fimbulvulf was said to dwell loomed over them, rapidly… Read More 1.19 – Svartlauf Island 1.18 – Eternal Storm - Mid-morning the day after Einarr and Tyr reunited with Erik, no kalalintu had yet shown themselves on the island. This, they agreed, probably related to the albatross heads Erik had staked around his camp, which in the darkness neither Einarr nor Tyr had noticed.… Read More 1.18 – Eternal Storm 1.17 – A Daring Rescue - The Gufuskalam glided backwards along a path pointed by the anchor line, but the two men aboard paid it little heed. Of much more pressing concern were the kalalintu that swooped at them from above, attacking them directly, or rocked their sides from beneath the waves. As for the men themselves, they fought off their attackers with all the strength they could muster. Not infrequently, the flying kalalintu were knocked, dazed and bleeding or already dead, into the water.… Read More 1.17 – A Daring Rescue 1.16 – Kalalintu Island - Einarr tore the wax from his right ear with a curse. “We can’t leave him there.” “You want to take on an entire island full of those things?” Tyr yelled, his ears still stopped. Einarr rolled his eyes and gestured to his ear. Yes, it was a risk, but they had to plan this carefully… Read More 1.16 – Kalalintu Island