Chained (short story)

Thrall #2

Wikipedia

A prequel to Vikingr

Ana remembered the words that the village elder had spoken as he squatted on the rushes in her parents’ home. A meager fire of twigs and animal dung had burn between them, the thick black smoke stinging her nostrils. As he spoke, his eyes stared out at her between the tangled grey hairs hanging down over his face.

“If the Norsemen come in their ships and you aren’t quick enough-” His wrinkled hands reached out over the flames and clamped around her wrists in a painful grip. “You’ll become their slave.”

The memory of how his greedy eyes had looked at her made Ana shiver even years after she watched the villagers piled dirt into his grave. But his words had served a purpose. As she huddled in the prow of the longboat, her hands shackled together by chains thick with flaking brown rust, she was not surprised to find herself a slave.

It was a part of living close to a road, a sea or a forest. Sometimes bandits came and the young were carried away. In spite of this, black thoughts still clouded her mind.

She was overwhelmed with imaginings of what the fierce Norsemen were planning to do with her. Every lurch of the ship twisted her stomach in a knot of sickening fear.

Most of all she felt bitterness, more biting than the sting of salt spray in her eyes. It was unfair, she thought, that the Norsemen had taken her. There were other girls in the village who were more beautiful, who could please men better. At least that was what she had heard.

Now she would never see her family or her home again. If she could have changed just one thing, she thought, she would have run a little faster. Then when they took her she might have been able to see the sloping thatched roof of her home in the distance. The memory was already beginning to fade in her mind.

PART 3

Find more historical fiction here.

Vikingr is available on Amazon Kindle (link here)

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