Thrall #4

Wikipedia

A prequel to Vikingr

Ana lifted the sleeve of her tunic. There were mottled purple and black bruises running all the way from her shoulder to her wrist. Every movement hurt and all she wanted to do was to curl up in the prow of the longboat, but she had to escape.

The Norsemen had been rough getting her back into the chains and she should not have struggled so hard. Now she had the dull ache pushing through to her bones to show for it.

If there was ever a chance to get away, this was it. The chains were loose enough around her wrists to slip free from, but there would be blood. She could see land close enough that she could throw a stone onto the shore.

The sparrow buffeted the air with its wings and alighted on the narrow wooden bulwark which ran around the edge of the ship. A Norseman cursed and tried to swat her with his arm.

She plunged out towards the narrow strip of land and, for a moment, she soared. It was freedom, pure and sweet as spring rain. The sparrow turned in the air, flapping to stay in the current of the breeze, but its wings were too battered and worn.

With a cry of dismay, she fell into the tumbling, icy grey waves. Her feathers grew damp and heavy. Salt water stung her eyes. A sparrow cannot swim, Ana thought, but at least she had known freedom for a moment.

Firm, muscled arms wrapped around her waist and hauled her backwards. She was already shivering when her tired body slammed down onto the hard wooden deck. Someone pulled at her hair, lifting her face so that she was looking into the blazing blue eyes of the ship’s captain.

“I’ve thought of a name for you.”

He shook her and she coughed bitter water down her front.

“Your new name is Alva, the elf who escaped from her chains with pixie magic.”

The man chuckled and let her head drop onto the solid oak beams. She was so weary, so utterly broken that she did not even feel the pain. Her new name rolled around in her mind, Alva, the elf.

If she really had magic, she would have cursed every man on that boat. But it was pointless, she realised, to dream of freedom and revenge. She was Alva the thrall, and that was the best life she could hope for now.

Read more historical fiction here or here.

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