I came up with this first chapter for historical fiction set during the Viking invasion of Anglo-Saxon England.
What I want to know is would you like to read more of Hilda’s story? If so, let me know your thoughts and I’ll keep writing it!
Hammer on anvil. The crash of heavy iron striking immobile stone. One blow after another, each one followed by the roar of sparks showering the air. Howling wind from the blacksmith’s bellows. A deafening, pounding rhythm of crash, roar and howl.
Hilda sat up and threw the sealskin cloak from her face as the thundering beat throbbed in her ears. ‘Curse you, Woden Allfather,’ she spat. ‘Can’t you let me sleep?’
She stood in the entrance to her perch and lifted her face to the sky. A dark mass of clouds had gathered, stretching to every horizon. They consumed the sun, tearing its light from the heavens. Only a trickle of dawn’s warmth reached the narrow crevice in the high granite bluffs where Hilda made her hunting den.
If it weren’t for the din of the waves striking the rocks and sending walls of salt spray into the air around her, she might have slept for hours. The gods responded to her hissed profanities with the booming impact of a tidal surge against the broken cliffs below. She felt the tremor in her feet.
I won’t lodge here again. This cave might not be here when I return, if I hear the spirits rightly.
They spoke to her through vibrations in the rock, the sweep of foaming waves and the swirling clouds above. She called it the Otherworld, but it had many names. What did names matter? Spirits had no use for them, so why should she?
It was a whisper which could always be heard by those who chose to listen. Now its voice was loud, shouting an insistent warning in her ears.
‘We’re coming. We’re coming to drag down your walls of rock. We’re coming to drown your houses of stone. Your bones will be crushed to bloody meal beneath our might.’
Continue reading “Byrnsword”