Berserker: Captive of a Viking Ch. 01bylottieH©
(this is just a try, if you'd like to hear more chapters please leave a comment, I appreciate the support.)
I stared out the churning waves of the sea, smiling. This was my dream, this was destiny. My childhood dream of running away from home to become a pirate on the high seas, was probably just as simple as a kid in Africa dreaming of a winter wonderland, I did after all, grow up in Manitoba Canada (no where near the ocean). But my heart told a different story, my heart said, "Francine, you should have been a mermaid....". As I said, I wanted to be a pirate, but mostly for the life on the sea. Though I was far from living my childhood dream at this moment, I was living the next thing to it, to be sure. I was, after years of careful planning and investment, sailing across the Atlantic in my own sail boat, with a crew and navigator I paid nothing at all. I wasn't the only one with a dream it seemed, hell most of the crew had been ready to pay me, just to work on the boat. But I saw a kindred spirit in all of them, so we all made a pact to tell our families we were only going across the Atlantic and flying back, but we were just going to keep on going around the world once we got to France. Through the Meditation, stopping at Greece and Italy, down the Nile and seeing the pyramids and the dead sea. Then around India and... Well honestly I hadn't searched quite that far ahead yet, but I was going to research the crap out of every little town and island we visited, so we could see all there was to see.
Was I scared? Yes a little, but my navigator was experienced! Alex has spent his whole life learning boating and navigation from his fisherman dad in Newfoundland. And Robin, my crew head, knew everything there is to know about working my forty foot vagabond 42, who I named Freya (after the Norse warrior sex goddess (GO prehistorically feminism!!!)). My crew was five men and three women, but gender really didn't matter, we were all sea lovers at heart. We were surely the reincarnations of skivvies of sailors who sacrificed family and fortune and eventually their lives to their one true loves... the sea. Not that that would happen to us, we were all smart and experienced (though most of us were under 25), hell my Freya even had a GPS tracking system that would send an alarm right to the nearest coast guard the second we tipped. It was one of the benefits of having rich parents, don't get the wrong idea though I'm not spoiled my sister is, but that's just because my parents didn't know how to raise a child. They learned their lesson when she almost blew our fortune ten years ago, so they were a lot stricter with the both of us after that. But of course when my sister graduated high school they bought her car, which she promptly wrecked in two week, so when my graduation came along they asked me what kind of car I wanted. I told them I didn't want a car, I wanted a boat. They laughed and said they'd just get me a car for now and if I still wanted a boat after I graduated university, they'd buy half. They said it as a joke, they didn't think I'd actually have the discipline to scrimp and save and work until I had every penny of the forty thousand dollars I needed (only big boats can make it on the high seas). So now here I am finally living my dream; sailing the high seas with eight kids and doctorate in ancient civilizations.
I stretched my neck up and took a deep whiff of the salty air around me. But unfortunately after two weeks on the ocean it just smelt like air, I guess that's the price you pay. I smiled anyways and began to go down below, I could still only tolerate so much sun, my skin already felt a little bit itchy which for me is a sure sign I'm starting to burn. Down below Alex was typing at his laptop at our community table. He was a strange sight, dressed it a tye dye t shirt and khaki shorts, he had a few days of stubble growing. I guess he'd forgotten to shave again, most of the guys had been staying shaved, they said the salt water would dry in their beards and make it feel grainy. But Alex had been preoccupied, though we'd left at the perfect time of year, global weather readings were predicting a wall of storms ahead he was trying to find a safe way around. But what was strange about this sight was that he had a fake ancient looking sea chart and a fake medieval measuring device he called a sextant lying on the table too. He said he liked to keep them out while he was navigating because they made him feel "authentic", he even liked to brag about how they were family heirlooms from 1476 but no could miss the engraved made in china if you looked hard enough. But I liked to let him have his fantasies, after all I sometimes like to pretend the occasional far off fishing vessel is our targeted plunder ship and we'd be stealing their gold and jewels after we'd scared them shitless with warning cannon fire. Yes old habits die hard.
"huh?" I said, Alex had startled me out of my reverie with a question.
"I said I think we should hit a hard left and try and circle north again around these storms." It wasn't a question, more of a statement.
"I thought you said the weather was dangerous north?"
"Ya, but it would be a hell of a lot more dangerous if we tried to race these things south, if they caught us, we'd probably tip and if we didn't tip they'd just spit us out god knows where."
"alright then, should we be praying to the fates yet?"
He gave me a sarcastic snort. "not quite yet, but I wouldn't but it past those bitches to cause all this." It was an inside joke of ours, I'd met Alex in my Ancient civs course, we had both learned plenty about the three Greek fate goddesses.
I began putting together a few sandwiches while Alex went to go tell robin to adjust our course. This was my job, at first it had seemed like a great idea to hire a crew to do everything and sit on my ass and watch the waves, but after a few days at sea I felt like a complete parasite, so I filled the role of crappy cook (since I didn't know how to do anything else). For some reason it had never occurred to me to hire one, but since everyone here (like me) had about enough cooking talent to make kraft dinner, it wasn't that hard to impress, though the internet had saved my life on more the one occasion, like when I didn't know what the hell I was supposed to do with a fresh caught herring. I was so glad I had installed a satellite on board, we all cherished and revered the internet like a god. When it had started to rain for the first time, everyone took a beeline for the satellite and wrapped it in tarps and ropes until it was more carefully swaddled like a new born babe. Even though it was waterproof, though to be fair I had forgotten to tell them that.
I continued to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with pickles on the side. My precarious pile out sandwiches was almost done when I heard it. Like the roar of a jet engine it seemed to scream like a banshee rising from the ashes of hell. Except it didn't stop to take a breath, it just kept going louder and louder until I couldn't hear myself scream. It was shaking the ground with so much noise, I landed on the ground with a thud, amongst masses of peanut butter. But before I could even think to rise from my feet the boat continued tossing up and down. I realised it wasn't the noise, it was the waves. From the feel of it, they must have been ten foot swells. Where the hell had they could from? My eyes cast about the disarrayed cabin and focussed on a pair of eyes across the room, Lindsey had gotten the door of the hallway way open and was shouting something at me, most of the crew were behind her, trying to gain their footing. They looked like poorly acted marionettes. Lindsey was still trying to shout at me but I couldn't hear the words over the banshee's roar, she seemed to realise the same thing because, she began to mouth the words very carefully, pointing at her mouth.
"Wa-tr sp-oo-t" No that couldn't be right, water spout?
Suddenly I remembered, Alex had gone above to find Robin. Oh god please let them be in the navigation cabin. I scrambled up and grabbed hold of the ladder next to me, climbing was much easier than walking. I caught sight of Lindsey trying to get my attention, she was shaking her head violently trying to get closer to me while motioning me to come back. Didn't she realise I had to find them? If they died it was all my fault, we were all going to die weren't we? When I reached the top of the ladder I flung the trap open preparing myself for the worst. Nothing could have prepared me for this. What rose up before me was only a couple of football fields away and at least one field wide. It was a massive swirling vortex of water that stretch far into the murky black clouds of the sky, from the thunderous roar it screamed, it truly did seem like a hell demon devouring all in its path including me. Oddly enough there were only a few thoughts in my mind when I saw it, but no fear. The first thought was that I now remembered what a water spout was, it was a tornado that formed over water, it would suck up torrents and spew them out, making it appear to rain around it. The second thought was what I remembered from the movie twister, tornadoes make a sort a roaring sound. The third thought was how strangely light I felt all of a sudden. And then I went tumbling in to the darkness.
I was floating on a cloud... If clouds were warm and wet, carried in strong but small arms. Who was carrying me? If I could open my eyes I would know. But I was so tired...
Wake up Francine....
No I'll sleep
Open your eyes.
Shhh go away.
I screamed. I was so cold, when did the ocean get this cold! I was swimming, why was I swimming? Looking around me all I could see was waves, my mouth tasted like saltwater. I spat over and over only to get swept under by a swell, after a moment of sheer panic underneath the water I surfaced sputtering new mouthfuls of the awful saltwater. So cold, my shoes were gone, every part of my body felt like someone was stabbing me repeatedly. I'm going die, oh god I'm going to die. Please no! I'll get baptized I'll go to church! I'll send my sister to rehab again, please don't let me die! I began to cry, adding my own tears to the water around me. I kept swimming, I suddenly heard dory from finding Nemo in my mind, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
Asegill stared out at the darkening sea, soon the night would set, soon he would return home, soon he would lose everything. He ran a hand over his face, sighing in irritation. The peace and serenity the sea had always brought him, held no promise of such gifts today. Three more times the sun would rise before he lost everything. Uh, foolish man, you will lose your house and title and ship but you will not lose your life. it's a just fate, you leaving so late in the year. Even if you married the first woman you saw at the docks it would still be to late. Ten years ago when Biorn, his father had died, the old man had left his wife and two sons with a promise. Should Asegill not be married on his twenty fifth birthday, all rights and property would fall to his brother, Gudmundr. Now here he stood one day away from his twenty fifth birthday and he was stuck, unmarried, on a ship full of men. Asegill bent his head in pain, he would lose his lovely Freya, the only creature he truly loved, his ship. She was fifty feet long, his father had chosen the exact great tree to carve the ship hull from. He had only used the best of the saplings and pines for the rest. Her width could stand straight against any wave, no storm had ever bested her. She boasted no massive engravings or fancy stitch work, she was a man's ship, like the goddess she was named for, she was a ship of war.
A hand settled on Asegill's shoulder. "worry not Asegill, you can always marry Grimr." Said Falki, the blond haired town flirt, though he could always be relied on to make light of serious situations. It was what made him an essential part of Freya's crew, he could keep spirits up in even the harshest conditions. Grimr was the smallest Norseman of their crew and most did refer to him as the woman.
Asegill shrugged Falki's hand from his shoulder. "Go eat Falki, tell Ketill I'll dine in my cabin tonight." said Asegill, without turning from the sea.
Falki didn't leave, he stood beside his lord, Captain, and friend instead. After a moment he spoke again. "Perhaps your mother will change her mind, she keeps Biorn's decision."
Asegill snorted humourlessly. "She was the one to decide to threaten me into marriage. You know as well as I Gudmundr does not have a berserker's soul, he will shame our house. Yet mother thinks he will make a fine leader." He shook his head. "Nay I'd wager my life she has been praying for this damned weather..."
Falki smiled anyways. "You know how the god's love to jest, perhaps they will send us a fine wind and at the docks will wait the most beautiful maiden in Asmondr! She will bear you seven little berserkers of your own." He grasped Asegill's forearm and went on his way. Asegill smiled to himself. If he truly didn't manage to convince his mother than he and Falki would steal Freya in the dead of night, and find a new home. Asegill knew his friend would follow him anywhere, they were closer than brothers and would follow one another to the afterlife as well. But still, though he knew it would do no good, Asegill raised his head to the sky and sent one last prayer, Odin, Freya, Thor, Loki whoever might favour me, please send me a wind or a woman and I will conquer any enemy that is set before this berserker in your name...
A ship! Oh thank god a ship. In my frozen terrified mind, I didn't see anything but a ship ahead of me in the water. I had been swimming and screaming with all my heart at the vessel. But I wasn't a fool the only reason I was nearing this ship was that the current was taking me there, I didn't even wonder at the strangness, in that though I was being pulled towards the ship, the ship wasn't being pulled away from me. There were no longer any coherent thoughts in my head, just a sort of hope that kept my numb limbs moving. Though I was so close now, I couldn't make any noise at all, like trying to scream in a dream, only a whisper escaped my blue lips. But my eyes never left the ship. I heard a shout in the air, it seamed like a mile away, but I heard it. Have they seen me? A splash now, I was so tired. My eyes began to close. WAKE UP. I jerked awake sputtering water. Who said that? Suddenly I felt warm arms surround me, these weren't thin like the others, they were the most muscled arms I'd ever felt. And then I was rising from the water I felt almost warm now. Everything was coming in flashes now, arms holding me, voices around me, and beautiful blue eyes....
Asegill stared at the tiny woman in his arms, he knew standing up she wouldn't even reach his shoulder. But she was undeniably beautiful, even as freezing white as she was her skin was like a dark tan, she had waves of thick dark brown hair framing her heart shaped face and gently sloping cheekbones, and he was sure he had seen stunning green eyes beneath those lashes. Though he was sure if his mother were here, she would comment on how her skinny body just wasn't right for childbearing, those lithe curves were sending what little warm blood left in him, to the wrong areas. Asegill stood up with the woman, he would have thought her a child, but her full breasts left no doubt of her womanhood.
"Thor's hammer Asegill! Did you dream her into existence?" Falki was staring in wide eyed shock at the woman, as were almost all of the crew. "Could not you have summoned her to the ship instead of the sea?"
Asegill shot Falki a look while elbowing his way through the men "One of you get some cursed furs!" He ignored the bombarding questions and climbed down the hull ladder, carefuly manouvering the uncurious girl in one arm. He burst into his cabin moments later, with Falki behind him. Lying her on his bed he grabbed the large hand sewn blankets on the bed wrapping her with them. Grimr rushed past him, dumping a pile of furs and blankets next to her as well. Asegill smiled at the boy, clearly he had been the only one with sense in the moment of shock.
"Tell Ketill to send up some hot coals." Asegill set about wrapping the woman in the rest of the blankets as well, while Falki sent the boy on his way. She seemed not to breathing at all, Asegill reached under the blankets to feel her stomach just to sure, after a moment of panic he felt it rise slowly. "turn away Falki, I must get these wet clothes off her." He heard a snort behind him.
"Already claimed her I see."
Asegill unwrapped her very quickly, not doubting Falki would obey him. "It's not as if I have a choice." he stopped now, he hadn't paid much heed to he clothing on the deck. But now was confused, she was wearing breeches, with the most terrible blue dyeing he had ever seen. There were no laces to undo them, just some sort of metal contraption on the front.
"HA! Yes this must truly be a terrible sacrifice for you. Come now, she's more beautiful than Halldora, and sent to you by the gods! Which god were you paying too, I might had to do the same."
He grabbed his knife, he didn't have time to try and figure this out. Asegill sliced the tight fitting breeches down each leg, carefully avoiding her skin. Her upper body was much easier to uncloth, the perfectly sewn multicoloured cloth, stretched over her head very easily. But underneath her strange clothing she appeared to have another article made just for her breasts. Asegill sliced this off as well, now he had to force his mind to focus on other things. All he wanted to do was feel those lovely mounds. Asegill closed his eyes and bit back a groan, he carefully covered in the blankets again.
"Falki leave now." Asegill wasn't even listening to the words of his friend, he only had eyes for this beautiful god sent prize. When he heard the door close behind his friend, Asegill quickly removed all but his breeches. He climbed into the bed beside her and drew her freezing body into his arms beneath the blankets. Her hair was soft as fur now that it was dry, and she smelt of sea and citrus. Asegill found it hard to remember he was holding her to save her life, his body wholeheartedly disagreed. Soon enough, he knew he would hold her in a far different way, soon enough.