Monday, January 18, 2010

The Baying of Wolves

I'm currently in Sweden this week. My posts may be somewhat erratic this week.

Today's scene seed is from an image I saw yesterday of a Swede zooming across the ice on what looked like a windsurfing rig. I saw him on my way to visit a friend in Värmdo.

Ivan welcomed the wind that blasted against his face and left frozen mucus twisted into his beard as long as it helped him speed across the water. The triangular sail, all that was left of his canvas tent, snapped in the wind. Ivan hoped that the sail and makeshift runner would hold as he skittered across the ice. Memories of the wolves, Sköll and Hati, haunted Ivan. The slaughter they induced yipped at Ivan like an open wound he couldn't stop picking. Prince Birger and the men he had commanded -- including Ivan -- hadn't been a match for the speed and ferocity of Fenrir's spawn. The sail must hold. If Ivan failed, the Prince's sacrifice would have been in vain.

Ivan's sword cut through the thin layer of snow and bit into the ice so that it allowed Ivan to skate back to the castle almost as fast as the wind despite his tacking back and forth. The wind brought with it the victorious howls of the wolves. Ivan did not dare to look back. The howls grew louder. Ivan prayed to Sól and felt her warm breath upon his shoulders as her wind almost yanked the sail out of his frozen fingers. He flew before the wind, whose force worried the torn edges of the canvas. Hold out. Just two more islands.

One more island.

A pain ripped through Ivan and he was twisted forward as Sköll's jaws locked onto a forearm. The board of Ivan's craft tottered as Ivan was pulled off balance. He struggled to keep one arm holding the sail. Ivan lifted his legs and kicked forward and felt the sinew of his arm tear. He was free. He sailed into the harbor as men stationed on towers fired arrows at the two wolves. The wolves turned and climbed the pale stone towers to chase after the bowmen. The distraction gave Ivan enough time to crash against the shore at the foot of the castle. The guards looked at Ivan like he was crazy as he ran bow-legged towards the castle calling for the King.

His mission would be successful. But, did they have enough time to prepare for the wolves who were already in the harbor?

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