Aiya awoke with a start. The ship was rocking violently back and forth and men were moving about with shouts and orders.
“Thor være snill!” shouted Thrain, another clap of thunder sounded in the heavens.
“Just secure the ship, and hope Loki has not befallen us!” Shouted another in reply.
Aiya thought she wasn’t afraid of anything anymore, but the thought of a watery grave sent chills up her spine. Suddenly one of the ropes to the keel snapped, sending men flying; threatening to send the ship to the bottom of the ocean. Before she could think about it, she jumped up to grab the rope as it flew past. The strength of the pull was too much for her, it sent her soaring in the air; she did not let go of it, she wouldn’t.
She would hold on forever if she had to. Ragda saw Aiya being pulled by the rope and lunged forward to catch her, he caught her by the waist and pulled her back to the ground. Soon Dagr and Thrain were there to help pull the rope back and tie it off. The rain was hitting their faces so hard it felt like tiny rocks and with each violent shift of the boat, threatened to throw them off their feet and into the vicious water.
Aiya pulled the rope with all her might, she had to. She would not die this day. She had come too far.
She did not know who had grabbed her but she was grateful. When the rope was tied off she was able to see who had saved her, her heart fluttered when she saw it was Ragda.
Before she could think much of it, he once again grabbed her and took her below.
“Are you insane, fljóð? You could have been killed!” He shouted.
“What do you care?”
“Don’t get any ideas, I only saved you for my brother,”
“I was only doing what no one else would. You should be thanking me,”
“My men are doing a fine job, and know better what to do than you!”
She stopped for a moment, his words had thrown her, “Who’s your brother?”
“Dagr is my brother, you are his Eiga until he releases you, and I promise you, that you won’t be the same if he does,”
“What is that word you used? Eiga? What does it mean?”
He furrowed his brow at her, cocking his head, bewildered. “Um, own, I suppose. He owns you, that is what it means,”
“If he or anyone touches me, I can promise you, he won’t be a whole man after,”
Without warning he slammed her against the wall, pinning her wrists with his hands, and her body with his own, so she could not move.
“You attempt to harm my brother and I’ll slit your throat,” He warned, teeth clenched.
He stared at her a moment.
“Not until you apologize,” He said, a slight pout on his lips, his eyes were laughing at her again.
“I will not.” She answered. She didn’t want to look at him. At that moment, he moved closer to her, face to face, all she could think about was how close his lips were to hers.
“I don’t ask much of you, just an apology,”
She was shaking; she hoped he would not notice. She had the strangest feeling in her stomach as if she liked his touch, his closeness. “Forgive me, I apologize.” She managed to say without looking at him.
He released one wrist, but only to grab her face and force her lips to his. Her heart was sent racing, his kiss was forceful and intoxicating. She felt one of his hands begin to move to her body, then, as if she were fire he threw her from him to the ground.
“ðinn, redd meg!”
She glared at him, stunned by his sudden turn of temper.
“Go,” He told her.
When she did not move he yelled. “Go! Fararleyfi! ”
Never had she moved so fast, she didn’t even care that she was running straight into a storm. She had to get away from him.
The storm continued into the night.
The next morning dawned clear, and every day after that. She did not know how many days they had been at sea.
“We’re lost, the fog was too thick last night,” Thrain spoke. He and the other men sat at the oars, still and silent.
“Don’t let Ragda hear you say that,” another man whispered back.
The fog was so thick they could barely see each other.
“What are we going to do?” asked another man in a panic.
They were all watching Ragda. He was standing alone, looking out at the water. “We’re close,”
“How do you know Ragda, we could be miles off,” Spoke one of his men. “Perhaps, we will all die out here, and it will be all your fault,”
“Shut up, Anstein, you fool,” said Dagr.
“I see what’s happening here, you and your brother seek to kill us all and take all for yourselves!” Anstein shouted, Dagr stood up.
“That makes no sense, Anstein, they’re stuck here with us, now sit down,” Thrain pleaded, watching as Dagr moved closer to the man.
“The Gods have forsaken us! They wish to kill us all!” Anstein shouted again.
Ragda, who had been silent, stood up and removed his long knife from his belt; he walked over and inserted it into the man’s belly.
“Shh,” He said, as he held Anstein. He walked him over to the edge of the boat and threw him into the calm water.
“Anyone else?” He turned towards his men holding his knife loosely up in the air, no one spoke up. Dagr smiled fiendishly.
“Send out the raven,” He ordered, serenely.
As he stood there; waiting, he caught the horror on Aiya’s face. He started to approach her but saw his brother’s glare. He did not wish for a fight from him just now, so he turned away.
“What’s the bird for?”
He sighed, walking over to her. “If the bird does not return land is nearby,”
“And if the bird comes back?”
“Then we’re fucked,” He said with a mocking bow to her, she flinched at his crudeness.
“Dagr! Handle her,”
Dagr grabbed Aiya by the back of her neck and escorted her back to her spot on the cold, wet deck.
“Sit down and keep quiet, do not disobey me,”
Aiya could feel his breath on her, he didn’t pull away, instead, he took a deep breath, breathing in her scent.
He ran the back of two fingers down her cheek. “It would be a shame to mar such beautiful skin,” He whispered to her, she did not reply.
Aiya tucked her knees back into her chest and rested her chin on top of them, she was cold and stiff. She missed land and wanted to be with Noah again.
“Aiya…” A soft voice squeaked. She glanced in the direction the voice came from. “Annie!” She exclaimed.
Never did she think she would be happy to see her, but she was. “Are you alright?”
“No, I’m not alright. I’m cold and hungry,” Annie replied, hellishly. Aiya rolled her eyes at the girl, “We are all cold, and hungry Annie, I was simply curious if you were hurt,”
She remembered why she didn’t really care for the girl.
“Land! Land!” shouted Thrain.
All at once the men cheered and extolled Ragda. They had made it home, a successful raid it was. Ragda knew the Jarl would be pleased.
Aiya could see the shores of her new world, and despite fearing the unknown, she was excited.