The face of the sun had just dipped below the western horizon when the peace that normally descends at day’s end was shattered by the guard’s horn wailing from the south tower. The signal was soon duplicated by the horn from the north guard tower as both combined to set up a frightful din, bringing the occupants of Halfdansfjord running from every quarter. People poured from the south gate onto the landing beach in response to the guard’s outstretched arm and shouts, “A ship rounds the headland! It is Steed of the Sea.”
Halfdan and Frida, in the forefront of the crowd swelling out along the beach caught sight of the ship between the two islands offshore of the landing beach as her mast top and sail swam into view through the ever-present haze. Her sail foot was pulled in close as she beat close around the headland.
Frida grabbed Halfdan’s arm, excitement flushing her beautiful face as she shouted above the din of the crowd. “Just look at her! She is a sight to behold!”
Halfdan’s arm encircled her shoulder and he pulled her close, his eyes drinking in the sight of his ship as Bjorn brought her about and she charged downwind on a broad reach for the landing beach. A flush coursed through his body at sight of the bow wave creaming out, the graceful prow slicing the water’s surface asunder as her speed rapidly increased on the downwind tack. “She has the bone in her teeth, just look at the white foam of the bow wave. Gorm has her hard on the wind.”
***Large snow flakes drifted lazily to earth from the grey, leaden clouds. The still air ensured an even accumulation over every surface. It all began three days hence with a cold wind from the northwest that brought increasing clouds and driving snow. With passage of this onslaught after the first day, the storm front pushed its way out over the broad bay to the south, a stillness gradually developed as the low clouds filled in, enfolding the settlement and the countryside in ice fog and steady snow.
Halfdan sat staring into the opaqueness from the shelter of one of the many sheds scattered about the settlement commons, where he often sought seclusion to commune with his thoughts. Dressed for the occasion, he wore the heavy bearskin parka that Frida had just this morning presented to him.
J. A. Hunsinger, Vinland Publishing, http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/
©2011 Jerry A. Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved