The Viking (Chapter III, page 2 of 12)


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Kannak wore her long, auburn hair in a loose braid down the middle of her back and for this occasion, she looked as best she could in her woolen, ankle-length, unbelted frock. It was a pale gray with wide sleeves and since it was such a special occasion, she also wore a long under shirt of soft linen. The under garment was a gift from her uncle who lived in the far north. Her shoes were clean, her face scrubbed and she guessed that would have to be enough to attract a husband.

She considered herself to be exceptionally strong of heart and mind, but as she turned her horse and rode away, a sickness stirred in her stomach. She was, after all, but thirteen years of age and had not considered taking a husband so soon. Her mother's description of how children were conceived served to increase her anxiety and that too she wanted desperately to consider later.

But she simply could think of no other way. It was spring and their small plot of land needed more tending than two women could manage. Even if they could manage alone, they could not grow enough extra grain, barley or peas to trade for necessities such as salt, tools and weapons.

It was of weapons they were most concerned. Her father had taken them all when he left, except for a long bow neither of them was strong enough to draw. Her father normally bartered their cheese, milk and eggs for what they needed. But such small offerings were not enough to gain the gold and silver coins with which to pay the smithy for sound weapons. Therefore, Kannak needed a husband. Only a husband who brought his own weapons to the marriage could protect them.

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