The Viking (Chapter 1, page 2 of 10)


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Humiliated indeed, but not enough to set aside his elation at being aboard, even when, none too gently, his father shoved him into a sitting position in the stern, warned him to stay there and took little notice of him for a long time after.

Stefan's father was named Donar after a Norse god of storms most no longer believed in. He had a square face with neatly trimmed facial hair and although his nose had obviously been broken more than once, it was straight and pointed, which all the woman agreed, made him exceedingly handsome. His long blond hair, sharp blue eyes, and height of nearly six and a half feet made him by far the strongest and the most mighty, which earned him the respect, if not the fear, of the other men.

As soon as his son was settled, Donor began barking orders. He needn't have bothered, for his men were well aware they were expected to be seated facing the stern on the narrow benches that lined both sides of the deck, holding their long oars straight up - which was exactly what they were doing.

It was a proud ship of oak wood carved upward at both the stern and the bow until it reached twice the height of the tallest man. The horn was carved into the fierce head of a dragon and faced outward to ward off sea monsters while the back represented the dragon's tail. Attached to each side of the ship's bow was the golden image of a fierce lion to ward off any animal dangers they might encounter on land.

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