The Viking (Chapter IV, page 2 of 10)


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But then he felt a foreboding and went back. He didn't expect it, but the horse was right where he left him and when he mounted not knowing where to go, he let the stallion take him back to the same spot where he watched his Vikings row away. On the shore were men holding torches and the bodies of several Vikings lay side by side in his father's abandoned ship. The remains had been carefully laid out on the deck, each surrounded by dry straw. Their arms were crossed over their chests, and a measure of cloth lay over their faces just as their own families would have done.

A priest appeared to be giving last rites as the Scots shoved the ship away from the shore. Then three Scotsmen tossed in their torches and set it on fire.

It was a fitting burial for his father and because of it, the anger he felt for the Scots who had taken his father's life began to subside. He wondered, if only for a moment, if the Norsemen would have been so considerate of men who came to murder and plunder in their land. He wondered too if the Vikings would carve a stone in his father's memory when they got home. Surely they would and someday he hoped to see it.

He raised his gaze to the horizon and tried to see if the ships were still there, waiting until after dark to land and look for him. But they were gone and then he remembered his father's words: "Yer mother made me promise not to let ye go to sea."

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