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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When the Longships Came


They reached the line of breakers less than a half league before the following longships. Bjorne stood at the bow shouting commands while Kendra ignored the spray splashing across her body as she concentrated on the cliffs ahead. It was high tide and the breakers were crashing right beneath them. This was on the northern side of the peninsular for the Northumbrian knights and soldiers were still their maintaining the siege on the monastery from the southern beach. A few moments earlier the army had assembled on the shore waiting for battle.  Hav Slange’s sail was still bellowing in the wind, they were riding on the unbroken swirls but within seconds would be caught in the breaking waves and crashed against the cliffs.

Stein was the only person on an oar, an outside one that he used to help steer while Kendra and the other women except Cora held sail ropes in their hands. Though wanting to help, Cora was ordered to lie on the deck beneath the spare sail. She didn't though. Instead she sat near the cliff side of the vessel and helped guide them in. They were too close! The gigantic wave right behind was curling over the ship. In seconds it would break.

Kendra and the others pulled their ropes in a hand over hand movement to lift the bottom of the sail. It didn't look very professional but it folded up, lost the wind and collapsed in on itself. The vessel dropped with a tremendous crash into the wave ready to break.
But Steinn knew his job for his oar turned the whole ship. They were now in the precarious position of being sideways to the wave. If it broke now, they'd be swamped or flipped over and smashed to pieces against the cliff. They continued to turn when the wave finally broke. A mountain of water surged over the deck and swept everything not tied down or holding on into the thumping surf.

The cliff was beside them! Kendra could see the slip they had created when the sheep track was collapsed. The new tunnel Rodmaf had used when he had kidnapped her should be beside them. Kendra wiped water from her eyes.  It was! Also two men were there holding out long poles, My God it was Wuffa and Alric! She screamed and waved, reached for one of the poles and found a hook to grab. She held on but it was slippery. Her hands couldn't maintain a grip.

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