So far we’ve had tales from Ragaris, stories from Siren and short narratives from Stickleback Hollow. So today, on the 5th day of Advent, we at Mightier Than the Sword UK are pleased to bring you something from a time long past and from a distant land.
Yes, we’re talking about the shores of Denmark back when Viking tribes roamed the land and a small band of Children set out to find the arm rings of Yngvar. If you’re unfamiliar with what we are talking about, we are of course discussing the Children of Ribe series by C.S. Woolley.
Yes, though the Viking Saga for children doesn’t contain any Christmas celebration (the Vikings not being Christian and all) there are four tales that C.S. Woolley has prepared for us that deal with the first snow fall of winter from the perspective of the children on their quest, the people in the town of Ribe that is under siege, those laying siege to Ribe and the guardians of the arm rings of Yngvar. These tales have been written to eliminate as many spoilers as possible, however, as they take place at the end of Book 4 (DOUBT), there are some that are unavoidable.
This is the first of the four tales and they are delightful little stories that can be read to children, especially those who are excited about it snowing at Christmas.
The First Snow of Winter
The children were sat huddled around the small fire that Riki had built. The darkness was closing in around them and the cold had caused all their spirits to dip. War hadn’t come to the shores of Skåne, but none of the children could keep the siege at Ribe from their minds.
Eva was sat with Wifrith curled up at her feet. Even the wolf seemed to feeling the cold in the air. He whined and shivered, despite the heat from the fire. The warrior maiden thought about her parents back in Ribe. They had raised her as a warrior, trained her because they knew that she was destined to search for the arm rings of Yngvar. She had been miserable growing up because all the other children in Ribe made fun of her for training to fight. The old ways were changing and the tribes needed fighters to protect the villages from bandits, not warriors to fight tribe wars. Her parents were both warriors, some of the last to take the trials of their ancestors, though Eva hoped that one day that she would get the opportunity to take them.
Christian was sat beside Eva, both of his arms wrapped around his chest to try and keep out the cold. Opposite him sat his brother Riki and his sisters, Camila and Beatrix. The three of them were huddled together to keep out the cold and had fallen asleep. Oleg and Joas, the two men from Hedeby were somewhere in the darkness, they had chosen to take the first watch over the camp to make sure that everyone stayed safe throughout the night.
Erland was lying on the other side of Christian and was snoring so loud that Christian was sure that anyone thinking about attacking them would be frightened off by the noise. Christian was glad that his siblings were so close, somewhere that he could protect them against the dangers that searching for the arm rings of Yngvar presented. His best friend seemed unconcerned about his family on the outside, but Erland had been quieter than usual since the news of the siege of Ribe had been brought to them.
Erland was an only child, just like Eva, and his parents were warriors in Ribe. They had taken the trials with Eva’s parents and he knew that they would be the ones fighting in the worst of the battles that were to take place around Ribe. But it wasn’t just his parents that his worried about. His grandfather, Pav, was one of the elders of Ribe and he had once set out with his friends to find the arm rings of Yngvar, though they had been unsuccessful. If it came to the defence of his home, Erland knew that Pav would gladly give up his life to protect those he had spent his life leading.
Pieter was sat hugging his knees on the other side of Eva. He had been sent away from Ribe to search for the arm rings once the siege had begun and felt that he should be serving with the rest of the warriors in the town – by defending it. He was wracked with guilt and the cold was only helping to deepen the melancholy that he felt.
Dalla was the final member of the company. She was using a stick to draw patterns in the dirt and frost in front of her, using the light from the fire to see by. It was Dalla’s way of keeping her hands from wringing with worry about her grandparents. Her parents had died and she had been sent to live with her grandparents in Ribe. She had barely been there a few days before she had set out on the quest to find the arm rings.
There seemed little to be cheerful about as the ten children and wolf spent their first night on the shores of Skåne.
“Hey look!” Christian said as he noticed something white fall to the ground.
“What is it?” Riki mumbled as he stirred in his sleep.
“It’s snowing.” Eva said quietly.
“It’s snowing!” Christian cried waking up Erland, Camila and Beatrix.
“What did you say?” Erland asked grumpily.
“It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” Eva shouted with glee. Erland, Riki, Christian, Eva, Wifrith, Camila and Beatrix were all on their feet in a moment, clamping their hands and dancing around the fire as the snow fell.
“I don’t understand. Why are you all so happy?” Dalla looked at her friends as though they were all crazy.
“Because snow falling here means it has already snowed in Ribe.” Oleg grinned as he and Joas came out of the darkness.
“Snow in Ribe means that there will be no fighting until the spring. Winter is here and we’ve got until the spring thaw to find the arm rings and bring an end to this war before they can start fighting again.” Joas explained.
“We have time to get the other arm rings?” Dalla asked brightly.
“Yes, and more importantly, we now have hope.” Joas replied.
More about the Children of Ribe
A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.