It’s getting ever close to Christmas and today we are back in Viking Denmark for another short tale about the snow in Ribe. If you enjoy this take and the other short story from the Children of Ribe universe, there are some discounted book gift sets that include digital and paperback copies of the books and A3 posters that make ideal gifts for children and adults who haven’t grown up yet, available exclusively from our Etsy Store.
First Snow Fall in Ribe
The mead hall in Ribe was full of men, women and children. The sound of laughter and celebrating echoed out of the town and out across the lands beyond. Pav stood on the wall that they had built around the town to defend against the invading armies from Hedeby and Schleswig. The lights from their campfires dotted the landscape, glowing in the dark of the night and giving the old warrior and unsettled feeling in his stomach.
The snow had fallen and driven back the armies to the shelter of forests that surrounded the town. The animals had all been driven out and the snow had made it virtually impossible for the army to forage for anything in the forest. There were other dangers that lurked in the trees like trolls, wolves and bandits. If the armies of Hedeby and Schleswig were foolish enough to remain in the woods during the winter they wouldn’t be in any state to assault the town in force come the first thaw of spring.
“Any signs of movement out there?” Kaleb asked as he joined his father on the wall.
“No, everything is quiet, just as you’d expect. No one is stupid enough to try and launch an attack against these walls when the snow is knee deep.” Pav replied gruffly.
“How many fires have you counted?” Kaleb asked as he warmed his hands in the bracer that stood beside him.
“Too many to count, rising smoke from denser parts of the forest too. Impossible to know how many warriors they’ve got there,” Pav sighed, “how are the preparations going?”
“Well, Axel and Frigg have the fires burning hot enough to keep me forging from now until Ragnarok.” Kaleb said with a grim expression of his face.
“There were plenty of blades left on the corpses now covered by snow.” Pav shook his head sadly.
“The cost of war we pay in the lives of the young. You told me that when I was begging you to tell me heroic stories from the tribe wars.” Kaleb said patting his father on the shoulder.
“All those lives lost because Viggo has lost his mind and now calls himself king.”
“We’ve loaded the bodies into the boats and they are ready to burn – children of Ribe, Hedeby and Schleswig alike.” Kaleb tried to console his father.
“We’ll sing songs of this day for generations to come, of the madness of ‘King’ Viggo and how the first snow of winter held him here and broke the spirit of his army.” Pav said.
“You don’t think he’ll retreat?” Kaleb frowned.
“No, his queen is here and all those that would consider themselves elders of both Hedeby and Schleswig. None of them have the wisdom or experience in war that would tell them returning home until the spring thaw is the only sensible thing to do. They’ll be starving in a few weeks, and those that don’t starve will fall prey to the wolves.” Pav growled.
“At least with their attention focused on us, the children have a better chance.” Kaleb sighed and looked up at the sky. There wasn’t a single star to be seen, so think was the cloud.
“It’ll snow again soon. I hope they’re keeping themselves warm.” Pav smiled to himself.
“Erland knows how to keep a fire burning, even in the heaviest rain. They’ll be warm enough.” Kaleb closed his eyes and tried to not think about passing the whole winter without any word of how his son fared.
“They were meant to search for the arm rings, just as we were meant to stand on this wall and hold back the tides of war.” Pav said warmly.
“Then we must all do what the gods have put before us and trust that when the spring thaw comes, our children will be home again.” Frigg said as she joined her husband and her father-in-law on the wall.
“Brave the cold of winter’s nights, bear our heavy hearts on high, for the sun will shine once more when spring is here again.” Pav recited and turned his attention to the blazing glow of the hundreds of fires that sprinkled the dark, snow covered lands of Ribe.
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.