Christmas is over and all the supermarkets in Great Britain seem convinced that it’s already Easter, but we’re not quite done with our Christmas giving. Today we are bringing you the opening to WAR, book 2 in the Children of Ribe by C.S. Woolley. The Children of Ribe is a book a modern fairytale and Viking saga for children.
WAR: an extract
“Where are we?” Riki Andersen frowned as he looked around. The last thing he remembered, he had been scrambling to pick up his sword. He had dropped it when he tried to draw it from its scabbard. The warriors of Hedeby had found them on the headland opposite Lindholm.
“I don’t know.” Eva Axeldatter replied. She had been the only one of the children who was ready to fight the advancing warriors. Her pet wolf, Wifrith, was sat next to his mistress. The danger that had threatened her was gone. The wolf didn’t care where they were now, only that Eva was safe.
“You are on the island of Fyn.” a female voice said. Eva and Riki turned round. Behind them were stood Dalla Ingeborgsdotter, Christian Andersen, Erland Kalebsen and a woman that neither of them had seen before.
She wasn’t a normal woman, she looked like a spirit. She was stood next to Erland, though neither Erland nor Christian seemed surprised to see her. Eva wondered if she was a threat, but Wifrith wasn’t growling.
“Aldís,” Erland said, “why are you here?” he asked.
“I am the guardian of the arm ring of Yngvar, now that you have found the arm ring, I will be there to protect you wherever you go.” Aldís replied.
“You transported us to Fyn?” Christian asked.
“I did. I can only protect you when Erland is wearing the arm ring though. If he hadn’t put it on before the warriors reached you, I wouldn’t have been able to transport you to safety.” Aldís said.
“Why did you bring us to the island of Fyn?” Dalla asked.
“Because it is the furthest away from the warriors of Hedeby I could carry you, your ponies and all of your belongings,” Aldís replied, “you should rest for the night.” The spirit said before she disappeared.
“An unusual day we’re having.” Christian said under his breath.
Riki set to work looking for wood so that Christian could build a fire. Christian and Erland were both still wet and cold after swimming the strait between the headland and Lindholm to find the arm ring. The two boys were checking the ponies, the warm bodies of the ponies helping to keep the two warm until the fire was built.
“We should put up the tent.” Eva said. The tent they had made to camp in the woods to the east of Viborg had been saved and packed onto the back of Riki’s pony. It didn’t take the two girls long to put it together.
Erland and Christian went inside the tent to change out of their wet clothes. Eva sat down with Dalla as they went through the food supplies they had.
“When did you learn how to do magic?” Eva asked quietly.
“Ciara taught me.” Dalla replied. She didn’t look at Eva as she spoke.
“Is that why we were kidnapped?” Eva asked, chewing on her bottom lip.
“Yes.” Dalla said meekly.
“When were you going to tell us?” Eva asked calmly.
“I don’t know. I was hoping you wouldn’t find out. I didn’t want you all to be angry with me.” Dalla was close to tears.
Eva didn’t say a word. She stood up and went to help Riki with the fire. Dalla sat looking miserable. Wifrith lay close beside her, his watchful eyes fixed on the food.
Erland and Christian felt much better when they had changed into dry clothes. Erland was wearing his arm ring proudly as he stepped out of the tent. He was carrying the wet clothes. Riki and Eva had lit the fire and gone in search of water.
“All alone?” Erland asked Dalla as he laid out the clothes so that they would dry by the fire.
“Wifrith is here.” Dalla replied.
“Where are Riki and Eva?” Erland asked.
“They went to get water, I think. They didn’t tell me.” Dalla shrugged.
“Oh.” Erland said. He felt a little uncomfortable talking to Dalla. He found it hard to talk to girls at the best of times. They liked him a lot, but he was always tongue tied. Dalla was even more of a problem to talk to. She swung between being very happy and very sad and always seemed to have a faraway look in her eyes.
“We should make a pen for the ponies.” Dalla said, breaking the awkward silence.
“Good idea!” Erland said enthusiastically. He waited for Dalla to put away the food and then the two set to work building a pony pen.
Christian had fallen asleep inside the tent. Wifrith padded in and flopped down beside the boy. The wolf knew that Christian was important to his mistress, so he guarded him whilst he slept.
“Are you angry with Dalla?” Riki asked Eva. The two were looking for any signs of a river close by.
“Yes.” Eva said shortly.
“Why?” Riki asked.
“She learned magic from the witch that held us prisoner.” Eva said with a frown.
“She was a prisoner too. Ciara put her under a spell.” Riki replied.
“Don’t say her name.” Eva’s eyes flared as she spoke.
“Why not?” Riki asked.
“When you say the name of evil things you give them more power.” Eva warned.
“Don’t say things like that!” Riki whined.
“It’s true; you’ve heard the old stories.” Eva said.
“But in the old stories saying the name doesn’t only give it more power. It calls the evil to you.” Riki shuddered as he spoke.
“Exactly. So don’t say her name.” Eva said pointedly.
“Okay. The witch it is,” Riki agreed, “but Dalla really was a prisoner too. I heard the witch casting spells over Dalla and I am sure the witch put potions in Dalla’s food too.”
“It doesn’t matter. Dalla put us all in danger.” Eva said stubbornly.
“What about you?” Riki asked.
“What do you mean, ‘what about you’?” Eva demanded.
“You got captured by that troll. You put us all in danger.” Riki asked innocently.
“That was different. We weren’t all prisoners of the troll.” Eva snapped.
“No, but Christian fought the troll to free you. We didn’t have to fight the witch, we just ran away.” Riki said.
“It’s not the same thing.” Eva refused to admit she was wrong.
“If you say so,” Riki shrugged, “hey, look over there, I can see a pond!”
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.