We’re moving back to Viking Denmark today for another extract from the Children of Ribe series with book 4, DOUBT. The series has been written to not only open up the world of Norse magic and myth for children, but also to help encourage children with dyslexia to read.
DOUBT: An extract
Pieter didn’t like travelling on ships. He got seasick after a few minutes on rafts, let alone in ships that crossed the Kattegat. Camila and Beatrix didn’t seem to be at all phased by travelling across the sea, even when the waves came over the side of the ship.
When land was sighted, Pieter was so relieved that he momentarily forgot his sickness; that is until he tried to stand.
“Pieter! It’s them! Look!” Camila shouted excitedly as the ship drew close enough to the shores of Fyn so that both Camila and Beatrix could see their brothers and friends stood beside the sea, almost as if they were waiting for them.
“It can’t be.” Pieter murmured as he stumbled across the deck, his hand clamped over his mouth.
“But it is! Look, Wifrith is there too!” Beatrix was just as excited as Camila.
“Who are the two men with them?” Camila asked her sister.
“I don’t know; they look familiar for some reason.” Beatrix said, scratching her head.
“They are some of the men from Hedeby that attacked Eva, Christian and Erland in Ribe.” Pieter said as he wretched over the side of the ship.
The captain brought his ship up on the shore and his sailors jumped over the side, rushing over to where the group of children stood.
“Where is the witch?” one of the sailors demanded.
“Which witch?” Erland asked.
“There’s more than one on this island?” another sailor asked, looking slightly worried.
“There are three.” Eva replied dryly.
“We’re looking for the witch that gave us gold to bring her here with some warriors from the south.” the first sailor replied. Christian, Eva, Oleg and Joas drew their swords and levelled them at the sailors.
“Why are you looking for her?” Riki asked. Wifrith was stood next to the young boy, but he wasn’t growling.
“The gold was enchanted. When we looked at it on the mainland it had all turned back to charcoal.” the second sailor grunted. The four warriors amongst the children lowered their swords and put them away.
“We don’t know where she is, but we want to talk to your captain.” Dalla said. The sailors looked at each other and nodded to those on-board that it was safe to disembark. The captain came over the side of the ship next whilst the other sailors helped Pieter, Camila and Beatrix to come ashore.
“Beatrix! Camila!” Riki shouted as he recognised his sisters getting off the ship. The boy ran forward with Wifrith beside him to greet the two girls.
“You know when Fjori said that there were three missing from our party, your sisters are the last people I would have thought she was talking about.” Erland whispered to Christian.
“Who are they?” Joas asked as he watched the two newly arrived girls with interest.
“They are Christian and Riki’s sisters.” Eva said with a warning note to her voice.
“They aren’t warriors like you, why are they here?” Oleg asked.
“I have no idea.” Eva shrugged.
Pieter struggled to disembark from the ship, even when he was on the land he still needed to sit for a few moments to recover before he could stand up again.
“Who is that mess?” Joas laughed as he saw Pieter sat by the sea with his head between his knees.
“My cousin, Pieter.” Eva replied shortly.
“Is he a warrior?” Oleg asked.
“Yes, he used to train with me.” Eva replied.
“Then why is he in such a bad state?” Joas was still laughing.
“He isn’t very good with boats.” Christian said with a broad smile.
“So these are the three that we have been missing from our party?” Dalla frowned.
“Two girls that don’t know anything about fighting and a boy who gets sea sick.” Erland shook his head as he spoke.
“Before you are too hard on Camila and Beatrix, none of you could fight before I trained you.” Eva reminded Erland and went to join Riki and Wifrith.
“Do you think they’ll survive training with Eva?” Erland asked his best friend. Christian responded with a broad grin, a supressed laugh and a shrug, before he followed his girlfriend.
“Captain!” Dalla called, and beckoned for the ship’s captain to come over.
“My sailors tell me the witch we are looking for isn’t here. What is it that you want?” the captain asked.
“We want you to take us all to Skåne. We have seven jars of mead to exchange for passage. If you are looking for the witch, she is looking for us. Wherever we go, she is sure to follow.” Erland replied.
“Mead? Let me taste it.” the captain said as he held out his hand for one of the jars. Oleg handed the captain the jar he was carrying. The captain opened it and took a swig out of it.
“Will you take us to Skåne?” Joas asked.
“For this mead, I’d take you to the end of the world,” the captain replied with a grin on his face, “is there anywhere that we can get water and food for the journey?” he asked.
“There’s water and some food that can be foraged, but the island doesn’t have much.” Oleg replied.
“Can you show my boys where it all is? Then as soon as we’ve restocked, we can be on the way.” the captain said.
“Oleg and I will show them,” Erland answered, “Dalla, you should take Joas and introduce him to the others.”
Dalla nodded and Joas followed her over to where Camila and Beatrix were hugging their brothers and Eva was sat by her cousin waiting for him to be well enough to talk.
“Dalla!” Beatrix squealed as she saw the young spell caster and rushed over to hug her. Dalla found it odd that Beatrix was being so friendly. They had never spoken in the village, Dalla hadn’t been there long enough for them to talk, let alone become friends.
“Don’t worry; she’s like that with everyone.” Riki beamed. He was clearly thrilled to have his sisters there as well as his older brother.
“Oh we’ve missed you both so much!” Camila said as she threw her arms around Riki for the fourth time.
“How are things in Ribe?” Christian asked as Eva led Pieter over to where the Anderson siblings stood.
“Bad. The warriors from Hedeby and Schleswig have marched on the town. Everyone is ready for war, they are defending the town. The elders sent us out after the first attacks on the south side of the town.” Pieter replied with a snarl in the direction of Joas.
“It wasn’t Joas that attacked Ribe.” Christian defended their new ally.
“I beg to differ. He was the one that led the warriors to attack the town to kill all of you.” Pieter growled in reply.
“You’re right, I did. I was doing what I was ordered to do as a warrior of my people. I was told it was to protect my home from the children of Ribe who were trying to find the arm rings to start the tribe wars again.” Joas spat back.
“And yet your people are the ones attacking us.” Pieter replied tartly.
“Enough bickering,” Eva said sternly, “Joas and Oleg chased us up to Lindholm and then down to Fyn. They have been trying to kill us since we first met them in Ribe, if anyone has a right to be angry with them – it’s us. They are not our enemies, they are working against Viggo.” she continued. Pieter stared at his cousin, not quite sure what to say.
Beatrix was stood next to Dalla, but she wasn’t listening to what the others were saying. She could hear the faint sound of singing coming from somewhere nearby.
“Beatrix, are you all right?” Christian asked, breaking her concentration on the far off music.
“Yes, I’m fine.” Beatrix smiled. The singing had stopped. She shook her head and watched as the captain gathered up the jars of mead and helped the children load the belongings and the ponies onto the ship.
“What is going on?” Pieter asked with concern.
“We’re taking the ship to Skåne.” Riki replied.
“Why can’t we stay here? We’ve only just arrived.” Pieter replied.
“The next arm ring is on Skåne. We need to get there as fast as we can. Fjori the völva told us where we can find it and that you would be arriving here.” Christian said with an edge to his voice.
“So you were here waiting for us!” Camila clapped her hands with delight.
“Yes, we should help the captain. The sooner we get everything loaded onto the ship, the sooner we can leave.” Eva said flatly.
“What’s wrong with Eva?” Joas mumbled to Christian.
“I don’t think she’s thrilled to have Pieter here.” Christian replied in a quiet voice.
“He’s her cousin though.” Joas frowned.
“Yes, and the only other warrior in Ribe who isn’t a married adult.” Christian replied.
“I see. What about your sisters? Are they married yet?” Joas asked lightly. Christian looked at Joas with a raised eyebrow, “I’m just asking.” Joas said defensively.
“They’re not married, Camila is seventeen and Beatrix is fifteen, does that answer any questions you have about them?” Christian asked with a wry smile.
“Yes, I was just curious as to why Pieter isn’t married to one of them.” Joas smiled.
“Because I would kill him before he married any woman that is important to me.” Christian replied dryly.
“You’re starting to sound like Eva.” Joas teased.
“In this case, that’s not a bad thing.” Christian sighed.
It didn’t take long for the sailors to return to the ship with Erland, Oleg, fresh water, berries foraged from the forest, packs of grass that had been cut for the ponies and eels that had been caught from the river.
When the captain was satisfied that everything had been stored properly on the ship, and that there was enough food and water on-board for his passengers, the were ponies securely tied up next to the cargo and all their bags tied down so that they wouldn’t slide about the ship, he gave the order to set sail.
The children were put to work on the ship, Camila and Beatrix were taking care of the ponies, Pieter was stood leaning over the rail of the ship, and the others were helping the sailors with sailing the ship.
They were at sea for little more than an hour when Beatrix could hear the far off singing drifting to her over the roar of the waves.
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.