Hi, Everyone! Allene here. We’re going to try something special with book 8, assuming I don’t exhaust myself in the process. In an effort to get my rankings higher on TWF and RRL, I’m aiming to post two chapters/day for the next two weeks (so, 28 chapters in 2 weeks, or what will probably be most of the book), and then go straight into book 9 when it’s done. Wish me luck!

The last time Einarr had been in Eskiborg, he had compared it in size and hustle to Kem. He now thought that might be underselling Eskiborg somewhat. Not only was it a warm water port, at least as the Clans reckoned such matters, it was a major shipbuilding port, and one where longships and knarr far outnumbered the dromon favored by the Coneheads.*

On the first night, they took beds at the Bronze Archer and split up to canvas the docks – Naudrek with Hrug, Eydri with Einarr. In all that bounty, among all those ships, Einarr was certain they could find berths for the four of them. He had not anticipated, however, the difficulty in finding a temporary berth for a Singer – did not, in fact, fully grasp it until no fewer than four captains asked if she was Einarr’s lover.

He was more than a little taken aback by the assumption, in fact, and it did not take long for worry to begin nibbling away at his brain: was Runa going to make that same assumption?

“It’s a matter of protection,” Eydri finally explained. “We run into similar issues as apprentices, actually.”

“You… do.” Einarr’s spirits drooped. Mentally, he began totting up their resources once more. “If you’re saying we should try to buy a boat, tell me now. The longer we wait, the harder it will be.”

She shook her head. “It will be tricky, but not impossible. Most sailors know better than to assault a Singer, even an apprentice one, but no captain wants to risk one of his men turning out to be that idiot. So they want me to be under someone’s protection. And if I’m your paramour, that makes it even less likely for someone to get drunk and do something truly stupid.”

“I…” Einarr thought about it: he knew that his father had always married their Singers, right up until Reki, but there had never been any doubt in his mind why. Now he wondered. “But Father is the only Captain I know who is typically married to his Battle Chanter.”

Eydri frowned at him, then smirked. “Somehow, I suspect that has more to do with your father. At any rate, you will need to give assurances that I am under your protection, and that you can enforce as much. …Perhaps it would be best if we had not split up.”

Einarr thought it over a moment, but shook his head. “Tomorrow, if Naudrek has not found something, we will all four go together. But I suspect if we try to find them now we will waste the rest of the day.”

On the second day in Eskiborg, they also returned to their beds empty-handed, their spirits low. It seemed that those who were sailing in the right direction were more than a little spooked by the idea of taking on both an “unprotected” Singer (despite the presence of not one but three companions) and a male sorceror.

“If we find nothing tomorrow, I will check what might be for sale. With a fishing skiff, the four of us can manage.” With a fishing skiff and a little luck, anyway.

“I thought you said you couldn’t afford one?”

“Not properly, no. But if we can find one that doesn’t take on too much water, and the three of you can pitch in for water barrels and fishing gear, I can honestly say I’ve sailed in worse.”

The other three shared a look, then Hrug shook his head and tapped at the tabletop. The rattle of runesticks followed, but instead of casting them down he began to lay them carefully. Will… Not… Need he spelled out.

“You’ve seen something?”

He hesitated, then nodded.

Remembering the divination Melja had worked that led him to these two in the first place, Einarr sat forward eagerly. “What should I look for?”

Hrug looked to Naudrek, who nodded. “After that first day, when we split up, he did his thing. We need a ship with a stag’s head on the prow.”

“A stag.” Not like that was a common ornament at all. He could think of six he’d seen just that afternoon.

Hrug grunted affirmative, and Naudrek continued. “The sail of the ship is blue and yellow striped, and there was a red-headed man with neat braids in his hair and beard. We think he’s the captain.”

“And according to the vision, this ship will have us?”

“I think so. Hrug says so, anyway, and he’s the expert on these sorts of things.”

“Good enough for me.”


Einarr kept his impatience in check over the third day’s fruitless search, albeit with difficulty. Afternoon was waning on their fourth day of searching when a longship slipped into the harbor, sleek and abviously built for speed. The blue-and-gold sail told Einarr their goal had arrived.

As the ship drew up to the dock, Einarr came close enough to note their berth and confirm what he thought to be true: the figurehead was an ornate stag’s head, carved to look as though water ran down the antlers. Einarr nodded, then slipped back into the crowd. He knew well enough that their captain was unlikely to have time for new sailors before morning.

That night, while the four of them sat at table at the Bronze Archer, Einarr laid out their plan for the morning. “Get a good night’s sleep. We’ll breakfast at a normal hour, but then head straight for the docks. We want to arrive a little before mid-morning, I think. Hrug, how ‘neat’ did this captain look?”

The tongueless man sighed and glanced at Naudrek. Sooner or later Einarr would learn to actually communicate with him, but Elder Melja had kept them both far too busy over the winter.

“You might call him fastidious,” Naudrek answered after conferring with his old friend for a moment.

Einarr nodded. “In that case, make sure you come to breakfast bathed and tidy. Just because the divination said we can get berths doesn’t mean we should take them for granted.”


* Conehead: An inhabitant of the Konneul Empire, which occupies the best land and warmest water in this world.


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Hi everyone. Thanks for reading! 

If you like what you read, it would really mean a lot to me if you clicked through to Top Web Fiction and voted for Einarr there. It’s a visibility boost in the ever-growing genre of web fiction, and that helps me out a lot. There’s no sign-up, and votes refresh every 7 days.

If you’re all caught up and looking for something a little longer to read, I also have other works available on Amazon.Or, if you happen to not like Amazon you can also get the Einarr ebook through Draft2Digital, B&N, Apple, Kobo… you get the idea. Direct links are available here.

Lastly, if you really like what I’m doing, I also have a Patreon account running with some fun bonuses available.

Hi, Everyone! Allene here. We’re going to try something special with book 8, assuming I don’t exhaust myself in the process. In an effort to get my rankings higher on TWF and RRL, I’m aiming to post two chapters/day for the next two weeks (so, 28 chapters in 2 weeks, or what will probably be most of the book), and then go straight into book 9 when it’s done. Wish me luck!

The winter’s ice was not so thick around the Shrouded Village, and while he was never short of work to do Einarr found that the winter passed quickly – dare he say, even pleasantly. Almost before he realized it the first day of Spring arrived.

Naudrek had made himself useful about the village as he could over the winter, but showed neither interest nor aptitude with the runes. For that reason he spent far more time than he liked with nothing to do save spar with Einarr.

Hrug, on the other hand, saw for himself a way to reclaim his life in the study of runes and threw himself at it with gusto. Einarr could hardly blame the man, although it stung a bit that Hrug seemed to be the better student. Still, no matter. ‘Ystäva’ was expected on the equinox, and Einarr had made his preparations to leave with Naudrek, Hrug, and Eydri, the Singer who had wintered in Eskiborg in reliance on his own assurances.

The day of the equinox was unseasonably stormy and cold, and Melja’s mood grew as foul as the weather as the day stretched on.

Noon passed, and then midafternoon. As the day waned to evening, Melja called the four of them aside.

“It is as I feared. Something has rendered the High Roads impassable, or he would already be here.”

Einarr let loose a low growl of frustration. “So now what do we do?”

Melja drew himself up to his full height. “There is much you could yet learn, if you were willing to stay and wait on the High Road to stabilize…” Here he paused, gauging Einarr’s reaction. “But you have been anxious to return to your crew for half the winter at least, and there is no telling how long the Roads will be unusable.”

Einarr nodded. “I don’t wish to seem ungrateful, of course, but a part of me fears I have already tarried too long.”

“Then I suggest you get yourselves a boat. You’ve the start of a good crew here, if a little unorthodox. You should be able to make your way north to Kjell, at the very least.”

Einarr ran over the options in his head before answering. “I can’t afford the sort of boat we’d need,” he admitted. A little skiff like the Gufuskalam would do it, but he suspected even that would run too high. “Which means we need to find ourselves berths with someone headed that way.”

He glanced around at his newfound companions. Eydri was a Singer: she would be easy. He and Naudrek were a pair of good sword-arms: that also shouldn’t be an issue. But then there was Hrug…

“All right, everyone. How do we sell a superstitious Captain on taking along a new-minted Runemage?”

Eydri cleared her throat. “Two new-minted Runemages, I believe you mean.”

“I don’t have to be anything more than a swordsman for whatever berth we find. Honestly, I’d prefer that. Fewer questions to answer. But for all his valor and skill as a sailor, Hrug is a one-armed mute. I’ve never met a Captain who would take a warrior or an oarsmen in that condition. Sorry, Hrug.”

The man in question gave a grunt and a shrug, which Einarr took to mean he wasn’t bothered.

“But just because he can’t fight physically doesn’t mean he’s not valuable to the right crew. Especially since he’s a fair sight better with the runes than I will probably ever be. But we need the right Captain and the right crew, or there will be no end of trouble.” There was a certain strain of thinking among some of the Clans that made magic use out to be unmanly. Ending up on board a ship with someone like last fall’s thief, for example, could be disastrous.

“You’re pretty good with divinations, right?” Naudrek nudged his friend’s arm. “Imagine it’d get boring, but you’d be the best weathercock a ship could ask for.”

Hrug made a face, but nodded agreement.

“Good. Actually, that is an excellent idea, Naudrek. Let’s plan on starting there, and then if the Captain needs further convincing we can mention that Rune magic can do more than just predict the weather, if necessary.”

Melja cleared his throat at that. “Be very careful with that. Changing the weather can lead to… unfortunate and unexpected consequences that might not be immediately obvious.”

Hrug nodded impatiently, as though this were a lecture he’d had more than once. Well, that would hardly be surprising. Melja was nothing if not thorough.

“Of course,” Einarr said for his own part, even though he had not had that lecture drummed into his skull. “But the ability to raise the wind or quiet a wave is one I think every seaman has dreamed of, at some point or another. Being able to offer that to a Captain, even if only in extremity, is valuable.”

Melja grunted, not apparently satisfied but willing to leave it at that.

“Are we decided, then?” Nods of assent traveled around the little circle. “Good. Eydri, when you left, what sort of ships were in port?”


The four set out for Eskiborg from the Shrouded Village the next morning, if not precisely in good cheer then in high spirits to be moving again. Not one of them was accustomed to long stretches in the same place, so the prospect of movement appealed to all of them.

The weather had improved from the day before, somewhat; the storm had passed, at least, although the air was still unusually chill for this far south. Einarr breathed deeply of the newly-cleaned air as he passed the last farmhouse of the Village. The forest stretched out ahead of him to all sides, the trees seeming to line themselves up into rows upon rows of good timber. With a nod, he set off again, and the scrape of his boots on the ground was one of the most satisfying sounds he had heard in what felt like a very long time.


Vote for Vikings on Top Web Fiction!

Table of Contents


Hi everyone. Thanks for reading! 

If you like what you read, it would really mean a lot to me if you clicked through to Top Web Fiction and voted for Einarr there. It’s a visibility boost in the ever-growing genre of web fiction, and that helps me out a lot. There’s no sign-up, and votes refresh every 7 days.

If you’re all caught up and looking for something a little longer to read, I also have other works available on Amazon.Or, if you happen to not like Amazon you can also get the Einarr ebook through Draft2Digital, B&N, Apple, Kobo… you get the idea. Direct links are available here.

Lastly, if you really like what I’m doing, I also have a Patreon account running with some fun bonuses available.

After wintering with the Runemaster alfs of the Shrouded Village, Einarr is finally deemed ‘safe’ to leave the village and rejoin the Vidofnir. But the elven High Roads have become unstable, so he has to find another way back with his new friends. And then one of the Order of the Valkyrie picks up their trail…