I wait as wind chafes my cheeks blue and cold waters lap around my feet. High above, a skein of geese carve chevrons through slate skies as they wend south to warmer realms, their distant calls forlorn and remote.
He comes… A small skiff. Him rowing, a shaggy figure clad in steel and fur. I loosen Wyrmfang, (my waraxe) hanging from my belt and strap the helmet secure with the leather clasp under my chin. It is time…
Holmgang. The northern way of settling things. I’m Barin of Valkador and he is Corvalian of Leeth, cousin to my preferred enemy. But unlike that cowered, Corvalian answered my challenge.
I wait alone on the wind-icy skerry — an island, tiny, treeless and suitable for our purpose. Only one of us will leave it alive. Only one feast in the great hall tonight. Corvalian’s craft scrapes shingle and he leaps free, his fur capped boots soaked by the brine.
He is armed with spear, axe and knife, and big round shield. But sports no helmet — the fool. He laughs, runs towards me and hurls the spear. I smile, side step with accustomed calm, the axe now gripped in my hands. My only weapon, but it’s enough. I am Barin of Valkador.
I slice cold air with steel splitting the hurled shaft in two. He yells, tosses the knife. I duck as it sails over my head. It is my turn to laugh. Angry, he picks up his pace and races toward me. He is young, strong and axe cunning. That doesn’t save him.
I wipe the blood from Wyrmfang’s twin blades and kick my enemy’s head into the ocean. Evening falls and skies lower with promise of fresh snow. I need to get back to the hall, I’ve a thirst for ale and a hunger for my woman. Today has been a good day. I am Barin of Valkador. Remember my name!
Above is an excerpt from Barin’s own hand written on one of his early voyages long before he met Corin, telling of his rise to power in Valkador. To hear more from Barin and meet the rest of the cast keep reading here. Fancy a deeper look? Books 1&2 are now on offer for $0.99 only. Here’s a link to the first one!