Waves lapped up against the beach, as the sun coloured the water orange, pink and yellow as it started to sink low on the horizon. Two long shadows blocked the last of the sun on the sand. At the end of each of them was a viking. They stood almost chest to chest, one hand the other’s hand. The larger of the two played with the pendant of the smaller one. She just stared at his movements with a far away look in her eyes. “You’ll come back right?” She couldn’t help her voice from sounding so weak, but she couldn’t help but feel her heart break. The red head stopped playing with the pendant and thought as his green eyes traveled over her face. The sun was hitting her in all the right places. Her dark eyes were alight with honey highlights, her black hair shimmered in the fading sunlight and ever last one of her freckles was deeper on her face. What was standing in front of him was more beautiful than he thought was possible. The same was for the girl. The light reflecting off his red hair made a bronze colour appear, every grove and contour on his face was sharper, deeper and more defined, and his eyes, they were a whole new colour of green she’d never seen before, and she wanted to see it nowhere else. “I will.” He told her as he reached a hand up to cup her cheek and run thumb over her cheek bone. “Promise?” She asked. Her voice was usually harder, almost male, but now it sounded fragile and foreign even to her. His hand moved from her cheek and picked up the pendant around her neck again, pressing the cool black surface to his lips before moving his hand back to her cheek and looking her dead in the eye, “I promise.” He told her and they both sealed it with a kiss. “I love you.” He breathed when they parted. She gasped slightly before her reply, “I love you too.”
The heavy sound of metal clanging against metal filled the smithy. The current owner working hard on her newest order.
The black haired girl wiped the sweat from her brow as she dipped the sword in water.
As she spun the sharpening wheel someone entered the forge.
“Thora, sweetheart, can we talk?” Her mother asked as she approached the girl cautiously.
“What’s there left to say, ma?” She asked as she thumbed over the one side.
Her mother paused before saying anything. They were both a little shook up after last night.
Thora had come home for dinner that night, the entire family ate together. But that night her brothers and father were quieter than usual. So being curious she asked her father if there was something wrong. “Thora, you are nineteen years old, your brothers both have wives who they will be married too soon, you need to find yourself a husband.” “I’m already engaged, father.” Thora told him with a smile. The entire family stared at her with wide eyes, “And to who, might I ask?” He growled, “To the former chief, Dagur the deranged.” Her father slammed his fist down on the table causing the hut to shake. “I will not have you marrying a dead man!” “He isn’t dead father.” Thora told him calmly, “He promised he’d come back.” “He’s been gone three years, Thora. He isn’t coming back. Now what you need to do is find a good man who will bring honor to both you and our family.” Thora had pushed her dinner away and was just staring coldly at her father, “The only man who will bring us honor is Dagur.” She told him. “No!” Her father boomed, her brothers flinched and her mother bit her lip, “You will not marry him!” “I have no choice.” Thora told her father bordering dangerous territory. “If he isn’t dead already, I’ll kill him when he comes back.” Loyd, her father, declared. “Over my dead body!” Thora exclaimed and shot up, “I love him father.” Loyd stood up and towered over his daughter, “Love, is not what will bring you honor.” Her father said in a dangerous tone. Thora stared him down across the table before saying in an even more scary tone, “My honor sailed with his ship.” Thora’s father’s and mother’s eyes widened understanding her meaning. Her father clenched his fists, his face went red with anger. “Whore!” He yelled, “Filthy, dirty whores will not be allowed in my house!” Thora pushed off the table and calmed down as she headed up stairs to her room and pulled together few things; her favorite hammer, some everyday cloths, and the dress Dagur got her. She packed them up in a little more cloth as her father was yelling down stairs. “A whore will not-” Thora cut him off by yelling even louder and she whipped around and glared fire into her father, “This whore doesn’t want to live in your house either!” She slammed the door shut behind her, leaving her father fuming, her brothers confused as anything, and her mother weeping.
“I just want to know why you would do such a thing.” Her mother questioned softly as her daughter polished the sword.
Thora stopped and looked at her mother, she wanted her to know she meant what she was about to say, “Because I love him.” Thora started, “And I wanted him to know he had something waiting for him when he came home, even if the entire island turned their back on him.”
“How long do you intend to wait for him?” Her mother asked.
Thora turned back to polishing as she said without hesitation, “As long as I have too.”
Thora’s mother stared at the floor for a moment before asking, “You really do love him, don’t you?”
“With all my heart.” Thora said with a ghost of a smile on her face as she looked over her work.
Her mother walked over and placed a hand on her shoulder, “I will stand behind you for your dedication to your love.” She told Thora, “You are still my daughter, but I feel I have to say I am disappointed you didn’t wait.”
“Ma,” Thora started as she placed the sword on the work bench and turned around, “I couldn’t wait, because there is the chance he isn’t going to come back. And I didn’t want to lose it to anyone else.”
“Do you regret it?” Her mother asked staring hard into her eyes.
“No.” Thora said honestly.
Her mother smiled and pulled her daughter into a hug.
“I’m still disappointed, but I understand where you’re coming from.”
“Thank you.” Thora said as she returned the hug.
After a moment the women pulled apart and her mother said, “I have to be going, but do your best.”
Thora smiled and nodded, her mother turned and walked out as Thora watched her.
“Back to work.” Thora said to herself as she put the sword on the collection rack and started on the next order.
Thora sat on the secluded sandy beach where she and Dagur had last spoken, where they made their promise, and where she lost her innocence to him, as she stared at the pendant he gave her.
She thought about how long it had actually been since they’d seen each other last, if he was still alive, how much he’d have changed, how much she’d changed, and if they’d recognize each other if they met again in the near future.
She had changed a lot in three years. She filled out a little more, grew about an inch, and gained more muscle. What she’s worn has also changed. She used to wear tunics and pants, but now she’d wear leggings, a skirt that reached a little more than half way down her thigh with chain mail hanging off her belt, her shirts where still sleeveless with leather string holding the v of the neck mostly closed, leather strips wrapped around her forearms going around her pointer finger and going all the way up to her elbow, much thinner leather straps around her upper arms, her hair was grown out to reach about the middle of her back with was always braided up and out of her way, but there were still stubborn short hairs in the front giving her thin bangs over her right eye. But Thora still wore the same boots, belt, and pendant she had before.
“I miss you.” She whispered to the wind as a single stray tear fell from her eye into the wind.
“Dagur, I’m not usually the one to question your intentions, but perhaps it would be best to inform the entire crew about what we’re going to do when we get to Berserk?” Savage said carefully.
“Well,” Dagur started as he sharpened the ax in his hand, “I have some personal business I have to attend too, and you guys are going to rally people for my new armada.”
“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Savage asked, “I mean even though you were the chief, I’m not exactly sure they’ll be open to the thought of following you.”
“Savage, Savage, Savage.” Dagur said eerily as he continued sharpening, “You underestimate the Berserker blood.”
“Of course, sir, how stupid of me.” Savage said chuckling lightly as he backed away.
Dagur stared a head at the island that appeared on the horizon. His heart started to hammer a little in his chest. It had been so long, would she recognize him? Would he recognize her? Would she still want him, or would she have grown tired of waiting? What if her father married her off already? What if she died during a dragon raid? What if she thought he was dead and killed herself to be with him in the after life? Get real she’d wait forever.
Dagur sighed to himself as he could now see the port, he felt excited and scared all at the same time. He couldn’t wait to see her. And if she was married or something like that, he would kill her husband and steal her away.
Dagur walked into the smithy cautiously, half expecting a hammer to the head after how long he was away.
“Hello?” He called, “Can I get some service?”
“Sure, what do you need?”
Dagur’s attention snapped to the corner of the smithy where a figure walked out of the shadows. It was a young boy who had on a leather apron and was covered with ash and cinder marks. Dagur knew he was an apprentice here.
“Is Thora here?” He asked expecting an answer along the lines of ‘She’s at home taking care of her kids’, or ‘she’s on her honey moon’.
“She left.” The boy told him, “I don’t know where and I don’t know for how long. But she’s usually back by sun down to check my work and tell me to redo it.” The kid laughed, “Ya’ know despite her being really cool around the village and all she’s super strict when it comes to work. If she doesn’t like it she’ll break it in half and throw it in the scrap pile before telling me to start again.”
“How do you think she got so good?” Dagur asked and he exited the smithy, “Thanks for the information kid.”
Dagur wandered around the town to see if she was there somewhere, when he couldn’t he headed into the forest. He checked the clearing, mountains, and the secret beach they made their promise on. She wasn’t there. As much as he didn’t want to, he headed to her house to see if she was there.
Thora walked down the street towards the smithy slowly as she kicked up dirt. She’d wait forever if she had to, but she was missing his touch, and his laugh, and his smile, and his eyes. She missed his eyes the most, there was no other colour of green anywhere in the world but in his eyes.
Thora entered the smithy and picked up her hammer along with the ax in the fire.
“Someone came looking for you while you were gone.” Larsen, her apprentice informed as she started hammering away.
“Tell me something I don’t know.” She said and rolled her eyes, “Did you rework that mace like I told you?”
“Oh come on!”
Dagur took a deep breath as he knocked on the door, it had been a while, and her family didn’t like her to begin with.
A giant man with black hair and brown eyes answered the door.
“Hi, Loyd, I’m looking for Thora, is she home?”
“Dagur?” Loyd questioned staring the man up and down.
“Well,” Dagur chuckled as he explained, “It has been three years and people change.”
Loyd’s face got red with anger as he reached for his mace behind the door.
“Polish.” Thora told Larsen as she handed him the ax.
“Yes ma’am.” He said and took it grabbing a rag too.
“Thora! Thora!” Thora’s mother called as she ran up to the smithy.
“What is it ma?” She asked as she started sharpening a sword.
“Your father,” She started trying to catch her breath.
“Not my problem.” Thora muttered as she ran the blade over the stone.
“Is fighting, Dagur.” She finished.
Thora stopped instantly. Was he back? Why was he fighting her father?
There were so many questions in her mind she wanted to ask, but she didn’t think twice about throwing down the sword, picking up hr hammer, and running off to her family’s farm as she yelled back at Larsen that he was in charge.
“You deflowered my daughter!” Loyed yelled as he sent another heavy swing of his mace at Dagur, who dodged in response.
“And might I say, you grow amazing fruit!” Dagur teased, “Or rather, since she didn’t like anything girly and you pawned her off to Magnus, I guess he grows amazing fruit!”
“You little shit!” Loyd yelled as he took another swing, this time cornering Dager between the chicken coop and the barn.
Dagur raised his ax prepared to take the older man’s head is needed.
But neither man could get their strike close to the other.
A hammer sent the ax in Dagur’s hand across the lawn and blocked the mace from coming down on the red head, before it was thrown from Loyd’s hand and another strike to his head causing him to pass out.
The person who had just saved the red head was now hunched over in a stance breathing heavily.
Dagur just stood there staring at the person’s back for a moment, before they turned around to stare back at the man.
Green eyes met brown ones.
Thora dropped her hammer at the sight before her. For a few seconds they just stared at each other taking in the fact they were back. Thora’s eyes traveled to Dagur’s cheek, she carefully reached out a hand. Scared if she moved too fast he’d run away or he was just a figment of her imagination.
Dagur watched her movements carefully, and he felt at peace when her fingers ghosted across his scar. Her fingers were still rough and calloused, but they were so warm and kind.
Thora ghosted her fingers across his cheek to make sure it was really , and when he didn’t disappear she started tracing it, wondering how on earth he got it.
Dagur swallowed before he broke the silence between them.
“I meant to shave because I know you don’t like it past stubble, but I didn’t have time.”
“You’re back.” Thora all but whispered, “And you’re alive.” She carefully pulled her hand back and tried not to cry.
“I am back.” Dagur echoed her, “I’m back for you.”
Thora half laughed as he let the tear fall and she lunged at him wrapping her arms around him tightly so he wouldn’t disappear on her again.
“Take me away from here, my lord.” Thora begged between sobs, “I don’t care where we go, all I care about is that we’re together. Three years was such a long time, and I don’t want to have to go through that again.”
“And I don’t want to put my girl through that again.” Dagur told her as her rubbed her back, “I can actually say that now.”
“Remember when your hair was longer than mine?” Thora asked with a laugh.
“That was awkward.” Dagur laughed and picked her up off the ground, “And since when did you where skirts?”
“Since I decided you were my lord and I was your lady!” She laughed.
“You will always be my lady.” Dagur told her, “I’ll kill anyone who opposes that, anyone who hits on you, anyone who tries to keep us apart, anyone who hurts you, I’ll kill the world if it makes you smile, because I love you Thora. You’re my thunder goddess.”
“I missed you.” Thora said as she started crying again, “I love you too, and I always will. And I will forever be at your side from now on regardless of what deranged scheme you think of.”
“Let’s go.” Dagur told
the his brown eyed girl as he threw her over his shoulder and picked up her hammer and his ax as he headed for the docks, “Let’s see how my men did.”