This is a short story I wrote for a WeBook contest - just thought I'd share. It had to include the following five words:
Here is my entry:
boats beat back the waves of the Thames. Their wooden clinkers sliced through
the sea led surreptitiously by a dragon’s head. The land stretched out ahead
and boasted an ornate church, a treasure of gold and riches. Each man readied
his shield and his sword, prepared to secure all from whomever lived upon this
terrain. At landfall, their steps moved without caution toward the doors of the
alcove nestled between stone pillars. The men poured into the church prepared
to battle, and stopped to find it empty. Hollow.
are the great riches Asgeirr?” A demand, not a request.
sly smile covered the stained face of the Viking king, “You ask me of great
riches, you doubt me?” His sword rested in his tanned hand the skin scarred
from tumultuous years of victorious battle. He plodded through the stone
parish; glared into the eyes of each man – he watched, judged, questioned - Do
you doubt me?
treasure is here. Trust this. A Christian tradition besets you, one that has
failed as no miracles will save this place; a fool’s folly. They believed
buried bones of a saint could create magic for them. Protection. A martyr,
doesn’t explain the desolate of riches. You promised brass biscuits like Njoror’s.
Gold, Asgeirr, gold,” he spat.
by the simplicity of his men, yet temperate, Asgeirr replied with a shake of
his head: “You stand upon it.”
shouts of the men coupled with the strident sound of a wooden chest shoved
across an uneven cobble floor echoed off the walls. The trap door beneath the
chest guarded the paragon against impatient grasps. The men clawed at the
hatch, wrung it open with the impetus of desire to reveal gold and sliver, and
to their surprise, the high priest masked betwixt the fortune.
drawn by the Vikings the priest ascended from the depths. Asgeirr surveyed him;
his eyes challenged him.
are you alone here?"
priest remained calm, quiet, his fear absent. He did not shiver or cower, and
his eyes held Asgeirr’s gaze with uncharacteristic determination. For the
Northmen, fear motivated their blood draw, fear nurtured their rage.
makes you assured?” Silence.
his sword tipped for entry at the dip in the priest’s neck, the holy man’s eyes
lifted to the balustrade above them. A cold chill passed through Asgeirr’s
spine as he followed his gaze and counted fifty arrows pinched and placed upon
him; Asgeirr faltered.
you think we would not be ready? For Norse rapscallions? Attacks burrowed in
unplanned, unorganized, childish pretenses. The nature of your people. Your
ships sail with swiftness over the ocean’s waves and scar the sacred honor of
Wessex with filth on our shores. You desecrate our lands. What, forever? No.
You are finished. Your titanic wake tolerated no longer. We dedicate ourselves
as men to tame the villainous nature of your people, to seek revenge for ours.
You will thrive here no more.” Athelwulf, Noble of Wessex, allowed his words to
sink deep into the haggard men below him. The raids upon Canterbury and London
had created a trail of preparedness in the men of this place. Blood spilled
over the green grass for far too long, and Athelwulf vowed to end this war.
lowered his sword, “I have underestimated the men of Wessex. It seems your
martyr is no fool. However, you will not defeat me. My men. We will still take
this treasure, and the priest. We will return to our ships and conquer all in
our path. We will not surrender to your darts.”
Ludicrous confidence comes before the fall. Outside the stone pillars, my army
waits for my command. One arrow shot will set off a sea of disappointment for
your kind. The arrogance of your men, taken in by falsies of wealth. Bite into
the gold Asgeirr, you’ll find your teeth leave no marker.”
an honorable man, could not allow this victory by acquiescence. Peckish and
resolute, he drew his hands through his ragged beard and glanced feverishly
around the chamber proper, his eyes rested on each false statue of gold, on his
men who now wavered in their conviction. Wise men predicted this prophecy, a
martyr that would mend the English soul. Wise men are not to be doubted, and
yet Asgeirr raised his sword.