Toki = Edward
Elsie = Bella
I needed to give them Norse names.
The spray of the ocean stung my eyes as I stood at the bow of the longship, holding tight to the neck of the dragon head that decorated the ship.
I could see land in the distance, the land of England. I felt a pang of guilt, for the peaceful people of the nearby village had no idea that we were about to descend and attack; raiding them.
I didn't even want to go of the damned raid, but my father insisted that I come. He wanted to be a warrior, though I insisted to him again and again that I would never be one. Very much unlike my kinsmen, I hated violence. Even seeing a deer shot through the heart with an arrow bothered me, though I understand that killing animals is a necessary thing.
My mother had taught me to respect life, telling me that only God had the right to give life and take it away. I believed in my mother's God, much to my father's dismay.
"Are you ready to gain much treasure, Toki?" My father asked, coming to stand by my side, clapping me on the shoulder.
I gritted my teeth, trying to hold back my anger. "As ready as I'll ever be, father."
"Come now, son. You'll enjoy yourself," my father said, then turned away to give orders to the other men.
"I doubt that," I whispered to myself.
The morning fog hid us from view as we approached the shore of the village we were doing to raid.
But as we got closer, we heard alarms bells ringing. They had seen us.
We anchored the ship and jumped into the sea, splashing our way up onto the beach. I cluttered tightly to my ax, my heart racing. I lifted my shield and together we all began beating our weapons against our shields, making a loud drumming as we approached the wall around the English village.
This is wrong, I thought to myself as we broke down their pathetic wooden barrier. No doubt they had nothing to protect themselves from, until we came along.
Screams resounded through the early morning air and I cringed as my friends and family roared in response, plunging into the scrambling people, hacking with their axes and cutting down men and women alike.
I followed my friend Gunnar, helping him gather loot from the houses, stealing candlesticks and really anything of value. A woman's heartbreaking cry came from across the street and I watched as one of our men bent a woman over a table and lifted her dress, pounding into her with force as she cried out in pain.
I swallowed hard and looked away, for there was nothing I could do. It was hard for me to believe that these men that I spent every day of my life with, good people who loved their families, could come here and create this kind of destruction.
"Toki," Gunnar called to me and I turned my attention back to the houses, reminding myself that I wasn't causing anyone any real harm by stealing some items out of their houses. Killing them and raping their women was another matter.
I came to a small cottage and cut down the door with my axe, kicking it open. The cottage only had one room, and in the rosy morning light, I saw a young woman curled up in the corner, her arms over her head. She trembled and whimpered with fear. Everything in me wanted to comfort her and tell her that I wouldn't hurt her.
"It's alright," I said but I knew she wouldn't understand my Norse. I hoped she could tell from my tone that I didn't mean any harm.
She pushed herself back further against the wall, still hiding her face from me. Just as I took a step toward her, Gunnar entered and came to stand beside me.
"My gods, she's a beauty," he said and chuckled. "Look at those breasts. Go on, have your way with her."
I stared at him in shock. "You of all people should know that I would never force a woman." The idea disgusted me. Who could do that to another human being?
"Oh stop being so noble. Doesn't just looking at her make your cock ache? Go on, show her who's her master now," Gunnar urged.
Anger towards my friend bubbled up inside me. It was unlike him to act this way. My father appeared in the doorway, and looked at the girl, then at Gunnar, then at me. But he didn't speak.
"Show her what it's like to have a Norsemen between her legs." Gunnar laughed, like this was all a big jest. I glanced at my father, wondering what he wanted me to do. Did he want me to respect the girl's honor, or show my manhood by raping her? He wouldn't look at me, but instead kept his eyes locked on the girl, his expression blank and unreadable.
Sighing, I slowly stepped forward and gently grabbed the girl's arm, lifting her to her feet. She cried out and struggled against me, but I tightened my grip and brought her close.
"What do you intend for her, Toki?" My father asked, and I turned to face him. A slight smirk rested on his lips, as if he was waiting for me to release the girl.
"I intend to bring her back with me and take her as my wife," I said, glancing down at the girl in my arms. Though she was clearly very frightened, I could see a fire in her eyes.
"I want to warn you, son, that taking a captive wife is very difficult," my father said, a twinkle in his eye. "She will not fall willingly into your arms on your wedding night, and unless you plan to force her, you will not receive any pleasure from her for quite some time. You will have to seduce her, steal her heart. Are you sure you want that?"
I nodded, suddenly feeling possessive over the young woman in my arms. "I want her."
My father nodded, and tossed me two coils of rope. "Bind her and bring her back to the ship." He turned and left. "Help me," I said to Gunnar and gave him the rope. I turned the girl in my arms so her back was to my chest, and forced her to extend her arms. Gunnar bound her wrists together with the rope.
"Not too tight," I reminded him and he nodded, trying the other coil of rope around her neck, tossing me the other end.
"Enjoy your spoils." He winked at me than disappeared out the doorway.
The girl struggled against the rope, glaring at me. She hissed something at me but I couldn't understand, for she was speaking English and I only spoke Norse and Irish. I did know a few words in English, but only for trading purposes and not for conversations. "I'm sorry," I told her and made a sad face.
She frowned and spit into my face. I growled and led her out into the streets, which were now running with the blood and gore of the fallen. The girl let out a scream, and tears ran down her face.
Out of nowhere, a man came at me with an ax and I lifted my shield out of reflex, stopping the ax from splitting my head in two. The man's ax was stuck in the wood and I twisted my shield so he had to release the weapon. I knocked him in the head with my shield and moved swiftly out of the walls and back toward the beach, dragging the girl behind me.
Some of the other men had already returned to the ship, some with bags of gold, others with captives of their own.
Placing my hands on the girl's hips, I lifted her into the ship kicking and screaming. The men around me laughed.
"Got a fighter there, Toki," my uncle said and clapped me on the shoulder. I swung myself up into the ship, feeling ashamed at myself for even wanting to take this young woman away from her home.
I tied the end of her rope to the mast and sat down beside her on the bench.
Her wrists were already bleeding from the rough rope, her face red and streaked with tears. Toki, why'd you do this? Sighing, I pointed to my chest. "Toki."
Her tears stopped for a moment and she stared at me.
I pointed at her and raised my eyebrows, trying to ask her what her name was. When she stayed silent, I pointed to myself again. "Toki." I pointed at her and lifted my eyebrows.
"Elsie," she whispered, her voice rough from screaming. Her light brown eyes were sad and fearful.
Slowly I reached out and cupped her face in my hands, making my smile friendly and gentle. "I will never hurt you," I whispered softly, wishing she could understand my Norse.
She yanked her chin out of my hand and looked away, tears flooding down her cheeks.
"Elsie," I said, the only thing I knew about this young woman. My heart ached to see a woman cry like that, and I knew I had been selfish by taking her away from her home. But since I had refused to take advantage of her, I had to at least take her as a captive. If I hadn't I would be laughed at by everyone in my village.
Thanks for reading! Hope you guys enjoy this new story and I'm excited to continue it! Please leave some encouragement for me in a review and tell me your thoughts! Thanks y'all and have a great week! xoxo – Em