Finally, Salin arrives at Berk! Hope you like it, review please!


The hours meld together and the sky grows dark. I'm sitting in the back of the Viking ship, my hands tied behind my back, my mouth gratefully free so I don't become even more sick.

The first night is rough, trying to become serene enough for sleep on the rocking waves. The next day is tedious. And then they all come together until life is just a whirl of color, sound, and fear.

I can't say how many days passed or could have passed while the Vikings rowed me to their 'home'. But every day my trepidation grew larger and I felt even more angry. I would not submit. They would not get their way. I was stronger than that.

Occasionally something would nudge against the boat, or a ripple of fins would be spotted in the water, causing nervous mutterings to erupt between them, and they would all grip the hilts of their weapons until the shadows faded into the deep.

Soon, their deep, guttural speech began to make sense, and they would lull me with their words and stories.

Something they were especially fond of was tales of dragons and fights and wars between barbarians and beasts. Dragons, it seemed, were a fundament of their culture. Fighting was sport, and life itself. As interesting the stories were to listen to, they couldn't be real. They couldn't be.

The faithful have nothing to fear. I repeated this to myself over and over while the tales of fights and battles and daring escapades floated over me, washing away hopes and emotion.

Thus it is with half-closed eyes and a sedate demeanor when they finally toss me ashore. I make a noise of protest as I hit the heavy, rock-strewn ground. By now, my dress is faded and tattered, and it provides poor protection for the cold.

My hair tears at my face because of the sharp wind, but as I stagger up, a small, sticky gash on my cheek stinging as I scream wordlessly, and the Vikings only laugh. And laugh, and then, they sail away. Whatever would Mary think of me now, even if she was alive. Which I don't know. I push it out of my mind. I need to focus on survival for now, so one day I can go back and get Piper.

"We'll come back in a week!" shouts one.

"See if you'll be a bit more acquiescent by then!"

Anger makes my head spin round, and, gathering my meager strength, I set off for the opposite side of the island.

I can't ignore how beautiful it is. Even as the soles of my bare feet hit the stony ground, I'm in awe of the surroundings. The mountains tower high above me, and the grass is wet and waves in ripples. The dirt is black and soft and rich, and would be marvelous for farming, but somehow, I don't think the people who live on this island are very agricultural, if the Vikings that captured me are anything to set a standard to. The trees are majestic and strong, and I feel out of place.

The only way to survive the night will be to keep going. My muscles, already stiff and sore from not moving for a long, timeless journey, begin to pound and throb with every step. My stomach has pains like stabbing knives every few seconds because of my lack of food, and my joints feel as if they could shatter.

Eventually I know I'll have to sleep and remove my bonds, so, finding a large outcropping of rock, because there is an abundance of them on this wild island, and saw, wrists bleeding, backwards as skillfully as I can.

Snap! Snap! Snap! The fibers of the ropes, taught, disconnect and I wrench my arms free. Aching, I rub each in turn until the pain dulls some. The cold air and earth numb my suffering a little, and I wrap what's left of my dress around me.

I'll probably starve, if I don't freeze to death tonight. As the sun falls the air steadily chills until I'm shivering and blowing on my hands to keep me warm. As it is, I know the temperature will get to me, even as my feelings begin to ebb and warmth steals over me, my eyelids drooping, leaning against the icy stone, perfectly knowledgeable that I am at the mercy of anything, now. Helpless.

Then, against all of my will, I fall asleep, without even the strength to pray for wakefulness.