P O S T S
posted this on Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:21 am |
Just a little picture to knock back some of Karim's dirty work. I found this on Google images and needed some practice drawing fur. So I drew what I saw.
All Hail the Purple Cloud of Mystery.
posted this on Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:39 am |
Thank you very much. ^^
All Hail the Purple Cloud of Mystery.
posted this on Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:06 pm |
This is a picture I drew of two of my OC's Billy (the guy in front with black hair) and Jerry. There's a series that goes with them on my DA, under the titles "Stamper Air Services" and "Shifting Desert Sands". If you're interested, I just finished the story with a kind of open ending.
Drawn in pencil originally, then coloured with a mouse and Artweaver.
All Hail the Purple Cloud of Mystery.
posted this on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:35 am |
Sometimes when I'm daydreaming I see things flit through my head that intrigue me. Like the opening scenes of films that don't go any further, unless I can be bothered really thinking about it. Here's a couple of examples.
The soft shush of the wind across the dunes, is punctuated by the crash of an ocean wave as it rolls into shore then sweeps up over the sound with a lazy sigh. Easing back the warmth of the day with cool breezes from over the water. Bringing with it dark clouds that are heavy with rain. A lone gull stands silently watching it flash and move closer and closer to shore, from the safety of a flattened tuft of dune grass. Closing his eyes sleepily and letting the wind gently rock him from side to side on his platform perch. The faint rumble of the coming storm makes him open his eyes again and stare out to sea. Its feathers ruffle in the wind and it shakes them and hunkers down a little more, turning its head to watch the clouds that are sweeping in from either side, almost as though the storm is zeroing in on his location. A flash of movement from above startles the bird into flinching away with a cry of fear. Annoyed by the disturbance the bird takes to the air, swooping down at the intruder when it attempts to land and scaring it back up into the sky.
Up the beach a short distance the rocks hiss and bubble with each wave that crashes against them like a heavy fist. The spray leaps up into the air and rains down to gather in the cracks and pools, refreshing them and drawing out the little creatures that had been waiting for the tide to come in and set them free. A small crab creeps out from under a rock and creeps down into the water, passing by a baby starfish and disappearing under a clump of sea grass. Emerging on the other side and slipping out of the water, it stands on the edge of the pool and looks over the vast expanse of sand with twitching eye stems. Taking a chance it scurries quickly over it towards another rock only just making it when the snapping beak of a gull grazes by its shell and nearly topples it under the small ledge. Pressing itself as far into the gap as possible it digs down into the sand and half buries itself to make it hard for the bird to get at it. Once again looking out at the danger zone and estimating how far it is to the water and the safety that it will give him from the birds.
Unsuccessful in its attempt the gull flaps its wings and trills softly in its frustration. Banking slightly it turns towards the hilly dunes, passing between them and skilfully negotiating through the long thick shiny leaves that flick back an forth in the wind, like tiny whips. Lifting back into the air and hovering to study the sand and beach below for another crab that is creeping from a hiding place and is scurrying towards the water. It instead spies something flapping in its periphery and glances down at it; flapping its wings in short backward arcs to bring it down to the ground for a closer look.
Bobbing its head back and forth as it cautiously investigates the flapping material that is buried in the sand. It haltingly takes a step towards the object and looks all around to be sure that no other bird has noticed it. Fluttering up into the air when a strong breath of wind whips through the dunes and blows the grasses towards the bird, giving it a fright. Landing again and boldly moving towards the find it waggles its head from side to side, studying the flapping material. Then taking a chance it pecks at it and waits to see if there's a reaction. When none follows it pecks again then grabs hold and begins to pull, trying to free its prize from the clutches of the sand.
The white cloth is mottled with dark splotches, which the bird reveals more and more of as it struggles with the stubborn material. Clumps of sand cling to the dark patches like a bunch of sharp edged grapes, while the rest falls away leaving a faint sprinkling of dust behind. Cawing and trilling in frustration at not being able to get the cloth free, the gull inadvertently attracts the attention of another of its kind. Joining the struggle on the other side and trying to pull the prize its way instead. The two birds flap at one another and growl, doing their best to be as intimidating as possible and dominate each other.
Startled by the lumbering gait of a dog that suddenly rushes up to them with a playful bark, the two gulls scramble into the air with sharp squawks of protest, flying back towards the water still snapping at each other for loosing the prize. Wagging his tail the dog watches them leave, then sniffs the air and turns his attention to the flapping piece of cloth, pricking his ears in interest. Snuffling the ground and turning a small circle, he paws at the sand then begins to dig in earnest, tearing at the cloth with his teeth and claws, trying to get at what he can smell underneath. Stopping every now and then and sniffing, he emits a low whine and buries his nose into the sand, clamping his jaws around something then pulling it up. Backing up he digs his feet in and yanks as hard as he can. The cloth comes away revealing an arm and part of a bloodied shirt, deep purplish bruises, cuts and abrasions running the length of it, but no amount of pulling from the dog can free it from its sandy prison. Dropping the hand and getting a better grip, the dog tries again until a call in the distance brings it to a stop. Standing alert and listening he hears his master call and drops the hand, bounding away with a happy bark and rejoining the man who is walking along the waters edge.
The wind whips between the dunes and blows away some of the sand, the silky material that the gulls had been fighting over, is still half buried and billows and flaps in the wind, like a flag marking the place and trying to wave someone over to see what is hidden there. The cold fingers are mottled grey and purple, covered in defensive cuts that lead up towards the wrist. Slowly more and more of the body is being revealed with each gust of wind that snakes through and between the dunes. Layer by layer and face begins to emerge, pale eyes staring into the dark storm clouds that have finally reached the shore and are billowing overhead. Reflecting the soft flash of lightning and the slender shapes of the dune grass. The splat of a raindrop against her cheek and a rumble as the storm threatens to break. Pooling and caught in the furrow under her cheekbone it builds, then dribbles down to her chin and looks almost like a tear. Falling from glassy dead eyes that had captured the last horrific images, as her life had been cruelly taken away.
I was standing on the cliff looking out over the horizon towards a sunset of blood reds and sienna oranges that swirled together like liquid fire. It made me breathe in deeply and close my eyes to it. Only to find that the light was still strong enough to pass through my eyelids and play along my retina, in muted tones of maroon and scarlet. The sound of my breathing was strong along my jawline. Tipped with the crispness of the evening air that was cool on my skin, raising it in bumps that urged my hand to try and brush them away and warm myself. Pulling the jacket around myself tighter I turned my head away from the sight that had captured my attention and walked back to the house. Leaving it to darken alone, with just a few tiny specks of starlight that had managed to shine through and announce the coming of night.
Shutting the door with a soft click and shuddering at the last trace of cold air that has followed him into the cabin, the man wanders over to the fireplace and picks up the poker. Giving the softly glowing logs a jab and watching the crackling sparks sail up into the chimney, then putting the tool back in its rack and taking a seat in the tattered armchair near him. Reclining back lazily with a deep, tired sigh he startles slightly when his cat jumps up into his lap and bumps its head against his chest. He smiles at her and strokes her fur, scratching at her chin and listening to the animal purr loudly. Then urging her to jump down he hauls himself out of the chair and makes his way into the kitchen.
Opening the fridge he takes out a beer, then placing it down on the counter he opens a cupboard and takes out a tin of cat food. Opening it and spooning some of its contents into the animal's bowl, he watches her eat for a moment before he closes the tin and covering it with a stopper, places it in the fridge. Something in his periphery makes the man lift his head sharply and look towards the small window above the sink. Furrowing his brow because he was certain that he sensed someone was there watching him. Deciding that he was imagining things he shuts the fridge door and grabs his beer from the counter, making his way back to the fireplace and retaking his seat in the chair.
Outside the cabin the wind begins to build, sweeping through the branches of the large pine trees that encircle the back of the building and making them groan and scrape against one another. There is an old utility truck that is next to the house, it's faded red colour and numerous dents that mark its body, shows that it has been used for more than simply show. Inside the tray is a large metal tool box that is pushed as far up towards the cabin as it can go. For some reason the lid of the box is open and the tools that are inside are scattered around the tray. It looks as though someone had been searching for something and failed to close the lid of the box when they were done. A soft clinking sound from the side of the cabin draws attention and gets louder the more the wind blows. A tow chain with a large metal hook attached to one end is hanging on a hook by the back veranda, sways side to side in the wind, occasionally striking up against the metal railing that runs around the porch and down the back stairs.
Back inside the cabin the man has fallen asleep in front of the fire. The embers glow a deep red and unless more wood is thrown in it will be out very soon. Even though right now the cabin is still warm enough for the man and his cat not to really notice. Now finished its food the cat yawns and cleans its paw. Sitting on the counter next to the back door it suddenly lifts its head and looks in the direction of something that it appears to have heard from outside. Standing and moving to the window, it nudges its nose under the tattered lace curtain and looks out the window. Its tail and ears twitching nervously from side to side as it stares out into the darkness, trying to see what it was that had interrupted it. A dark shadow moves near the tree line and the animal focuses its gaze directly on it. Her pupils enlarging to take in as much light as possible so that she can make out the intruders shape and decide whether or not to go back to bathing instead. A soft mew builds in her throat and she turns and jumps down from the counter, running back to the fire and her master and leaping onto his lap to wake him. Just as the back door explodes in and a dark figure sweeps through the kitchen and into the room, with an axe raised high and ready to strike.
All Hail the Purple Cloud of Mystery.
posted this on Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:20 am |
Eyes of the Raven God.
The sound of water gently lapping at the dark rocky shoreline is periodically interrupted by the whistle of wind breaking over and between the stone walls of the buildings; Like lone ghosts of the past making their way down to the watersâ€™ edge to watch for the boats returning from lands far away. Winter is waning now, the heavy snowfall of weeks ago now petering off and turning more to rain. The snow banks melting away and turning the ground to mud and slush. Itâ€™s still cold enough to give the villagers a reason to bundle up in heavy jackets whenever they venture from their homes and away from the warmth of their fire places. But with the arrival of spring they can open the doors of the animal pens and let them out into the fields to get some fresh air. No more salted meat and fish. With new life comes milk and sweeter foods. Variety goes up and a return to more favourite meals breaks the tedium of a long winter. Sour dough and perhaps some honey and mead. Now there will be buttermilk, grains, nuts and fresh vegetables, straight from the garden. Not that anyone really starves of course. Itâ€™s just that you only have a choice of what can be stored over winter or preserved.
Standing as still as a mountain on the end of the pier, looking out over the ice laden horizon, Leif shivers slightly and ducks his chin closer to his chest, huffing warm wet air into the fur lined collar that is wrapped tightly around him. His blue eyes peek out from a heavy brow, searching for his father who should have returned days ago, with stories of the lands that so many had proclaimed had been nothing but childish tales told to little ones, to make them go to sleep and stop fussing. Heâ€™d been so sure though. Hints from fishermen had been plentiful, which had given him the urge to prove whether they were right or wrong, if only for himself at least. Why shouldnâ€™t he explore then? So many others had done so and had been successful, why not him? A soft call from behind him draws the young boy from his thoughts. Turning to look back he sees it is his sister and with a faint huff he sadly gives up his vigil and walks back along the pier to join her.
â€śHeâ€™ll be back when he is back brother,â€ť she says as he passes, her voice tinged with its own air of concern. Pausing mid step and looking down into her eyes, he sees what is more than likely reflected in his own. The fear that perhaps their father wonâ€™t be returning this time and that from here on in life will be just that little bit harder for them all.
â€śI know,â€ť he replies softly with the hint of a smile. At least he can feign a little confidence for her. Thatâ€™s what big brothers are supposed to do, arenâ€™t they? Reaching out and pulling her close for a brief hug, he then roughly shoves her back and draws her into a playful game of chase to distract her from the sadness that he knows is welling up inside her. If she starts crying he is sure heâ€™d quickly follow and the last thing he needs is for anyone to see him do that.
Theyâ€™re a little out of breath by the time they reach their small farm at the edge of the village. The strong timer walls and thatched roof always seems to bring a smile to the young boys face. Something warm and inviting, the flickering light from the torches that stand either side of the wicker fence gate seems to wave at him, hurrying the two children along to get inside, before their feet freeze in their fur lined boots.
His grandfather had built the longhouse originally. Shaped like an upturned ship with oak walls and a large fire pit in the middle of the floor to keep the occupants nice and warm. Long benches lined the walls, used for sitting or working during the day, at night they became fur covered beds, until their grandfather added a couple of rooms that became bedrooms for the family to sleep in; The adults got one room, the biggest of course, the children had the other. After grandfather died Leifâ€™s father added another room, so that their mother finally had the kitchen that she had always wanted. Typically, only the more wealthy Norse families had those. Their mother had always been the kind to get her own way however. With just a gentle nudge in the right direction, then step back, to allow their father to carry on his own way, believing that it had been his idea all along.
â€śIf only she had done that and kept him home,â€ť Leif sighs as he steps into the long building.
â€śHuh?â€ť Alva grunts as she follows him in. Leif barely hears her though, he draws in the smell of stew through his nostrils and his mouth waters at the pleasant aroma. It had not been until that moment that he had realised just how hungry he was. Making their way to the end of the building and through the door into the kitchen, they balk and quickly step back when their mother swipes her hand at them to give her room. She hands them a bowl each and they take their place on the benches, fairly scoffing down the meal with barely a grunt at each other, like two hungry wolf cubs.
â€śI need more wood for the fire before you go to sleep,â€ť their mother says as she exits the room again. Leif sighs and dips his bread into the warm liquid that is left in the bottom of his bowl; sopping it up and popping it into his mouth as he stands, he thrust the empty dish back at his sister then marches back outside and into the snow. Watching the bowl fall from her lap and onto the floor, Alva merely grunts at it and continues eating, not at all amused at the way her brother sometimes treated her as if she was one of his servants.
â€śPick that up and give it to me,â€ť her mother says, holding out her hand in readiness to take it. Rolling her eyes and picking up the dish, she hands it over and quickly finishes her own meal, turning to rush outside to help her brother with the wood.
As soon as she rounds the corner, where the wood bin is located at the side of the house, she spies her brother standing by the fence, staring back in the direction of the bay. Coming to a stop she stares at his back, taking note of how small he looks in his heavy coat, much smaller than he has ever looked to her before. At first she had thought it was a little selfish of him to complain, about being left behind. As if 14 years was old enough to travel to foreign lands to battle strangers and bring back their spoils. Most young men stay home to be head of the house, at least until they are 16. Itâ€™s only two more years to wait and why should she be left to do it all alone anyway. She misses her father as well, but sheâ€™s not standing there staring off into the distance, looking all poignant and trying to evoke someone into writing a sad epic tale about how noble and loyal she is.
â€śTrying to outdo me in the loyal child bit is he?â€ť she growls softly under her breath and stomps over to him. Hearing her heavy footfalls in the snow Leif darts a wrist to his eyes and wipes them before she sees. â€śAre we getting the wood or not?â€ť she snaps, pulling at the back of his coat when she is close enough.
â€śI was just thinking,â€ť he replies but remains fixed to the spot. She waits for a moment before tugging again.
â€śYouâ€™ll grow roots and leaves if youâ€™re not careful,â€ť she jokes and steps back, waiting for him to follow. Not hearing the joke he sighs heavily and drops his gaze to his feet, watching the slush turn to muddy water when he shifts his weight from side to side. As if he has just suddenly caught on to what she had said he sharply looks up at her again with a scowling grunt of annoyance.
â€śNo I wonâ€™t!â€ť Sniggering at him she pokes out her tongue then turns and marches up to the wood bin.
â€śYou will. Turn into the old, grumpy man of the woods. Birds will nest in your hair,â€ť she half sings at him and opens the lid.
â€śYeah yeah, and squirrels will play with my-â€ś
â€śLeif, bad words will hurt my innocent ears. Do you want me to tell modir on you?â€ť Alva gasps, letting the lid slam shut again when she blocks her ears with her hands.
â€ś- fingers, and if you thought that I was about to say anything else then it is you with the naughty mind,â€ť he sneers and opens the lid again. She scowls at him and lowers her arms, letting him place a couple of logs then waving her away, collecting a few larger pieces himself. â€śInnocent?â€ť he chuckles and makes his way back inside.
The next morning finds Leif standing beside the goat pens with the bucket of food in his hand; the hungry animals gather beside the fence, bleating at him to gain his attention. They pace back and forth looking at the food spilling out and some crane their necks through the rails, extending their tongues in an effort to lick the grain from the ground, only to find that they just canâ€™t stretch them far enough. Moments later the boy snaps out of his thoughtful daze and looks about, as if in surprise. Seeing the spilled grain and the irritated animals he harrumphs softly and gathers the food back into the bucket, then enters the pen pouring the feed into the trough and stepping back to avoid the crush of hungry bodies when they rush forwards to feed.
Something had interrupted his thoughts and heâ€™s not quite sure what that was. It was if heâ€™d felt a mental bump in the back of his mind, calling to him to pay attention, but he canâ€™t quite understand why heâ€™s now thinking that. Exiting the pen he shivers at the feeling of someone watching him as he shuts the gate and he looks around again. His eyes spy something above and he looks at the roof of the long house, just in time to see a raven taking to the air. He watches the bird fly off towards the bay for a moment then sighs and continues doing his chores. His father is still not back and heâ€™s now even more worried than he had been last night. Surely something terrible has happened, heâ€™s becoming more certain of that as days have gone by. Something that is preventing him from returning to them, he canâ€™t think of any other reason why heâ€™d stay away for so long.
â€śAre you still daydreaming?â€ť Alvaâ€™s voice chirps from somewhere behind him. He narrows his eyes in annoyance and comes to a stop.
â€śNo, why do you ask?â€ť he growls in reply.
â€śBecause youâ€™ve just fed modirâ€™s clean washing to the pigs,â€ť she states firmly and quickly begins to retrieve as much of it as she can, before the animals can make too much of a mess. They struggle to pull the items away and Alva quickly takes them back to the wash tub to clean them again.
â€śHe needs help, Iâ€™m sure of it,â€ť Leif sighs and takes a seat nearby. Rolling her eyes at that the young girl wrings out the last shirt and throws it into the basket.
â€śFadir is old enough to take care of himself. You sound like Unnr right now. He didnâ€™t have any faith in him either,â€ť she snaps at him and disgusted by her brotherâ€™s suggestion she picks up the washing and makes her way over to the clothes line.
There is a class system to be adhered to, most of the time. Warlords like Unnr take charge of a small group of warriors, who have chosen him as leader and follow him into battle. Stian, their father, followed his father instead and took over the farm. Thereâ€™s no shame in being a farmer, or karl, as they are typically referred to. Because without farmers to farm the warriors wouldnâ€™t have very much to eat and they would either have to hunt every day or raid nearby houses, just to survive. That would force them back into a nomadic lifestyle and they donâ€™t wish to do that anymore.
Ulfr, Stianâ€™s best friend, became a warrior; One of Unnrâ€™s best to be exact. He has always stood by his friend and listened to the tales Stian told him when the fisherman came back to shore. He could see that he had the drive of an explorer, even when they were children. Stian had always been the one to delve deeper into caves and climb higher in the trees than everyone else. Why he chose to become landlocked to the family farm had always confused him. Leifâ€™s older brother had spoken to Hrfan and become an apprentice boat builder. It was just a few steps from there to exploring and really that was what Ulfr had assumed Stian would have done. Perhaps he had felt the need to do right by his father and take over the responsibility? Whatever the reason, Ulfr stood by him, remaining close friends and inspiring him with tales of his own far flung adventures.
Over the last few months however, it had become obvious, not just to him but his family as well, that Stian had grown weary of the day to day life on the farm. As important a role in village life as it was, the lack of excitement had become too much for his adventurous spirit. He endlessly talked at length about the riches and rewards that were out there waiting for someone to find. More so than he usually did, he discussed ideas about following some of the fishermenâ€™s tales and searching for new lands that they said must lay just over the horizon. Most of them had been correct and many had come back with new things and riches. All that he needed was a chance of his own.
As much as it pleased Ulfr to see that fire back in his friendsâ€™ eyes, it also gave him a degree of concern. Karlâ€™s donâ€™t tend to travel away from their farms to do anything beyond settling on a new land. That typically happened after the land had been found and people had chose to leave life here and try their chances there. Ylva, Sianâ€™s wife, had grown tired of this talk and tended to pressure him into talking about other things. Sheâ€™d suggested that they could leave together as a family, if he truly wished it. Although Ulfr had gotten the feeling that this was just her way of calming her husband, while sounding supportive of his ideas. This was confirmed to him when he spoke to one of Ylvaâ€™s young female thralls. Not that she wished to speak about her mistress and her mind, but with a very large male warrior standing over you, thereâ€™s not much wiggle room for a slave, so she answered his questions. Ylva had no plans on moving from her home, she was far too comfortable with her life here.
Nothing was going to change Stianâ€™s heart though. He was going to continue talking about adventure until the day he finally got tired of talking about it and just did it. The first hurdle would be to convince Unnr that it was a good idea. That shouldnâ€™t be too much trouble for him, but a farmer isnâ€™t someone that you could put a whole lot of trust in when it comes to ocean voyages and whether or not thereâ€™s a place to land on the other side. The desire to go isnâ€™t a measure of ability, and Unnr isnâ€™t going to pull any punches when it comes to reminding Stian of that. Tossing that idea around in his head Ulfr had made the decision to step forward and help his friend accomplish his dream. All Stian had to do was drop the idea in Unnrâ€™s lap and heâ€™d do all the convincing for him.
Ulfr had been right after all. The day had finally come and Stian was now standing in the great hall trying hard to convince Unnr that it really wasnâ€™t such a bad idea to allow him to build his own boat. As if the incredulous look wasnâ€™t enough to tell Stian that Unnr wasnâ€™t sure that he was serious about this, he went on to explain how easy he thought it would be to then sail it to a faraway place that he couldnâ€™t even prove actually existed, and explore the new land before sailing back home again. Boats arenâ€™t exactly cheap and even if Stian built one himself Unnr would claim it for himself. He usually did. Unless it was a merchant ship sailing to a known world for trade, Unnr wasnâ€™t about to allow this little karl to sail off on a suicide mission to nowhere with a perfectly good langskip. That was until Ulfr stepped in and said that if Stian left and never came back then obviously no one could say that Unnr was wrong about not letting him go in the first place. Taking the chance that the large amount of ale that the warlord had just downed at dinner was going to work for him and give him the edge that he needed to get his friend what he wanted.
â€śSo I should let him go?â€ť the warlord muttered at him in confusion.
â€śOf course, itâ€™s the only thing you can do,â€ť Ulfr shrugged in reply.
â€śI should let him go, so that the little karl can prove me wrong?â€ť Unnr growled with a grunt, still not quite understanding him.
â€śNo, to prove you right,â€ť Ulfr purred with a sharp nod of his head.
â€śOh,â€ť Scratching the back of his head with his hand the warlord tried hard to understand what had just been suggested to him. â€śFine, go then and take that trickster with you. I fear that if he keeps talking to me like that Iâ€™ll wake up one night stripped naked and covered in goat great, because he somehow will have convinced me that itâ€™s a great way to cure a headache, or something?â€ť
Now it was Alvaâ€™s turn to stare off into the distance. Her memory of the events were now playing back and forth in her mind and making her wish that Ulfr had convinced him to stick with what he knew best and forget about ocean adventures. Modir was right. Men never grow up really. They just play bigger games with bigger toys and forget about responsibilities. Never mind, modir will pick that up for you. She always does. Stomping back to the house with the basket Alva pushes down the tight feeling that is rising in her throat and instead concentrates on finishing her chores. She was fairly certain that Leif wasnâ€™t going to let this go, but it didnâ€™t mean that she should give her mother something to yell at her about. Whatever is going on in her brotherâ€™s mind, is sure to reveal itself in time and if he doesnâ€™t think that she wonâ€™t be there telling him how silly he is being, then he really hasnâ€™t been paying attention.
Looking up suddenly because of a cold feeling rushing up the back of her neck, Alva sees the huge black raven sitting on the wall beside the goat pen. It flies away before she has the chance to take a really good look at it, but she canâ€™t help but feel that there was something odd about the bird; Aside from the fact that it seemed larger than usual of course. She remembers the stories that grandfather told her about ravens. Most of them were about Odinâ€™s pets Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. Suddenly she sucks a quick breath and smiles at the thought that maybe that was why the raven had seemed odd to her.
â€śIt was Muninn bringing me memories of him,â€ť she whispers into her chest. â€śThank you,â€ť she then calls with a quick wave, just in case the raven was still sitting out of sight watching her. She then recalls some of the other things ravens are known for. They travel all over the world bringing information back to Odin. They are a powerful symbol of war and are also used for navigation; in the sense that theyâ€™re released from a war ship and if the raven doesnâ€™t come back then itâ€™s fairly obvious that land must be near.
â€śWho are you calling to?â€ť Ylva asks suddenly, almost making Alva jump in surprise.
â€śMuninn, he reminded me of Farfar,â€ť she replies and wanders back inside humming happily to herself. Ylva raises a speculative eyebrow at that and looks about, then shrugs and decides that itâ€™s just the kind of response she should have expected from her daughter before she follows her back inside. Her daughter had often said that she had seen things and heard things that most people wouldnâ€™t believe. If Alva says that Muninn spoke to her about her grandfather then it must be true. If anyone else had said it, then obviously they would be suffering from some kind of brain fever, but you canâ€™t say that about Alva.
â€śI hope heâ€™s well,â€ť she says and wishes that she hadnâ€™t when she sees the odd look that Alva gives her in response. â€śI was just making conversation, never mind,â€ť she quickly adds and quickly returns to her duties.
Later that night Alva is woken by a sound and sits up in bed. Seeing a hunched shape moving through the darkened room she holds her breath in fear, until she recognises the familiar sound of her brother muttering bitterly to himself. Watching the shape she realises that itâ€™s complaining about its foot and surmises that her brother has inadvertently kicked something and hurt himself in the dark. Slowly he moves away, carrying a bundle and she decides that he must be sneaking out and chooses to follow him. Quickly dressing she slips from the room and quietly makes her way through the long house to the front door.
Opening the door and looking out she sees him moving rapidly from the house and ducking into the shadows. Not about to be left behind she does the same, keeping back a fair distance so as not to alert him, but close enough to see where he is going. Back down to the pier to do some more horizon watching, is what she eventually guesses at. However he wanders away from the main pier and heads down to where the boats are tethered for the night and ducks down beside some ropes. She quickly catches him up and nearly makes him jump out of his skin when she grabs his arm.
â€śAlva, go back home,â€ť he hisses angrily at her and pulls his arm free.
â€śNo, where are you going?â€ť she hisses back at him, pulling him back down when he attempts to carry on.
â€śIâ€™m going after fadir, he needs help to come home,â€ť he responds and pulls away again; staying low he moves closer to the boats. She rolls her eyes and catches up to him again.
â€śYou canâ€™t do that and how do you know he needs help? He has Ulfr and Ulfr has weapons, big weapons and muscles. What have you got to offer, apart from your little knife and daydreams?â€ť she growls, pulling him back again. Huffing out in frustration Leif bows his head and tries not to lose his temper with her.
â€śHeâ€™s not home and he should be by now. Thatâ€™s what tells me that he needs help, okay,â€ť he snarls through his tightly clenched teeth and tries to pull away again, only to be pulled back so hard that he loses his balance and drops onto his buttocks. â€śStop doing that!â€ť he snaps and gets up from the ground, wiping the back of his pants.
â€śIâ€™ll stop when you do,â€ť she sniffs haughtily at him in defiance. â€śSo fadir is lost, he has a very big boat with many very big warriors and Ulfr. And for some reason none of them have come home and this could be because they have run into trouble?â€ť she adds reflectively. Leif looks back at her with an affirming nod. She stares at him silently waiting for him to draw the same conclusion that she has, only to find that heâ€™s still oblivious to it. Becoming annoyed again Leif huffs out at her.
â€śWhat? It seems to me that he needs me to go and find him and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going to do,â€ť he insists and quickly moves away again. She darts after him and grabs his arm hard.
â€śA boat full of warriors couldnâ€™t help, but a 14 year old with a little knife and a head full of daydreams can,â€ť she hisses into his ear sharply. â€śHave you been eating the berserkerâ€™s mushroom stew again?â€ť
â€śI need to find him and youâ€™re not going to stop me Alva. Now go home,â€ť he snaps back and moves further down the pier to the last boat. She sits back on her heels and watches him moving about in the shadows for a while longer, before deciding that he canâ€™t go by himself. â€śAnd by the way, I only had a mouthful and I spat it straight back out.â€ť He suddenly adds and waves her away.
â€śTrust me, it was enough.â€ť She recalls, remembering how her brother had begun fitting and stripping off all his clothes, snarling at everyone as if he were a wild animal and bearing his teeth.
She had been very young at the time, only 6 to be exact. But it was memorable enough to fix in her mind and never forget, because at the time she was sure that he would die. He looked awful, but the priest came and gave him something that calmed his trembling body down. They watched all night and by morning he was breathing easier and the sweating had stopped. She couldnâ€™t imagine what he had seen in his mind, but anything that could be so bad that it could make grown men strip all of their clothes off, cover themselves in excrement and run naked and screaming towards a well armed and armoured army, must be bad.
From then on the warriors and berserkers had nicknamed Leif their ungr berserkr, young berserker. He hadnâ€™t liked it at first and tended to walk away embarrassed when they called it out to him. After a few years however, he seemed to come to accept it, especially when they smiled and waved to him in passing and heâ€™d begun to see that it was granted to him in honour, not shame. One of the berserkers had stated that he believed the reason why the stew had not killed him may be because he was destined to do something important and that time had not yet arrived. Perhaps this was that thing and he was now fulfilling that destination? Itâ€™s hard to really say, but it seems obvious to Alva that her brother wasnâ€™t about to wait for confirmation or further revelations.
Taking that into consideration, along with a few other bad choices her brother had made over the last few years, she huffs out heavily and makes her move.
â€śFine, Iâ€™m coming with you,â€ť she announces and grabs one of the ropes tethering the little fishing vessel to the pier.
â€śNo youâ€™re not, youâ€™re going home,â€ť Leif grunts with a sharp look back at her.
Their parents had always said that Alva had an old heart. The elder wives had said the same thing when she was born and told her mother to watch over her carefully. Sheâ€™s been here before, many times, possibly touched by the light elves, they said. One day she will reveal who she had been to them, when sheâ€™s ready. Some suggested she may have been one of the old priestesses, or maybe even an elf. This was why they had named her Alva, elf, in the hopes that it would help remind her. If he brings her along and something terrible happens to her... He cancels that thought with a shake of his head. There is no way he can bring her along, sheâ€™s far too young and modir would never forgive him.
â€śIf you send me back then Iâ€™ll go, but Iâ€™m telling on you,â€ť she half sings with a sly smile at him. This snaps Leif to attention and he opens his mouth to protest, but the cold look on her face tells him that this would be a waste of time. So he closes it again without speaking. â€śThat settles that then,â€ť she adds and unties the rope, jumping into the vessel quickly.
â€śA dark elf maybe,â€ť Leif grunts quietly, untying his end and climbing in himself.
â€śHuh?â€ť Alva asks, taking one of the oars and pushing them away from the pier. Leif grins broadly at her with a wave of his hand, then taking the oar from her and slipping it into the water he rows them quietly away from the little harbour, keeping for the moment close to shore.
A few hours later they have moved far enough away from the village that they can breathe easier. Itâ€™s only then that Alva turns to ask how Leif plans to navigate at night if itâ€™s cloudy. He shrugs and says that heâ€™s not silly enough not to have taken that into account and she should have more faith in him. Then he reaches into a bag that he has brought and pulls out a blanket handing it to her. She wraps it about her shoulders and snuggles down, watching him in the moon light and wondering how long heâ€™s been planning this. Days maybe, itâ€™s been three weeks so maybe longer than that. How can Leif assume that wherever they went it was only a few days away? For all he knows they may still be travelling to this unknown land and his impatience has led him to believe they are lost.
She sighs and drops her face under the blanket until only her eyes are peeking out over the top. Their father may be on the way back and unless they are travelling towards each other, they will pass by and it will be them that are lost. Has he considered that? For a moment she thinks about saying this to him, but overcome by the need to sleep instead she closes her eyes and lets the feeling completely take her over.
Waking the next morning and stretching out her aching limbs, she sucks a slow breath at the sight immediately in front of her. Sitting on the prow of the boat is another raven. Except this one is as white as snow and has golden eyes that sparkle as if full of stars. Staring silently at the bird she rolls her shoulder and presses her fingers into the aching muscle. Until suddenly the bird lifts off and flies away, making her look back to see her brother waking up with a loud yawn. By the time she looks back to see where the raven went, itâ€™s gone and she gets the feeling that mentioning it to Leif will only annoy him. She can almost hear him laughing and telling her ravens tend to only come in black. Not that she needs a lesson in bird fashion this morning. So instead she waits to see what he has brought them for breakfast, and groans in disappointment when he tells her itâ€™s not much, because he hadnâ€™t counted on bringing along any company.
â€śWe can catch fish along the way. Iâ€™ve brought flint so we can start a fire,â€ť he suggests with a slow, heavy shrug. She blinks at him and slowly slides her tongue over her lips.
â€śGreat. Iâ€™m hungry and your answer to that is, hey, letâ€™s set fire to the boat,â€ť she growls in response. He narrows his eyes and searches his bag for some sour bread, annoyed that she has decided to start complaining so quickly into their journey.
Heâ€™s used to her sarcasm and taunts, heâ€™s put up with it for most of his life. Itâ€™s just that at times he wishes she wouldnâ€™t be so quick to tease him and or find fault with everything he did. It would be really nice to have a sister that looked up to him instead. Itâ€™s going to be a very long trip, heâ€™s certain of that, and if sheâ€™s going to snarl at him the whole way there and more than likely the whole way back. Then heâ€™s going to have to consider having some kind of accident that will make him temporarily deaf. Either that or perhaps tie her to the mast with a gag in her mouth. Smiling briefly at that thought he quickly dismisses it. Sheâ€™d somehow find a way to complain even then, so heâ€™ll just have to put up with it until he finds another way to make her happy.
â€śThatâ€™s not what Iâ€™m saying, weâ€™re close to land so we can always pull over,â€ť he huskily snarls back at her, taking out the bread he breaks off a chunk and hands it to her.
â€śWell thatâ€™s good, because Iâ€™m not exactly thrilled by the idea of drowning at sea next to the fiery remnants of a formerly perfectly good boat,â€ť she purrs indignantly and waits to see if there is something to add to the bread. Leif closes the bag and sits back, munching on his own chunk of bread. He pauses, mid chew, and looks up into her cold expressionless face, then watches the slow roll of her eyes.
â€śOh what now?â€ť he groans and bodily slumps in front of her.
â€śNothing, nothing, I just hate dry bread is all,â€ť she mumbles and sniffs at it, waiting to see if he catches the hint.
â€śThatâ€™s all youâ€™re getting so either put up with it or swim home,â€ť he growls and turns away to think about what to do next.
All Hail the Purple Cloud of Mystery.
posted this on Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:27 am |
Eyes of the Raven God 2.
Coming to the end of the land and looking toward the open ocean, Leif takes a deep breath, now itâ€™s time to leave the comfort of the familiar and take the first step into the unknown. He had heard stories about the surrounding islands, so aside from pulling in to land occasionally to eat or grab some extra supplies, there wouldnâ€™t be a reason not to continue on. The chances of his father being there is small; he wanted to search for unknown lands; which means that at some point he will have to take to the open ocean. Only then will he know if he had gleaned enough of an understanding, from what he had learned from Refrinn, his older brother, if he is even capable to sail on into what he can only describe as nowhere and find his father. At least he was smart enough to bring his sun compass and the solsten that Refrinn had given him as a gift, when he left home to become Hrfanâ€™s apprentice.
It was an odd gift to give him at the time, Leif had even said so, stating that surely becoming a boat builder meant that at some point he would need it. So why give it away to someone who may never set foot on a boat, ever? Refrinn had smiled at his little brother and gently punched him in the shoulder. He then when on to explain a dream that he had had, in which a strange man in a black feather covered cloak had told him that his little brother had the greater need and that was why he had to make sure to give it to him before he left. Reaching into the small pouch attached to the belt around his waist, he pulls out the shiny stone and turns it over in his hand. It was this stone that had changed everything for his people. Before then they were limited to only exploring when the weather was clear and the light from the sun was visible to them. Now they donâ€™t have to wait for clear skies and can travel further. Carefully tucking it away again, he looks towards the sun and with one last held breath lets the boat sail away from the shoreline and towards the open water.
Waking up and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Alva checks her surroundings and immediately sees that they are still within sight of land. Surely they would be out in the open water and heading away from it by now. Unless she hasnâ€™t slept for as long as she thought she had. The flap of the sail high above her draws her gaze upwards, and shielding her eyes from the suns glare. She watches the way it moves, until she hears a grunt from her brother, warning her to move from that spot and watch out the swing of the boom. Moving to a spot next to him and seeing how hard he is fighting against the wind and tide. The way the boat is rocking and moving is erratic; like a wild horse fighting and bucking against the rider that is trying to tame it. This is why they havenâ€™t left the shoreline. Leif hasnâ€™t been able to control the boat.
â€śHow long have you been fighting it?â€ť she asks quietly, trying to keep her voice even and not sound as though she is mocking him. Itâ€™s not so surprising that he has been having trouble. Heâ€™s spent all of his life on the land and sailing boats is not a skill that is required if you plan to be a farmer. The heavy shrug in response doesnâ€™t give her much confidence, but then heâ€™s probably been far too busy trying to get the boat to follow his directions, to notice how much time has passed.
â€śHey!â€ť a faint voice calls from behind them. They turn to see a much larger ship coming up fast and for a brief second, Leif actually thinks about making an attempt to get away from it. â€śDrop the sail Leif, Iâ€™m coming onboard.â€ť Itâ€™s only then that they recognise the voice of their brother Refrinn. Doing as asked, Leif mutters under his breath and steps back when his brother approaches him. If they had made it out beyond the tide, they would have been away and clear by now and the chances were good that he would never have caught up to them.
â€śStupid boat,â€ť he half hisses under his breath.
â€śItâ€™s not the boat that is at fault I think,â€ť Refrinn growls at him and shakes his head in irritation. â€śWhat were you thinking in stealing a fishing boat? You canâ€™t take this out of the bay and into open water.â€ť Leif and Alva look from the older boy to the deck of the ship, letting their eyes follow the wooden surface and drift up to the top of the sail, before looking back into Refrinnâ€™s angry gaze. Not quite sure what the problem is.
â€śIt floats,â€ť Alva responds with a confused shrug of her shoulders.
â€śNot if a very large wave swamps it,â€ť he explains. â€śThis vessel is not designed for open water. For the most part it is made to take to a spot and anchor, but at the same time narrow enough to let you drop nets into the water and the speed along gathering up fish. You need one like that-â€ś, Refrinn points back over his shoulder to the over to the other boat, â€ś-to travel beyond sight of land. Wide, with a shallow bottom, that is far more stable and easy to drag up the beach when you land.â€ť
â€śOh, I wasnâ€™t really thinking about how wide or narrow the boat was. I just wanted something easy to sail so that I could use it to look for fadir,â€ť Leif replies, staring at the side of his fur lined boot he sighs heavily, knowing that this probably means that theyâ€™ll be taken home and he doesnâ€™t even want to think about the kind of punishment heâ€™ll be faced with. Sucking her teeth in annoyance Alva slaps Leifâ€™s arm with the back of her hand.
â€śI knew it, you were trying to drown us both,â€ť Alva grunts. â€śHe wanted to set it on fire as well,â€ť she adds and widens her eyes at her older brother. Refrinn gives Leif an incredulous look.
â€śNo I didnâ€™t. I said that Iâ€™d brought flint to start a cooking fire with and she ASSUMED I meant to do that on the boat,â€ť Leif snarls, giving her an angry look. Not about to let them start fighting Refrinn grabs them both on the shoulder and pulls them apart.
â€śUgh, itâ€™s not important right now. The only thing that matters is that youâ€™re both in so much trouble,â€ť Refrinn groans, then he waves to the men on the other boat and shoves his siblings towards the gangplank; The men climb onboard and Refrinn urges the two children to transfer to the larger ship. He unfetters them and takes over, raising the sail and moving away.
â€śWe have to go and find fadir,â€ť Leif protests, hoping to strike some chord in his older brother and gain his help in the task. Refrinn narrows his mouth and hisses that their father is more than able to take care of himself. Being chased after by his youngest children and brought home by them would be more than embarrassing. The warriors with him would laugh and tease him, calling him names and making jokes about his wife keeping his manhood in the pocket of her apron.â€ť
â€śI said something like that,â€ť Alva nods in agreement. â€śI said that he has Ulfr and Ulfr has big weapons and muscles and warriors-.â€ť She is cut short by the sharp look that her older brother gives her and presses her knuckles against her mouth to make herself silent.
â€śYouâ€™re not talking your way out of this Alva,â€ť Refrinn growls softly. â€śI know that you more than likely did very little to stop him leaving. The fact that youâ€™re here and not home telling on him means that you wanted to go just as badly as he did.â€ť Tacking the craft so that it is able to catch as much of the wind as he can, to get the strength and speed to cut through the waves and over the powerful current that had been keeping the fishing vessel close to the shore, itâ€™s only then that Leif realises that they are still heading in the direction that he had been trying to go.
â€śUm?â€ť he bounces a finger back at the other ship and sees the way his brother slits his eyes at him.
â€śI had another dream and it wasnâ€™t a very good one. I knew that if I didnâ€™t come and find you soon, then what I saw in my dream would come true and modir would never forgive me,â€ť he says then concentrates on getting beyond the pull of the current and out away from the land.
Watching the two children rushing back and forth, checking ropes and loosening them when asked or taking up the slack to keep the sail full and moving the ship forwards. Refrinn sighs and hopes that he has made the right decision. Ulfr had said many times that Leif was someone who would write his own tale. He had thought that himself a few times, especially when he was bringing his brave little brother back home from whatever new form of trouble he had inadvertently gotten himself into. Itâ€™s not that Leif is a bad child or even a disobedient one. Heâ€™s willing to work hard and if modir asks him to help one of the traders, like Mikill the blacksmith or his boss Hrfan, for just a few days, he is happy to do so. It wasnâ€™t unusual to hear them say that they would be happy to keep him if he wished it.
He was often working for them as a form of trade; If the children needed new coats or boots then modir would talk to one of the traders and they would take them on to work off the cost. Mikill would buy the coat and when he felt Leif had done enough, he would send him home. This was modirâ€™s way of making sure that her children understand that you canâ€™t get something for nothing. Alva would help the baker or she would help one of the new mothers with their baby, feeding or washing it while the mother gets on with other tasks. Of course they have slaves that could do that for them, or apprentices even, but the reason behind it is to make sure that you donâ€™t find yourself raising ungrateful or lazy children. Most parents do this and so long as they donâ€™t make a mess or break things the traders are happy to take the children for a few days.
This was the reason why Hrfan was happy to take him on as an apprentice. Heâ€™d worked off a few debts for the man and he knew that the boat builder knew that he was a very hard worker. The same with Leif, if he chose to the master boat builder had said that a job was waiting for him as well. The sons of Steinn have more than proved themselves to the traders. Respect granted so early isnâ€™t something to sniff at; this is why Refrinn is mindful to bow his head, and never try to assume a position above his boss, because that same respect is something that is so easily taken back and never granted again.
A Jarlsâ€™ child wouldnâ€™t work as hard, but then they tend to have far more privileges awarded to them. Not that Refrinn is assuming the role as one, because he isnâ€™t, neither is Alva. Leif on the other hand... Pausing for a moment on that thought he shifts the weight on his feet and looks away again. There have been a few times when he had wanted to tell his little brother. You are not the born son of my parents. Leif was adopted by them after the death of his parents. Leifâ€™s real father had been a cruel warlord, who may also have been a little touched in the head, one that had reigned over the village with an iron fist and sent many of his warriors to their death for imagined crimes against him. He was only a baby when they were killed and he would have died also, if Steinn hadnâ€™t stepped in and said that he would help raise the child right. The warriors agreed, but stripped Leif of all of his entitlements. Thinking about it like that Refrinn sighs and agrees that telling Leif now would be far too cruel. Turning his thoughts to his task he looks away, not noticing that Leif had been watching him just as intently.
Refrinn is a little like Alva, in the sense that he often gives people the impression that he is much older than the nineteen years that he has lived. Heâ€™s always taken much more responsibility onto his shoulders and tried to be the kind of son that any parent would be proud of. But Leif has always had the feeling that his brother would have been far happier if he was their parentsâ€™ only son and heâ€™s never quite understood the slight coolness he feels from him whenever they speak. Not that the older boy was mean or cruel to him, just quietly standoffish; Almost as if they were only a little more than acquaintances to each other.
Refrinnâ€™s alpine blonde hair is a similar to Alvaâ€™s, long and straight, often pulled back with a three rows of plaits at the temples, to keep it out of his eyes. Their eyes are more of an icy blue than their brothers and there have been more than a few times when Leif has looked at his reflection in the water and wondered if perhaps someone made a mistake. His hair is a darker blonde and heâ€™s much stockier than his brother; Refrinnâ€™s tall thin frame has often drawn more than a sigh of admiration from the young girls that pass by him. Leif sometimes gets the feeling that he has to go just that little bit further, climb just that little bit higher, or walk just a little bit faster than his siblings. Maybe that is what is driving him to search for his father, the need to prove himself worthy of him.
â€śWould you like to steer?â€ť Hearing this snaps Leif from his musings and he almost stumbles over his feet in surprise.
â€śSteer?â€ť Refrinn asks again, offering him the position at the back of the ship next to the steering board. Astonished that heâ€™s been asked Leif isnâ€™t sure how to answer for a moment, until he realises that heâ€™s letting the moment slips away from him.
â€śOh yes! I mean, yes, yes thank you,â€ť he smiles and takes the oar, feeling as though he has accomplished something without even trying to. Watching Refrinn walk to the rail and stare off into the distance, Leif canâ€™t help but wonder why his brother is letting him do this, so he asks him.
â€śI didnâ€™t do anything,â€ť Refrinn replies without looking back at him. â€śModir spoke to Unnrâ€™s wife, Lady Berghildr, she convinced her that I needed to bring you back.â€ť This confuses Leif because they are sailing away from home, not returning.
â€śSo modir talked to Unnr?â€ť he mumbles. â€śBut we are sailing away?â€ť
â€śModir said nothing to Unnr. Lady Berghildr spoke to him and said that letting fadir sail away was bad enough. To let his children go after him was one step too far.â€ť He turns and walks back to his little brother. â€śUnnr called everyone together and told me that I needed to fetch you back, probably to save face with his wife. I know you will keep running away though, so that is why we are going to look for him.â€ť
â€śThank you Refrinn,â€ť Leif smiles at him, only to see the angry look this brings to his brotherâ€™s face.
â€śIâ€™m not doing this FOR you, you selfish little idiot. Iâ€™m doing this for modir.â€ť Refrinn snarls. â€śYou forced modir to go seek help from Lady Berghilr. She had to lower herself to the woman and put herself in a position that she does not deserve to be in. Iâ€™m not taking you to join fadir in his adventures. We are going to see that he is fine and then we are going back home. What are you trying to prove? That you are a better son? That you are the only one that cares about him? I care! Alva cares! Unlike you, we trust that he did not do this to hurt us that he has every intention on coming back.â€ť
â€śI believe that too, but it has been so long and-,â€ť Refrinn marches up to him and stabs a finger into his little brotherâ€™s chest.
â€śYou assumed that this can only mean that he is in trouble. Did you consider that perhaps he found something and is taking his time exploring it? What do you think happens? They find something then say, oh well time to go now, then instantly jump back onto the ship and sail home?â€ť Frustrated by this Refrinn clenches a fist and turns away again, trying hard not to lose his temper and strike the younger boy. â€śIf you turn up and start complaining that he is taking too long, youâ€™ll embarrass him in front of the other men and I refuse to allow you to do that. The fact that you have no faith in him, even after Ulfr spoke up in his favour, screams volumes about the kind of person you are. Youâ€™re NOT a better son than me. Stop pretending that you are!â€ť
Alvaâ€™s mouth drops open in shock, but she says nothing that will give her older brother a reason to turn his anger on her. Instead she tries to look as though she is more interested in the snake-like figurehead that is staring far out across the water. Studying the intricate carving and almost wishing that she was as oblivious of the anger as it is. Sheâ€™s often felt the same way. That Leif tries too hard to be a good child, as though they canâ€™t be as good or donâ€™t care to. It doesnâ€™t mean that Refrinn has the right to yell at Leif like that, but she can understand her older brotherâ€™s frustration.
â€śIâ€™m not trying to show you up brother!â€ť Leif protests, only to be slapped away from the steering oar and told to go away. â€śHonest. Iâ€™m not trying to embarrass fadir either. Iâ€™m just worried about him, thatâ€™s all.â€ť Alva slaps a hand to her face in disdain and wishes that she could disappear into the deck boards. Itâ€™s as though Leif is unable to hear what has just been said and is trying to get his older brother angry enough to beat him. Seeing the slow rise of Refrinn, as he pulls himself up to full height and flares his nostrils in rage, she quickly rushes across the deck and places herself between them.
â€śHe canâ€™t help being stupid Refrinn, and you need to show more patience and be the greater role model in all this,â€ť she hurriedly states and then sucks back her lips hoping that that didnâ€™t sound too bad. â€śThatâ€™s what big brothers do. Without big brothers to show the way little brothers are almost required to learn from the biggest of their mistakes.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m not stu-.â€ť A sharp jab in the ribs from Alvaâ€™s small elbow makes Leif huff out in pain.
â€śYou are if you keep aggravating him,â€ť she hisses back sharply. Refrinn clenches his jaw hard and then blows out his breath, calming himself down. Leif sees this and realises that perhaps he was making things worse.
He canâ€™t understand why his brother thinks that he is competing with him for their fatherâ€™s affection, but perhaps it is how it has come across to him. Walking to the front of the ship and taking a seat under the figurehead, he rests his arms on his knees and tries not to look at anything in particular. Alva sits next to Refrinn and leans against him, watching the small figure of Leif appear smaller and smaller to her. For a moment she catches herself thinking that he looks as though he is fading away. Itâ€™s like he is moving away from them, or maybe they are moving away from him? Not physically, in some other way. But then he has always seemed apart from them to her, her and Refrinn. He seems less aware, more inclined to do his own thing and be away from them both.
He works hard and tries harder, but tends to wander away after a while and stare off into the distance. As though there was something better out there for him to pay attention to. Not that he is assuming that it is him that is better, but that he was destined for a greater purpose. Refrinn said that himself, when explaining why he gave him the solsten. Purpose aside, it doesnâ€™t mean that he needs to belittle fadirâ€™s role as the head of the household. Leif canâ€™t play at being his babysitter, in other words. He can be worried, yes, but he just canâ€™t be the manâ€™s nursemaid. You can stay home and worry, just donâ€™t chase after him as though he is a petulant child that needs berating. Maybe Leif doesnâ€™t see that this is what it looks like heâ€™s trying to do?
Later that evening they have come upon a small spit of shrub covered land and Leif is helping Refrinn pull the ship onto a sandbank. Alva is waving her arms in encouragement, but not actually being at all helpful. When it is far enough away from the water the two brotherâ€™s take the sail and stretch it over the edge of the ship to form a kind of shelter and Alva rushes back and forth, gathering grass and small sticks from the available shrubbery, so that they can start a fire. Once it is lit and they have warmed themselves, Refrinn takes the small fish that Alva had caught earlier in the day and prepares them; sliding them onto a stick after gutting them, he places them in the fire so that they can cook, then sits back and looks over at Leif.
â€śIâ€™m sorry that I lost my temper with you brother,â€ť he sighs and bumps his shoulder with the back of his hand. Leif smiles at him and pats his arm.
â€śThatâ€™s okay Refrinn. Iâ€™m sorry if I gave you the impression that I think fadir is far too stupid to take care of himself and needs to be babied. I donâ€™t think that at all. You know that right?â€ť Although Refrinn does believe that is what he is doing the older boy shakes his head. This is going to be a long journey, so it seems. It would be far better to let things like this die down, rather than escalate until one of them ends up tossing the other overboard and sailing away.
â€śI know, forget about it. All is well again my brother.â€ť
â€śAww, this is like some romantic saga. One where the two angry brothers make friends and then get married or something,â€ť Alva sings and batting her eyes she makes kissing faces at them both.
Squealing in amusement when they jump up and start play fighting with her, she rocks back and forth when they hold her down and tickle her until she can barely breathe. Above them, the evening sky grows darker and the day finally draws to an end. They arenâ€™t sure how many days their journey will take them, but with any luck it wonâ€™t be too long before they catch up with their fadir and can finally return home.
All Hail the Purple Cloud of Mystery.