Futhark Village

Laguz

Laguz said goodbye to the sunlight as the ship sailed into the cave. This would be…

“Kenaz!” Laguz the Sailor looked at the source of the cry, but could not see General Algiz in the darkness.

Laguz’s eyes were drawn to the bow, where a light rose from the front of the ship to reveal Kenaz holding one of the lanterns and reaching for something else over the edge of the ship. “Come here, girl!” the cook shouted into the river.

The three women aboard the ship were Kenaz, Algiz, and Sowilo, Laguz thought as he turned to see General Algiz peering overboard. The “girl” drowning in the river must be Sowilo, he reasoned.

He meandered to the front to Kenaz’s side to hep look. In the light of Kenaz’s lantern, Sowilo the Seeress was bobbing in the rapids beside the ship. Something looked wrong with her: she was floating, apparently lifeless, down the river. At least she wasn’t panicking.

Laguz turned to grab the tiller, but saw that Raidho was already steering the ship. Laguz grabbed an oar and started rowing instead.

At the sound of a splash, Laguz turned and saw Uruz the Smith swimming toward Sowilo. The smith’s powerful arms carried him to her in a matter of moments, and then they were wrapped around her unconscious form.

Uruz started to swim back, but General Algiz shouted to him, “No! Don’t come straight back! Grab onto those roots up ahead! The ones sticking out of the water like antlers! Wait for us to come to you!” Uruz bristled at her command, but kicked his way over to the antlers and waited.

Laguz rowed backward, slowing the ship to a near stop.  Algiz and Kenaz worked together to pull Sowilo onto the deck, then turned to grab Uruz by the armpits as well.

“Roll her on her side!” Uruz commanded. With expert quickness, his large and sinewy hands found their places on her front and back, and began pumping her abdomen like a bellows between them. “C’mon, girl…”

From a few feet away, Laguz looked at Sowilo’s face, pale except for the bruise flowing across her face like the dark waters around the ship. Her chest was still and she was growing paler by the moment.

Thurisaz the Giantslayer stomped up behind Uruz. “By Thor’s goats, wake up!” Everyone gasped at his curse, and the smith barely had time to move his hand out of the way before the warrior’s boot crashed into Sowilo’s gut like a thunderclap. At Thurisaz’s kick, a rainstorm erupted from his sister’s mouth, drenching everyone.

They all exhaled at once.

***

Though it was hard to tell without the sun, it seemed like they sailed for about a day. Kenaz refreshed the lanterns every few hours so that there would be enough light.

Sowilo’s breathing became steadier, and Uruz removed the poultice before he curled up on a bench to get some sleep.

“The river has slowed.” Laguz said. “It’s time to take up the oars. Thurisaz, Algiz, you each take one. Raidho, wake up Uruz and row opposite him.” Thurisaz picked up an oar and handed it to Algiz.

She took the oar from him, but gasped and dropped it. Blood dripped from the general’s palm, and Laguz looked down at the oar to see a bloody splinter pointing out from it. Raidho and Thurisaz rowed, while Uruz helped bandage Algiz’s palm.

Seeing that he had a moment, Thurisaz bent to cup his hand under his sister’s chin. Seeing that she looked healthier now, he began to walk away, but some of her golden hair caught in the mail of his armor and she shrieked in pain, instantly awakening. Her cries echoed like thunder in the confined cavern.

As if in response to Sowilo’s cries, the ship was engulfed in light, blinding after the darkness. A lava flow had come into view around a bend in the cave.

Then there was a thunk behind Laguz, and he felt something wet dripping down his cheek. He looked behind him and saw a spear lodged into the ship.