(Lars) #1
“Let loose all the boats so we can’t be fol-
lowed!” I shouted as we pushed out to sea, the
women rowing hard, their oars slipping and
slapping on the water. As soon as the village
could not be seen through the fog, the four
boats stopped and bobbed in the white haze,
roped together so as not to be separated.
We looked at each other in fear as we
heard terrible cries and shouting across the
water. Some of us had managed to gather up
belongings, and I noticed my mother hold-
ing the Jarl’s Cup, our most precious golden
object.
Suddenly, out of the gloom, we saw a red
glow. None of us cried out for fear of alerting
the enemy, but tears flowed down our faces.
We knew our world, our village, had been set
afire.

a bolt of lightning as I raced—faster and
faster—over the boulders and bracken.
“Into the boats! Into the boats!” I yelled
out when I finally reached our village.
“Raiders are coming to attack us!”
The women and children were still eating
breakfast. But their faces changed when they
heard my words, and they started running
down to the water’s edge. Into the boats! was
an emergency cry only used once before in
my lifetime, when raiders last had come across
the mountains.
I, too, went to the harbor, clambering
aboard one of the four small fishing boats
that were always tethered there. They were
soon rocking madly, crammed with crying
children, their mothers struggling to hush
them with songs and bread.