Mourning TidesBy Nathaniel Blackwood* * * * *PUBLISHED BY: Nathaniel Blackwood on ScribDSanctuaryCopyright © 2011 by Nathaniel Blackwood* * * * *PrologueThe prow of the ship rose and rose before plunging into the depths, the deck of the proudvessel nearer to vertical than horizontal more often than not. My own pride had me in the bow,my knuckles white as they clutched at the rail. My boots gripped at the soaked wood beneath myfeet and I glared defiantly over the waves at the land in the distance.Home. Mourning Tides. A place I had not seen in over two winters.My wife would be sitting by the hearth cooking a stew. My eldest would be staring out thewindow at the storm, hand playing over the pommel of his axe eagerly, anxious to go forth anddefend our place in the world. The storms always brought the beasts of the land upon us.I thought of my daughter as my eyes roamed the foaming sea. She would be near her fifthyear, now. Would she remember her father?"Farbjorn!" a familiar voice bellowed from behind. I turned and raised an eyebrow at my oldfriend Yngvarr. He was utterly soaked, his wolfskins weighing him down to the point where helikely felt like a Southlander in their ridiculous armor, but his back was straight and true. His black eyes glared out at me like onyx from under his furrowed brow."What?" I shouted over the roar of the waters."Ye could lend a hand, you sopping old fool! We're bringin' yer baby into port loaded downwith Southern gold, after all."I turned my eyes upon the rest of my men, who rushed to and fro across the ship, towinglines and fighting to keep us on course. I tilted my head a moment, then shrugged. "You seem tohave it well in hand, old friend," I winked.Yngvarr stamped his feet like a petulent child and snorted, his hand dropping to one of hismany hammers. "Just like a hersir!"I laughed and turned back to face the incoming land. Night was falling over the north,making the darkness of the storm even darker. Flashes of lightning lit the sky and I said a little prayer to the God of Thunder. The last thing we needed was a charred hole in our hull when wewere entering a literal safe harbor.My heart sped a bit and I squinted as the tower fire came into sight, a roaring inferno thatwas kept up by the town watch, a dim and flickering light at this distance.