9. The Horned Serpents

     As the boat lurches from the thrashing serpent on its side, Arnor falls into the water. Kjartan then manages to get on the ship. Skallagrim attempts to dive in after Arnor, but the boat is still shaking about from the serpent stuck to it. He tumbles as he falls in, and he too sinks below the surface.

     From above the others can see signs of three of the horned serpents in the water below. First Brom and then Kjartan dive in to rescue the two, while meanwhile Thorfinn gravely wounds the one stuck to the skiff. Skallagrim and Arnor both manage to fight off the snakes without being bitten, but are nearly drowned before they can be hauled out. Thorfinn and Kjartan were both bitten in the efforts to save them. Thorfinn was minorly wounded in the abdomen and Kjartan nastily wounded in the left arm. The serpent had a maw full of teeth which left a ragged wound, rather than just long fangs.

     As they are being pulled out, Poul spots a canoe where someone is lying down. Taking an idea from seeing Silksif lying in a trance in his boat, he tells the archers on his ship to target that canoe. After they loose their volley of arrows, suddenly the horned serpents disappear.

     Silksif and Lofthaena work through that evening and night to treat their wounds, keeping the two isolated for that night. The two cousins had strange dreams that night but no obvious effects of poison. Thorfinn seems no worse for wear the next day, but Kjartan has lost a lot of blood from the bite, his arrow wound, and his spear wound -- which he got from Brom who mistakenly (?) stabbed Kjartan when attacking the serpent. Over the next few days, Kjartan's arm wound heals very quickly and is soon function, but there are nasty blackish marks over his arm.

     They then proceed upriver for two more days before contacting the Mohican tribe. They talked with a hunting tribe who brought them to a large walled village. There they had an audience with the grand sachem Abooksigun.

     Abooksigun is an old man of perhaps seventy, who rules with considerable authority. He readily agrees to the basic terms of the alliance proposed by the expedition. However, he seems reluctant at the suggestion of sending out a major force to attack the redaxes. He tells the Vinlanders that he will consider their proposal and make his decision within a few days.

     Later, they briefly meet with a sub-sachem named Rowtag, a son-in-law of Abooksigun. He agrees heartily with their proposal, and promises to help them. That night, a strange buowin (i.e. Lagakin shaman) comes to Poul and tells him that he had a vision of the "white-haired redaxe" whom Poul is seeking. This may be Poul's son Maushop who was disappeared seven years ago in a redaxe raid, who would be 12 years old now.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Thu Jun 27 17:38:00 2002