The Shipwreck

The Shipwreck by Glynnis Campbell Read Free Book Online

Book: The Shipwreck by Glynnis Campbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glynnis Campbell
Tags: Romance
her daughter.  He might not be able to escape, but he could do serious damage to a little girl who wandered too close.
    “I won’t hurt her,” he said.  “I swear.”
    Surely he didn’t expect her to trust him.  A Viking’s oath wasn’t worth shite.  “That’s right.  You won’t.  Because if you lay a finger on her, I’ll carve you up with this knife.”
    “Please, Mama?”  Kimbery pursed her lips.
    Avril sighed.  She shook her head, still not sure it was a good idea.  “You swear on your honor, Kimbery, that you’ll stay where I put you?”
    “On my honor,” she said, clapping a hand to her chest.
    Avril put down her knife and wiped her palms on her apron.  She took Kimmie by the hand and walked her to a spot near the hearth, opposite the Viking.  “Stay here.  And you,” she said, stabbing a finger toward her captive.  “Don’t even cast your ‘piercing gaze’ on my daughter or I’ll gouge out your eyes.”
     
     
    She didn’t need to tell him that.  He wasn’t going to look at her precious Kimbery.  His piercing gaze was reserved for the cursed wench who’d clubbed him on the head, dragged him up the beach, tethered him like a rogue hound, and punched him in the nose.  He might be telling the tale of Fenrir to her daughter, but his glare and the story were meant for her .
    “Long ago,” he began, staring intently at the woman’s back while she chopped seaweed, “Fenrir, one of Loki’s three sons—“
    “Who’s Loki?” Kimmie asked.
    “Loki is the brother of Thor.”
    “Who’s Thor?”
    “Thor is the son of Odin.”
    “Who’s Odin?”
    Brandr sighed.  The little girl apparently knew nothing about her Viking bloodline and history.  It was tempting to recite the entire lineage of the gods, an ordeal that could take hours, but his own children had always fallen asleep before he could get past the fifth generation.  He settled for telling her, “Odin is a god.  They’re all gods.  And Loki, the son of Odin and the god of fire, was always causing trouble.”
    “Mama says I’m always causing trouble,” Kimbery told him.
    “Well, not this kind of trouble,” he said.  “Loki lied and cheated and tricked the other gods.”
    “He had no honor?”
    “Aye, that’s right.  He had no honor.  He did, however, have three sons, creatures he’d raised up to be terrible monsters.  One was a great serpent.”  Brandr hissed like a snake, making the little girl shiver in delighted revulsion.  The woman ignored his antics.
    “Odin cast him into the sea, where he grew so fast that his body coiled around the whole world and his tail grew into his mouth.”
    The little girl gasped with wonder.  Her mother continued chopping.
    “The second monster Odin imprisoned in Niflheim, a land where the sun never shines and it’s always dark.”
    “I’m not afraid of the dark,” Kimbery boasted.
    “That’s good.”
    “What about the third monster?”
    “He was called Fenrir, and he was a vicious, snapping wolf.”  Brandr snarled loudly, startling the woman.  She gasped and fumbled with her knife, dropping it with a clatter on the table.  He smirked, enormously satisfied.  “Odin brought him to Asgard, the home of the gods, hoping to tame him.”
    “Tame him like Finn?”
    “Finn?”
    “My dog.  He used to let me ride on his back.”
    “I see.  Nay, Fenrir was too wild to be tamed.  Each day, he grew bigger and bigger, more and more ferocious, until only one of the gods had the courage to feed him.  That god was Tyr, the god of war, another of Odin’s sons.  Tyr was brave and loyal, and every day he’d bring Fenrir his supper.”
    “What did Fenrir eat?”
    Glancing at the woman, who had gone back to chopping, he was tempted to say “Pictish wenches.”  Instead, he told her, “He ate meat—cows and pigs and—“
    “Sheep?” the lass asked fearfully.  “Did he eat sheep?  I have a sheep.”
    “Well…nay, I don’t think Fenrir liked the

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