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The Curse of the Cross: A Heathen Fable

by Bjorn


Let's see. This is the first ever topic I made in the stories section, wow! :o That being said I am, of course, not new to writing. I've plently tales brewing in my mind and on paper, some in the due process of being completed, some yet in their planning stages. However, that is all off topic. I'm here today, and for several days (at uneven intervals, for personal duty is as yet more important) to post what I claim to be a fable (a short story with a moral, or lesson, at the end). I post it in the historical-fiction section because it is just that, a fictional tale set within a historical timeframe (dates manipulated to the stories need, if and when it calls for it-but then, the exact dates are not known for sure, so...I have some leeway there! :) ). There is naught much else to make clear as what I will post of the tale now pretty much sums up the first part pretty well. Constructive criticism is of course accepted, but it must be noted that this is by no means a final draft of what there is (unless of course it turns out to be...That is up to your discretion :o )! And here it is:

The Curse of the Cross: A Heathen Fable

In the year of 793 A.D. a gang of plundering Vikings raided seven monasteries and churches about the coasts of Europe. The seventh raid occured on a monastery on the Isle of Lindisfarne, right off the coast of England. This was a particularily terrible raid in which most of the monks and brothers of the monastery were cruely slain save a few who fled with the body of St. Cuthbert, the patron saint of Northumberland. This was the beginning of the Viking Age, an Age dominated by the violent acts of Nordic pirates and heathens.

These particular Vikings, seventy-five strong, filling three longboats, were to drop off the loot from Lindisfarne in their lair. The pride of the hoard was a fine gold crucifix of formidable size. However, on their way a wild wind swept that ship bearing the crucifix off course, taking it into waters unknown to the crew; were the stars were different, and often veiled. How many sunsets and rises went by none of the crew of that damned longboat knew, for in the midst of that accursed water time, it seemed, had little meaning. All cursed the cross, which they saw as the cause of the whole mess. Even the captain of the boat, a particularily violent, and devout worshipper of Thor, subsequently believing not at all in Christianity which many of his kin had turned to, and its God, looked ill upon it.

Their food stock began to drop, their fresh water and mead aswell, and sooner than later their crew of twenty-five strong dropped to twenty-four, then to twenty-three, until who knows how many days later,in the westerning sun, the raiders spotted land in the distance, and rowed particularily hard towards it. It must be told now that the crucifix of Lindisfarne survived their accursed journey in those waters, despite many a plea to cast it overboard. The captain, who was appropriately named Ulf the Wicked, resisted all pleas and attempts to do so.

Once on land they made quick camp, hoarding their loot into a great hole they dug, and on command of the captain placed the cross on top, so, as the captain said, to 'remember where the loot was'. They then set out to sleep, which they gladly did on dry land.

The morning, and the subsequent days following, was the beginning of an ironic sequence of events leading to the eventual systematic butchery of the crew.


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Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:13 pm
Bjorn says...



I've written a few pages for this story this past month which I shall type up and post here when I'm not lazy (after saying that I feel like doing it today...)




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Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:23 pm
Bjorn says...



And for that act, that act which should have pleased the gods which we Men of the North so truthfully worship, I was exiled. Why? Why should have that monk lived? Lived to continue spreading his lies? As a guest, they say, he came to the North. A friend of a most esteemed trader of the South. Him, too, I disposed of. Yet some spineless fool- one of my own Karls! - betrayed my acts to the Thing. He was probably a convert. May Thor strike him down, and the wolves of Odin rip him apart for such a betrayal. Yet I went not alone, for the rest of my faithful warriors, 73 good, sturdy men, followed me, their jarl. Now we ride the North Sea to the Land of the Saxons and Angles to the West. There may we plunder and conquest,

"In the name of the Gods!"




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Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:39 am
Bjorn says...



Thanks. I'll add more as soon as I can.




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Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:22 am
Torpid says...



cool , nice lil addition




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Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:48 am
Bjorn says...



The lord looked down at Thor, his hammer held high in the air ready to smite the enemies of the gods and humans. 'I've done them a service,' he thought. 'The gods will surely look down upon my actions in favour'.
"My lord?" one of the guards asked.
"Yes?" the jarl replied, being suddenly aware of a headless monk in his wooden hall.
"What shall we do with this one?"


Bands of burly, jovial men galloped across a rolling meadow, a mighty hall above and beyond the next hillock their destination. When they arrived their laughter, and talk of feasting and drinking, was replaced with a grave silence. There, just outside the walls of their lord's court, was a cross with a headless man's body tied to it; his attire was that of a monk from the South. Each man understood, silently. A Christian monk was brought to their lord's hall and his teachings were denied-none of the the lords faithful karls were to convert to the religion of the South, on pain of death.




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Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Bjorn says...



All in good time my curious fellow! The backstory is needed! But yes, when I do get to it, it will be interesting.




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Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:52 pm
Torpid says...



good. i would like to see more of the vikings with the cross.




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Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:45 pm
Bjorn says...



' "Praised be God!" the translator relayed the final words spoken by the Frankish monk, who now took his seat. The translator, a trader with the Franks, looked nervously at a man sitting in a high seat at the head of the table, which dominated the centre of a great hall. The man, the lord of the hall, had his chin propped up on his fist, and in turn stared coldly across the table, at the monk, then at the Bible in front of 'Holy Man'. The monk was terribly distraught-Christianity was only recently introduced to the Northmen through new trade routes across the Continent, and they proved as zealous to their belief in the Aesir and Vanir as Christians were to God.
Time passed on as the lord of the hall collected his thoughts, then suddenly spoke, making both the translator and monk jump: "How dare you stain the walls of my forefathers with your preachings of a God who willingly dies for his lessers, and not for his own glory, and insisting that all men are equal and should forgive each other of their crimes! I would die for my own glory and abundance, earning myslef a place in Valhalla-Hall of the Brave- than die an old man who knew no adventure or thrills in life. And your psalms are to no comparison with the poems of my skalds." His voice came like the thunder of Thor's chariot, and the monk would'nt have to have heard the translation to understand what it meant. Having had to endure the now fiery eyes of the jarl, for that is what all lords of the Northmen are named, for another length of unbearable time, he added icily: " To let you live now would be a great disservice to my kisman and the gods we pay tribute to. I suppose now you are a martyr, in the eyes of your God-fearing fellows." he added with a grin. He was now erect in his high seat, like a doomsmen of the gods.
When he saw the translator falter at this final statement, he motioned for the guards who stood near to 'take him outside', which they did. The monk waited for his own judgement, not knowing he was just sentenced to death. He looked around the wooden hall: tapestries lined the walls, all depicting scenes of the Northern gods and their deeds; wooden barrels were piled in the north-eastern corner of the hall, to the left of the jarl. The jarl himself was clothed with a large wolf's pelt, not his regular non-combat attire, but he obviously wished to show his ademancy of his culture and beliefs to the monk. His large war-axe was on the table in front of him, as was a statuette of Thor, wielding his mighty hammer Mjolnir.
The monk had just laid his eyes on the statuette, cursing it in Latin, when he abrubtly turned upon hearing the creak of the hall's doors. In came the two guards, walking straight towards him-one was wiping his blade clean. The monk now knew his high doom. His head shot back to the jarl, who was now fingering his axe, blisfully unaware of the monk's existence in the hall. The monk himself now shot up, his head turning from the guards to the jarl screaming, in Latin: cursing the barbarious 'heathens' of the North, the guards, walking slowly, relishing the monks anguish, kept on; pleading for mercy, one guard lifted his axe and cut the monk short-a head short.




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Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:40 pm
Bjorn says...



Forget my first post, that's my scrapped version. Also, I've changed the part that talks about how they got to were they are, en route to Lindisfarne. And as soon as I'm done this science work, I'll post what I have thusfar (I am working on two stories).




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Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:00 am
Torpid says...



u tell story in a diff, untraditional way. half documnentary half story, all telling no showing, but tis good. i like it. the second entry was hard to read and kee track of but it is good. intriguing, id read more.




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Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:46 am
Bjorn says...



I'm glad! And you won't have to wait long, I've just re-wrote Ulfradr's history which I will post either tommorow or Saturday. I really want to drone on about it, but then it would ruin the surprise element of the story! And we can't have that now, can we? ^_~




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Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:21 pm
Niamh says...



I absolutely LOVE Vikings! I am crazy about Viking history, so I can't wait to read more of this! The grammar could use some work, but other than that, I'll be watching for more!!!!!!




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Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:54 am
Shine says...



Great!!




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Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:02 pm
Bjorn says...



I'm reading a book about vikings, and I just found an excellent story about Snorri's great great and great grandfathers which I will incorporate into this story. In fact, what I just wrote above will be replaced by it.




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Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:18 am
Shine says...



Yep!There are too much grammatical and spelling errors,so.....better revise it.




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Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:51 am
Bjorn says...



All right! Thank-you. I just edited those two things, and I'll post some more now! :)

They were karls, led by their one jarl, or chieftan. These freeman of the northern lands might still be with their wives and farms, but for the sequence of events that took place preventing their return to either-on pain of death.
What started out as a mere test of manhood, became a test of survival. It was in Ulfradr's hall, the jarl, that a drinking contest broke out between two already drunk karls. Either became fiercer when they saw the other would not stop the steady intake of ale. As can be imagined either wished to be the victor, and the massive intake of alcohol insured this was all their intoxicated minds thought of. It was the larger of the two who threw the first punch. Sooner than later swords were drawn, and an unclear division split the hall into two opposing factions. The clash of steel that ensued lasted for a short time before it was clear the karl who started the fight, and those who stood behind him, had won after he'd slain his opponent. The two factions where ever at each other necks from then on, and their jarl, Ulfradr, now had a divided land.
When Ulfradr brought the case to the Thing, the assembly which tried to resolve such conflicts, which not always presented fair, lasting, or effective results, he was dissapointed. It seemed the assembly had been tipped off before Ulfradr brought his story forward, and he himself was charged with the events that happened in his hall, as well as the karl who started the brawl, and his companions. He, and his remaining faithful karls, were banished from the land. Return meant anyone had leave to slay them without fear of being charged for murder. So, filling three longboats, they set sail from the Westcoast of Denmark. Their purpose now? Plunder and raid, formimg a mercenary army from the riches acquired, and aimed at the destruction of the half of Ulfradr's hall that wasn't banished and re-acquire the banished karls', and their jarl's, honour.
With Denmark's attachment to the Mainland, and the opening of many new trade routes, Christianity was soon introduced to the Northern Lands, who had worshipped a train of gods each with a purpose in their society and culture. It wasn't large with them, and subsequently they cared little for it. However, they saw that churches and monasteries, and many other places of worship of God, were ladden with many a rich treasure, and were virtually unprotected. It was these places that Ulfradr and his gang targeted, armed with axe, spear, sword, and revenge.
They got themselves an island, off the coast of Frisia, and there they stored their acquired plunder, and where they lived when they weren't off raiding. Seven months since they left their former life and land, three since they began their raiding of the coasts of Frisia and of the Franks, and they had had plundered 11 monasteries. They were emboldened by their initial success, and turned their sights now on the the Isle of the West-the land of the Anglo-Saxons. Word had reached their ears, from monks who begged for mercy, of the Anglo-Saxons most holy place of worship-a small island known as Lindisfarne. So that small, yet formidable, gang set preparations for the plundering of Lindisfarne, with the ever-present thought it held a great store of wealth. The crew sent out on a fair morning-never to set their eyes on their isle of plundered treasures or the known lands ever again.


Oh I know it needs revisioning, or maybe the style is bad. Just tell me here. :?




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Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:47 pm
Firestarter wrote a review...



Ah, the new version is certainly more like a story than a documentary.

Firstly, the dialogue should be on a seperate line to the paragraph.

Second, the vocabulary isn't very varied. You use wind several times. You could switch this with lots of things e.g. breeze, gale or metaphors.

Would like to see more.




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Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:14 am
Bjorn says...



Here it is, the beginning of my radically changed style for this story:

The wind was blowing hard against three longboats as they made their way West across the North Sea; the sails were down. A man stood in the front of the middle boat, his hand resting on a dragons head carved into the prow. Behind him twenty-four others were rowing hard against the tempest, rain lashing against their grim forms relentlessly-the weather was against these men, but they pressed on.
"What wild weather..." the man in the prow whispered.




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Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:00 pm
Bjorn says...



I suppose your right. To be honest I had the same thought. And that first line does make it seem so much like a documentary... I suppose I'll go and pad her up then!

You know I was aiming at a particular style when writing this, not in the 'he said, she said' fashion. But now I think I', gonna completely re-do everything I have of this (which is really only 3 pages now) and do it in a more narrative style.




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Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:24 pm
LamaLama wrote a review...



This is a good start, but your missing a lot of information that would make us think this was fiction. I felt like I should be watching a documentary while this was beign read. This is almost like an outline. You have a lot of basic information, but its not doing anything to pull us, the readers, in. So, now that you have the facts, pad it up with a lot of stuff that we dont know yet. Assume that when the reader picks up this piece of work that he or she is completely unaware of anything that ever happened in relation to your story. What do these people look like, what do they enjoy, why are the vikings raiding these churches?

You have the who, the what, the where, and the when, but not the how or why.





The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust