Short Story – THE PIRATE ATTACK
WARNING: Explicit Violent Content. Please read on at your own discretion
A heavy axe fell down on sailor’s head and gashed it. Jelly pieces of gray and white brain matter flew in different directions. If a hypothetical observer tried to analyze which pieces were of gray and which of white matter, it would be impossible as both kinds were profusely decorated with dense blood. Also no one gathered on the deck paid any attention to what just happened. Everybody was busy with a brutal fight. Soon after chopping one head, another decapitated one was rolling through the jelly fragments of the mentioned sailor’s brain, or maybe it was viscera of one of his comrades.
The owner of the heavy axe kicked some arm, already cut off but still trembling in convulsions, in order to clear his way towards the next opponent.
“Guys are not lazy. That’s good!” thought he, for a short while wondering a chaotic dance of the shaking arm on the deck.
He was a yarl, a commander of the Viking ship who had just attacked the Byzantine dramon*. He approached his next enemy, and the same tactics succeeded again despite opponent’s steel helmet. The hit was, however, not so spectacular. The steel had a poor quality, so it only bended and integrated with opponent’s head releasing a fountain of blood diluted with cerebrospinal fluid. It was stinking terribly, but no one paid attention to the smell, except for the yarl who seemed to be even excited with it.
The next hostile seaman made a step back as soon as he realized that he was the next yarl’s target. Having seen fear in his eyes, the Viking smiled and moved forward. The seaman was still getting back, but soon he unexpectedly slipped on unidentified viscera which had already profusely covered the deck. Lying among the different body parts, he noticed a liver under his head. It was soft almost like a pillow, and this was the last feeling in his life. The famous yarl’s axe easily found home in seaman’s belly. Too easily. It dived deep into the sailor’s body, came through it, and stuck in the board of the deck. Yarl had problems with releasing it from the dead body, but fortunately the battle was up to the end. Actually it was lasting not much longer than the time needed to read about it. :) A surprise and a quick abordage were Vikings’ speciality.
Viking soldiers quickly discovered that the Byzantine dramon was carrying a precious load They just had to look on what was under the deck. They were overjoyed with their finding. It was a bid load of silk…
Only one Byzantine sailor survived the attack. He just gave up in the right moment. The Vikings ordered him to approach the yarl.
“You coward! You have chosen to give up instead of fighting with your fellow sailors. Looking at you is filling me with loath!!!”
The seaman, dirty with blood and viscera was standing with his head down, shaking. In different circumstances he would probably admire yarl’s pure Greek. Not only did the chief of the Vikings knew the language, but also was speaking very fluently. Indeed, the yarl used to serve in Byzantine army as a mercenary for many years.
The seaman who surrendered was given a task. Yarl ordered him to clean the deck. They had to transport the silk to their ship, and didn’t want it to get dirty with blood.
Sobbing, the Byzantine sailor collected the remains of his fellows, or rather the parts of their bodies and threw them into the river. A quick burial which in another case could be classified as barbarous was assisted with a quiet prayer and tears of authentic, heavy sorrow.
After he had done the last duty for his mates he was called by the yarl who was standing near the edge of the ship.
Meanwhile, the Vikings washed their clothes and started to move packs of silk to their ship.
The Byzantinian seaman approached the yarl, shaking.
Yarl started his speech. He pronounced a big portion of swearing to the seaman, mentioning his cowardy once again. In the end he said, of course in pure Greek language:
“Despite your cowardy, I appreciate how you cleaned the deck. You won’t lose your reward. Take the sword!”
The seaman didn’t move a muscle. He was terrified too much, paralyzed with fear.
“Take the sword!” shouted the yarl again, and put one of the swords from the deck into seaman’s hand.
A quick, mighty whizz of air followed the blade of the axe. Sailor’s head was rolling on the deck, leaving fresh red marks on the cleaned board. At the same time a powerful kick sent the rest of sailor’s body aboard.
The rest of Vikings admired yarl’s charity. Instead of condemning the coward, he allowed him to die with a weapon in his hand, and maybe Odin would welcome him in the kingdom of Valhalla.
The Vikings got everything they wanted from the dramon. They knocked pots with oil, and spilled it all around the deck and also under it. Then they returned to their drakkar and set the dramon on fire.
“It would be better if Byzantines didn’t know about our pirate attack. Especially if we are not going to change our point of destination.” thought yarl, looking at the burning ship.
“Mighty yarl! Are we still going to Midgard, just as you have planned?” asked one of his soldiers.
“Sure Swen. I promised to show you the City of Wonders, and I’ll keep my promise. I’ve been there many times and even served in Varangian guard, as a soldier of the Emperor himself!”
“But we have just robbed and sank one of their ships, killing all the Byzantines…”
“Don’t worry. All the Vikings do such tricks. Soon will arrive to them and sell them their own silk which we have just stolen. In the capital of Byzantium we can exchange the silk for gold in the proportion of one to one.”
“But mighty yarl… What is propotion?”
“They will scale the silk and give us the same amount of gold, you idiot!”
The ship almost finished burning. Yarl turned his head and shouted to men holding oars:
* dramon – a Byzantine ship, often painted blue