Thor’s Day Alert #15: Storm of the North Excerpt
Happy Thor’s Day, everybody!
Other projects will be cutting into my blog-time for the next week or two, so for today and the next couple of posts I’ll be taking the easy way out and posting excerpts from my novel, STORM OF THE NORTH.
For those of you who’ve read the only other excerpt posted on my blog, here, following please find what happens next in our hero’s first battle:
What the — ? Onund thought, disbelieving his eyes despite a Jut battle cry meeting his ears. Five hundred warriors scrambled from the previously unseen ships.
But so too did a Jut battle cry erupt from the hilltop.
He turned his head once more toward the front, paralyzed with indecision.
“Nordmen: take the hill! Take the hill!” he heard Captain Soren yell. “Go! Go! Go!”
Unstuck, Onund and the Nordheim shield wall yelled themselves, taking but one step before the Jutvik line rushed over the crest to fall on them so like a torrent. Shield met shield up and down the line, the collision of wood booming like a thunderclap. Onund felt the crush of the Juts’ superior inertia pressing down on him. A spear stabbed over the tangled lines of men, glancing off his helmet.
The terrible weight of the initial onslaught subsided. He swung his axe, it flashing overhead indeed like lightning.
One of its great blades bit through a helmet, sinking all the way down to the wearer’s jaw.
Onund wrenched his weapon free. He smiled grimly and, pumping his mighty legs, drove his first kill ahead of him as he broke through the Jutvik line. Hardly clear of it, with a half-blind backhand chop he smashed the lower spine of another Jut. “Ha!” he shouted in triumph as he spun to strike again.
The thrill of his two kills faded as quickly as it had risen. Onund stood atop the hill, joined there by just thirty or forty other Nordmen. On the strand below, a dozen Jut archers fired arrow after arrow into the middle of the Nordheim line, while their ghost-ship comrades flung themselves against its right flank. Captain Soren, trapped out in the open between the archers and his own men, ducked and strapped his kite-shield across his back. He charged then toward the line, broadsword raised and gleaming in the moonlight, screaming, “Forward, Nordmen! Forward for your lives!”
But it was too late for scores of them. And where was Keldan?
“Och!” Onund shouted and began to run toward the middle of their failing line. As he went, he yelled at the other free men who had gone to work on Jutvik backs. “To the middle and Captain Soren!”
The left end of the Nordheim shield wall was faring well, and not a single Jut broke from it to hamper Onund and his growing team’s progress across the hill. Down the line, the Nordmen who had there broken through now turned and fought to free their brothers newly wrapped in a roiling mass of men. The chatter of clashing weapons and the screams of the dying bound the opposing lines in an eerie twine. Onund looked again toward Captain Soren, who, shield on his back, entered the fight while chopping with a short axe in his left hand and broadsword slashing in his right.
Behind Captain Soren, one of the Jut archers fell face-forward on the stony shore.
And another still.
As Onund and the men with him dived into the middle of the line, he saw Keldan loose an arrow from behind the curving prow of a Nordheim ship. He’d circled back, unhurt!
More next week, if you’re interested. Thanks for stopping by!