Sunday, 4 February 2018

Brunnar the Mighty: Chapter I


Brunnar the Mighty is my first pulp story in the science fantasy tradition. Follow the entire story through the blog.

The blizzard wind blasted against the chapped skin of a hulking figure clothed in tattered bear furs, grasping in his massive hands a great axe he called Northwind. It had been three days since the rune warrior Brunnar had caught glimpse of a soul, though in his exhaustion there had been times when he thought he had spotted three figures hovering in the distance. He had surmised that these figures were not those of his living kin, but ghostly ancestors watching his plight through the vast snowy wastes of northern Krun. Ancestors only appeared to those who were nearing the end of their journey in this mortal realm, but even with this thought in his mind the goliath trudged onwards determined that this say wouldn't be his last. 

Four days ago Brunnar had every reason to be joyful. After a particularly fruitful raid on the Ytuk tribe, of whom his own Gortan tribe were sworn enemies, he and his companions spent their time on their return home aboard the longboat feasting, dancing and drinking wine. Brunnar and his lifelong friend Jotun traded stories of their childhood and tales of their many gods, chugging back their wineskins with laughter in their eyes. Jotun was a fierce warrior with dark skin and eyes like ice pools. The tattoos that adorned his body told the story of his ancestors, just like all adults men and women of the Gortan tribe. Despite Brunnar being two years Jotun's senior, he looked up to his friend as a wise and cunning man with a good heart.

Later that night a violet wind pummeled the longboat, sending icy waves thrashing over the sides. The men were tossed around like ragdolls, many cursing the Ytuk who they decided had cast an enchantment on the sea that night. In the frozen blackness the boat broke under the weight of a terrible wave, fractured in two pieces sending warriors to their depths in that damned abyss. Brunnar managed to keep his head above water as he clung onto a floating plank but he could not see his friend. He called Jotun's name through the chaotic din, but there came no response. He saw two shadowy figures close by bobbing in the water like buoys and heard the cries of his men. Before Brunnar could swim closer he felt the full force of another wave crash into his body, sending him into a spiral. He felt himself slipping down, down into the depths to meet the sea gods and merfolk of his mother's tales. He could see nothing now apart from the black void and could do nothing for his muscles were frozen. His mind went back to his wife and daughter waiting back home and the cooked stew that would be bubbling in the pot. He lost all sense of time as he drifted. His time had finally come.