The year is AD 834.
The place is Wexford, Ireland – once known as Éire. The Green Island.
The man is Agnarr Halvardson from the village of Balestrand in Nordweg. Years ago, as a younger man, he raided Éire and found himself drawn to the island and her people. Now, he’s returned. He is
She was just about to open her mouth to tell him she didn’t want any tea but wanted to hurry home, when the air seemed to get heavy around them and lightning cracked in the thickening clouds overhead.
“Thor!” The Northman’s face filled with awe and dignity. He gripped the talisman he wore around his neck and said something she couldn’t comprehend. Thunder followed and then another three strikes of lightning in quick succession.
“God in Heaven, have mercy on us,” Aislinn whispered, poised for flight. Her heart pounded and her breath came in shallow gasps as she tried to think whether it would be best to hide in the trees or just try to run ahead of the storm. Or perhaps they should just keep walking?
Crack! Sssnap! A strange, violent sound preceded the top of a tree catching on fire. “Fire!” she shouted, wondering what the Northman was thinking, standing still in a storm like this.
He laughed, casting his arms out from his sides and smiling up at the flashing skies. “Fire!”
He had remembered the proper word for it, which briefly distracted Aislinn, but she moved quickly to his side, pushing her pleasure in his understanding of some words aside. “Come! We have to get away from the fire.” She tugged on his rain-wet arm. “Come!”
“Né, né. Fire. Bra. Ja.” With a nod, he covered her hand where it was still on his forearm. “Come,” he said, glancing down at her. That he had used her own word again made her smile and his own definitive, pleased expression slid away to something with a greater intensity. “Aislinn . . .”