A blistering wind swept across the waves, battering the side of the longboat and causing spray to lash at the already drenched crew. But despite the gale, a dense fog still enveloped the ship. Standing at the prow Thorvall the Searcher flicked his tongue across his lips and tasted the saltiness of the sea, he squinted his eyes against the gust that blew hard but did not disperse the accursed clinging mist.

He had gone a Vikinger with twenty-three fellow farmers who had had to take to the sea after two failed harvests had left their families in need of coin to survive.

A bloody raid on a White Christ Church and village on the coast of England had gained the adventurers enough plunder to fill their hold full of gold, silver, and thank Odin, mead, and enough Thralls to put to work ploughing the fields to guarantee a successful coming harvest. They set sail having lost six good men to English bowmen who were maintaining a small garrison on the outskirts of the village, but the crew were in fine spirits and knew that their comrades would be feasting and fighting in the halls of Valhalla.


The fog came down suddenly without warning and Thorvall used the sunstone to stay true to their direction. As he looked out over the waves he saw something disturb the water, turning round to starboard side his glance just caught sight of something whipping through the air and wrapping itself around the mast. It glistened and pulsated as it coiled itself upward, suckers on its underside gripping the rough wood and gaining a firm purchase. Screaming a warning Thorvall launched himself onto the deck simultaneously drawing his sword named Nadar (Viper) and his battle axe, from his belt. Swinging the axe in an attempt to hack the beast in half he heard a yell from the stern and realised that what had grabbed the mast was only one limb out of many, all of which were rising from the water trying to gain purchase of the vessel.

The hafgufa’s tentacles whipped furiously through the air, plucking men from their row seats and flinging them into its giant maw. Horrified Thorvall watched as the colossal beast’s head emerged from the depths and one huge eye fixed him with a stare that unnervingly betrayed an intelligence that was almost humanlike.

Instantly Thorvall knew that to save his men he would have to sacrifice himself, he silently mouthed a prayer to the Allfather Odin as he flung away his axe and grasped Nadar’s handle with both hands. Holding the sword downwards he climbed upon the prow of the longship and released his mighty Thuum shout as he jumped off the side and drove Nadar’s sharp point into the monstrosity’s unblinking eye.

Immediately the hafgufa’s limbs released the ship and after thrashing about in an unholy fury the whole beast began to sink into the depths of the ocean. Thorvall held his breath until he was sure that the horror was retreating, but try as he might he could not pull loose Nardar that was embedded in the creatures eye wound from which also gushed an inky blackness that enveloped the warrior. He let go and started to float upwards, lungs almost bursting he could make out the surface and began to swim towards it. Almost there, he felt one of the creatures gruesome appendages grasp his ankle and slowly, ever so slowly it began to drag him down, down into Ran’s watery realm.


Aboard the longship the survivors watched as the fog lifted and the sun broke through the cloud. They raised the sail and they gave thanks to the valiant Thorvall, the Searcher whose brave act had saved their lives and in which they would sing of his sacrifice and tell the tale of his heroic act to their children and their children’s children.

Anyway, that’s what I thought of when I heard Thuum’s EP’ “Through Smoke, Comes Fire”. I can only hope that this bands music inspires you as much as it did me.

For Thor and Odin and us all…Valhalla awaits!

Into (Instrumental)
Through Smoke, Comes Fire


Words and Photos: Dan O’Gara