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Ebb Tide

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Ivar was laying on his stomach by the shore, washing his face covered in dried blood. Once more he had achieved victory. He has proven himself before his brothers, his men and more important: The Gods.

 

The cries of battle had died and Ivar could only hear his own fast and shallow breath. Suddenly, something else attracted his attention. The sound of splashing water cracking the deathly silence he imposed upon this land. His hand moved to his axe in a reflex to fight a threat.

 

On the other side of the river he saw something that looked unreal. A maiden was bathing and unaware of the danger around her, innocent of the stink of death that penetrated Ivar's skin. He couldn't advert his eyes from the scene. Eyes closed, she was massaging her hair as dark as a night without stars. Even at distance her expression seemed one of pleasure. He imagined the drops of water sliding over her skin, an ochre color, much like the mellow-brown light that bathed the forest. Ivar was mesmerized imagining the water drops making their way from her succulent breasts, to her stomach and the mysterious place he wanted to fill between her legs. She was glowing under the sunset's golden light.

 

Ivar asked himself if his father's men felt the same way when they saw Aslaug, his mother, bathing. It should be something about the innocence of the action, the women being ignorant of how men were affected by them. The naturality of the gestures meant to clean the body and not for seduction. Ivar decided that watching a woman bathing was the closest of her truth any man could reach.

 

Are her eyes dark as obsidian?

 

As a prey feeling it's been hunted, she noticed him. Ivar grinned expecting her to scream and run. instead, she dove into the water to hide herself from his ravenous stare, only her eyes were out of water and she kept looking at him. Ivar sighed in frustration because he wished he could swim to come closer to her and uncover her secrets. She looked frightened, but her gaze was beckoning him in. If it was not for Ubbe interrupting, Ivar would sink into the dark depths of the lake.

 

“Ivar? Have you finished? We need to go.” Ubbe tried to attract Ivar’s attention without success.

 

“Ivar? What are you looking at?” Hearing Ubbe’s question Ivar sighed with his cheeks flushed crimson in anger.

 

“Nothing! We should go then. I want to attack the next village as soon as possible.” Ivar lied, not wanting to attract Ubbe’s attention to his woman. He didn’t even know what or who she was, but Ivar was feeling possessive already.

 

“Why? Our men must rest.” Ubbe’s hissed staring at Ivar slack-mouthed, not quite believing his brother’s words.

 

“I’m sure we will see something interesting in the next village. Tell the men not to take or harm the women before I can lay my eyes on them.” Ivar was breathing heavily and Ubbe shook his head in disagreement.

 

“Ivar! You know I don’t like this.” Ubbe tilted his head glaring at Ivar.

 

“Liking it or not, you will follow my command.” Ivar shouted slamming his fist on the ground splashing mud on his face.

 

Ubbe started walking away and Ivar looked at the lake once more before crawling away. For his disappointment, his beauty was gone. He bared his teeth in a feral smile.

 

I will found you in the next village, my dearest.