Freewrite: the Sheath

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Here's a freewrite I did based on some random prompt words people gave me





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The days were long, gloomy and grey. The nights were longer, black and terrifying. The sea was in a bad mood and seemed out to prove that it could destroy the ships that lay on it in a split second, but was gracious enough not to. The men aboard the Dragon no longer cared about the mission. They wanted to know the touch of land again, and to feel the earth beneath their feet.
            Lightning exploded above them, and the ship was illuminated in a brilliant white. The captain, the skeppare, loomed above the rest of them, his furs drenched, and his armour shining. Strapped to his side was a large knife he only used when fighting his mortal enemies, to see the life drain from their eyes. It rarely left the sheaf.
            Skeppare Geirrod Nystrom bellowed orders, but with the roar of the ocean, and the creaking of the Dragon, his words disappeared into the rain. It didn’t matter, though, they knew what he was telling them. It had been the same instructions day after day. They were hunting for something, but they were not told what. Rumour was it Nystrom’s family was dying and he searched for a legendary berry that could cure them. But no one was sure if this was true, and if it was, if the berry existed. Some said he was looking for a holy weapon of myth. No one was sure. But all of that was so long ago. All they knew, for certain, was that Nystrom’s eyes grew wilder each day. In the scant hours of sleep the men received, he would be seen strolling the deck of the Dragon, idly, watching the endless expanse of ocean ahead of them. It was not long before they could see in his increasingly tired eyes the doubt that lay hidden beneath the glaring, angry confidence.
            He told them they were going to uncharted lands, and in his brightest moments, he could even motivate his men into forgetting how long they had been at sea. In those moments of sunshine, the trip seemed tolerable, even pleasant. But the storm had been going for days now, and day was barely distinguishable from night. It seemed it would last this way until they all died.
Nystrom would speak incomprehensibly of freedom, but not to anyone. The crew would hear him mumble to himself sometimes as he watched his men row, but no one would ask him in those times. They would see his hand clutching at the handle of his knife, as if debating whether or not to use it. Who his mortal enemies were on the ship, it was anyone's guess, but nobody wanted to find out. The storm continued and the Dragon fought the waves.
On the worst day, when the waves were so tall they threatened to engulf and submerge the ship completely, Nystrom was nowhere to be seen. The crew battled the rebelling ocean through the night. In the morning, the Dragon drifted ashore. When they went to find Nystrom, they found his knife unsheathed, clutched in his hand, and him sprawled across the table, the charts he had been keeping secret soaked through with blood. It looked like he had tried to write something in the blood, but it was illegible. The crew looked out at the land they had landed on, and for the first time in months, saw sunshine.








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