He looked at the cold waters in front of him, then at the forest behind him. All around him, men and women were hauling materials; occasionally a small child would run back and forth, delivering messages. He himself held a crate of tools in his hands, but he allowed himself a minute or two of rest and recollection. It wasn't every day you went to a new land, after all. It was a new life, a new world for him to explore. An entire ocean rested between him and his old home now. It truly was something to marvel at, and something to fear at the same time.
Sighing, he carried the crate to a nearby pile of them, looking at the men sitting nearby playing a game of dice. Even so far out here, the work was being divided up amongst the unlucky. Some things would never change, even so far away. He put his crate down in a neat fashion and pried it open, revealing a number of axes. Pulling one out, he glanced at the group further away in the forest and went to join them. It took him some time but he finally arrived, lending his help to the men cutting down wood. The fall was here, and if they couldn't build shelter quickly then they'd all freeze in this new and unknown land. It was a tedious and hard job, but someone had to do it, and he was among one of the strongest youths in the party.
That night there were many celebrations, several fires roaring and the best of the salted meat roasted and eaten. The ale brought along was broken out and all were happy to have made the great journey safely. They were a tight band, seventy six heads if you included the three natives they had come across in the lands to the far north they passed while on the voyage. It was a marvelous party, and he enjoyed himself thoroughly throughout it. When it had all died down and many were asleep, he stayed up, gazing at the sky. Even though they had traveled thousands of miles, the stars still were the same. It was a strange thing that he doubted he'd ever understand.
Someone came from behind, a young woman. He smiled and they embraced, then looked at the stars together. The months ahead would test the mettle of all involved; society itself would have to be rebuilt. Houses would be erected, wells dug, hunting grounds established. Perhaps there would be combat with the natives; perhaps a famine would strike. Regardless, he knew he had to keep his spirits up. The gods would watch over them, he was sure. In his eyes he could see a prosperous future, thousands living in this Newfound land. There'd be children in the streets, bakers, farmers, blacksmiths, cities...
And so, with that, he returned to the camp and slept. Slept and waited for what tomorrow would bring.
At 495 words, this story was written for the Ambage Skype Write Off and is being posted for the Flash Fiction contest because
of much arm twisting it fits the bill nicely. More of a setting piece but that's what you get when you write something in fifteen minutes and spend the first five asking questions.
Yes they're Vikings, and yes it's not exactly historically accurate.
Edited by Cybernetic Alex Humva, Dec 16 2012 - 11:32 AM.