The isle loomed almost unperceivable through the fog. Lars tugged his boat ashore and stumbled along the ragged rocks towards the simple wooden house. The stone chimney puffed out hot dense smoke.
“Dear God, you appear to have aged years!” hermit Jørgen yelled as he helped Lars inside. It sure felt like years, though he couldn’t have been out on the ocean for more than three weeks.
“Did you see it?” Jørgen’s gleeful, darting eyes asked, though the words did not escape his lips.
Did he encounter the fabled beasts from Nordic legends, thought to guard the place where the sea spilled over the edge of the world? The ferocious sea-dragons that supposedly killed every Dane that passed this remotest of outposts for the past six months? Lars thought he saw one on more than one occasion, but they turned out to be tricks played by nature. Or by the hunger that nearly killed him after his provisions were washed away in a storm on day four.
“I saw none,” The sailor admitted. “None of the beasts that have taken the lives of our best men.”
“You made it out alive.”
“And the frontier?”
“A thundering sound of gallons of water o’erflowing the edges of our world. But the fog never lifted.”
“Shame that. What a sight it would have been.”
Jørgen handed Lars a bowl of steaming stew.
“Here, this should get your spirits up.”
Large meaty lumps floated in the thick gravy. The food went down quickly.
“I saw no animals on the island nor birds in the sky. What meat is this?” Lars enquired.
The hermit’s hand was already firmly clasping the giant axe beside the fireplace.
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