Ran the Sea Goddess scoured the beach on the aftermath of the storm, she fully expected to find a soul in need.
Earlier she was dozing in her watery chambers when she heard the cry of anguish, pain and fear. Immediately she called forth a huge violent storm. She sensed a soul in trouble and the presence of sailors not far from her and sent the storm in their direction. The scream had pierced her senses and awoke a feeling of outrage and retribution.
Now that the waters had calmed a little and the storm subsided the beach should reveal at least something though she was unsure what. The sailors, she knew, had met their demise on the sea bed and by the looks of it all had been accounted for but she was still looking for the source of the wail that caused her to react.
The beach so far had been empty and desolate but she would not give up.
The sack on young Keira’s shoulders was heavy and burdensome, it dug into the muscles on her back as she struggled to follow the priest down the old path to the beach. The priest was a newcomer to the town, he only arrived 2 years ago but in that time he had converted the entire town to Christianity and wormed his slimy way into the favours of the town elders. His influence and alleged piety convinced the elders to hang her grandmother as a witch, she would have been hung too had the elders not convinced the priest to keep her as a servant and dogsbody. Her parents had died from a plague that swept through Ireland when she was a baby so her grandmother had raised her up to be a healer and midwife…and yes if truth be told; a witch. And as such her mind was quick and powerful with heighten senses, even now she sensed the apprehension in the priest as they approached the beach. You could smell the fear through the unwashed clothes he wore, this hateful man who was usually overweeningly confident and arrogant now walked with less assured steps.
Once on the beach they were accosted by a horde of Vikings and presented to their chief, the priest talked quickly with gestures, he had come to bargain for the town’s safety, buying their freedom with the sack of valuables that Keira carried. The chief called to one his men to inspect the sack for it’s worth all the time his eyes lingered on Keira, the lust blatant and unashamed. The man inspecting the sack nodded his approval and the priest sighed with relief and pushed Keira into the arms of the Chief. The Chief and his men were armoured for battle and the smell of metal and sweat invaded Keira’s nostrils but the lust on his eyes froze Keira to the core. She had suspected that the priest was up to no good but she did not expect to be part of the bargain.
The Chief shouted a command to his men and they hauled her off to the long boat, he would deal with her shortly and perhaps give her to his men later if they found no satisfaction on the next raid. He caught the priests oily smirk as he watched Keira being taken away, the hypocrisy of this so called priesthood smacked of cowardice. With one quick and powerful motion he buried his axe in the priest’s skull, let their God cast judgement on him now.
The men boarded the long boat fully armoured, with effort they planned to make the next raid before too long, they pushed off from the beach and before leaving the shore line Keira managed to glance back onto the sandy shore to see it stained red with the blood of the dead priest. She turned to see the Chief watching her as he barked out orders to his men, their language was alien to her but the intent is evident and the men were eager for the battle and conquest of the next raid.
The Chief however was intent on the conquest of Keira. Once the men and the ship were on their way along the coastline he approached Keira at the end of the long boat and stripped young Keira of her clothes, leaving her with just a simple shift. Keira was terrified by the brutality and the size of the man, she now understood that this would be her life from now on, subjugation and sexual slavery. She was thrown down and pinned to the deck, although frozen in action her powerful mind screamed out in terror, anguish and injustice as the Chief vented his lust upon her.
Almost immediately a violent storm struck the boat from nowhere, no warning or signs given, any man standing or not holding on to anything was instantly blown off deck and into the sea. The sky turned black and the sea churned with enormous waves that tossed the long boat around like a cork. Man after man were cast into the boiling water only to be dragged under by the weight of their armour. With one massive wave the boat tipped on its side and Keira was flung into the salty water, there was no time to recover from her ravishment but her survival instincts kicked in and she scrambled to keep afloat unhindered by heavy clothing or armour. She swam away from the gradually sinking boat and headed back to shore. The storm strangely aided her in her struggles and she was blown towards the shore, however it was a long swim and the cold water drained her strength. Every ounce of energy got harder and harder to muster, a distant beach seemed almost in reach but the effort felt beyond her. The need for survival pushed her on but increasingly she sank more and more under the water and every time it drained her further.
Eventually she felt sand under feet ……..
and she scrabbled ashore with her last reserves of energy …..
only to collapse at the waters edge.
At the water’s edge she finds a scantly clad young woman, obviously cast up and beached due to the storm.
The poor bedraggled woman was exhausted and unresponsive to simple touch. Ran pulled the woman further from the waterline and upon closer inspection found that she was in a serious way, her breathing was shallow and weak, her body cold as death.
She dragged the near lifeless form along the sand and into the shelter of the nearby dunes.
She was certain this was the source of the scream though it was difficult to be sure, she stripped young Keira and checked for more serious injuries but apart from bruises and scrapes she found none. The young woman was simply exhausted and near death, her heart had barely enough energy to beat and Ran knew soon it would stop, the life energy had run out. There was little to be done with normal healing skills, however Ran was not mortal and had no such limitations.
She probed the mind of this washed up form and found it to be strong and interesting, obviously some training had been used at some point. And of course she was very beautiful, perhaps she could keep this one as a lover.
She hesitated though, the healing gift she considered using was frowned upon by the other gods and was not to be used lightly, for it gave the healed mortal a life that exceeded their normal lifespan by a long way. Their health would not be affected by disease or old age but they would still be mortal. On the other hand her mind was unusual and the gift would have to be used now before it was too late….she looked deeply at Keira and was overwhelmed by her beauty.
Ran rested Keira’s head upon her lap and bestowed the gift of the gods, for good or ill the deed was done. Keira did not respond and Ran wondered if she was too late but gradually her breathing returned to normal and she could feel the heart beat in her chest becoming stronger.
The heat from sheltered dunes warmed Keira’s body and the life started to return to normal, she moaned a little and tried to move but was still too weak, at last she opened her eyes to find her rescuer looking down at her. Ran’s own beauty was angelic and her demeanour soft and gentle, the touch of her hand was like silk and her caresses were gentle and loving. A stark contrast to the brutality of the Norse Chief, she stared into Ran’s eyes and was spellbound. She instantly submitted completely to Ran…
Oh yes, thought Ran, you will do nicely…..
To be continued….in the next chapter titled ‘Out of the frying pan….’
Ran played by Ivory Flame
Keira played by Kiera Lavelle
Concept and photography by John McNairn