I've got the story idea set and I'm working on characters--here are two of them, below. I'm still undecided on some of the names, but I'm immersing myself in Old Norse history and nomenclature so I can be as accurate as possible. Even though my story dwells in the realms of the supernatural, I feel that keeping as close to historical reality for the background will help me make the story gritty and real.
Have a hand in shaping this story -- check back often and email me your comments. I'll alert you here to polls that will let you help direct the story and I'll post new snippets like the one below every now and then to give you a taste of what's to come!
The door crashed open, wood splintering against wood. Snow rushed in; not flakes, but a cascade of sparkling dust propelled by the icy breath of the wind. For a moment, the cadence of music and laughter in Egill’s longhouse stuttered as all heads turned to a tall figure draped in a woolen cape.
The man stamped his feet at the entrance, clots of snow and ice falling away from his leathern boots. His head, hooded, appraised the crowd, scanning. After a pause, he nodded as if to an old friend, an action that distinguished him as a comrade; harmless.
Once he was marked as friend rather than foe, the tension in the room eased, like a held breath released. Revelers returned to their mead cups and dicing and the sounds of celebration steadied, filling the hall with cheer. Except for Egill, everyone ignored the man as he moved to the hearth, his long cloak swirling around his ankles like smoke..
Egill Skallamgrimsson, chieftain of Osternord, shifted in his carved dragon-chair. His eyes narrowed to wary slits as the newcomer suspended his hands over the flames of the hearth, relieving their chill. There was nothing unusual in travelers visiting their port town, but something about this man worried Egill. Like hungry ravens feasting on a hreinndyr carcass, his thoughts harried him to take a closer look. Egill rarely ignored these thoughts; they’d saved his life more than once.