Chapter Smallest Non-Twin Prime
Scene One: On Giving Up
No one on shore had noticed. The conversation continued, now more distant.
“And that's why it's good to follow Boldor Sonsonson,” whispered Ulf.
“Aye,” Torgrim agreed. He stepped around a tied-down box to edge closer to Denario. “Smart of you to cut the line, Ulf. I love Heilgar. Of course I do. But I don't trust him to see the simple thing. If we trade Skilling, we're damned. We would deserve to fail.”
Denario examined what he'd just heard. Among other things, he realized he'd just been told the name of Dodni's brother, Heilgar.
“What now?” he asked. He checked the campfires. They were nearly twenty yards away. He could see movement around them. Probably the people there had noticed the missing raft.
“Can you steer us back to shore, Skilling?” Ulf tried to hand him the punt. “We don't want to get too far. We'll give ourselves up.”
“To Brand, most like,” said Torgrim. “We won't let Ragna live as a captive alone. Boldor would rather trade us all into servitude than to foresake anyone who trusted him. It would be different if Ragna was dead. We would mourn, of course. But we all understood that death was a risk we took when we left to form our kingdom.”
“You're just going to give up? Let go of your dream in order to be slaves together?”
“It sounds grim when you say it like that. But we don't have much choice.”
“You could fight.” Denario felt like an idiot for saying it. He knew it made him seem like the expert he wasn't. What would Vir have done in a situation like this?
“We've got a few minutes to think of how.” He knew that Vir would have acted quickly, for sure. “You're stronger than any human, for one thing. I've seen you work. You've got a hammer and an axe. Too bad that Ulf has only his axe.”
“An axe is enough,” said Ulf. “If you show us the way, I'll fight.”