When he awoke, he saw before him an endless swath of blue. On the horizon the sky merged with the glassy sea. The storm had passed. So had the longship and all its crew. He never learned how long he had lain unconscious in the lifeboat.
The sun had scorched his skin a purplish red and turned his lips to brittle parchment. He was overcome by a great thirst, but there was nothing on the boat with which to quench it. Had he been spared from so much only to die now? No... Naransen was the son of the great Gunnestad and he would never give up. He had had twenty springs under his belt when he embarked on this voyage. When was that? Long ago... very long ago. Back when his friends still lived. When he still had his left hand, not this stiff stump. When his beard was still red and not streaked with silver.
The drive for glory which had driven him from his family home had demanded a high price. Naransen had never given that a second thought, but now, alone in a lifeboat in the middle of an endless ocean, he felt tired. He wanted to once again set eyes on the farm on which he had been raised. To see the eyes of his mother, who had lulled him to sleep with tales of the deeds of the legendary heroes. Now he had become one of them. Now mothers would tell their sons about him. His greatest dream had become reality. He should have been happy, but he wasn't. Perhaps if he had known then what travails and hardship awaited him...?
Yet no man can know his future. One thing is sure, however: even if Naransen had known what horrors this life had in store for him, he never would have chosen another. He was the son of the great Gunnestad and he had walked the path of Glory, from which one can never stray. No matter the cost.