"At least there's a wind," observes Ecgwine, far too cheerfully.
Sure. That means I can lean over the side and be sick, rather than throw up while rowing. It's a comforting thought, I suppose.
I should introduce myself. I'm Godric, I'm Thegn Aelfric's champion, and I hate sailing. That's Aelfric over there in the prow of our ship, blond hair blowing around in the wind off our stern, looking every inch the hero he's trying to be. He's alright, is Aelfric. Bit serious, but no coward, and a wise head on young shoulders. Ecgwine's his cousin, son of Aelfric's uncle, the Cyning Ecgfrith, and we... lucky lucky us... get to babysit the pretty boy and show him the ropes, while at the same time wrapping him in soft fleeces and making sure he comes to no lasting harm. That and keep him out of the way of at least two Thegns' daughters back home, whose fathers have made it very clear that next time... ah... certain things... happen he goes back to Ecgfrith minus his ... ah... weapon, Cyning's son or not.
"Make sure he comes to no harm," the Cyning says.
Don't make me laugh. (Apart from anything else, I'll throw up again if I do.)
Last year, we took him on a raid to some Gods-forsaken part of Britain, just to see what their defences are like, and I swear to Odin we nearly lost him. Give the lad his due, he had a bright idea to slip round the back of a wooded slope and come at the Britons from the rear, and covered himself in glory (and blood) catching a fleeing group of the bastards, but their hearthguard turned and went for him. It's only down to me and Aelfric's quick thinking that we aren't busy trying to explain to Ecgfrith why he doesn't have a son any more.
So, anyway. This year, we're doing it properly, a fresh start. "Go," says Ecgfrith, "take some British land, and hold it for the Saxons, for glory, for Odin." We... that's Aelfric, me, Ecgwine, and good old Leofric the Drunkard. That's him in the stern puking his guts up. He claims its the sea: me, I'm not so sure - I saw how much mead and ale he put away before we set sail. There are some days I think it's a miracle he can stand up. On the bright side, his breath should kill a few Britons before we get close, and if the drink hasn't completely fuddled his wits, he has plenty of experience raiding these shores.
It's just starting to get light, and I think I can see a line on the horizon that isn't sea. Odin be praised! Land!