Eric frowned as the first of the dark black clouds rolled down from the ridge north of the village. They had seen far too many storms in the last turn of the moon and the river that ran past the huddle of buildings to the fjord beyond was nearly at the top of the dirt dyke that separated it from the farmers' fields. Not for the first time Eric wished that he'd been allowed to go on the latest raid.
Instead, he’d been left with the children and old men to tend the fields.
The clouds to the north looked like they were moving quickly and would be upon the village by sundown.
Eric rested his metal rake on his shoulder and started down the hillside to the village. Two dozen small houses, a blacksmithy and a longhall where the townsfolk held their meetings. All surrounded by a low stone wall. Eric was told that it was a small village, as things went. Maybe one day he’d be able to go on a raid and see the villages of the people in the south.
He reached the low stone wall just as the first heavy drops of rain started to drop. It was then he noticed that something was missing. There was no flashing lightning. No rolling thunder. There was thunder, even in the smallest storms that rolled down from the northern mountains.
“There’s no thunder!” He yelled across the small yard to Sven the Gray. The old man was one of the only men in the village that had never been a raider. He’d raised sheep and farmed the lands for his whole life.
“Some storms don’t have thunder. It’s nothing to -” The old man’s words stopped suddenly as a black spear sprouted from his chest. Behind him, a figure clad in an oversized black robe sat astride a midnight black horse. Eyes of silver glowed from beneath the cloak’s hood.
Eric was speechless. He had heard whispered tales from the old women of the village. They told of the black men who rode the thunderless storms. He had always believed that they were just tales, told to frighten little boys and girls.
But now one of these creatures had come to Eric’s village and he was frozen. He tried to shout a warning, but when he opened his mouth nothing came out.
The rider dismounted from his horse and walked toward the corpse of the old farmer. He knelt and pulled the spear from the already cold body. His hands searched the body for a moment until he found what he was looking for. He ripped the amulet from around the man’s neck. It was a small stone hammer, a tribute to Thor, god of Thunder.
“Where is your god now?” A high pitched voice demanded.
“I...I...” Eric couldn’t find words. The black rider stood
“Where is your god?” The voice demanded again.
“He...doesn’t visit us anymore...”
The voice laughed. It was a shrill sound that hurt Eric’s ears.
“Your god is dead,” the rider threw the amulet at Eric’s feet. “Tell your leaders. This day is no longer Thor’s Day.”