The New World

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avatar Makaneek
Level 41 : Master Theorist
This is a sequel to Westland. I recommend you read that first.
The Western sea is very, very wide. It was much wider than anyone would expect it to be, even if they’d never crossed it. And crossing it takes weeks and weeks of sailing, not seeing so much as a small island, or any other sort of land. Besides the ship and everything on it, all you see for weeks on end is clouds, sky, sun, moon, stars, and an endless amount of water. The concept of infinity doesn’t seem so unusual if you consider how many drops of water might be in the ocean, which seemed to have no edge. No other amount feels large enough.

These were the sort of thoughts that went through Steve’s head as he sailed on, and on, and on, in the spruce-wood vessel that sometimes seemed not to move at all. Steve had sailed before, but that was on the smaller Central Sea, around which many of the most powerful lands of the known world could be found. There, voyages could be long, but ships usually stayed within sight of land and the half-madness of having absolutely no idea where you were was leagues and leagues out to sea. The other passengers on the ship, or at least the ones relevant to this story, were Svein: a friend of Steve’s, and Vortigern: the jarl (or Mayor) of the northern village of Whitehelm. The ship also had a crew and captain, but as they didn’t speak Steve’s language, he didn’t know them very well.

The whole trip was uneventful. Once the ship got within a few days of land, they saw the signs of shallower water like dolphins leaping in the waves or tangled clumps of kelp drifting aimlessly in the surf. When they reached the shore it looked like any other taiga biome, but the fact that it was a new land unknown to his people until recently was fantastic nonetheless.

The ship had reached land some distance south of its destination, which was a colonial village built 22 years before. The colony had had no contact with its originator village of Iceblight, or Whitehelm, or any other settlement across the ocean, and one purpose of this voyage had been to find out why. Steve didn’t specifically suspect foul play, but it wasn’t impossible that things weren’t as they seemed in this remote region of the world.

After two days of sailing north along the coast, the ship reached the harbor of the colony village. Sargon had been right; the colony looked successful, being nearly the size of Whitehelm, and it seemed as though everyone was well-adjusted to life in a new continent. They were very surprised to see a ship that wasn’t their own enter the harbor, or perhaps terrified would be a more accurate adjective. All down the docks and up the streets, villagers were getting up from where they were working, and running back to their houses. Everyone aboard the ship was bewildered by this behavior, and Steve wondered briefly if the jarl of the village would be too terrified to explain it. However, once the ship docked at one of the piers, Steve found that the jarl was not the sort of man to fear strangers. He talked with Vortigern and Svein in their language. He seemed to be angry about something.

The jarl and his guards absolutely refused to let the ship dock at the pier, so they dropped anchor a short way out to sea while Vortigern explained the situation to Steve.

“This is not good. The jarl of this town belevs us to be enemies. Ven I tried to tell him that ve are peaceful explorers, he said that vas nonsense, and that all foreigners are enemies nowadays.”

“Very strange,” Steve replied. “Perhaps the people of this village believe something happened after they crossed the sea that would make us their enemies, but what reason would they have to think that?”

“They vould not need a reason if they had been brainwashed,” answered Vortigern.

“That would explain this mess,” Steve said. “Though we need to be sure.”

“I know how we can be sure,” Svein added. “I saw a library a few streets down from the pier. Tonight, I’ll sneak in and find a history book. That would explain what they think.”

All agreed that it was a good plan, and it was carried out. That night, Svein told them what the book said.

“It's not quite how we thought. The villagers were brainwashed, but from the outside, not the inside.”

“Vat do you mean?” asked Vortigern.

“I mean that Sargon lied to them. When he was here, he told them that he was the emperor of the entire world, apart from this new land to the west and that he had personally burned Iceblight to the ground. He also said he would destroy any ships that tried to go back. I doubt they would have believed him if one returning ship hadn’t already been lost, probably in a storm. He obviously lied to keep this new continent hidden, but even if he hadn’t been lying, they couldn’t risk returning.”

“What we need," said Steve "is something to prove Sargon’s defeat.”

“I may be able to provide that,” said Vortigern. “follow me to my study”

Vortigern had a small study on board the ship, and once they reached it, he opened a chest and took out his seal, and some red wax.

“If Sargon had conquered Vitehelm, he vould have changed it’s seal. An official document vith this seal may be our best hope to convince them that it is safe to return.”

As Steve and Svein looked on, Vortigern sat down and wrote a draft, which he read in Steve’s language as: “It is declared by Vortigern, Jarl of Vitehelm that the varlord Sargon was defeated by the noble city of Osokkos, vich vas reinforced by the troops of Vitehelm. It is also declared that the village of Iceblight vas not destroyed and that the villagers there still mourn the colonists that never returned.”

“If that doesn’t convince them, we may have to return home and retrieve Sargon’s helmet,” Steve said half-jokingly.

Svein snuck back ashore and nailed the document to the town notice board. In the morning, the ship was gone, sailing south to continue its exploration of the new world.

Epilogue: Weeks later, Village of Iceblight.

A ship appeared on the horizon outside the village one morning. It carried all of the colonists who had left family behind in the old world. The reunion lasted for several weeks, and long-separated relatives shared stories. They explained their delay and told them about the new life they had built across the sea. Before, the new colony had no name. The colonists had agreed only to name it when all the votes in Iceblight could be counted. Now the colony was officially named New Iceblight, And the future looked very bright indeed.
CreditMy crazy alternate history ideas. I used to wonder what would have happened if the vikings colonized America instead of other europeans, and I guess this story was born from those wonderings.
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