Defiant Islands of the Fjord


Fjord Defence

Oscarsborg Battery

On small islands on the fjord they stood

In face of an onslaught great

Without their courage Norway’s king and gold would

Have met with Denmark’s monarch’s fate


When Blücher sailed into Drøbak Sound

Eriksen’s men held their nerve

Never to surrender Norwegian ground

The nation they proudly served




The Battle of Drøbak Sound was fought on 9 April 1940 in Oslofjord.  Colonel Eriksen’s men fired on and sank the German cruiser, Blücher.  This action thwarted the German Commando attack on the capital, and allowed for the escape of the Norwegian king, Haakon VII and the country’s gold reserve.


The Wager


Pinata Blindfold

image: fiestapinata

“I have eyes, but do not see.  To make me alive, you bury me. What am I?”

“Wait a minute.  I know this one,” Sarah said thoughtfully.

“So what’s the answer?” Bridget pushed.

“It’s – it’s a potato,” Sarah said triumphantly.

“Damn,” her friend replied.  “So is it another white wine, or something else?”

“Well, since you’re buying I think a strawberry daiquiri sounds good.” Sarah said.

“You just wait, I will get you back.” Bridget warned.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sarah said dismissively.

When Bridget returned from the bar, she said, “Okay, so much for riddles.  How about a dare instead?”

“Okay, what’s the challenge?” Sarah asked.

“Well since you are such an expert on eyes, how about you walk to the bar with your eyes closed?  Better still – blindfolded and bring back a glass of red without spilling it.”

“But the place is packed, I’ll run into someone.”

“Coward,” Bridget said mockingly.

“Okay, what’s the wager?”  Sarah retorted.

“If you spill the drink, you don’t get your money back.  If you don’t spill it, I give you your money, and buy another drink of your choice.”

“Sounds fair,” Sarah said.

Bridget took off her scarf and tied it around Sarah’s eyes. “No peaking,” she said firmly.

Sarah hesitantly started towards the bar, jostling a nearby table, and bumping into at least three patrons on her trip.  She ordered the wine, and presented a five pound note to the barman.  She had to trust her sense of feeling to judge if the change was correct. She dropped the coins into a pocket and began her return journey.

About half way across, she bumped into a man and spilled the drink all over herself.

As Bridget laughed uproariously from the table, Sarah took off the blindfold, and began to apologise.

There before her was the most gorgeous guy she had ever seen.

“No, it’s me who’s sorry,” he said.  “I think your top is ruined. Please let me pay for it.”

“But – I,” she began.

“My name is Justin, by the way,” he said with a smile.  “Shall I replace your drink as well?”

“Sarah,” she said with a smile, “and yes please.”

Justin walked her to the bar, and replaced her drink.  He then wrote down his phone number on a napkin.  “Ring me when you want to go shopping for the new top,” he said with a wink.

“Justin, can you carry the drink to my table for me?” she asked.


When they arrived at the table, Justin placed the drink in front of Bridget.

“Bridget, this is Justin.  Justin – Bridget,” Sarah said from behind him.

As Justin reached out to shake Bridget’s hand, Sarah held up the phone number and mouthed “I win again.”


Pix to Words #192 – Eyes

The Expedition

Old Sound, Britannia Beach, Howe Sound, British Columbia, Canada

Image © Patrick Jennings

“Okay, before we go any farther, has everybody signed their release forms and handed them in to Sonya?” the expedition coordinator asked.

The dozen or so Unique Discoveries participants nodded in the affirmative.

“Excellent,” Alex, the coordinator said as he pulled a clipboard from out of his day glow waterproof jacket.  He did a quick headcount and ticked the top of the sheet before passing it to Sonya, a plump redhead of about fifty.

“I have had a look at your questionnaires, and I saw that many of you have been on whale or dolphin spotting excursions before.   We may well see some orcas today, but we have ‘bigger fish to fry,’ you might say.  As you know we have British Columbia’s own answer to ‘Nessie’ right here in Howe Sound.  If we are very lucky, I hope that we will all get a glimpse of ‘Howey’ today.  What I am sure of, however, is that we will get some really great views of Pacific Selkies.

At this one of the men in the group scoffed.  He had only come on this “goose chase” in order to humour his wife.

At this a mousy-looking woman in her mid-thirties sheepishly raised her hand.

“What did you want to share, Barbara?” Alex prompted.

“They are real,” she insisted. “And so is Howey!  I saw him near here was I was thirteen.  That’s why I’ve come back today.”

The skeptic mumbled something about wishing he had had some of those mushrooms, but his wife elbowed him in the ribs.

Just then a huge ripple formed on the surface of the sound, and a five foot reptilian head broke the surface and moved towards deeper water for several seconds before diving again leaving only its wake behind.




Haunted Wordsmith Prompt :Prompt B (sentence starter): “What did you want to share?”

The Messenger: A Dunes War Tale

Risk Cacophony, Hotel Continental, Tangier, Morocco

This could be risky.  Sultan Razuli was not a man accustomed to receiving bad news, but bad news was what the messenger was bringing.

The Ralulee army had had a number of initial victories in the Disputed Lands, but that was before the latest engagement at High Dunes. The Easifa Corps, the most elite cavalry unit in the entire sultanate had been drawn away to the east by a feint by the kingdom’s men.  The left of King Hector’s lines seemed similarly weakened by the eastward withdrawal of part of his force.  General Abu Biad therefore gave little thought to sounding the advance.

At the centre of his onslaught was a unit of six war elephants.  They smashed through the front lines of the kingdom’s First Division, its spear-men seemingly unable to repel the attack.  Hector ordered the King’s Light Infantry to run and fill the gap and to meet the oncoming wave of elephants and the following infantry.

Sergeant Seymour de Klod led his squad of twelve axe-men to the breech. The war elephants were making light work of the Farmington lads of the “Old First” and he could not stand to see his comrades massacred.  Without waiting for reinforcements, he cast off his shield and grabbed a second war-axe from a fallen warrior.  With an axe in either hand he rushed towards the first elephant.  Just as it began to sweep its armoured trunk towards him he slid between its legs and used one of his blades to cut the leather straps securing the “basket castle” to the beast’s back.  He then rolled from under the animal, and laid an axe into the its rear leg.  The animal shifted away from the pain, and as it did the entire basket and its compliment of soldiers toppled.

De Klod then hit the animal with the other axe causing it to turn to strike him.  He had timed the blow perfectly and as the beast spun it laid its metal trimmed tusks into the side of the next elephant.  It fell sideways dumping its soldiers sprawling in the dust.

In the confusion, the tender of a third elephant halted his armoured beast, and Seymour used the pause to jump up and pull the man down.  One of the archers in the basket let loose an arrow which struck de Klod in the shoulder, but he nevertheless pulled the elephant’s guide tether and made it rear.  This again caused the men mounted on its back to tumble.

By now de Klod’s squad had begun to fall upon the stricken elephants and their soldiers.  The crews of two elephants turned their beast and began to escape in such a panic that they crashed into their own supporting infantry.   This cause a general flight of the entire advancing Ralulee line.

Not satisfied with his accomplishments, de Klod rushed the remaining elephant whose tender had halted in an attempt to decide which direct to go in.  In an amazing display for a man his size, de Klod jumped upon one of the animal’s tusks, then bounded into the center of the “castle” laying his axe into two of its soldiers.  The other three dropped their weapons and cried out “No fight, no fight!” in the common tongue.

High Dunes was definitively a kingdom victory, and now the messenger had to report it to the Great Razuli.  How could he tell his sovereign that his army had been defeated essentially by one man; a man that now the sultan’s entire army called Il Washa, “The Beast?”

Padre (R. V. Mitchell)


You can read more about Seymour de Klod The Sisters Tales

Out Of The Shadows


imageedit_4_6272576797 (1)

It was nearly dusk, not yet night.  An eerie calm had fallen upon the wood.  The trees that had given refreshing shade in the noonday sun, now provided an ominous darkness, creating a world of shadow.

Tanvi was uncomfortable with the change, yet she knew that her destiny lay within this wood.

“How much further?” she thought to herself, and the air itself seemed to close-in around her.  She clutched tightly onto her staff, and started at even the slightest sound from the forest.

“Only the creaking of trees, or maybe a fox,” she whispered in an attempt to soothe her own nerves.

Then there in the midst of the wood, she saw the stone ring amid the woodland shadows.  She hurried forward into the midst of the stones and quickly dug a small hole in which she placed the seed her grandmother had instructed her to plant.  She then stepped back and waited, as darkness fell.





USS Rattler

Heading upriver weren’t go’in to be easy.  The Rebs had put batteries on several of the bluffs, and Rattler didn’t have the thickest of armour.  But orders was orders, and she and Glide would run past the Confederate guns at Fort Hindman in the morning.

The next day,  Rattler and Glide steamed past the fort with all twelve of their guns blazing.  The two stern-wheelers made it rather “hot” for the Secesh, many of them fled their posts as the 24 pound shells burst around them.   With the rifle pits abandoned, Ol’ Bill Sherman and his boys kinda just strolled up into the fort.

Who said that the Navy don’t belong in Arkansas?



Inspired by the prompt:  UPRIVER ~ PIC AND A WORD CHALLENGE #177

Awash in Stillness

Stillness, Howe Sound, Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada

Awash in Stillness


I have seen the sea in many a guise –

Her raging troughs deep and towering crests high –

And as a paper-smooth sheet without ripple or rise –

In which stillness reigns.


I have seen the sky in all its glory –

Bright blue, filled with fluttering birds in flight –

But also clothed in fog and mist –

Closing in, mimicking the stillness of the night.


I have seen the island stand alone –

Sentinel amid the wash- 

In defiance of both wind and wave –

Unmoved in its silent stillness.