One misty morning Edmund and Leoba walked through the village. As they walked Leoba tugged at Edmund’s arm, “Oh Edmund look at those primroses do you think we have time to pick some?” “Oh Leoba I know those flowers are gorgeous but we need to hurry up, the blackberry bush is all the way on the other side of the village and father will be home from the blacksmiths soon.” “I know.” sighed Leoba and trudged behind him while looking up at the golden sunshine that made her want to take off her coat woven from sheepskins and animal leather.
While Edmund made last minute alterations to the basket, Leoba was happy to walk along in the cloudless sky and began to feel relaxed. She looked at all the daisies growing in small clumps along the side of the path. Wooden rectangular houses built along side each other rested along the road. Leoba smelt the open fires in the back gardens of houses and saw one hissing and spitting.
She saw Edmund shiver slightly then pull his rough cloak round his shoulders. A small breeze started to blow from behind and Leoba’s long plait was whipped around her face. Suddenly Edmund gave a shout“Leoba, Leoba I’ve found the blackberry bush do come on!” They sat down on a ledge and soon they were licking their blackberry stained lips and letting the blackberries tastes spread through their bodies. "Do you suppose we ought to take some back with us?"
Suddenly Leoba’s face turned as grey as a stone. She was so quiet and still that Edmund got scared and turned around. Immediately he saw what was wrong. “Leoba, can you see…?” “Yes Edmund, I can.” For two whole minutes Edmund and Leoba just sat there staring at the scene for what seemed like months. Far off on the horizon huge longships were just coming into sight. “Quick!”shouted Edmund all of a sudden, “We need to warn the village.” And the two of them ran back to the village shouting all the way. When the villagers had got the message they hurriedly started packing their belongings ready to abandon the village. Soon Edmund and Leoba were racing through the village back to the blackberry bush. But what a change in the weather!...
Dark rain clouds filled the sky and huge raindrops splashed all over the children and around them. Lightning forked down from the heavens. The harbour was teeming with longships and the waves were three feet high as they rose from the water into the misty fog above. The pebbly beach was a scary sight. Longships were anchoring on the beach and fearsome warriors were clambering out! Suddenly a warrior's gaze rested upon the children! “Run,” shouted Edmund. “We’ve been spotted!”
Edmund and Leoba raced through the village. It was deserted! A cold feeling gripped Leoba. She turned to Edmund. “Where are they?” she asked Edmund in a hoarse voice. Edmund knew they had probably fled to safety and when he suggested this to Leoba she nodded and agreed. They started to run and soon they came to a bridge. A long crack separated the two halves of the bridge which now had a big gap. Leoba couldn’t look as she was sure the picture was not pretty and indeed it wasn’t. Their parents were struggling as they fought against the strong currents but soon Edmund shouted “Leoba, Leoba, it’s alright come look!” and indeed it was.
Their parents had managed to grab hold of the side of the bridge closest to them, Edmund and Leoba could have shouted with joy till they realised their parents were on the wrong side! Luckily Edmund came up with a solution. They would simply have to run around the bridge and see if they could get around it. After shouting to their parents to stay still, they turned and started to run. However, it wasn’t as easy as it looked!
After about an hour, Leoba sank to the ground. Her legs would not carry her anymore. She was tired and thirsty and had completely given up on the whole world. Just as Edmund was about to bend down to comfort Leoba his nose got the better of him. He sniffed and sniffed. It wasn’t the usual smell of lavenders and roses but the smell of animal skins and smoke. He frowned and his face grew hard. There wasn’t usually a smell like that where he lived. He turned slowly. Suddenly everything went BLACK!!!!!!!!!!
When Edmund woke up he was in what looked like a cabin. He heard a swishy swashy noise and for a moment was puzzled. As quick as a flash he guessed. ‘I must be on a boat and Leoba might be with me.’ his heart jumped with joy. If only he could be with his sister he would be happy. “Leoba,” he whispered. “Leoba are you there?” Edmund heard a noise and stiffened, was it his sister or was it an unknown enemy? “Edmund?” came Leoba’s voice in the dark. “Leoba are you alright?” asked Edmund worriedly “Apart from an awful headache, yes.” replied Leoba. “Honestly Edmund, I never thought you were going to wake up from when your sleep!”
“Suddenly a man came in and another man followed him into the room with a long white beard, there’s your breakfast.” the first man flung down a bucket of smelly water and stale bread. Neither Leoba or Edmund liked the look of it so left it. The first man turned on his heel and went up to the deck. “Olaf, keep the children in hand.” “Yes sir.” replied Olaf. As the first man went back up to deck.
Suddenly, Olaf turned and fixed them with an icy gaze “You are very lucky be alive,” he told them. “Slaves like you don’t usually make it this far.” “Oh, so we’re slaves then.” Realised Edmund. And Olaf told the children about how they would be sold as slaves in the town of Hedeby.
“Is there any way to escape?” asked Leoba in a tearful voice. “Well there is one way but I would be hanged if anyone found out!” replied Olaf but the children begged with him and he eventually caved in. And he told them about his plan also telling them how they could not tell anybody. The next day the children and Olaf decided to carry out their plan. Whilst Olaf slaughtered the men on deck Leoba and Edmund managed to round up the men below deck where Olaf was ready to pounce.
Finally when all the men lay silent and still, Olaf turned the ship towards Melonia an Anglo-Saxon village where their Auntie and Uncle lived. When Edmund and Leoba had finished telling their tale to their amazed Auntie and Uncle. Olaf was insisted to stay and from that day they had a very happy and stunning household for a lifetime.
The settlement were they lived.