Push Harder – A Short Story

“Heave to, you wretches! Heave!” Anthar cracked the whip for additional incentive. “Barnacales move faster than you lot!”

Barmom picked up his tempo on the drum. Oars creaked and men moaned. The sea silently swallowed the snow.

Captain Årnot watched from the stern while leaning into the tiller.

“Faster,” he told Barmom.

The booming, already fast, increased to almost match the cadence of the rolling thunder that made the boat tremble at times.

Anthar turned astern and stared at the captain. Captain Årnot nodded once to him, and he cracked his whip in response as he approached.

“Heave!” he roared as he walked the aisle, “Heave you dogs!”

Standing before his master he whispered, “Captain, they can’t go on like this much longer. They’re almost spent.”

Årnot fixed him with a blue, steely gaze. “If we don’t push them harder, we are all lost.”

Anthar grimaced before turning back to his task.

He cracked the whip again. “By Éthær’s Cloak, heave to if you ever want to stop! I’ll feed the first of you that falters to Øvaarg!”

It snowed harder.

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