Welcome to Medieval Monday in the tavern!
Over the next couple months, I’ll share some of my research while writing Steinar. In this story, most of the adventure takes place on the seas. Steinar and Inga are both leaders who regard the water as their home. In previous books in the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, Steinar is mentioned as becoming sullen and withdrawn when he travels on land. Obviously, his power is connected to the sea, and he requires no set compass or instruments.
Besides relying on their senses, what were those instruments used by the Vikings? In order to measure water depth, course direction, latitude (height of the sun), and speed, they used certain tools. Water depth searched with a lead weight on a string, or a pole were used for shallower depths. Lead weights have been found in Viking era harbors with a pole and were illustrated in the Bayeux tapestry in the 11th century.
Two other instruments were the sun compass and sunstone. A sun compass encompasses a vertical pointer on a horizontal surface, on which the shadow of the pointer is drawn through the day. In order to use this for navigation, a series of curves is necessary. This shadow curve varies at different latitudes and at different times of the year.
Sunstones were another navigational tool and are made from calcite. They have been found across the planet in areas that have high concentrations of basalt, which is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma. Since Iceland is the host of approximately 130 volcanoes, there are good chances of finding them on this island. This particular transparent crystal became known throughout Europe as Iceland Spar.
For this story, I’ve utilized the sunstone, which is used by Inga. She highly treasures the sunstone, which you’ll find out why when you read the story.
Let’s take a peek at the summary for Steinar...
Descended from the mighty Somerled, Lord of the Isles, Steinar MacDougall’s supremacy over the seas is fierce. On a quest for King William, he is captured by the enemy and presented with a favorable opportunity. Yet Steinar soon realizes his greatest threat comes from the woman who hides behind the mask of a warrior, and the quest for control might send them hurdling into the abyss of the sea.
As leader of the Serpents, Inga the Ruthless travels beyond the isles bartering for goods with her brothers. After rescuing the feared Pirate Wolf during a storm, she surrenders her trust to the man and his inner wolf in order to claim the lost treasure of Odin. Though the journey is fraught with dangers, Inga fears her heart might be the one in peril, leading her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Will the sea be their salvation or doom them to a watery grave?
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