29 November 2010

Vikings vs. Khazars, courtesy of Michael Chabon

Standing off beyond the shallows, dragon prows surveyed the despoiling of the walled town.  Fair-haired northmen in jerseys of barbarous red poled out to their ships on wide barges heavy-laden with bales and casks, with kegs and casks and huddled women, and handed them up to their fellows on the decks, and poled back to the wharves again for more.  The red-shirted men swarmed in the streets, and a dozen of them were at work with irons, prying loose the golden sheeting that clad the domes and minaret spires of the great mosque.  They worked quickly, and without their usual piling up of booty on the shore for their elaborate rites of their thievish creed, probably because some lookout not distracted by rape or robbery had chanced to gaze down from the shattered walls of the city and see the company of horsemen charging hard for the town gates.
                                     --- Michael Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road

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