The Skrellings usually only visited the ocean for short stays and each tribe came at a different time of the year and then would return inland where it was more protected and there was more game. The boundary's were loosely established and it was often traditional territory. It was difficult to understand how it worked unless you lived there for a long time or were one of them.
Sometimes as the seasons changed the territories changed and one tribe would gain the territory of another for a season or two until the other tribe returned in a different season.
Sometimes a tribe had to squeeze
into an area which was already settled with other tribes. This could happen
because a forest fire burned up their land and everybody would move around until
the tribes were pretty evenly spaced and each one had everything it needed.
If one tribe came in the other tribe might have to give up their prime area for collecting roots so they might take some root land from a different tribe to make up for the loss. That shuffling went on for about a month to get everybody's in equilibrium.
The Vikings came, established a camp and built homes and that was the end of it. We had no idea this kind of 'dance' was even occurring with the Skrellings. Certainly we did not know their dance but any way our log houses kept us from moving.
A few colonist tried to dance like Skrellings and that got them in trouble really fast, because after a short time the mistakes of the Europeans were so numerous and vast that the Skrellings would take offense and kill them.
If you were at a place on the beach you might not realize the land which nobody had wanted all winter might suddenly belong to a tribe in the spring. They might traditionally catch fish to dry and use for bait in animal traps then after a month they went inland to trap. Then the beach might not belong to any one until the fall when it might belong to a different tribe who collected shells to make jewelry during the winter months.
They Skrellings had the first time share program on prime ocean view property in the New World and it took us Europeans another thousand years to catch up.
The Skrelling tribal laws that we didn't have a clue about stated that when a tribe returned to it's land it had to warn anybody on it to leave. That warning was in the form of a well aimed arrow that only gave a flesh wound and did not kill.
That arrow asked: 'Would you mind moving down the beach far enough so we can't see you or your smoke anymore? This is our property and we want to use our traditional fishing grounds.'
The appropriate response according to the Skrelling rules was to move.
However if you really like the land
a lot and would rather stay then you would capture a male member of the Skrelling
tribe and tie him up carefully because if you drew one drop of blood it was
time to get very far away fast. Once you captured him you would then threaten to kill him
and you ranted and raved for about a half an hour and then threatened to burn
him with brands and then threatened to throw him in the ocean and from a cliff
if there was one around and then finally you would allow one and only one of
your women to loosen his bindings when you had left the area so he could escape
and tell his own tribe about
your counter proposal. It was usually accepted. This tradition was the same from Canada all the way down to Virginia.
Our Viking manual said that when you got hit with an arrow you killed everyone using everything you had available. However we felt that an arrow wound probably meant something different to the Skrellings. Not having their rule book which told us what an arrow wound was supposed to convey we decided to err on the side of caution and ignored the first arrow.
According to Skrelling rules ignoring an arrow basically meant about the same thing as if you were to put a turd on a man's chest while he was asleep and then pissed on him. You can perhaps tell there was a considerable problem with communication in this situation.
As far as the Skrellings were concerned they had delivered the message according to their laws.
Then they had to wait one month for the other tribe to leave. It was to give thirty days notice. That was the proper amount of time to wait.
So the Vikings would be just about letting down their guard about the arrow issue and unknown to them the next night was the finale.
That was when the Skrellings upheld their honor. To do this they would try to sneak into the Viking camp late at night and kill everybody.
There seem to be two other ways the colonies got wiped out and one went like this.
There would be about five tribes living near the Vikings. All but one tribe made friends with the Vikings. That one tribe warned all the other tribes that the Vikings would kill and eat their children so they were not going to have anything to do with the Vikings.
Then the children started disappearing and the Vikings got blamed. What happened was the one tribe stole the children and sold them inland. The Vikings were made into the villains.
Children were so treasured that they were often sold. The one tribe was stealing their children and selling them to other far away tribes.
The four tribes would eventually kill the Vikings for eating their children. This happened in one Viking colony and this may have been what happened at the Roanoak colony in Virginia later on.
After so many times of entire colonies being murdered the Vikings left the
world to the Skrellings and went back to their home.
© 2003 John
© 2003 John Pinil