January 14th, 2007

Viking Age Icelandic Harbours/Ports

Hi gang, one for you Icelanders/Viking Age historians out there:

While most of my novel is set in fictitious/non-specific locations within Iceland during the Age of Settlement I currently have the antagonists venturing out gathering support and allies for a forthcoming feud. I want them to visit an existing port. Since I'm vaguely setting the main action in the South-West, unofficially somewhere in the vicinity of Hekla, so I wanted the antagonists to head easterly to recruit where the influence of the protagonists is less. A quick glance at possible locations on the map in "Iceland Saga" by the late, great Magnus Magnusson shows a couple of possible locations: Ingolshofdi and Hornafjordur further east.

However, I can only find modern-day information about those areas (at least, in English) but wanted to know what kind of activity they might've had at around 892 CE (the rough and also unofficial date I'm working to) and whether they even existed back then. If these are of no use what would've or could've been a busy/active port community (as busy as these Viking Icelandic ports got at any rate) at around this time in the Southern to Eastern part of the land?

I want the antagonists to run into a kinsman of the protagonist en route to or from an expedition that they can have a fatal altercation with, resulting in 'first blood' from the antagonists.

Additionally, the lead antagonist is particularly renown for his remarkably fine horses and I wanted them to travel everywhere by horse (which is certainly how things stood later on in Icelandic history from what I can tell), and I'm toying with the idea of having them 'race' a boat from one port to the next. While I'm sure it would be a remarkable feat anyway is the terrain even remotely condusive for a horse to race along during the summer? (Say, between the two places mentioned above, south of the glacier Vatnajokull.)

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Differential Diagnosis?

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A man and woman are taken off of a large ship and marooned on a deserted island.  However, the man has undergone severe flogging.  How would his companion attempt to treat the wounds on his back?  I have not decided yet where exactly in the Caribbean this island will be, but it will be one's typical uninhabited island.  Is there anything she could find there to use?  Also, a benefactor from the ship is going to secretly leave them a bag with some elements for survival.  What from the ship could he have stolen to leave them to help treat the man's wounds?  (The storyline revolves around piracy, so it is possible they could have some sort of fancy medicine on board.)