Ásketill was born in the quiet fishing village of Palmwater on the island of Abalone to an abusive fisherman and his estranged housewife. Like all boys from the island he was taught to sail from an early age. His mind was never on the task and often preferred to stare at the gulls glide above the waves whilst his shipmates abused his procrastination. His father favoured physical discipline. The boy wore many bruises and the odd broken bone at the hands of his father's wrath. The general opinion of the boy in the village was low, for what use is a male who cannot fish or sail?
The only villager who thought Ásketill had worth was his uncle. He told him the story of the Pied Ghost, the infamous village sea eagle that regularly stole out of the night to plunder the day's catch. No one had ever caught more than the slightest glimpse of the great bird. Ásketill was enthralled.
The other childr