The Norsemen

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The Norsemen landed in the dead of night and by morning most of the sea village was already burned to the ground. The fire didn’t last long as there was no one to try and put it out. The only thing left was charred wood, stone, and smoke. The bodies of the slain were piled on a pyre and burned before the heathens marched on. They had some form of decency to do that, maybe due to the need to burn a few of their own. A young boy had escaped in the beginning of the raid. He made it to the next town and alerted the magistrate. Troops from all over were dispatched to combat the horde. Townsfolk were worried that they would not meet them in time. The boy was asked if he knew how many of the enemy had made land fall. He said he could not tell but they were large and would forever haunt his dreams.

The Norsemen captured a hunter and found out about the troops through unpleasant techniques. They decided not to continue the raiding as a more worthy prize had shown itself. They built a camp and began to hunt and fish to stave off boredom. There was no reason to hurry or go looking for the gathered troops. The prize would come to them.

The soldiers gathered in two days time. Scouts had identified that the Norsemen were still at camp and had not moved for odd reasons. The commanders of the well drilled force were delighted at this news. They believed them to be sick or injured and an easy prey. They planned their battle for the next morning in hopes to raid the raiders so to speak. Both camps were in wooded areas with only a small field open between them. Down the center of the field ran a road for travelers. They would line up on the edge of their wooded side and cross in mass toward the enemy camp. The commanders slept that night knowing they would show these intruders no mercy.

The next morning there was a dense fog through the trees. The sun was barely breaking when the troops lined up for their march. Along the wood line, the men scanned the field and could see only fog. They began to walk forward as the sun broke cover and the fog began to clear. Only a few steps were made before they could see their prey had massed along the other wood line. Horns erupted and the enemy moved at speed to meet them. This startled many of the men, to know their foe was prepared all along. Some did not fear as the enemy seemed too few in numbers. The force was barely fifty men. They had four hundred.

The battle was met at the road after arrows did not slow the Norsemen down. Their small shields stopped all but a handful and those did no real damage. Ten minutes into the fighting and a hundred men lay dead. Lucky for the troops, half of the heathens were down and most of the rest were being pushed back, all but five. Five of them held their own. They stood alone in various places of the fight, surrounded by the dead they had slain. Like islands to themselves with shores of dead bodies, they were only touched by the waves of blood.

A strong willed commander saw the nearest and wished to turn the morale around by besting one of these brazen warriors. He approached the dead shores and yelled his challenge to the man. The man stood alone with his sword and shield down. He nodded acceptance to the young commander. Upon those shores he ended the young soldiers’ life in mere seconds.

In another area, a lone killer was standing atop his island as well. He wore no armor, was shaven of head but long of beard. He had broken his shield on some mans skull. He stood with only his axe in hand. A troop with a pike arm stormed at him from the crowd. He side stepped the pike and sent his axe in an uppercut through the man’s jaw. The axe slid clean through and on a return stroke, caught the man in the neck to end his life. The hulking killer went back to standing on his given island in solitude once more.

With two hundred men left and the battle only grinding them down, the soldiers of the combined counties of the noble lord drew back to the woods. The enemy did not follow. Shortly after, the enemy left the field and returned to their camp to begin packing to return to their ship. A man was sent to the troops to give them a warning. The two remaining commanders demanded to speak to the man alone. They asked who the five warriors were. The man said they were the five brothers sworn to the king by a blood oath. The men that were killed from the heathens were only the slaves. The ones that remained were the youngest warriors to the king. They were the kings scouting force and only included the five warriors of true age. The kings army ranged into one thousand men of fighting age and a fleet of raiding vessels. His army was to be there in three days time. The sea village was only burned to serve as a smoke signal to the fleet. The battle was only fought because the brothers needed to stretch their arms. Shock was apparent on both of the commanders’ faces. They asked why they would do this to them. The man said as he walked away that the scouts wanted to give the prey a head start before the real chase began.

The five brothers came to the king after all of the villages and towns had been razed. He gifted them with furs and food from the spoils of war. As they prepared their ships to return home he stopped them one last time. He told his sons that their mother would be proud to see how mighty they had become and next year he hoped that they would lead the raids. The five brothers grinned to each other and the shaven haired killer spoke to his father saying next year you need only send your sons.

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