"What! Now of all times!"
"Shut up and do as I say! Everything we Dreamt of is at stake Hardrada! Everything!"
"W-We can escape using the boats!"
"There is no time for that. The ships are a mile north of here. By the time we get there and prepare to dock-"
"They'll already be on top of us... DAMN IT ALL! Why must the gods themselves wish for our demise!"
"Get the forces ready Hardrada, Even if this is our last stand... We will take every last Englishman with us." he nodded, running to camp.
Tostig stayed there, watching as the enemy forces endlessly grew.
"Never have I laid my eyes on a sea of blades... and wished for them to show mercy"
Within the Viking forces, breeds mass confusion. They scatter like ants, searching for any remaining tools to aid them in battle.
Rusted swords, chipped shields, everything was fair game when it came to survival.
The only thing that prevented them from retreating that day, even if they were to ignore their leader's command, was Valhalla. The Kingdom of the worthy.
Catholics may have heaven, a place welcoming all those who believe in the one true savior, but the Vikings had Valhalla.
This was the kingdom of warriors, a place for those who died valiantly in battle. And below that, was Helheim. A place for those who died of disgraceful methods, such as disease and old age.
So, even as the Vikings stood upon their final resting place, they still believed in their souls would be saved. They still believed in Valhalla.
Hardrada commanded Arne to rush to the coast
"Tell them another army draws over the horizon," he says, and "To join us on the front lines as soon as they receive this message".
It would normally take an average person about 10 minutes to run that mile. But due to the intense heat, terrain, and clothing. That 10-minute run would turn into 15.
The 7,334 men would have to hold that line for 30 minutes, against 15,000 Englishmen. Their doom... was set in stone.
Tostig peered across the river, spotting the men's colors as they marched across the barren scapes. He knew those colors, Those were the colors of Saxon forces...
The colors bore by King Harold Godwinson.
"Damn it, Why must it be him? Of all the men, why must it be him!" he balls his fists, turning his back from the ever-approaching army. His eyes came upon the Viking forces, wild and disjointed.
Some were unarmed, while others wore nothing more than cotton pants.
"Our men aren't ready for an assault of that caliber. We'll be torn to shreds the moment they cross that bridge. If only we had more time...
" that was the moment, those deafening feet, came to a halt. Tostig turned around, seeing a single Viking standing on top of that old, weathered, bridge.
The army stood on the other side, all 15,000 men peering down upon the single warrior. They were amazed at the sight, damn near dumbfounded.
It seemed this single act had made thousands of brutal warriors speechless on both sides of the battlefield.
"You have guts, Viking." a voice calls out, breaking the silence. A man riding horseback stops before the bridge, his armor shimmering in the light of the sun.
He steps down from his white steed, proceeding to the front of the bridge
"Now tell me, what is your plan?" the Viking slams his ax into one of the planks, taking a moment to fathom the number of warriors standing before him.
Without receiving an answer, the knight continues
"Did your King put you up to this? Are you some last-ditch effort so that the rest of your men can escape?"
"How many men do you have?"
"How many men... do you have." the Viking says, each letter coming off a little more condescending.
"Heh. 15,000+, enough to eradicate you pathetic Vikings from the face of the earth!"
"Wrong Knight. The moment you pass over this bridge, there will be only one of you.
" he rips his ax out of the wooden plank, pointing the blade towards the Knight's neck "It will be only you Englishman, with your head tight to my belt side."
The knight chuckles, walking back to his horse "So be it then." he mounts the beast, facing his men as he yells the first word of war "ATTACK!"
The Viking gripped his ax with both hands, letting the carved image of the World Serpent show between them. He was ready to cut down every last English man who dared to step upon that bridge.
They charged the Viking, screaming as their swords came tumbling down toward his body. He did not move, he didn't even flinch, all he did was drawback his mighty ax, and swing.
In one mighty blow, 3 were dead, their bodies flying over the wooden railing into the River Derwent.
Another three approached, their shields taking center stage as men threw spears over their guard.
The bridge was a perfect place to make his last stand.
It was narrow enough for only three people to attack him at once, but the water it arched over was also deep enough to drown anyone who tried to pass.
As long as he held this line, it would almost be impossible for him to be overwhelmed.
Jormengunder's ironclad will did not falter, brushing off the attacks as they came flying towards him. One pierced his left side, stopping halfway through his muscular fazeek.
With a face of pure disgust, he rips the spear from his side, plunging it into one of the men standing nearest to him. He blocks with his wooden shield, struggling to retain his forward posture.
Jormengunder slams his foot forward, letting out a monstrous roar, as the shield is split in two. He buries the spear into the man's chest.
Skewering him, and the soldier behind him, with a single thrust. They collapsed upon one another, screaming in sheer agony as they struggled to retain consciousness.
This attack took out one of the three shield units but forced Jormengunder into an uncomfortable position. He was now in striking range from the shield units.
They drew their swords, lunging themselves at the defenseless Jormengunder.
Luckily, he still had his ax. He used his right fist to bash in one of the men's skull, as his left blocked the other's attack using his ax's wooden grip.
The sword plunged into the grip, getting stuck directly between his middle knuckles. Joormengunder kicks the man back. He grips his ax with two hands, draws it behind his head, and swings.
"Hardrada! Are you the cause of his madness?!?!" Tostig shouts, rushing over to his fellow commander.
"Gods no! He asked for the current situation, then just waltzed over there!" Tostig thought for a moment before gripping Hardrada's shoulder.
"He's stalling for us Hardrada! He's holding the front line so we have time to prepare!"
"But against that many men? Does he truly think he can hold the front line all by himself?"
"Does it matter! Even if he holds it for ten seconds, that's still ten more seconds our units desperately need!
" he turns to the still disorganized units, before turning back to Hardrada "Get your men to form a shield wall, then tell them to march on the front bridge!
If Jormengunder can hold out long enough, we can create a dome around the bridge! And funnel the enemy units into our front line."
"But some are without shields. Even the shields we do have are chipped and broken."
"I don't care! Tell them to rip tables apart! Use the underside of wine barrels!" he points to the bridge "We can't let this man's efforts be in vain!
This is our only shot Hardrada, and I refuse for it to slip between my fingers!" Hardrada stands there stunned, before giving a quick nod.
He turns to his men, commanding them to do just as Tostig said. Tostig goes to the other end of their army, spreading the orders as far as his voice could reach. This... was their only hope.
He... was their last hope.
14 dead and the bodies continued to pile. He swung his ax like a pillar of wood, ripping shields apart in a single blow. After each kill, another would take his place.
They would trip upon their allies' bodies, even trample the ones still drawing breath. All of these efforts just to kill a single man.
Some of the spearmen dove into the river, attempting to flank him on the other side, but all sank from the weight of their armor. After the 23 body, the knight called out to him.
"Surrender yourself now Viking! You have proven yourself to be a beast amongst defenseless children! If you are to lay your ax down, I can promise you a ranking higher than a nobleman!
You would be second in command of the third-largest army! You could live like royalty!"
"And watch my brothers be slaughtered! I've buried more men than there are stars in the sky! So long as my lungs still draw breath, I refuse to bury another Viking!
" His ax digs into the 24ths skull. With a heavy grunt, he slings the body off to the side, stacking the corpse with the rest.
"Fine. As a show of my respect, I shall grace you with the name of your killer. Harold Godwinson, King of the Anglo-Saxon people.
Son to Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and brother to Tostig Godwinson.
" he points his finger toward a single man on the other side of that bridge "The same Tostig you oh so desperately are trying to defend.
Are you still willing to die knowing that your leader has teamed up with an Englishman?"
The Viking was silent, still slaughtering his men without care.
"Tsk does nothing faze him..."