On September 26, 1066. On Top of a lone wooden bridge, a legend was born. This man was not born from his own selfish desires but forged through the endless designs of necessity.
Let this be a lesson to all who speak of this forgotten warrior. Legends are not crafted though years of tumultuous torture but born from a single act. The act of Necessity.
Two men rest after a long day at war. Their names: Hardrada and Tostig, Two leaders who allied only days prior.
With their combined militia of 11,000 men, they defeated the Saxon forces, and partake in a time of joyous celebration.
Mugs fly across old weathered tables, slamming against one another as droplets of rose-colored wine stain the soldier's pelts. Music plays, Women dance, and all seem well for the Viking forces.
"Come on Tostig! Have another round! We won!"
"Please now Hardrada, if I were to have another, I'd be more wine than I am man!"
The two men laugh sitting within a velvet tent. A barrel of wine rests beside them, waiting to fill another unexpecting round.
As the two men sit idly by, another steps through the tent's fabric doors. He seems cautious to speak, waiting for the two men to notice him.
"What is it, boy! Don't just stand there like some sheep staring into a dragon's maw!" Hardrada yelled, his cheeks gleaming a light pink.
"Y-yes, sir! I came to update you on our current situation, sir."
"Well out with it!"
"Yes sir! The soldiers have finished loading the ships with their armor. Some have decided to hold onto their weaponry though, on the off chance that it will be needed."
"Nonsense boy! The faster we load up those ships, the faster we can leave this godforsaken land!"
"Gods be my witness, if I stay on this land any longer, I might turn into a damned Englishman." tostig said, wiping the sweat from his wet face.
"Haha! I think I can see you changing now!"
"What is it, boy!"
"Would you like to hear the rest of my report?"
"Of course!" Hardrada yelled.
"Well, about a third of our units are still waiting on the coast for the supply ships to arrive. Once they get here, we will be ready to depart."
"Excellent! Make sure to inform us when the ships arrive."
"What about our watchman? Has he still yet to see anything?" Tostig said, stopping the boy as he started to leave.
"N-no, sir. I haven't heard anything back from him."
"Alright boys, you can leave."
"Thank you sir." the boy said, leaving the tent.
"You worry too much Tostig! We just took out their army, there's no possible way they would find another dozen or so thousand men to challenge our forces!
" Tostig chuckles, answering the loud Hardrada
"You might be right Hardrada. But on the off chance that my caution saves your life, I'll be expecting wine straight from Valhalla."
"If that's your payment, then I'd rather be dead!" the two men laughed, filling the tent with joy.
The boy was stopped shortly after leaving the tent. A white-haired, middle-aged man, grabbed hold of his shoulder
"Thanks for not ratting on me Arne, you're a lifesaver. I don't think I could have survived another hour on that damned hill.
" the man towered over the boy, leaning over as he shared him a sly smile.
"Just make sure you're back there before they grow sober. If they find out our only watchman is downing a barrel worth, They'll surely have my head."
"Will do bud! I'll head back before the sun even kisses the mountainside!
" the watchman left for the crowd of cheering men circled a few dancing women, slipping into the masses like a slithering snake.
Arne continued with his regular duties, approaching the last known location of his least favorite captain.
He walked past the crowds of men, slipping through their drunken stupor, as he proceeded toward the camping sights. The least populated area at the time, and sure enough, he was there.
The hulking body of pure muscle sat upon a log, peering into the dull edge of his Dane Axe.
The wooden handle stretched for about three and a half feet, etched with a beautiful design of the world serpent: Jormungandr.
He was the largest carrier out of all 11,000 men, weighing over 300 pounds of pure, unadulterated, muscle.
The only thing threatening to overwhelm his towering mass was the number of scars his body had procured after the years of endless war.
Little is known about this man, even his name has remained hidden from the history books. All the soldiers know him by is the World Serpent etched in his dull ax's grip, Jormungandr.
Even now, after winning against a large army, he still stands ready.
"Jormungandr, have your men loaded their equipment aboard the ship yet?"
"Why don't you ask them yourself mut." Jormungandr quickly responded, his eyes not leaving his ax's edge.
"Damn it Jormungandr, you're supposed to keep track of your men so that I don't have to!" His eyes rose from his ax, slamming the edge into the earth as he stood.
6 1/2 feet, that was how tall this beast of a man was.
I'll go check and make sure they loaded the ship!" with that, the boy quickly ran away, cursing under his breath "Damn it! Why did they have to appoint him as a war captain!
I know he's an incredible fighter, but he just isn't very 'leaderly'... tsk, whatever. I'll just have to check up on his men before my next report.
" As Arne continues his work, the two Leaders leave their tent, proceeding toward the nearby field.
"Why did you want to come out here Tostig? To pray for the dead?"
"Heh, no. I'm not one to pray for those who threaten our people."
"To look out at everything we were capable of accomplishing. All these dead men, all these damned Englishmen who wish to bring ruin to our culture, our people, our way of life! It sickens me.
" he sits down, peering down at the river in the center of the valley. A single, old, bridge connects the two lands.
"But somehow... It makes me afraid."
"The Viking's days are numbered Hardrada, I know this to be true. These soldiers, their all that we have left.
But somehow, after winning that battle against the Saxon forces, I feel as though we can save our future! We, together, can bring the Vikings into an age of prosperity!
We can bring pride to our people once more! Create a paradise that even the gods would smile upon!
" he stands, offering his hand to Hardrada "Please, tell me you will join in bringing the Viking people back into the minds of every Englishman out there.
Not as a symbol of barbaric savagery, but as a symbol of fear."
Hardrada chuckles, clasping hold of Tostig's hand "With a speech like that, how could I say no!" they shook, sharing the very last moment of peace in Viking history.
"What is that?" Hardrada says, his eyes catching the slight motion of something crossing the hillside.
Tostig looks to the small dot in the distance, watching as it turns into 10, then 50, then 100. His heart froze, feeling every last bit of hope stripped away like scales on top of a cursed snake.
"Prepare your men Hardrada! It seems another nation wants us dead!"