During a grand feast, Aren was talking with Calum and Astrid, his friends. The Jarl announced that there would be no raids this year without explaining, the young and ambitious man protested the chieftain’s decision with a dozen other warriors waiting to prove themselves, but he still refused. Aren convinced most of these eager warriors to go on a raid anyway. Later that night, they stole the village’s Drakkar and sailed away to new lands to either plunder or discover.
Chapter 1 - The Encounter
“I knew it was a bad idea to take off in the middle of the night without food, ale, or a plan Aren.” Astrid expressed angrily.
“Trust me, I’ve heard countless stories of sailors, there are always means to find your way back to the land” responded Aren with confidence.
“I know that, but what if we empty our supply?” Astrid answered back. Their conversation being listened to by the crew.
“There’s plenty of fish in the sea you numbskull” Calum stated, turning back to look at the two young warriors arguing
“Just shut up Calum, nobody spoke to you” Astrid asserted.
“Just sayin’ ” Calum remarked, turning back to continue rowing.
“Ok that’s enough you’re probably right we should turn back and face the consequences of our actions” Aren announced as he was thinking about what those consequences could entail.
“See, you should have listened to me, we should have prepared more, now we probably won’t even have the supplies to travel back home...” Astrid mentioned to Aren.
“Hmm, am I completely drunk or there are birds over there?” Calum remarked pointing to the horizon where you could see a flock of black birds also heading west.
“What?” Aren and Astrid verbalized as they started to agree on a course of action.
“There are birds over there” Calum declared, still pointing in the approximate direction of the flock of birds.
“That means there is land in front of us. See Astrid, I was right, we won’t die.” Aren stated out loud. Though he was still not one hundred percent sure of what that actually meant.
They continued sailing for a while until they could finally see the land the birds were going towards. This filled Aren with determination while Astrid was starting to doubt if coming with them was a good idea because after all, a discovery like this in this time of need was perhaps an intervention of Yolkir, god of mischief. The land seemed uninhabited but that wouldn’t stop the Nords from getting what they needed. They arrived ashore and started getting materials to at least be able to return home. Aren with both of his companions adventured a bit deeper on this new island they just discovered. While Astrid and Aren stayed close, Calum left practically on his own. He was soon ambushed by what appeared to be the island’s natives. He killed three of them but seeing he was heavily outnumbered, he retreated to his friends.
“Lending a hand would help!” He yelled while still escaping his pursuers.
The band quickly organized and slaughtered the indigenous people that had attacked them. They were surprised that the natives lived inland and not on the coast. They thought so as most of the civilizations he knew did live on the coast. It seemed counterintuitive to not use the water surrounding them for transportation.
They then decided to advance through the forest. They marched for about half an hour and heard a distant booming noise. It sounded like thunder in the clearest of days. They went to investigate further and arrived near an open plain. There were, on the plain, strangely dressed people using what seemed to be sticks that shoot clouds which tear the enemy apart. Their enemies were the same as his. He thought quickly about if he should intervene but that choice was taken from him as the attackers noticed his crew on the side of the battlefield.
He called to his men and took at first a defensive position. He noticed a gap in the enemy lines so decided to ram his forces into the hole. It was brutal, but not unlike what he usually did back home. In the midst of the fight, Aren noticed that there was a young woman, dressed in nicer clothes than the other, who seemed to command the other fighters. Aren’s men were able to push back the natives and had a little time to regroup and observe the strangers.
The young female commander at first seemed in control of the situation but their shieldless line had been outflanked by the natives. The line reacted by folding in on itself and seemed to hold. Though Aren wanted to intervene, the natives tried to break his line for a second time. The Nords continued to hold as the natives seemed to be at least decent fighters but were clearly outmatched. Aren decided to order his men to advance and was approaching the other fighters who were barely holding. He was unsure of the intentions of his seeming ally so approached carefully and ordered his men to be prepared for anything.
It seemed some natives pierced though and were coming really close to the commander. She was struggling against a native and was able to push the threat back one but another seemed to jump on her. Aren, now close enough to order his men to hold as he took off to try to at least help her. He sprinted towards the commander now on the ground about to get beheaded. He took the man attacking her by the back of the neck, pulled him back and stabbed him through the heart. He then helped the lady to get back on her feet.
The woman seemed to say something to him, though Aren was unsure of what it meant. He thought she thanked him but it could have been something else. He simply nodded with a smile and continued fighting on. She seemed to order her men to start a withdrawal towards their ship as they kept using their sticks while slowly retreating. It also seemed some of her men were spooked at the sight of Aren and his Nords but the woman seemed to tell them not to engage them. The natives, probably realizing that two of their foes had teamed up, mostly retreated while the stragglers were either cut down by the Nords or struck by their other foes.
As the battle came to a close, some of Aren’s men seemed to be eager to fight the ones they had just saved but Aren decided to try the diplomatic approach as the female commander seemed to order her men to heal the wounded and get back on their strange ship. She then looked at Aren and seemed to say something that he didn’t understand.
“What are you saying?” He responded as he wanted a discussion with this sort of foreign leader who had also had been attacked by the native
She looked at him puzzled, it seemed she didn’t understand what he was conveying either, though the thoughtful look she gave him may mean she may have understood a bit of it. They continued trying to communicate but they were getting nowhere. The mysterious woman backed away and turned to continue giving orders to her men. Astrid and Calum were eyeing her and they then vocalized their intentions.
“We should take her as a prisoner, I mean look at her! Men would fight each other to buy her. We could make a fortune!” Calum disclosed about their current ally.
Astrid looked at him with a look of despair, though honestly, she did expect that kind of response.
“What? I’m not wrong” Calum expressed.
“As much as it pains me to say, yes you are right. But I don’t think it is a good idea to make an enemy of them, we should at least try to trade” Astrid retorted as she kept thinking of how they would deal with their return home.
Aren, hearing the two argue, intervened “Astrid is right, plus I am very curious about their ways. I think we should set up camp near theirs, I really want to learn more about their language and culture. They may even be future allies if we play our cards right”
Aren and his group set up camp and landed their ship right next to the strangers. Later that night, the stranger’s leader accompanied by one of her men joined Aren and some warriors close to the fire. They tried to communicate almost until daybreak with little success.
“It’s strange, the man that accompanied her was carving on a piece of paper as we spoke, it was like he tried to understand the logic behind our language, or at least the words we used” Aren remarked
“It is but are you sure it’s worth the time, we could surprise attack them and capture their ship, surely with that the Jarl will spare us” Astrid exclaimed. It wouldn’t be the best option, but Astrid was ready to at least salvage the mess Aren had put them into.
“Whatever we do, I don’t think he’ll listen” Aren responded while thinking to himself
“You’re thinking of a stupid plan, I know that face, what is it?” Astrid asked trying no to just punch him at this point.
“I’ll fight the Jarl. It’s my head he wants well he’ll get it or he will die trying” Aren proclaimed.
Astrid, knowing she cannot convince him otherwise, just started to stare in the distance and thought of how she may be able to escape the fate that would bring if Aren died.
“If this is truly what you wish for my friend, I’ll follow you. ” Bjorn, Aren’s right-hand man, replied as he arrived to join the three in their discussion.
“And so will I, for that matter” Calum revealed to no one’s surprise.
“Even though I think this is borderline suicidal, I’ll follow you too” Astrid finally expressed putting the rest of her faith into Aren, as so far it seemed that it was her only option.
“Then it’s settled, but for now I’ll need you, Bjorn. You are good at deciphering what people think, you’ll help me translate and understand what the strange woman says. If you want of course” Aren asked his right-hand man.
“Of course, just tell me when” Bjorn replied with a bit of enthusiasm.