Part I: King of the Geats

“HEAVE, MEN! HEAVE!” he yelled over the thunder and rain.

The men pulled and pushed their heavy oars back and forth through the raging waves. The wind whipped their faces, burning their eyes with salty water. They were soaked to the bone by the ocean and sweat. The sky was black and the moon was cloaked. Brief flashes of lightning revealed thick beards and muscled backs, pulling wooden oars with cracked and callused hands. As their longboat crashed into the waves and fought the current, one man stood at the helm, a terrifying construction of thick bones and muscled mass, plated with steel armor and elk leather. His rough blond beard covered his face, stopping just before his piercing blue eyes. His long coarse hair flung about in the wind.

“WE’RE ALMOST TO SHORE! PUSH!” his voice rumbled like the storm above.

The boat had gathered speed and was escaping the churning waters. As the waves and wind sped towards the shore they brought the boat with it and the men stopped rowing. They fastened their leathers to their stinging backs and clothed themselves with steel. They brought their axes and swords to their raw hands as their hearts beat faster, knowing what was next. Lanterns and fire glinted off the shields of men on shore in the darkness. The longboats sturdy frame hit the sandy beach with force as the men dismounted. They ran forward with the bloodthirst of hungry wolves, salivating at the mouth. With his men at his back and a final crack of thunder, the leader charged unafraid into the enemy’s ranks, his shining broadsword glinting in his deep blue eyes.

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