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Steel flashes through the air on the plains as men hack each other to pieces. Swords taste flesh and blood stains the earth. Three factions are easily identifiable by their battle standards. The smallest, armed with large round shields, axes and swords and clothed in thick furs now bloodied by war surges forward with a bloodthirsty roar, cutting a swathe through their enemies with surprising ease - despite being outnumbered ten to one. The other two factions, numbered in their thousands recoil immediately, now suddenly on the defensive.
My name is Alek, and I remember how this war started.

I came to this land from a distant place over the sea, seeking a new life. I loathed the constant ice of my homeland, so I set sail and and found myself on the shores of this green land. The inhabitants of the town that I arrived were kind to me, and despite being so radically different, they accepted me into their society. For years, we lived in harmony.
But then, ten years ago now, ships were sighted off the coast of the land that I now knew to be called Ireland. The intricate standards woven into the sails, depicting various gods and animals - Standards that I recognized all too well. At the head of each longboat was the head of a dragon. As they neared the shore, a loud cry echoed from the boats, followed by a cloud of black feathered arrows. People were screaming, running the village to find their loved ones, only to be cut down by an arrow shaft. Then the first ship landed on the shore. The vikings roared their battle cry and streamed up the hill into the village. They slaughtered anyone who fled, and everyone who stood and fought. Children were murdered as they cried for their parents, and women were carried off to their camp, no doubt to be the evening entertainment. By the time the fourth, and last, ship hit the shore, the village had been practically razed. I watched from a nearby hill as the last remaining survivors barricaded themselves in the church, pure terror etched on their faces. The vikings merely laughed and shouted in their northern tongue, a tongue that I had happily forgotten. It soon became obvious what they were shouting for, however. Other vikings came carrying piles of wood, which they stacked about the building. The church itself was stone, and wouldn't burn. So as i watched, I wondered. What was their plan? Torches were put to the miniature pyres, which began bellowing smoke, right beneath the thatched roof of the church. the smoke would hit the overhang and be diverted into the building through the gap between the roof and its walls. They were smoking the Irish out of the church, I realised. Sure enough, mere minutes later, the doors flew open and the last of the townsfolk ran into the street coughing and gagging, pleading for mercy. The vikings' answer was swift. Men were slain where they stood, and women and children were carried off. A few of the more pleasant girls were raped right there in the street, I might have seen some terrible acts, but that, I couldn't watch. Having emptied the village, every building still standing was burned.
The invaders came in the morning, and by afternoon, the village was a pile of blackened rubble. They would feast after their conquest, rape the women, and take the children as slaves before departing in the morning. And so it continued for years up and down the coast, until one day, there came not a few score vikings, come to raid and pillage, no, There came an army. Hundreds of viking warriors in dozens of ships, landed on the beaches. Some even tried to invade the forest about my home, though they never returned to their fellows. They lay rotting in the earth, their flesh feeding the trees.
Months passed, and I watched from my home on the hill, surrounded by the safety of the forest as they built their own town on top of the ruins of the village they razed before my eyes years ago. I'm sure some of the slaves recognize the area.
The vikings would send out raiding parties from the town into neighboring territories every so often, either to gain land, or riches, I couldn't say, but eventually, the Irish king gathered together an army to face these invaders.
Well. That was four years ago this day. Since then, the Scottish have joined the war. I moved my home to a location closer to where the fight is fiercest, too.
But although I'm content to watch the war from afar, everyone gets hungry sometimes...
Inspired by a song by Amon Amarth - Gods of War Arise.
Raini-Tempest Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Interesting and very vivid. I like.
Anfalas Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Hehe, thanks. :)
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