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Yes, sorry. Had some home reno getting done last week, that somehow spread to my office - limiting what I could do, and taking longer then it should have, as these things tend to do. Its all done though, and looking forward to getting back on track.

King's Gold

The rolling hills, the blue sky, the endless sea beyond, all were blotted out into darkness, dissolved from vision and replaced by rage brought on by battle-blood. Edric gripped his shield tight, feeling the mace of the saxon slam down on his shield again, and again. Edric counted twelve of them, and once the vikings were in their shield wall there was little hope of the Saxons withstanding for long.

By the time Edric turned the final blow and made ready to lash out with his axe, the saxon was already dead, his face impaled with a spear so that only bits of bone and flesh were visible where once there had been a face. Surveying the battlefield, Edric could see that the other saxons had met a similar fate. He cursed under his breath. His axe was not sated, yet he supposed it would soon enough.

Edric moved forward from the shield wall, Skuli and Hafr close behind him. Young skuli grinned at Hafr, wiping the blood from his axe with a linen cloth.

"Hardly noon and already fell a saxon warrior to my blade," grinned the young huscarl.

"The battle was over too quick," hafr complained. "If this is the best the saxons have to offer, my axe will be sorely disappointed."

"There will be more to come, rest assured," Edric replied.

Several vikings lay strewn before the church, cut down by the Saxon blades. "Bring the valiant dead to the beach, we will speed them to Valhalla."

"As you say, my Jarl," Skuli saluted. It has been nearly a year since Edric was ousted from his throne at Vestfold, yet his huscarl's had difficulty seeing him as anything other then their jarl.

During the battle, most of the Christian monks had fled, but some were caught within the grounds just outside the church, some skewered and screaming, and others clasped with ropes and irons to be made thralls. Edric was more interested in what lay inside the smoldering temple. He stepped inside, flanked by his huscarls.

The priory wasn't a large building. There was a modestly sized chamber, long and wide, with rows of seating that led up to an alter, where a cross, a symbol of their god, dominated the room. Behind the main chamber was living quarters, at least Edric assumed as much, but it all lay in ruin, consumed by smoke and fire.

Behind the alter lay the object which the Saxons had been so intent on guarding. Poorly hidden under a blanket, Edric barked for Skuli's help, and together they lifted the heavy chest and hauled it out of the burning Christ-den and outside in front of the church. Smashing the lock with his axe, Edric pulled the chest open, revealing the contents within to all the vikings gathered outside. The gold coins within shimmered from the noon sun.

It was a treasure fit for a king.
@Ghostmask In hiatus I'm afraid. Hopefully our GM will return sometime soon and look into picking this back up, cause its a great world we've created here.

Raid of Lindisfarne Priory

The vikings circled the priory like vultures around a fresh kill. Uffr paced around the church grounds, stopping only to hurl taunts at the priests inside, while Harek pounded on the door and barked venom. With no opposition to his plan, Edric nodded at Skuli to begin preparations. Within a few moments Skuli had built a large fire on the church grounds.

At that moment, Edric's second huscarl, Hafr, strode breathlessly to join them, a few men at his back. "The Crow is secure," panted Hafr. "I left Garn and his son to guard it, and it seems Odin is smiling upon me. It seems I haven't missed anything."

"The Saxons have locked themselves inside to pray to their deaf Christ," Edric returned coolly. "Instead of silence they will get fire."

Men began approaching the large fire, dipping their arrows in the flames and turning them on the church. The singed arrows burned like comets across the morning sky, landing upon the roof and walls of the church. A dozen small fires merged into one, and smoke rose in the air in a great plume that darkened the sky. Now all the raiders had to do was wait for the monks to come shrieking and coughing out of the church.

As if on cue, the oak door unlatched with a loud click, and it slowly swung open, releasing a large puff of smoke. Edric squinted to see past the ashen veil, but saw nothing. Then about a dozen men, clad in chainmail, helms, sword and shield came out of the church eager for blood. Edrid didn't have time to ponder what these men-at-arms were doing here. He only had time to act.

"Shield wall!" Edric hollered! His men began to form up, while others were caught off guard, easy marks for the saxons, and screaming as they were cut down.
@TheWildBunnii I can totally sympathize! lol
IC up - thought our characters could debate the best course in getting inside the church, hopefully giving @TheWildBunnii time to catch up.

15:49 <IMPSEC Actual> Baines to Vanguard Fleet. I'm entering into negotiations with Dubai and Twin Suns. Ignore their ships for now and investigate those signals. Sword Fleet is moving out in five hours. Ensure that sector is clear.

15:51 <ERIS> @Cmdr Carver The Lantallian has arrived at Armstrong and your crew are awaiting orders.

Lindisfarne Priory

Odin's Whisper had beat the Crow to shore, its raiders already nearly at the temple before Edric put his boots to the ground. It was in moments like this, running alongside fifty men to raid some heathen Saxons, that Edric really felt his age. His legs burned, and a dull ache radiated out from his knees each time his heel found the ground. Within a few moments, Skuli and many of the other raiders had outrun him, leaving Edric nearer the middle.

It suited him fine, however. The bells indicated the church spied their approach, and may have arms prepared against them. The impatient youth keen to outrun their own captain will be the first to be pierced by arrow and steel.

Edric reached the church, wiping the sweat from his brow and catching his breath. Herek was knocking at the door, Uffr stood nearby, and Skuli and his men were circling the church.

"The door is barred shut," said one raider.

"The windows are all shuttered as well," said Skuli, returning from behind the church. "Some Saxons have fled inland, into the hills."

"Saxons are cowards." Edric stated plainly. He studied the door of the Christ temple. It was solid oak and wrought with iron. It would take some effort ramming it open, and the bells may have alerted nearby men. There were nearby trees to fashion a ram, but that would take all day, and Edric didn't exactly relish being here longer then he had to.

Edric studied his fellow raiders, rubbing a hand through his course, grey beard. "They think their Christ will save them, but they only delay Gods' will. We could make a ram from the trees over yonder, but those bells are bound to attract attention. Lets say we smoke these rats out of their whole, end this quick."
Here's some useful info on our setting.

The Crow

Predawn gloom had settled over the world. A hazy veil slowly being lifted as the first golden fingers of the sun crept across the sky to the lament of rolling waves crashing upon the hulls of two ships. Dubbed The Crow by its crew, the longship cut across the rough waters with speed and agility, its keel spine parting the frigid waters with ease as its oars dipped and splashed in hypnotic rhythm.

Most of the fifty raiders aboard the vessel slept, save its captain, Edric Godseye. Sitting at the steering oar, the large man brushed his ash grey hair from his brow, lazily adjusting the oar to keep it parallel to Odin's Whisper. His attention was more concerned with the small stump of wood held in his lap. Taking his hand from the oar handle, Edric lifts up a knife and continues his work, whittling a figurine from the wood. The sharp edge of the knife made short work of the soft birch, cutting away timber to forge the shape of a head and shoulders.

A cry from Odin's Whisper broke Edric's concentration.

"Land! Praise the Gods, we have found land!"

Edric slapped the shoulder of his sleeping helmsmen, motioning him to take the oar. He grunted sheepishly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes before taking the oar. Edric rose from his seat, and began making his way toward the prow where a crow, black as night, perched in eternal watch before the ship.

Before the prow stood Edric's trusted lieutenants; young Skuli Guthornson and Hafr, Edric's oldest and most trusted friend. They seemed to be arguing as they looked out upon the land on the horizon.

"I don't see it," Hafr was saying, squinting into the horizon.

"It's right there," insisted Skuli, pointing at a dark shape in the distance.

"What do you see," asked Edric, joining them.

"A building, Jarl Edric," answered young Skuli. "You see the spire? I'd guess its a church."

"I see nothing," grumbled Hafr. "The boy is still dreaming, I say."

"I'm telling you its there!" Laughed Skuli, amused his comrade couldn't see it. "You need only open your eyes!" Hafr furrowed his brow in concentration, his eyes straining to see what was ahead of him. Skuli began talking very slowly, as if to a child. "You see, Skuli, there's land ahead."

"I can see the land!" Snapped Hafr.

Edric squeezed Hafr's shoulder. "Your eyes are not what they used to be. Skuli, you and your men with me. Hafr, secure the Crow then follow us up the beach." Skuli nodded and left to gather his men while Hafr continued his strained gaze into the horizon.

Edric walked back across the length of the ship. The raiders had all awoken, lured from slumber by the call of land. They busied themselves, strapping boiled leathers across their torsos, flinging shields over their backs, and draping chainmail over their shoulders. The men stopped their preparation, and exchange of taunts and japes with Odin's Whisper, as a seagull squawked overhead. All looked up to watch the bird as it circled and screeched. It dove down before the ship before flapping its great wings and careening high up in the air to disappear into cloud and gloom.

Edric watched the bird carefully. The Gods often use animals to herald their presence, and this sighting appeared beyond happenstance. Whether this be a good or bad sign, Edric couldn't say for sure without deeper thought. His men, however, expected a quick answer. The grisled old raider lifted his axe above his head. "VĂ­kingr, the Gods are with us!"

The men cheered and crashed their axes and shields together in a bloodthirsty cataphonic song. The landmass loomed overhead, their landfall imminent. Skuli slapped Edric's back, signalling his readiness. Hafr strode back from the prow.

"There's a building on the horizon," Hafr stated. "I'd guess a church."

Skuli smirked wryly. "Thank the Gods you are with us, Hafr."

The Crow lurched to a stop as it grinded up onto the beach. Edric led the charge, Skuli and his men just behind him. Edric flung himself over the rails of the ship, his axe tight in his hand and the blade calling for blood. Edric shouted into the crisp morning air.

"The Gods are with us!"
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