Do not touch anything unnecessarily. Beware of pretty girls in dance halls and parks who may be spies, as well as bicycles, revolvers, uniforms, arms, dead horses, and men lying on roads - they are not there accidentally. - 1930s Soviet infantry manual

The Danish Vikings

Starting Roster

Prologue

On the outskirts of the village, close to the water's edge, Cnut gazed beyond the longships and out across the bay toward the open sea. So many years had passed, but the hatred never faded, and his resolve only grew stronger. This wound had festered long enough.

He remembered his father, receding into the distance, waving farewell from the prow of his flagship as he departed for foreign shores . A brave man, certainly, tall and handsome, and respected throughout the islands, but too willing to put trust in others, as had finally been proved. Cnut recalled the feeling of loss when the ships returned, and the tears in his uncle's eyes when, clasping him tightly, he had been told of his father's death and the treachery of the Irish king. And then he had made them smile with his anger when he had sworn revenge, in that moment showing himself to be a true warrior as all Norsemen should, and the son of a Jarl.

And yet it was his uncle who had become Jarl at that time. Until - as he had said - the young Cnut had grown up and could best him in combat. Now, four years later, lying on the ground, his sword knocked out of his grasp beside him, his uncle had grinned up at him and told him he was ready. Cnut, larger, stronger, and more battle-scarred than his father had ever been, was Jarl now. And with the hatred still burning in his heart, Cnut knew the time was right to settle the score in blood.

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