The sky was grey with rolling clouds ahead. Thunder in the distance seemed to drown the rumbling of marching boots, while armor and weapons clinked against each other. Ships with dark blue sails were pulled aground not far behind on the far Prevalian shore. The men were leaving the ships behind with a sure speed.
The point of interest for this outing stood atop a hill. An old Yew Tree that looked as old as the land itself. The small battalion made its way forward. Once they reached the crest of the hill they were immediately greeted with the whisper of a barrage of arrows.
“Shields!” The reaction was immediate, but it was still too late. At least five men cried out in pain, three of which were felled instantly. The turtle shell of shields remained still for a long moment. Another rain of arrows came down, but this time it was met with tightly held shields. There seemed to be a stalemate though. The shield wall had nothing to stab at. The arrows couldn’t penetrate the shield wall. One of the northmen with a blue stained wolf skin shouldered her way out of the shield wall.
“I fear no shadows, come at me vit yer rain ov arrows. I vill snap zem vith mine teeth!” As if to accentuate her meaning, she began to snap her gnarly jaws towards the shadows. She continued to look insane for several moments before one figure revealed themselves. A man in a green hood, his red beard all that was really visible.
“What tis’et ye’ want ‘ere lassy? We’ve not heard good things about ye’ Northmen. Cannae be too cautious aye?” He spoke without patience, his hand ready to noch another arrow at any time. The woman scrunched her nose and straightened herself, enough to appear somewhat sane anyhow.
“Ve’ come for the Tree.” She pointed towards the oldest looking tree in the area. “It is to be new boat. This boat will be indestructible.” She grinned, as if that explanation were enough for anyone. The green hood turned towards the old tree, and then back to the Mad Jarl.
“Ye’re kiddin’ me righ’ Lassy? Ye’ wouldn’ be brave enough...er maybe stupid enough te’ march on’inere an tell ah’s yer ‘ere t’ take our Sacred tree?” There was a certain incredulity in his voice. It was at this point that a few more green hoods began to emerge from the shadows. Their arrows trained on the blonde woman. Nonetheless she continued to grin her gnarly grin.
“It is admirable yew seem villing to fight over an old tree. I do naught mind though.I like to fight. ARUUU!” She let out an ear piercing shriek of a howl and charged forward, intending to swipe at the green hooded man. She was intercepted by a large man with dark hair and eyes. He barreled into her and knocked her to her bum. The other northmen had started to charge forward with their shield wall. Several arrows were loosed, and a few snuck through the cracks of the wall. But it seemed to be getting dangerously close to stabbing distance. Another man appeared from the trees. This one clad in heavy armor, with silver hair and skin like old leather. He swept his war hammer at the wall and knocked a chunk out of it. The shield wall broke, and the northmen began fighting wildly. A few more men in metal armor started appearing from the forest, and clashed with the attacking northmen.In no time at all it was a full scale battle with several felled on both sides. The burly dark haired man that had knocked the crazy woman over was now faced with a man of his stature. Long blonde hair and beard twisted in braids with a few beads. The two fought down to their hands. The struggle between them was pensive, each nearly killing the other several times. And yet too quickly a life was ended as the dark haired man snapped the blonde northmans neck. There was a cry of indignation as he fell. The woman in the blue wolf skin let another howl of anger. And looked the dark haired man in the eyes.
“The life of vun tree is vurth how many ov your lives? Tink about dis…” She growled, gripping her mace. The dark haired man met her glare, and stood straight from his bent position.
“Et’ in’bout t’ tree. Et’s about wha’ the tree represents t’ ahs. Et’s about the justice we serve. We fight off t’ Orcs an’ deddies. When all t’ Kings are either missin’ er jes’ plain mad tha’ tree es a symbol of Protection and safety.” His words were met with a resounding “Huah” from several of the coremen and rangers. The blue wolfskin woman growled and charged forward, seeming intent on fighting the large man. She was pulled to a halt however, by a rope of water. A woman with dark black hair that looked almost blue stepped forward, her magic obviously holding the woman back. She had been standing off on the side for the better part of the battle.
“Enough sister. Ve find no victory here if ve continue to fight. The sea whispered to me of these trees. I misinterpreted the meaning of its message. Ve are not meant to cut these trees down for ships.” By now, those who were left had stilled their fighting, to listen and watch as the Sea witch spoke. The silver haired old man let out a grumble, swinging his war hammer over his shoulder.
“Lil’ late t’ be admittin’ a misunderstanding aye?” He glared at the woman as she approached.
“The sea has sent us here to yew today. There is a reason, though I do not understand yet. I believe it has something to do vith you, and these trees…” She looked over to the one they’d planned to fell. “Yew go where the trees are?” The Old man growled and lifted his weapon.
“Aye we go where the trees are ye’ fochn’ ninny. Ye’ sure yer not misinterpretin somethin’ again?” He was certainly tired of standing still. She looked at him, and tilted her head.
“Why these trees?” That seemed to throw him off for a second,
“Why? Et’s a legend amongst our people. The Militia was around en ancient times, a small feif of a kingdom known fer et’s peaceful monks and finely brewed wine. They formed when their king went missing, to defend the people who lived amongst the great trees.” He spoke proudly of their history.
“But yew are living in wagons here.”
“Times are rough…”
The witch narrowed her eyes at the old man then looked at the tree. “If there is a tree up north,...yew wuld go there?” The man furrowed his brow, annoyed and confused.
“We might, an’ we might not. What’s for us en ‘tha north.”
“I tink it wuld be beneficial for us to unite our forces. Yew speak of missing kings. The Sea has whispered of war and chaos that is sure to come soon. We need to be strong to stand against the winds of chaos. I vill grow a tree in the north, and yew will come vith us to the north and ve vill grow stronger together. This is how it will be.”
“Oh that’s how et’ll be eh?”
“Well…” The old man huffed, then looked at the dark haired man and the green hooded leader. They both lifted their shoulders, seeming as lost as him. “Ye’ve got ah good set up ahp north?”
“Ve have our village, vith room to build more. Do yew agree?”
“Well…” He hesitated and scratched his beard. “Foch ah s’pose so. Ye’ show me ah Yew Tree ahp north and we will pack up camp and join ye fochs.”
And that was that. The Vikings and the Yew Militia united under one banner.