Bloody finally. A month out of Raider's Landing, and there she is. Rock Isle. An unwelcoming and unnoticeable name the island has, but it's wealthy by the shipload. About time. The freshwater has gone bad and the ale is running out, and on the morrow they buried Haakon at sea. Took an arrow in the shoulder two weeks ago, just south of Bow, when one of the Turncloak's ships tried to give chase. Must've thought the Shieldmaiden sailed under Bearstrength. The infection got him in the end. A shame - he was the navigator.
"Svein", they said, "we must turn back. Our gods abandoned us long before the Gallows, and the wind is against us." But you remembered, you remembered that once even Canute himself was doubted by his men. And now he rules the Blacklands. Never listen to what thrall-sons and fishermen have to say, those without birthright. How wrong they had been.
The Turncloak had tried to seize all of the Empire with a merchant army of mercenaries and thugs, waging a war of arrows and javelins against the steel legions. A slow and forlorn war it was, but one which allowed opportunity. Ulf fled back to the Confederacy, running a goose chase all over the Five Beauties looking to repair his relations and pay back debtors, leaving behind and scorched and starving land. Resist a foreign invasion of leather-wearing bandits they could, but not even the legionaries could hold off the willpower of a million rabid slaves. Last you heard the nameless Imperial City was falling, and its mysterious (equally nameless) ruler had vanished, possibly whisked away by the 18th and last Legion.
New merchant mercenaries came, seizing cities all along the coast. In response, King Canute forged an alliance with former imperial governors in the north against them, his sorcerous vassal felling their regiments by the score. Minor assets were gained, but most of the Empire remains held by factions of ex-politicians and powerhungry clerics, rogue generals and elected slave councils, and - in the case of Coven, the southern city closest to Rock Isle - a self-proclaimed pretender to the throne of thrones.
With Redheart's death, you - Svein, son of Sigurd - had found yourself without a liege. His son was a fool, and - as you had presumed - soon found his death at the edge of a sacred sword. Unhappy to serve again as merely a soldier in the Kingdom of the Gallows, earning little more than to pay for repairs and mead in Raider's Landing, you set off towards Rock Isle. Legendary in this forsaken world for its stores of gold deep below the earth, it is a rumoured Dwarven stronghold of old. The maritime link between the isle and Stonehold had been severed and forgotten long ago, and human slavers soon drove out the last degenerate mountainkin. They yet maintain this control, but have seen their workforces and their control over said thralls dwindle by the day, as the Empire fell. Rock Isle is ripe for plunder, or perhaps conquest. Just give the order.
>"Bring out the last cask - ale first, then blood."
>"Men, get your axes ready, and prepare for landing as soon as we reach the shore."
>"Sail further north, and look for a good cove to make camp in.""
A drekkar longship (thirty meters long, full crew: 80)
Crew: 79 sailor-raiders onboard, all armed with shields and axes
Supplies dwindling rapidly
Low morale among the men
Location (yellow dot):
Background and Rules
Vanaheimr Tales I: The Longship is an interactive short story of sorts, set following the events of Vanaheimr, the first game in my series (which now sadly is lost, due to being on Patton). It takes place in a medieval-ish fantasy world, into which a fleet of Viking Age raiders were cast by a storm, across time and space. The Norse captain you are following was part of this original fleet, and has now set off on his own. No knowledge of the setting is required. Just go with the flow, and it'll sort itself out. I'm too lazy to write actual rules, so look at the ones Snacks made.