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The Saga of Svear

By King Barbarossa

The sun rose slowly over the quiet isle, its rays spreading forth light and warmth onto the still world. Frost covered plants began to shed their icy covering, and tree branches laden with snow began to melt.

Svear awoke to the coldness of his hut. His eyes were temporarily blinded by the incoming rays of the sun filtering into the crevices of his hut. Slowly he arose. Outside, the village was stirring. Cows began to call for milking, chickens were pecking the ground in search of food, and a solitary rooster announced the rising of the sun.

The situation of Svear and his village was a curious one. For years his people lived peaceably on a small island, devoid of war and disease. Svear's people were simple farmers and fishermen, who tilled the soil and reaped the bounty of the ocean. Then one day, fierce raiders came from another island, far away; demanding tribute and slaves. Svear's people would not give the raiders the desired tribute. They left in defiance. A week later several dragon warships appeared on the horizon, and their intent was obvious. Svear joined his fellow warriors and fought back the enemy, pushing them all the way back to their ships. The enemy retreated, and sailed away. From then on the fate of his people was sealed. The peasants of the island gathered together their earthly possessions, and left the island by boatloads. Few stayed, but were killed by the enemy's dark priests; who wielded powerful forces against them. The once peaceful island turned into a barren isle.

Svear was an orphan. His parents (what he could remember of them) were nice and kind to him, and taught him all the knowledge of farming, fishing, and hunting. Svear's father met his death to a bear while he was hunting in a group, and his mother was killed by a wolf as she was foraging for food. Svear was in his early twenties, over six feet in height, and had a mane of golden hair with a short beard. His countenance suggested one of royal blood, even though he was the son of a peasant. His eyes were a shade between the clearness of a glacial lake and the deepest blue of the ocean. Needless to say, he was strong and brave. However, he was only a poor, humble warrior, with hardly any possessions and no woman.

Stepping out of his hut, Svear headed to the temporary barracks on the island a reported to duty.

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Nearly a year had passed since Svear had awoke to the coldness of his hut. Now he was the captain of his own dragonship, with a faithful crew. The gods had indeed been merciful. Svear had been promoted for his bravery and cunning in battle. As the captain of his ship, he had to scout the surrounding waters for enemy ships and islands where his people could hide.

The enemies that had struck terror into his people so long ago were still giving chase. They had no name, these raiders, but were simply known as the Nidhöggr, meaning that they made their foes full of dread and fear. Recently they had enlisted Orc and Goblin mercenaries into their army, the spawn of the underworld; which made even the bravest warriors under Svear want to flee in fright. His people had to travel from island to island, escaping from the pursuing foe.

Svear's dragonship was approaching a small island, which he could see from a distance. There appeared to be a ruined tower or castle at the top of this tall rock, but Svear couldn't tell until they got closer. "Row, my warriors. Row!" yelled Svear.

His order was responded by the men at the oars giving their full strength into the giant paddles. The craft sped along, cutting through the deep, blue ocean, creating little wakes that dissipated into the larger waves. As they neared the island, a large, beached vessel was stuck on the rocks that surrounded the island. Dead warriors were strewn around the helpless ship. One of the sailors suggested they investigate the barren rock. Svear gathered together seven of his bravest warriors, and disembarked from the ship. The island was a naked rock that jutted up several hundred feet into the sky. Patches of moss and lichen grew on the cliffs. A stairway hewn into the cliffs led to the top. The dead warriors were not of Svear's people. The broken warship was of foreign make. Their armor and weapons had been stripped off their dead bodies. The small band of soldiers walked around the perimeter of the island. A large opening to a cave was spotted by one of the men in Svear's group. What was inside the cave? Treasure for them to seize? Or was it guarded by a Jötun, one of the fierce giants? Svear took a torch, and tossed it into the gaping cavern. Shouts were heard from inside, and within seconds a hooded figure rushed out of the cave. Unveiling its covering, the figure spoke. "I am Skögul the Raging, guardian of this island," shrieked the creature. The warriors of Svear's party put their hands to their swords. Svear gazed upon the creature. Skögul appeared to be a goblin, and this was bad news. Just as he was choosing his words to reply, the creature started shouting and mumbling in a strange tongue. Before he could order his men, Skögul had leapt upon Svear and was tearing at his throat. More creatures similar to Skögul poured out of the opening. Svear's men took their swords and lunged at this oncoming foe. Meanwhile, Svear had thrown off Skögul and pulled out his sword. In an instant, Skögul was dead, head cut off his body.

The other goblins were soon killed, but not after a fierce fight. Curved swords bit into Svear's skin, causing a large loss of blood. But the island was theirs, or so it seemed. Stepping into the cave, Svear cautiously advanced. A sword of magnificent make hung on the wall, but it disappeared before his eyes. A golden breastplate studded with jewels stood in a small cavity within the cave. Svear picked it up, and departed from the cave. Climbing up the rough staircase, he came upon blocks of stone that once supported a lookout tower. He started to see a grey film, and he fell into a trance. Two people appeared before him. One was a tall, golden haired woman, and the other was a large, red bearded man.

It was the woman who spoke first. "I am Freya, and have a very important message for you from Odin." she said. Her voice was the most beautiful thing Svear had ever heard. The red bearded giant spoke next. "I am Thor. You must return the golden breastplate back to us, for it is armor fit only for the gods," he said. His voice was deep, like the rumbling of thunder. Svear handed back the armor, and Freya spoke again. "Thank you. You have done the gods a favor, and you shall have a reward. Your people have been plagued with a dangerous foe, and we will give you two chances for you to use against your enemies. Use this to summon Jormungand, the world serpent; and he will vanquish your enemies on the sea." She handed him a small, golden dragon. "And you may have this to call upon me. If you are losing a battle, throw this towards Asgard and I will come to your aid," Thor said. He handed him a small, iron hammer. "Your quest is just beginning. Save your people, and your reward will be great." Svear could see the necklace of stars, or Brigismänn, hanging from Freya's white neck; and Thor holding Mjöllnir, his prized hammer. Then the film lifted, and Svear found himself alone, holding a golden serpent and an iron hammer. He descended the cliff, and returned to his ship. He had a long tale to tell tonight…

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Back on his island, Svear sauntered down the shoreline. Spotting two pieces of amber, he picked them up and began to carve them. He sat down on a rock and thought of his vision from the gods. Ten minutes later, an amber bear was in Svear's hands. He took the second piece, and started to carve it into a Heron. A noise startled him. He lifted his head, and saw a woman, not five paces away. "What brings you here, fair maiden?" Svear called. "I just saw you here on the beach, and wanted to see what you were doing," she replied. She sat down beside Svear. Svear gazed at her. Her raven black hair was down to her shoulders, and her eyes were the same color as his. "What is your name, damsel?" he inquired. "Gytha," was the reply. She was probably the same age as himself, thought Svear. He had tried to avoid women, because of his lowly status. "I have often looked at your skill and cunning at the Barracks, and have heard all the tales you bring home," she said in a soft tone. Svear turned to her. "You are very industrious. I have seen you working hard in the fields." He was finishing up the amber Heron. "Here, take this as a gift," he said kindly. She turned to him and accepted and the jewel. "Thank you." She thanked him with a kiss. Then she slowly returned to the village. Svear thought to himself "Someday….

Many dragonships were on the still sea next morning. Svear's craft was among them. A fleet of ships from the Nidhöggr had been spotted, battle was evident. When they finally found the enemy fleet, the sun was high. Two ships of Svear's fleet went to engage the enemy. The loyal warriors positioned their craft, and launched a volley of flaming arrows at the enemy. It was to no avail. The enemy Nidhöggr landed into the two boats, killed the crew, and pursued the rest of the fleet. Svear wanted to retreat, but it was too late now. The king of his people, Ragnar the Wise, ordered his fleet to fall back. The enemy fleet outnumbered Ragnar's ships three to one. Svear thought fast. Was this the time to use his amulet to call upon Jormungand? Tossing the golden figure of a dragon into the water, he watched it descend to the bottom. Nothing appeared to be happening. The warships of the Nidhöggr were still in pursuit, trying to catch up and board Ragnar's ships. Seconds later, two walls of gigantic teeth jutted out of the water, engulfing the fleet of the Nidhöggr. One of the teeth, which were the length of a longboat, pierced straight through one of the enemy ships. Monstrous, green jaws rose from the waves. The Nidhöggr warriors were as turned to stone. They could do nothing. The giant jaws closed, and when they had sunk beneath the waves, the Nidhöggr fleet had ceased to exist.

Ragnar and all the warriors gaped in amazement. Svear himself was shocked. The gods had been to their word. Jormungand had consumed the enemy fleet.

The fleet of Ragnar continued its journey to the island of the Nidhöggr. Svear was a popular warrior now, he had called upon the forces of Asgard to aid his people in victory.

Several more days upon the ocean, and the island of the Nidhöggr was sighted. Engulfed with fog, it looked as if it were dead and gloomy. Ragnar ordered his ships to disembark. Warriors jumped off the boats as they beached, wood was unloaded to build makeshift catapults, and weapons were carted to a temporary campsite.

That night, Ragnar raided a village, taking all the horses they could capture back to their camp. Chariots were assembled, and the horses harnessed and ready for battle the following day.

When Svear awoke, he noticed a sword lying next to his cot. Reading the runic inscription upon it, he saw that it was Aettartangi, "Sword of the Generations." This was the sword he had seen in the cavern. Forged by dwarfs, it was a powerful weapon that could slay even dragons and giants. It was a gift from the gods.

The entire troop of Ragnar assembled upon an open plain, in sight of the fortress of the dark Nidhöggr king, known as Sigrid the Wicked. Svear was in command of his own regiment, what an honor it was! King Ragnar headed his veterans in the bulk of the army. The horses they had stolen the previous night were harnessed to the chariots, out of the view of the enemy. Just as they were assembling, the forces of Sigrid the Wicked came charging at Ragnar's army. Hordes of Orc infantry and Goblin horse riders were quickly descending upon Ragnar's small army. Svear commanded his regiment to advance. The Goblin cavalry charged at the front line of soldiers, but Svear's spearmen threw them off. He ordered his archers to fire a volley of arrows at the oncoming riders. As the arrows struck the oncoming cavalry, their Goblin fell off the horses and were trodden down. Svear looked over to Ragnar's army. It was having the same luck as himself, breaking the Goblin charge. The Orc infantry were advancing fast. Svear ordered his archers to fire continually at them until he bade them stop. By the time the Orcs reached Svear, they were greatly weakened. Svear ordered the archers to stop, and advanced his swordsmen to the front. Svear wielded his sword, Aettartangi, and felled the Orcs left and right. The Orcs took flight and ran towards the fortress. Ragnar was not as fortunate as Svear, however. The Orcs that were attacking his men fought with a great fervor, and were beginning to beat back Ragnar's line of defense. To make matters worse, the Nidhöggr human warriors were coming in full strength. Svear quickly advanced his infantry, and commanded his archers to support King Ragnar. As Svear and his men met the line of Nidhöggr Warriors, Svear felt his face heat up, and a force came over his body. Enraged he rushed blindly into the ranks of Nidhöggr warriors, brandishing Aettartangi. Enemy soldiers fell left and right in his wake, dead as can be. His men, seeing him, rushed into the oncoming battalions of the Nidhöggr in the same fury that he was in. The hidden chariots of King Ragnar came charging out of their hiding place, causing death and confusion. Svear did not see this. He was preoccupied with a grey bearded warrior holding an enormous battle axe in both hands. Aettartangi saved the day again, chopping the axe right out of the warriors hands. But all was not well. The dark priests of Nidhöggr started to cast spells over King Ragnar's army. There was nothing that could be done. Svear and his people would cease to be if the spells wrought their full effect. Pulling the iron hammer off of his neck, Svear tossed it into the sky, where it disappeared. Instantly lightening flashed out of the clear sky, consuming the enemy armies. The dark priests fled in terror. In a desperate attempt they cast one last wave of fire onto Ragnar's army. The Nidhöggr warriors were screaming and yelling, for the lightening consumed parts of their bodies. Limbs were missing, and in place, charred, burning flesh. Suddenly Svear was struck with something, and he saw black….

Svear opened his eyes. Everything appeared blurry, but once his eyesight adjusted, he saw he was within a private tent, where he was resting. Healing herbs were scattered about on tables and benches. His armor was gone, and there was no sign of his sword, Aettartangi. He would never see it again.

A woman walked into the tent. Svear smiled, for it was Gytha. He tried to rise, but winced in pain. "Rest, my warrior," Gytha said. She sat down next to Svear on his bed, and raised the blanket to his neck. She was wearing the amber heron that he had carved around her neck. "You were struck down by the last wave of chaos released by the enemy dark priests," she spoke with a shudder. "Miraculously, you survived. King Ragnar did not." Gytha lamented. "You are to be the new king of our people. You have become the greatest hero we have ever known. The Nidhöggr are vanquished, they no longer exist." She turned to leave. Svear beckoned her to stay. "Gytha, if I am to become the king of my people, I want you to be my queen." She looked at him in amazement. "Me? I am so unworthy of you." "No you are not, Gytha." Svear clasped her hand in his. "Rule the kingdom with me. Together we will rebuild our realm, more beautiful than ever before." She looked at him, and said very quitely, "Svear, I love you, and I accept." They kissed….

Epilogue

Svear and Gytha rebuilt their people, on a peaceful and fruitful island. Peasants returned to their old way of life, fishermen once again reaped the harvest of the ocean, and beautiful villages arose on this new green isle. Svear ruled wisely from his Castle, and everyone was blessed by his rule. When Svear was very old, he died in bed. Although he died an old mans death, he ascended to Valhalla where he feasted for all eternity.



Grammar: 5
Spelling: 5
Storyline: 10
Judge Bias: 18
Myth Usage: 10
Total: 48

Spelling: 5
Grammar: 5
Story line: 8
Judges bias: 17
Myth usage: 10
Total : 45

Grammar: 5
Spelling: 5
Storyline: 10
Judge Bias: 18
Myth Usage: 10
Total: 48

Overall Score: 141