The Berserk Warriors of Lief the Skullsplitter

The History of King Raevil the True

About Lief
The Story of Raevil Hroltsson, The First King of the Norse

   On a snow-covered island, in the large town of Vikare was born the son of a clan chief, the boy's name was Raevil Hroltsson. He grew up on the shore of the small island and learned to fish, swim, and fight. When he reached maturity, he took the largest ship in his father's fleet, equipped with 100 well-armed norse warriors.
   The ship sailed into a storm and the great winds of the Endless Sea blew him into the mountainous shores of the continent. Broken by the wind and run aground, the ship was hopelessly damaged. Raevil and his crew left the ship to travel through a pass and into the foothills of the unclaimed northern region. The men were well-armed against the cold of the mountains, prepared as they were to survive the cold seas of early spring.
   On the other side of the mountains was a vast forest filling a broad valley, it had high peaks on both sides and a narrow pass at the valley's far end. Raevil's trained military mind saw the potential of a stronghold in such a well-guarded location. He and his men explored the valley, hunting to refill stores, finding the proper logs needed to repair the ship's mast and hull, and mapping the valley. The second day there, they found the valley's north end, squeezing down to a footpath to the sea.
   Once the valley had been mapped, two sequences of events were set into motion. Raevil saw how to use the resources of the lush valley to gain power over all the Norse Isles and expand the fleet to unseen proportions. He also believed from this place of strategic perfection he could raid deep into the continent and send the spoils home to Vikare. Only a few twisted beasts had settled in the valley, they were quickly defeated and yielded great treasure, further motivating Raevil to see what treasures the mountainous lands offered.

   The valley was so plentiful that by the time Raevil's men had towed the ship to the natural harbor at the sea-path and repaired it, his hunters had gathered enough hides, furs and treasures to fill the ship's hold twice. So, he positioned scouts at the valley's entrance and left half his men to collect the timber needed to build more ships when Raevil returned with a master shipwright and more men.
   He filled the hold of his repaired ship and sailed back to Vikare to drop off his bounty to his father and ask for a master shipwright, another ship, some tradesmen, and more warriors. After seeing his haul, King Hrolt quickly agreed and gave him a third ship to retrieve the hides and furs awaiting their return. As soon as the ships were ready, Raevil sailed again. They added oars to the sails to get back in time to send the rest of the bounty of the valley back while it was still early in the travelling season.
   At his arrival, Raevil found only a handful of his men awaiting him at the seashore. They told of a sneak attack by a well-med strike force deep in the night. The scouts had given no warning and the camp had been destroyed with only a few of the men able to escape onto the mountain where the "forest folk" couldn't follow. They had stolen the animal skins and burned the camp and timber. The survivors had scouted little, but felt sure the attackers had left the valley. Raevil immediately sent his rangers to check the valley for any signs of the "forest folk." Then he set to rebuilding the camp. He built the new camp in a box canyon, in a much better defensive location. Stonecutters and workers fell to building a walled stronghold in the dead-end canyon.
   He also sent half the stoneworkers and one-third his workforce to build a walled gate into the narrowest part of the southern pass. He called ForestGate, and sent one out of every four of his warriors to guard the pass and workers.
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