Hägar's great victory over the Witch of the North, her foul horde of trolls, and other unspeakable monsters will be long remembered in story and song in mead halls great and small across the land, but what many do not know that an even greater battle was fought the very next day... I give you the tale of Hägar verses the Treachery of Erik Longaxe! (Insert thunderclap!)
Mighty men are often singled out by the fickle gods of the cold north to truly test the limits of their greatness, and Konungr Hägar was no exception. So it came to be that with the breaking of the first dawn after slaying the Witch of the North and scores of fearsome Trolls, etc. etc., that Erik Longaxe came after long devious plotting and scheming with his best warriors about him, hoping to cut down his rival in their wounded and battle weary state. Some even say he was in league with the Witch herself, but arrived too late to aid her.
Other wise men claim it was Erik's jealousy that got the better of him, as he long brooded over the bright Citadel colors of Hägar's men. Growing unsatisfied with the dull muted Vallejo colors of his own. Whatever it may have been, the real truth may be forever lost on that hallowed battleground. (Another thunderclap please for good measure!)
Dawn breaks and Hägar's tired warriors are torn from their sleep from the repeated blasts of the sentry's horn. In the distance, a large horde of mighty warriors is seen rapidly approaching the valley. The morning sun glinting off their war-gear can only mean one thing... TREACHERY!
(Never mind the female figure apparently held captive in the upper left hand corner of this picture. This battle is about Erik Longaxe's
treachery, and not trying to rescue his daughter or something lame like that. At least that's what modern historians have claimed... )
"To battle!" is heard throughout the camp, and messengers soon relay to Hägar that it is the banners of the mighty Jarl Erik Longaxe they see in the distance. Hägar's confusion is quickly replaced by dread as he remembers tales of the gigantic stature and battle prowess of his newly revealed rival. Hägar steels his nerves and puts on a bold face for his surrounding hirdsmen.
With stealth no longer a concern, Erik's warband raises a mighty roar of horns and battle cries that thunder through the valley and across the mountains. The horde's footsteps alone is enough to make the ground shake.
Hägar's archer sentries and small patrol (bottom left) of warhounds and men lead by Ragnar Frothybeard race to intercept Erik Longaxe's raiders. Knowing full well such a small number can not stand long against the coming horde, Ragnar hopes to buy enough time for the rest of the camp to prepare for battle.
With sounds of battle already ringing through the air, eager warriors sprint down from the camp into the fray. Early morning sluggishness now long gone, as their battle fury reaches full tilt.
With great haste, Hägar's men close the gap to create a bottleneck at the mouth of the valley. Their weary bones instantly remember years of experience and training as battlelines snap into place. Shield locked, spears forward, and teeth clenched as they brace for the impact to come. The goats in the distance however, seem more concerned about the next mouthful of grass...
Battle is joined! Shields smash, axes and swords clash, and the ground greedily drinks in the blood of the slain. Desperation is written on every man's face as they sell their lives dearly for their lords. Wolves and ravens lurk in the shadows, salivating over the fest to come...
The enemy starts to give way as Erik's warriors surge forth. Leading from the front, nothing can stand in the way of this mighty man and his destiny. Hägar's lands and crown will be his!
(Having some epic movie soundtrack playing in the background right now is definitely advised.)
Hoping to save his men from total annihilation, Hägar and his Bannerman enter the fight. His deep voice echos throughout the valley challenging Longaxe to single combat. Erik may be younger and stronger, but Hägar's years have taught him a trick or two.
All along the line men fight tooth and nail. Regardless of the masters they serve, everyman here is worthy of Valhalla as they battle to the last. Surprisingly Ragnar and his men have survived and launch an attack from behind, but it may already be too late. The goats continue to chew their cud unfazed...
In full battle fury, Erik swings his axes madly about after seeing the first blood stains appear in Hägar's bright "Enchanted Blue" tunic. As his shield finally burst into splinters, Hägar sees his opening in the big man's wild attack. With a quickly timed thrust to the throat he looks into the startled eyes of his foe and watches the giant man tumble to the ground. It is finished!
Seeing their Jarl cut down before them, Longaxe's men lose heart and throw down their weapons. They have fought bravely, but nothing will be gained by further bloodshed on this day. Hägar and his men lean heavily on their shields and axes, as the last of their strength drains from their limbs.
Each man praises the powers that be for the desperate victory they have just won and for surviving for another day in this Dark Age.
For part one, click here.