PROLOGUE Earl Thorvald - the self-proclaimed leader of Kaupang - has declared peace within the lands of Skíringssalr. A treaty was signed and ratified by all the surrounding towns, prohibiting raids to the west and prosecuting those who act unlawfully. The King of Norway, Arnstein Flatnefr, has aided the movement by generating trade with Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. The effect of the treaty was initially prosperous. Bloodshed had appeared to seize and trade had forged new friendships between old rivals. Overall, the agreement had successfully made Kaupang flourish as one of the leading commerce towns in all of Skiringassalr. In the first year, Earl Thorvald had managed to successfully make as much profit through trade alone as they had done through raids to the west. Moreover, the expenditure of supplies to make ships and weapons turned into housing and vending opportunities. It all seemed to have come together................but that was not the case. Under Kaupang's illustrious success were hidden secrets the Earl did not care to disclose. These private affairs included the taxing of Kaupang residents, the unequal business opportunities and other secluded undertakings that have gone unnoticed by influential eyes for years. Today, most of the common class - farmers, fishers, builders and merchants - struggle to subsist. With taxes rising every year, the poor citizens have been forced to work longer hours through heat and snow simply to make it through the year. The old Vikings, raiding seafaring pirates and traders , have been deprived of vigor and pride with this new law. Unable to use their talent with sword and shield, most have been rendered worthless and can be found begging for coin in the trails. Some Vikings were fortunate enough to find other skills that sufficiently aided their survival. Though despite this treaty, these warriors have not lost their will to once again surge through the seas in search for wealth and respect. To follow the path the Aesir have constructed and die in battle to reach the dining halls of Valhalla upon their passing. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CURRENT DAY Summer - Sólmánuður (Sun's Month) - June 16th Abdiel Thorstein - Market Place - Holmstein Rotinn The day star floating above shone down on the small town of Kaupang. The municipal enjoyed the sunlight as it's waters stilled beautifully and it's citizens rejoiced at merchant day. Odin's only eye gazed upon the market place near the bay where his sons and daughters conducted business of trade. Heat radiated off the skin of the working class as they rushed their stock and made camp for the arriving foreigners. People of all the nearby lands traveled through sea and dirt to join Kaupang this morning, ready to empty their coin bags and bring home goods that would last them through the upcoming winter. Earl Thorvald himself was said to make an appearance on this profitable day, allegedly to show gratitude for those who fuel his own wealth and pockets - that was at least the though of most citizens. In the meantime, Abdiel, a thirty four year old 'farmer' was forcing his defiant horse to pull a wagon down a dirt trail. Full of summer's harvest, Abdiel hoped to make a decent profit during this merchant day. Homstein, one of his childhood friends, was the helping hand, gathering crops that would fall of the wheeled storage every time the filly pranced in rebellion. He was struck down a couple of times, but the bearded fool would not falter. "Haha, Matilda knocked you down yet again brotha', just like your wife!" Abdiel laughed, recollecting on an event from their past. Patting his young horse on the neck, he managed to calm her down just enough to prevent any further quarrel between his two companions. "It is not funny......" Rotinn started, chuckling to himself as he wiped some dirt off his britches. "I was young. She knew more than I. I simply followed.........It felt good! Do not judge me until you try it!" the young man exclaimed, pushing for triumph over the argument. Rotinn then jumped on the wagon, sitting on the edge as he played with his dangling feet. He kicked the wagon in rythmn, playing an old tune to occupy his wondering mind - which really did not last long. "How high have taxes risen this year? I do not recall a notice," Rotinn asked, pulling a single straw of hay between his lips. On the other end, Abdiel did not appear to favor the subject, knowing how to respond to his question but refraining to actually answer it. Instead, he stopped Matilda and moved around to the wagon. "It is your turn. Take Matilda to the market, I'm going to meet an old friend just down the road, then meet you there. Ensure that you get a good spot, we need to be noticed so we can sell. Here, she loves these," Abdiel instructed, handing Rotinn a couple of berries before making his way from their intended pathway. He started for another route that lead more into center town. It was not a long walk, but Rotinn was oblivious as to why Abdiel decided to do this now. Ultimately was his proceedings not more important than this secondary expedition? Abidel was the one always complaining that he never makes enough coin to last him the full winter. Either way, Rotinn shrugged and continued, there was no point in fighting it.