I write about Vikings, because I am passionate about the Viking period and to revive and disseminate the epic, Nordic history. Personal dramas, power-plays and kingdoms formation - the Viking Age was a time when intrepid Scandinavians sailed out and
made their deep mark on the world through trade, plundering and settlements, and in my tale of Arnulf I weave fictional characters and events in symbiosis with authentic people and events. I want to get completely under the skin of the Vikings and with uncompromising
realism, I portray their lives and times, aspirations and hopes through Arnulf's intense and passionate saga, for Viking history is an important story for all of us - and it is a compelling story.
This spring a litterary agent will try
to find foreign publishers for Arnulfs saga! Wish me luck!
"Arnulf" is the first novel in "Arnulf - a viking saga."
Arnulf, named after the eagle and the wolf, is wild and belligerent. It is hard for him to stay home in the village
while his eldest brother, Helge, is away a-viking and hes other brother, Rolf, thinks only of land and livestock. Arnulf is ready to conquer the world and win his love, the fair Frejdis. Arnulf eagerly awaiting Helge's return, as he has promised him a place
on the summe voyage and a sword. But it is a bloodied ship that returns home. Helge has been killed in a vengeance-clash with a Norwegian chieftain whose daughter he raped. The Norwegian chieftain has also been killed, but the Danes have captured his son,
Toke. The saga begins! And it will lead Arnulf to the fierce Jomsvikings ...
"The Jomsviking" is the second novel in "Arnulf - a viking saga."
Arnulf is now a Jomsviking: his life is divided between Viking raids in the summer and
peaceful village winters. This spring he will travel to England with his five blood brothers - his Ring of Blood - and here they will be joined by Sweyn Forkbeard and Olav Tryggvason's motley army, even though Sigvalde, the earl of Jomsborg, is against it.
He knows Arnulf! And he knows Arnulfs bloodbrother, Vagn Ågesøn, the Ring of Blood, and what they can do ...
"Odins wolf" is the third novel in "Arnulf - a Viking saga."
Arnulf returns home to Norway as a hunted man,
and he is not allowed to rest for a long time. A fierce night becomes the beginning of a long journey towards a distant and mighty empire: the Gardarige with the capital Kiev, where the Viking descendant prince Vladimir is ruling. Hate and retribution breed
powerful enemies, and Arnulf starts his quest for justice.
"Fenrisfærden" is the fourth novel in "Arnulf - Viking saga".
Arnulf returns home after his violent journey to Kiev, but Norway is on the verge of revolt. The earl
Hakon is threatened, and Olav Tryggvason dare to strive to become king. Old hostility blows up, and the events send Arnulf on a voyage to Iceland. The warrior blood burns, and he does not meet mild men. The great Nordic story continues!
novels are planned. The fifth novel "The blood ring" will be published this summer, and the sixth novel "The king storm" will follow.
You can read a part from "Arnulf" below "Reviews & Readers".
You are also welcome to visit my facebook-page:
Arnulf - a viking saga
Reviews & Readers:
"Finally! Finally here is someone who tells us what it was really like with the Vikings. Here comes the real thing. It is just as exciting and violent as most fantasy, but it has its keel in the sea of reality. It's like being there yourself. Veulf is simply
an exciting and engaging plunder story from real life."
"Entertaining debut novel. Fine balance between serious research and informal entertainment. You are certainly not bored in Arnulf's company."
"This book is for everyone between the ages of 12 and 92, who love fast-paced action, drama – and of course the Vikings. You get swept away by a terrific performance that is composed with a sense of suspense and surprise effects."
"Engaging, well-told story. Beautiful, broad narrative. The author handles her material with great certainty. The book is as talented as it is gory. Bubbly and enthusiastically told with the effective loan of language
from the sagas."
"If you like fights and tough talk, then this is something for you."
"It's been a great experience to have been immerged for some days in the
heroic world that Susanne Clod Pedersen has superbly unfolded in her literary debut. Characters are rich, varied and eminently individualized. Susanne Clod Pedersen writes with archaeological accuracy and a real life, active imagination. Her fight scenes are
second only to Homer's. To follow the young Viking, Arnulf, in his journey in the northwestern part of Europe has been like returning to a place you've always known and which has just been waiting to be brought back to life. With a well-aimed blow Susanne
Clod Pedersen kills all objections to the historical novel, for she makes the past completely present and causes it to live in us again. She succeeds in making us both familiar with the protagonist, as he was and is, and in telling us, the readers, something
about ourselves that we had not forgotten."
Børne- og ungdoms-litteratur magasinet BUM
"A blast of a book!"
Allerød Library, month’s recommendation
"An exciting, bloody and engrossing
book. But it's more than that, the author manages to portray great emotions, without being corny, nauseating and pathetic. There are fight scenes worthy of Tolkien’s Uruk-hai, as well as genuine emotions. Exciting and almost cinematic Danish history."
"The story has all the blood, mead and Valhalla rutting it takes to lead us to the longhouse of the Jomsvikings, and Arnulf himself, he is a true Viking who makes Holger Danske appear like a wimp."
"Arnulf is a really exciting Viking novel where you really hear the sword battles and freeze with the Vikings on their rough sailing."
"Such a book! Life as a Viking at full speed."
"Arnulf is well written and action filled. An excellent book."
Børn og bøger
"The language entices the reader right into the story. The story is incredibly realistically portrayed and you come to live
easily in the characters' feelings."
"There are books so well-rounded that they seem to have been fully formed even before they were written; the author has just had the trouble of getting it down on paper, not a word
should be different. One must be careful to use the phrase "born classic," but here I can risk it."
"It is a great book! I am absolutely fascinated by the beautiful language and the many turns, which make the Viking
Perios appear so vividly for the reader. The plot is beautifully put together, I feel what the protagonist feels – palpitations, tears behind his eyelids, time that stands still. I experienced heady joy while I was reading this book! I am happy to have
been on the ship and felt the battles in my mind, but also the longing for my special someone and a love that burns. I can only recommend everyone to read it – whether or not you are interested in the Viking Era!"
"Knowledge about the Viking period served on a plate. Here are richly detailed descriptions of life and faith. Lots of action, raids and temperament. Self-indulgence, urges, muscles and bloody conflict. Not for the fainthearted reader."
"There is courage and strength, sea spray and blood trails. It's like being there. "
"His experiences with the Vikings in Norway and later with the Jomsvikings is action-packed,
exciting and dramatic."
Den store danske, Gyldendals open encyclopaedia
"One of my absolute top writers in Denmark."
"Very dramatic. It's strong stuff. We are witnesses of blood-gushing battle
scenes and the manly world of the Jomsvikings, with its notions of honour and formidable heroic life. The text is written in an adapted language, which impressively gives a credible sense of the Vikings’ scarce style as we know it from the songs and
"Everyone talks about the Vikings. Everyone thinks they have a picture of the Vikings. But Susanne Clod Pedersen's books is the place wherer I have come closest to it – she knows, she believes, she can. I
enter her story space and I'm in another world."
"When your heart beats for a special era, it is always with an ill-concealed arrogance that you take a book down from a shelf, this arrogance is very much put in its
place by Arnulf. Susanne Clod Pedersen manages to write about the Vikings in a way that is both historically accurate and HEART-POUNDINGLY exciting. You can taste the blood, you can smell the smoke and you can feel the warm, strong emotions our ancestors fought
with. A great book which I whole-heartedly recommend to everyone with a spirit of adventure and fighting in their blood."
"It is without doubt the best historical novel I've read (I almost always have a book in my hand):"
”Devoured Arnulf and Veulf in one, superb!”
"You have emptied Bragi’s horn in a very rare degree for contemporary authors."
"They are absolutely
fantastically written, I have been so absorbed in them that I have not been able to put them down."
"It is a masterpiece."
"I've read them both several times with equal pleasure."
”It is a fantastic book.”
"Amazing books, I read them again and again."
"I read the books in three days – totally seized by and caught up in
the story. A magnificent story. Great, thanks for the experience!!!"
"They are so good and exciting."
"Thank you for two really good and interesting books that are fully in line with Jan Guillou's
books about Arn. I just hope there is a sequel."
"I've only put it down to eat or sleep. Well done!!"
"I just read and read... I can’t stop J Such a good book. You are a great writer."
"A fantastic story, just read it for the third time, and it still evokes great emotions in me."
”Reading them for the third time.”
"I read it in
a very short time and can only recommend it to others who have the desire and courage to read a good book. Definitely not the last book by author Susanne Clod Pedersen I have read. "
"It is such a fantastic book."
"Arnulf’s story is fantastic. Just fantastic, what a way with words. "
"The author must have been there herself. "
"Both Ulrikke and I have now read Arnulf and
we both love it. Thank for such a beautiful reading experience. "
"Would really like to read another book about Arnulf."
"I’ve now read Arnulf and Veulf and they are some of the best
books I’ve ever read! So good!"
"I finished the last pages of Arnulf and Veulf at Christmas and I am still very enthusiastic about the book. Both
its history but also all the beautiful details about the era and the fantastic people."
"Your Viking saga Veulf and Hialmar trilogy are extremely unique! Please write more of the same
genre. I’m not often gripped by books, but you managed it! Thumbs up! "
"I have just dried my salty face clean of sea spray and blood and returned to the real world after having been on a dangerous adventure with my
good friends, Arnulf and Toke. I am amazed by your ability to captivate a school tired kid like me who has never embarked on much larger projects than to read Donald Duck and various novellas."
"I enthusiastically heard
Arnulf-Veulf on audiobook. Thank you for your amazing way of writing, you do it so vividly that I felt transported to the cinema's latest 3D universe."
"Arnulf is wonderful reading. You are a formidable communicator."
"The presence of history is described quite amazingly by Susanne Clod Pedersen, one of my absolute favourite authors in Denmark."
"Over the past month I have been recommended these books four times by people
at my lectures, who said they are better than The Longships by Frans G. Bentsson."
"What a story! I bought the book for my son – but began to read it myself – and then I had to buy another
one for his birthday."
"My, you can write!!! GREAT pleasure to read! "
"What a pleasure. You write so nicely, I really enjoy your beautiful descriptions and amazing "Flourishing Viking words".
An exciting, compelling story."
"I've read most of the better class English Vikings books... you are simply so much more credible."
"I never thought, that I, as a woman would become wildly
consumed with sweat-dripping, bloody fight scenes and forget about the various commitments outside the intense space created between Arnulf and me. Susanne Clod Pedersen writes excellently and captivatingly, you feel the fire burning, the rain whipping and
the cold penetrating deep to your bare skin. "
"It’s cool. Well done!"
"We are looking forward – the whole family – to reading more from you! Arnulf/Veulf has been read between
2 and 3 times by each family member and discussed late into the night...wonderful "
"You can’t put these books down; you live in Arnulf’s time and life."
”An authentic Viking
"So Susanne – it’s the Viking within you speaking with an iron and fiery voice – I have enjoyed reading it so much and recognize myself in many things and reactions. Your empathy is formidable!!!
I hunger, like a little dreamy Viking boy, to hear and feel more in the next adventure for Arnulf... the combination of sailing a Viking ship – and reading your empathy in the Viking world projects a pure 3D image in your head – you can almost
recognize the sounds and taste the sweat, blood and fear... "
"Your books contain some of the most accurate representations of the Viking Age I have ever read! Your understanding of the details and your accuracy in the description
was such a pleasure to read as an archaeologist. I very much look forward to reading the next episode!"
"It is absolutely fantastic. I had never read a book before my girlfriend threw me into the world of Arnulf!!! And I
read it in just three daysJ"
"Fast-paced reading. I'm wildly entralled with your language."
"These can be highly recommended. An adventure filled with danger, friends and meaningful choices."
"Never, never before or since have I experienced reading with such preoccupation. Purchased the collected works and read them NON STOP! I could not leave my friend, my brother, my comrade, that world!!!"
"Thumpingly good and captivating books."
”They are just so good.”
"Can definitely recommend, it's a great book."
"I can warmly recommend it."
"Amazing books. Can’t put them down. Definitely recommended. "
"I'm very excited."
"So good. I’m
just missing the sequel."
"So much nerve and pronounced realism. Described so well that the little hairs stood up on my arm. You stay up late to read it. Highly recommended ... the books are like liquorice ... strong and
tasteful at once. Beware ... they are addictive."
"I am a huge fan of your books about Arnulf. "
"Once Arnulf has touched you and Frejdis crossed your mind's eye, then you are doomed. Forfeited
to a portrayal so poignant and powerful that you can’t let Arnulf’s voyage go. "
"This is an amazing story, which the world deserves."
"The most amazing book I have ever
"They are the best books I've read for a long time."
"The world deserves Arnulf."
beautiful books. I have read them several times."
”It is fantastic.”
"From the bottom of my heart thank you for a terrific reading experience. It is poignant, touching and humorous
and most importantly a tremendously entertaining story. I laughed and cried, gasped and shuddered, many a dark winter evening. Looking forward to a long saga."
"Amazing and captivating novel. I have not read such an exciting
story for years."
"Really cool Viking books."
"What a saga, what battles, what
strong emotions. You have made a Danish Treasure live again. You are a wonderfully, sensitive, powerful story master. Imagine if I had missed your great and important saga about our ancestors."
"Can’t put them down.
Great book, nothing less!"
"It’s a book that’s hard to put down."
"Yesterday, my girlfriend forgot to do anything other than reading the book. As she said, "There is always something
exciting." You can’t get through to her as long as Arnulf is in the house."
"Could not put it down."
"Wow it’s difficult to put down!" So good!!!"
"I close Arnulf with a burning desire to get Jomsvikingen so I can once again slip into the world your words paint for me. Many can write an engaging and exciting book, but only a few privileged can make history come alive. You DID it! The salt could be
tasted, the fear feels and life felt."
"It's insanely well written."
"The novel is exciting, dramatic and evocative to such an extent that the reader is almost
present. I experience her language as a kind of music that is powerful, sonorous and captivating. Her choice of words and phrases are captivating, fluid and evocative that readers of Jomsviking stand in the middle of the Viking Age with its clanging weapons,
burly men, the noise of the storm and the sailing Viking ships. As readers we get everything we could wish for: excitement, heroism, fighting with swords and shields, lust for power, honour and deceit, as well as humour and Viking life. In short, we have here
an historical novel that is relevant, entertaining, exciting, where the language adds a dimension to the Viking space and sound. Just like Arnulf, the novel has frenzy and fire in its body."
Pedersen has taught us to think like Vikings, speak like Vikings and fight like Vikings. Read on ... for gods’ sake – if it were made into a film, it would be the best action film to date. And wait to open the mead until you ARE finished reading
... otherwise it’ll just stew. This book is difficult to put down."
"Fast-paced and exciting novel. The pace. It is a real Viking atmosphere and as a reader, you are in good and perilous company with Arnulf Wolfblood
and his burly friends. A stupendous history. An exciting Viking series."
Readers on JOMSVIKING
"Have now with great pleasure
read Arnulf and Jomsviking and I am eagerly await the next book."
"Save some pages. But your eyes wander over the next page anyway. You can’t stop. I am so grateful for your writing skills. Thank you "
"What a story you have created, thank you for all the words of Arnulf’s saga."
"I've never been a big bookworm, BUT ... I have never read such a good work. Well written, noble deeds, which have me longing
for more! Read it! And feel like you were there!"
"Your books are amazing"
"Nobody writes like you. When I read your books, I can almost feel the sword in his hand."
"Susanne Clod Pedersen writes fantastically, captivatingly and magnificently – love her Viking books."
"If you've read the first books about Arnulf Wolfblood and you like it, you have much to look forward to in Jomsviking!"
"It kicks ass!"
"A tremendous experience."
"Superbly well written, engaging, an exciting book with descriptions of both the inner life of Arnulf and external
events, so it is unbearable to have to put the book down..."
"I loved reading it."
"You write so well that you feel you are there yourself. Very exciting!"
"You catch your reader in the moment. I fell immediately into your and Arnulf’s lovely universe. You are just too cool."
"Reading number two with just as much enthusiasm. Fabulous. One of the best Danish Viking sagas
written (and I have read much). However, I have one complaint ... you write too slowly ... I'm already getting withdrawal symptoms and am considering to start over ... You become dependant on Arnulf."
"A great experience with
your rich language and great knowledge."
"A great and exciting history. Pity it wasn’t published in Norway."
"The absolute worst thing about
this book is ... that it ends and you have to wait for the next one J"
"A great book. Rarely have I "started" to read a book as fast, simply because it was so exciting that I HAD to have next and next and next page. It is an
incredibly powerful book. It feels as if I was with there in the past’s time and echo."
"It is quite simply the world's best story."
recommended – am almost finished SIGH."
"I bought Arnulf and Jomsviking for my husband. He devoured them in no time. He thinks they were fantastic."
"Where’s the next book?"
"It is a MUST J The coolest, wildest and most addictive story EVER J"
"I love them. I’m delighted with the Arnulf books, the writing is fantastic. I hope there will be many more. Definitely
my favorite Danish writer."
"Such good books. "
"They are such good books – so well-written."
me to give the Arnulf saga the blame for my lack of sleep, it is just so good!!!"
"Arnulf HAS TO BE filmed!"
"The coolest, wildest, most profound
and under-the-skin book I have ever read ... I'm still quite breathless from it ... I miss the characters as if they were family." Nanna
ARNULF page 414-417: The beginning of the battle in Hjørungevåg:
"War companions! Hirdmen! Precious sons of Jomsborg!
Kinsmen and blood brothers, Einherjer and heirs to Valhalla!"
Vagn stood in the skeid’s bow with axe and sword held high over his head. The long hair stroked his shoulders under the helmet’s edge, and his eyes burned like coal. His mouth
was wild, behind the chainmail black lava cooked, he was a warrior, a warrior in blood, in intention, in limb, a looter of life, the death realm’s generous provider! The Jomsvikings turned their heads and were silent for as far as his voice could reach.
"Before my sword sees its sheath again, will the bay here be drained by corpses! Before I lower my axe, will the screams of Norwegian women have frozen the sea to ice all the way to Vigen! My courage can be measured with Odin’s! My strength with Thor’s!
Who here will follow me into battle against earl Hakon and win a greater honour than Jomsborg could ever before boast of?"
A roar made the ships quake waves in the water, and the Vikings pulled out their weapons and shook their shields as Vagn swung
his axe, so the skeid’s figurehead almost left its life, "I am so proud to stand before you that my chainmail is about to burst! In Asgard the warriors beg Valkyries to gather better company, can you not hear Sigurd Fafnerslayers’s and Starkad’s
cries? Will you toast with them with Heidrun’s mead before the sun goes down? Together we will rip the heads from the Norwegian goats and use them as knáttleikr balls, who will help me comfort widows and daughters tonight, who will bathe in loot
and gold, and who here will help hold earl Hakon until all our force has used him like a woman?"
A new roar rattled shields and weapons against each other, and Arnulf screamed with them, Vagn held the heart’s pulse in a single grip.
are shining like Surtr’s battle-folk! Hakon is already crying from the horror in his piss-wet pants, and he shall have more to weep over! Before the day fades, I will hang him up by the balls, and there he will be allowed to hang until he howls that
he will kiss my ass!"
The laughter crashed, and the swords beat rumbles against the shield’s surfaces. Vagn’s will was an engulfing river, it took everything with it, breaths were drawn with one lung, weapons carried with one hand, Arnulf
had faith, was faithful to the death! The Ågeson tossed his head, striking his axe against the earl’s ship, "So beleaguered is Hakon that he has rocked the cradles free for infants, set sail on them and staffed them with dogs! Woe to you who stands
at the back, you will only get cold flesh to hit! Kill! Flense! Murder! Slay! Do we feel pain?"
"Do we know fatigue?"
"Do we know what fear is?"
"Who wins the victory?"
"Sons of Jomsborg!"
Again, the dark warrior’s cries were drowned out by enthusiastic roaring and rumbling, but he quietened them again. Frantically he grew, throwing his shadow completely over Sigvalde’s dragon, froth sprayed
and the listeners became obsessed with a madness like a burning disease while the bear-earl’s voice resounded all the way to Jötunheimr, "Fight with me! Bleed with me! Win with me! If I falter, scorn me! If I flee, kill me! If I die, avenge me!"
Arnulf cried tears in his throat. With shame the last remaining fear and hesitation left his chest, Serpenttooth had to dance among its kinsmen, the shield-wolves howled, pulling at each other, woe to the Norwegians, woe to earl Hakon, woe to all of Norway!
From Vagn to Bue, the Jomswarriors and hirdmen screamed and hollered with the earls’ son’s temper, ships blazed, and shields rumbled united in a single rhythm while the cries repeated Sigvalde’s name.
Arnulf was a scale on the serpent,
the fate ruled, Odin rode Sleipnir over the soot-dark rolling clouds, and behind him beamed the late sun in the Valkyries’ helmets. This was the day for honour and heroism, for bravery’s deed and great revenge, Bifrost was open to Valhalla, and
murder was the water bearing the fleet, zeal the blood that hammered the arms as rigid as man’s spears and madness the breeze that drank sweat from the skin!
The Norwegians also appeared to be whipped into action, their jaws howling from their
limbs, and Sigvalde saw no reason to wait any longer. With a god-like roar he flung his spear towards earl Hakon and sacrificed the Norwegian fleet to the Aesir Lord, the oars were put into use, and the two forces approached each other, as inevitably as the
increasing tide and the closer the Norwegian axes showed their newly-sharpened edges, the louder Arnulf shouted along to drown out the enemy’s spouting! He saw everything from the thwart, everything. The countless country's defenders, many of whom had
nothing more to place between blows and skin than layers of leather but whose hatred thickened the air, the spiky spears which roofed Hakon’s fleet like a hedgehog’s back, they squeezed their weapons, which for some were simply nail-tipped clubs,
pointed sticks and firewood axes; the unpainted shields, and far behind the Norwegian force, a cow on a hillside shook flies from its neck with its muzzle in the grass. It was so peaceful! When the conflict was over and lineages had fallen, it would still
stand there, only the night could disrupt its endless munching and patiently slouching tail.
Vagn commanded bows and slings be prepared, but before the arrows and stones were laid ready, a horn sounded from Hakon’s red ship, and the next moment
hissing swarms of arrows swirled in high arches over the water. Arnulf raised his shield, ducking behind it. Serpenttooth hissed so strongly that he had completely forgotten the initial skirmish, but Svend laughed when the Norwegian earl blundered, his attack
reaching only the water between them and none of the Jomsvikings lifted anything to guard them other than snide laughter.
Embarrassed Arnulf lowered his arm, but soon after the danger was threatening enough and Vagn stretched his sword in the air to
give the sign. The arrows were awaited with eerie tension, more cowardly weapons did not exist! Even the finest warriors had to pay with their lives to men who out of luck succeeded with their blind shots, and all toil and ingenuity stood in vain against randomness,
against a single toe long iron tip even Bue and Vagn could not do anything!
Both fleets tensed their bows and simultaneously released, and Arnulf curled, shuddering, into a ball of yarn behind the high raised wolf-shield when a hail of iron speckled
the skeid like a full beard. It slammed against the shield, an arrow slipped by while another penetrated several hand-lengths through, and the edge was torn up by a tip that ended its fall with a dull clatter against his helmet. The hood mitigated the blow,
Vagn shouted again, and Arnulf snapped the intruding arrow, daring a quick glance. The archers were scantily shielded by their companions, but the exposure was dangerous, and it was about getting the arrows in the air before Hakon’s men loosened their
strings. It sang and hissed, warnings barked, the North men had to stay in cover, and even before the bows were lowered, Vagn sent stones over the enemy. That rain was hardly so deadly, but men were beaten unconscious and bones crushed, Sigvalde would be satisfied,
and the rowers strained themselves on.
Hakon’s second volley flew close, it was difficult to achieve full shielding and the Vikings at the oars were not spared, although many turned with raised shields. The Norwegians also shot burning arrows
at their guests, but it was easy enough to extinguish incipient loose fires as long as close combat had not begun, and the cleared ships did not seem to be easily flammable. Svend jumped up, throwing his shield to Arnulf while he yelled for protection, for
now he would row! Short of breath Arnulf returned Serpenttooth to its sheath and crawled to a free oar, while the soaked hair bristled the helmet from the scalp in sheer fear of arrows in the back, and only at the last minute did he manage to get both shields
lifted before the ships were made to a drum-skin and chastened by the North men’s anger.
"It is a dry rain falling from the fjelds, it does not give many crops!"
Svend's face shone with excitement as he helped a wounded rower aside and
pulled the oar as if he alone would ram Hakon earl’s fleet. Stones splintered the skeid, damaging the thin planks, and surprisingly powerful flint hammered the highest shield against his shoulder. Arnulf turned it a little to protect them both, and Svend
managed some strokes between the forces’ exchanges of shots, so swarms of arrows rattled against each other over the water, falling ill-timed and missing their target, and now Vagn shouted for heavier weapons, the buggers should get spears; flea bites
alone would not fell them!
The Bueson looked back, sweat pouring into his eyes, and Arnulf suddenly remembered the two seas that broke the bow on Denmark’s northern tip. Soon, very soon, the warring would run stakes through each other's lives,
then the currents would break necks, and water and blood would mix with salt! Behind the shields along the shieldrim short javelins were held ready, grips secured and weight proportioned, while archers scattered, sustaining their shooting, as long as there
were still arrows to find on the deck. Death, death and darkness, was a fiery heart ever truly prepared to give up its life for another man's cause? Why were they here, the Danes and the Norwegians, when until recently they had shared a king in brotherhood?
Despite the danger Sigvalde stood far ahead in the dragon, and on the outside of the north flank Bue the Digre’s voice persistently poured splendid spite and curses on their opponents that Svend Silkenhair had to chuckle, shaking his head under the
shields. The sweat dripped off Arnulf, and his mouth was as dry as cracked wood. Whoever hesitated, died first. Whoever lost overview, was killed. The enemy, their sight bound, was not dangerous. Blows would not necessarily kill. Agile shield wielding, light
foot changes, do not look the enemy in the eye, never cross your legs. The first block was the sword’s, the next the shield’s and lastly his body dodged. It was so easy to remember it all on the banner ground’s evenness, but now sense was
failing, the limbs were heavy and stiff and soft, while fear sneaked around the body like a black wolverine hunting for sudden vulnerability. Fenrir! With Fenrir at his back he need not tremble, the wolf should have blood, saturated from Norwegian victims,
and just with that thought the jötnar animal’s ears pointed.
Vagn let the heavy weaponry go, and it was not weaklings who cast them, only the strongest arms let go of spears, and they made nice holes in Hakon’s heap of men! Both on
the red warrior’s iron whale and on Øgmund the White’s snekke people tumbled over the deck and shieldrims and those ships lying behind drove forward from their need for revenge while the answer immediately rushed the other way, and if the
arrows had caused reasonable damage, the spearheads stack much deeper. The sound was obscure, the sight tremble-inducing and the arms stiffened in spite, the nips of Helheim would not stop Svend’s oar strokes! From the snekke Øgmund slung weight
into his shaft, Åse’s redress, and how he knew that the bearer of the wolf-shield had been the first to defile only Freyr could answer, the spear caused Arnulf to tumble back over a thwart into The Bueson’s shoulder, its point broken by the
shield, deadeningly, releasing a sharp pain in his upper arm.
A short scream escaped his throat, so his jaws bit furiously together, the weight of the shaft pulled the point out of the flesh when the shield tipped, and by Odin's eye was it time to whine!
Blood kisses were a warrior’s ornament, Arnulf was up immediately with the Jomsman’s support and his arm obeyed, it was no worse! Svend’s gaze blazed watchfully, but Arnulf snorted, still wielding the shield in both hands, so The Bueson collected
himself to follow his row-companions’ oar-pulls and the next bunch of spears struck elsewhere.
The pierced shield was heavy, so Arnulf supported its edge by slanting it against the nearest thwart, to pull out the spear could cause life-threaten
exposure. Despite the noise and the cries the blood rushed in his ears, and through the wound his blood was poisoned with an bestial anger, fear gave way, the pain pulled together, now he knew why Ulfhednir cut themselves before battle! Fenrir’s pulse
pounded in his temples but Jomsborg’s warrior-will kept madness in an ice-grip, he, who acted in anger during combat, drove the blade in his chest himself!
Vagn’s men began to rise, rallying along the shieldrim at the foreship, those
in front with scale-laid shields, throwing hooks and free sword, and behind them the long spears and broad axes were held ready. Closely, the Norwegians rowed forward, so close that the oars struck each other now and then when the current pulled awry and the
iron whale and vassal’s snekke seemed each lay their long side against the skeid’s shieldrim to squeeze the tallow of Vagn’s crew. Bjørn the Bretlander gave the sign from the Black Snekke to attack the blue iron whale from
the opposite side and Little Ketil yelled cheerfully from his Blood Fox while Haug and Kjartan clinked axes in their hunger for wounding. Although arrows and spears still flew scattered through the air, both fleets seemed to be making ready for close
combat; threats, howls and weapon-roars thundered across the bay like never before, and Sigvalde shouted his last orders, foaming at the mouth. Immense was the strength of the gathered warriors! The water level rose up the fjelds with a crushing pressure,
never had greater whales romped along the Norwegian coast, never had such sharp keels clefted the archipelago to strips!
The square on the deck was cramped and the thwarts were treacherous to fight over, much allowance for movement was not made, but
the men apparently knew to keep together without clumping. Svend wanted to go to Vagn and let go of his oar. He snatched a stray shield and spear, nodding encouragingly to Arnulf, then in a few leaps he was among the warriors waiting at the bow and stood with
one foot on each thwart to be part of the game over his companions’ heads. Arnulf groaned. He was embroiled in a din and if the straps had not been fastened, the helmet would have washed into the neck from sweat. He threw away the broken shield, drew
his sword, waiting on trembling knees behind the shield wall. The last armfull of sea water retreated between the forces, while Bjørn howled to Bue's son that he was offering his neck to the enemy and should step down immediately, but Svend stood, and
roars and screams put icicles on the ear-piercing noise of weapons, now, now, now! Now the fight against earl Hakon began in earnest!