Canute’s Tale

I was the son of a minor Jarl who was overthrown and I was given the opportunity to become a slave or leave the village and never return. I took the leave option at the age of 10. I spent a winter on my own before I was accepted by a farming family that had no children and raised by them. They were my new family and I was accepted into the new village with no link to my past. I learned many skills from my adoptive family. Farming, wood working, hunting, and black smithing were skills I excelled at. When I was 13 I was taken by the village’s Jarl on a exploration and taught the ways of sea faring and combat. We made many journeys for many seasons.

During an expedition in my 16th year, our fleet of ships was caught in a storm and most of them sank. A small number of us washed up on unknown soil and were quickly taken captive by another Jarl. Jarl Rothmar was his name. As the youngest of the group I was not seen as a threat and allowed to live as a thrall to the Jarl’s second and the others were slaughtered. After 5 summers, my hard work and loyalty was rewarded and I was allowed to live in the village as a free man and take a wife. We had 2 boys and 1 girl and for many years I worked a small farm and I journeyed with Jarl Rothmar at every opportunity. We traded with the Jutes and the Rus and fought many a battles with the Franks and English. I was not the best fighter, but good enough to not die or be too badly injured. While on one of the many expeditions my family took ill and I returned to only find my ailing wife who died soon after my return. I suspect they were poisoned by others in the village who held ill will towards me because of not being originally of the village, but was never able to find proof or satisfaction.

One dark and lonely night I packed up the bare essentials and just left the village and hiked inland. After more nights than I have fingers and toes, I turned south and hiked for many more days until I reached a great fjord that had no village on it. I built a small house on a side-hill with a view of the fjord about a half days walk from the shore. I built myself a roskilde(small boat) to use for fishing and hid it on the shore. I lived my life for many summers hunting, fishing, trapping, cultivating wild roots and berries, and making mead. A couple of times I saw large langskip(large war boats) sail into my fjord, but I remained hidden and they went away. The time alone was soothing, but I longed for the company of warriors and a wife. The call of rhaf(sea) was growing stronger every day. One day I packed up my roskilde and sailed out into whatever would happen to me.

Once out of the fjord I saw and was chased by many batur(boats), but my roskilde was build fast and well and my sea faring is exceptionally good (if I do say so myself). I would beach my roskilde every couple of days to replenish supplies and scout for villages. Finding a village to be accepted to was a careful and long process. Twice I returned to find someone else had claimed by boat and we had to have “discussions”. As winter approached I beached by roskilde and dragged it up into the woods and used it as my shelter for the winter.

As spring approached I was surprised by when I was surrounded by a group of warriors that snuck up on me. Once they determined I wasn’t a threat, their Jarl was kind to me and I shared my fresh meat supply with them and they had MEAD. That was the first mead I had had in over a year. It tasted soooooooo good.

I don’t know what it was, but I felt included and comfortable with this group of warriors after only days of being with them. They were still very leery of me, but they were not hostile. Nothing was said as they prepared to leave after rest and repairs to their langskip so I risked it and asked Jarl Thorbjorn if I could accompany them. They took by weapons and tools and gave me an oar.

Once back in Jarl Thorbjorn’s village I grew fond of the people and I believe they grew fond of me and asked to be allowed to stay. I believe that my chances for finding another wife are better with his village than any other village I have seen. I have been a member of the Jarl Thorbjorn’s village since last summer. Thorbjorn is a fair and just ruler and I want to do my best to be accepted into the village.