Caput tuum in manibus tuis conditum Carpe Diem
Cor tuum terras longissimas desiderat Carpe Diem
Viae duae in silva flava devertuntur Carpe Diem
Semper miraberis si agas Carpe Diem
"With the decline of the Roman Empire, and in the wake of her withdrawal in 410 AD, the breakdown of law and civilization upon the Northern European continent was swift and devastating. In Scandinavia, the burgeoning population could no longer be supported by its agricultural fields and livestock holdings, and disappearing trade routes with Rome had led to unfair pricing and exploitation from trading partners.
The Viking - an Old Norse verb meaning "to go on an expedition" - emerged from this generally peaceful people, and the long ships originally intended for trade soon became ideal raiding craft. These were expert navigators who knew that the coasts of England harbored many wealthy and undefended township, and that monasteries in particular were isolated and rich. The broad draft of the long ship was ideally suited to land without the need for a harbor or pier, and they were uniquely capable of exploring inland rivers for villages nestled along the banks.
There was almost nowhere they could not go, and due to their superiority at sea and lack of any naval opposition throughout Western Europe, the Viking long ship sailed freely and indiscriminately. The earliest documented raid by the Vikings was in 793 AD at Lindisfarne, England."
I: Lindisfarne Abbey 793 AD
Long oars pull hard against the night, broadswords lay sharpened for the fight
Shield are hung along the ship's carved rail, damp woolen clothes under heavy chain mail
Rain down fire, bring axe to the feast - "Oh, why has God unleashed this beast?"
All aware that their actions are bold - "This island abbey is rich with treasure and gold!"
We're bringing war - to a distant land!
We're bringing war!
Monks are tortured and they're enslaved -
and they're tossed ... to drown in the sea
More are burned or crushed beneath stone;
some flee the island with St. Cuthbert's bones
"A sacred center has been defiled!"
... The word is spread and the people are riled
The royal courts, apprised, are enraged
... and thereby ushers in the Viking Age
We're starting war - in a distant land!
We're starting war!
II: Mercia 877 AD
Long oars pull quiet through the night,
whisper ashore - an awesome sight
We don't fear - Odin rides with us all,
our deaths determined in Valhalla's halls
Creep to the village, no time to forgive, these men must die so that we may live
The call goes out, no time to spare - town guard is roused, we engage in the square
Villager (in the distance): "Alarm! Alarm!"
Husband (in a hushed whisper):
"Grab the child! Hurry, woman! Now!"
Villager (in the distance): "To arms! To arms!"
Wife: "I'm here, dear one, I'm here."
Husband: "Take her out back.
Hide with the animals. Son?!"
Son: "Yes, father?"
Husband: "Take the horse and ride south to Wessex.
Alert the countryside."
Son: "Yes, father."
Husband: "Go - now! And do not return!"
Child (whispering amidst the clamor of animals):
"Mummy, I'm scared."
Wife (whispering): "Shhh, it's alright, I'm right here."
Wife: "I know, dear, I know. Please, please, please be quiet for Mummy."
Child: "Are we going to die?"
Wife: "Shh, shhh, shhhh... Look over Mummy's shoulder. Can you see the stars?
Wife: "Just cover your ears ... and look at the stars."
A shield wall forms, spears held low at their sides
Arrow volleys turn skittering aside
Berserkers rush, swing down hammers to bone
Legs are crushed and collapsed, their muscles shorn
All around shields ring out and splint
And heads are taken off with axes where they sit
Kicking and clawing even bite a man's balls
We stand - if you run you only die tired after all
The battle's over, we're alive and empowered to seize these lands and make their resources ours
The ground is rich with their blood's earthy scent - the air is awash in the women's lament
The children scream - they run and they hide ... they're found with flames and dragged out at our sides
Tossed in heaps where their fathers have bled ... they'll all be slaves or you'll pay for their heads
III: Along The Fjords
Ancient glaciers have carved this land, steep rugged forests hug the strand
Our numbers grow, scarce food for all, and trade routes vanished in Rome's fall
There are those who dare to rule, grown fat on riches and think us fools
Self-governed lands they now devour - I shall return with a land that's ours
Take warmth by the family fire; gather children at your knee
Your son leaps upon your chest and drives his hands into your beard
Has any treasure any jewel ever caught and held the light?
Like his glinting eyes reflecting stars in the polar night... ?
Men to the ships with torn desires; turn to wave upon the tide
Sons calling scramble down the rocks and fall in line along the shore
The golden curls and tousled hair fall and hide the tears they cry
And mothers gently life their faces to the sky...
IV: A Price To Pray?
No more incentive - no reason to hold, these slaves are worthless - they cannot be sold
Some will not trade with our "heathen tribes"; some make us pay a price on the side
Now we must defend our new place, and learn to live with those that we've displaced
Christian doctrine comes to rule the stage, convert and usher out the Viking Age
You've had your war, in a distant land
You've had your war