General Grjötgard was leading them; they had taken the water route but unfortunately for them, they had been spotted but no one engaged them.
They allowed them to maintain the perception that they had the upper hand, an ingenious move if you think about it.
But Grjötgard was a seasoned warrior and realized that something was wrong, so he asked everyone to halt in their tracks.
"What is wrong, Grjötgard?" Salgard asked.
"That is the problem, there is nothing wrong," Grjötgard responded to his younger brother.
Bjorn did not understand what he meant by this; was this not the purpose of a surprise attack?
ραΠdαsΝοvel.cοmBut fortunately for the son of Ragnar, he wouldn't be in the dark much longer.
"Don't you think it is strange for a Kingdom to be on such a high alert and only have one line of defence?" Grjötgard asked this rhetorical question.
"They could be underestimating us," Bjorn responded even though he knew it was unlikely, it could still be a possibility.
"There is no way that they would underestimate us after we got the man named Calvin, he was a high-ranking warrior. You can tell by the way they cowered when we first came, it was because we had that man so if anything, they should be overestimating us," Grjötgard said.
This was a sound observation and everyone caught on to what he was trying to say.
Grjötgard had taken a measly ten men with him, Bjorn and Salgard included.
"It is an ambush…" Grjötgard said and this kicked everyone into defensive mode.
Before they could even speak further, they heard men on horses approach and surround them.
The Christians rained insults and curses at them, not that the Vikings understood but something told them that they did not want to talk.
Grjötgard equipped his sword, his size made him their primary target and an arrow travelled right at him.
But it made contact with a shield, one of the men had used their shield to protect him.
"Should we not use the shield wall formation?" Salgard asked his brother.
"No, they are on horses. Our formation won't hold. They will trample us…" Grjötgard said with a straight face; it was almost like he hadn't registered the threat yet but he had survived far more extreme situations than this.
"We will face them head on and none of you will die. I do not permit any of you to die… We will slaughter these people and tear down the castle walls. That is all," Grjötgard said.
Bjorn was perplexed by his lack of fear but even if it was him saying this, there was no way that the Vikings would feel motivated by such a thing or so he thought.
The Vikings began beating their shield in rhythm, it sounded symphonic and this was something that Bjorn had never experienced before.
Grjötgard smirked the moment this was done but the Christians were unsettled by it.
"What is happening?" Bjorn asked Salgard, the man who always had that creepy smile on his face.
"That rhythm… I have heard stories about it…" Hagen said with a hint of fear in his voice.
"That is right. Grjötgard is about to be possessed by the gods and deliver their justice directly upon the Christians," Salgard responded. There was something different about his smile, it actually looked genuine.
"It has been ages since I have seen Big Brother like this," Salgard thought to himself.
Tyr had let Ecgberht go and allowed him to sit right in front of him with Alf acting as a translator.
"King Ælle is no fool, there is no way that your plan would not have been predicted by him," Ecgberht said. Tyr chuckled when he heard this.
"If things don't go according to plan then what? They either fight their way out or they go to Valhalla, there is no downside to battle for a Viking," Tyr responded.
"Do you not care if they live or die?" Ecgberht asked and Alf found himself eager to hear the response of the young Viking. Tyr, without missing a beat, said.
He noticed the movements of the men around him becoming more erratic.
"They are getting into formation?" Tyr muttered.
"I am not as important as you think, King Ælle can get rid of me and blame it on the Vikings. This will secure the alliance of my father to avenge his son," Ecgberht informed Tyr.
Tyr was not interested in the politics that was going on in Northumbria but something told him that this would be an important factor.
"What do you mean?" Tyr asked and this was when Ecgberht told him the history of King Ælle; how his father was usurped and why he was still under King Ælle's Northumbria,
"That explains it," Tyr said, prompting Ecgberht to raise a brow.
"What do you mean?" Ecgberht asked.
"They had no killing intent despite a sword being drawn to your neck," Tyr said before getting to his feet. This was why he stayed back, he knew that they were planning something as he could have easily tagged along with his brothers to storm the castle.
But he hung back because of the irregular movements witnessed by the others.
Ecgberht, of course, did not understand what he meant by this seeing as he wasn't a warrior.
He was just some coward and he intended to leverage his position as best as he could.
"Vikings! Prepare for battle! We are having Christians tonight!" Tyr screamed at the top of his lungs but he did not lead the charge and told Thorgard to hang back.
The Vikings charged without hesitation because they had been ready for battle for quite some time, Tyr threatening to kill Ecgberht was for two purposes.
The first was to see how they would react and have all their attention on him, the second was to make sure the Vikings were always on their guard.
The battle was about to begin and this could ultimately be decided before sunrise even though the fate of King Ragnar remained unknown.