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The Path Of The King

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An Excerpt:  "That night the Northmen slept in peace, but the scouts brought back word of
a desert country, no men or cattle, and ashes where once had been

"Our kinsfolk have been here before us," said King Ironbeard grimly. He did
not love the Danes, though he had fought by their side.

Half the force was left as a guard by the ships, and next day the rest went
forward up the valley at a slant from the river's course. For that way, ran
the tale, lay a great Roman house, a palace of King Kristni, where much
gold was to be had for the lifting. By midday they were among pleasant
meadows, but the raiders had been there, for the houses were fired and the
orchards hacked down. Then came a shout and, turning back, they saw a flame
spring to the pale autumn skies. "The ships!" rose the cry, and the
lightest of foot were sent back for news.

They returned with a sorry tale. Of the ships and the stockade nothing
remained but hot cinders. Half the guard were dead, and old Arnwulf, the
captain, lay blood-eagled on the edge of the tide. The others had gone they
knew not where, but doubtless into the forests."


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