We are amidst the melee of the the Demetria Fair in Thessalonica. Merchants, local and foreign, have flocked here to trade materials, share industry secrets, and build fortunes. It is a 12th Century economic and cultural hotpot. Tensions are high, and the promise of money is not always enough to keep swords sheathed.
Into this throng enter a band of Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Normans. Enemies in the past, these adventurers have travelled many hostile miles together, and now seek the comfort of the familiar in this strange land. With their families by their side, they are oppressed by the strict rule of the Emperor, and targeted all too often by the violent and too-powerful Varangian Guard.
The city is a jewel of the Byzantine Empire, and the Emperor is anxious to keep the peace. He knows too well how fickle the tempers of these foreigners are, and will do anything to make them toe the line, even if it means allowing his mercenaries to break a few rules. Order must be kept at all costs. Of particular concern are these travellers from the Western Lands.
When the first blow is struck and the fighting begins, will the travel-weary Westerners successfully defend themselves and their families, or will the mighty Varangian Guard squash their rebellion?