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INTRODUCTION
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I - THE SWORD
CHAPTER II - MORAVIA
CHAPTER III - MARHAT
CHAPTER IV - TRIBECH
CHAPTER V - THE ARROW
CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA
CHAPTER VII - BOGATYGRAD
CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR
CHAPTER IX - DAGOBERT
CHAPTER X - RETALIATION
EXPLANATORY NOTES


CHAPTER I - THE SWORD

Our story begins with Samo returning from Bavaria through the land of Carantania* with acquired arms aimed to fuel the proceeding revolt of Venedian people against Avar rule. His mission is to bring weapons and freshly trained units to the western shore of river Vah, where his fellow Venedian warriors established a temporary winter camp. But first he has to arm new recruits waiting at a fortified city on the river Diya.

He’s accompanied by his brother in law Vladislav, a skilled archer and wise military strategist, ten swordsmen on horse-drawn carriages and another brother in law going with the name Drahomir, a dexterous swordsman riding in the back of the caravan.

Vladislav and Drahomir were put by their father, a Venedian chieftain, under Samo’s patronage in order to teach them everything and make wise leaders out of them. They both went through an intensive military training going on for years and now they needed to learn to think first and make rational decisions that will be for the benefit of their people.

“Bavaria was exceptionally cold this time,” noted Vladislav apparently still freezing from the harsh winter.

“After we deliver these weapons, we need to rest for few days. We fought for a long time, traded lots of gems for weapons and I miss my family” said Samo tiredly.

“I miss Drahoslava as well. I haven’t had a good meal for a long time now,” replied Vladislav talking about his sister cheerfully.

“Don’t be so rude or I will make you eat only bread with water for a week. We should be grateful for what we have. Especially in these difficult times,” replied Samo sharply, amazed by Vladislav’s poverty of thoughts.

“Forgive me,” responded Vladislav a bit ashamed. “What are your next plans in our struggle?” he continued with a question.

* Carantania – land stretching approximately over present Austria

“The key to our success is the city of Nitrava*, center of your tribe, which your family had to leave for Moravia** even before you were born. In order to capture it, we must first secure the hill Zobor, which is overlooking the city. Remember my words, whoever controls Zobor, controls Nitrava and its lands as well. And gods are my witness, we will succeed,” said Samo fully convinced.

“What will happen then?” asked Vladislav.

“Then we will liberate the plains of Pannonia*** where our people must live under Avar rule as well,” replied Samo and they continued their journey thinking of how to achieve their goals.

On their way towards the river Diya, while moving through an oak forest, their caravan got attacked by a group of Avar scouts armed with traditional swords and bows. There were twice as much Avars as there were Samo’s men.

Avars were people that came from distant places of Asia to find themselves a piece of Europe, from where they could loot other tribes and dominate them in all aspects. They had oval shaped faces, long black hair, beards and mustaches, always riding their horses growing up with a bow and sword in their hands.

“Take cover, Avars are attacking!” shouted Drahomir from the back of the caravan. “Form a circle and wait for them to get closer!” he continued and the swordsmen listened to his orders.

The outnumbered group was ready to fight till the bitter end. All the sudden a majestic eagle flew above their heads holding a silver sword in its claws and released it straight into Samo’s hands. “For PERUN and our people!” shouted Samo, he grasped the sword and swinged it on an Avar swordsman running towards him. Their blades met and blinding lightnings bursted from the silver sword followed by deafening thunders.

Both the attackers and defenders were in shock due to this never before seen magic. Samo did not hesitate and swinged his sword a second time. He hit the surprised Avar swordsman, but no blood was spilled. Instead the Avar got instantly petrified and the remaining attackers, not believing what happened, ran away in horror.

Drahomir and Vladislav inspected the petrified Avar in disbelief, while Samo was looking closely at the magical sword. “Who’s behind this miracle and why am I the one with the privilege to hold this blessed weaponry?” asked Samo confusedly.

* Nitrava – current city of Nitra
** Moravia - land stretching approximately around the river Morava
*** Pannonia - land stretching approximately between the Danube and Sava rivers

The mysterious eagle was watching the whole fight from a nearby oak tree branch. “Kneel before me!” shouted the eagle. “I am your supreme god, PERUN the thunderer, giver and taker of lives. As I overcame VELES, god of the underworld, you will take care of your arch enemy and oust Avars from your lands!” continued PERUN referring to a duel with his counterpart, the god of the underworld, livestock and wealth, VELES.

Samo’s group fell into their knees and lowered their sights. Their almighty god took the form of an eagle and helped them when they needed him the most.

“We the gods have chosen you Samo to lead the campaign against the unbelievers. Hold on to this powerful sword, which was crafted for you by SVAROG, creator of everything, and you will find answers to your questions on a mountain, which was once the center of a long forgotten magnificent culture.“

“Defeat the unbelievers! So I command and so it shall be done!” added the eagle and flew away into the depths of the oak forest.

The group stepped closer to Samo while Drahomir picked up his courage to speak: “Well, every great sword needs a name.” Drahomir tried to grab the sword to see for himselft but it shocked him and he pulled his hand back. “Oh, that hurts so much,” he added.

“It looks like it was meant just for me,” said Samo.

“So then we should call it after you,” replied Vladislav. “What about The sword of Samo the Great?” he asked cheerfully.

“We’re not there yet,” replied Samo laughingly.

“What about Samo the Venedian? You know that we consider you ours,” said Drahomir.

“So be it. From now on, it will be called The Sword of Samo the Venedian!” replied Samo and pointed the sword towards the sky.

The group got on their horses and continued their journey towards the land of Moravia. After a while Samo asked Vladislav: “Why so thoughtful? What are you thinking of?”

“What did PERUN, the highest god of all gods, mean with with the center of a long forgotten magnificent culture?” replied Vladislav with another question.

“Elders in Moravia use to tell the story of people that lived in these lands even before all the tribes that we know by name. It was a time when there were no steel swords or tools and people moved into uplands to seek protection of hills and mountains. In this period of time, good hunting grounds and fertile lands were not the most important benefit anymore. Only people who settled the highest could survive and a culture evolved around the mountain range with the name Tribech. This must be it! This must be the place our god intended us to go!” said Samo.

“Isn’t that mountain close to Nitrava?” asked Vladislav.

“It’s a pity that you were never able to see your homeland. Once I wanted to see the Tribech Mountain for myself, how it looked like, so I went to the top and I was amazed by its breathtaking view. But it wasn’t possible to see Nitrava from there, because the hills Zobor and Zubritsa blocked the view” replied Samo. “Now we must hurry to Moravia to get these weapons to new recruits. We will stay with Drahoslava for a short time and then we will escort the armed recruits to our winter camp near the river Vah,” he concluded.

After several hours of riding they finally arrived to the shores of river Diya and crossed its branches through a series of narrow fords and found themselves at the gates of a huge city called Diyagrad,* entrance to the fertile region of Moravia.

* Diyagrad - fictional name of the fortress Pohansko near Břeclav


INTRODUCTION
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I - THE SWORD
CHAPTER II - MORAVIA
CHAPTER III - MARHAT
CHAPTER IV - TRIBECH
CHAPTER V - THE ARROW
CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA
CHAPTER VII - BOGATYGRAD
CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR
CHAPTER IX - DAGOBERT
CHAPTER X - RETALIATION
EXPLANATORY NOTES